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 …

Prepare to be Disappointed
October 28, 2019


Nick Little, CFI’s legal director who heads a legal department with a budget of $0 trillion, writes ominously about the delight taken by some evangelicals over Pastor Greg Locke’s video in which he burns Andrew Seidel’s book The Founding Myth, putting the phenomena of book burning in a grim historical context: It is impossible to …

We’re Creating a Micro-Trauma
October 25, 2019


The FDA is getting increasingly twitchy about homeopathy. Yesterday it released a statement on new steps its taking to, in their words, “protect Americans from potentially harmful products that are labeled as homeopathic”: The draft guidance details a risk-based enforcement policy prioritizing certain categories of homeopathic products that could pose a higher risk to public …