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The R-naught is Rising

August 24, 2020

It’s a busy week of Zoom calls for CFI! On Wednesday, CFI Insider looks at the role of freethought and secularism in the women’s suffrage movement, and on Thursday, Carol Tavris talks about cognitive dissonance in the pandemic era on Skeptical Inquirer Presents.

The Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science now has Spanish-language guided lessons in evolution! ¡Prepárate para enseñar la evolución de una forma interesante y eficaz!


Stuart Vyse at Skeptical Inquirer on COVID-19 and “the tyranny of now”: “Smaller rewards in the present are chosen over larger ones in the future. … the future is largely out of sight and mind.”

Trump accuses the imaginary deep state within the FDA of slowing progress on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments in order to undermine his reelection.

And then Trump announces that the FDA is giving emergency authorization to use convalescent plasma as a treatment.

Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Translational Institute: “I watched this in horror. … All this does is jeopardize ever getting the truth.”

The Infectious Diseases Society of America says hydroxychloroquine should not be used to treat COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Russia’s out-of-nowhere vaccine is going to be tried out on 40,000 people. The name of the vaccine? Sputnik V. Because of course it is.

China says, Oh yeah? We started ours a month ago.

In case you weren’t sure about it, Reuters assures us that the claim that the pandemic is a hoax is false.

Slate on social media’s role in curbing pandemic misinformation: “The R-naught is rising; the pace of viral misinformation is speeding up.”

There’s still a lot of confusion about face masks with the filtered valves.

Fauci says, “We will get out of this and we will return to normal. Don’t give up. Don’t despair. Don’t throw caution to the wind.”


The DNC did not remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance during the convention.

Indeed, as Howard Fineman puts it, Biden is running the most overtly religious presidential campaign since Carter’s: “It is as clear as a large-print Bible. He’s offering himself as Father Joe and Joe the father.”

Meanwhile, Trump recounts sort of manic conversations he allegedly has with God about how great a job he’s doing, and then yells on Twitter “We want GOD!” Clingy!

The House Ways and Means Committee issues a report condemning the Trump administration for intentionally harming LGBTQ Americans by waiving nondiscrimination rules against adoption and foster care agencies.

It is now the law in Tennessee that protesters camping out on state property will face felony charges and lose their right to vote if convicted.


Help us, Steak-umm:

yes steak-umm is a CULT. we encourage:

C – critical thinking
U – understanding people better
L – loving frozen meat
T – tweets that make you go “umm”

The 6.5-foot asteroid 2018VP1 has a half-a-percent chance of hitting Earth the day before Election Day. Tease.


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 centerforinquiry.org/coronavirus.


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.



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