The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Now this is the kind of thing we’ve really needed Consumer Reports to be doing: suggesting that you to steer the hell clear of naturopathic “doctors.” Jeneen Interlandi writes:
If you’re considering naturopathic medicine, think twice. First, talk with your primary care doctor. If your goal is to improve your health through diet, exercise, or other lifestyle changes, your M.D. or D.O. may well be able to help just as well. If you opt for naturopathic medicine anyway, be skeptical of claims that it’s safer, more natural, or less profit-oriented than conventional medicine. Remember that while N.D.s have more formal medical education than naturopaths, neither practitioner is as rigorously trained as an M.D. or a D.O.
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, Trump’s appointed CDC director, resigns after it’s revealed she bought a bunch of shares in tobacco companies soon after taking the CDC job, and it’s by no means the only shady crap she’s been involved in with the tobacco and junkfood industries.
This is just freaking macabre. Trump-dudebros at the Office of Refugee Resettlement wanted to force a woman detainee to “reverse” her medication abortion, which you’re not supposed to do because there’s no evidence it can even work.
Trump made calls for unity at his State of the Union, and we were all, like, no:
“Donald Trump’s call for unity was an empty and false gesture,” said Robyn Blumner, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “By asserting that all of us have faith in ‘our God,’ he excluded millions of atheist Americans. The President of the United States made clear that nonbelievers do not belong in his vision of a united America.
Aliya Iftikhar of the Committee to Protect Journalists (hey that’s where Michael De Dora is now) writes that five months after the murder of journalist and skeptic Gauri Lankesh in India, nothing has been done to bring her killers to justice, but hopes that “perhaps the outcry and international attention that followed has finally created an opening that may destroy India’s stubborn culture of impunity.” Here was our statement at the time of the killing.
Creationists trick Illinois public school students into seeing a presentation on dinosaurs, you know, the kind that lives alongside humans, who fed the T-Rex a salad.
Joe Nickell investigates the claims of a “witch’s grave” in Tallahassee, and he really has no patience for the slandering of a dead woman’s memory. “Everything we know of Bessie Graham speaks of the tragically brief life of a very good woman.”
A conference for “chiropractic pediatrics” (hide your kids) is going the full whackadoodle, with three big-name anti-vaxxers as headliners: RFK Jr., Barbara Loe Fisher, and Vaxxed producer Del Bigtree.
Jonathan Jarry from the McGill Office for Science and Society has a video interview of Alison Bernstein, one of the Science Moms, from CSICon 2017.
A challenge to California’s repeal of the “belief exemption” for vaccinations is brought before a federal court, which dismisses it.
Slate advice columnist Carvell Wallace gives what I think is weak-ass advice about how atheists parents can talk to their kids about religion without sounding like jerks:
Instead of making God out to be an imaginary ghost, for example, you might find yourself saying things to your daughters like: “You know that sense of wonder and amazement we feel when we look at flowers, or think about the moon or how big the universe is? Or how cute dogs and kittens are? Some people call that sense of wonder and amazement God. And it brings them good feelings and so it’s important to them.”
Someone who declares herself to be a psychic says this, which I think gives her nonsense away:
“I was always drawn to the non-verbal because I’m very telepathic,” Wells said. “I always worked with people not able to communicate because I’m very connected with energy, and I’ve always been drawn (to) working with that telepathic energy.”
It’s a lot easier to boast about your ability to read things off of people who can’t speak for themselves. Oh, also, she compares dealing with skeptics to “breaking horses” (NSFW?) and calls herself a “compassionate clairvoyant.” Remember how well “compassionate conservatism” went?
The New York Times recommends five places to visit in Portland, Maine, which I live right next to. I have never been to any of these places, but it bears repeating that I don’t go anywhere. Also, one of the places it recommends is the International Cryptozoology Museum, and look, please just don’t.
Marty Kaplan at The Forward is all excited about that NYT UFO story from December.
…this story, straight from the Department of Defense, got to me. The “Oh, my God!” that I said aloud when I watched the recording was less of a WTF OMG than a metaphysical skip of my heart. It was a this-changes-everything thunderclap, a disruptive wow akin to what Abraham Joshua Heschel calls “radical amazement.” It injected an unknown into the narrative of human history — a scary suspense, but also a terrible beauty. It reminded me of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s strange words in his essay on “Nature” about the exhilaration that swept him as he crossed a bare common under a clouded sky: “I am glad to the brink of fear.”
In a place where scientists do space-stuff, they found dinosaur-stuff. Now that is just not fair. A fossil hunter on the grounds of the Goddard Space Flight Center finds dinosaur tracks, baby nodosaurs in fact!
Quote of the Day
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, at the hearing for Kathleen Hartnett White, nominated to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality; he asks her how much of the excess heat from climate change is stored in Earth’s oceans, she says she doesn’t now, so he offers is it maybe less than 50%, she guesses yes, less than 50%, and that’s wrong, it’s 90. Turns out she doesn’t know anything he’s asking her. So he says:
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