The Face-Crawling Gastropods

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 06, 2015

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

Gary M. Bakker at Skeptical Inquirer looks at the evolutionary and adaptive reasons why people believe in fictional things like gods and ghosts and conspiracies, and one key factor is "promiscuous teleological intuition."  

The New Republic posts its original review of L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics (Scientology's "founding text") from 1950 by Martin Gumpert:

This reviewer, in exploring the book, suffered a most painful "cellular engram"—to use the author's language. And he ardently wishes that something could be done to prohibit the activities of psychotherapists of this sort.  

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From Gwyneth to Pepsi

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 05, 2015

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

Our response to Al Qaeda's claim of responsibilty for the murder of our friend and ally Avijit Roy:

They were capable of such atrocities in part because of the hostile environment for free expression created and fostered by the governments of states such as Bangladesh and Pakistan. ... While whoever is ultimately responsible for these killings must face justice, so must governments make fundamental changes in their approach to Islamic extremism, and allow free expression to flourish. 

This would have been nice for me when I was in high school, back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth: Point of Inquiry hosts a conversation with David Seidman, who has a new book for young atheists figuring things out.

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I’d Like You to Know That I’m Particularly Smart

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 04, 2015

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

Shocking news to us at CFI. Claiming responsibility for the murder of our friend and ally Avijit Roy: Al Qaeda. We'll have more to say about this. 

Relatedly, Michael De Dora will be part of a congressional briefing with friends from the Hindu American Foundation on the Roy murder and religious extremism in Bangladesh on June 10.

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Impressively Slippery

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 30, 2015

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

No Morning Heresy tomorrow, folks. Please feel free to make your own dumb jokes about Dr. Oz and James Inhofe while I'm away. 

Skeptical Inquirer has just posted a really interesting magazine piece by Ryan Shaffer on the late fake-psychic Sylvia Browne, her claims to have done "detective work," and the very real criminal investigation of her activities:

In particular, the government was interested in Browne and an unknown person using “fraudulent documents, including income tax returns and financial statements to enhance her net worth in making these loan applications” (FBI Document 29A-SF-10056 1989). Browne then used the “loan proceeds to support an extravagant lifestyle.” 

Here comes the presidential candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders, the born-Jewish-raised-Catholic-not-really-all-that-religious socialist. 

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Ingersoll on Vivisection

Access Points with Timothy Binga
April 29, 2015

In August, 2014, the Robert Green Ingersoll and the Reform Imperative conference was held at the Center for Inquiry. During that event, I was photographed showing Susan Jacoby a letter that Ingersoll wrote about vivisection (the image can be seen on Jacoby’s Wikipedia page). Vivisection is the practice of performing operations on live animals for the purposes of research.

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Some As-Yet Unimagined Catastrophe

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 29, 2015

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

Alan Levinovitz at Wired profiles the journey back from alt-med devotion by two parents with two autistic sons:

After months of soul-searching, Jim Laider took to the internet to announce his “de-conversion” from alternative medicine—a kind of penance, but also a warning to others. “I had this guilt to expunge,” Jim says. “I helped to promote this nonsense, and I didn’t want other people to fall for it like I did.” 

CBS Sunday Morning relies on our own Joe Nickell to lend skeptical perspective to a woman's claim that her husband's ghost is hanging around. 

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“Woman in Gold”: A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 28, 2015

Simply put, Woman in Gold is the story of Maria Altmann who—her family’s paintings having been stolen by the Nazis—seeks to reclaim a particularly famous one from the Austrian national art museum that “owns” it.

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They Said That Queens Could Stay, They Blew the Bronx Away

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 28, 2015

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

Point of Inquiry this week has the one and only Peter Singer, talking with Josh Zepps about using reason to answer questions about morality and doing the most good possible. Please enjoy this duet of Australian accents.

Today SCOTUS hears arguments in the big same-sex marriage case Obergefell v. HodgesCFI submitted its amicus brief on the case with the American Humanist Association back in March.

John Oliver goes after Dr. Oz. Good stuff. 

Dr. Saurabh Jha at Quartz says we more or less get the Oz we deserve...

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The Multi-Zayn Theory

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 27, 2015

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

WIVB television in Buffalo quotes our testimony to the FDA in a story on the regulation of homeopathic products.

Pakistani human rights activist Sabeen Mahmud is gunned down by unknown assailants immediately following an event for her campaign on behalf of those abducted by Pakistan's security forces. 

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Dr. Oz Accuses Critics of Trying to Silence Him

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
April 24, 2015

Superstar TV personality Dr. Oz, after nearly a year of being criticized for promoting unproven "miracle" products and medical misinformation on his popular daytime TV show, has fired back at his critics.

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