There’s Gold in Them Thar Pills!

March 21, 2016

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.      

Maria Konnikova was a recent guest on Point of Inquiry, talking about con artists. In The New Yorkershe applies her insight to Donald Trump:

If Trump were a con artist, he would be interested in politics only as a means to some other end. He wouldn’t believe in his political opinions; instead, he would see those opinions as convenient tools for gaining what he actually desires. Insofar as he believed in any of the policies he espoused, that belief would be purely incidental. Con artists aren’t true believers; they are opportunists. Trump, as a con artist, would give up on politics the moment it stopped serving his purposes, moving on to the next thing that gave him the same level of attention and adulation. 

Trump, meanwhile, asks a crowd in Utah about Mitt Romney, "Are you sure he's a Mormon? Are we sure?" WELL, SHEEPLE, ARE YOU SURE?

A while back, we found out that Baruch College would be putting on an exhibit inspired by none other than our own Skeptical Inquirer, "Some Provocations from Skeptical Inquirers." And look, here's some of the work

We have an action alert for New York state, calling on folks to support a measure to end unnecessary non-medical vaccine exemptions

The NYT editorial board weighs in on Zubik v. Burwell, the latest religious-exemption case on mandated contraceptive coverage to face the Supreme Court:

Notifying the government of a refusal to provide birth-control coverage is not a substantial burden on religion, nor does that notification “trigger” the coverage, which is already guaranteed under the law. 

In a Spanish-language piece for Skeptical Inquirer, Luis Alfonso Gámez reports on the increased scrutiny on homeopathy in Spain, and the industry's attempts to unload "a huge dump of disinformation."

Speaking of fake medicine, there's GOLD in them thar pills! Well, not pills, but a tonic for curing alcoholism at the time of prohibition. And there probably wasn't much gold in it either. Joe Nickell explains.

The Atlantic kicks off a special series on young Americans and their explorations of faith, "Choosing My Religion." 

The Saudis sure do say things, like, "The kingdom [is] proud in applying the provisions of the tolerant Islamic Sharia which ensures justice, rights and duties for all equally without any discrimination." Huh.

In India, authorities are looking for "Hindu vigilantes" who are reportedly murdering Muslim cattle herders.

Eleanor Cohen, the mayor-elect of Totnes in the UK, and an atheist, ruffles some feathers for refusing to take part in a religious service, which is part of the town's Remembrance Sunday commemoration.

A "Bible literacy bill" easily passes the Kentucky state senate, a measure that would allow Bible courses in public schools. It purports to be about the Bible as a significant part of history and literature, as opposed to religious promotion. Sooooo why'd you need a law? 

A group of 50 conservative Catholic bigwigs endorse Ted Cruz. After they watch this they may change their minds.

Hemant says, "For years, people have dreamed of launching Creationists into space, and now there’s finally one up there." 

Quote of the Day: 

An important reminder on the over-exaggerated death-of-the-religious-right from Frederick Clarkson: 
 
Just because the Religious Right has not managed to get Roe v. Wade overturned and that marriage equality is the law of the land, their political activism is not diminished so much as redirected. There will be many battles in the culture war. Many of these are now largely, although not entirely in the states, and the issues are often recast as matters of religious liberty. ... The strength and resilience of the Christian Right does not much rise or fall based on the vagaries of presidential politics. No other major movement in American history has been so narrowly and inaccurately measured.
   
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Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday March 23, 2016 at 7:24am

“Are you sure he’s a Mormon?”

I think the words before it was more interesting.
“He’s a choke artist. I can’t believe.”

That context only makes sense if you’re making a gay joke.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday March 23, 2016 at 7:26am

Wow.  Still sending Gawker traffic after what they did?

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