Thank the Motherland!

October 16, 2018

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Let’s rip this band-aid off: I will no longer be hosting Point of Inquiry; I voluntarily stepped aside because I simply couldn’t make the time for it to do the show justice. But I am very glad about who will be hosting it: Kavin Senapathy and James Underdown. The show is in excellent hands.

Kavin and Jim will start recording new episodes while at CSICon and…OH CRAP I LEAVE TOMORROW I NEED TO PACK. Okay, wait, I’ll finish the Heresy first.

You know who’s awesome? George Ongere, head of CFI Kenya, that’s who. He gave us a quick update on Joy, a little girl with albinism he helped, and you just need to watch some of the video he sent to see how delightful and happy she is now.

In Skeptical Inquirer, Jeanne Goldberg looks at the paranoia over nuclear energy, and how myths about radiation are keeping us from fully understanding and taking advantage of nuclear power.

The USDA says that nearly 800 over-the-counter dietary supplements contain unapproved drugs, and 20 percent of those had prescription medicines in them.

Remember when Glenn Beck told us that conservatives were being rounded up into “FEMA camps” by the Obama administration? Good times. Well, China seems to want to outdo Beck’s weirdest fantasies with a so-ridiculous-it’s-scary explanation for why they are rounding up Muslims in internment camps. The AP reports:

China is saving Muslim ethnic minorities from the lure of religious extremism by teaching them to speak Mandarin and accept modern science, a senior Chinese official said in a report Tuesday … Xinjiang Gov. Shohrat Zakir described the extrajudicial internment of Muslims as a network of “free vocational training” centers where people are taught employable skills that will help them find work in the manufacturing, food and service industries.

Wow! We were so wrong to criticize them! Oh wait:

Omir Bekali, a Xinjiang-born Kazakh citizen, said he was kept in a cell with 40 people inside a heavily guarded facility. Before meals, they were told to chant “Thank the Party! Thank the Motherland!” During daily mandatory classes, they were told that their people were backward before being “liberated” by the party in the 1950s.

According to Bekali, he was kept in a locked room with eight other internees. They shared beds and a wretched toilet. Cameras were installed in the toilets, and baths were rare.

I’m gonna throw up.

Benjamin Radford reflects on how the new film First Man reminds us what an incredible feat the Moon landing was, and how maddening it is that some folks insist it never happened:

First Man made me proud—as an American, but more importantly, per Diogenes, as a citizen of the world. It also, in an odd way, made me upset. It made me angry because I have dealt with conspiracy theorists who claim, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that the moon landing was a hoax. Those who deny the moon landing—arguably the pinnacle of human scientific achievement—insult the integrity, hard work, and sacrifice of thousands of men and women at NASA. Some of the most brilliant minds in the world dedicated decades of their lives—and in some cases lost their lives—to make this dream a reality.

Joe Nickell recounts a 2002 investigation of the allegedly haunted cemetery of Drummond Hill in Niagara Falls, Canada.

DC’s archdiocese names 31 priests who have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing kids between 1948 and 1996. Seems like maybe they could update that a bit? To maybe this millennium?

Jessica Remo at the Star-Ledger tells of her experience at a Teresa Caputo event, at which a woman in the audience being disregarded by Caputo decided to flip her off.

Amy Kremer of Women Vote Smart PAC (a pro-Trump group) says that witches are putting hexes on Brett Kavanaugh. But I think we’re ignoring the real story here: Hemant Mehta ADMITS: “Little does she know that I, um, put three hexes on her.” WHEN will we wake up to threat of Hemant Mehta and his “friendly” sorcery?

The Blink-182 guy’s “academy” to uncover the TRUTH about aliens and UFOs has racked up a deficit of over $37 million. Probably the aliens took it.

A former justice of Australia’s High Court, Michael Kirby, worries about the state of secularism:

[Former High Court justice] Lionel Murphy often said to me, when we talked about the Constitution, that our Constitution in Section 116 gives protection for freedom of religion, but it also gives protection for freedom from religion, and it’s important to understand that one of the greatest gifts of British constitutionalism to Australia was the principle of secularism in the public space. And I don’t think the problem in Australia in recent years has been so much protection of religious freedom as protection for the people who don’t have a religion or who ask that religion doesn’t butt into the ordinary citizenship, and that is the problem.

Quote of the Day

Sam Brownback (I know, just hold on), U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, in an interview with Kelsey Dallas at Deseret News:

Dallas: The U.S. government has also been criticized for appearing to care more about Christians than members of other faith groups. How do you respond to that complaint?

Brownback: It’s just false. My first trip abroad included going to the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. They are a Muslim group being driven out primarily by Buddhists.

At the ministerial retreat, we included people of all faiths and people of no faith at all. We advocate to get people out of jail that are held for their faith regardless of who they are.

Our standard here is we don’t pick a winner or a loser on faith issues. We push governments to stand for the right of religious freedom.

In Muslim-dominated countries, you might see a blogger that’s an atheist and blogging about atheism get arrested. We say, “Look. He has a right to practice whatever he chooses, including no faith at all.”

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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.