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Yes, I’m a Demon Buster.

July 31, 2020

As expected, the first Skeptical Inquirer Presents webinar was excellent, and in the best tradition of Skeptical Inquirer and skepticism broadly, Joseph Uscinski’s talk on conspiracy theories was not only informative, but challenged assumptions that even we know-it-all skeptics might hold. Video will be posted later today so you can check it out.

Next up on August 13: Paul Offit on the warp-speed efforts to make a COVID-19 vaccine. We’ve also just added a Skeptical Inquirer Presents (“SIP”? I dunno.) event for August 27: Carol Tavris on the role of cognitive dissonance in the pandemic. Register for them now.

Bonus: Paul Offit has a new book coming on medical fallacies, Overkill, and he’s interviewed by the Philadelphia Inquirer about some of his revelations.

NASA just sent another rover to Mars, Perseverance, and it’s bringing a helicopter, Ingenuity. It’s going to a crater called Jezero to look for signs of life from Mars’s deep past.

Herman Cain has died at the age of 74 from COVID-19. He had attended the infamous Trump rally in Tulsa, at times maskless, and it’s possible that this is how he got it.

Fauci says we should probably start wearing eye coverings along with masks. Glasses don’t count, apparently (damn).

Stella Immanuel, the demon doctor, is not sorry: “Yes, I’m a demon buster. Yes, demons sleep with people. Yes, if you pray for them they get better.” Well okay!

Lenny J. Lowe at Religion Dispatches says of Immanuel and the evangelical embrace of demon-belief: Much like the virus, “we should have seen it coming.”

Oh, and those “Frontline Doctors” that Immanuel was a part of and Breitabart was so excited about? You’ll be shocked to know that they have never been on any “front lines.”

Ethan Siegel: “Unless we start valuing the actual expertise that legitimate experts have spent lifetimes developing, ‘doing our own research’ could lead to immeasurable, unnecessary suffering.” It already is.

Maggie Lange at Vice on Netflix’s misleading health docu-series Down to Earth: “The show has abysmal factual standards and a relationship to reality that’s faulty at best.”

The murder of a man in a courtroom in Pakistan accused of blasphemy has an aspect I failed to mention at first: Tahir Ahmad Naseem was an American citizen, which brings an entirely new level of attention.

Linda Greenhouse at the Times on the recent SCOTUS rulings: “That even a minority of justices would seize this moment to advance their religious agenda, especially given that agenda’s nearly unqualified success in recent years, is deeply unsettling.” Yeah, I’d say.

A lawsuit in North Carolina is targeting the state’s voucher program for giving taxpayer dollars to schools that can discriminate in hiring and attendance.

FFRF goes after the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office for requiring employees to attend a Bible-based “Bulletproof Warrior” seminar in which “Thou shalt not kill” ends in a question mark.

QAnon types are raking it in over Patreon.

The Washington UFOs? I like it.

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.