Squirrel Beats Sea Monster

October 31, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.  

Happy spooky day! I know we’re all looking forward to an evening of dissecting our kids’ candy as we check each individual piece for razor blades and evidence of poisoning. My baby daughter Phoebe will be donning a puppy costume, presuming she’s awake and not screaming, and my almost-3-year-old son Toby will be a Tyrannosaurus Rex, pictured here with my lovely wife. You could just die, he’s so cute, right?? 

CFI’s new campus organizer Sarah Kaiser takes a valiant stab at chronicling last week’s CSICon using mainly tweets. Remarkably effective.   

James Croft discovers an “interfaith” organization that, rather than pretend all religions are the same (<cough>Karen Armstrong<cough>), puts religious differences front and center in a Stephen Prothero God-is-not-one kind of way. I’m intrigued.

Douglas LaBier at PsychToday: It’s easier just to believe a political lie than to think about its plausibility, thus, global warming is a hoax and Obama is a Muslim, etc. 

Speaking of our secretly-Muslim president, Richard Land breaks a pledge not to endorse a candidate to, shock of shocks, back Mitt Romney.  

Could you tell I was being sarcastic just then about Obama being a Muslim? If you think it’s hard to tell when a written sentence is intended as sarcasm, imagine how hard it is for a computer. USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab is on it.  

(Once they figure that out, then they need to figure out how to detect “kidding on the square.”) 

Mike Huckabee makes a veiled threat of eternal damnation for those who vote the wrong way. 

Nigerian secular activist Leo Igwe joins JREF as a research fellow. 

CFI-Indiana to present a program on coping with the later stages of life November 10.  

NYT covers the secularist uprising in Turkey.

The Driskill Hotel in Austin is apparently haunted by, among other folks, a ghost who uses the elevator. 

Chickamauga Battlefield in Tennessee gets closed to the public on Halloween because of being perennially being overrun by would-be ghost hunters. 

Tourism dollars decide the great contest: The red squirrel beats the non-existent marine dinosaur at Loch Ness. 

Slate rejects an article Harriet Hall, which they asked her to write, critical of alt-med sales-guru Andrew Weil.  

Bruce Gordon guest-posts at Butterflies & Wheels on his disdain for “faitheists,” accusing folks like Chris Stedman of being more interested in “maintaining the status quo” than about the concerns of atheists being persecuted.

WSJ: Humans may have some “anticipatory” sensations that might, if you wanted to get more clicks on your article, sound vaguely like being “psychic,” even though it’s not at all that. 

BBC: University of London runs a psychic-abilities test, which the psychics fail (insert “should’ve seen that coming” joke here). Psychic declares it “doesn’t prove a thing.”  

Legal action threatened in Egypt over a “blasphemous” and greviously insulting film in which, get this, a belly dancer dances…wait for it…to a song that references Muhammad’s daughter. I KNOW, RIGHT!?! 

Felicity A. Morse at HuffPo: “Belief means an acceptance that something is true, especially an acceptance without proof.” Wait. No, it doesn’t! 

Sex-offender pedophile former rabbi starts attending services at Bethesda synagogue. Awkward! 

Mother Jones listicle: America’s 9 most anti-science politicians. (Where’s James Inhofe??)   

Demon babies!!! 

Quote of the Day         

My man Montaigne again: 

‘Tis the fear of death and of pain, impatience of disease, and a violent and indiscreet desire of a present cure, that so blind us: ’tis pure cowardice that makes our belief so pliable and easy to be imposed upon: and yet most men do not so much believe as they acquiesce and permit. 

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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The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta