Haunted Buffalo Asylum

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
August 10, 2017

Among Western New York’s allegedly most haunted sites stands the architecturally acclaimed H.H. Richardson complex, begun in 1871 and opened in 1880 as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane. Its two 185-foot towers rose from a four-story structure originally flanked on either side by five stepped wards, with its female wing being completed in 1895. Based on the humanitarian philosophy of Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride, the asylum was intended to provide curative hospitalization for the mentally ill. Crowded by a surge in patients, its occupancy was eventually exceeded by the thousands. In 1927 half the grounds were lost to a college, and more were claimed by modern buildings in the late 1960s.

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The Patagotitan in the Room

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 10, 2017

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

BuzzFeed wanted to know what was really in the supplements hawked by Alex Jones on Infowars (Goop for men!™), so they had an independent lab test them -- in triplicate -- and the results are not surprising. While they more or less contain what they claim to contain, and seem to be safe, they don't actually do anything.

Here's something Infowars and Goop may want to look into: The eggs of parasitic worms (specifically, Trichuris suis, the pig whipworm). 

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This is an Amazing Soufflé

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 09, 2017

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

Despite the best efforts of our president, life on Earth has not yet been extinguished. But, you know, give it a day. Besides, Pastor Robert Jeffress says, "God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un," and that he may use "whatever means necessary." Well, if we're sure that God is cool with it...

And here's a thing. You knew Carl Sagan was pretty damned smart. But did you know he was a prophet

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The Old Fringes

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 08, 2017

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

Please imagine now that I am dressed in a silver wig and oversized glasses, not unlike one Sophia Petrillo/Estelle Getty from The Golden Girls. Actually, exactly like that.

Picture it: Earth. 517 A.D. The Year of the Consulship of Agapitus and Paulus. The Byzantine Empire is in tumult, Aryabhata is figuring out the planet's axial rotation, and the people of Illyria are blissfully unaware of the earthquake that will soon destroy the city of Scupi...

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RFID of the Beast

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 07, 2017

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

And we're back. I returned home from my vacation literally 12 hours before starting this post, so I'm a little out of step with what's going on in the news. Here's a stab at catching both you and me up. 

Our own Joe Nickell gets a big profile with a lot of fantastic young-Joe photos in the UK's Daily Mail.

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Turin Shroud: “Blood” Still Fake

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 28, 2017

“New research,” reports the Catholic News Agency (July 14, 2017), indicates that the “Shroud of Turin Bears Blood of a Torture Victim.” Actually, it was the research that was tortuous: questionable science in the service of confirmation bias.

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I’m Going to Burn This

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 27, 2017

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

Quick housekeeping note: I, your Morning...Heretecist(?) will be on vacation starting tomorrow, and all through next week. And let's be honest, considering the news environment, I'm kind of giving you a vacation too. Enjoy your increased sanity while I'm away. It won't last!

Nothing does!

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A Demonic Brew

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 26, 2017

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

Jack Jenkins at ThinkProgress does a thorough job of reporting on the GOP's sneaky moves to defang the Johnson Amendment through the budget process, and open the floodgates for churches to turn into secret PACs. And naturally, he talks to CFI's legal director Nick Little, who tells him, "You could have unlimited dark money flowing to a campaign if this gets passed, and there is nothing the IRS could do about it. They would be getting a double benefit."

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Narcissism, Impulsivity, Poor Attention Span, Paranoia

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

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

After the Australian Broadcasting Company's big exposé on the abuse suffered by women within Christian church communities, church leaders are finally making some noise about taking meaningful action. Julia Baird and Hayley Gleeson report:

The Anglican Primate of Australia, Archbishop Philip Freier, said he supported an unequivocal apology expressed this week by an Anglican priest to victims of domestic abuse in the Church. "I'm hoping that there will be some words of apology to people who have experienced domestic violence and any failure from the Church at our General Synod, coming up in September," the Archbishop said...

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Never Date a Cancer

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

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

KPFA in Berkeley, California cancelled a Richard Dawkins event, totally out of the blue, because of what they said were views they disagreed with and what they called "abusive speech," all without providing any examples of evidence. Prof. Dawkins wrote a response in an open letter to KPFA, and we did our own public response as well. As you can imagine, this conflict has lit the bonfire now for the cooking of many hot takes -- a great many of which are coming from right-wing sites who delight in seeing progressives at odds with each other.

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