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Dismissed as a Source of Reliable Knowledge

April 25, 2019

The U.S. Navy is formalizing the process through which pilots can report sightings of UFOs. Deanna Paul at The Washington Post reports:

“Since 2014, these intrusions have been happening on a regular basis,” Joseph Gradisher, spokesman for office of the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, told The Washington Post on Wednesday. Recently, unidentified aircraft have entered military-designated airspace as often as multiple times per month. “We want to get to the bottom of this. We need to determine who’s doing it, where it’s coming from and what their intent is. We need to try to find ways to prevent it from happening again.”

Citing safety and security concerns, Gradisher vowed to “investigate each and every report.”

Luis Elizondo, a former senior intelligence officer, told The Post that the new Navy guidelines formalized the reporting process, facilitating data-driven analysis while removing the stigma from talking about UFOs, calling it “the single greatest decision the Navy has made in decades.”

Remember how I was stuck in that Maine legislature committee room for eight hours with a bunch of anti-vax maniacs so I could testify in favor of a bill to strengthen vaccine requirements? Well the bill just narrowly passed the Maine Assembly. You’re welcome. Will it pass the state senate? Nooooobody knooooowwwws.

And besides, Maine is also now considering a bill to protect fake medicine practitioners (homeopaths, naturopaths, etc.) from being prosecuted for violating health care regulations. I am growing increasingly embarrassed of my adopted state. Wasn’t two terms of this guy enough to fill our shame quota?

Congratulations, America! We now have 695 measles cases!

At Skeptical Inquirer, Kenny Biddle investigates a novel ghost hunting “technique,” the so-called “Estes Method,” involving an SB7 Spirit Box (which is actually just a radio receiver).

Rep. Steve King (R-Racistville) says his rebuke by 421 of his fellow House Members is just like what Jesus went through. You know, how Jesus had those twelve white suprema-postles and was crucified by Pontius Snowflake. It’s history, look it up.

At Psychology Today, Paul Thagard explains why there’s no reason to believe in psychic powers, in case you needed that explained to you, which, if you’re reading this, I doubt. Anyway, he says:

People have looked for good scientific evidence for paranormal phenomena since at least the 19th century, but apparent successes can be explained by incompetence or fraud or error rather than by the actual occurrence of paranormal phenomena. … Parapsychology as used by psychics fits this pseudoscience profile and accordingly should be dismissed as a source of reliable knowledge.

Remember that gun range in Oklahoma that posted the sign declaring itself a “Muslim-free establishment”? Well they took the thing down and promised not to discriminate against Muslims anymore, so the ACLU and others are dropping their lawsuit. I’m sure they’ve totally changed.

Nebraska State Senator (and atheist) Ernie Chambers is trying once again to get his state to abolish its death penalty after a ballot measure upended his earlier legislative success.

In Scotland, “religious representatives” in communities have a legal right to vote on policy matters relating to education(!!), but at least now the government has stopped it from being a requirement. Humanist Society Scotland wants the next logical step, removing the right altogether.

Pennsylvania’s attorney general, Josh Shapiro, looks at the unified response to save Notre Dame and wonders why that same energy isn’t directed to another disaster in the Catholic Church:

But where is the unity and common purpose to protect the human embodiment of that great faith? Where is the sense of urgency and acceptance of responsibility to support the victims and survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy? …

… after the grand jury released its report, along with a set of recommendations to protect victims and ensure this kind of abuse and coverup never happens again, the response from the church and its leaders was far less affirming and swift than the response to the Notre Dame fire.

Imad Zafar at the Asia Times laments that Pakistan hasn’t learned anything from the rampant use of blasphemy allegations for political and personal ends:

Since both the establishment and the mullahs know that political parties in order to settle scores with each other can go to any extent, they add more fuel to the fire and at the end, it is only politicians and dissidents who are termed, traitors and blasphemers.

Holy crap: Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, and U.C. Berkeley have created a “virtual prosthetic voice,” by which a person can “speak” by thinking their words. I’m thinking this is the dawn of the monkey thought translator.

Saturn to Earth’s Moon: Poke.

Quote of the Day

Merriam-Webster tweets that it has canonized a word we know all too well:

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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.