Spiral Further Downward

May 3, 2016

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

In Skeptical Inquirer, Sadri Hassani delves into Deepak Chopra's notions of "quantum healing," and points out how Chopra at first had leaned on the ideas of a particular Indian guru, references to whom disappear in later editions of Chopra's book. "Deepak Chopra’s professionalism in the writing of Quantum Healing is of such a low quality that it borders on charlatanism."

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom puts out a pretty depressing report, saying religious freedom is under "serious and sustained assault" and countries of concern have "spiraled further downward." Wheee.

CFI–Canada (which operates independently from us) is making news by opposing prayers at sessions of the Saskatchewan Legislature.

Not only will Ray Comfort be bringing his flock to the Reason Rally, but he's also giving out gift cards to Subway, you know, like for sandwiches. Sure! Praise the multi-grain 6-inch roll!

Mark Silk calls upon Wheaton College - they who were so quick to give the boot to a teacher for showing solidarity with Muslims - to denounce alumnus Dennis Hastert and declare support for his victims, at the very least

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, perhaps the most aggrieved human to ever live, is upset at the idea that the statute of limitations could be eliminated for child sex-abuse cases. When describing a bill to protect minors from sex abuse as "anti-Catholic," you have already lost the argument.

Meanwhile in classy Christian behavior, we have some Jesus-fans screaming at people inside of a Target because of its trans-inclusive restroom policy. 

Texas governor Greg Abbott, who is paralyzed, boasts to a prayer breakfast about a Twitter exchange with an atheist who said God should have gotten him out of his wheelchair by now (which, I think, was a pretty classless thing to say). 

Astronomers find a faint star 40 light-years away with not one but three Earth-like planets orbiting it. Jackpot. Oh, and I love the star's name: TRAPPIST-1.

A lot of folks in Kenya are trying to get an atheist organization de-registered by the government because something-something moral fiber. This is just one example

Speaking of planets, any mistakes I make in the Heresy today are because Mercury is in retrograde

Edzard Ernst writes at UK's Spectator about his conversion from a young homeopathic believer to a wiser skeptic and anti-homeopathy campaigner. 

This is kind of heartwarming. Matt Palmer, an atheist in Australia, seeks to counter the backlash against Muslims after the Paris attacks, so he works with his Muslim neighbors to show our common humanity with a photo project. Palmer says:

It was an opportunity to talk about different things – the risks they had taken in life and what makes them the happiest ... I’m an atheist and I’m fairly skeptical of most religions but I found it to be a very practical religion. There’s all these things that might appear a little quirky, but there are practical reasons for it. 

I'm not saying it's aliens...because it's not, it's a farmer who really liked Prince.

Quote of the Day:

Timothy Geigner at Techdirt's "fakey-fake dept." says Facebook has totally failed at trying to curtail hoax and fake news:

The ultimate problem here are the equal parts of a polarized American public coupled with a terrifying level of credulity. Many of these fake news pieces contain headlines for stories that some people want to believe, typically for ideological reasons. This is why a family party recently saw me trying to explain to my grandmother that, no, Michelle Obama probably does not in fact have a penis. That's a true story, friends, and it stemmed from a fake news article. The willingness to believe such a thing is extreme, certainly, but stories of the Boston Bomber getting beaten in prison fuel the same desire for such a story to be true. 

The war is lost. Fake news goes on unabated. Long live Michelle Obama's penis. 

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Original image by Shutterstock, and possibly messed with by Paul

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Comments:

#1 DKeane (Guest) on Tuesday May 03, 2016 at 6:45am

“...perhaps the most aggrieved human to ever live” - literally laughed out loud.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 at 10:26am

“no, Michelle Obama probably does not in fact have a penis”

I love that “probably”.  If that’s the best they have, just give up now.

#3 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 at 10:30am

“show our common humanity with a photo project.”

My experience living in different places is that you cannot measure a people’s “common humanity” (or lack thereof) by their outward appearances, or friendliness, or politeness.

Their religion, however, is a very realiable indicator.

#4 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 at 10:34am

“Mercury is in retrograde.”

Didn’t know Mercury did that.  Mars gets all the press on that sort of thing.

Mercury will be transiting the sun on Monday though.  (Don’t use your naked eyes… always use a filter specifically designed for looking at the sun, or project it onto a screen)

#5 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 at 10:40am

“a pretty classless thing to say”

Class is overrated, and is not to be found on Twitter in any case.  Why are you coddling these people?  This is a GOVERNOR, continuing to push his particular religious nonsense.

Wake me up when we have a “Texas National Day of Reason Educational Breakfast”

#6 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 at 10:47am

“a bill to protect minors from sex abuse”

... that’s not what it is.  Kids know very well that they are protected, and that’s why you can find real videos of them on YouTube, threatening to falsely accuse people, so they can get their way.

Rather, this is a bill to subject men to charges so old that it’s not possible to make a defence.  The statute of limitations is there for a reason.  In cases where there is little or no evidence, cases which are highly dependent on individual memories, it’s important to be dealing with reality.

#7 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 at 10:50am

“CFI–Canada (which operates independently from us)”

What’s that about, anyway?

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