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Do I Have to Pay Attention to That?

July 12, 2019

Now it can be told: Ricky Gervais is the 2019 recipient of the Richard Dawkins Award, which he’ll accept at an event with Dawkins in London on September 3. The two will then have a live, unscripted chat moderated by Richard Wiseman. CFI members at the Planet level and above can get 10 percent off the ticket price. Noice.

The teacher who was fired from an Indiana Catholic school, when the Archbishop threatened to pull the school’s church affiliation for hiring a teacher in a gay relationship, is suing the archdiocese.

Religious schools are so eager to fire people for violations of Jesus-ness, they’re dabbling in pre-firing. Olivet Nazarene University rescinds a job offer to English teacher T.J. Martinson because a novel he wrote “contained profanity and other elements that conflict with the school’s religious doctrine.”

At The Atlantic, Marina Koren recounts how the movement to win women the right to vote was attacked with pseudoscience:

According to the leading theory, mental exertion could jeopardize reproductive health. And if the science of the day asserted that women could become infertile if they did too much thinking, no man would want to send his daughter, sister, or wife to college or the office—and certainly not to the ballot box.

For those who opposed the suffrage movements in the United States and Britain, which unfolded in tandem, nearly every element of the female anatomy was seen as disqualifying, starting from the very top: their brains.

Hundreds of thousands of people have apparently decided that in order to get THE TRUTH about UFOs and aliens, they have to storm Area 51 in New Mexico en masse. The even posting, which demands, “Let’s see them aliens,” also claims, “We can move faster than their bullets.” Maybe, but can you outrun their phasers, quantum torpedoes, or psionic waves? Yeah, I thought not.

In 1973 two guys in Mississippi say they were abducted by aliens. Now the city where it happened, Pascagoula, has dedicated a monument to the non-event. We are a really, really stupid species.

Meanwhile, white spheres seen in the sky above Kansas City necessitates a town hall meeting run by MUFON. Just 5 bucks to come on in and waste your time!

A skull first discovered in 1978 is now understood to be that of a 210,000-year-old Homo sapiens, the oldest such evidence of modern humans outside of Africa.

In the defamation case against Alex Jones, a state judge’s sanctions against Jones are being appealed at the Connecticut Supreme Court. Sandy Hook families’ representatives seem fine with this.

Worship services at an abortion clinic? Well, yes. Rev. Katey Zeh of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice writes about the experience of blessing a Whole Woman’s Health clinic: “10 diverse faith leaders proclaimed what too few people have heard: Religious people can be pro-choice, not in spite of their faith but because of it.”

Scott Gavura looks at the evidence for the enthusiasm over the medicinal powers of Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, and as you might have expected, there isn’t much.

Remember Nuns & Nones? Now there’s also Sisters & Seekers. And they’ve partnered up. Next, Mike & Ike.

Quote of the Day

Jon Allsop at the Columbia Journalism Review opens his piece on the Trump “social media summit” like this:

Donald Trump hosted what he called a “social media summit” (it was not) and invited an absurd troupe of right-wing internet performers to vent about platforms supposedly suppressing conservative views. Among the guests were the sting artist James O’Keefe, who Trump singled out for praise; at least one booster of QAnon, a deep-state conspiracy theory that’s far too convoluted to explain here; and a “memesmith” known as “Carpe Donktum.” It ended with Sebastian Gorka, a Trump official turned talk-radio host, screaming “YOU’RE A PUNK” in the face of Brian Karem, White House reporter for Playboy. Has the Rose Garden ever seen anything as undignified, or as pointless?

To tack on, Recode‘s Peter Kafka starts an explainer about the event like this:

Do I have to pay attention to that?


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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.