Do You Have Scurvy?

August 29, 2016


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

Whoa, there. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Before you start this week, make sure you up to speed on the last two with Cause & Effect

As John Kerry meets with Bangladesh government officials today, our own Michael De Dora writes up some ideas for what issues the Secretary of State should emphasize:

Secretary Kerry … has the opportunity to personally press for specific actions that the Bangladesh government can take that can begin to turn the tide away from chaos and terror.  … While the Bangladesh government may not stand in defense of its citizens’ fundamental rights, Secretary Kerry should. Now is not the time for timidity, but courage and resolve. 

This is cool. The makers of my favorite podcast app, Pocket Casts, makes our own Point of Inquiry a featured podcast

A group of experts at the International Geological Congress announce their recommendation to declare that since about 1950, Earth has been in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene.

CFI’s Nick Little weighs in on the “burkini ban” in France, lauding one French court that invalidated the ban, but also noting that the real problem isn’t the swimsuits, it’s the religious ideas that treat women as secondary. 

Harriet Hall lets it be known that you don’t need to spend 9 bucks on a bottle of Kakadu plum juice (“It contains a lot of vitamin C. So what? Are you deficient in vitamin C? Do you have scurvy?”) and warns of the coming cockroach-milk superfood fad.

Daniel Dennett says at a conference on consciousness that much of contemporary philosophy is lacking some intellectual rigor:

A great deal of philosophy doesn’t really deserve much of a place of the world. Philosophy in some quarters has become self-indulgent, clever play in a vacuum that’s not dealing of problems of any intrinsic interest. … It can take years of hard work to develop the combination of scholarly mastery and technical acumen to work on big, important issues with a long history of philosophical attention. In the meantime, young philosophers are under great pressure to publish, so they find toy topics that they can knock off a clever comment/rebuttal/revival of.

Six scientists have just completed a full year in a NASA-funded Mars-simulation isolation mission in Hawaii.  

Mona Chalabi at FiveThirtyEight tells us that approximately 100,825,272,791 people have ever died, and wrestles with the demographics of a hypothetical afterlife

Apply skepticism generously to this, but in Indonesia there lives a man, one Mbah Gotho, who documents indicate is 145 years old, which, if true, would make him by far the longest-living human in history that we know of. No one’s been able to independently verify the public documents that show Mr. Gotho’s year of birth to be 1870. What’s Mr. Gotho say? “What I want is to die.” 

A black nonbeliever is challenging James Lankford for his Senate seat from Oklahoma, one Sean Braddy

Samuel Freedman at NYT looks at how the Clinton campaign is leaning heavily on religiously-tinged messages that emphasize love and compassion. 

Self-described “Christian warrior” details how he will murder “gays, faggots, lesbians and satanists,” but is arrested before he could act on it. 

This year, the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha coincidentally falls on September 11, so of course people are going to be gnashing their teeth over it. 

Tom Wolfe apparently doesn’t believe that humans evolved along with other animals. I still loved Bonfire of the Vanities

Katie L. Burke at American Scientist says we should stop using the word “pseudoscience” because its two meanings (things not fully vetted by science and things that are entirely nonsense) are too easily confused. 

Dr. Drew’s show on HLN is cancelled, shortly after diagnosing Hillary Clinton as somehow in terrible health with brain damage and whatnot. 

Atlas Obscura looks back at the Roswell incident and the so-called “Majestic 12” top-secret reports, all of which was debunked so thoroughly that the FBI scrawled the word “BOGUS” across the paper.

A guy in Seattle says he killed an alien creature who “vaporized his dog,” and posts video of him examining the alien’s corpse. Or it’s a baked potato with a sweater on, I’m not sure.

Apparently, aliens want women to go topless, or so believe the Raelians.  

Quote of the Day

It’s another video-of-the-day, and this is fun: Orson Welles describing not only the tricks beh
ind cold reading, but how it intoxicates the readers into believing they have actual psychic powers. 

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