Blog Archives for July 2017

Turin Shroud: “Blood” Still Fake

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 28, 2017

“New research,” reports the Catholic News Agency (July 14, 2017), indicates that the “Shroud of Turin Bears Blood of a Torture Victim.” Actually, it was the research that was tortuous: questionable science in the service of confirmation bias.

I’m Going to Burn This

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

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

Quick housekeeping note: I, your Morning...Heretecist(?) will be on vacation starting tomorrow, and all through next week. And let's be honest, considering the news environment, I'm kind of giving you a vacation too. Enjoy your increased sanity while I'm away. It won't last!

Nothing does!

2 Comments

A Demonic Brew

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

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

Jack Jenkins at ThinkProgress does a thorough job of reporting on the GOP's sneaky moves to defang the Johnson Amendment through the budget process, and open the floodgates for churches to turn into secret PACs. And naturally, he talks to CFI's legal director Nick Little, who tells him, "You could have unlimited dark money flowing to a campaign if this gets passed, and there is nothing the IRS could do about it. They would be getting a double benefit."

1 Comment

Narcissism, Impulsivity, Poor Attention Span, Paranoia

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

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

After the Australian Broadcasting Company's big exposé on the abuse suffered by women within Christian church communities, church leaders are finally making some noise about taking meaningful action. Julia Baird and Hayley Gleeson report:

The Anglican Primate of Australia, Archbishop Philip Freier, said he supported an unequivocal apology expressed this week by an Anglican priest to victims of domestic abuse in the Church. "I'm hoping that there will be some words of apology to people who have experienced domestic violence and any failure from the Church at our General Synod, coming up in September," the Archbishop said...

1 Comment

Never Date a Cancer

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

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

KPFA in Berkeley, California cancelled a Richard Dawkins event, totally out of the blue, because of what they said were views they disagreed with and what they called "abusive speech," all without providing any examples of evidence. Prof. Dawkins wrote a response in an open letter to KPFA, and we did our own public response as well. As you can imagine, this conflict has lit the bonfire now for the cooking of many hot takes -- a great many of which are coming from right-wing sites who delight in seeing progressives at odds with each other.

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Unco Junto: The Nature of Hypocrisy

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

Hypocrisy seems to be a running theme on the news and in social media, especially in the political sphere. But what is the nature of hypocrisy? Michael Hartwell, Ian Harris, and Celestia Ward join me in examining the question.

3 Comments

[garbled]

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

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

Sorry I'm late with this. But check this out! The National Health Service of England announced a ban on homeopathic and herbal medicines, saying, "At best homeopathy is a placebo and a misue of scarce NHS funds which could be better devoted to treatments that work." NICE. 

In a poll by the Royal Society, Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene tops a list of the most influential science books of all time.

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Cartoon: Obamacare Repeal

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 21, 2017

Artwork by Joe Nickell.

Too Busy Worrying About the Poor

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

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

John McCain has brain cancer. His opponent for the presidency in 2008, one Barack Obama, tweeted:

John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I've ever known. Cancer doesn't know what it's up against. Give it hell, John.  

1 Comment

The T. Rex and the Hare

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

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

Hey look look look look the latest episode of Point of Inquiry is up, in which I have a really fun talk with The Verge's space reporter Loren Grush about U.S. space policy in the Trump era, the hostility women still face in the sciences, the feasibility of human missions to Mars, and whether Mike Pence ruined space forever when he disobeyed that sign. Share and enjoy.

Maybe I Am a Sucker After All

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

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

California extends its climate change-combating cap-and-trade program to 2030 in a vote that Gov. Jerry Brown called the "most important" vote of these legislators' lives. No pressure.

Don't worry, Catholics with celiac disease. You don't have to eat Jesus to become one with Jesus. You do have to drink him, though.

Theologically Marooned

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

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

Kendrick Frazier, editor of CFI's Skeptical Inquirerpens an op-ed in the Albuquerque Journal on the Roswell UFO story, and how "established facts of the Roswell incident will of course never catch up with the charming myth."

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rules that exclusively Christian prayers by county commissioners in Rowan County, North Carolina is a violation of the Establishment Clause.

A Problem to Be Managed

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

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

There's a really interesting piece by Michael Hiltzik in the LA Times about how Johnson & Johnson is being sued over an alleged link between their talcum powder and ovarian cancer. The science doesn't seem to fully support this claim, but J&J may get slammed anyway, in part because of the "David and Goliath" dynamic and the notion that J&J "must be guilty of something." 

3 Comments

Ocean Waters and Hubris

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

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

C is for cookie, except when it's a Delaware-sized iceberg that's just wrenched itself from Antarctica. So now C, as in the Larsen C ice shelf, is for climate change. Or catastrophe. Or "crap, we're all screwed."

Perhaps I'm not being helpful here. Case in point: Largely in response to New York magazine's recent we're-gonna-be-cooked-alive-by-global-warming piece, Michael Mann, Susan Joy Hassol, and Tom Toles write in the Washington Post, "There is no need to overstate [the threat of climate change], particularly when it feeds a paralyzing narrative of doom and hopelessness."

2 Comments

NutraMeet®

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

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

The smart people at Vox wanted to know more about why people believe in -- and think they have even seen -- ghosts. Obviously, they'd want to talk to Joe Nickell. So they came to CFI HQ and put Joe in their video report, and it's great.

1 Comment

Totally Sober

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

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

NASA live-streamed a real-time simulation of the Juno spacecrafts's pass over Jupiter's red spot. Actual images will start coming in July 14.

But all is not celebratory in the world of planetary science. A survey of astronomers shows that 28% of women of color feel unsafe at work because of their race, and 40% feel unsafe because of their gender. Astronomers. "Oh my, Morning Heretic," you might be thinking. "This must be an oldy-timey survey from many decades ago. Scientists are so above this now." And you'd be wrong.

Gardner and Randi Signed Picture

Access Points with Timothy Binga
July 10, 2017

Recently, Douglas Kinney, one of our regular donors of books and other library materials, came by our headquarters in Amherst, New York. As usual, he dropped off some books for our libraries. Additionally, he donated this rare photograph.

Worse Than You Think

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 10, 2017

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

The Amelia Earhart mystery got even more interesting last week with the unveiling of an incorrectly-filed photograph from 1937 that shows what very well may be Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan in the Marshall Islands, supporting the theory that they survived the plane's disappearance and were subsequently captured by the Japanese.

Eclectic Medicine

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 07, 2017

In nineteenth century America, a number of what today are called “alternative” medical practices—“magnetic healing” (hypnosis), homeopathy, and eclecticism, among others—vied with each other and with regular or “old school” medicine—i.e., allopathy, today’s science-based medicine.

Frustrated by the Lack of Bayesianism

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 07, 2017

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

Yesterday I screwed up the link to Andy Ngo's blog post again. Is there some supernatural force that is causing me to prevent you from reading Andy's piece??? Well, in your face, supernatural force, because third time's the charm! Here's Andy's "The Orlando Selfie."

(Did I get it right this time?) 

Chupacabra and the Nightjar: Response to Colavito

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
July 06, 2017

Following up on my book Tracking the Chupacabra, I have occasionally written about varied speculative pseudohistories of the chupacabra, including a reputed link to a nightjar bird.

Hammurabi Lobby

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 06, 2017

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

France has a crazy idea: Let's stop kids from dying of measles. I know, I know, only the French would come up with something so nutty. But it's true. Parents will be required to vaccinate their kids beginning next year.  

There's a new book about SETI's Jill Tarter by Sarah Scoles, and two big science-y mags are running excerpts: Popular Science and Wired. Tarter is also a fellow of CFI's Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

It Will Be the Shockwave That Gets You

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

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

Posts on social media are at the center of a lot of crazy stuff right now. 

To celebrate our freedom from British tyranny, NPR tweeted out the text of the Declaration of Independence. It...confused some people:

Some supporters of Donald Trump didn’t recognize one of the nation’s founding documents and accused the broadcaster of inciting violence and even revolution. 

Sunshine Makes Things Grow

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

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

Last week, we helped spur some news coverage of the sneaky GOP scheme to undermine the Johnson Amendment through the budget process, and to do so for the benefit of churches (as no other institutions, religious or secular, are mentioned): The Associated Press did a great report on this, plus more good stuff from Newsweek and Bustle.

Trump thought this GIF of him beating up a personified CNN was cool, so he tweeted it out. That'll show the dishonest media! CNN calls it an incitement to violence against journalists. Jerry Falwell Jr. approves! The source of this creation is a straight-up racist Reddit troll who also makes images like this.