A Baggie of Dirt

July 20, 2015

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

David Cameron announces a 5-year plan to combat Islamic extremism in the UK, telling young British Muslims attracted to the Islamic state:

You won't be some valued member of a movement. You are cannon fodder for them. They will use you. If you are a boy, they will brainwash you, strap bombs to your body and blow you up. If you are a girl, they will enslave and abuse you. That is the sick and brutal reality of ISIL. 

Three pieces from the latest Free Inquiry have been posted and made publicly available: Ron Lindsay's op-ed pushes the "good without God" meme further to "better without God":

When humanists apply their critical reasoning skills, they derive better solutions to moral issues and public policy problems than those who rely on what they claim is God’s word. 

Also, Leah Mickens looks at the odd disparity between the Catholic Church's attitude toward the transgender versus its utilization of castrati, and Faisal Saeed Al Mutar argues that the case of Raif Badawi needs to be "the spark of change that moves liberals in the West to get involved in helping their fellow liberals in the East."

In Skeptical Inquirer, Steven Novella distinguishes between science-based and evidence-based medicine:

The core weakness of evidence-based medicine is that it relies, as the name implies, solely on clinical evidence to determine whether a treatment is appropriate or not. This may superficially sound reasonable, but it deliberately leaves out an important part of the scientific evidence: plausibility. 

Freethought Arizona posts video of Ron Lindsay's presentation on The Necessity of Secularism.  

Emily Singer at Quanta reports on efforts to introduce new nucleotides to DNA, "additions that would expand their repertoire of chemical feats." I want Ice Man's powers.

Rev. Susan Russell tries to make clear that clergy who say they are afraid of being forced to officiate same-sex marriages have nothing to worry about, but public officials have to do their duties:

What if I'm a Muslim and my understanding of my religion is that women shouldn't drive? Can I refuse to issue drivers' licenses to women? Or if I'm a Hindu and a vegetarian -- can I refuse to issue fishing licenses because killing/eating fish is against my religion? Of course not. Likewise, your personal opinions and beliefs about who should or should not be getting married has absolutely no bearing on who you issue marriage licenses to as a county clerk. Period. 

Our Center Stage podcast this week features Sally Roesch Wagner discussing freethinking suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gage

Adelle M. Banks at RNS looks at the weird balance that some black churches attempt to strike, as they fight discrimination and yet oppose to same-sex marriage

Simon Rocker explains cultural Judaism, and says it might, "like a shower of meteors, all too quickly [vanish] into the night." Whoa there. Anyway, he also cites the research of CFI board member Barry Kosmin.

(And look, another board member, Leonard Tramiel, is snapped as he holds forth at Commvex!) 

Vincent Gammill of Ventura County, California is arrested for peddling fake cancer cures to desperate people for thousands of dollars, including giving one patient "a baggie of dirt."

Austin Dacey, a former CFIer, begins a series on claims that human rights are rooted in the Christian right. That ought to be...interesting, to say the least. 

In case you need reminding, Ben Norton explains many of the things wrong with Whole Foods (i.e., hawking pseudoscience, owned by a guy who believes in astrology but not climate change, etc.). 

Donald Trump eats the cracker, so he's good.  

Quote of the Day:

8-year-old Aiden Miller, who is fictional, tells The Onion about his near-death experience and conversation with Jesus:

I was walking up in the clouds and met friends, and strangers, and all these famous people who talked with me about all kinds of things and brought up the possibility of selling the rights to my story to a big-name publisher. ... Jesus was sitting at the right hand of God and my grandfather was right there, and they looked at me and smiled at each other and said I should ask for an $80,000 advance with 10 percent of back-end profits.

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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 Stephanie Savage on Monday July 20, 2015 at 1:19pm

I posted that Onion satire on Facebook and was treated to a diatribe from my fundamentalist friend. I pointed out that it was an Onion satire, yet her hermetically sealed mind was hellbent, so to speak, on the “error” of such NDE claims. Amusingly, we both disbelieve heavenly near-death experiences, but for the opposite reasons.

I mentioned the REM intrusion theory I delineated in my Skeptical Inquirer article. Recently, I read an account from another coma survivor who also had a whimsical mix of classic NDE with absurdly unreal content. A dead friend spoke to him and told him it wasn’t his time, but also handed out presents with Santa and sledded with the Coca-Cola bears. Coincidentally, his coma happened around Christmas time. Nonetheless, people keep telling him that he glimpsed the afterlife. I guess Heaven isn’t just “for real,” but also for the unreal.

#2 Randy on Sunday August 02, 2015 at 4:31am

Wait… someone is ruining the term “evidence-based” now?  We can’t have anything :(

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