Circling the Pendulum: Conversations with a Dowser

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
August 27, 2015

A conversation with a pendulum dowser who seems pretty sure he can explain the phenomenon through an unknown radiation.

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Humanism and Politics: are they separable?

by David R. Koepsell
August 27, 2015

Humanists have historically fallen on more than one side of the political spectrum. Perhaps the shifting identities and ideologies of modern political parties complicate our political identification, but it is still possible to be a humanist regardless of party affiliation. Factions, as always, can be unduly fracturing.

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Adorable Jingoism

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 26, 2015

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

Quick housekeeping note: I'm traveling to the Religion Newswriters Association conference tomorrow, so no time to do the Heresy. I intend to pick it back up Friday, but that's a little up in the air. 

95 years ago today, women finally got the freaking right to vote in the U.S. Can you believe it's not even been 100 years yet? That there are people alive now who were born before we let half the population vote? Amazing.

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Eyewitness (Un)reliability and the Filedrawer Effect

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
August 25, 2015

If eyewitnesses can be mistaken in life-and-death cases, they are likely no more accurate in monster sightings and descriptions.

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One Hundred Trillion Blessings

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 25, 2015

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

Yesterday we announced the winners of the No God But Funny contest, where folks were asked to come up with lovable atheist sitcom characters in the form of a pilot script and/or webisode. They're great! The best script was forThank God I'm an Atheist, and the best webisode is this charming, fully-produced piece, Earth Angel. (Hemant wants more Earth Angel episodes so he can binge-watch.) Congrats to all!   

You're gonna like this, heathens. Point of Inquiry this week has Eugenie Scott, chatting with Lindsay Beyerstein about things like alien-human hybrids, yetis, the interesting genetalia of particular insects, and how biological anthropologists define "race." It's a good one!

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That is Some Unstable Derp

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 24, 2015

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

I know you've already seen Friday's edition of Cause & Effect, so you're aaallll caught up on the previous fortnight's news. 

CFI isn't the only organization who thinks the FDA should crack down on homeopathySo does the FTC! In its press statement about its comments the Federal Trade Commission says:

The comment states that given the FTC’s long-standing advertising substantiation policy that health claims must be substantiated by such evidence the FDA’s current regulatory framework may harm consumers and confuse advertisers. The comment discusses the mistaken belief by some advertisers that homeopathic products that are in compliance with the FDA policy guide do not have to comply with FTC advertising substantiation requirements.

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Definitely Not a Pterosaur

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 21, 2015

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

In our seemingly endless struggle to get the FDA to give a darn about the flimflam that is homeopathy, CFI filed comments with the FDA urging them to put homeopathic products through the same ringer that they put real drugs through, and failing that, at least have them labeled as being unevaluated and unproven. 

Sarah Posner, reporting on the coalition of 130 groups (including CFI, y'all!) calling on the Obama administration to fix a 2007 legal memo on faith-based contractors, looks at the potential conflict brewing...

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I’m Gonna Have to Scare the Pope

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 20, 2015

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

The Patheos blog network hosts a Public Square discussion on humanism, and features a piece by our boss Ron Lindsay, looking at the rise of "nones" as not an atheistic phenomenon, but a boon for inquiry:

[These surveys] indicate Americans are increasingly rejecting religious dogma, and with it the notion that there is a particular, rigid creed they need to abide by. 

It's just so perfect. I mean, come on, it's just...I don't know. Of course this happened: Josh Duggar -- Christian fundamentalist, religious right hero and confessed child molester -- was a paid subscriber to Ashley Madison, the cheat-on-your-spouse online service...twice over! Of course he was! Of course he was.

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If You Want to Feel Bad For the Rest of the Day

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 19, 2015

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

Bloggers at Mukto-Mona, the Bangladeshi site of people like Avijit Roy and Asif Mohiuddin, demand that their government take the threat to their lives and the threat to free expression far more seriously:

If, instead of uncovering the true nature of these heinous attacks on secular, humanist atheists, instead of taking steps to tackle this, the government of Bangladesh wants to resolve the issue by laying blame on the victims, by threatening the victims with imprisonment, then Mukto-Mona would like to remind them that while today we are the ones under attack, and you are blaming us, the time will come when the fundamentalists will have done away with us and will come after you. 

Our own Michael De Dora is a signatory to the big joint open letter to the government of Bangladesh to protest the "institutional attack" on the country's secularists. 

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Film review: “The Gift”

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
August 18, 2015

The Gift, like other effective thrillers such as Cape Fear and Fatal Attraction, trades on ambiguity...

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