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The Jig is Up

October 12, 2020

Thursday’s Skeptical Inquirer Presents with Sasha Sagan was so great. One of those, “wow, I needed that” moments. You can go have that moment whenever you like now, as the video of the event is up.

At Skeptical Inquirer the Website, Stuart Vyse looks at the claim that pandemic health orders are obstacles to economic recovery. But no, “it’s the virus , stupid.”

Angel Eduardo, new to the CFI blog, celebrates the “true prophets”:

Scientists are our true prophets. Their hypotheses are real prophecies. By understanding and harnessing the laws of nature, scientists unlock the secrets of the universe for us, one carefully reasoned revelation at a time. … We live in a world of wonders, foreseen only by our greatest scientific prophets. It’s easy to forget that. Scientists reveal such wonders, so often, that we can lose sight of how truly monumental their discoveries are.

Amir Bagherpour, Ali Nouri at Scientific American, straight-up: “COVID misinformation is killing people.”

Carl Zimmer reports on the remarkable effort to get close-up, high-resolution images of the coronavirus. And it sort of looks like it’s made of muppet.

Olga Khazan on the “masks make you sicker” lie: “[It] underscores how online misinformation is like an ocean liner: Once it’s headed in one direction, it’s difficult to turn around.”

For whatever it’s worth, one of Trump’s COVID treatments—which he called “miracles coming down from God”—was developed with a cell line derived from abortion tissue.

Trump says he’s now “immune” to COVID-19, which is probably false.

Jack Jenkins looks at Christian nationalists’ resistance to masks and other public health measures. He quotes Samuel Perry of the University of Oklahoma: “Christian nationalists … are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, more likely to distrust the media and more likely to distrust scientists and feel like there’s some kind of conspiratorial agenda that is behind all of that.”

David Gorski dismantles the pseudoscience-driven “Great Barrington Declaration” against pandemic public health measures.

A DC federal court gives the go-ahead for big church gatherings outdoors.

Hey look a game! “Go Viral!” is an in-browser game in which you “play the role of a media manipulator and uncover their tactics to learn how to resist them in the future.” I’ll be wasting some time on that using that for work-related research.

GWU’s Matthew Dallek at the Post: “Trump’s war on scientific expertise during this once-in-a-century pandemic is a reflection of the right’s decades of effort to elevate faith in God as an overriding value, leaving no room for scientific inquiry or medical leadership.”

Robyn Pennacchia at Wonkette on the superspreading Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry: “There is really only one hard and fast rule when it comes to having an entire school dedicated to doing faith healing, and that is that no one can ever get sick, or else the jig is up.”

I’m very much interested in this book by Michael Strevens on what took science so long to become, you know, science: The Knowledge Machine, here reviewed by Jennifer Szalai: “The Thirty Years’ War in Europe — which started over religion and ended, after killing millions, with a system of nation-states — made compartmentalization look good. Religious identity would be private; political identity would be public.”

Six states get an “F” on climate change education from the National Center for Science Education and the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund.

Lindsay Gellman at Bloomberg Businessweek reports on the proliferation of dangerous, pseudoscientific Lyme disease treatments. This should sound familiar: “Infectious-disease specialists who’ve raised concerns about unproven Lyme protocols have sometimes faced coordinated harassment and threats.”

George Pyle, editorial page editor of the Salt Lake Tribune, says court rulings must land in religiously neutral territory. “In short, it has to pass the atheist test.” For example, “Most opposition to abortion rights also fails to muster any reasoning that isn’t based on religious teachings. Which makes it an argument without merit in a free society.”

Reps. Jared Huffman and Jamie Raskin of the Freethought Caucus raise this frightening thought about Justices Thomas and Alito’s hankering to overturn Obergefell: “Any government that can turn the clock back to discriminate against same-sex couples can also turn it back to discriminate against interracial and interfaith couples.

Algerian activist Yacine Mebarki has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for “inciting atheism,” insulting Islam, and “undermining national unity.” In other words, blasphemy.

Jennifer Medina at NYT reports on the “political homelessness” of Latino evangelicals. Be sure to lead the last paragraph.

Pat Robertson says you’d have to be stupid to believe in creationism. (He’s wrong that Earth is 14 billion years old, but that’s way better than saying it’s 6000 years old.)

MC Hammer promotes Intelligent Design. (Paging Nathan Lents.) We got to pray just to make it today.

Jonathan Jarry looks at the enduring appeal of the nonsense of astrology, saying, “If we are to resist the pull that magical thinking has on us, we need to reconcile ourselves with ‘not knowing,’ an important lesson in science which some of us are perhaps better equipped to take on board.”

On Twitter, Louis Aguirre posts a photo of a mask-requirement sign, asking, “Is there an award for best signage? There should be.” Consider it done. Presenting the winner of the Morning Heresy Best Mask Requirement Sign for the Week of October 12, 2020:


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.