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Fall Will Be Awful

July 7, 2020

Okay, I’m going to level with you. In the era of alternative facts, COVID-19, All the President’s Theocrats, QAnon, Goop, InfoWars, anti-vaxxers, and Flat-Earthers, a daily news roundup for the Center for Inquiry is going to get overwhelmed. And it has.

The Morning Heresy has gotten too unruly and bloated, and it needs taming and a new diet (no restrictions on GMOs).

So bear with me, as I’ll be experimenting over the next few days with a leaner, shorter, and less time-consuming (for you and me) Heresy. Um, this lengthy intro notwithstanding. Ahem.

Ask the Atheist: Jehovah’s Witnesses are apparently sending friendly handwritten letters in lieu of an impromptu visits. But they sent one to Jim Underdown’s mother who was already passed when the letter arrived.

What the hell is deuterium depleted water? Harriet Hall at Skeptical Inquirer fails to see the wisdom of buying this at $20 per liter.

Some quality COVID reading:

The Post has a first-person account from Ian Haydon, one of 45 people to get a Phase 1 trial vaccine. He seems like a good egg.

Check out this surprisingly hopeful Twitter thread by Andy Slavitt, an Obama-era health care official, in which he talks to some experts about what we might expect over the next year or so in terms of vaccines and long-term coping. Well, it’s hopeful except for this:

[Question to experts:] What will the time before a vaccine look like?

[Their response:] Crappy. Horrible response in the US. Way too many unnecessary deaths. Fall will be awful.

My friend Emily Hauser, who went through 71 days of COVID-19 quarantine, recounts her struggles with a posse of virus-denying Twitter trolls. She suggests, and I agree, you take it as an opportunity to “redouble your commitment to being a decent person.”

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, a denier of, well, almost everything, is being tested for COVID-19. Again.

Gallup: 86 percent of Americans say they’re wearing masks. (Not by my anecdotal count from by stress-fraught runs to the grocery store.)

Phil Kadner at the Sun-Times on why he doesn’t confront people without masks or those who go nose commando: “I think anyone crazy enough not to wear a mask, or wear it properly, is willing to kill family members and friends and therefore should not be confronted.”

Trump is trying to get funding for religious schools into the next pandemic stimulus bill, including a tax credit that sounds a lot like the one that Montana ended, but the Supreme Court said had to be resurrected.

Speaking of which! Steven K. Green at Religion Dispatches: The Supreme Court is relying on “a little bad history” to gut church-state separation.

Trump’s campaign is promising to protect statues, including that really, really big one of Jesus. In Brazil. Which no one is trying to take down. In Brazil.

A federal judge denies a request by operators of Orthodox Jewish sleepaway camps in New York state to exempt them from the ban on overnight camps.

All Things Considered looks into the historical Christian roots of American white supremacy.

Churches are making a killing off SBA loans.

There’s no such thing as “dry drowning.”

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite found a “hot Neptune,” which apparently has nothing to do with the god of the sea on the cover of a romance novel.

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

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.