The U.S. just got a whole lot Fluffier

September 23, 2015


The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. (Note: Paul is gone the rest of the week. Today’s guest Heretic is Stef McGraw.)

Ah man, Paul’s really taking vacation at the wrong time–his main man Pope Fluffy is in the U.S! Although I bet even Paul isn’t as excited as CNN is; there’s so much enthusiasm over there that you’d think another Malaysia Airline flight had gone missing!

CFI head honcho Ron Lindsay writes in the Huffington Post about the implications of Pope Francis’ visit on American secularism. 

At some point, you can bet Pope Francis is going to reference his understanding of God’s word and the implications this has for our policies. But he has no standing to tell Congress or us what we should do based on his religious beliefs.

Congress should never have invited Pope Francis to speak, and, to show respect for our secular democracy, he should have declined the invitation.

Dog Bites Man: conservatives are upset that Gay Catholics were invited to the White House to meet the Pope. But Fluffy himself? Not so much, actually.

“I would love to visit and talk to gay and lesbian people. And please tell the gays to pray for me, and I shall pray for them.”

Shout out to the Pope for providing a seamless transition into the next hot topic of the day: climate change. He shared some kind words with President Obama, praising the work he’s doing in that arena.

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry’s push to get rid of “skeptic” as the proper nomenclature for climate deniers is back in the news with a change to Associated Press guidelines where “skeptic” is no longer favored. Real skeptics: 1. Climate deniers: 0.

Wait, what was that? Did I celebrate too early? It looks like the AP went with “doubters” instead, which is…better, but still problematic because, well, in the words of Ron Lindsay,

“The AP’s journalism is read throughout the world, and heavily influences the public’s understanding of crucial issues such as climate change. Referring to deniers as ‘doubters’ still imbues those who reject scientific fact with an intellectual legitimacy they have not earned. The general public, we fear, will still not get a clear picture of which public figures are basing their positions on reality, and which are not.”

To be fair, the AP did provide another acceptable option: “those who reject mainstream climate science.” Accurate? Yes. Usable for climate change discussions on Twitter? Challenge accepted.

On the bright side of this whole skeptic/doubter/denier thing, Lead Heretic Paul Fidalgo has a pretty important-looking pull out quote in this National Journal article

Minnesota Public Radio also picks up the story, though they call CSI the “Center for Skeptical Inquiry” even though “Committee for Skeptical Inquiry” is written right underneath. RIGHT UNDERNEATH, GUYS. 

Speaking of climate change, Hillary Clinton comes out in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, citing climate change as the reason…until millenials decide they don’t care about climate change anymore, in which case she’ll be all “lol caring about climate change is such a #tbt did i young hip person correctly just now?”

Friendly Atheist and former high school math teacher Hemant Mehta shows how that dad who wrote a check “using common core math” (scare quotes because he really didn’t) is totally missing the point and also falling victim to what I’m going to call the “back in my day” fallacy. Or maybe it should be called the “Rugrats Grandpa” fallacy…hey, there’s a joke Hillary Clinton can use to connect with millenials! 

Perennial CFI Leadership Conference speaker (for good reason) James Croft is interviewed as part of Greta Christina’s ongoing series on atheist leaders who aren’t Dawkins or Harris. If you don’t know James, just read all his responses in a beautiful British accent. That is, unless you’re British, in which case you can just read all his responses.

Apparently some think the California drought is a government conspiracy? I can’t…I don’t even have a joke for this, I’m just bewildered to find out that’s a real thing.

Quote of the Day:

Paul’s National Journal pull out quote, of course. It’s like he never left!

“If we bestow deniers with legitimacy, it’s bad for us as a species. It means we can’t move forward on confronting the problem.”

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. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)! 

News items that mention political​ candidates are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances are to be interpreted as statements of endorsement or opposition to any political candidate. CFI is a nonpartisan nonprofit.  

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