Neil Peart, Skeptic
January 17, 2020

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Last week Neil Peart, the drummer and main lyricist for the rock band Rush, died. He’d been living in California and privately battled brain cancer for several years. The Canadian trio (Alex Lifeson on guitar, Geddy Lee on vocals, bass, and keyboards, and Neil Peart on drums) announced they’d stopped touring in 2015, after 40 …

Something a Serial Killer Would Say
January 17, 2020


The Trump administration says it’s going to remove Obama-era protections from discrimination for organizations getting federal funding, all in the name of “religious liberty,” and will, in effect, intimidate public schools over whether they are friendly to prayer in school and allowing religious groups to have access to school facilities. It’s a big, stinking, bucket …

Research for the Freethought Trail
January 16, 2020


Lately, I have been doing a considerable amount of research for one of our projects, the Freethought Trail website (https://freethought-trail.org/). The current research has been for the development of further coverage for the centenary of the Nineteenth Amendment enacting woman’s suffrage in 2020. The website will be adding informational pages about each New York State …

The Aura of Edginess
January 16, 2020


Good morning! Let’s feel bad. New Jersey’s legislature gave into anti-vaxxer pressure and scuttled a bill to end religious exemptions. (They say they’ll try again.) Gallup releases dispiriting numbers about the public acceptance of vaccines, as reported by Gizmodo: Only 84 percent of people agreed that childhood vaccination was extremely or very important, the poll …

I Can’t Hear You, I Have Seeds in My Ears
January 15, 2020


I’m back, after a Flu to End All Flus. A Paulfluenza. Influenzageddon. Fluclear bomb. Anyway, it was bad. CFI is joining with American Atheists, Black Nonbelievers, and Ex-Muslims of North America in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court urging them not to further inflate the scope of RFRA by using it as a means …

Misleading Polls and Bad Statistics: Do Republicans Think Education is Bad?
January 9, 2020


A June 6, 2018, article from ChurchandState.org titled “Propaganda Works – 58 Percent of Republicans Believe Education Is Bad” was shared on social media by liberals and Democrats, gleeful that their assumptions about conservative anti-intellectualism had been borne out in objective, quantifiable data from a respected polling organization. The widely-shared article states that “Fox News, …

Unprotected Fighting Words
January 9, 2020


On the latest episode of our podcast Point of Inquiry, Jim Underdown talks to Ian Ruskin, the actor and playwright who may be familiar to many in our community for his one-person play To Begin the World Over Again: The Life of Thomas Paine. GQ has a big piece on scam psychics and how private …

The Gaps Are So Big
January 8, 2020


So I thought we were suddenly at war, and then it seemed like maybe we weren’t, and I just don’t know what’s going on, which I think puts me in the same position as pretty much everyone else on Earth. Ryan Burge takes a novel look at the political positions of the major political parties …

Privileged Guinea Pigs
January 7, 2020


The latest Skeptical Inquirer cover story is now free to read online, where a panel of experts weighs on pseudoscience in kids’ psychotherapy. Plus, if you want to make the internet trolls really mad, let them know you’re reading the piece by Jeanne Goldberg that praises the activism of young people like Time Person of …

Cascade of Catastrophes
January 6, 2020


To those who get excited about the changing of digits in the tens place, happy new decade! To those who bristle at the idea that the first “decade” of the Common Era had only nine years in it (there was no “Year 0”), happy new year! To those who don’t care either way, oh look …