Follow-up Links from Alternative Medicine Member Talk

For those of you whom attended our most recent Member’s Talk on alternative medicine and for those who didn’t attend but really, really wanted to, here are the links Joyce mentioned during her most excellent presentation. Also included are some of her book recommendations.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC
MEMBER TALK
REFERNCES AND INTERESTING SITES

(THE FIRST ONE IS HILARIOUS. A MUST-SEE YOUTUBE VIDEO)
http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2014/06/watch-epic-takedown-dr-oz-supplement-industry.htm
http://doctorskeptic.blogspot.com.au/
http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/
http://www.quackwatch.org/index.html
http://www.skepdic.com/
http://info@NCCAM.NIH.GOV
http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/index.html
http://naturaldatabaseconsumer.therapeuticresearch.com/home.aspx?cs=&s=NDC l

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/31190909/ns/health-alternative_medicine/t/billion-spent-no-alternative-cures-found/#.VATMlblATmK

http://www.consultant360.com/exclusives/liver-injuries-tied-dietary-supplements-doubled-over-last-decade

BOOKS:
R.B. Bausell, Snake Oil Science: The Truth About Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Oxford University Press, New York, N Y. 2007
P. A. Offit, Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Non-sense of Alternative Medicine. HarperCollins.

The (In)Efficacy of Prayer

kathy with a k:

A perfect commentary on the matter:

Originally posted on Kids Without Religion:

In response to the request for prayers from the family of the 9-year-old who tragically shot her instructor in Arizona, I posted this, which I think many of you will understand:

Dear God: 

As a compassionate American, I was asked to pray for the family of a shooting victim and well as the children affected by the accident. I’m not sure what the hell you’re supposed to do about this, God, or what it even means to pray, but first, a little background.  (Read the rest here.)

View original

Proposed membership Attitudes and Opinion Survey. Suggestions sought!

DEAR MEMBERS: BELOW IS A QUESTIONNAIRE THAT I AM FLOATING TO HELP DEFINE MEMBERS’ INTERESTS AND POSITIONS ON ISSUES OF THE DAY. IT’S JUST FOR FUN. THIS IS ONLY PROPOSED AT THIS TIME…NO NEED TO FILL IN YOUR ANSWERS. IF/WHEN A FINAL VERSION IS APPROVED, WE WILL TAKE STEPS TO ENSURE ANONYMITY. FOR NOW, I AM JUST LOOKING FOR FEEDBACK: COMMENTS, ADDITIONS, DELETIONS. THANKS FOR YOUR TIME!

Skeptics and Atheists of Durango: PROPOSED Questionnaire V3.2

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS (but it would be nice to know!):

Your age to the nearest (10):   20   30   40   50   60   70   80+

Your political affiliation:     Republican     Democrat     Independent         Libertarian

Marital Status: Married Single

Educational Background: High School      2-Year College      4-Year College      Graduate School and/or Advanced Degree

Areas of Interest/Expertise _____________________________________

In the statements below, please indicate the degree to which you agree:
1 = I strongly disagree 5 = I strongly agree

1. I support the legalization of marijuana. 1 2 3 4 5
2. Every home should have at least one gun. 1 2 3 4 5
3. I support ‘open carry’ gun laws 1 2 3 4 5
4. I am happy with Colorado’s gun laws as they stand. 1 2 3 4 5
5. I support stronger gun laws, such as background checks. 1 2 3 4 5
6. I believe homeopathic drugs are effective 1 2 3 4 5
7. I support the Affordable Care Act (aka, ‘ObamaCare’) 1 2 3 4 5
8. I support new insurance regulations which eliminate ‘existing conditions’ and extend the coverage of
children under their parents’ policy until age 26. 1 2 3 4 5
9. I have health insurance (through my employer/self purchase/Medicare/Medicaid)
10. I support expanding Medicare for all US citizens. 1 2 3 4 5
11. I support the right to a Death with Dignity, aka ‘Assisted Suicide’ 1 2 3 4 5
12. I support capital punishment in the U.S.
13. I support the individual’s right to seek an abortion for unwanted pregnancy 1 2 3 4 5
14. *I am pleased with our state’s US Senators* 1 2 3 4 5
15. *I am pleased with our US Representative* 1 2 3 4 5
16. Global Climate Change is human-caused; it must be addressed 1 2 3 4 5
17. I vote in every (local/national/presidential/every) election. 1 2 3 4 5
18. Education is the most important function of government 1 2 3 4 5
19. Care of the environment is the most important function of government 1 2 3 4 5
20. Budget and deficit concerns are the most important functions of government 1 2 3 4 5
21. The military and defense are the most important functions of government 1 2 3 4 5
22. I support immigration reform, and a path to citizenship for undocumented workers 1 2 3 4 5
23. Deport the Dreamers and the kids-on-the-border 1 2 3 4 5
24. *I am happy with the performance of the US Congress* 1 2 3 4 5
25. *I am happy with the performance of President Obama* 1 2 3 4 5
26. *I am happy with the performance of the Supreme Court of the US* 1 2 3 4 5
27. My birth family was (RC, Evangelical, Protestant) Christian 1 2 3 4 5
28. *My birth family was a religion other than Christian* 1 2 3 4 5
29. I have issues with some family members regarding religion 1 2 3 4 5
30. I subscribe to the Durango Herald 1 2 3 4 5
31. *List your most frequent source(s) of news. ___________________________
32. I read for pleasure 1 2 3 4 5
33. Is there a genre of books you enjoy reading the most? _______________________

Send suggested additional questions, deletions, comments or revisions to: larrybollinger@comcast.net

Skeptics and Atheists of Durango NEWSLETTER August 20, 2014

Skeptics and Atheists of Durango August 20, 2014

“It is an open question whether any behavior based on fear of eternal punishment can be regarded as ethical or should be regarded as merely cowardly” - Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978)

Whooping Cough Makes a Come-Back in Idaho (Contributed by Marc Masor)
http://www.reuters.co…­
Rates of whooping cough are highest among children aged 5 to 17 in Idaho, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the United States.
**************************************­*****************
Fallout From the Hobby Lobby Decision
http://www.businesswe…­
http://www.forbes.com…­
http://www.tcdailypla…­
The Roman Catholic owner of Eden Foods has revived his lawsuit against the provisions of the Affordable Care Act which require coverage for contraception. A boycott of Eden Foods’ products has started in response to the company’s actions which, organizers say, discriminate against female employees.
**************************************­*****************
Personhood Amendment in Colorado Seeks Human Rights for Fertilzed Ova…Again
http://www.factcheck….­
TEXT OF AMENDMENT: http://ballotpedia.or…­)
Will the third attempt be the charm for the Colorado ‘personhood’ movement? Defeated in 2008 and again in
2010 (by a 3-1 margin), supporters hope to extend human rights to fertilized ova…opponents point out that the
proposed amendment could outlaw some common forms of birth control, including IUDs and the ‘morning-after pill’.
In the race for Senate, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall opposes the personhood amendment; Republican Rep. Cory Gardner supported the amendments as recently as 2012 – this year he has backed away from
his earlier position. However, Gardner says he still supports a national personhood law which is identical to the Colorado personhood bill…confused? Maybe that’s the point!
**************************************­**********************
Taking to the Pulpit on Behalf of Climate Change
http://www.usatoday.c…­
Rabbi Moti Rieber travels the politically red state of Kansas armed with the book of Genesis, a Psalm and even the words of Jesus to lecture church audiences, or sermonize if they’ll let him, about the threat of global warming.
**************************************­*******************
Alabama Utility Regulators Ask Citizens to Pray for Coal Power Plants
http://www.slate.com/…­
The president of Alabama’s utility-regulation commission asked citizens to pray for the failure of a proposed EPA crackdown on coal pollution. “I hope all the citizens of Alabama will be in prayer that the right thing will be done”, said Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh.
Added an incoming board member, “Who has the right to take what God’s given a state?”

Member Talk, Wednesday Sept. 3rd Himalayan Kitchen 5:30 – 8:30PM
Members Joyce and Lou Fontana will be presenting a talk on Alternative Medicine. This talk will examine the sense and non-sense of why 50% of Americans use some form of alternative medicine at a cost of $34 billion per year.
Dinner and informal chat at 5:30PM…discussion at 6:30PM.

Skeptics and Atheists of Durango BOOK CLUB! September 19th 6PM
My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit
Betsy, who nominated this book, says “…it’s the best book I’ve read in a long time!”
Friday, September 19th, 6:00PM at Betsy’s home, 448 E 11th Street Durango
Mention our S&AoD Book Club at Maria’s Books and get a 10% Discount!
Buy the club’s title of the month and receive a 15% Discount!
Please support the local bookstores!

Skeptics and Atheists of Durango NEWSLETTER August 20, 2014

Skeptics and Atheists of Durango        August 20, 2014

“It is an open question whether any behavior based on fear of eternal punishment can be regarded as ethical or should be regarded as merely cowardly”  – Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978)

 

Whooping Cough Makes a Come-Back in Idaho    (Contributed by Marc Masor)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/12/us-usa-idaho-whoopingcough-idUSKBN0GC27B20140812

Rates of whooping cough are highest among children aged 5 to 17 in Idaho, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the United States.

*******************************************************

Fallout From the Hobby Lobby Decision

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-07-18/eden-foods-organic-pioneer-faces-boycotts-over-birth-control

http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/07/22/eden-foods-to-grocers-stick-with-us-despite-birth-control-attack/

http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2014/08/17/taking-my-local-co-op-over-eden-foods

The Roman Catholic owner of Eden Foods has revived his lawsuit against the provisions of the Affordable Care Act which require coverage for contraception.  A boycott of Eden Foods’ products has started in response to the company’s actions which, organizers say, discriminate against female employees.

*******************************************************

Personhood Amendment in Colorado Seeks Human Rights for Fertilzed Ova…Again

http://www.factcheck.org/2014/08/a-fight-over-birth-control-in-colorado/

TEXT OF AMENDMENT: http://ballotpedia.org/Colorado_Definition_of_%22Personhood%22_Initiative,_Amendment_67_(2014)

Will the third attempt be the charm for the Colorado ‘personhood’ movement?  Defeated in 2008 and again in

2010 (by a 3-1 margin), supporters hope to extend human rights to fertilized ova…opponents point out that the

proposed amendment could outlaw some common forms of birth control, including IUDs and the ‘morning-after pill’.

In the race for Senate, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall opposes the personhood amendment; Republican Rep. Cory Gardner supported the amendments as recently as 2012 – this year he has backed away from

his earlier position.  However, Gardner says he still supports a national personhood law which is identical to the Colorado personhood bill…confused?  Maybe that’s the point!

************************************************************

Taking to the Pulpit on Behalf of Climate Change

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/15/climate-religion-kansas-church-global-warming-evangelical/12515665/

Rabbi Moti Rieber travels the politically red state of Kansas armed with the book of Genesis, a Psalm and even the words of Jesus to lecture church audiences, or sermonize if they’ll let him, about the threat of global warming.

*********************************************************

Alabama Utility Regulators Ask Citizens to Pray for Coal Power Plants

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/07/30/alabama_coal_power_prayer_utility_regulation_president_asks_citizens_to.html

The president of Alabama’s utility-regulation commission asked citizens to pray for the failure of a proposed EPA crackdown on coal pollution.  “I hope all the citizens of Alabama will be in prayer that the right thing will be done”, said Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh.

Added an incoming board member, “Who has the right to take what God’s given a state?”

 

Member Talk, Wednesday Sept. 3rd     Himalayan Kitchen  5:30 – 8:30PM

Members Joyce and Lou Fontana will be presenting a talk on Alternative Medicine. This talk will examine the sense and non-sense of why 50% of Americans use some form of alternative medicine at a cost of $34 billion per year.  Dinner and informal chat at 5:30PM…discussion at 6:30PM.

 

Skeptics and Atheists of Durango BOOK CLUB!   September 19th   6PM

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit

Betsy, the member who nominated this book, says “…it’s the best book I’ve read in a long time!”

Friday, September 19th, 6:00PM at Betsy’s home, 448 E 11th Street Durango

Mention our S&AoD Book Club at Maria’s Books and get a 10% Discount!

Buy the club’s title of the month and receive a 15% Discount!

Please support the local bookstores! 

 

On The Subject of Eating Animals: A Follow-up by Caleb Ontiveros

Member Caleb Ontiveros wrote a follow-up to his talk on the subject of eating animals. Read it below:

In this short post I would like to offer up an argument I wish I had given in my talk. I think this argument will be clearer and perhaps escape some of the issues of terminology people were concerned about.

I was glad to see that there was uniform agreement about factory farming—this was wonderful. Instead of swimming in consensus, I will give an argument for the claim that we shouldn’t kill animals in order to eat them.

Many people think it’s permissible to kill animals in order to eat them because humans possess higher cognitive faculties. We are self-conscious, can conceive of ourselves far into the future, are moral agents, develop plans and purposes, and so on. The possession of these higher faculties justifies the use of animals—or so the argument goes. There is a problem with such an approach however—not all humans possess these higher cognitive faculties. Let’s call these humans that don’t possess such faculties species overlap humans . For example infants, the radically cognitively limited, and those affected by severe aging do not possess these higher cognitive faculties—as such they overlap with many nonhuman animals. Would it then be permissible to kill them in order to eat them? Surely not.

The argument runs as follows:

1. It’s impermissible to kill species overlap humans

2. Species overlap humans and nonhuman animals are relevantly similar

3. So it’s impermissible to kill nonhuman animals

What are some objections to this argument? Most will object to premise (2) since most are not comfortable with denying that it’s impermissible to kill species overlap humans.

Many think being human, that is being a Homo sapiens, is a relevant characteristic. However being human is neither necessary nor sufficient for the right to life. For example, nonhuman animals that are modified to have the same psychological properties as humans or aliens with similar psychological properties as humans would surely have a right to life. So, being human is not necessary for possessing the right to life. It isn’t sufficient either. For humans who irreversibly lack consciousness do not possess a right to life.

Some might object to premise (2) because we are biologically designed to eat meat. I take it this means that we are biologically disposed to eat meat. But of course we are also biologically disposed to be violent and selfish—to say that we biologically disposed to x does not establish that x is permissible.

Some may think this argument establishes the absurd conclusion that insects have a right to life. But there is a relevant difference between insects and most nonhuman animals, namely, there is good reason to be skeptical that insects are sentient. They don’t show the behavioral signs of experiencing pain nor is it clear that they are physiologically similar enough to humans and other animals to be sentient.

Finally, some suggested that ethics are subjective, thus this argument doesn’t matter. I wonder if these same people say the same when it comes to other moral or political issues? At any rate, I think this is largely irrelevant to the issues. We find ourselves in the world with moral beliefs (such as the belief that species overlap humans shouldn’t be killed for no good reason) and we should make those moral commitments consistent, genuine, and non-arbitrary. That process will include reasoning like this.

There are of course other arguments for my conclusion as well as other objections, but I hope to have shown that, at least, this argument has promise.

Skeptics and Atheists of Durango NEWSLETTER July 16, 2014

Skeptics and Atheists of Durango NEWSLETTER July 16, 2014

 

Skeptics and Atheists of Durango        July 16, 2014

To sum up: 1. The Cosmos is a gigantic flywheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute.

2. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride

 3. Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him the ride.”  – H. L. Mencken (1880—1956)

 TONIGHT –  THE SUPREMES: EXTREME ACTIVISTS OR THE MOST EXTREME ACTIVISTS?

 Pagan ‘church’ denied permits for ‘Pagan Pride Picnic’ and Pagan ‘House of Worship’.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/19/pagan-seekers-temple-arkansas_n_5511213.html

also see:  http://www.seekerstemple.com/problems-in-beebe/         Mayor of Beebe AR: “It is my opinion and the Beebe City Council’s that government leaders must pray to God as the true leader of the nation and that a nation cannot exist if they are not one nation under God trusting in God as the leader. It is my opinion government has allowed non-believers far too many liberties taking God out of our daily lives. As mayor of this city I will continue to open our meeting with a prayer and a pledge to our country – one nation under God.”


Lose Some…Win Some!    http://www.whec.com/news/stories/S3503587.shtml 

GREECE, N.Y. (AP) — An atheist is set to deliver the invocation in a western New York community whose town board won a U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding its right to open meetings with a prayer!


Louie Gohmert, Intellectual Powerhouse      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/10/louie-gohmert-god-atheists_n_5575241.html

Mocking non-believers for failing to grasp the logic behind the existence of God, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said: “Think about it, no matter how smart they think they are, an atheist has to admit that he believes the equation: nobody plus nothing equals everything….either you believe as a Christian that Jesus is the way, the truth, the life or you don’t.”


Here We Go!  Gitmo Detainees Seek to Exploit Supreme Mis-step    http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2014/07/gitmo-detainees-cite-hobby-lobby-in-ramadan-prayer-petition.html

The D.C. Circuit determined that nonresident alien detainees were not “persons” for the purpose of Religious Freedom Restoration Act (1992). This is where the detainees make novel use of the recent Hobby Lobby decision and ask: Why are Gitmo detainees not “persons” under the RFRA, when corporations are?


American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynocologists Urge Override of  Hobby Lobby Decision

   Group Supports Introduction of “Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act” 

http://www.acog.org/About-ACOG/News-Room/News-Releases/2014/ACOG-Statement-In-Support-of-the-Protect-Womens-Health-From-Corporate-Interference-Act

“Contraception plays an essential role in women’s preventive care, and contraception decisions should be made by a woman and her physician, based on her unique needs and preferences – not by anyone else. A woman’s boss has no role to play in her personal health care decisions…”


Now That Corporations Are Super-Citizens Owing To The U.S. Supreme Court…What Could Go Wrong?

 By letting Hobby Lobby’s owners assert their personal religious rights over an entire corporation, the Supreme Court has poked a major hole in the veil. In other words, if a company is not truly separate from its owners, the owners could be made responsible for its debts and other burdens.   http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/07/03/1311556/-Reason-1-SCOTUS-Will-Regret-Hobby-Lobby?detail=email#

…it’s clear that the conservative majority of justices has written itself into a corner in which it cannot refuse religious exemptions from selected tax obligations. The same preponderance of Supremes will have no way out of ruling, for example, that I and fellow Quakers (plus the Amish, Mennonites and others) do not have to pay the roughly 20 percent of our taxes that goes toward supporting the U.S. military…   http://www.salon.com/2014/07/14/scalias_major_screw_up_how_scotus_just_gave_liberals_a_huge_gift/

Tom the Dancing Bug is re-printed in the Skeptics and Atheists of Durango NEWSLETTER with the permission of Ruben Boling. Support the artist at http://gocomics.typepad.com/tomthedancingbugblog/

Member Talk, July 29th  Himalayan Kitchen  5:30 – 8:30PM

Member Caleb Ontiveros will lead a discussion about non-human animals and our relationship to them.  What rights, if any, do non-human animals have?  What are the implications for human behavior?           Dinner and informal chat from 5:30 – 6:30PM…discussion from 6:30 – 8:30PM.

 


 

Skeptics and Atheists of Durango BOOK CLUB!

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit

Betsy, the member who nominated this book, says “…it’s the best book I’ve read in a long time!”

Date and Time of the meeting is in September, TBA

Mention our S&AoD Book Club at Maria’s Books and get a 10% Discount!

Buy the club’s title of the month and receive a 15% Discount!

Please support the local bookstores!

 

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