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Going to Battle for a Gay Rat Wedding

May 21, 2019

While y’all were paying attention to dragons and whatnot, we sued Walmart. That’s right! CFI has filed suit against Walmart for selling homeopathic snake oil as though it were real medicine, just like we’re doing with CVS:

“Despite being among the richest corporations on Earth and the largest retailer in the United States, Walmart chooses to further pad its massive wealth by tricking consumers into throwing their money away on sham medicinal products that are scientifically proven to be useless and potentially dangerous,” said Robyn Blumner, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “We intend to put a stop to it.”

Rina Raphael at Fast Company got the exclusive on our lawsuit, and she spoke to our legal director Nick Little:

“The reason we are bringing these lawsuits is because the two bodies that regulate the drug industry–the FDA and the FTC –simply aren’t doing enough…,” says Little. “If Tylenol, for example, put on its packaging, ‘will help regrow limbs after amputation,’ it would get closed down by the FDA.”

Hemant Mehta’s description of homeopathy in his write-up is pretty apt:

The resulting mixture of bullshit and nonsense is packaged and sold to customers who may not realize they’re being duped by nothing more than an expensive placebo.

Meanwhile, Quebec retailers are already putting up notices on shelves about the lack of scientific evidence for homeopathy.

This is a real thing that is actually happening: Alabama Public Television (okay I’ll admit I’m surprised that Alabama actually has public television) refused to air the episode of the cartoon Arthur in which a male rat marries a male aardvark. They explained their decision:

parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision. We also know that children who are younger than the ‘target’ audience for Arthur also watch the program.

Yes indeed. Teacher Misty Souder, who wanted to watch the episode with her daughter, said:

I just want [my daughter] to be aware. There’s too much going on not to stand up for stuff, even if it’s Arthur. I never thought I’d be going to battle for a gay rat wedding, but here we are.

But here we are.

How’s this for a lede to make you want to just give up? From The Guardian:

An American pastor from New Jersey backed by a British former clairvoyant is running a network that gives up to 50,000 Ugandans a “miracle cure” made from industrial bleach, claiming drinking the toxic fluid eradicates cancer, HIV/Aids, malaria and most other diseases.

Here’s more awfulness: The Bizarro-EPA is going to change how it counts up sicknesses and deaths caused by air pollution to make it seem like far few people are harmed, and thus allow more pollution.

Several states are pushing back against the anti-environmental EPA, passing their own, tougher regulations.

Lena Sun and Ben Guarino at the Washington Post take a deep dive into how anti-vaccination propaganda gets, um, propagated, as anti-vaxxers target those very communities suffering the most from measles.

Jana Riess at RNS is sad that New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern is no longer a Mormon.

The New England Journal of Medicine‘s editor-in-chief Jeffrey Drazen chooses twelve articles from his tenure that, as Harriet Hall tells us, “stand out to him as the most important and useful articles that physicians could act on immediately to improve patient care.” Hey, SARS is in there! Remember SARS? Those were the days.

Sorry, Australopithecus sediba. Looks like you didn’t lead to Homo sapiens.

Paid attendance at Ken Ham’s my-pet-dinosaur Ark Encounter went up in April compared to April of last year. Great.

You wanna speak at CSICon 2019? Cool. Rob Palmer walks you through what it’s like to deliver a presentation at the Sunday Papers session.

Jamie Hale at the CFI blog looks at whether one can learn to adopt a more rational mindset, and the answer is yes.

As the government of the UK considers adopting a definition of “Islamophobia,” a letter opposing the move, whose signatories include Richard Dawkins and Maajid Nawaz, states:

Hostility towards Muslims on the basis of their faith is unacceptable. But it should also be unacceptable to allow Islamic practices to undermine freedom of and from religion and a commitment to the principle of one law for all. There is a need for a robust public discussion of the influence of religion, including Islam, on British society.

The hasty adoption of this definition will work against attempts to have that discussion: it will chill free speech and undoubtedly shut down important conversations that a healthy free society needs have.

KPCC’s Air Talk discusses whether Americans are “ready” for an atheist president. With the guy we have now, I think we’re ready for anything.

Newsweek notes the passing of Stanton Friedman, the nuclear physicist-turned-ufologist who was really damn sure that “Flying Saucers Are Real.”

Quote of the Day

At the Washington Post, Justin DaMetz (unless you prefer DaYankeez) says, hey, um, should there even be a “religious left”?

If we don’t want religious people on the right employing explicitly religious arguments for wielding power because of the separation of church and state, then why should we want someone on the left doing the same thing?

Thank you!

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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.