News From Around The Blogosphere 8.22.08

Woman-officiated wedding ceremony sparks controversy in India – “A Muslim marriage in northern India officiated by women has sparked an angry debate, with one of the most influential Islamic seminaries in South Asia calling it an affront to the religion.” That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? As much as we like to think humanity has progressed, there are still regions in the world where the simple act of having a woman officiate at your wedding sparks outrage. This is why religion has got to go. There’s no future for humanity with religion in a dominant role. All manner of evil can be justified by faith-based magical thinking, Is there really any doubt that if religion disappeared tomorrow, female oppression around the world would diminish significantly? Could you even imagine such a absurd controversy occurring in a predominantly secular country?

10 least religious countries in the world:

1. Sweden (up to 85% non-believer, atheist, agnostic)
2. Vietnam

3. Denmark
4. Norway
5. Japan
6. Czech Republic
7. Finland
8. France
9. South Korea
10. Estonia (up to 49% non-believer, atheist, agnostic)

Creationist teaching in Malta

Far from becoming extinct 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs actually co-existed with early humans, and even helped in the construction of the pyramids. This is the word of Vince Fenech, Evangelist pastor and director of a fully licensed, State-approved Creationist institution which admits children aged between four and 18.

:CAM cons its way into The New England Journal of Medicine -The NEJM publishes reviews for 2 books on alternative medicine.

Honestly, I really tried to keep today’s blog free of vaccine/autism material. Alas, Orac presented such an awesome debunking of the mitochondrial disease + vaccines = autism crap so popular these days with the anti-vacciners that I couldn’t not repost it.

Alt. Med cranks blaming medicine for celebrity deaths – Apparently comedian Bernie Mac and professional scumbag Tony Snow didn’t die of pneumonia and cancer respectively. No, they died of medicine. Bad doctors! Bad!

Gen. Petraeus endorses pro-Christian book…which indirectly blames atheists for “unit failure.” – And for the record, yes, it is against military regulations to promote religion.

MSNBC’s Countdown addresses this issue here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/26355095#26355095

And now for a moment of science:

Some Cells Self-destruct For Common Good – “ETH Zurich biologists, led by Professors Martin Ackermann and Wolf-Dietrich Hardt, in collaboration with Michael Doebeli of the University of British Colombia in Vancouver (CN), have been able to describe how random molecular processes during cell division allow some cells to engage in a self-destructive act to generate a greater common good, thereby improving the situation of the surviving siblings.”

How Showy Male Traits Evolved – “A team of Wisconsin scientists has turned from the question of why [showy traits such as the Peacock’s ornamentation] exist to precisely how they evolved. They have worked out the molecular details of how a simple genetic switch controls decorative traits in male fruit flies and how that switch evolved. By extension, the work explains the mechanics of how the male lion got his mane, how the bull moose acquired such an impressive set of antlers and, yes, how the peacock got its magnificent tail.”

Mystery Of Young Stars Near Black Holes Solved – “The mystery of how young stars can form within the deep gravity of black holes has been solved by a team of astrophysicists at the Universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh.”

Science Word Episode #11

Science Word Episode #12

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