Perma-Crisis
March 25, 2019 ·


Mississippi officially bans abortion after a the time a fetal heartbeat could theoretically be detected during an ultrasound, around six weeks, which is before many women are even aware that they’re pregnant. These laws tend to get blocked by the courts, but things being how they are, I wouldn’t get my hopes up. To make …

The Detriment of Society as a Whole
March 22, 2019 ·


According to the General Social Survey, as analyzed by Ryan P. Burge of Eastern Illinois University, “nones” are now statistically tied with evangelicals and Catholics for largest “belief” group in the United States. And technically, according to the decimals, nones are number one. New on the Point of Inquiry podcast: Jim Underdown interviews climate expert …

Nocebo: Placebo’s Evil Twin
March 22, 2019 ·


Nocebo is sometimes referred to as “placebo’s evil twin,” “negative placebo effects,” or “the other side of placebo.”  Nocebo effects are negative effects that are induced by nocebos: fake, non-specific treatments, procedures, therapies, or medications. Studies suggest that nocebo effects can contribute to a variety of medical symptoms, including adverse events in clinical trials and …

Do 60% of People Misgender Trans People to Insult Them?
March 21, 2019 ·


Recent news reports claimed that most people intentionally disrespect transgendered individuals by calling them by something other than their preferred gender pronoun. For example one piece began: “Three in five people internationally report that they would intentionally misgender a transgender person, according to a recent survey. Ipsos found that only two out of five people …

Miserable for a Few Days
March 21, 2019 ·


Pakistan convicts two men, including local government official Arif Khan, for their role in the murder of Mashal Khan, the student who was killed by an angry mob over trumped-up blasphemy accusations in 2017. And what role did these two fellows who will now go to prison until they die play? Reuters reports: The court …

Utterly Useless but Readily Available
March 20, 2019 ·


Hey look at this! Ron Lindsay, our former boss, is now a novelist! He’s just published The Lost Song of Goliath, the story of David and Goliath told from the big guy’s perspective. From the official description: Goliath’s story has not yet been told, although he is a literary character begging for an author to …

Drawers Full of Unbent Silverware
March 19, 2019 ·


It’s release day for The Four Horsemen book, the transcript of the 2007 conversation between Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennett, and Harris, with new essays by the surviving participants and a foreword by Stephen Fry. Proceeds benefit the Center for Inquiry, so buy many, many copies. The State Department inexplicably barred media outlets from a press briefing …

Catnip Cocktail Panic
March 18, 2019 ·


There’s a new drug panic in town, and it’s not crack or opioids. It’s catnip. Well, it’s called “Catnip Cocktail,” and it actually contains no catnip. It contains a non-FDA-approved blend of a variety of chemicals including caffeine and something called 1,4-BD, which allegedly metabolizes into sedative akin to RHB, a “date-rape” drug. Marketed as …

Excessive Entanglement Prongs
March 18, 2019 ·


The Seventh Circuit Court says parsonage tax exemptions are just fine, reversing a lower court’s decision in a case brought by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Regarding the “Lemon test’s” third “excessive entanglement prong” for church-state cases, the court said the exemption “has a secular legislative purpose, its principal effect is neither to endorse nor …

Humanity in Retrograde
March 15, 2019 ·


You know what happened. In Christchurch, New Zealand, at least 49 people have been murdered in a terrorist attack on two mosques. At least 48 additional people have been hospitalized for gunshot wounds. Several people are implicated with having roles in the attack, but the most attention is being focused on one man who apparently …