News From Around The Blogosphere 9.16.08

Royal Society says NO to creationism – A few days ago I blogged about Michael Reiss, who seemed to advocate for the teaching of creationism in the UK. Well, now Reiss has resigned from his position as the director of education of the Royal Society

“The Royal Society’s position is that creationism has no scientific basis and should not be part of the science curriculum However, if a young person raises creationism in a science class, teachers should be in a position to explain why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism is not, in any way, scientific.”

Richard Dawkins surprisingly defends Reiss, arguing that Reiss was merely trying to show creationists respect while still disagreeing with them. Though I guess I belong to the same camp as Dawkins in that we don’t think creationists deserve our respect. Of course, the creationists took no time before exploiting this incident to promote their propaganda.

Apparently mildly insulting The Pope in song warrants death threats now – Protestant pastor Clemens Bittlinger is also a musician and well, his latest song didn’t go over too well with The Pope so now he needs armed protection to avoid the Catholic fatwa against him. I guess Islam and Catholicism aren’t that different after all. So what did he say that warrants these death threats? According to the Telegraph:

The song’s title is ‘Oh man, Benedikt, a walk with the Pope’, and asks “two or three questions because there’s a lot I don’t understand”.

“Why do you revile other Christians?” its lyrics ask. “Why are you openly looking for a fight, saying: Yours is not a church…. You ban condoms, even for the poor of this world. So you encourage the spread of AIDS even if you do not like it. Meanwhile you abandon limbo for babies who haven’t been baptised. Did you seriously believe that the Lord had something like that in the first place?”

Did McCain actually call planetarium spending foolish?

Knowing vs. Believing

Is the 4 Minute Exercise Machine a waste of time, space, money . . . and anything else you can think of? – It’s hard to believe that a product bought by Tom Cruise and John Travolta wouldn’t work. [rolling eyes]

The Case For “The Case For . . .” Books – Funny satire mocking Christian apologist Lee Strobel and his infinite number of books he’s written with titles beginning with “The Case For . .. “

Dr. House and Atheism

The serious harm caused by arguably the most peaceful religion in the world – A 17-year-old Jainist girl starved herself for 34 days straight. Remarkably, she survived. What’s also remarkable is how fantastically stupid she, her parents, and the entire Jainist community was for allowing this insanity to occur in the first place.

Greta Christina’s Top 10 Reasons for not believing in god part 2

Does the Brain Electrical Oscillations Signature test know when you’re lying?

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

How Memories Are Made, And Recalled – “For the first time, scientists at UCLA and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have recorded individual brain cells in the act of calling up a memory, thus revealing where in the brain a specific memory is stored and how the brain is able to recreate it.”

Oldest Living Lineage Of Ants Found In Amazon – “A new species of blind, subterranean, predatory ant discovered in the Amazon rainforest by University of Texas at Austin evolutionary biologist Christian Rabeling is likely a descendant of the very first ants to evolve . . . Ants evolved over 120 million years ago from wasp ancestors. They probably evolved quickly into many different lineages, with ants specializing to lives in the soil, leaf-litter or trees, or becoming generalists.”

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4 Responses to News From Around The Blogosphere 9.16.08

  1. Trish says:

    Sorry, I already posted this in the “About” section, but I’m not sure if you’ll see it there.

    Have you ever heard of the fellow who penned this guest column in the Adironadack Daily Enterprise? And are you familiar with claims that Vitamin C can prevent or cure polio?

    http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/page/content.detail/id/502443.html?nav=5041

    Many thanks!

  2. mjr256 says:

    Thanks for the article you’ve submitted.

    I’ve taken a look at it and have found it’s full of erroneous claims you might not have been aware of. For instance, it claims that the CDC is making a profit off of vaccines when in fact vaccination is an unprofitable enterprise. Government regulations keep profits to a minimum.

    “Drug industry experts estimate that it costs nearly $900 million to bring a new vaccine to market.[3] Despite the increasing costs of research, development, and compliance with Food and Drug Administration regulations, major government programs, such as the Vaccines for Children Program, demand deep discounts that have made many vaccines unprofitable.[4]

    Worse, vaccines have fallen prey to the tort monster in America. Unpredictable lawsuits obtain huge verdicts on shaky foundations, stifling the ability of vaccine makers to compete and innovate.[5] Many have criticized the courtroom’s ability to weigh the complex scientific and statistical evidence involved in vaccine liability cases.[6] Buffeted by successive waves of courtroom attacks and huge legal expenses over the past three decades, many firms now avoid the potential liability posed by vaccines.” -The Heritage Foundation (http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/wm946.cfm)

    The writer also claims that autism is a new phenomena and is now an epidemic. It’s not a new phenomena and it’s not an epidemic. What is an epidemic right now is measles, because anti-vaccine propagandists like Mr. Jack Phillips have scared people into not getting vaccinated.

    Then Mr. Phillips makes a red herring argument by pointing out the 4000 pending trials even though this is evidence of nothing except that 4000 people are entering into litigation to argue that vaccines are responsible for their symptoms. The fact that people in our litigious society are suing doesn’t automatically mean they’ve won their case. He’s kinda jumping the gun a little bit. And even if many of the trials ended in the plaintiff’s favor, real science is determined in the lab, not in the courts.

    Then he claims the Poling case (I assume that’s the 1 victory he’s referencing) was decided in the plaintiff’s favor, which is demonstrably false. The court settled that some money should be paid out to the Poling family but specifically stated that this was not a test case for many reasons, not the least of which because Hannah Poling was already sick in the first place and was not representative of other autism cases.

    The CDC HAS ALREADY proven that every vaccine they recommend or require is indeed safe and they happily provide the statistics showing how effective those vaccines are on their webpage.

    And the evidence for the effectiveness of Vitamin C on polio is mixed and it has extremely dangerous possible adverse effects, as opposed to vaccination. Further, the fact is that Vitamin DIDN”T stop Polio. It’s only thanks to vaccination that Polio has become virtually extinct around the world. And if Klenner’s wacko vitamin C technology was worth its salt, the mainstream medical community would be using it because it’d save them billions of lost dollars a year on vaccines. But of course Mr. Phillips’ only response to that is fallacious appeal to conspiracy theory.

  3. Tony Sidaway says:

    Good write-up, but I think you somehow missed out on the latest instalment of the Schlafly-Lenski war. More here.

  4. mjr256 says:

    Thanks for the catch, but I actually did a short write-up about it 3 days earlier here:

    http://skepacabra.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/news-from-around-the-blogosphere-91308/

    But I greatly appreciate being informed of anything I might have missed, so thanks again.

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