Blog Archives for April 2017

A Worm-Like Creature

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

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

Pew Research looks at the connection between education levels and religious belief in the U.S. and finds that while higher levels of education are linked to lower levels of religious belief, it's not a blowout, and it doesn't even seem to apply to Christians.  

Does this count as a shark-jump? Pope Fluffy gives a TED Talk

I Am Just a Little Fish

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

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

Here's a cool thing: In the latest Richard Dawkins Foundation newsletter just out this morning, we have an exclusive excerpt from Annabelle Gurwitch's new book Wherever You Go, There They Are, provided just for us by Gurwitch herself. Remember, she's chatting with Dawkins in Boulder on May 22

The creator of the misogynistic "Red Pill" men's rights Reddit forum, "pk_atheist," is revealed by Bonnie Bacarisse of The Daily Beast to be New Hampshire GOP state legislator Robert Fisher. In one example posting, Fisher says, "I'm going to say it- Rape isn't an absolute bad, because the rapist I think probably likes it a lot. I think he'd say it's quite good, really." 

Nobody Cares about Polar Bears

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

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

The Morning Heresy now salutes Josh Zepps as we post his final episode hosting Point of Inquiry. He's got an awesome guest: SETI's Jill Tarter. WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN TO POINT OF INQUIRY?!?!?! Sssshhhh. Patience. All will become clear in time. 

Our own Michael De Dora and Nick Little coauthor an op-ed running at Religion News Service making the case that America's true "first freedom" is not the free exercise of religion, but freedom from religion...

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Ghost “Orbs” at the Witch’s Barn

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 24, 2017

Many ghost hunters insist that “orbs”—strange balls of light that mysteriously appear in their photos—are a form of “spirit energy.” If so, they seem nowhere more evident than at a Rhode Island barn where, according to some sources, two persons were hanged, including a witch named Bathsheba. She was central to the horror film, The Conjuring, reportedly based on the case files of the infamous Ed and Lorraine Warren, self-styled “demonologist” and “clairvoyant” who made a career of scaring people with made-up demons.

Homeopathic Parachute

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

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

Excellent marching, everyone. Seemed like the Marches for Science turned out to be a pretty big deal. Hey look! There's us! Here's CFI–Michigan's Jennifer Beahan in a Facebook video explaining why her group was taking part in the Lansing march. 

Science (the magazine) profiles some of the people behind the march and its organization. 

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A Thousand Separate Indignities

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

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

They actually did it. Russia bans Jehovah's Witnesses, deeming the sect to be "extremist," and confiscating its property.

PolitiFact now offers a list of known fake-news websites that you can check against. 

This is by no means a complete list of offenders. Nor does it mean every post on these websites is fake. But in most cases, these sites work hard to fool readers, and you should take that into consideration if should you see a link being shared from one.  

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If You Push Something

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

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

First off: Get your hot-off-the-servers edition of Cause & Effect: The CFI Newsletter

So Bill O'Reilly became too toxic for Fox News, and out he goes. But don't get too excited. Jesse Waters and Eric Bolling are getting promoted on the air, and O'Reilly's show will be taken over by the loathsome Tucker Carlson. Same as it ever was.

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So You’ve Been Transformed into a Paperclip

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 19, 2017

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

The world will not be destroyed today by the giant asteroid that's passing by the planet. So, I still have to do The Morning Heresy. #ThanksObama 

SCOTUS still intends to rule on the Trinity Luther Church case, even though Missouri's governor changed state policy to allow the church to apply for government funds. The ACLU and Americans United are calling on the Court to declare the case moot. 

Strategically Placed Seals

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 18, 2017

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

On climate change, Bill McKibben goes after the real enemy: Justin Trudeau. Wait. What?

Trudeau says all the right things, over and over. He’s got no Scott Pruitts in his cabinet: everyone who works for him says the right things. ... But those words are meaningless if you keep digging up more carbon and selling it to people to burn, and that’s exactly what Trudeau is doing. He’s hard at work pushing for new pipelines through Canada and the US to carry yet more oil out of Alberta’s tar sands, which is one of the greatest climate disasters on the planet. 

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Something Fundamentally Human

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 17, 2017

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

The National Bureau of Economic Research releases a study saying that the folks who are the most blindingly hyper-partisan are oder Americans, those who use the Internet the least. Oh-HO! Whose bubble is filtered now??? 

Mashal Khan, the Pakistani atheist student killed by a mob of fellow students over blasphemy allegations, had criticized his university and its chancellor in a video interview.

7 Comments

Try Shaming

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 14, 2017

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

Happy Friday. Here are some ways we'll all be made sick or put in peril by the administration's reversal of climate regulations. 

Hey maybe there are more atheists in the U.S. than we thought. If a novel study from the University of Kentucky is correct, it could be that as much as a quarter of the population or more is non-believing. But that's a pretty big "if," and other experts are skeptical. (Interestingly, the number of Republican atheists, according to this way of surveying folks, is about zero.)

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Bad Climatologists

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 13, 2017

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

Dina Ali Lasloom of Saudi Arabia was reportedly detained at an airport in the Philippines as she was attempting to seek asylum in Australia. In a video, she says, "If my family comes they will kill me, if I go back to Saudi Arabia I will be dead." 

Laboratory Scandal

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 12, 2017

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

The Morning Heresy salutes the great Lindsay Beyerstein, whose last episode of Point of Inquiry has now been posted, quite appropriately with guest Sarah Posner, discussing Trump's hijacking of the religious right. 

The Alabama Senate votes to allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham to have its own goddamn police force. Coincidentally, I'll be captain of the all-new CSICOP, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry COPS. Bad boys, watcha gonna do?

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Checking the Safety Check

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
April 11, 2017

Many people use Facebook's "Safety Check" function to alert friends and family that they are safe during attacks and disasters. But how useful is it? 

“The Conjuring” Double Bombshell

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 11, 2017

The author of the book that launched The Conjuring franchise (two main horror films and spin-offs based on the work of two notorious paranormal investigators) has now launched a double bombshell. He is suing the movies’ producers for allegedly violating his rights, while also stating that central claims in the movies are bogus.

Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Lake Monster?

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 11, 2017

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

I'm back. 

The San Jose Mercury News quotes CFI's Michael De Dora in an editorial telling Facebook and Twitter to "stand strong" against Pakistan's pressure to reveal the private information of those deemed to have posted "blasphemous" content. Michael takes Pakistan to task in a new essay as well.

Pakistan’s Hypocrisy on Freedom of Religion and Belief

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
April 06, 2017

At the UN Human Rights Council, Pakistan lamented an "increase in religiously motivated crimes" and said "states have the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its people." They conveniently forgot to mention their own record of promoting or tolerating intolerance, and stamping out any form of dissent.

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Joe Nickell Receives Distinguished Service Award

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 05, 2017

Thanks to the committee for Buffalo’s annual Science Exploration Day who — on the event day of March 22, 2017, at the University of Buffalo — honored me with the Distinguished Service Award. The following page appeared in the event booklet:

When Talking to the Dead Leads to Death

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

People claiming to speak with ghosts have at times led to serious consequences, including death.

The Degree To Which We Are All Screwed

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

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

Housekeeping note: I'll be away starting tomorrow and until Tuesday of next week. I promise you'll be okay. The rest of the world? Who can say.

The latest Cause & Effect newsletter is out, now on its new day, every other Wednesday. This new schedule was determined thanks to super-sophisticated algorithmic machine intelligence in order to maximalize optimization of consumer engagement. Plus it's the day the other newsletter comes out on the off-weeks.

There Are No Historical Facts

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 04, 2017

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

I recently read The Handmaid's Tale for the first time (and wow), and there's a new edition out with a new forward by Margaret Atwood, published in the New York Times:

In this divisive climate, in which hate for many groups seems on the rise and scorn for democratic institutions is being expressed by extremists of all stripes, it is a certainty that someone, somewhere — many, I would guess — are writing down what is happening as they themselves are experiencing it. Or they will remember, and record later, if they can. ...

The Gullible Tool of Liars

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 03, 2017

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

The Los Angeles Times, it seems, has freaking had it, beginning a multi-part editorial on the dishonesty of Donald Trump. Part one is an introduction:

What is most worrisome about Trump is Trump himself...

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