A Marginal Constituency

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 02, 2016

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

Just under 100 days to go before the election, and the conspiracies are in full swing. Donald Trump believes that the election will be rigged against him, which conveniently means that he wins no matter what happens, and also happens to be what he thought happened in 2012 too.

Trump backers are accusing Khizr Khan as being an agent of the Muslim brotherhood, and the late Captain Humayun Khan of having been a "double-agent" for Al Qaeda. Of course, right? Of course.

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Red Hot Pointy Things

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 01, 2016

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

You almost certainly are already aware of Trump's public battle with Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan. Do give a read to Ghazala's op-ed in the Post on Trump's attempt to take a whack at them for seeming to him to be subservient:

Donald Trump said that maybe I wasn’t allowed to say anything. That is not true. My husband asked me if I wanted to speak, but I told him I could not. My religion teaches me that all human beings are equal in God’s eyes. Husband and wife are part of each other; you should love and respect each other so you can take care of the family. 

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Jason Bourne Is Back

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
July 29, 2016

Jason Bourne reunites Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass about a decade after their film The Bourne Supremacy. By this time they're both old pros, which is both good and bad: good because the learning curve is behind them and bad because they seem on autopilot for Jason Bourne, and the end result isn't so much bad as it is stale.

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Project Malarkey

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 29, 2016

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

Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party last night, and as Hemant Mehta points out, this Bible-quoting methodist chose "e pluribus unum" as the American motto to emphasize (over that other one), and declared "I believe in science," followed by a wry giggle that read, to me, as "I can't believe I actually have to say that."

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The Dreamed Visit

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 28, 2016

This is about the reality of an illusional experience. Philosopher Paul Kurtz was founder of The Center for Inquiry. (Written in the style I’ve developed, called Improvisational Rhyming, the poem is probably more effective read aloud.)

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Lots of Things He Said Were Stupid

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 28, 2016

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

David Smith at The Guardian has a really interesting piece on the response of Jewish Democrats to the DNC staffer's email suggesting Bernie Sanders be attacked for atheism. The takeaway: For Jews in the party, at least, it would have made no difference:

Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, said on Tuesday: “...If I was running the DNC, no one would say that because I’d kill them. I mean that figuratively.” 

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Historical Gravity

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 27, 2016

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

Hillary Clinton was formally nominated last night by the Democratic Party, the first woman ever to be the candidate of a major party in U.S. history. You knew that already, but it seemed weird not to mention it. 

Wendy Kaminer (a Women in Secularism 4 speaker) is the guest on Point of Inquiry this week, having a rather pointed discussion with Lindsay Beyerstein on the conflict over things like free speech and safe spaces.

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What’s so great about the sword of reason?

The Outer Limits with Stephen Law
July 26, 2016

There are (at least) two ways in which we can attempt to influence the beliefs of others:

 

(i) We can use reason. We can provide scientific and other evidence to support beliefs, subject them to critical scrutiny, reveal contradictions and inconsistencies, and so on.

 

(ii) we can appeal to such mechanisms as peer-pressure, emotional manipulation, humour, sarcasm, repetition, fear (especially of uncertainty), tribalism, vanity, and so on.

 

Now, we free thinkers put a lot of emphasis on (i) rather than (ii), don't we? Why is that?

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Nothing To Do With Spaceships

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

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

In a statement cosigned by CFI's CEO Robyn Blumner, Board Chair Eddie Tabash, President Ronald Lindsay, and Council for Secular Humanism chief Tom Flynn, we came down hard on DNC CFO Brad Marshall for his suggested attacks on Bernie Sanders for his incorrectly presumed atheism. ...

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Three Dowsing Questions Answered

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
July 25, 2016

A brief and skeptical look at dowsing, including why an oil company wasted $7 billion in a fruitless search for oil when a dowser could presumably have located it (or not) for a few thousand dollars. 

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