Vigorously Not Cooperating

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 19, 2013

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

Persecuted Indian skeptic leader Sanal Edamaruku launches a new international magazineRationalist.

Speaking of launches, European Space Agency launches Gaia, a space telescope fitted with a billion-pixel camera, to construct a three-dimensional map of the galaxy. 

And speaking of incredible images, io9 rounds up the the most awe-inspiring science images of 2013. 

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“The Book Thief”: A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 18, 2013

Based on the book of the same title (the very popular novel for young adults by Markus Zusak), The Book Thief is as endearing a story as seems possible given its setting in Nazi Germany.

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Blind Faith in Miraculous Power

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 18, 2013

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

Americans' trust in clergy has hit a new low, according to Gallup, though they're still way more trusted than Congress.  

SPEAKING OF WHICH. St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt steps down from his public role as he faces child sex abuse allegations. But remember, Satan is behind gay marriage

An opposable thumbs-up as Texas science textbooks with actual science in them are cleared for adoption

CFI's Michael De Dora writes to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to urge them to include protection of the nonreligious in the Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act of 2013.  

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Forged in Chaos

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 17, 2013

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

Joe Schwarcz at Skeptical Inquirer takes Dr. Oz down many, many notches

Archdiocese of New York win an injunction against the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act for its nonprofit affiliates. 

Josh Zepps has a very funny and thoughtful conversation with libertarian humorist P.J. O'Rourke on the latest Point of Inquiry

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Ghost-hunter Arsonists?

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 16, 2013

In folklore studies, a “legend trip” is the term for a visit to a site that has a legend (a narrative reflecting a folk belief) about uncanny events there—say the activities of ghosts; the visit is made to test the legend. Such a legend trip resulted in seven men being arrested for the suspected arson of a historic Louisiana plantation house on November 21, 2013.

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The Religious Freedom Panic Squad

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 16, 2013

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

This is looking kind of murky, but it looks like Russia's supreme court found problems with the sentences given to members of Pussy Riot, and they might get an earlier release. Meanwhile, member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, transferred to Siberia, will remain in a prison hospital until her term is up. 

Well look at that. Jupiter's moon Europa looks like it might have water-spurting geysers. No mention of pirate twin activity.*

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Colin Wilson: A Case Study in Mystery Mongering

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
December 13, 2013

 A brief look at the late Colin Wilson's work illustrates how misinformation about paranormal topics is perpetuated, and skeptical information is systematically ignored.

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Why “Access Points”?

Access Points with Timothy Binga
December 13, 2013

I was recently asked why I named this blog Access Points. This has to do with my background as a librarian and IT Manager here at the Center for Inquiry (CFI).

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Heliocentrism is So Second Millennium

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 12, 2013

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

Yet another "student religious-freedom" bill emerges, this time in Michigan. Reports Brian Smith:

Under the proposed language, instructors would not be permitted to grade a student's work differently based on religious content, and schools could not prevent students from participating in religious activities on campus before or after classes. Schools also would not be able to limit access to facilities to religious organizations if the facilities are made available to the general public. 

Holy moly, there's a sneaky-looking "documentary" coming next year that promotes, wait for it, geocentrism. And the trailer is full of scientists who I'm pretty damn sure are down with Copernicus. And, ugh, that's Captain Janeway at the beginning. (hat tip Rob Boston, who I'm kind of upset with for showing this to me) 

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The Best Pope of the Year!

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 11, 2013

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

Time names Pope Cuddly as Person of the Year, choosing human interest over the genuine news impact of its runners-up. Oh, there I go again, being grouchy. But I definitely think he's the best pope of the year, hands down. (Meanwhile, the magazine also officially corrects its earlier assertion that Mr. Pope had "rejected church dogma.") 

I cannot wait to read this: Jennifer Michael Hecht, one of my heroes, pens a big piece in Politico's magazine on the plight of the open atheist in American politics. (A topic I cover at some length in my wee little mini-book here.)

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