Colossal Moral Damage
July 26, 2020

Eye-opening numbers from Pew: A bare majority of Earthlings (51 percent) say that belief in God is not required to be a moral person. 54 percent of Americans say the same. The report has lots of interesting breakdowns by things like age, income, and education. Religion Dispatches looks at the wisdom of Biden seeking support from white evangelicals, …

Presumably Alienable
July 26, 2020

Presumably Alienable So much conspiracy theory stuff today. Dana Milbank at the Post decries “The Great American Crackup,” and consults conspiracy theory expert Joseph Uscinski, who is our first speaker for Skeptical Inquirer Presents next week! Anna Merlan at Vice: “Conspiracy communities that have previously only brushed past each other like schools of fish borne along on different currents are suddenly, …

Fever Swamps
July 26, 2020

We can’t have a CSICon this year, but BIG IDEAS DON’T NEED HOTEL BALLROOMS, Y’ALL. Yesterday we announced a new series of free online talks, Skeptical Inquirer Presents. It starts July 30! White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said this about opening schools: “When he says open, he means open in full. Kids being able …

Absurdly Lopsided
July 26, 2020

Jamie Hale, at his “Rationality of Science” column for CFI, counts all your neurons. Actually, he looks at how a strong sense of skepticism by one scientist changed so much about what is known about the workings of the brain. Stuart Vyse at Skeptical Inquirer looks at the efforts of skeptics in Brazil (specifically Instituto Questão de Ciência) to …

Fads and Fallacies
July 22, 2020

As part of a reference question I received during the recent pandemic, I looked back at the beginnings of the modern skeptical movement and was reminded of the writings of Martin Gardner. Those of you familiar with us know that Gardner had a very large influence on what became the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) …

How Many Neurons Are In The Human Brain? A Journey To Find The Answer
July 22, 2020

When I was an undergraduate in graduate school, I learned the human brain consists of 100 billion neurons (Kolb and Whishaw 2009). This number was reported in scholarly journals, textbooks, and in college lectures. It was accepted as fact. I never saw a citation of an original source to support the claim, nor did I …

Organized Hypocrisy
July 14, 2020

By Paul Fidalgo,  The Morning Heresy, July 14, 2020 Katherine Stewart (The Good News Club) writes in the Daily Beast that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his “Commission on Unalienable Rights” represent the stirrings of religious authoritarianism in the U.S.: … the regime goes on to strip everyone else of their rights, bolster hyperconservative religious allies with public …

Graceless And Joyless
July 14, 2020

By  Paul Fidalgo, The Morning Heresy, July 13, 2020 This is fascinating. Fast Company reports on a study showing that a way to get people to share less misinformation online is for social media platforms to provide “accuracy nudges,” little prompts that prime the user to be ever-more-slightly skeptical. About one sixth of the members of the Mississippi legislature, …

Who To Marginalize Next
July 13, 2020

By Paul Fidalgo, The Morning Heresy for July 10, 2020 A few of the items you should know about: Anthony Fauci, a man in constant pain, tells FiveThirtyEight, “As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don’t think you can say we’re doing great. I mean, we’re just not.“ Pediatrician Phoebe Danziger at NYT: Get …

Texas Hospital Finds ‘Covid Party’ – Or Legend
July 13, 2020

“More likely, however, this is a news story reporting a rumor as fact, and if anything it reinforces, not undermines, the idea that covid parties are largely or wholly fictional.”