All You Need to Do Is Be Cynical

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 06, 2016

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

Okay, big week. Lots to do. Let's get to it.

Richard Dawkins is going on tour in the U.S.! I will be playing rhythm guitar. Kidding! But he is coming to a bunch of cities to chat with special guests. Clicky clicky to get the details.

The delightful Carrie Poppy interviews The New Yorker's Maria Konnikova for CSICon Las Vegas, reminding us that yes, even we brilliant skeptics can be conned...

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Argumentum ad Ignorantiam

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 02, 2016

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

They're about to make Mother Theresa a saint, but Joe Nickell shows us in a piece for the upcoming issue of Free Inquiry that the miracles attributed to her are very weak tea:

In both cases “miracle” was defined as it always is in such matters as “medically inexplicable.” The evidence is therefore not positive but negative, resulting in a logical fallacy called argumentum ad ignorantiam “an argument from ignorance”—that is, a lack of knowledge. One cannot draw a conclusion from “we don’t know”—least of all that a miracle (supposedly a supernatural occurrence) was involved. 

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‘But…but…it’s the BEST AVAILABLE EXPLANATION!’

The Outer Limits with Stephen Law
September 01, 2016

Folk who believe in fairies, or miracles, or alien visitation, are generally fond of an argument called ARGUMENT TO THE BEST EXPLANATION.

 

Here's an example of argument to the best explanation:

 

I see feet poking out from under the curtain and the curtain twitching slightly above them. I can also hear breathing. I infer there's someone standing behind the curtain. Why? Because that's the best available explanation of what I observe. True enough, the twitching might be caused by an open window and the shoes were just coincidentally placed in the same place. But I reckon that's a bit less likely than that there's someone standing there (for what explains the breathing noise?)

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Additionally Also Make Heresy As Well Great Again Too

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 01, 2016

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

As of this typing, the Space X Falcon 9 rocket, set to launch a satellite this coming weekend, looks to have exploded on the launch pad. No news on why or if anyone was hurt. 

Not too long ago CFI launched a new-and-improved membership program. Well now it's also got the option to do your membership in monthly installments. So what are you waiting for? ONE OF US. ONE OF US.

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Head-Desking HeadOn!

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
August 31, 2016

A closer look at HeadOn, a waxy homeopathic paste claimed in commercials to relieve headaches.

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“Captain Fantastic”: A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
August 31, 2016

Captain Fantastic is a unique movie without a boring moment. It tells the story of a family of back-to-nature fanatics—not from the political right (which would only have been scary), but from the Sixties left. They have foregone Christmas but added “Noam Chomsky Day,” which apparently can be held whenever father Ben (Viggo Mortensen) deems appropriate.

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A Long Process of Demise

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 31, 2016

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

This has to be a quick Heresy because I have a thing. Yesterday I was off so there was no Heresy, and what do you know, we maybe find aliens, then realize it's probably not aliens, and then we find out that God "raised up" Donald Trump to run for president, so says Michele Bachmann. (Hell of a lift.) I refuse to believe all these things aren't connected.

Facebook took those biased humans out of the trending-stories formula, and what do you know, false news shoots to the top

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Daniel Dennett is Not Wrong (mostly)

by David R. Koepsell
August 29, 2016

Recently, Prof. Dennett, a friend of secularism and humanism who has long committed to our joint concerns (and who many of us have met and interacted valuably with), made a stir among philosophers by calling much of philosophy little more than a "luxury decoration on society." Below, I (a philosopher) mostly don't disagree with him.

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What Secretary Kerry Should Tell Bangladesh Officials

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
August 29, 2016

For many months now, Bangladesh has been roiled by grisly murders in its streets, terrorist attacks, and severe political unrest. This is the situation Secretary of State John Kerry will be walking into when he visits the country today to meet with high-ranking government officials and civil society leaders. How can he best take advantage of this opportunity?

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Do You Have Scurvy?

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 29, 2016

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

Whoa, there. Don't get ahead of yourself. Before you start this week, make sure you up to speed on the last two with Cause & Effect

As John Kerry meets with Bangladesh government officials today, our own Michael De Dora writes up some ideas for what issues the Secretary of State should emphasize...

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