Ghost “Orbs” at the Witch’s Barn

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 24, 2017

Many ghost hunters insist that “orbs”—strange balls of light that mysteriously appear in their photos—are a form of “spirit energy.” If so, they seem nowhere more evident than at a Rhode Island barn where, according to some sources, two persons were hanged, including a witch named Bathsheba. She was central to the horror film, The Conjuring, reportedly based on the case files of the infamous Ed and Lorraine Warren, self-styled “demonologist” and “clairvoyant” who made a career of scaring people with made-up demons.

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Homeopathic Parachute

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 24, 2017

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

Excellent marching, everyone. Seemed like the Marches for Science turned out to be a pretty big deal. Hey look! There's us! Here's CFI–Michigan's Jennifer Beahan in a Facebook video explaining why her group was taking part in the Lansing march. 

Science (the magazine) profiles some of the people behind the march and its organization. 

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A Thousand Separate Indignities

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 21, 2017

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

They actually did it. Russia bans Jehovah's Witnesses, deeming the sect to be "extremist," and confiscating its property.

PolitiFact now offers a list of known fake-news websites that you can check against. 

This is by no means a complete list of offenders. Nor does it mean every post on these websites is fake. But in most cases, these sites work hard to fool readers, and you should take that into consideration if should you see a link being shared from one.  

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If You Push Something

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 20, 2017

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

First off: Get your hot-off-the-servers edition of Cause & Effect: The CFI Newsletter

So Bill O'Reilly became too toxic for Fox News, and out he goes. But don't get too excited. Jesse Waters and Eric Bolling are getting promoted on the air, and O'Reilly's show will be taken over by the loathsome Tucker Carlson. Same as it ever was.

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So You’ve Been Transformed into a Paperclip

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 19, 2017

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

The world will not be destroyed today by the giant asteroid that's passing by the planet. So, I still have to do The Morning Heresy. #ThanksObama 

SCOTUS still intends to rule on the Trinity Luther Church case, even though Missouri's governor changed state policy to allow the church to apply for government funds. The ACLU and Americans United are calling on the Court to declare the case moot. 

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Strategically Placed Seals

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 18, 2017

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

On climate change, Bill McKibben goes after the real enemy: Justin Trudeau. Wait. What?

Trudeau says all the right things, over and over. He’s got no Scott Pruitts in his cabinet: everyone who works for him says the right things. ... But those words are meaningless if you keep digging up more carbon and selling it to people to burn, and that’s exactly what Trudeau is doing. He’s hard at work pushing for new pipelines through Canada and the US to carry yet more oil out of Alberta’s tar sands, which is one of the greatest climate disasters on the planet. 

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Something Fundamentally Human

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 17, 2017

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

The National Bureau of Economic Research releases a study saying that the folks who are the most blindingly hyper-partisan are oder Americans, those who use the Internet the least. Oh-HO! Whose bubble is filtered now??? 

Mashal Khan, the Pakistani atheist student killed by a mob of fellow students over blasphemy allegations, had criticized his university and its chancellor in a video interview.

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Try Shaming

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 14, 2017

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

Happy Friday. Here are some ways we'll all be made sick or put in peril by the administration's reversal of climate regulations. 

Hey maybe there are more atheists in the U.S. than we thought. If a novel study from the University of Kentucky is correct, it could be that as much as a quarter of the population or more is non-believing. But that's a pretty big "if," and other experts are skeptical. (Interestingly, the number of Republican atheists, according to this way of surveying folks, is about zero.)

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Bad Climatologists

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 13, 2017

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

Dina Ali Lasloom of Saudi Arabia was reportedly detained at an airport in the Philippines as she was attempting to seek asylum in Australia. In a video, she says, "If my family comes they will kill me, if I go back to Saudi Arabia I will be dead." 

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Laboratory Scandal

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 12, 2017

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

The Morning Heresy salutes the great Lindsay Beyerstein, whose last episode of Point of Inquiry has now been posted, quite appropriately with guest Sarah Posner, discussing Trump's hijacking of the religious right. 

The Alabama Senate votes to allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham to have its own goddamn police force. Coincidentally, I'll be captain of the all-new CSICOP, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry COPS. Bad boys, watcha gonna do?

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