Gunmen or Maintenance Worker? Applause or Gunshot?  How Expectation Influences Perception

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
November 20, 2017

Countless real-life examples of false reports remind us that sincere, otherwise credible eyewitnesses can be influenced by many factors, including what they expect (or fear) to see.

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“Baby Killer” Nostrums

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
November 20, 2017

Nothing could have seemed more harmless than the picture of a mother and her baby with the words, “Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup for Teething Children.” Trouble was, the nineteenth-century pacifying nostrum contained morphine!

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Unread Manuscripts

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

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

Housekeeping note: I'm gone for the rest of this week, so hopefully nothing interesting happens for a while. 

The Economist gets down to brass tacks with climate change, detailing why lowering emissions isn't going to cut it, and that we're going to have to start scrubbing all the crap out of the atmosphere.

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The Great Cosmic Blog

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

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

Today opens the high-tech shrine to Yahweh's hot bestseller, the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. But lest you think it's all about promoting Christianity, the folks behind the museum want you to see it differently. Michelle Boorstein at the Post reports:

Museum leadership has also worked hard to show it wants to be seen as nonsectarian, more of an open place to explore the Bible than to be evangelized — sort of a counter to the Creation Museum in Kentucky, which argues that the Earth is just a few thousand years old. Cary Summers, the Bible Museum’s president, was a consultant on the Kentucky museum as well. The museum board is made up almost exclusively of conservative evangelicals (mostly white males), and the museum projects an implicit and religious reverence for the Bible. ...

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Camel-size Moral Imperatives

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 16, 2017

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

Twitter rejiggers its verification policy, stripping the blue checkmarks from the accounts of white supremacists like Richard Spencer. ...

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You Sit in a Dark Room

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 15, 2017

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

Generally unrelated to the subjects of this blog, I thought you should know that as I type, Zimbabwe's military has executed what looks like a coup against President Robert Mugabe, who is now 93 years old and looking to install his wife as his successor. The Post reports:

“We wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover,” said the statement read by Maj. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo. “We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country.” 

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Bigshoot: A TV Misadventure with “Bigfoot”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
November 14, 2017

As one of several mysteries for the currently airing series on the Science channel, Strange Evidence, CFI video expert Tom Flynn and I were asked to look at a creature videotaped on a deputy sheriff’s dashcam. It was recorded on the night of May 16, 2009, in northern Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Park.

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Our Failing Trajectory

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

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

Okay, let's get all this Moore stuff out of the way.

A fifth woman, Beverly Young Nelson, comes forward to say that Roy "I-Ask-Permission-of-Their-Mothers" Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16...

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We Created This Confusion

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

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

(Sorry for the late posting. I had a dentist appointment, and now I'm cranky.)

Rooooooooooyyyyyyyyyyy Moooooooooooooooore. Try not to spit your beverage all over your Bibles when you discover that Captain Commandments, someone who made abusing his power his raison d'être, abused his power at the expense of underage women. In case you're wise enough to stay away from the news these days, here's what Mister Covet-and-Shove-It was up to when he was a naive young man in his THIRTIES: coercing young women and girls (the youngest was 14) into sexual relationships with him. 

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The Desolate Cosmic Abyss

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 09, 2017

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

Well this is unexpected. Ladies and gents, we have our first openly nontheistic Member of Congress, like, ever. It's Rep. Jared Huffman, Democrat of California. (The first was former Rep. Pete Stark, also of California.) Via Michelle Boorstein at The Post:

Huffman said that at the moment, he’s a “nonbeliever, a skeptic,” but he’s open to having his mind changed. “I suppose you could say I don’t believe in God. The only reason I hesitate is — unlike some humanists, I’m not completely closing the door to spiritual possibilities. We all know people who have had experiences they believe are divine … and I’m open to something like that happening.”

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