The Names of a Few Demons

August 10, 2016

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

We put out a statement yesterday expressing the serious concern that useless and often dangerous alt-med is getting way too much of an endorsement from the Olympics, and that those in a position to do so need to make clear that things like cupping are not based in any science. Luis Alfonso Gámez at the CSI site has more on Michael Phelps and his bruises -- in Spanish!

We have a brand new interview for CSICon Las Vegas, this time with Paul Offit who discusses his work on vaccines, and teases his conference talk on the "never-ending quest for pain relief without addiction." 

Trump heads to Florida, presumably not to get anyone killed, but to woo evangelical pastors with a promise to repeal the Johnson Amendment.

brand new blasphemy law goes on the books in the Maldives, according to Reuters:

The law, which President Abdulla Yameen's administration pushed through despite widespread international criticism, criminalizes defamatory speech, remarks, writings and actions that include gestures deemed to be against "any tenet of Islam" in the Muslim-majority country. 

We've got astronomer Andrew Fraknoi with advice about how to check out the Perseid meteor shower tomorrow and Friday.

It seems that there existed (or still exists?) a "hit list" against climate scientists, kept (I think?) by the Cato Institute, where the jobs of scientists they didn't like would be threatened. 

WikiLeaks, which seems to have little to do with transparency anymore and more to do with dirty work for megalomaniacs, offers a "bounty" for evidence leading to the conviction of whoever killed DNC staffer Seth Rich, which is all part of a loopy conspiracy theory about the bloodthirsty murderousness of, you guessed it, Hillary Clinton. Snopes clears things up

Brian Switek at Smithsonian has a cool piece on what it must have been like just after the impact of the dinosaur-eradicating asteroid 65 million years ago: "Earth became a world on fire."

David Niose writes about the Democrats' LGBT Caucus passing a resolution recognizing the importance of the "nones" to the party.

This video purports to depict a UFO over Brownsville, Texas (possibly "from an underwater base"), but I think it's a projectile from any number of Atari 2600 games, like Berzerk, for example. 

Creationism, atheist apps, and sunflowers are all part of the latest Dawkins Foundation newsletter

Archaeologists in Serbia find 2000-year-old gold and silver scrolls with magic spells. Reuters reports:

"We read the names of a few demons, that are connected to the territory of modern-day Syria," archaeologist Ilija Dankovic said at the dig, as more skeletons from the 4th century A.D. were being uncovered.  ... "They were often love charms, ordering someone to fall in love, but there were also dark, malignant curses, to the tune of: ‘may your body turn dead, as cold and heavy as this lead,’" he said. 

Quote of the Day

Andrew Aghapour interviews Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin about the new book he co-authored on near-death experiences, particularly here about how they are similar to LSD trips:

Looking at the LSD trip that we talk about in the book, it’s not clear that you need to appeal to the supernatural in order for this kind of experience to be significant in the way that people to want them to be. Do you need to understand your experience as supernaturally created in order for it to be meaningful and transformative to you?  
 
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Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday August 10, 2016 at 1:13pm

“WikiLeaks, which seems to have little to do with transparency anymore”

Aww… partisan much?

When people on the left do something wrong, and people not clearly on the left point it out, the left goes into blame-shifting mode, attacking the messenger.

Snopes is not the Oracle at Delphi.  Snopes has a left leaning bias.  The linked article references RationalWiki, which openly boasts about its non-neutrality.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday August 10, 2016 at 1:24pm

“It seems that there existed (or still exists?) a ‘hit list’ against climate scientists, kept (I think?) by the Cato Institute…”

So if Wikileaks can have a conspiracy theory, I guess we all can, eh?

#3 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday August 10, 2016 at 1:27pm

“criminalizes defamatory speech”

When countries in the West criminalize speech they don’t like (as they increasingly do) they lose any credibility in criticizing other countries who criminalize speech they don’t like.

Free speech matters, and should be defended no matter who is doing the censoring, no matter what is being censored.

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