Snakebites, Insomnia, and Constipation

May 12, 2016

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

Rafida Bonya Ahmed marks the anniversary of the murder of Ananta Bijoy Das, a blogger who called her his sister, and who was killed in the same manner as her husband Avijit Roy:

The truth is that the progressive secular community and minorities of all sorts in Bangladesh now don't just have to fear Islamic militants -- we must also fear our own government, which shows no regard for its secular beginnings and chooses instead to appease the fundamentalists.

Trump says London's new mayor, Sadiq Khan, would be an exception to his proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S. Khan was not impressed. 

This isn't just about me - it's about my friends, my family and everyone who comes from a background similar to mine, anywhere in the world. ... Donald Trump and those around him think that Western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam - London has proved him wrong. 

CFI's legal director Nick Little had a little daydream. Being British, a secularist, and a lawyer, of course it was a daydream about Winston Churchill arguing about RFRA with Samuel Alito as the Germans were marching across Europe. Like you do. 

Minoo Khaleghi won easily won a seat in Iran's parliament in February, but she has been barred from taking office because she has been alleged to have appeared in public without her head scarf. 

The herbal remedy Aristolochia, also known as birthwort or Dutchman's pipe, is used by some to treat things like snakebites, insomnia, and constipation. Because that makes sense. Anyway, turns out it can also cause kidney failure or give you cancer. But hey, constipation gone! Or not, actually.

Evolutionary psychologist Nicolas Baumard suggests that religion was a means of getting the poor to embrace "the slow life" (less aggressive resource acquisition), and as this usefulness decreases, religion will die out. I don't think I totally get it, though.

The American Chemical Society puts out a short video on why homeopathy is such a bunch of crap. 

Thomas Lawlor at the Fairfield Citizen discovers an old audio recording a a psychic reading received 25 years ago. Pretty much none of what was predicted came to be:

All in all, if you showed my younger self 25 years in the future I am sure he would have been slightly disappointed we hadn’t done more. But he is a young drunk guy getting advice from a psychic during Jazz Fest. Me, I’m not doing so badly. 

Herb Silverman bemoans the fact that three politicians he believes to be out and out atheists won't just say so: Bernie Sanders, Barney Frank, and Jamie Raskin. 

Quote of the Day:

In a McClatchy op-ed, Yael T. Abouhalkah responds to the use of religion as a means to demonize and discriminate:

What this country really needs is to become far more successful at keeping God out of politics — at the local, state and national levels. We especially need politicians and their supporters to stop using the deity, the Bible and misguided religious fervor as crutches for blatant and even horrific discrimination against poor people, same-sex couples, women who seek abortions, the LGBT community, immigrants and other minority groups.

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