The Most Dangerous of All Possible Delusions
May 8, 2013
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Stop whatever you're doing. Like, don't even read the Heresy right now. Because Point of Inquiry has a special video edition this week with both hosts (swoon!) and! And! Guest Jared Diamond (double-swoon!), author of books like Guns, Germs, and Steel and The World Until Yesterday. Go now! Click! Watch!
Oh, Sylvia Browne. Being a fake psychic is not paying off like it used to. After determining with her magical mind powers that kidnap victim Amanda Berry was dead, Browne isn't talking to anyone about how her super-magic-brain could have been so entirely, ridiculously, and thankfully wrong. Ben Radford reminds us that after hearing Browne's prediction, Louwana Miller, Berry's mother, "returned home devastated, and she died two years later, believing that her daughter was dead."
More from Ben on the wider implications:
In my experience it's very useful to take every opportunity to remind the public that psychic detectives consistently fail, and that their advice is far more likely to harm a police investigation than help it.
Delaware is state #11 to legalize same-sex marriage.
Louisiana's Supreme Court declares the state's voucher program to be unconstitutional, which is good, but not because of church-state separation concerns.
Apparently the Singularity may or may not be near, and if near, it may or may not be really, really near.
NYT: The Nigerian military is slaughtering scores of "radical Islamists".
The Vatican bank makes arrangements with the U.S. Treasury Department to offer more transparency.
Utah printing company refuses to print T-shirts with an atheist message.
Sharon Hill hosts an event for Xocai chocolate? Not friend-of-the-blog Sharon Hill, but the town of Sharon Hill, PA. The press release announcing this reads like it was randomly generated by a computer with a hangover, so I don't know what's up with this.
Speaking of Sharon: On the discovery of a sunken 100-million-year-old island near Brazil, she says stop calling it Atlantis!
Ben Radford pokes at monster carcasses. Figuratively.
Pat Roberson: Security cameras = apocalypse. I dunno, Pat, I feel like you're really reaching lately.
The Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association is officially recognized as the first "secular life stance organization."
Former head of one of Scientology's Narconon centers, after a series of needless deaths at the facility: "I decided that the entire Narconon program is based on fraudulent practices."
Fake psychic John Edward gets a big ol' profile in The Blaze, where he talks about his "energetic mafia" of "highly-evolved beings."
Religious minorities in Pakistan are terrified of their democracy.
Letter to the editor from David Berman in NYT concerning T.M. Luhrmann's piece on hearing God's voice:
Having auditory hallucinations is not particularly rare, and need not be alarming. Believing in them, however — and especially believing that they have the authority of a supreme being — is the most dangerous of all possible delusions.
Quote of the Day
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is threatened with church excommunication for abortion legislation, in response to which, Kenny explains what his job is:
Everybody’s entitled to their opinion here but as explained to the Cardinal and members of the church my book is the constitution and the constitution is determined by the people. That’s the people’s book. We live in a Republic and I have a duty and responsibility as head of Government to legislate in respect of what the people’s wishes are.
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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#1 Dave Muscato (Guest) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 at 7:32am
Jared Diamond! BRB
#2 Griff on Sunday May 12, 2013 at 10:29pm
Berman has utterly misread the original piece. There’s no nicer way to put it.
For instance, Luhrmann writes, ” There’s plenty here to alarm secular liberals.” Then she gives the example of a woman who voted for Bush because the alleged voice of God told her to. Sniffs Berman, “I am one of those ‘secular liberals’ who T. M. Luhrmann expects will be alarmed by the vivid experiences people have in prayer.” No, T.M. Luhrmann expects secular liberals to be alarmed by the fact that someone would vote for Bush because “God” told her to. I’m a religious liberal, and it alarms me, so I’d hope secular liberals would find it equally not okay.
Berman accuses Luhrmann of not distinguishing “between sensory experience and reality,” despite the fact that Luhrmann spends the entire piece doing just that. Was Berman’s letter a weird attempt at satire?