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Do Not Ingest the Walls and Pavement

August 21, 2019

The Washington Post reports on the quashing of CFI’s lawsuit in Texas to allow Secular Celebrants to solemnize marriages (which we intend to un-quash), speaking to several legal scholars who all seem to agree that the judge blew it, and that this could be huge:

“It’s obviously unconstitutional because it gives a benefit to religious groups and denies that same benefit to comparable secular groups,” said Noah Feldman, a Harvard professor of constitutional law. …

Feldman said the Center for Inquiry may wind up arguing its case before the Supreme Court if it presses its agenda before a sufficient number of state circuit courts of appeal — and if those courts issue a large enough number of contradictory rulings.

“That may not be the case today or tomorrow, but if this group is dedicated and keeps it up, there’s a real plausible chance,” Feldman said. “It’s neither more nor less significant than many issues the Supreme Court has considered.”

And of course, our own Nick Little gonna Nick Little:

“Right now, I can go online and take two minutes out of my time and go to the ‘Church of Bacon’ or something and solemnize a marriage in Texas,” Little said. “Do they honestly want people lying and claiming to be religious like this in order to do a ceremony?”

President Trump says Jews who vote for Democrats exhibit “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” He then went on to describe Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a duly-elected Member of Congress, as “violent and vicious and out of control.”

Daniel Cox at FiveThirtyEight notes that among white evangelicals, Trump may be losing some support from its youngest cohort of voters:

Aryana Petrosky, an evangelical and recent graduate from a nondenominational Christian school in California, worries about Christians aligning themselves with those in power. She also challenges the notion that conservative Christians need politicians to defend their beliefs in the public square. “We shouldn’t be looking to political leaders to defend our faith,” she said. It’s a view that is entirely consistent with the way younger white evangelicals understand politics. A 2017 Voter Study Group survey found that while nearly three-quarters of older white evangelical Christians agree that “politics is ultimately a struggle between good and evil,” younger white evangelicals are far more evenly divided on this issue.

Cardinal George Pell’s conviction for sexual abuse is upheld in Australia. The Post reports:

Church critics were jubilant at Wednesday’s decision, which legal experts had said could go either way.

“Pell is a pedophile,” tweeted Chris Murphy, a prominent Australian criminal defense lawyer. “Woe betide those who clapped him as a saint.”

Before he went to jail, Pell circulated among the international elite. Even after he was found guilty he received character references from several prominent Australians, including former prime minister John Howard.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Pell will be stripped of his Order of Australia honor.

Noam Cohen at Wired uses the controversy over Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment as frame for highlighting the problems with the “epiphany-industrial complex” it spawned:

The Stanford Prison Experiment has burrowed its way into the culture, inspiring an epiphany-industrial complex that deploys social science research in support of facile claims about human nature, public policy, and interpersonal relationships. There are TED talks and Freakonomics case studies, online personality tests, influential books, and articles that advise which tipping points to avoid or seek out, how to feel better by doing power poses, and how to be happy.

In an age when religion and philosophy are on the wane, social science has stepped in to fill a void; the Stanford Prison Experiment showed the way.

National Geographic publishes and sells a book called Nature’s Best Remedies: Top Medicinal Herbs, Spices, and Foods for Health and Well Being. Harriet Hall in Skeptical Inquirer says the book’s information is “biased, incomplete, unscientific, and sometimes even dangerous.” And this ruins National Geographic for her. “I can no longer trust it; this book was a bitter disappointment.”

Read this opening sentence from The Telegraph and lose all hope:

The Queen’s homeopathic pharmacist is selling ground-down fragments of the Berlin Wall to people who believe it will cure asthma and depression.

Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia is closing after 171 years. The Philadelphia Inquirer looks at its history as a headquarters for homeopathy, and yes, it’s named after the ur-homeopath, Samuel Hahnemann.

LiveScience advises men, “Please don’t eat the sexy pavement lichen.”

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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.