As Ye Have Dumped Water Unto the Least of These My Brethren…

March 19, 2015


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

NYT tech journalist Nick Bilton (who is usually among the very best) publishes a techno-panic piece about how smartwatches might-maybe-possibly cause cancer, and bases it on blatantly weak and tenuous inferences. To make matters worse, consults pseudoscientific Dr. Oz pal Joseph Mercola for comment. Russell Brandom at The Verge, in a piece that is subtitled “Cram it, Bilton,” writes:

Bilton tackles an interesting and important question: could smartwatches be raising your risk of cancer? There are decades of research that could speak to the question, since all the relevant radiation is also emitted by cell phones. Unfortunately, Bilton ignores almost all of it, kicking the piece off by comparing the new Apple Watch to smoking cigarettes. 

Phil Plait shakes his head

I expect this kind of thing from rags like the Daily Mail or other fact-free tabloids, but from the New York Times? Wow. 

French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala gets a suspended sentence and fine for posting what were considered anti-Semitic jokes about the Charlie Hebdo attack. 

We now have video of Michael De Dora’s statement to the UN Human Rights Council on Saudi Arabia’s hypocrisy regarding a religious freedom conference. (Note to self: next time Michael goes to Geneva, set up TextExpander snippet for “UN Human Rights Council”.)

Sen. Ted Cruz wants to monkey with District of Columbia laws that stop religiously-based discrimination against gays and those who use contraception or get an abortion. I don’t this is your path to a general election victory, Ted. 

Someone fires 18 shots into the home of a Muslim family in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, wounding one woman. 

Catholics are the Christian group in the U.S. most accepting of the science behind climate change with 48% accepting humans’ role, and 70% believing in global warming generally. It’s possible Pope Francis may be able to nudge those numbers up with his upcoming push for climate action. 

Speaking of Catholics, Saint Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco is following the Vatican’s example and giving the homeless free showers. Oh wait, no, I mean, they’re drenching homeless people to keep them away. That’s different. 

Religious fraudster Ephren Taylor II gets 19 years in prison for swindling people out of $16 million with his “building wealth” church-based Ponzi scheme.

Speaking of religious schemes, I wonder if Creflo Dollar bought that jet yet.

And on one more scheme, a federal court rules that Herbalife is not a pyramid scheme, to the surprise of many. 

Michael Reagan (ultra-right conservative) says his brother Ron’s recent pro-atheism ad is a slap in the face to their dad, the late President Ronald Reagan. 

Arizona’s state senate passes a bill that provides more tax breaks to churches, something even Jan Brewer had vetoes when she was governor. 

NYT looks at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s enthusiastic embrace of religion and the weakening separation between church and state in New York. 

Quote of the Day  

When you’re too crazy for Rick Santorum, well… A concerned citizen tells him:

Obama tried to blow up a nuke in Charleston a few months ago! And the three admirals, and generals. He has totally destroyed our military. He’s fired all the generals and all the admirals that said they wouldn’t fire on the American people!

Reap what you sow, sir. 

* * *  

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)! 

The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta