Mehta’s Not Too Friendly to Pierce Prison Religion Info Embargo

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
July 17, 2013

"Friendly Atheist" blogger Hemant Mehta wasn't too friendly to use the Freedom of Information Act to shake loose bombshell data on the religious affiliations of inmates in the Federal prison system. This pierces (but does not completely shatter) what I believe has been a six-decade embargo by prison administrators to hold back information on how many prisoners are or aren't religious.

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“Oz”: A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 17, 2013

A fantasy adventure, Oz the Great and Powerful is a prequel to the 1939 movie classic, The Wizard of Oz (itself based on the 1900 children’s novel by L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz).

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Zero Point Zero Seven Percent

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

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

Research partly funded by CFI and conducted by Barry Kosmin and Ariela Keysar at Trinity College, has a brace of fascinating findings on the views of Millennials:

By relatively large pluralities, the students say that economic inequality is a major issue in the U.S. They strongly believe in freedom of expression, and support same-sex marriage and reproductive rights as well as controls on the sale of handguns. The college students, known as Generation Y or the Millennial Generation, say assisted suicide for the terminally ill should be legalized and they do not believe that immigrants threaten American jobs. 

The full American Religion Identification Survey (ARIS) study is here as a PDF

England is about to enact marriage equality after passage in the House of Commons. 

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At Least No One Fell into Orbit

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

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

So, ABC done did it, it hired anti-vax crusader Jenny McCarthy to be one of the hosts of The View. James Poniewozik at Time nails it

[P]ersuading parents that needed vaccines cause autism isn’t just a zany, oh-no-she-didn’t opinion. It’s wrong. . . . The View’s Sherri Shepherd may once have wondered if the world might be flat, but at least no one fell into orbit as a result. Vaccines are actually a matter of life and death.

Emily Willingham at Forbes shakes her head:

Unlike some folks, I don’t doubt that McCarthy could be intelligent, serious, and outrageous. She’s been smart enough to parlay a background in—what, exactly?—into fame and a rather mystifying clamor from some quarters to hear and see more of her. . . . What we’d like to see, before McCarthy joins “The View” . . . is for her to chill her vaccine and autism stance and publicly state what the evidence demonstrates: She was wrong about both. 

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Atheist Airplanes vs. the Angels

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 15, 2013

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

Zimmerman thinks it was "God's plan" for him to kill Trayvon. God needs to rethink some of his plans.

CFI CEO Ron Lindsay joined the panel on HuffPost Live to talk about the unceasing (and rather muddled) search for proof of God's existence.  

Congratulations to James Randi who just married Devyi Pena, his partner of 27 years. 

Gary Wills on the complicated politics and symbolism of turning popes into saints. 

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The New ‘Best Case’ For Psychics: Did ‘Intuitive Visions’ Locate Missing Boy?

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
July 14, 2013

The remarkable case of a missing California boy whose body was apparently located by a psychic is making headlines across the country as the 'best case' for psychics. But is it? 

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Two Heffernans in One Heresy

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

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

Malala Yousafzai will address the UN today, and moments ago she was greeted by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Michelle Boorstein explores how the very word "religion" has become problematic, even to believers. 

The CFI Hammer of Reason™ is not done with you yet, Google! Go see our action alert and tell the folks in Mountain View to check their consciences and stop funding climate change deniers. 

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PayPal Me for Magic Missile

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

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

UN: Knock-knock.

Vatican: Who's there?

UN:
 United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Vatican:
 "United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child" who? . . .

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Go Home, “First Things.” You’re Drunk.

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 10, 2013

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

The CFI Office of Public Policy brought the Hammer of Reason™ down on Google for sponsoring events for climate change deniers like Sen. James Inhofe:

Whatever other interests Google is pursuing in funding these groups and individuals, it is engaging in a malevolent act by aiding those who are dedicated to misleading the public regarding matters of scientific consensus 

James Temple at the San Francisco Chronicle picks up the story (gets a little quote from me) and comes down just as hard...

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Firefighter’s “Miracle Recovery”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 09, 2013

At 6:54 a.m., December 29, 1995, the roof of a burning house collapsed on Buffalo fireman Donald J. Herbert. Before being rescued he had been starved of oxygen for some six minutes, resulting in brain damage. For almost the next decade he was in a minimally responsive state, unable to communicate effectively.

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