There’s a Trilobite in My Latte

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 21, 2014

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

The city of Royal Oak, Michigan authorizes "ghost tours" led by "ghost hunters" of a 19th century farmhouse. CFI's Joe Nickell is disappointed (the piece says "upset," but Joe doesn't get "upset" about this kind of thing), and tells the Free Press:

When you allow ghost tours to operate, you are sanctioning mysticism and pseudo-science ... Most people don't want to believe that you actually die. This gives them the promise that your spirit lives on somewhere. 

The American Astronomical Society releases a definitive statement on the "Shirtstorm" regarding the poorly-chosen shirt and analogies made by Rosetta scientist Matt Taylor...

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Ode to Bolts and Screws

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 20, 2014

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

This might be the most irresponsible "news" article I've ever seen. The Daily Mail claims definitively that homeopathy can cure Ebola:

Homeopathy could have cured Ebola if the World Health Organisation had not stepped in to prevent a trial, according to members of a group who travelled to Liberia hoping to try out remedies including rattlesnake venom and the aphrodisiac Spanish Fly. ... Organisers of the trip are still inviting donations from supporters of homeopathy - whose ranks include Prince Charles - to fund a second attempt to run an Ebola trial in Liberia. 

Tom Chivers at The Spectator pounces:

Take a moment to think about this....

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Jupiter Looking Askance

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 19, 2014

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

Kimberly Winston talks seriously with Richard Dawkins about the controversies that have erupted over some of his recent statements, and gets perspective from backers and critics alike. I like Todd Stiefel's thoughts, which show an all-too-rare generosity of spirit:

It is wonderful that we have such a brilliant asset with a keen, logical mind and passion for integrity. But he is not perfect. He has flaws and weakness, just like we all do. I forgive Richard his faults and try to care for him as a human being, just like I would any other person. I think it is OK to admire Richard for his strengths and forgive him his weakness. 

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Frog Falls and Fallacies

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
November 18, 2014

I wrote a piece about the classic Fortean phenomenon of frogs falling from the sky, and I here address two rebuttals--one old and one new.

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God the Insurance Agent

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 18, 2014

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

Jessica Steinhauser, aka Asia Lemmon, aka Asia Carrera, is a member of Mensa with an IQ of 156, a mom, a Utahan, a former porn star, and now an out and proud Pastafarian with a colander on her head. I think we've found our new leader.

Pope Francis disses physician-assisted suicide and its “false sense of compassion,” which he also compares to abortion. Meanwhile, HuffPo publishes CFI president Ron Lindsay's article on the connection between public acceptance of physician-assisted suicide and same-sex marriage. Take that, Pope Fluffy! 

CFI's Michael De Dora, current president of the UN NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief will moderate a panel discussion on the economic benefits of religious freedom on December 10.

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Tea After Death

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 17, 2014

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

The New York Times reports on a Chinatown "aura" business, with skeptical perspective from CFI's Joe Nickell.

New Jersey's General Assembly passes a bill for physician-assisted suicide, and it's not at all clear what its ultimate fate will be in the hands of the White House-eyeing governor. 

CFI president Ron Lindsay considers the movement in favor of physician-assisted dying, and connects it to the growth in acceptance of same-sex marriage rights...

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Physician-Assisted Dying and Same-Sex Marriage: The Connection

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
November 17, 2014

Two major changes in the American legal landscape are in progress, although one change is further along than the other. I'm referring to the legalization of same-sex marriage and physician-assisted dying (PAD), a.k.a. physician-assisted suicide. Same-sex marriage is now legal in over thirty states and, depending on action by the Supreme Court, may soon be legal nationwide. PAD is currently legal in only four states, but initiatives to legalize the practice are underway in several other states. Just last Thursday, the New Jersey Assembly passed a bill that would legalize PAD in that state.

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Rosetta at the Genius Bar

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 14, 2014

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

CFI's David Koepsell looks askance at some of the criticism over scientific accuracy in the film Interstellar:

Harping upon scientific ‘errors’ or complaining about the license taken by the storyteller in making his point risks undermining the philosophical value of storytelling.

David Moye at HuffPo consults with Ben Radford on the claims of a mother who believes her 4-year-old son is the reincarnation of a dead Marine. "When your parents tell you that you're possessed by a dead soldier, that's a profoundly scary thing," said Ben. "Especially for a young child." 

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On Philosophy, Science, and Fiction

by David R. Koepsell
November 13, 2014

Some of the best and most useful philosophy comes to us by way of stories, and learning to enjoy, tell, and understand their messages is at the heart of humanism, and necessary for both science and art. 

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10, 4 Billion, 40,000

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 13, 2014

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

Once upon a time, a little probe called Rosetta chased a comet for 10 years, and then sent a little box with legs called Philae to land on it, and the world went nuts with delight. 

Here's Rosetta's official Flickr account so you can see Comet 67P in all its rocky glory. xkcd live-comic'd the whole event. ("I'm okay and I'm on a comet.")

A federal judge rules South Carolina's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional (BAM!), the Supreme Court clears the way for Kansas same-sex marriages to go ahead (SHABAM!), but then the people of Miami-Dade, Florida come out in force in favor of discrimination against transgender folks (BOOOOOOO).

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