Refrigerator Magnets and Bouncy Balls

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

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

To start, I have some personal news that affects this blog-thing. Starting tomorrow, I'll be gone for two weeks as I head to California for a writer's retreat-fellowship-thing at the Mesa Refuge. Long story short, Rob Boston of Americans United was the first person to go to the Refuge as part of a new Free Thought Fellowship, and afterward he got to nominate the next person to go. So, in what I assume was a some drug-induced, delusional, manic state that probably included some frothing at the mouth, Rob nominated me. The Refuge folks agreed, and well, off I go...

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If They Are, They Are. If They’re Not, They’re Not.

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

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

Okay okay okay. We're all rationalists here, right? I mean, we all believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. WELL THEN. I SUBMIT TO YOU my extraordinary evidence that the End Times truly are upon us...

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Indirect and Brawny

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

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

Dearest Internet. I have found that the maxim "you just can't win" holds up remarkably well. It turns out that by merely pointing out the fact that some person holds some opinion about some thing, one has therefore implicitly endorsed that opinion -- on behalf of oneself and one's employer! That's right! Simply indicating that an opinion exists means that one is fully convinced by that opinion. How do I know this? From the Morally Superior and Righteously Aggrieved™ on Twitter, of course! And we know that they are never, ever wrong...

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Unless We’re Already Dead

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

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

As a short, awkward, nerdy aspie with no interest in sports, there have been few American institutions that I feel more alienated by than the National Football League. The grandiose NFL logo and the iconography of its franchises have always been, to me, shorthand for "turn back, Paul, lest thou be bullied." What a difference a weekend makes. Via Liz Clarke and Abby Phillip at the Post:

Some stood. Some kneeled. Some remained in the locker room, choosing to speak through their absence from the NFL’s pregame ceremonies, in which the American flag is displayed and the national anthem sung. But from London to Los Angeles, virtually all NFL players on the sidelines before kickoff of Sunday’s slate of 14 games locked arms with each other in response to President Trump’s three-day campaign demanding that team owners “fire or suspend” players who kneel during the national anthem and calling on fans to boycott games if the form of protest continued....

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Sarsaparilla for Syphilis?

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
September 22, 2017

I recently acquired an old sarsaparilla bottle, its label stating that it was intended for medical treatment of such diseases as “chronic rheumatism,” "obstinate cutaneous eruptions,” and “syphilitic conditions.” It was to be used orally, not topically. Yes, this is the same sarsaparilla long used as an herbal tea and tonic that evolved into a health drink before finally becoming a soda pop similar to root beer (Nickell 2011).

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Things Might Not Turn Out Fine

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 22, 2017

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

It's safe to go to Brigham Young University now. They're letting in Coke and Pepsi.

At Wired, Michelle Dean has a big story on what is a surprising degree of drama and stress (financial, personal, political, etc.) behind the scenes at Snopes.

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How a Puerto Rican Hurricane Spawned El Chupacabra

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
September 21, 2017

Hurricanes are well known in the Puerto Rico, but lesser known is how a storm twenty-eight years ago, Hurricane Hugo, helped spawn the world's most famous cryptozoological vampire: the chupacabra.

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Dis-Ease

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 21, 2017

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

Our boss, Robyn Blumner, is in Geneva for the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council, and yesterday she delivered an excellent statement on the persecution of atheists in Malaysia. (Don't let yourself be distracted by the incredibly orange and feathery woman sitting next to Robyn and the confused gentlemen who mills about behind her. You may have to watch it twice, but it's less than 2 minutes, so it's all good.)

In a piece for CFI's Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Harriet Hall looks at the findings about the myth of the male-or-female brain in a new book, Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science and Society, by Cordelia Fine...

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Dolphins or the Dead

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 20, 2017

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

The Earth continues to writhe.  

More than 200 people are killed in the devastation of a 7.1-magnitude earthquake across central Mexico. Joshua Partlow at the Washington Post reports:

Marisela Avila Gomez, 58, was in her apartment in the capital’s central Narvarte neighborhood when the shaking began, toppling her furniture and shattering the windows. A piece of glass sliced deep into her right leg. “My whole house is full of blood,” she said. 

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Behind the Scary Clown Juggalo March on Washington

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
September 19, 2017

Washington D.C. has more clowns in it than usual over the weekend: Juggalos protesting their FBI designation as a criminal gang. Here's the story. 

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