We’re Above Such Things

June 24, 2015

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

69% of Americans say that in order to be "truly American," you must believe in God. American Christians, especially White Protestants, really think that Christians are being persecuted in the U.S. too, so things must be so confusing.

The Forecast the Facts petition for getting the media to stop calling science-deniers "skeptics" is almost at its 30,000-signature goal. Go help put it over the top

(The Daily Caller says the New York Times is "under pressure from liberal groups" to follow this principle, but they mean us.) 

The Skeptic's Toolbox is coming up, folks. Sign up now and learn all about the framing of nonsense. 

Christopher Hutton at Motherboard looks at how world religions might respond to the Singularity. (Abrahamic, not so well. Eastern, pretty good.) 

The Southern Baptist Convention is opening a religious freedom outpost thing in the (nonspecific) Middle East. 

Quebec's premier, Philippe Couillard, defends a proposed bill that would restrict face coverings on Muslim women to the NYT editorial board:

The role of the government is to draw a line in the sand. This issue of face covering for me has very little to do with religion, and a lot to do about the image of women, the status of women in our society. Showing your face is the essence of communication. 

Dr. Bob Sears says the pro-vaccine (pro-reality) community is like the Nazis, persecuting the anti-vaxxers, who, you see, are like the Jews. ⊙﹏⊙

Meanwhile, the Nation of Islam is pressuring California's African-American legislators to defeat the state's bill that would end belief exemptions for vaccinations.  

And in Martha's Vineyard, an unvaccinated kid gets the measles

Here's a weird thing: People who know they are being given placebos start feeling better. 

Tumblr is complying, for now, with a DMCA takedown demand from a guy who says he's psychically channeling space aliens, whose copyright is being violated by GIFs or something. 

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks would like to get us all to a fuzzy, foundational "Abrahamic monotheism" that Christians, Jews, and Muslims can all agree on, in order to curb religious violence. Secularism is, apparently, right out.

Russell Blackford opines against the movement to boot Peter Singer from Princeton:

In Singer’s case, it is clear enough that his opponents do not merely seek to refute his ideas, something that they have every opportunity to do. Instead, they don’t want his, and similar, views to be expressed at all. 

Carmen Llywelyn at Gawker tells her story of leaving Scientology:

No one imagines themselves as so fragile to ever let something as sinister as a cult take control of their minds. I didn’t think anyone would ever tell me how to think and when to think it. We all believe we’re above such things and only stupid people could fall for that. But there are no choices in Scientology. There never were. It is all a ruse.  

Mark Silk says the taking down of the Confederate flag in South Carolina heralds what might be the end of a kind of Southern religion:

In the years after the Civil War, the battle flag became the emblem of the Religion of the Lost Cause, which white Southerners embraced not only to legitimate and ennoble their disastrous struggle to maintain their right to own other people, but also to create the myth of an antebellum golden age of genteel manners, Christian piety and happy slaves. 

Steven Novella picks apart arguments for integrating faith-based concepts like dualism and vitalism into medicine:

We should no more integrate these discarded notions back into science than we should reintroduce astrology back into astronomy, phrenology back into neuroscience, or alchemy back into chemistry.  

Here's why we can't find Bigfoot: He's not so big

Civilization nears collapse as we run out of food and water. I thought you should know.

Quote of the Day:

Sikivu Hutchinson on where God was in Charleston:

Due to economic apartheid, wealth inequality and residential segregation, activist black churches are still pivotal in many communities. Yet, as an atheist I can value their role while believing that it was not--as Christians rationalize--the Charleston victims' "time", nor a perverse example of "God's will" that they were slaughtered. I can value the profound fellowship that the Emanuel family displayed in welcoming the murderer into their bible study yet believe that a just god would not have allowed this parasite in their church home to begin with. No loving god would allow a twenty six year-old in the prime of his life to be mowed down in cold blood, nor abide by a five year-old having to play dead to avoid being murdered. No moral god would demand forgiveness for a crime for which there has never--since the first African was stolen, chained, exploited and "imported"--been any reparations. 

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Original image by Shutterstock.

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Comments:

#1 Mario (Guest) on Wednesday June 24, 2015 at 10:15am

“The Daily Caller says the New York Times is ‘under pressure from liberal groups’ to follow this principle, but they mean us.”

Ah, I see.  CFI, as opposed to a liberal group.

#2 robincantin on Thursday June 25, 2015 at 11:06am

It’s strange to see that 5-year old placebo study resurface, but such is the web.

David Gorski punched big holes in that thing back in 2010: https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/placebo-effects-without-deception-well-not-exactly/#disqus_thread

#3 Randy on Monday June 29, 2015 at 8:12pm

“Here’s a weird thing: People who know they are being given placebos start feeling better.”

Well, that would be nice. Even real medication doesn’t work for me, most of the time.  But at least I don’t get bad side-effects.

(robincantin, I didn’t read carefully, but I believe the study 5 years ago was on IBS, and this study in on cancer, so the same idea, but new study).

#4 Randy on Monday June 29, 2015 at 8:21pm

“The role of the government is to draw a line in the sand.”

Well, usually the lines are on maps, but this raises an unrelated question.

With countries now regularly bringing suit and ruling against their citizens, or even complete foreigners, for actions that took place entirely overseas and were legal by local law, are countries now becoming less about place, and more about power?

Who will rein them in?  Who is in charge when their rules conflict?

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