News From Around The Blogosphere 3.24.10

March 25, 2010

1. New U.S. state quarters are godless – One thing you won’t see on many, if not all, of the new U.S. state quarters is “In God We Trust.” Instead, the nation’s REAL motto, “E Pluribus Unum” (Out of many, one) is given greater prominence. I wonder how long it will take before we hear Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity declaring this part of the evil secular progressive agenda to remove “God” from people’s lives. I bet not long at all.

2. NYPD, The Vampire Slayers – I thing about NYC I never could stand was all the damned vampires.

NYPD are currently hunting a potential vampire who, when rebuffed by a stingy cab driver who refused to hand over the cash, bit his victim about the neck, back, and arms.

If that isn’t proof of vampires I don’t know what is.

3. VSS Enterprise completes maiden voyage into final frontier – The Enterprise is the first spacecraft built for Richard Branson’s commercial spaceflight company Virgin Galactic. And starting next year, Branson hopes it will be ready to take wealthy tourists into space.

4. How are great apes smarter than creationists and other denialists? – Great apes can actually recognize that they could be wrong:

In a series of three experiments, seven gorillas, eight chimpanzees, four bonobos and seven orangutans, from the Wolfgang Köhler Research Center at the Leipzig Zoo in Germany, were presented with two hollow tubes, one baited with a food reward, the other not. The apes were then observed as they tried to find the reward.

In the first experiment, the apes were prevented from watching the baiting but the tubes were shaken to give them auditory information about the reward’s location instead. Dr. Call wanted to see if when the apes were prevented from acquiring visual information, but offered auditory cues instead, they would be able to use the auditory information to reduce their reliance on visual searching.

5. ‘Rare’ new dinosaur fossil discovered -

It had a body the size of a sheep, a long neck and tail, and lived some 185 million years ago. Scientists call this dinosaur find “a rare skeleton of a new species.”

For those keeping count, that’s 184,994,000 years before the existence of the whole universe, according to Young Earth Creationists.

6. Judge rules Mississippi school violated Constance McMillen’s constitutional rights -

U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson refused the American Civil Liberties Union’s demand to force the Itawamba County school district to put on the April 2 prom. However, he said canceling it did violate 18-year-old Constance McMillen’s rights and that he would hold a trial on the issue.

. . .

“The court finds this expression and communication falls squarely within the purview of the First Amendment,” Davidson said.


Brian Henson nails religion via ‘Dinosaurs’

March 13, 2010

I must have been about 10 years old or so when Brian Henson’s ‘Dinosaurs’ was on the air. I think it was several years before I’d learned about atheism and started to really ask the important questions. I was a huge fan of the show and now I remember why. It’d be another couple of years before The Simpsons did it, so Dinosaurs got there first. Fantastic show!

more about “Brian Henson nails religion via ‘Dino…“, posted with vodpod

News From Around The Blogosphere 1.30.10

January 31, 2010

1. Dinosaur Find Helps Solve Evolutionary Puzzle -

A George Washington University expedition to the Gobi Desert of China has enabled researchers to solve the puzzle of how one group of dinosaurs came to look like birds independent of birds. The discovery extends the fossil record of the family Alvarezsauridae — a bizarre group of bird-like dinosaurs with a large claw on the hand and very short, powerful arms — back 63 million years, further distancing the group from birds on the evolutionary tree.

Until now, there was no direct evidence that dinosaurs of this type lived during the Late Jurassic, approximately 160 million years ago. George Washington University doctoral candidate Jonah Choiniere named the newly discovered species of dinosaur, Haplocheirus sollers (meaning simple, skillful hand).

Again, that’s 63 million years ago, which for those keeping count is 62,994,000 years before the existence of the whole universe, according to Young Earth Creationists.

2. Elmhurst, Illinois Mayor Pete DiCianni calls to waste tax dollars on prayer – DiCianni is calling from each City Council meeting to over with a prayer. Now besides the fact that this obviously tramples on the wall separating church and state, even rational Christians should be able to admit that we’re not paying these people to sit around and pray, but rather to run the local government. If these people wish to pray, let them do so on their own time and not on the taxpayers’ time.

3. Christian police force in UK who believe in power of prayer  receives £10,000 grant – If all it takes to catch criminals is prayer, why do they need any money? And for that matter, why do they need a police force?

4. Mennonites kidnap 14-year-old girl – The daughter of Doug Ramsey may have been brainwashed. Three church members were arrested for allegedly concealing the girl from her parents and police after she ran away from home. They intended to take her out of the state to Kentucky. Church members encouraged her to disconnect from her parents and helped facilitate her departure.

5. Midlife crises are a myth – Here’s a great article debunking the myths surrounding the so-called midlife crisis.

6. Virginia School district bans Diary of Anne Frank - That’s right. I’ll repeat that. They banned Anne Frank’s book. Why you might ask? Because of a passage about her adolescent curiosity concerning sexuality. The offending passage reads:

There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it. The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can’t imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!

The horror! The horror!

But that’s not even the worst part, according to the article linked to above:

Amazon.com lists Anne Frank’s diary as one of the most banned children’s books, “for being too depressing for students.”

Anne Frank’s diary is among the most banned children’s books? Anne Frank? Are we talking about the same Anne Frank? The young girl in hiding from the Nazis? Anne Frank’s diary is one of the most banned children’s books? WTF!!!!!!!

7. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledges $10 billion to vaccines – Suck it, Jenny McCarthy!

8. Do children need both a mother and a father? – Yup, once again science proves the bigots wrong:

The presumption that children need both a mother and a father is widespread. It has been used by proponents of Proposition 8 to argue against same-sex marriage and to uphold a ban on same-sex adoption.

. . .

The lead article in the February issue of Journal of Marriage and Family challenges the idea that “fatherless” children are necessarily at a disadvantage or that men provide a different, indispensable set of parenting skills than women.

. . .

In their analysis, the researchers found no evidence of gender-based parenting abilities, with the “partial exception of lactation,” noting that very little about the gender of the parent has significance for children’s psychological adjustment and social success.

9. Pope calls for crackdowns on marriage annulments “at all costs” - But still nothing about cracking down on the thousands of child rapists whose salaries he pays. That’s fine.


News From Around The Blogosphere 1.28.10

January 29, 2010

1. Scientists determine color of dinosaur’s tail feathers – because of course dinosaurs weren’t in any way related to birds. Right creationists? It’s orange.

2. Russian rabbis hospitalized from holy water – Silly rabbis. Trix are for kids. (Thanks to my friend Michelle for that joke!)

3. Doctors Without Borders vaccinates 2,100 kids against Measles in Pakistan – This is great news but I fear that the first Pakistani kid who gets sick from anything at all will become a target for anti-vaccinationists to point to, insisting that it was the vaccine. . .even if that particular kid wasn’t vaccinated. Or maybe they’re just emphasize that these kids only got vaccinated against measles instead of getting MMR vaccines, and insist that that’s how we should all get them. Either way, I doubt this news story will escape their rationalizations.

4. Atheist billboard goes up in Tampa Bay -

5. The Pope’s a masochist – Remember when the Pope condemned “The Da Vinci Code” for its inaccuracy? Well it wasn’t all inaccurate. The self-flagellation part was true:


Today in Evolution 6.18.09

June 18, 2009

New research suggests that humans most likely share a common ancestor with orangutans and that we’re more related to orangutans than chimps:

Reporting in the June 18 edition of the Journal of Biogeography, the researchers reject as “problematic” the popular suggestion, based on DNA analysis, that humans are most closely related to chimpanzees, which they maintain is not supported by fossil evidence.

Also, scientists have found even more evidence that validates what we already knew that modern birds descended from dinosaurs:

Scientists have discovered a unique beaked, plant-eating dinosaur in China. The finding, they say, demonstrates that theropod, or bird-footed, dinosaurs were more ecologically diverse in the Jurassic period than previously thought, and offers important evidence about how the three-fingered hand of birds evolved from the hand of dinosaurs.

. . .

“This new animal is fascinating, and when placed into an evolutionary context it offers intriguing evidence about how the hand of birds evolved,” said scientist James Clark of George Washington University.


We’ve got a T-Rex…ancestor

April 23, 2009

Yet another transitional fossil that creationists will have to deny has been discovered. This time it’s an ancestor to the tyrannosaurus rex:

The fossils date from the middle of the Cretaceous period, and may be a “missing link”, tying the familiar big T rex to its much smaller ancestors.

The fossils show early signs of the features that became pronounced with later tyrannosaurs.

Paleontological knowledge about the family of dinosaurs known as tyrannosaurs is based around two distinct groups of fossils from different parts of the Cretaceous period, which ran from approximately 145 to 65 million years ago.

So for those keeping count, that’s 144,994,000 to 64,994,000 years before the existence of the entire universe, according to Young Earth Creationists.

And notice that the T-Rex comes from the Cretaceous period and not the Jurassic Period, as some recently deceased science fiction writers would have us believe:


News From Around The Blogosphere 11.14.08

November 15, 2008

Even Better Than The Real Thing – Placebo acupuncture (if ever there were a more redundant phrase) more effective at getting you knocked up than real acupuncture:

A study comparing the effects of real and placebo acupuncture on pregnancy rates during assisted reproduction has found that, surprisingly, placebo acupuncture was associated with a significantly higher overall pregnancy rate than real acupuncture.

GM food hysteria is back in the news – A recent study found that a long-term diet of genetically modified corn decreases fertility in lab mice. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything for humans and therefore further research will have to be done. But of course the usual GM-phobic suspects are trying to tout this study as proof that their delusional rants have been justified for all these years. Um, no. You see pretty everything we eat in the 21st Century is genetically modified and without which millions of people around the world would starve.

Obama endorsing chiropractic? – Please just be paying lip service. I really don’t want my tax dollars to be squandered on this crap.

Damned for voting Obama? -

The Rev. Jay Scott Newman, a South Carolina Roman Catholic priest, has warned his parishioners that they will be committing a deadly sin if they voted for Barack Obama and accept Holy Communion before doing penance. His rationale? That supporting the pro-choice Obama “constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil”. He goes on to describe Obama as “the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate”.

Um, can’t we take away this lunatic’s tax exempt status for preaching from the pulpit?

creationism-cartoon-i-will-not-teach-horse-shitAlternate title suggestion: “The Road To Ignorance Contest”or Shameless Discovery Institute Attempt to Exploit Child Labor & Promote Religious Ideas Deemed Unworthy by the Scientific Peer Review Process.

scientist-use-in-case-of-emergency

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

77-million-year-old Dinosaur ‘Whodunit’ Solved – “It has all the hallmarks of a Cretaceous melodrama. A dinosaur sits on her nest of a dozen eggs on a sandy river beach. Water levels rise, and the mother is faced with a dilemma: Stay or abandon her unhatched offspring to the flood and scramble to safety?

Seventy-seven million years later, scientific detective work conducted by University of Calgary and Royal Tyrrell Museum researchers used this unique fossil nest and eggs to learn more about how nest building, brooding and eggs evolved. But there is a big unresolved question: Who was the egg-layer?” Keep in mind that this would have been 76,994,000 years before the existence of the entire universe, according to Young Earth Creationists. But who’s counting?

Prehistoric Pelvis: Clues To Human Development – “Discovery of the most intact female pelvis of Homo erectus may cause scientists to reevaluate how early humans evolved to successfully birth larger-brained babies.”

Ultimate Recycling: Turning Urine Into Water – “Two hundred and fifty miles above the Earth puts you a long way from the nearest kitchen tap. And at $15,000 a pint, the cost of shipping fresh water aboard the space shuttle is, well, astronomical.

So astronauts on the International Space Station have to recapture every possible drop. That includes water evaporated from showers, shaving, tooth brushing and hand washing, plus perspiration and water vapor that collects within the astronauts’ space suits. They even transfer water from the fuel cells that provide electric power to the space shuttle.

Until now, however, NASA has not attempted to tap one major potential source of water: urine. That will soon change with the deployment of the new Water Recovery System. It departs Friday, Nov. 14, from the Kennedy Space Center on the Space Shuttle Endeavor.”

Mineral Kingdom Has Co-evolved With Life – “Evolution isn’t just for living organisms. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution have found that the mineral kingdom co-evolved with life, and that up to two thirds of the more than 4,000 known types of minerals on Earth can be directly or indirectly linked to biological activity.”

Fish Choose Their Leaders By Consensus – “Just after Americans have headed to the polls to elect their next president, a new report in the November 13th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, reveals how one species of fish picks its leaders: Most of the time they reach a consensus to go for the more attractive of two candidates.” Wow, so it’s just like our democracy then.

Marine Plankton Found In Amber – “Marine microorganisms have been found in amber dating from the middle of the Cretaceous period. The fossils were collected in Charente, in France. This completely unexpected discovery will deepen our understanding of these lost marine species as well as providing precious data about the coastal environment of Western France during the Cretaceous.”

Light Triggers New Code For Brain Cells – “Brain cells can adopt a new chemical code in response to cues from the outside world, scientists working with tadpoles at the University of California, San Diego report in the journal Nature.

. . . Dark tadpoles don pale camouflage when exposed to bright light. The researchers have now identified cells in the tadpole brain that respond to illumination by making dopamine, a chemical message, or neurotransmitter, recognized by the system that controls pigmentation.”

A glimpse at some possible future atheist ads – Admittedly, I’m not a fan of most of them. The only one I like from the bunch is this one:

But I still love last year’s billboards much, much more:

atheist-billboard1atheistbillboard2

None of these weak phrases like “There is probably no God.” These are much stronger and less likely to viewed as offensive or be written off as atheists just looking for friends because they’re desperate and lonely.


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