Aura Friction

August 3, 2016


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

So much good stuff today. The DNC accepts the resignations of staffers involved in the leaked emails that included the suggestion by CFO Brad Marshall to use atheism as a way to attack Bernie Sanders. If you recall, we asked for Marshall to step down, and while I’m not saying this is all our doing, I will at least pretend it was. 

In the run-up to our big fall conferences, Women in Secularism 4 and CSICon Las Vegas, I interviewed a woman who will be speaking at both, one of my favorite skeptic writers, Kavin Senapathy. She had so much smart stuff to say! Here’s one thing she said about the overlap of secularism and skepticism:

Secularism isn’t the end-all or be-all of critical thinking. After all, so many anti-GMO, anti-vaccine, naturopathy-lovers and essential oil-slatherers aren’t religious! For me, it’s all about opposing injustice, and sometimes that requires targeting religion, and sometimes it requires fighting anti-science interests–they’re all forms of fundamentalism when you peel back a few layers.  

And there’s a new Point of Inquiry, and it’s all about Donald Trump! Lindsay Beyerstein talks to investigative journalist and Trump biographer David Cay Johnston, and man, you will LEARN some things about that Trump fellow. Oof! (Oh, and dig some of the answers the Trump campaign wants Donald to give on questions about evolution and prayer.)

The City of Hope cancer center does a lot of good work, says William London in a new piece for CSI, but they’re also doing a big disservice by promising “miracles.”

At the CFI Free Thinking blog, David Koepsell discusses how stupidity is less about IQ and more about what you do with what you know:

It is stupid to fail to learn from our mistakes and to make the same bad decisions over and over again. It is stupid to ignore the evidence and to make up complex conspiracy theories to explain it away, rather than to revise our beliefs accordingly. It is smart to study and to learn, to rely on our own critical thinking skills, the expertise of others in developing our skills, to bolster them in any way we can, and to build our store of knowledge so that we can confront the future more wisely.

A letter to the editor in the Westerly Sun in Connecticut takes the Heartland Institute to task for its climate change denial, specifically highlighting the challenge we made to Heartland which they have yet to accept. 

At NYT, Kamel Daoud paints a grim picture of “the Islamosphere’s” idea of utopia, and how one really doesn’t get to experience it unless one is dead.

Unitarians in Bedford, Massachusetts want to put solar panels on their building, but the town won’t let them because it’s a “historic district,” so the Unitarians are saying the solar panels are necessitated by their religion

Avowed atheist Jennifer Goulet fares well enough in a primary for the Washington state legislature to earn a spot on the November ballot

Despite what you may have heard, you should still floss, says Emily Willingham (who is ALSO a Women in Secularism 4 speaker!). 

This poor guy has collection agencies after him for not paying the bill of a fake psychic who promised to correct his “aura friction.” Maybe he should talk to one of the essential oil-slatherers.

Bill Kearney at Miami New Times profiles two men and their quest for the skunk ape. Which almost certainly doesn’t exist.

A 48-year-old woman swims for 18 hours in the icy waters of Loch Ness. Did she see Nessie? “You always think you see something out of the corner of your eye.” 

Quote of the Day

Were he alive now, John T. Scopes would be turning 116 today. Here he is at the conclusion of the monumental trial he lost in 1925:

Your honor, I feel that I have been convicted of violating an unjust statute. I will continue in the future, as I have in the past, to oppose this law in any way I can.

* * *

Photo credit: omar alrawi via / CC BY-NC-SA

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.

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)centerf!

News items that mention political​ candidates are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances are to be interpreted as statements of endorsement or opposition to any political candidate. CFI is a nonpartisan nonprofit.

The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta