Holy Apparitions and “Cryptic Photos”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
November 25, 2013

On November 10, 2013, my wife Diana and I went on one of our religabouts (excursions to observe or experience some religion-related event—see my blog of January 14, 2013). We responded to an ad in the Buffalo News to learn about “the powerful apparitions” of Jesus and Mary and “awe-inspiring cryptic photos” at a Catholic shrine in Queens, N.Y.

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Infinitely Dense and Infinitely Hot

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 25, 2013

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

Today is my boy's 4th birthday. He had a party last night and wore his Batman costume because he is just that awesome. Happy birthday, son. I love you and I'm so proud of who you are. 

It's back! Right now, you can register for the third Women in Secularism conference, May 16-18, 2014 in Alexandria, VA. And speaking of women in secularism, CFI-DC's Melody Hensley has just earned Secular Celebrant status in Washington, DC, and she might be the first secular humanist in the U.S. ever to do so. Melody says, "This is a huge win against religious privilege. We want these laws in every state in the U.S."

Remember how Dave Silverman wasn't allowed to get his atheistic NJ license plate, and then the state relented? Well as I write at Friendly Atheistit's happened again to someone else, and this time, they said if they wanted, they could get a plate that says "Baptist." 

I'll admit it: When compiling the Heresy every day, I get a little weary of dumb Bigfoot stories that all pretty much go the same way, and I lose interest. Sharon Hill, however, makes an important point about active Bigfoot skepticism...

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The Mystery and Investigation of the Moving Statue

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
November 22, 2013

 An ancient statue caught on camera turning in its locked display case in June 2013 unnerved many people, and it has been definitively debunked. More interesting, though, are the reactions to the solution. 

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Fifty Years Later

Access Points with Timothy Binga
November 22, 2013

Today is the anniversary of one of the more tragic and still controversial events in American history: the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Skeptics are still waging a war on those who believe an organized conspiracy took place to kill our nation’s 35th president. There are many, many books on the subject, but the one I was reading recently appears to be one of the most-thorough examinations of the assassination.

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Rockin’ Around the Green Hairy Claw

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 22, 2013

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

Reba Boyd Wooden of CFI-Indiana is interviewed at length on the subjects of nonbelief and agnosticism at the Indianapolis Recorder, the areas largest African American-focused paper. 

CFI's Joe Nickell posts his thoughts on the death and "sad legacy" of fake-psychic Sylvia Browne, writing, "Some might say I helped drive nails into Sylvia’s coffin, and if that is true I accept full responsibility." 

Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention: Husbands and wives as equal partners in marriage, in which there are "wives who aren’t submitting to their husbands," is a "false gospel." 

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Sylvia Browne: A Post-Mortem

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
November 21, 2013

“Celebrity psychic” and professed medium Sylvia Browne has died. (Pause here while we all try to get a grip.) The notorious pretender Browne—formerly Brown (and therein lies a story), who was born Sylvia Celeste Shoemaker in 1936—died November 20, 2013, at the age of 77. To skeptics who gleefully claim she failed to foresee her own death, one must note that she did appear to recognize the end was near, but that that information came from medical science, not spirit guides.

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Eleven Years Off

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 21, 2013

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

Famed fake-psychic Sylvia Browne is dead at 77. Of course, she predicted 88, but whatever. (Hat tip to Tim Farley for that tidbit.)

Quora is like a Wikipedia for Q&A. What's protecting it from pseudoscientific infestation? As I show at Friendly Atheist, not much, it seems.  

Sarah Posner, having broken the W-raises-money-for-Jews-for-Jesus story, breaks down why it makes so many folks angry:

The crux of the criticism of Bush's fundraising for MJBI was not a sense that Messianic Judaism threatens Judaism's survival, but rather that Jews find the proselytizing and the claims of Jewish spiritual "blindness" offensive. That's a view shared by Jews of the many stripes identified in the Pew survey, ranging from Orthodox to secular.

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Delving Into Molecular Innards

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 20, 2013

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

Fascinating: Scientists and physicians are relying on "spiritual healers" in Uganda to alert them to folks showing symptoms of the plague, and to help get them real medical attention:

"We trained traditional healers how to spot the symptoms of the plague," says [medical anthropologist Mary] Hayden, who now works at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. "We gave them cellphones with the hospital's number programmed into it. And we gave them bicycles so they could help get people to clinics." 

Ron Lindsay weighs in on the "hand-wringing" over religious liberty in the marriage equality debate:

The suggestion that the government can require religious institutions to perform a marriage ceremony for anyone is a bogeyman, a phantom worry. . . . The government must respect religious beliefs, and should not compel a person to perform an act affecting that person’s body that is inconsistent with that person’s beliefs.  But that does not imply the religious can attempt to control the actions of others.  

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Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
November 19, 2013

Hawaii recently became the fifteenth state to legalize same-sex marriage. As more and more states recognize same-sex marriage, there’s been some noise about how legalization of same-sex marriage may infringe on freedom of conscience and violate the rights of some religious believers. As far as I can tell, this is a needless worry.  In fact, the lack of any legitimate basis for concern makes one suspect this hand-wringing over the supposed threat to religious liberty is merely a veiled attempt to derail the movement to legalize same-sex marriage.

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Pez, Scientologists, and Super Powers

Hollywood Reality Check with Jim Underdown
November 19, 2013

I challenge your entire worldwide church to find ONE person who can pony up ONE super power and demonstrate it under scientific testing conditions.

 

You Scientologists do like science, don’t you?

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