Contributions

A Fresh Set of Organs
November 12, 2019 ·


The Daily Beast ran a test, creating some made-up anti-vaxxer ads making false claims, and those ads were accepted by Google and Twitter, and rejected by YouTube, Snap, Instagram, and Facebook: Google approved the two advertisements with blatant language—“Don’t get vaccinated” and “Vaccines aren’t safe”—and even sent multiple prompts via email to optimize them. … …

Such Deeply Stupid Questions
November 11, 2019 ·


At the New York Times, Eugene Linden looks at how scientists’ predictions about the severity of climate change has become more dire over time: Had a scientist in the early 1990s suggested that within 25 years a single heat wave would measurably raise sea levels, at an estimated two one-hundredths of an inch, bake the …

Harry Potter and the Precarious Economy
November 7, 2019 ·


Sam Cowie at The Guardian reports on the rise of Flat-Eartherism in Brazil, where 11 million people now claim to reject the fact that they live on a sphere: Critics attribute Brazil’s most recent flat Earth craze to poor public education, copycatting from abroad and to the increase in social media use. “The internet gives …

Stone-Cold, Motherless Last
November 6, 2019 ·


11,258 scientists sign on to a study titled “World scientists’ warning of a climate emergency”: “Despite 40 years of global climate negotiations, with few exceptions, we have generally conducted business as usual and have largely failed to address this predicament,” the study states. The paper bases its conclusions on a set of easy-to-understand indicators that …

Bright Blue Faces
November 5, 2019 ·


Aaaaand we’re out. Of the Paris climate agreement. Which we knew was going to happen. And now it is. (I did a Point of Inquiry about it at the time with The New Yorker‘s Elizabeth Kolbert.) Google employees, meanwhile, insist that their company must do much more about climate change. Via The Verge: Google workers …

Zealots, Kooks, Extremists, Impostors, and Spies
November 4, 2019 ·


Undercover reporters from UK’s The Telegraph get video of homeopaths telling patients not to get their kids vaccinated, claiming that the vaccines will cause learning difficulties, autism, mood changes, and loss of speech. It’s jaw-dropping. Facebook says it doesn’t tolerate the bullying and abuse of those expressing support for vaccinations. CNN begs to differ: Our …

Infect Your Mind
November 1, 2019 ·


The city councilors of Toronto pass a resolution denouncing Quebec’s “secularism bill,” calling it “a strategic attempt to stifle and limit the civic participation of individuals who choose to wear religious symbols under the guise of secularism.” In the Lexington Herald-Leader, Lincoln Christensen (whose bio is an adjective buffet: “a life-long Unitarian Universalist, political independent, …

Tales of Depravity and Horror
October 30, 2019 ·


On the latest episode of our podcast Point of Inquiry, Kavin Senapathy goes to the European Skeptics Congress in Ghent, Belgium and talks to Claire Klingenberg, president of the European Council of Skeptical Organisations (ECSO). Action alert time! Congress is considering a bill to reauthorize DC’s school voucher program, which not even the DC council …

Borrow the Librarian’s Broadsword
October 30, 2019 ·


Pastafarian Richard Moser III of Ohio is getting help from the American Humanist Association as he fights for his right to don a colander for his driver’s license photo. The AHA wrote to the Ohio Bureau of Moter Vehicles, saying: The BMV is not at liberty to decide which religions may be afforded this privilege …

One Resident Goes Insane Every Year
October 29, 2019 ·


The New York Times profiles what they call a “shadow diplomat” for the White House, Trump’s Bible teacher who runs Bible study sessions for the most powerful people in Washington (and around the world), Ralph Drollinger. Dig this: Drollinger, 65, is around seven feet tall. HOLY CRAP. Okay, for someone like me who’s 5-foot-5, that’s …