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We Should All Be Embarrassed

April 1, 2020

Let’s start with something nice. Rob Palmer at Skeptical Inquirer gets to talk to the great Ann Druyan about the latest Cosmos series:

Palmer: I loved it when, during the first episode I think, Tyson said “Our ship of the imagination is propelled by twin engines of skepticism and wonder.”

Druyan: I’m very proud of that line, because that’s the point. You don’t have to have one at the expense of the other … an equal measure of both always. For me, science and skepticism were the means to have the greatest spiritual experiences of my life. And every one of them was about having a somewhat deeper sense of the romance of being alive in the Cosmos, and the beauty of nature.

The universe that science reveals is so much more amazing than our ancestors could ever have anticipated, because they had never seen the curtain of darkness peeled away … and actually seen the vastness and began to know something of just how big it all is. And that’s an impoverishment, I think.

Okay back to hell:

The International Monetary Fund has declared that the world economy has now entered a recession and recovery is unlikely until 2021. As many as 25 million jobs could simply disappear and the world could lose some $3.4 trillion in labor income. More than 1.5 billion students are currently out of school or university, representing 87 percent of the world’s children and young people, and about 60 million teachers are no longer in the classroom. …

… “Covid-19 is the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations,” António Guterres, the secretary general of the United Nations, said on Wednesday.

William London, writing for the CFI blog, looks at whether it makes any sense to recruit practitioners of naturopathy to join the ranks of health care workers responding to the pandemic. And, um, no:

I have trouble seeing how NDs have embraced all public health recommendations, especially considering that NDs tend not to support recommended vaccinations. We have good reasons to be wary of claims for approaches to support the immune system. The idea that NDs or any health professionals have a relevant, safe, effective toolkit to support the body’s immune capacity to fight COVID-19 has been rejected by federal agencies.

This is how upside-down things have gotten: The World Federation of Chiropractic is telling practitioners to stop claiming they can treat COVID-19. Look, guys, we can make up all sorts of malarkey, and we encourage you to do so, but we have to draw the line somewhere.

Ankit Raj at India’s The Wire warns of the “infodemic” of misinformation that has worsened the crisis:

The Press Information Bureau, usually the principal information dissemination channel for the Government of India, has also drawn flak, along with the Ministry of AYUSH, for advocating treatments offered by alternative medicine systems like Ayurveda and homeopathy against the new coronavirus, without any supporting scientific evidence and or clinical testing data.

Here we go again. Another pastor, Tony Spell of Louisiana, is arrested for holding services, defying stay-at-home orders by packing hundreds of people into a church. I love how these police chiefs have no patience for these dingbats. CNN:

“Instead of showing the strength and resilience of our community during this difficult time, Mr. Spell has chosen to embarrass us for his own self-promotion,” said Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran Tuesday in a statement. “Mr. Spell will have his day in court where he will be held responsible for his reckless and irresponsible decisions that endangered the health of his congregation and our community,” Corcoran added.

Evangelist Jonathan Shuttlesworth declares he will hold a Woodstock-for-Christians in brainless defiance of social-distancing orders and, you know, life itself.

I suppose he could always hold his Woodstock in a Hobby Lobby, since those stores are magically immune to the coronavirus, as well as basic human decency. Hobby Lobby stores are staying open even in places where they’re not supposed to be. The company tried to do some damage control with Religion News Service, saying, well, full-time employees can take such-and-such time and with such-and-such percent pay, blah blah. Importantly, “It could not be immediately determined whether paid time off is available only to Hobby Lobby’s full-timers and what percentage of the company’s employees work part time.” Mm hm.

Tyler Broker at Above the Law looks to what is a rather ugly slate of cases before the Supreme Court, and laments:

I submit that no sane reading of our religious liberty clauses supports the notion that government is both commanded to stay out of the affairs of religious schools while at the same time existing under the obligation to fund them. Yet, it is virtually certain multiple Supreme Court Justices, perhaps even the Court itself, will agree with such an obviously incoherent legal standard this term. We should all be embarrassed it has come to this.

Well at least with everyone stuck at home we’re not going to get a bunch of Bigfoot sightings and OH FOR GOD’S SAKE.

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.