Yesterday I told you about CFI West’s Independent Investigations Group and their star turn on National Geographic Explorer as they showed how flat-Earthers are flat wrong. In Skeptical Inquirer, CFI West’s Jim Underdown documents the experience and considers the implications of the flat-Earth movement:
There was a certain irony to many flat earthers using some form of GPS and highly engineered automobiles to get to the Salton Sea. They admit to owning computers and rely on modern, science-based medicine in emergencies but see no contradiction between their everyday implicit faith in science and what that same science says about the shape of Earth.
Belief in a flat Earth may sound like a joke, but the proponents aren’t kidding. They are using science-based technology on a scientifically challenged populace to add to their credulous legions. Decades ago, the members of the lunatic fringe had trouble finding each other. Today, they grow.
Meanwhile, at his Ask the Atheist column, Jim takes on both Christians AND atheists over the imaginary war on Christmas, giving us all nightmares with these visuals:
If you want to put on a diaper and reenact (or should I say enact for the first time) the biblical manger scene in your front yard every night in December, knock yourself out. Just don’t place that religious story on public property. How would you feel if Muslims, Buddhists, and Scientologists started displaying their myths during their holiday season? Uh huh. Not so joyous to have to drive by a big-ass L. Ron Hubbard glaring down at you from City Hall, is it?
A little secularism goes a long way. CFI’s Director of Government Affairs Jason Lemieux lets us know that pushback from CFI and others convinced the government of the District of Columbia to stop giving lower rates for water services to religious institutions.
All that open space in Montana sometimes leads to clearer thinking. The state’s supreme court ruled that matching tax credits for donations to private school scholarships were unconstitutional because they obviously existed for the benefit of religious schools. The Missoulian reports:
The court’s majority said it doesn’t matter that the money benefiting religious schools does not come directly from state coffers because the constitutional article at hand prohibits indirect payments, in this case dollar-for-dollar tax breaks.
“Here, the taxpayer ‘donates’ nothing, because for every dollar the taxpayer diverts to the (school), the taxpayer receives one dollar in consideration from the State in the form of a lower tax bill,” the opinion states.
See? So easy.
Tennessee, you just keep finding new ways to disappoint. The Volunteer State will be voluntarily sending to the U.S. House of Representatives Republican Mark Green, a medical doctor who says he means to confront the CDC about “fraudulently managing” data about vaccines and autism. He even promises to “stand on the CDC’s desk” (is there, like, just one desk at the CDC?) because “there is some concern that the rise in autism is the result of the preservatives that are in our vaccines.” Is there now.
Oh joy. A bunch of right-wingers in Santa Barbara are suing the school district over its anti-bias training program, alleging that the lessons are “discriminating against white people,” and characterizing them as “intentionally anti-Caucasian, anti-male, and anti-Christian.”
In Port Allen, Louisiana, Police Chief Esdron Brown is facing a second complaint alleging that he forced his religion on officers under his command, and as reported by The Advocate, “the chief used God’s will as reasoning for unjust promotions.”
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary releases a report acknowledging that at the time of its founding, the institution defended slavery, though was not involved in the slave trade itself, if that matters. Adelle Banks at RNS reports:
“They argued first that slaveholding was righteous because the inferiority of blacks indicated God’s providential will for their enslavement, corroborated by Noah’s prophetic cursing of Ham,” the report reads. “They argued second that slaveholding was righteous because southern slaves accrued such remarkable material and spiritual benefits from it.” …
… Asked if the seminary will apologize for its founders’ stances, [Seminary president R. Alber] Mohler said he could offer “a very clear statement of institutional sorrow,” but it is not possible to apologize for the dead.
Looks like Canada’s dumb old blasphemy law may soon be scratched off the books.
In Brazil, a super-famous “spiritual healer,” Joao Teixeira de Faria (aka Joao de Deus), is accused of sexually abusing more than 200 women. AFP reports that the allegations say “he made women perform sex acts during one-on-one sessions in which he claimed he was using his supernatural powers to cure them.”
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is recommending that Australian pharmacies stop selling homeopathy and other alt-med fake medicine altogether.
Speaking of fake medicine, a woman undergoing “cupping therapy” awakens with big, gross, horrible blisters. Gosh, who could have predicted that.
The New York Post reports that a fellow in Long Island has discovered the skeletal remains of his apparently-murdered dad, buried in the basement, which he attributes to a “hit” from a psychic who also allegedly sensed that the death was from a blow to the head with a pipe, when indeed “blunt force trauma” was cited by investigators. As good a guess as any I suppose.
Quote of the Day
A little over a year ago, I was fortunate enough to be chosen as the second Richard Kirschman Free Thought Fellow for the Mesa Refuge in Point Reyes Station, California. The first was Americans United’s Rob Boston. Yesterday I learned that Mr. Kirschman has died at the age of 85. I had the pleasure of meeting Richard and his wife Doris at the refuge, and they were just the kindest and most interesting people. The Point Reyes Light has his obituary, part of which he wrote himself. Beforehand, of course:
What I will miss most—a ridiculous notion for someone who has never believed in a life after death, gods, angels, or supernatural anythings—is being around to see what comes next. Lots of nexts… Even next with how the world’s troubles unfold. Always oppose war, be kind to each other, make music and art, travel, and speak out against intolerance, ignorance and superstition.
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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.