“Genius:” A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 05, 2016

Movies about genius continue to hold our interest—films like The Imitation Game (2014, heralding the father of the modern computer, Alan Turing), The Theory of Everything (2014, about the theoretical physicist Steven Hawking), and The Man Who Knew Infinity) 2016, on the life of math visionary Srinivasa Ramanujian).

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Dispelling Demons of “The Conjuring”—on Site

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 01, 2016

During mid-June 2016, after her invitation, I drove to the rural Rhode Island home of Norma Sutcliffe, who lives in the allegedly demon-haunted house that was the subject of the 2013 scary movie The Conjuring. Whereas “demons” allegedly plagued the Perron family for ten years beginning in January 1971 (Perron 2011, 2013, 2014), Norma Sutcliffe (having acquired the property in 1987) has lived there with her companion Gerry for three times as long, and has never had trouble from demonic forces.

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That actual hole in the ozone

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

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

Paul is on vacation for the next week, so now you're stuck with his Morning Heresy understudy, Stef McGraw. Thanks to CFI Outreach intern Sam Farooqui for finding some of these stories, though no "thanks" should be given to her for finding the creepy fish with human-like teeth (see below).

We have an action alert out, and it's to urge your U.S. representative to oppose the hilariously misleadingly titled First Amendment Defense Act. From our alert:

[The bill] would bar the federal government from denying a tax exemption, grant, contract, license, certification, accreditation, or employment to a business, non-profit, or individual “based on their belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

Get angry and take action, because the hearing for the bill is taking place exactly a month (July 12) after the Orlando shooting of 49 LGBTQ people and allies.

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Deoxyribonucleic Bqhatevwr

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 30, 2016

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

Turns out some folks in Congress want to make it ok for contractors and organizations getting federal funds to be able to discriminate against LGBTQ folks because, you know, religion. Hell no, says us, and you should say so too

Dexter Filkins at The New Yorker lays out some of the possibilities as to who might be responsible for the Istanbul attack this week, and notes the weird relationship between ISIS and Turkey

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Levitation Claims: An Interview with Michael Grosso

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
June 29, 2016

Can people levitate? Michael Grosso, author of The Man Who Could Fly: St. Joseph of Copertino and the Mystery of Levitation, thinks so. I'm... skeptical. 

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Grand Theft Auto: Pale Blue Dot

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

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

Another terrorist attack, this time at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. At least 41 dead, more wounded, at the hands of three attackers with automatic weapons and suicide vests. Turkish officials point to the Islamic State, but they have not claimed responsibility. 

The Supreme Court lets stand a Washington state law that prohibits pharmacies from refusing to dispense medications on religious grounds. That's good!

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Space Ambulance

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 28, 2016

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

The Supreme Court strikes down Texas's cynical and draconian HB2, which would have forced the closure of most of the state's abortion clinics. It's, to abbreviate the vice-president, a B.F.D. Our boss said:

We are delighted that the Supreme Court saw through this transparent attempt to effectively ban abortion, an attempt propped up by manufactured pseudoscience. The legal right to an abortion is meaningless without reasonable access to abortion services, and this cynical move to cut off that access has been shown for what it is: the imposition of religious dogma on Americans’ lives. 

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Cosmopolitanism and its Enemies

by David R. Koepsell
June 27, 2016

The cosmopolitan ideal embraces our shared humanity as primary. More important than states, ideologies, religions, culture or ethnicity, the cosmopolitan human is a citizen of the world, and above all seeks to be in it rather than shy away from it. 

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Blessing Weapons

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 27, 2016

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

CFI's Michael De Dora appears in this new documentaryDefending Shia Rights: Mission to the UN, around the 22-minute mark, speaking specifically about Saudi Arabia. 

Make sure you catch up on the previous fortnight of CFI activity with the latest issue of Cause & Effect

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Brexit, Pursued by a Bear

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 24, 2016

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

A slim majority of the British people vote to leave the European Union and David Cameron says he will step down, for as a supporter of remaining in the EU, he does not believe he is the person to "captain the ship" at this point. Scotland and Northern Ireland aren't too keen on this whole idea, and we may have a Not-So-United Kingdom shortly. The British pound quickly devalues, and the Dow plunges almost 500 points. Oh, and Trump is over there right now. 

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