Blog Archives for November 2016

This Wallowing Notion of Freedom

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 30, 2016

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

Well, they got me. My Quote of the Day yesterday was premised on a fake Trump tweet, and I feel really stupid. The fake, it is everywhere. My apologies.

NONETHELESS, CFI has officially come out in opposition to the REAL tweet in which Trump called for the criminalization of flag burning. CFI president Ron Lindsay:

If America stands for anything, it is the fundamental human right to free speech, which includes the right to express dissent and criticism of one’s own government... 

7 Comments

Stagecoach Tavern Ghosts

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
November 29, 2016

Where my travels take me, I often have occasion to check out a “haunted” tavern or inn. In several months’ time in 2015–2016, for example, I visited two such places in Australia, others in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, Vancouver’s Gastown, and Niagara Falls, NY, and then in June 2016, the Tavern on Main in Chepachet, RI.

We Are Not in the Fourteenth Century

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

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

Today is Giving Tuesday, which you probably already know due to the emails piling up in your inbox from do-gooder nonprofits like us. But make no mistake, the incoming administration is not one that is friendly to things like science, reason, facts, or free expression. We're ready to take it on, so come and join us

At a time when millions are nostalgic for an America that probably never was, the Point of Inquiry team thought it would be a good time to rebroadcast a 2013 interview with conservative political humorist PJ O'Rourke

4 Comments

Let Him Be Struck with Palsy and All His Members Blasted

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

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

Has your life been empty over the past week? Did you feel like your soul had been sucked into a swirling vortex of nothingness? You'd probably presume that's because there was no Morning Heresy all last week. But now we're back, and oh look, that swirling vortex is still there. Because people have begun to lose their hopes and forget their dreams. So the Nothing grows stronger.

OMG there's so much stuff to catch up on.

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Unco Junto:  The Nature and Appeal of Authenticity

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
November 22, 2016

Much of Donald Trump's appeal is based upon his percieved authenticity, as it is for many actors, writers, musicians, and performers. We all play different roles for different people, so what is "authenticity," why is it prized, and is it even possible? 

Old English Black Oil Liniment

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
November 22, 2016

“Black Oil” is an old English name for a horse liniment. It eventually came to be sold in America as “a never failing Remedy for Man and Beast.”

Mother Gray’s Sweet Powders

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
November 18, 2016

LeRoy, New York, has many claims to fame—apart from the mysterious twitching outbreak I investigated for Skeptical Inquirer in 2012. It was the birthplace of Jell-O in 1897 (the museum is well worth seeing) as well as something called Mother Gray’s Sweet Powders for Children, among other products.

Souls Could Be at Risk

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 18, 2016

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

Washington State Sen. Doug Ericksen says protests could be considered "economic terrorism" and wants to make participating in demonstrations a felony.

Education Week looks at Trump's voucher plan for public schools, and some states' Blaine amendments may be one of the only roadblocks to public funding of religious schools.  

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My Debate at the YPU: Religion Has No Place in Government

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
November 17, 2016

The Yale Political Union invited me and the Christian writer/scholar Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig to debate this topic: Resolved: Religion Should Have No Place in Government.

Beautiful, Spiritual, Helpful, Controlling, Lucrative, Great Fun, or Simply Stupid

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 17, 2016

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

The theme for today is fakery, fake-ness, go ahead fake my day, fake my wife please, have your fake and eat it too, fake a penny leave a penny, John Fake-ob Jingleheimer Schmidt, fake me a cake as fast as you can, fake me when it's over, and virulent in-fake-tions.

7 Comments

A Cabal of Vicious Zealots

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 16, 2016

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

Because of some news we're working on, this has to be super quick.

Ensaf Haidar, global activist and wife of imprisoned Saudi dissident Raif Badawi, writes to Donald Trump in Newsweek:

We must support those who, from within, challenge Islamic law and fight for freedom of speech, press, religion on a daily basis. Those brave young women and men like Raif. ... Let it also be your mission, President-elect Trump. I urge you to help me secure Raif’s release, as well as all prisoners of conscience around the world. 

5 Comments

Bad People Will Be Stuck in a World Turned to Hell

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 15, 2016

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

Today is Openly Secular Day, and I have to tell you, this is the time to make yourself known, folks. If you can, tell one person today

Larry Decker, chief of the Secular Coalition for America (of which CFI is a member) is the guest on Point of Inquiry this week, talking with Josh Zepps about - what else? - the bloody election.

6 Comments

A Skeptical Look at ‘Doctor Strange’

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
November 14, 2016

'Doctor Strange' is a good superhero film, but I winced a bit when Strange, the symbolic man of medicine, rationality, and science, is beguiled by his new master.

4 Comments

I Say it Right to the Camera

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 14, 2016

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

Tomorrow is Openly Secular Day, your chance to take the Tell One Person pledge, and if you're nearby, attend the Openly Secular Day flagship event with Julia Sweeney, Hemant Mehta, and Rebecca Markert in Madison, Wisconsin. 

White nationalist, conspiracy monger, and faux journalist Steve Bannon will be President-elect Donald Trump's chief strategist. Trump's lead domestic policy advisor for the transition is Ken Blackwell, who believes you can convert the gays. Ben Carson, who has wacky ideas about evolution and what the pyramids were for, may be our next education secretary.

5 Comments

Millions of People Will Suffer

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 11, 2016

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

Eddie Tabash, Chair of CFI's Board of Directors, and a man who could crush your bones just by looking at you askance, tells the CFI community that in a Trump presidency, "We will face the greatest threats to our freedoms and our values that many of us have ever seen..."

4 Comments

People Do Not Go On To Do Good Things When They Are Scared

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 10, 2016

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

Kimberly Winston at RNS takes a first look at the implications of a Trump presidency on the freethought movement. She gets some thoughts from assorted secular groups' leaders, oh, and me too:

Paul Fidalgo, director of communications for the Center for Inquiry, said the election of Trump will send the organization back to its roots — the promotion of evidence-based reasoning and provable facts. “It is time for the secular community to gear up big-time because we should expect, once again, the basic tenets of secularism are going to be challenged very, very hard,” Fidalgo said. “That is the reality.”

8 Comments

On Trump

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
November 09, 2016

A few notes and corrections about Trump's election, in the hopes I may offer some insight, if not reassurance.

4 Comments

The Question Christians Must Now Ask Themselves

Guest Blog from Nicholas Little
November 09, 2016

Christian groups will get much that they want from the upcoming regime; their coffers will be protected from taxation, they will receive taxpayer funds to proselytize, their business-owning members will likely be permitted to refuse service to LGBT people. Yet at what cost?

We Are Being Asked the Impossible

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 09, 2016

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

Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States.  

Scientists are scared

Stephen Law, provost of CFI–UK, asks for a discussion of who to blame...

4 Comments

Trump and the who-to-blame game

The Outer Limits with Stephen Law
November 09, 2016

So Trump is elected. He was not my preferred candidate. At times like this, I find that I, like all human beings, want SOMEONE TO BLAME (revised 12th Nov '16)

Don’t Boo, Goat!

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 08, 2016

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

Deep breath. Did you vote? You're gonna, right? I totally did. But I think I may have accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan. Hashtag-jokes-from-16-years-ago.

Holy crap was that actually 16 years ago?  

Anyway, this psychic goat says Hillary Clinton will be elected. However, a monkey, some dogs, and a shark have predicted the race for Donald Trump. Me, I tend to trust goats more, but the facts in favor of a Trump victory are compelling. So who knows.

4 Comments

“Miraculous” Infant Jesus of Prague

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
November 07, 2016

The Infant Jesus of Prague is a small (18.5 inches tall) wax-covered wood statue of the child Jesus in a church in Prague, Czech Republic. Many of the faithful believe it to have magical powers.

Culmination of the Conspiratorial

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 07, 2016

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

Edge of the abyss. I am ready to jump. Happy Monday.

I, Paul Fidalgo, your Morning Heretic, am quoted in an Associated Press piece on how facts have been beaten to a bloody pulp lately. 

5 Comments

Somehow Disintegrated

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 04, 2016

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

Yesterday, the intrepid Justin Scott got Iowa governor Terry Branstad on camera, and asked him about outreach to nonreligious voters. His response was that they need to be "preached" to, and that parents need to get their kids into church. Yep. That's how he thinks we should get the "nones" involved in politics. We couldn't let this go, so we got Cody Hashman, our director of the Openly Secular campaign, to comment:

For a sitting governor to assert that church and religious belief are the way into political involvement is deeply disappointing. As an Iowan, I would hope our governor would look to connect with his secular constituents, not convert them. Don’t preach to us, governor. Reach out to us. 

1 Comment

Cubs win, but what about the Universe?

Hollywood Reality Check with Jim Underdown
November 03, 2016

Coins land on edge, someone wins the lottery, asteroids kill off large swaths of life on our planet, a universe pops into existence. All of these things happen without defying the laws of physics. The Core Theory is intact. We’re ok.

Squash Us All

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 03, 2016

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

I am told that a sports franchise based in Illinois has won a key victory that was a century in the making. Hemant Mehta, besides apparently being a partisan for this athletic faction, is also glad to see the possible end of talk about Cubs curses

Skeptical Inquirer's Ben Radford and CSI Fellow Seth Shostak are both guests on Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk Radio. I haven't listened yet, but Ben says they talk about cow butts.

3 Comments

Islam - No Mockery Allowed: A New Case

The Outer Limits with Stephen Law
November 03, 2016

Athlete Louis Smith has been disciplined by British Athletics for mocking Islam.

7 Comments

Amelia the Badass

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

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

The D.C. Death with Dignity Act, which we supported, passes 11-2. If you reached out to your councilperson, Washingtonians, thank you. Mayor Muriel Bowser is expected to sign it. I should note, however, that Congress has ultimate say over the District, so if they decide to make this a thing, out it goes.

Pope Fluffy pats godless Sweden on the back for taking in asylum seekers, and then puts the kibosh on the idea that women could ever be ordained in his oh-so-fluffy church.

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Corruption, Worldliness, Greed, and Lust for Power

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

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

We all just got back from CSICon, and then yesterday my car died in the airport parking lot, so there was no Heresy. Which means I have a lot of catching up to do in this space. Okay. Deep breath.

CSICon: Holy crap what a great conference that was. I can't do it justice here, but I think I did at least a lot of it justice with my blogathon coverage at CFI Live. Go see! 

Today the D.C. city council is going to vote on the Death with Dignity Act, so if you live there, get clicking on our action alert

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