Caffeine and Pickled Vegetables

July 30, 2015

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

The CFI Leadership Conference kicks off this evening, and I'm currently in transit. (I mean, right now I'm sitting at my computer, but, like, today I'm mostly traveling is what I'm saying, not like I'm driving and typing at the same time.) The theme is "Moving Freethought Forward," and I think my job is to make sure that while we're moving it forward we don't bump it into walls or knock over anything expensive. 

With Berkeley, CA's new warning label law for cell phones, Carina Storrs at CNN looks at what the science actually says about radiation and phones:

Although [Joel M.] Moskowitz said that it is "highly probable" that long-term cell phone use causes brain tumors, many experts think that the evidence is far from definitive, or that it shows there is no risk. ... [The WHO] puts cell phones on the same level of cancer risk as caffeine and pickled vegetables. 

By executive order, Bobby Jindal bans the Westboro Baptist Church from picketing the funerals of the victims of the Lafayette shooting, sparking concerns about censorship and selective application of the law to unpopular ideologies.

Animal sacrifices are banned in Nepal's Gadhimai festival, which would save the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of animals. 

LifeWay Research surveys Americans' beliefs about which faith groups are and are not welcome in the U.S. (Sadly, only 9% said we are a "secular nation," which of course we're supposed to be.)

Pew surveys which religious groups have the most (and least) racial diversity. Way to be the melting pot, Seventh-day Adventists! 

Stuart Vyse at Skeptical Inquirer examines the claims of Lumosity, "the market leader in this brain training stampede," and similar products:

To protect the integrity of the science, it is important for science-minded people to call out pseudoscience when they see it, and it is hard to think of a more dramatic case of contemporary pseudoscience than the brain training industry. 

Along similar lines, CFI's David Koepsell uses the hype over "EM-drives" to raise flags about pseudoscience and wishful thinking. 

Oklahoma's Capitol can't have the Ten Commandments, but a public high school in Pennsylvania can, says a federal judge. 

Joe Nickell reviews the film Mr. Holmes, starring Ian McKellan as an aged Sherlock.

There's a trailer for the new film Spotlight, about the investigations into the Catholic Church's sex abuse allegations by the Boston Globe, starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations sues a Florida gun store for declaring itself a "Muslim-free zone." 

Faye Flam at Forbes complains that there is too much concern for memorizing science facts over understanding the scientific process

Isaac Asimov was all like, hey, give that money to the poor kids

Headline of the day, from The Scotsman: "Alien Jesus cult ‘has secret Loch Ness base’" 

Quote of the Day:

This is more of a picture and follow-up to said picture than a quote. Barry Karr gets another QOTD connection today (yesterday was for an email he received), this time for his discovery of a UFO "caught on tape." Says Barry, "I think it's a hoax":

ufo 

A couple of the comments are hilarious:

Peggyn Darrell: I dont believe it just look at the ufo it clearly is a fake the space between the top of it and disc aren't connected so im calling bullshit on this one .

Robert Hill: This has been Photoshopped. 

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Original image by Shutterstock.

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