Why People Burn Themselves Alive: A Look at Immolation Suicides

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
May 14, 2018

The recent self-immolation suicide of a prominent lawyer raises questions about the motives for such acts. 

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Jovians, Venusians, and Wobbles

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 14, 2018

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

Here's a story to make you go all googly-eyed like Cookie Monster: Two of the trailing candidates in the GOP primary for the Senate in Missouri, Austin Petersen and Tony Monetti, have been trying to strike a deal to use polling of support and name recognition to see which of them should drop out of the race in order to take on the frontrunner Josh Hawley. But Monetti is blowing the deal because he insists that the poll include a push-poll type question asking respondents if they would vote for a candidate even if he "does not believe in God," a question aimed squarely at Monetti who is apparently agnostic. Petersen is, like, no.

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Anything That’s Stinky and Horrible

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 11, 2018

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

Don't freak out, but Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, tasked with leading the federal government's responses to deadly pandemics, has just up and quit. The Post:

Ziemer’s last day was Tuesday, the same day a new Ebola outbreak was declared in Congo. He is not being replaced. 

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Oleaginous with an Appetite for Obsequiousness

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 10, 2018

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

Alright, stop. Everyone just STOP. There are people drinking hydrogen peroxide to cure headaches and Alzheimer’s because some health-guru-dingbat told them to on YouTube, to the point where government health officials have to tell people NOT to do this. 

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Hypno-Bismol

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 09, 2018

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

Susan Gerbic interviews political scientist Joseph Uscinski in the run-up to CSICon 2018, who says, "Conspiracy theories are in many ways a battle between insiders and outsiders over truth."

Speaking of which, conspiracy theories are now bubbling around the left about the assault allegations against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which Gaby Del Valle at The Outline says is "indicative of a larger pattern of #resistance liberals prioritizing politics over real women’s lives."

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The End(s) of the Earth

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 08, 2018

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

I swear, I don't think I could have made this up: A member of the UFO "religion" the Raelians, whose last name is "Bilbo," is suing to have "so help me God" removed from the U.S. citizenship oath, which of course should be removed. And who's her lawyer? The secularism-enforcer who gets knocked down but gets back up again, Michael Newdow.

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Foist Your Counterproductive Bad Faith Interpretation

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 07, 2018

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

In the cosmic sense, this is a big damn joke. In the immediate, real-world sense, this is no joke: Dr. Oz is appointed to the President's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. We have something to say about it:

“This is an abysmal appointment, akin to having anti-vaccine zealot Robert F. Kennedy lead the now-abandoned vaccine safety commission,” said Robyn Blumner, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry...

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Prosecutors Win, Journalists Fail in Cosby Retrial

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
May 04, 2018

In the wake of the guilty verdict for Bill Cosby on three counts of sexual assault last week, the news media predictably jumped on the story. One angle, however, was more opinion than fact.

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Unkind Bars

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 04, 2018

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

We put out a statement yesterday on Trump's new faith-based initiative executive order, pointing out how it screws over LGBTQ Americans and the nonreligious. Emma Green at The Atlantic shows how Trump's version of an Obama-era idea comes in a "radically different context."

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Escape from Florida

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 03, 2018

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

At The Daily Beast, Brandon Withrow looks at the weird relationship between American Christians and guns. Dig this:

When asked what [theologian Ron] Sider would do if an intruder threatened the life of his family, he said that while he thought such a situation would be extremely rare, he would have to follow Jesus’s command for nonviolence and trust God.

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