Apathy Paradox

January 9, 2018

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

It’s amazing that this has to be said, really. And yet, Jen Gunter writing at The Guardian is compelled to instruct us that despite the guidance of Gwyneth and Goop, “Keep the coffee out of your rectum and in your cup.” Well, good morning to you too!

Oh, in case you’re still into the idea, the Mayo Clinic says coffee enemas have killed people before. YOLO.

St. Louis Public Radio talks to two of its journalists who have returned from Pakistan as part of a media exchange program. Casey Nolan says:

[The Pakistani journalists] have a pride in their freedom of the press. They have a pride in the way they take on their politicians, but there are certainly some no-go areas – the military being one and then of course anything that can be construed as blasphemy. 

Answering a reader question for NewsOK about whether atheists are as moral as the religious (oy), Bob Holmes says that while many people — even atheists — presume the religious to be more moral, there’s no evidence for it:

In both the U.S. and the U.K., atheists are underrepresented in the prison population and overrepresented among civil rights and anti-war activists. The world’s most secular countries — notably in Scandinavia — are among the most peaceable and civic-minded. 

Trump still really wants Sam Brownback to be ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, which would be hilarious if it weren’t such a terrible idea.

SCOTUS leaves in place a Mississippi right-to-discriminate law, at least until someone they deem to have standing to sue presents a challenge. 

Jacob Sullum at Reason rejects the idea that either Trump is crazy or a genius, classifying attempts to “diagnose” Trump with some mental illness is a form of “psychiatric pseudoscience.” He might, in fact, just be a huge butthead. 

Speaking of Trump, the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Oppressor Awards honors President Trump for “Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom.” No, YOU’RE crying.

Both Philip H. DeVoe at National Review and David Gorski remind us of the depths of nonsense in the pseudoscience promoted by our new president Oprah Winfrey. DeVote says:

Will her candidacy and presidency be underpinned by sound political and economic theory? Or, more likely, will it be another smoke-and-mirrors show, complete with get-healed-quick promises that are not only too good to be true but downright dangerous? 

Gorski:

That Oprah is not a hateful person compared to Donald Trump is not enough, particularly given that she’s almost as bad on science and critical thinking as he is.  

Steven Salzberg has had it with the government supporting fake medicine:

Just stop it already. Stop arguing that just because something is popular, it must be true, or at least worth investigating (at taxpayer expense). 

Sen. Jeff Flake does not believe that U.S. diplomats in Cuba were the victims of a “sonic attack.”  In fact, it was Knuckles.

Roy Speckhardt has five reasons FEMA shouldn’t change its rules to fund churches, and to me number 4 is really the end of it:

Allowing this kind of direct funding of religion is a solution without a problem. Churches whose buildings were damaged when actually sheltering people during a storm were always able to receive government funds to refurbish their structures. What’s new is that churches that did not provide assistance to those suffering from storms will now be able to receive government funds to rebuild structures destroyed by the storm 

The UK’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons says homeopathy is crap. Homeopathy-supporting vets and animal owners are mad, and plan to march through London in protest. There are about 8.8 million people in London, so if 100 people show up to march, that’s one part per 88,000, and that’s way too concentrated for homeopathy, and thus their protest will fail to work. Anyway, here’s what the RCVS says according to, and this is a real publication, Horse & Hound:

Homeopathy exists without a recognised body of evidence for its use. Furthermore, it is not based on sound scientific principles. In order to protect animal welfare, we regard such treatments as being complementary rather than alternative to treatments for which there is a recognised evidence base or which are based in sound scientific principles. 

Jershua Lofland’s kid wasn’t going to get to be a Boy Scout because of religious requirements. She said, “It does bother me that they’re trying to convince boys that they need a higher power, belief in a deity, that they are somehow superior to those who can’t believe that way.”

Hemant needs you to meet him at camera 2, and get a grip on which church-state battles are worth fighting.

Snopes tackles a new video purporting to show a little grey alien boarding a spaceship in Romania or maybe Alaska. This would have scared the crap out of me as a kid.

Quote of the Day:

Could God feel apathy so great that even He could not buck himself up? The Creator of the Universe tweets:

No matter what happens, always remember: I could not care less.

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