There Are Lots of Quacks Out There

April 20, 2015

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

What'd you miss the last couple weeks? Probably lots, 'cause we're so crazy busy. Here's the latest Cause & Effect newsletter

CFI's Michael De Dora testified this morning at the FDA's hearings on the regulation and marketing of homeopathic products (original announcement here), and really was an all-too-rare voice of reason and science in a room full of pseudoscience promoters. He totally knocked it out of the park, like BAM! BAM! You know? Anyway, here's Michael's written testimony. Hemant gives us kudos. NPR previews the hearings with input from CSI Fellow Steven Novella

The House of Oz is CRUMBLING. After a bunch of physicians ask for him to be ousted from his position at Columbia University and several journalists (particularly Julia Belluz at Vox) begin to expose more of his nonsense, Wikileaks releases emails from Oz and his show where the staff scrambles over criticism (and Oz himself kisses up to Sony to promote their products), and now the Oz show is getting ready to respond to the scrutiny.

CBS Sunday Morning does a piece on the challenges faced by atheists in the U.S., with several familiar faces. 

Who can save us from the anti-vax crowd? Only the combined forces of Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Elmo.  

Mike Huckabee says don't sign up for the military until Obama leaves because something-something war on Christians. The Economist's conclusion on a Huckabee run for president:

So why run? Well, apart from selling books, Mr Huckabee’s presence could well force the other candidates to the right, at least if they feel that he may siphon away the votes of religious conservatives. Expect a long slog.

Nate Cohn at NYT says Huckabee is "someone whom the rest of the party would almost certainly rally to defeat if he seemed within striking distance of the nomination."

ISIS executes dozens of Ethiopian Christians in a video. 

More than half of U.S. states are now considering right-to-die measures

UK Labour leader Ed Milliband, an atheist, tries to make common cause with the faithful.

Joe Nickell investigates really, really big catfish for Skeptical Inquirer. He also makes a lake monster!

At my blog iMortalI dust off an old Phil Hartman-as-Jesus SNL sketch with an awesome Sally Field who can't stop praying.

Almond milk: a ripoff

Also a ripoff, this L.A. fake-psychic, to the tune of $220,000. 

In an op-ed in the Citizen-Times, Chuck Kelly spells out the difference between secular governing and the religious approach:

If a religious leader says “Thou shalt not steal,” the secularist will consider it, and if it makes sense, establish laws and punishments about stealing. On the other hand, when religious fundamentalists argue for legal standards, they insist on adherence to their interpretations of revealed truth, even if it defies scientific breakthroughs or the lessons learned from actual experience. 

Quote of the Day:

The New Yorker's Michael Specter (who will be at the Reason for Change conference!) on the big issue with Dr. Oz: 

The big problem with Dr. Oz is that he's intelligent and articulate and well-educated. There are lots of quacks out there. They're not worth dealing with because they're just quacks. The problem with Dr. Oz is that he gives a lot of good advice, in the middle of which he just says these things for which there is no support whatsoever. And it's very hard for normal people to know the difference.

 
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Original image by Shutterstock.

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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Comments:

#1 Randy on Saturday May 16, 2015 at 7:23pm

“...the secularist will consider it, and if it makes sense, establish laws and punishments…”

No.  That’s what we would LIKE to happen, but that’s not what happens, because religion is only one significant source of bad ideas.

In secular systems, the absence of religious dogma leaves a void into which lazy thinkers dump non-religious dogmas, like homeopathy or feminism.

#2 Randy on Saturday May 16, 2015 at 7:31pm

“Almond milk: a ripoff.” 

How does almond milk compare to rice, cashew, soy, coconut, or hemp milk?

I don’t want my milk to come from an abused cow.

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