Can Hair Turn White Overnight?

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
March 03, 2014

For centuries, it has been widely believed that fright can turn hair white. They say that the hair of condemned prisoners (such as Thomas More and Marie Antoinette) turned white the night before their executions. They say that many people who have terrifying experiences with ghosts find that their hair has turned white as... snow. Of course, "they" say a lot of things.

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A Flash of Luminescence in a Great Dark Ocean

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 03, 2014

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

NPR's Michele Norris will be at a CFI-Michigan event March 12 in Grand Rapids. How cool is that? 

A federal judge says Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages from out of state, and gives the state until March 20 to get its ducks in a row. 

Sharon Hill at Skeptical Inquirer explores the desire by many to believe that prehistoric and long-dead species are still among us.

This is genuinely useful: Tim Farley shows you how to debunk questionable images really quickly with a couple of clicks. 

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Evidence-Based Reasoning: Comments on a Blog Post

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
February 27, 2014

Evidence-Based Reasoning. This is a phrase you hear skeptics use a lot. We at CFI use it. We firmly believe in the importance of evidence-based reasoning and critical thinking. This is one reason I’m disappointed in Ben Radford’s recent post. Ben has done some good work for this organization over the years, but I’m afraid this latest post may have been written in some haste.

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Pink Monopoly and Pink Pens

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 27, 2014

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

Ensaf Haider, wife of imprisoned Saudi dissident Raif Badawi, gives a heartbreaking interview to IFEX:

Raef's health has deteriorated; he developed diabetes when he was first arrested, and he has faced problems with his heart. He also suffers from unsanitary detention conditions and from malnutrition, but I have not heard anything about him being subjected to torture or anything of the sort. Despite all of this, his morale is very high and he is not broken. ... My life has changed 180 degrees, it is enough to say that overnight I became both mother and father to my children, and I live in a daily nightmare of questions from my children about Raef. 

Arizona governor Jan Brewer vetoes SB 1062. She says:  

Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated. 

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“The Invisible Woman”: A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 26, 2014

Charles Dickens (1812–1870), the most popular and one of the greatest of English novelists, also deserves plaudits for his literary indictments of society for abusing the poor. To be sure, however, he did have faults. For instance, he fostered belief in the pseudoscientific notion of spontaneous human combustion in his novel Bleak House (1852), although Dickens at least seemed honest in his error.

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The Anatomy of False Accusations: A Skeptical Case Study

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
February 26, 2014

False accusations are of particular interest to skeptics because skepticism has often been at the forefront of giving voice to the wrongly accused. Here's a recent case study. 

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“You (non-Christian) Kids Get Off My Lawn!”

Hollywood Reality Check with Jim Underdown
February 26, 2014

Nowadays, to be intolerant is not the opposite of being Christian, it’s the essence of it!

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Negative Ninjas

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 26, 2014

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

Mitt Romney and John McCain are among the Republicans calling on Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the anti-gay "religious freedom" bill passed by the legislature, and she is expected to do so

Eric Sasson at TNR calls these new "religious freedom" bills "the new stand-your-ground laws":

Purporting to be against discrimination, these lawmakers are trying to use the victim card against the very people they want to discriminate against.  

Indiana's House, for now at least, ditches its own "religious freedom" bill

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The State of Our Meatball

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 25, 2014

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

The state of our Meatball is strong (the "meatball" is the loving nickname we have for the logo): CFI releases its annual report for 2013, "Progress Report: Advances in Advocacy, Community, and Inquiry." It's mighty pretty, is full of really inspiring developments for our organization, and has a free toy inside. Okay, there's no toy, but you can read it anyway. 

Gabriel Sherman is the guest on Point of Inquiry, talking to Josh Zepps about his big exposé on Fox News Supreme Leader Roger Ailes.

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If Scientific Accuracy is Your Jam

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 24, 2014

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

Today's Morning Heresy starts the week on a terribly sad note, as over the weekend freethought activist and friend of the blog Eric Broze died suddenly of unknown causes. Even if you don't know Eric, you're probably aware of some of his work for the movement, which includes the Coming Out Godless project, done with his wife Rose Schwartz, and spearheading the United Church of Bacon based in Las Vegas. 

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