Buckets of Disillusionment

September 15, 2020

Okay, there might be something alive on Venus. WHO SAW THAT COMING? Well, Carl Sagan did! The Times writes, “Many planetary scientists, including Carl Sagan and Harold Morowitz, who proposed the idea 53 years ago, have hypothesized life may exist there.”

Well let’s have a look! Nature, September 16, 1967:

While the surface conditions of Venus make the hypothesis of life there implausible, the clouds of Venus are a different story altogether. As was pointed out some years ago1, water, carbon dioxide and sunlight—the prerequisites for photosynthesis—are plentiful in the vicinity of the clouds. … If small amounts of minerals are stirred up to the clouds from the surface, it is by no means difficult to imagine an indigenous biology in the clouds of Venus.

Carl, you magnificent so-and-so!

Next week on Skeptical Inquirer Presents, we’ve got he-who-knows-human-errors, Nathan Lents, taking on Intelligent Design. Register now for this free live event, September 24 at 7pm ET.

And if you missed Seema Yasmin on last week’s event on “Viral BS,” not to worry, we got you covered.

Sunday marked six months since the declaration of a national emergency over COVID-19. Humanitarian disaster experts Jamie Aten and Kent Annan say we are now entering “the disillusionment phase.” Please, I live in the disillusionment phase.

If it wasn’t for disillusionment, I wouldn’t have any illusions.

But how can you be disillusioned when you can get through any apocalypse with Jim Bakker’s buckets of food for the low, low price of $10,000?

The doctors and scientists behind the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report are “aghast” and “appalled” by “egregious” and “despicable” White House meddling with its data.

The Telegraph (India): Indians are being encouraged to take part in a “post-coronavirus disease management protocol” that includes treatments that are “tantamount to quackery.”

We’re keeping track of COVID-19 pseudoscience, snake oil, fake cures, and more at CFI’s Coronavirus Resource Center. Separate fact from fiction and inoculate yourself from misinformation at

Briefed on the wildfires in California, President Trump says “I don’t think science knows, actually” whether climate change is a thing, and adds, “It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch.” Well, we’d like to, but we can’t see through the smoke.

Climate change superhero (and Committee for Skeptical Inquiry fellow) Michael Mann one of two winners of the 2020 World Sustainability Award. Rock on, sir.

Washington Post: Southern Baptists are increasingly dropping the “Southern” from their name, which some feel is a “potentially painful reminder of the convention’s historic role in support of slavery.” It’s not unlike the Dixie Chicks renaming themselves the Chicks, and that’s not even a joke.

Speaking of Baptists, minister Ryan Eller says Trump and Biden are ignoring the “Forgotten Faithful” who are looking for “the candidate they trust will restore hope and help them heal.”

An internal Archdiocese of Boston investigation finds priest James Gaudreau guilty of sexually abusing kids, so they sentence him to prayer. “He is to live in contemplation of his sins and pray for all of those affected by his conduct.” That’ll teach him!

The Diplomat chronicles how Bangladesh has gone from independence from Pakistan in the 1970s to its current “crackdown on dissent,” marked by blasphemy laws and militant extremists murdering writers and activists such as Avijit Roy.

The ban on Chik-fil-A in the San Antonio International Airport over its anti-LGBTQ activism is reversed, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton gloats, and Chik-fil-A says no thanks, anyway.

A former Navy fighter pilot says a UFO he says he encountered 16 years ago tried to jam his radar. “When you actively jam another platform, that’s technically an act of war.”

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.