Schiaparelli Was Right

September 29, 2015

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

Liquid water on Mars. Liquid water on Mars, y'all.

Tomorrow is International Blasphemy Rights Day, and Muhammad Syed of Ex-Muslims of North-America will speak at CFI HQ in Amherst.

Robert P. George is the chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and he's also someone who really hates Bill Nye and abortion rights

Hey is it okay if I mention my podcast Thinkery? Of course it is. Last week we had skeptical podcasting pioneer Swoopy as a guest, and this week we have tech journalist and Internet troubadour Andy Ihnatko! 

Maryam Namazie is dis-disinvited from speaking at Warwick University. 

Christian "youth culture" mag Relevant rounds up the dopest televangelist outfits, and my favorite is The Red Velvet Cake. 

Ronald H. Pine and Eliécer E. Gutiérrez in Skeptical Inquirer pick apart the problems with the Bryan Sykes Bigfoot-Yeti-DNA hubbub.

Ben Radford explores a troubling case in New Jersey of alleged sexual assault of a man with cerebral palsy, and the claims of consent through "facilitated communication." 

Ben joins a panel of skeptics including Susan Gerbic for a discussion about popular mis- and disinformation at Hopes & Fears

At Wright State University, a campus preacher tears up a Quran, is attacked by a student, and as Hemant puts it, "The only people who came off looking good here were the cops." Oof.  

The BBC special on the Bangladeshi bloggers is now on YouTube for folks outside the UK to see. And here's video of Raheel Raza, representing CFI at the UN Human Rights Council, talking about the Bangladesh situation.

BBC also has a report by Samira Ahmed on the struggles of ex-Muslims in the UK

"Learning is our final freedom," says CFI's David Koepsell, reflecting on a couple decades as an educator

Check your skeptic cred with this pseudoscience quiz at How Stuff Works. (I got one wrong, about tornadoes.)

Forgive me, Lord, for I have accidentally catered a gay wedding with my pizza

The police chief of Childress, TX responds to FFRF's request they remove the "In God We Trust" motto on police cars by telling them to "go fly a kite." Well, that sounds like fun and all, but doesn't really address the issue.

Looks like atheist YouTuber Jaclyn Glenn has some explaining to do, preferably in her own words.

Quote of the Day:

Tim Wu, on Twitter:

Schiaparelli was right -- they found canals on Mars.    

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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#1 Randy on Wednesday October 07, 2015 at 8:29pm


I assume therefore that your claim is that some people must be denied their right to sexual pleasure, for their entire lives.  For their own protection, of course.


#2 Randy on Wednesday October 07, 2015 at 10:41pm

“Check your skeptic cred”.  Oh boy.  Either I’m going to look silly, or they are. 

I’m surprised to learn that a scientific “hyphothesis” (that’s how they’re spelling it) is a sort of limited-scope theory. As someone with a science degree, this comes as a bit of a shock, because I’ve never seen the term used to describe anything other than proposed explanations yet to be tested.  It’s not about scope, and it’s not about how much evidence already exists.  It’s about what you’re testing.  Indeed, competing hypotheses (sorry, “hyphotheses”) can have varying degrees of scope, which may lead to the selection of one over the other.

The claim “Actually, you lose just as much heat per square inch through your head as you do through the rest of your body”, but an infrared camera proves rather quickly that this is not true.  They have the correct answer, but a wrong explanation.

And “did people believe the world was flat?”.. the answer MUST be “Yes” because even TODAY there are people who believe the world is flat.  But they want you to say “no” because there were ALSO people who knew the truth.  It’s a terrible question.

“Is the Great Wall of China visible from space?” Of COURSE it is.  We can read license plates from space, so the wall is surely visible.  They mean “can the unaided human eye see it”, and even then the best we can truly say is it might be visible to the unaided eye, but no person has yet seen it that way from space.  Also, there’s some fuzziness as to where “space” actually begins.

“In orbit, they’re actually falling, but they’re moving too fast sideways to land.”  Well, no.  They’re generally escaping Earth’s gravity as rapidly as they’re falling into it, so it nets out to zero (i.e. not falling).  That’s what orbiting is.  The “sideways” motion is irrelevant as to weight.  It’s only required because we don’t have a way to hover in place at those particular heights.  But we could put them into geostationary orbit.  Even there, with no (apparent) sideways motion to confuse things, they would still be weightless, while still subject to Earth’s gravity.  It’s not like the vomit comet, where they ARE actually falling.

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