Aaron Amat - Adobe Stock

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 … are demanding that their company cease collaboration with any institution that harms people who are coping with the effects of a changing climate. They write that they want no part in the “incarceration, surveillance, displacement, or oppression” of refugees or other communities affected by climate change.

“Google is a global company with billions of users across the world, many of whom are already bearing the brunt of climate disaster,” the letter reads. “As Google workers, we are committed to putting our users first, and Google must do the same.”

I have bad news. Good News Clubs, those Christian child-indoctrination factories, are thriving in North Carolina, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times:

In Henderson County Schools, all six Good News Clubs — teaching approximately 190 student members — began within the last four years. The Good News Club at Leicester Elementary School, the only one in Buncombe County, started this year, and the Good News Club in Transylvania County Schools began last year.

All eight elementary schools in McDowell County have Good News Clubs, with the most recent club beginning five years ago. …

… A few weeks into lessons, [Good News Club sponsor] Lindsey asked a kindergartner about what he learned at the Good News Club. “He just went on and on,” she said. “He said ‘We learned that Jesus died for our sins. And that he was crucified, and he died. And then he rose from the dead.’ And then he told me the whole kind of Bible story of why we are Christians.”

One Stephen F. Rohde writes to the LA Times on the topic of prison chaplains:

These jail chaplains do a superb job ministering to the religious needs of inmates, but the publicly funded Los Angeles County office of Religious and Volunteer Services (RVS) violates the fundamental principle of separation of church and state.

What about inmates who are atheists, agnostics and humanists? According to its website, RVS “coordinates all religious activity within the jails,” representing “eight major faith groups and numerous sects.” Government funds should not be used exclusively to fund “religious activity” in violation of the 1st Amendment prohibition on “establishment of religion.”

Nonbelievers in jail deserve county support for programs and counseling to address their human, personal, moral, ethical, emotional, psychological and nonreligious spiritual needs.

Folks are still churning over Bill Barr’s anti-secularism diatribe from almost a month ago (as well they should be), such as Richard Groves at the Winston-Salem Journal:

There is no question that there has been a seismic shift in ethical values in recent decades. But to lay all that conservatives think is wrong with American culture at the feet of secularism goes way beyond the evidence. …

… “Public agencies, including public schools, are being secularized,” Barr opines.

Well, yeah. That’s why we call them “public.” As opposed to private, parochial or religious.

Whether there is an organized assault on religion, what is clear is that religion no longer enjoys a privileged place in the marketplace of ideas. Its truth is being challenged, and it must be defended without appeal to special privilege.

Richard Dawkins is the guest on Sam Harris’s latest Making Sense podcast:

They discuss the strangeness of the “gene’s-eye view” of the world, the limits of Darwinian thinking when applied to human life, the concept of the extended phenotype, ideologies as meme complexes, whether consciousness might be an epiphenomenon, psychedelics, meditation, and other topics.

Vice, which loves, loves, loves UFOs, talks to U.S. Army spokesperson Doug Halleaux about why the hell the military is working with the Blink-182 guy’s UFO “research” organization:

“If materials represented in the TTSA ADAM project [the Blink-182 guy’s thing] are scientifically evaluated and presented with supporting data as having military utility by the TTSA, it makes sense to look deeper here,” Halleaux said, adding that it’s also interested in a cooperative project between TTSA and a company called TruClear Global. …

… “None of us at TTSA consider ourselves ‘Ufologists’ or part of the ‘Ufology culture,’ in fact, most of us come from a U.S. Government background (both Defense and Intelligence) and consider it our patriotic duty to work alongside our friends in Government should they see an advantage to improving our national security and protecting our people,” Luis Elizondo, a former Pentagon staffer and TTSA’s Director of Global Security and Special Programs, said in an interview.

This is interesting: World Vision, the Christian charity that gets donors to pick a child to sponsor, is turning its own tables, and getting the children to choose their sponsor instead. David King concludes:

At least symbolically, World Vision is making the point that children living in poverty are not a problem to fix but rather a relationship to be developed with both donors and the kids themselves gaining something in the process.

Sir David Attenborough solved the whole “Yeti” mystery for his next big show, Seven Worlds, One Planet. BBC promo material says:

The highest mountain ranges in central China are remote, and to date, have been largely inaccessible to film crews. Yet for hundreds of years stories of the “Yeti,” a golden snub-nosed monkey, have emanated from this region. BBC captured footage for the first time of these incredible creatures with bright blue faces and golden coats who spend a lot of their time walking upright just like humans. These monkeys are the “holy grail” for Sir David Attenborough who first learned about them in the 1960s.

A fascinating confession from one J. Sibelman at HuffPost:

I once worked for a psychic hotline in the late ’80s. I’m not a psychic (I knew you were wondering), but that didn’t matter. …

… I gave a reading to Sarah, another psychic who worked there, and we talked about her love life. It was the kind of conversation I’d have with any of my friends. I didn’t think it was such a big deal, but that didn’t stop Cassandra from fawning over me.

She told me how blown away she was by the psychic abilities I had at such a young age. She couldn’t imagine how powerful I’d become as I got older. I was going to be of great service to all the callers out there who needed my guidance and wisdom, most of whom wanted to know, “Does he love me?”

Turns out “most” was a bit of an exaggeration. Most of the calls, by far, were lotto calls.

In a new video, Hemant Mehta explains why churches should in fact be able to keep their tax exemptions, and the key is those all-important Form 990s.

I have some pretty bad tinnitus, so I am certainly interested in a remedy for the condition…presuming of course that such a thing is even possible. Well if I had known that a SMOOTHIE COULD CURE IT… anyway, here’s Harriet Hall dismantling “Todd Carson’s Tonaki Tinnitus Protocol.”

Mind blown by Phil Plait:

FLAT EARTH is an anagram for FART LATHE.

Also El Fart Hat. Feel free to use these as you see fit.

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.