News From Around The Blogosphere 5.7.10

May 7, 2010

1. Congressman Henry Waxman fights to keep out quackery - Waxman introduced a bill proposing a rather novel idea, actually holding vitamin sellers accountable for the health claims that they make. Senator McCain tried to introduce a similar bill not long ago to protect consumers, but it was defeated by Tom Harkin and the supplement industry.

2. Researchers find more evidence that your ancestors fucked Neanderthals – Apparently they weren’t too choosy back then.

3. Research turns up new insights into natural HIV immunity -

In the late 1990s, researchers showed that a very high percentage of those naturally HIV-immune people, who represent about one in 200 infected individuals, carry a gene called HLA B57. Now a team of researchers from the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard has revealed a new effect that contributes to this gene’s ability to confer immunity.

4. Mohammed Image Archive – He wasn’t always this camera shy. He used to be a model.

Mohammed from 13th-century Persian manuscript (most likely from al-Biruni's The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries)

5. Comedy Central exposes hypocrisy with new Jesus show – So South Park wasn’t allowed to ridicule Mohammed, but Central Central is now considering a half-hour animated show about Jesus called JC. I hate when I’m forced to agree with Fox News:

Mr. Jefferson, build up that wall

April 19, 2009

shredding-constitutionFriendly Atheist reports several news stories that relate to religious encroachment on the U.S.’s secular government.

First, John McCain’s own campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, criticizes the GOP for being “co-opted” by the Religious Right:

“If you put public policy issues to a religious test, you risk becoming a religious party,” Schmidt declared. “And in a free country, a political party cannot be viable in the long term if it is seen as a sectarian party.”

Then he reports that former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore is planning on running for governor. Moore was apparently responsible for installing a Ten Commandments monument in his courthouse and then refused to remove it when ordered to do so.

Sarah Palin’s old running mate repeats her faux pas

January 10, 2009

John McCain: Every bit the mental amoeba as Sarah Palin -A few months ago when Sarah Palin mocked vital fruit fly research it sparked outrage within the scientific community. Apparently her running mate John McCain didn’t hear about it. . .or he just doesn’t care what the truth is. Either way he’s repeating her idiotic anti-scientific BS.

Behind the scenes of Dole’s infamous “Godless Ad”

November 10, 2008

Behind the scenes of Elizabeth Dole’s infamous “Godless Ad” against Kay HaganRob Christensen of The Charlotte Observer has a behind-the-scenes look at how that ad came to be. I think Friendly Atheist summed it up nicely:

But the point we need to remember is this: The ad was a calculated smear attempt against Hagan. The Dole campaign didn’t actually care that Hagan met with atheists. They weren’t offended and they certainly didn’t find it immoral or wrong. They just saw it as an easy way to manipulate voters into thinking she was a bad representative for them.

Fortunately, for whatever reason this desperate and slimy tactic didn’t work, just like the equally slimy attacks on Obama’s character employed by Team McCain didn’t work. I’d like to believe this is a sign that the American people are wising up to these despicable ad hominem attacks but somehow I doubt it, especially since yesterday I heard some of my parents’ friends dismissing the insane costs of Sarah Palin’s wardrobe in addition to McCain’s campaign spending while chastising Obama for having the audacity of spending the money donated to his campaign actually on his campaign instead of giving to charity or whatever.


News From Around The Blogosphere 10.28.08

October 29, 2008


Christopher Hitchens tears Sarah Palin a new one -

This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just “people of faith” but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.

The McCain campaign is handing out Christian voter guides – Vote for McCain because he’s not a secret Muslim.

The most extreme theocrat at The White House was just fired – Apparently, Scott Bloch is as bad as they come.

Finally, Bloch’s religious blinkers also explain his willingness to lend the credence his office to the Intelligent Design movement (knowing, of course, that he lacked jurisdiction) and to the anti-vaccination fanatics. Both reveal a scientific illiteracy that is borne not of ignorance but of intentional, ideological blindness; the latter incident was particularly irresponsible.

Christian rock tour celebrating Genesis canceled due to lack of interest.

Heaven: The Game -Great graphics for a Christian video game. Just as long as it lets me steal cars and beat the crap out of hookers, I’ll be happy. And is that a female saint wearing a corset? Whatever. And where are all the black people in heaven?

Chuck Norris’s nephew got an F in fifth grade because he wrote an essay on evolution that instead said god created the earth…and the teacher had a degree from the “University of Berkeley”, which apparently is Norris-speak for University of California at Berkeley. If only there were some sort of Chuck Norris joke to summarize this story? Oo, I got one: Chuck Norris doesn’t understand science. End of sentence .

A bullshit study in religious beliefs of ophthalmology patients -

A more appropriate subtitle might have been “An Opportunistic Exercise to Build CVs and Promote Religious Belief.” This goes on the NCCAM’s scorecard as one more instance of wasting our tax dollars on studies that should never have been funded. That list is long and is steadily getting longer.

Reggie Finley‘s show The Infidel Guy has been losing his audience -


11 year old girl set on fire for immodesty – “

“Police arrested her great uncle, who allegedly poured kerosene on the girl and set her ablaze on Friday. Investigators told the PTI news agency that the 55-year-old man, a conservative Muslim, had told the police that he was enraged at the girl wearing lipstick and being “scantily dressed.”

How a psychic believer became a psychic skeptic


Are illegal space aliens crossing over into Texas? - Back in January numerous sources reported strange lights in the sky in Erath County and now the mysterious lights have returned, as has space-alien-related tourism. Nothing we haven’t all heard or seen a million times, unimpressive video of several dots of light in the sky the night military craft happened to have been in the area along with people insisting their certain that what they saw had to be space aliens. Yawn.

Over a three-month period this summer there were 1,000 UFO sightings filed with the National UFO Reporting Center.

Some 75 of those UFOs were reported over the state of Texas.

And on a related note: How to fake UFO photographs:


Soybeans No Longer ‘A Musical Fruit?’ – “Soybeans may drop off the list of musical fruit. Scientists in Singapore are reporting victory over some consumers’ No. 1 complaint about soy products — the “flatulence factor” caused by indigestible sugars found in soy.

Scientists have now developed a method for significantly reducing the amount of flatulence-causing carbohydrates in soy yogurt while raising the levels of healthy antioxidants known as isoflavones.”

Red Enhances Men’s Attraction To Women -”A groundbreaking study by two University of Rochester psychologists to be published online Oct. 28 by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology adds color—literally and figuratively—to the age-old question of what attracts men to women.

Through five psychological experiments, Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology, and Daniela Niesta, post-doctoral researcher, demonstrate that the color red makes men feel more amorous toward women. And men are unaware of the role the color plays in their attraction.”

News From Around The Blogosphere 10.23.08

October 24, 2008

Vandals strike both Democrats and Republicans in Minneapolis – Among their targets was Michele Bachmann, best known for her recent statements calling for a new McCarthyism. And yes, the vandals citing a Bible verse. Gotta love that old time religion.

If McCain actually had my vote, he’d now have lost it – He has publicly stated that he supports “vaccine choice,” aka legalized parental negligence.

Opie is voting Obama AND SO IS THE FONZ!!! – And of course, as we all know, The Fonz is a friend of Randi’s. I have proof:


Remember that North Kentucky University mock trial between Evolution and Creationism that PZ Myers suspected was a just another excuse to preach creationism in school? Well it turns out it he was pretty much right.

New Creationism – This phrase is being used to describe the growing trend among creationists as part of the infamous Wedge Strategy to deny materialist neuroscience in favor of cartesian dualism, the notion that the mind is a different substance from the brain. And here is another take on this issue.

Bill Dembski at Baylor – Apparently he went with the classic I-have-to-see-every-single-step-to-accept-Evolution gambit. Ugh! Here’s a detailed summary of what went down.

Bill Donohue of The Catholic League responding to a joke in Family Guy – The aforementioned joke was about priests molesting children. The whole thing is here, but here’s a highlight:

While it is true that most of the molesters in the Catholic clergy have been gay, most gay priests are not molesters.

What?! And this is the guy who’s expressed more outrage over things like a joke on an animated sitcom and the desecration of a cracker than the actual molestation that goes on in his church.

Speaking of the stupid cracker, teaching communion to kids (does this sound like a bedtime story to anyone else?):

It’s that time of year again – That time when the Religious Right pushes all of a sudden decides to rant about an imaginary “War on Christmas” and that no other issue on the entire planet is more important than trying to bully stores who are trying to be inclusive by using generic slogans like “Happy Holidays” into rejecting all other holidays but Christmas, an imaginary holiday celebrating consumerism at its worst that wasn’t even a major holiday until the 19th century and which is actually forbidden in The Bible.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month abused by the usual quacks – Breast Cancer myths exposed.

Scotch Tape X-Rays – Apparently ordinary household scotch tape can in a vacuum be used to emit X-rays. This is totally something MacGyver could have used.

High tech Ouija Board:


Dr. Kirsten Sanford’s latest episode of The Science Word

Biologists Find Gene Behind ‘Plant Sex Mystery’ – “Scientists already knew that flowering plants, unlike animals require not one, but two sperm cells for successful fertilisation.

The mystery of this ‘double fertilization’ process was how each single pollen grain could produce ‘twin’ sperm cells. One to join with the egg cell to produce the embryo, and the other to join with a second cell in the ovary to produce the endosperm, a nutrient-rich tissue, inside the seed.”

Could A Vaccine Treat Many Bacterial Diseases? – “Doctors have always hoped that scientists might one day create a vaccination that would treat a broad spectrum of maladies. They could only imagine that there might be one vaccine that would protect against, say, 2,500 strains of Salmonella. And what if that same vaccine could help protect the elderly?

UCSB scientists Douglas Heithoff and Michael Mahan –– along with University of Utah scientists Elena Enioutina, Diana Bareyan, and Raymond Daynes –– believe their recent research suggests that might be possible in the not-too-distant future. In a paper to be published in the November edition of the journal Infection and Immunity, the researchers detail the path to creating a vaccine that confers protection against multiple strains of bacteria.”

News From Around The Blogosphere 10.12.08

October 13, 2008

Sarah Palin spent $13,000 of taxpayer money for religion

The Palin/McCain camp on autism:

McCain: “And one thing that I wanted to say was that — in our town hall meetings we have lots of families show up with children that have autism, and other special needs families. Obviously Sarah Palin wants to take on that task of helping relieve the burden, find what’s causing autism, find a cure for it.”

Alright, not bad. It’s progress after his past statements that it was “indisputable” that autism was on the rise and that “there’s strong evidence that indicates that it’s got to do with a preservative in vaccines.”

The long-discredited anti-vaccinationist, Andrew Wakefield, who began the whole vaccines-cause-autism BS in the first place reemerges in the media - Wakefield of course is pulling the whole Expelled-gambit, stating:

Despite having discovered an apparently new disease my colleagues and I are being vilified purely because of the vaccine association.

That’s funny. I thought you were vilified because of an obscene number of misconduct charges and because your study was totally debunked and discredited. And even a former major member of the antivaccinationist movement, Mady Hornig, couldn’t deny it any more after personally being involved in an improved version of Wakefield’s original study and saw for herself the negative outcome. Nobody is out to get you, Mr. Wakefield. Or if they are, it’s only because you deserve it as you’ve dishonored your profession and gave up any hope you might have had of salvaging your career, torpedoing any chance of ever redeeming your name.

Blogger Possummomma is calling it quits – I’m not familiar with her blog, Atheist in a Mini-van, but it’s unfortunate when we lose any atheist bloggers or any intelligent bloggers because the bigotry and hatred grew too much to the point where her personal information and security may have been compromised.

More Bad Creationist Arguments – Here’s a look at 3 different arguments (including at least 1 uncommon one) and why they are fail. The arguments are:

#1: Evolution is Missing a Mathematical Formula

#2: There is No Genetic Mechanism for Darwinian Evolution

#3: Every Helpless Baby Born Proves Darwin Was Wrong

Chocolate-covered Jesus. . .Mmm – Seriously, I’ve got to get me some communion wafers already.

News From Around The Blogosphere 10.2.08

October 3, 2008

Researchers catch Lake Victoria fish in act of evolving

Flirting with Palin earns Pakistani president a fatwa:

A radical Muslim prayer leader said the president shamed the nation for “indecent gestures, filthy remarks, and repeated praise of a non-Muslim lady wearing a short skirt.”

Speaking of Palin: Ron Numbers on Palin’s creationism

Pseudo-scientist Mike Adams compares Western Medicine to the subprime mortgage clusterfuck – Mike writes for Natural News aka woo central. And in a bit of wishful thinking, he writes this gem of an article entitled, Why the Institutions of Western Finance and Western Medicine are Both Doomed to Fail. To illustrate just how far gone this guy is, here’s an excerpt:

“The fraud of Western Medicine is that everybody can get healthy by taking fictitious patented chemicals (pharmaceuticals) rather than addressing fundamental issues of nutrition, exercise and exposure to consumer chemicals.”

With logic like that, I wonder if he’s related to Neil Adams.

Jenny McCarthy goes after the presidential candidates – Last year McCain said there was no doubt that a link between vaccines and autism exists. But Jenny says that McCain opted out of meeting with her at the last minute. According to the news sources, McCain denied her requests “after learning there’s no hard medical evidence linking vaccines and autism.” Man, I hope this is true because at least Obama has already spoken up recently and stated “I am not for selective vaccination. I believe that it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio.” I’ll take it.

Also, I previously blogged about a letter to the editor I wrote to my local newspaper concerning the antivaccination movement. Today an edited version of that article appeared in the paper.

New research casts doubts on calorie restriction?

Atheism 101 reading list

Sony promotes The God Delusion! – Dawkins bestselling book was prominent in the promotional setup for the Sony Reader — an e-book reader much like Amazon’s Kindle:

YouTube censors another cracker desecrating video – Only this time it’s not even a Eucharist, just an arbitrary cracker.


Answers in Genesis reviews Religulous – Somehow I doubt they’ll declare it a must-see. They’re still sore over having. . .

“. . .experienced Maher’s subterfuge and dishonesty last year in gaining access to the Creation Museum and AiG President Ken Ham for a (fictitious) documentary on the “cultural landscape of the United States.”

This is ironic considering how fine they were with the far more elaborate subterfuge by the makers of the anti-evolution mockumentary “Expelled.” Pot. Kettle. Black. Bullshit!

Do TV, movie, and game ratings really do any good?


New Species Thanks To Different Ways Of Seeing – “A study of brightly coloured fish has now demonstrated that this has less to do with aesthetics than with the sensitivity of female eyes, which varies as a result of adaptation to the environment. Females more attuned to blue will choose a metallic blue mate, while those better able to see red will prefer a bright red male. These mating preferences can be strong enough to drive the formation of new species – provided that habitat diversity is not reduced by human activities.”

Short RNAs May Have Contributed To New Species – “MicroRNAs, the tiny molecules that fine-tune gene expression, were first discovered in 1993. But it turns out they’ve been around for a billion years.

Evidence reported in Nature on October 1 by scientists in the lab of Whitehead Member and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator David Bartel provides a window into the early evolution of these key regulators, placing their origin within the earliest of animal lineages. The research also suggests that microRNAs present early on have undergone extensive changes, which likely have altered their functions across various lineages.”

New Dinosaur Species Had Bony Frill And Horns – “The fossils revealed a herd of dinosaurs that perished in a catastrophic event 72.5 million years ago. The animals are characterized by a bony frill on the back of the skull ornamented with smaller horns. They also had large bony structures above their nose and eyes which lends them their name: Pachyrhinosaurus (thick-nosed lizard). These structures probably supported horns of keratin.”

Compact Fluorescent Lights: Mercury Problems? – “A team of Yale scientists has found that certain countries and some U.S. states stand to benefit from the use of compact fluorescent lighting more than others in the fight against global warming. Some places may even produce more mercury emissions by switching from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent lighting.”

HIV/AIDS Pandemic Began Around 1900 – “New research indicates that the most pervasive global strain of HIV began spreading among humans between 1884 and 1924, suggesting that growing urbanization in colonial Africa set the stage for the HIV/AIDS pandemic.”

Teens With Certain Gene Have Delinquent Peers – “Birds of a feather flock together, according to the old adage, and adolescent males who possess a certain type of variation in a specific gene are more likely to flock to delinquent peers, according to a landmark study led by Florida State University criminologist Kevin M. Beaver.”

News From Around The Blogosphere 9.26.08

September 27, 2008

It’s banned books week! And here’s a list of the most challenged books for 2007.

4.28 billion-year-old rock! – I can’t wait to tell my friends. They don’t have a rock this old. IT’S THE OLDEST ROCK EVER! It’s like John McCain old! Picture the length of time it takes to watch the theatrical version of just one of the Lord of the Ring movies, and that’s how friggin’ old this thing is! PZ Myers calculates that means Ken Ham is wrong by a factor of over 713,000. This is also covered on Science Daily.

Reports of John McCain’s illness have been greatly exaggerated – Orac debunks the recent myths regarding McCain’s health here and here.

Dr. Rahul Parikh pwns anti-vaccinationist David Kirby once again this week – I posted about the earlier exchanges between them 2 days ago here. This time it comes after Kirby gave a talk to Congressional staffers and a few Congressmen. Parikh particularly nails him by pointing out how Kirby is more interested in using “social proof” rather than scientific proof for his claims.

But in related news, scientists’ objections to how chelation therapy is being used are being viewed as “of a political nature.”

Questions you should ask your doctor

Leslie Zucker’s Freethought Books To Prisoners Project is going well

Japan plans to build the first space elevator – Just hope the bratty kid in there before you doesn’t push the buttons so you have to make all the stops.

Way of the Master Radio has been removed from 2 stations in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area – Apparently I’m a lot less distressed by this news than Ray Comfort’s disciple, Trish. I see fast food in Todd Friel’s future.

Jesus Christ: Wrong For Your Family And Wrong For America:


Simple Device Boosts Gas Efficiency By 20% – “According to Rongjia Tao, Chair of Temple’s Physics Department, the small device consists of an electrically charged tube that can be attached to the fuel line of a car’s engine near the fuel injector. With the use of a power supply from the vehicle’s battery, the device creates an electric field that thins fuel, or reduces its viscosity, so that smaller droplets are injected into the engine. That leads to more efficient and cleaner combustion than a standard fuel injector, he says.”

Scientists Go Nano For Fast Computers – “Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara have made a major contribution to this field by designing a new nanotechnology that will ultimately help make computers smaller, faster, and more efficient.”

News From Around The Blogosphere 9.24.08

September 25, 2008

The creationists over at Uncommon Descent aren’t too fond of Barack Obama right now . . . but I’m darned proud of him. The kid grows up so fast:

Do you believe that evolution by means of natural selection is a sufficient explanation for the variety and complexity of life on Earth? Should intelligent design, or some derivative thereof, be taught in science class in public schools?

Obama: I believe in evolution, and I support the strong consensus of the scientific community that evolution is scientifically validated. I do not believe it is helpful to our students to cloud discussions of science with non-scientific theories like intelligent design that are not subject to experimental scrutiny.

A McCain candidacy may mean not a penny for science research & education

I feel embarrassed for anti-vaccinationist David Kirby – A few days ago, I posted about a review in Salon Magazine of Dr. Paul Offit’s book about the anti-vaccinationists. Well over at Age of Autism David Kirby wrote a childish and insulting rebuttal to the review. This only led to an even greater bitch-slapping at the hands of the original reviewer.

I haven’t seen the pilot episode of the new show, The Mentalist, but it’s got the Dr. Phil Plait seal of approval, so it’s worth checking out. Though Phil’s not the best entertainment critic in the world. The guy didn’t like Revenge of the Sith or the recent War of the Worlds. But it sounds like this show is super pro-skepticism. So I can’t wait to watch it on the internet.


Answers in Genesis endorses ironically named “Kids4Truth” and apparently Lego for putting humans and dinosaurs together. Though to give them a little credit, at least AiG aren’t delusional enough to think Lego intends any deliberate endorsement of the ridiculous notion that humans and dinosaurs actually lived together:

“I’m sure the Lego people are not intentionally promoting a biblical worldview—but I had to smile when I saw this Lego set with people and dinosaurs together. The evolutionists must grind their teeth when they see this.”

And I had to smile that a company from famously secular Denmark meets with Ken Ham’s approval. And while I still am not entirely sure what an “evolutionist” is, if it means people who accept the reality of evolution then I have no objective to Lego’s years of service contributing to children’s imaginary play and encouraging creativity at an early age. You see, some of us who played with Legos as children learned how to distinguish reality from fantasy. I think The Bible says something about that:

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up my childish ways.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)


In case you need more proof that PETA is insane – The executive vice president of PETA wrote an open letter to the ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s suggesting they consider replacing the cow’s milk used in their ice cream with . . .

Can you guess? Yeah, human breast milk . . . seriously! Somehow I think if the people at PETA had gotten their breast milk as children in the first place maybe they wouldn’t be such total freaks. If implemented Orac thinks it’ll require human farms to produce that much milk. If so, I’ll volunteer some of my time to do the milking.

And here’s an EPIC FAIL on the part of the media:

That whole recent acupuncture study suggesting acupuncture helped women with hot flashes – Yeah, that was bullshit. Big surprise. And Steve Novella takes on this study here. I’ve also included a link to both responses on my original blog about this study here.


Formula Discovered For Longer Plant Life – “Molecular biologists from Tuebingen, Germany, have discovered how the growth of leaves and the aging process of plants are coordinated.”

Dark Chocolate Helps Check Heart Attack Risk – “Though the news is still good for them: 6.7 grams of chocolate per day represent the ideal amount for a protective effect against inflammation and subsequent cardiovascular disease.


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