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We Do Some Nudity, We Do Some Blasphemy

September 25, 2020

Our crack web team already has last night’s Skeptical Inquirer Presents posted online! So if you missed the live event with Nathan Lents, as he disemboweled the claims of Intelligent Design, no worries. You may now enjoy it at your convenience.

Behold, as the anti-vaxxer machinations of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Children’s Health Defense are exposed by CFI’s Benjamin Radford as “a genuine threat to public health.” It “positions itself as a science-based advocacy organization bravely fighting for justice, public health, and equality, but it has a long history of spreading misinformation.”

University of Texas law professor Larry Sager on church exemptions to pandemic restrictions on public gatherings: “It’s not like they only live their lives in devotion, they live their lives with the rest of us. They are as threatening to us as we are to them…”

Stephanie Parker at Knowable talks to anthropologist Matthew Engelke about how people are handling funereal rituals during the pandemic, including for heathen-types: “Even the secular humanists with whom I have worked would say that the idea of heaven and angels is all nonsense, but they talk in terms of memory and genetics and, in a few cases, cosmology. That you become stardust.”

The stereotype says that it’s older folks who fall for online scams, but when it comes to COVID-19 misinformation, it’s the dang kids: “People under the age of 25 had an 18% probability of believing a false claim, compared to only 9% of people over 65,” according to a big study from Harvard, Rutgers, Northeastern, and Northwestern (or, HRNN, pronounced “hrrrrrnnnnnnn” like when you have a stomach ache).

Politico: “Trump’s constant drumbeat for a vaccine by Nov. 3 has drowned out months of careful scientific work.” Plus: “It would help if Donald Trump stopped talking,” said Paul Offit. … “Every time he opens his mouth, most reasonable people feel they’re being sold something.”

The presidents of the National Academy of Sciences and of Medicine: “We find ongoing reports and incidents of the politicization of science, particularly the overriding of evidence and advice from public health officials and derision of government scientists, to be alarming.” No kidding.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a COVID-downplayer, has tested positive for the virus.

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

USA Today fact-checks the claim that Judge Amy Coney Barrett has called for ending the separation of church and state in order to bring about a “Kingdom of God” in the U.S.

Attorney Jamie Smith signs up with the Satanic Temple: “When Justice Ginsburg’s death suddenly made combating the threats to reproductive rights and a government free from religious interference more urgent, I knew it was time to join them and support their conceptual and legal battles.”

Cue the freakout from “a whole lot of people with American flags in their bios.”

David Brooks is worried (always) about the loss of “the biblical metaphysic”: “We have more to fear from those who let their politics determine their faith practices and who turn their religious communities into political armies.”

Atheists United is running a fundraiser to help with the California wildfire crisis, benefiting the Latino Community Foundation and the Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program.

Djupe and Burge put numbers to Prosperity Gospel beliefs: More than 41 percent of Americans think God will give them material things they want if they believe hard enough. And: “[Partisan] PG believers are more likely to see the First Amendment as a suicide pact – that freedom to worship is too important to close the churches out of concern for public health.”

Arthur E. Farnsley: Demonizing white evangelicals won’t get us anywhere. “There will not be a revolution this fall, only an election. On Nov. 4, all Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists and every other American will still be in the same boat.”

Former sidekick to Pope Benedict, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, is asked to resign over financial mischief at the Vatican.

At Skeptical Inquirer, Wendy Grossman profiles UK skeptic Mike Marshall, who perceives a change of emphasis in the movement: “Marshall thinks that circa 2010, classical skeptical topics gave way to alt-med as the prevailing pseudoscience—and that today another shift is underway to conspiracy theories.”

Facebook gears up its Supreme Court Oversight Board. Board member Alan Rusbridger: “We have done a nudity case, we’ve done a blasphemy case.” Sounds like a great job.

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have been given new guidelines on UFO encounters: Document and investigate them and implement “necessary analysis.”

Best UFO headline in a while, via the UK’s Evening Gazette: “No I hadn’t been drinking.”

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have a new series coming out that lampoons ghost hunters. Yeeeeeesssssss.

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.