I Don’t Have High Expectations

July 21, 2015

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

Medical ethics, particularly when we're talking about end-of-life issues and patient autonomy, have changed a lot over the past couple of generations. On Point of Inquiry this week, Lindsay Beyerstein talks to Dr. Barron Lerner about what we've learned and what we're still figuring out.

(Also check out Lindsay's interview with Paul Offit, now published for Skeptical Inquirer.) 

Ethics, good god, what are they good for? David Koepsell looks at the value of ethics education, when "those trained in ethics appear not to behave any better than any other group." 

The U.S. sees to it that Freedom Now is approved for special consultative NGO status at the UN, despite opposition from China, Russia, and others. (CFI holds special consultative NGO status as well.)

Adam Rutherford at The Guardian reports on the appropriation of epigentics as the latest misused buzzword for quackery and pseudoscience, joining words like "quantum." 

Black Skeptics Los Angeles announces the winners of its "First in the Family" scholarships

UAE law designed to combat religious discrimination makes criticism of religion illegal. I guess we take Dubai off the list of potential CFI conference sites.

Fred Barbash at WaPo reports on the beheading-by-mob of an accused witch in India, which is a far more common occurence than I can bear to acknowledge. 

This guy in California thinks he's a water witch, and Yahoo News is on it. 

Cari Nierenberg reports that patients that use alt-med treatments aren't telling their real doctors. Well, no one likes to be told they're wasting their money.

Rev. Thomas Rosica at CNN says, no really, Pope Francis thinks "the devil" is a very real person

The Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite takes a brand new picture of our home planet. Doesn't look like we've aged a day.

And zooming back in, holy crap, this single-cell creature has an eye. Stop staring at me, warnowiid.

Quote of the Day:

Billionaire Yuri Milner announces his personal funding of $100 million to bring the search for extraterrestrial life to levels never before seen with a project called Breakthrough Listen. Stephen Hawking, Martin Rees, Ann Druyan, Frank Drake, and Geoffrey Marcy are on board. Milner says:

I don't have high expectations, but the search itself will teach us quite a bit. We could find something we're not even looking for. ... I think it's a low probability but high impact event. Irrespective of what the answer is, it's a powerful answer. At any given time, we should apply the best technology and use the best instruments available to search for that answer.

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Original image by Shutterstock.

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Comments:

#1 Randy on Sunday August 02, 2015 at 4:18am

“those trained in ethics appear not to behave any better than any other group”

That’s not a useful measure.  The question is whether they behave in accordance with their ethical system, in the context of our world.  Whether we think that’s good or not, viewed through our own ethical lens, is irrelevant.

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