I Hope You’re Not Squeezing Their Liver or Pancreas

August 1, 2013

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

CFI’s Debbie Goddard joined Sikivu Hutchinson, Jamila Bey (both Women in Secularism alums) and Ronnelle Adams on HuffPost Live to talk about atheism in the African American community.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom reminds Saudi Arabia of its obligations under international human rights treaties, as it condemns the persecution (and coming physical abuse) of dissenting activist Raif Badawi, convicted of blasphemy.  

Aasia Bibi, accused of blasphemy in Pakistan and held in a women’s prison, is in terrible danger, as security is weak and she is targeted for violence from both within and without the prison. 

Kyle Hill at CSICOP.org asks, what would happen if the full moon really had the power to drive folks to madness? Let the slaughter begin!  

Sharon Hill at HuffPo, meanwhile, lays moon-myths entirely bare:

Study after study have shown the there is no increase in episodes of madness, disasters, traffic accidents, emergency calls, assassinations, violent crime, sleepwalking, births, suicides, homicides, arson, epilepsy, or werewolf sightings associated with the moon phases.  

Matthew J. Franck is, like Sam Harris, unimpressed with Reza Aslan’s claims to academic credential in his now-famous Fox News “interview”:

None of [his] degrees is in history, so Aslan’s repeated claims that he has “a Ph.D. in the history of religions” and that he is “a historian” are false.  Nor is “professor of religions” what he does “for a living.” He is an associate professor in the Creative Writing program at the University of California, Riverside, where his terminal MFA in fiction from Iowa is his relevant academic credential.  

Jacob Mchangama and Guglielmo Verdirame at Foreign Policy have a counterintuitive take on human rights [paywalled]:

If human rights were a currency, its value would be in free fall, thanks to a gross inflation in the number of human rights treaties and nonbinding international instruments adopted by international organizations over the last several decades.  

Emily Willingham is rightfully aghast at the incursion of something called “Homeopathy without Borders” into Haiti. 

Ben Radford at LiveScience explodes the concept of spirit channeling

Don’t get too excited about the pope being nice to gays, say Catholic leaders. They’re all still going to Hell

A lunch lady accidentally serves pork to a Muslim student at a UK school, and is fired for this gross offense. Seems a bit much. 

New research suggests that prayer actually does not help with delaying gratification

Woman amazingly rescues herself from her car which had plunged into Chesapeake Bay, Fox News guy uses it as proof of God and miracles (I think it’s proof that when you stop flailing, your seatbelt won’t lock up), introducing the terrifying tail with a Jon Bon Jovi quote.

Maybe this chunk of wood is a part of Jesus’s cross! Like all the others!  

Ball State president: Intelligent design is not science

Vancouver Sun runs a totally un-critical story about homeopathy for pets

1 in 5 folks in Singapore say that their office is or has been haunted. This is why I work from home. 

That creationist text book takes out references to the truth of the Loch Ness Monster because, hey, that’s nuts. 

In case you needed more reasons to dislike Dr. Oz (I didn’t), seems he’s also a booster of radical right wing bazillionaire Sheldon Adelson.   

Aaron Ra reveals “tricks and tropes” of creationists on Malcontent’s Gambit

One of the clowns on Fox & Friends is all, hey, Bigfoot is real, but I don’t get why he won’t say ‘hi,’ and…ugh, I don’t even. 

Quote of the Day

Steven Novella is worried yoga teachers may not know what they’re wrong about:

I certainly hope that yoga practitioners are not squeezing their liver or pancreas, or that they are stretching their optic nerve. Nerves don’t like to be stretched – that causes damage. It also would not be safe to perform a maneuver that backs up your blood flow and then releases it in a powerful blast. This has a much greater chance of causing a brain hemorrhage than scouring plaque off your arteries. In other words, the yoga instructor better
hope that everything they are claiming is a lie, or else they are likely to find themselves liable for very real medical harm.
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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul, Ed, Lauren, anyone who can fire them, or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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