From TV miniseries to the Silver Screen: Pennywise Returns

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
September 05, 2017

Pennywise the evil clown returns later this week in the new version of Stephen King's It. Here's a look back at the film and character.

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A Dream of Purity in a Toxic World

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 05, 2017

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

Happy Tuesday-acting-like-a-Monday. I was at a wedding on Friday, and then we were off for Labor Day, so there's four days of news to catch up on here. I should have gotten up earlier. (HA HA HA cough cough HA HA HA)

Brandon Withrow at The Daily Beast does a deep dive into the study done by Will Gervais and others on people's biases against atheists...

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Gloriously Spiky

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 31, 2017

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

The Los Angeles City Council votes to scrap Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day. I like it.

After the uproar caused by the rape conviction of Indian mega-guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Swati Gupta and Vidhi Doshi at The Washington Post seek to understand the prevalence of spiritual movements in India that are outside of the religious mainstream...

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No Vamos a Pedir Documentos

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 30, 2017

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

The Washington Post correctly denounces the violent tactics of antifa groups.

Mr. Trump’s equation of white supremacists in Charlottesville with those who rallied against them was false and repugnant, but antifa activists’ deeds hardly promote the moral clarity necessary to isolate right-wing hate groups. Over time, such violence only benefits the very forces antifa purports to oppose. 

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Future Catastrophes

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 29, 2017

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

Just how bad is Hurricane Harvey? Meteorologist Eric Holthaus writes at Politico:

Harvey is likely already the worst rainstorm in U.S. history. An initial analysis ... compared Harvey’s rainfall intensity to the worst storms in the most downpour-prone region of the United States, the Gulf Coast. Harvey ranks at the top of the list, with a total rainwater output equivalent to 3.6 times the flow of the Mississippi River. (And this is likely an underestimate, because there’s still two days of rains left.) ... disaster economist Kevin Simmons [says] Harvey’s economic toll “will likely exceed Katrina”—the most expensive disaster in U.S. history. Harvey is now the benchmark disaster of record in the United States.

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Ethics in Spirit Mediumship and Ghostly Communications

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
August 28, 2017

Usually when people think of ghostly communication it's in a positive or light, but there are real ethical issues with the practice.

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It Shouldn’t Be a Surprise

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 28, 2017

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

Hurricane Harvey is called "an 800-year event," pounding Texas, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes, with rainfall measured in feet rather than inches. FEMA's William Long said, "We have not seen an event like this. You could not draw this forecast up. You could not dream this forecast up." The onslaught will continue into this week, with the city of Houston (which I didn't know was the country's 4th-largest city) looking at several years of recovery ahead of it. 

Here are ways you can donate to help with relief efforts. 

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H. David Sox (1936–2016)

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
August 25, 2017

H. David Sox—a onetime advocate for the Shroud of Turin who was later persuaded it was a fake and went on to delve into other art forgeries—has died. He and I knew each other only slightly but respected each other’s work, and I am deeply saddened by his loss.

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Are You Nuts or Just Plane Dumb

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 25, 2017

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

I admit that I felt (feel) a sense of panic over the white supremacists in Charlottesville and the response of the president. So I needed to talk to someone smarter than me about it, someone wiser, an expert in humanism, and with a sexy British accent. Lo and behold, I bring you the latest episode of Point of Inquiryin which I talk to (and am counseled by) James Croft of the Ethical Society of St. Louis.

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Embittered Punitive Nitpicking

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 24, 2017

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

CFI and our legal director Nick Little are front and center in this Deseret News piece by Kelsey Dallas. She reports on our community's efforts to be included in the process of policymaking, particularly regarding religion and international religious freedom. "We will stand with coalitions and groups defending Christians around the world," said Nick, "and it's also important that the U.S. opposes atheists being threatened." 

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