The Oldest and Stupidest of Them All

May 12, 2015

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

There's a lot of news today, so to quote Samuel L. Jackson in Jurassic Park, "Hold on to your butts."

First: Pew has released a major new survey that shows "nones" -- the religiously unaffiliated -- overtaking Catholics in the U.S. to hit number 2 with 23%. We call it a "tectonic shift" and an indication of religion's loosening grip over policy and culture. 

The very bad news: Another atheist blogger is attacked and murdered in Bangladesh. Ananta Bijoy Das was, with the late Avijit Roy, a blogger at the Mukto Mona website. 

On the Point of Inquiry podcast this week, Lindsay Beyerstein talks to nutrition expert Marion Nestle about the myths surrounding weight loss and calories (including an explanation of what the heck a calorie is anyway). 

At VICE, CFI-DC's Simon Davis takes on the recent study showing that anti-atheist attitudes spring from people's fear that the afterlife might not be real. Religion professor Gary Laderman tells Simon:

People are more willing to accept a variety of different possibilities about death. But one thing that most people don't want to confront is what we associate with atheism. The idea that there is nothing post-mortem. There is no transition to some other kind of life. So that's what it's interesting about the study: It's digging beyond the kind of theological obvious kinds of debates to these more existential, basic ideas about human life. 

Massimo Pigliucci explains his alienation from what he calls SAM, the skeptic and atheist movement, which we all know I call the skepto-atheist movement, because it sounds way cooler. 

At Skeptical Inquirer, Stuart Vyse warns of that the pseudoscience of "facilitated communication" is alive and well:

Under normal circumstances, it is difficult enough to fight the tide of pseudoscience and irrationality, but these are not normal circumstances. Here we have the strong pull of parental hopes combined with professional interests and cultural politics.  

I have a policy that I will never link to anything from The Daily Caller, but I will happily link to something pointing out how The Daily Caller is wrong wrong wrong. Thank you, Joe Romm. 

Those newly-discovered photos from Roswell that prove aliens were here? Busted! By Robert Sheaffer, of course:

There is now no doubt whatsoever that the "Roswell alien" is, in fact, the mummy of a child, exactly as many researchers suggested. 

Rod Dreher is so scared of LGBT equality, you can almost see him shake as he types. He's so afraid of the "pink elephant in the room" (classy!),  the terrifying "advance of gay rights." Poor guy. Somebody save him from The Gay!

Islamists who chopped off a professors hand in India for alleged blasphemy get jail time

This should go over well: Pope Fluffy wants to send out priests to offer pardons of sins to women who have had abortions.  

Two naturopaths in Nevada are charged with the death of a woman they "treated" with something called an "Octozone" machine. That sounds like a supervillain weapon. 

Robert Wargas at The Spectator asks, "Why do governments and medical professionals still buy into quack therapies – including the oldest and stupidest of them all, homeopathy?" 

Nauman Asghar at Pakistan's The Nation makes a case for secularism:

Skeptics [of secularism] point to the danger that a secular Pakistan will be an immoral or amoral state. But they miss the point that a secular state helps flourish the precepts of morality on more sound and logical bases.  

Nutrition and exercise as religion? I think I'd rather pray. 

Ugh, Boiron has a homeopathic medicine finder app. Ugh! 

I've never heard of this expression "pray-punt," but it makes sense. Hat tip to my wife. 

Quote of the Day:

Christian Brown at the Global Post goes to Indonesia to cover the plight of nonbelievers there, and checks in with someone we supported when he was persecuted for atheism, Alexander Aan:

People told me I was just looking for a sensation. But I have a duty to let people know we are one. In religion, people are so exclusive. On Facebook, I was very aggressive against the idea of exclusiveness. It made the religious people hate me.

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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 William R. (Guest) on Wednesday May 13, 2015 at 7:09am

“Massimo Pigliucci explains his alienation from what he calls SAM, the skeptic and atheist movement…”

I too am starting to look back with nostalgia on the early years of the millennium, when we actually tried to engage people in conversations.  This whole 21st century twitter-fed cult of celebrity is dragging out whole culture down I think.

#2 Mario (Guest) on Wednesday May 13, 2015 at 1:11pm

Pigliucci’s chief problem is with the rampant anti-intellectualism and groupthink of today’s Dawkins-addled “skeptic” movement, and I doubt he’s the first super-bright person with an actual background in science to take the movement to task in those regards—something tells me he represents a trend.  Will the movement listen to him?  Of course not.  It religiously refuses to consider critical input from anyone, especially the best and brightest in its own ranks.  When pop skepticism met new atheism, it was all over.  Took Massimo long enough to bail out.

Nice to see Dawkins, Tyson, et. al given the panning they deserve, but they’re laughing all the way to their next Youtube appearance, I imagine.

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