“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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Repealing the Burkini Ban Doesn’t Address the Real Problem

by Nicholas Little
August 26, 2016

The ban and the way it was enforced were wrong. But while our commitment to religious freedom and free speech and expression requires us to support the right of women to dress as they wish, whether that be in “revealing” or “modest” attire, or anything in between, whether for purely personal or religious reasons, in the significant majority of cases, religious dress codes for women are not voluntarily adopted by their wearers.

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Additional Monsters

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 26, 2016

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

So there's these "nones," right? And you're all, hey, why'd these nones all decide not to be a part of a formal religion? Totally good question. Oh hey! Pew has answers. Half of nones just don't believe in any religions (ahem, but they're not all "atheists," ahem). 20% simply didn't like organized religion for various reasons, and 10% were just non-practicing believers...

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Prox B or Bust

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 25, 2016

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

Astronomers discover an Earth-like planet orbiting within the "Goldilocks zone" of the star closest to our own, Proxima Centauri, 4.2 light-years away. It's a huge, huge deal. "The planet’s proximity to Earth gives hope that robotic probes could someday be zooming past the planet for a close-up look," writes Kenneth Chang at NYT. The planet is for now designated "Proxima Centauri b" or "Proxima b" and I'm seeing it shorthanded sometimes as "Prox b," which begins to sound like a California ballot measure.

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The School Auditorium Ghost

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
August 24, 2016

Sometimes a ghostbusting skeptic just gets lucky. So it was, following my luncheon speech at a CFI conference, when an attendee told me she knew the true facts behind the “haunting” of Pembroke Middle School in Corfu, N.Y.

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No One Blows Like Gaston

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

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

It's pit bulls and the paranoid on Point of InquiryLindsay Beyerstein talks to Bronwen Dickey about 1) the myths about pit bulls and 2) the "Conspira-Sea Cruise" that she reported on for Popular Mechanics (and to which I linked in a previous Heresy). 

Yesterday we announced that at CSICon this October, the Balles Prize in Critical Thinking will go to Julia Belluz of Vox.com. If you read the Heresy, you already know how awesome she is, and what good she does exposing pseudoscience nonsense. 

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