An Essence of Naysaying

April 22, 2015


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

CFI’s Michael De Dora did more excellent media work yesterday on the FDA homeopathy hearings, as a guest on L.A. NPR affiliate KPCC’s AirTalk, along with a rather uninspiring homeopath for “balance.” His work was also covered by PulseFDA News, the Health Day newswire (here in the Philly Inquirer), Discovery News via our own Ben Radford, and at the journal Science:

“By its own definition, homeopathy cannot work,” Michael De Dora, director of public policy at the nonprofit Center for Inquiry’s Washington, D.C., branch, told the panel in his Monday presentation. Several large metastudies, including a recent analysis by the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia, have concluded that homeopathic remedies are no more effective than placebos for treating any condition. “We need not spend much time on this,” De Dora said, “as the federal government is well aware of the scientific evidence against homeopathy.” 

We also get labeled “homeopathic naysayers” at something called Natural Products Insider. Does that mean our work simply contains the memory or essence of naysaying?

Here’s what David Gorski thinks about the naysayer line:

A huge part of the problem with science and medicine reporting in this country (and the world) can be demonstrated with a simple reference to homeopathy. Homeopathy is, as Steve Novella characterized it, an “excellent example of the purest form of pseudoscience,” and as I, more blunt that Steve, like to call it, “The One Quackery To Rule Them All.” Failing to make that clear in media coverage of homeopathy lets advocates of homeopathic quackery to label skeptics as “homeopathic naysayers” and claim that the current FDA regulatory framework for homeopathic products is working just fine.

Californians: Get on this. The important bill in your state to curtail belief-exemptions from required vaccinations is getting an important committee vote TODAY. Contact your state senator now. In case you’re curious, vaccines still don’t cause autism. There is a new study from the Journal of the American Medical Association in case you needed another study to tell you this.

Teenager who was arrested as he tried to join ISIS will play a free-exercise defense.

Dick Talens at Lifehacker implores us to worry less about all these media-sensationalized studies about what will and won’t kill us, and think more about the big picture:

Spending all of your energy avoiding conjectured risks, not only prevents a fulfilling life, but also prevents us from differentiating the battle from the war when it comes to achieving better health. 

Relatedly, there’s a new book by Alan Levinovitz on fad diets and whatnot, The Gluten Lie

Secularist wunderkind Zack Kopplin has the goods on Louisiana officials who are blatantly trying to cram creationism into public schools. 

Tomorrow is Openly Secular Day, and the RDFRS’s Robyn Blumner has an op-ed on the challenge of coming out atheist:

If you’re a believer, stand up for those who aren’t. You don’t have to agree with us to think we should be treated fairly. After all, that really is the American way. 

The torturing-and-kidnapping rabbi and his lackeys, who forced husbands into religious divorces from their wives, are convicted

Jessica Mendoza at the Christian Science Monitor considers the change in public discussion of (and acceptance of?) atheists

Oskar Groening, who served as a bookkeeper at Auschwitz, admits “moral guilt” for the mass murders he witnessed.

Where all the super-civs at? 

Oh no guys: gAy mArRiagE LeaDs tO mOrE aBoRtiOnS!!! 

Quote of the Day:

Eric Stone, in a letter to the editor of the New York Times, on the most recent T. M. Luhrmann column:

T. M. Luhrmann misses the point.

I could happily stop right there. But I won’t. He goes on:

Our system of justice is based on objective evidence — factual, objective evidence. Believers have increasingly claimed that faith and Scripture figure prominently in our system of justice. That is like giving the religious the right to be the judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one.

And basing it all on faith, which is the ignoring of factual evidence. This is the crux of the secular criticism of religion, and writers should stop excusing religion of this wrongdoing. 

* * *  

Original image by Shutterstock.

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