There Are Two Worlds Out There

January 4, 2017


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

So American Atheists’ Nick Fish and I got into a thing over Twitter yesterday, and long story short, he decided to make his own attempts at a new CFI logo, inspired by failed presidential candidacies, and then Hemant Mehta got into it, and, well, I think we’ll go with the one we got.

Benjamin Radford takes a deep dive into the “fake news” phenomenon, distinguishing different types, and reminding us that we bear some responsibility:

Though the public love to blame the news media for misinformation–and deservedly so–they are less keen to see the culprit in the mirror.  

And nooooo message could have been any clearer.  

Once their playground, now alt-med purveyors now are being frustrated by Wikipedia because people keep editing their nonsense. Angry acupuncturist Mike Cummings says his practice is not based in pseudoscience, despite what Wikipedians say, and says very tellingly, “Acupuncture is a technique that predates the development of the scientific method.” YOU DON’T SAY. 

Father Andrea Contin, a priest in Italy, is being investigated for hosting orgies at his rectory (giggle giggle), “pimping” out women on wife-swapping websites, and — wait for it — hiding pornographic videos in covers bearing the names of popes. Okay, you may now in your own mind insert a joke about “Pope Fluffy.”

Ron Lindsay, now liberated from being our boss, tweets, “Real issue for the Church is whether he used a condom. Now THAT would be unforgivable.”

The Pew Forum releases numbers on the religious makeup of Congress, and surprise surprise, it’s 91% Christian, more or less the same as a half a century ago. Even Democrats alone are 80% Christian. The closest we have to someone who identifies as a “none” is Rep. Kyrsten “I’m Not an Atheist” Sinema. Newly elected Rep. Jamie Raskin is not mentioned in the report, but he spoke at the Reason Rally and has been identified as humanist in the past, though he’s hedged on it lately and in this report he’s listed as Jewish. There’s also two Buddhists, two Muslims, three Hindus, 22 Jews, and one Unitarian, Rep. Ami Bera.

So just think about this: The “nones,” which are the largest faith-related group in the country at 23%, have one representative in all of Congress, which is 0.2% representation. The wise Emma Green at The Atlantic makes some sense of it:

… religiously unaffiliated Americans don’t vote. Another way of putting that is that young people don’t vote: According to the Public Religion Research Institute, 18-to-29-year-olds are three times as likely to be religiously unaffiliated compared to people over 65. … “Religiously unaffiliated” is a category popularized by pollsters. It is a useful demographic tool, but not a very useful way of understanding how these Americans think about politics. …  This, above all, is why it’s suspect to suggest that religiously unaffiliated people are underrepresented in Congress: They are not actually a coherent demographic group.

Allahpundit puts it this way:

It’s like trying to categorize members of Congress by “brunette” hair color. A catch-all term like that doesn’t tell you much of anything about any individual’s distinct hue except that it’s not blonde or red.  

In a letter to the editor of the Des Moines Register, one Nancy Kammerer warns about the very un-secular agenda of DeVos:

 It is quite possible that our public schools could go bankrupt. Public education is one of the major components of what really makes America great. It is worth fighting for. 

Rev. William Barber of the North Carolina NAACP doesn’t want you to think of his movement for social justice as “the religious left,” thereby conceding a kind of marginalization. Instead, he wants to be thought of as “the moral center.” I get that. 

Conway Hall posts video of a lecture from Lawrence Krauss on “Hidden Realities” and the subject of his upcoming book The Greatest Story Ever Told.. So Far

Lobbying and advocacy didn’t stop for the holidays, so here’s our Office of Public Policy’s monthy update for December

“Don’t give up on me” and “I love you, I miss you,” says Kevin Wesley (who says he was a preacher) in a dashboard-recorded video that’s gone viral, explaining why he now believes the Bible (but God per se) is false. “I was a preacher. I was a minister. … You don’t think I researched and tried to prove that this Bible was no doubt the inspired word of God? I tried. And it’s just not true. Okay?”

Get a little lesson in a folk art tradition known as “tramp art” from Joe Nickell. 

Alas, gospel singer and Hidden Figures
star Kim Burrell seems to think the gays are going to die from their “homosexual spirit.” Ellen DeGeneres has decided not to have her on her show.

Michael Dingwall at the Jamaica Observer says stop blaming genocides on atheists. Seriously. 

Quote of the Day:

Steven Novella rails against detox treatments, reminding us that health is not something we can just “hack”:

There are two worlds out there. There is the medical world which is based on science and evidence, and strives for a coherent understanding of health, disease, and medication interventions. This exists alongside an “alternative” world which is not built upon logic and evidence, but upon marketing of appealing and simplistic narratives.

The notion of a “detox” treatment is one such narrative. It is not based on our understanding of biology or medicine, and in fact runs contrary to it. Detox treatments are entirely unnecessary, and should not be assumed to be benign. 

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Photo credit: Luptor via / CC BY-NC-SA 

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