News From Around The Blogosphere 11.4.08




And the question of whether the culture war is over may rest in the fate of California’s Proposition 8 amendment designed to ban gay marriage. At this moment, it’s still not determined whether this bigoted amendment has passed or not, but it’s not looking good. But Donald Wildmon of the fascist American Family Association declared several months ago that if gay marriage continues in California, Christians have lost the culture war:

“If we lose California, if they defeat the marriage amendment, I’m afraid that the culture war is over and Christians have lost,” says Wildmon, a 30-year veteran of the culture war. “I’ve never said that publicly until now — but that’s just the reality of the fact.

“If the homosexuals are able to defeat the marriage amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, then the culture war is over and we’ve lost — and gradually, secularism will replace Christianity as the foundation of our society,” he adds.

I so wish that were true but of course these guys are fanatics and won’t ever give up. But if history has taught us nothing else it’s that liberalism and secular values almost always win out eventually over what are considered traditional. It’s the old Lexus and the Olive Tree, and the Lexus will always win in the end.

But speaking of Prop. 8, Michael Shermer address this potential amendment and the inevitable future of homosexuality.

Status of other important state propositions:

It looks like Arizona has successfully banned gay marriage and Arkansas has banned gay couples from adopting children. On a better note, California looks like it might have stopped Prop. 4 calling for abortion limits, though there’s still a lot of votes that haven’t been counted. Colorado still looks like it’ll keep Affirmative Action but there are still lots of votes that need to be counted. But another big piece of good news is that Colorado voted overwhelmingly to not legally define life from the moment of conception. It looks like Florida has also successfully banned gay marriage. Michigan voted to allow embryonic stem cell research and overwhelmingly voted for medicinal marijuana. Nebraska ended Affirmative Action. South Dakota also voted down abortion limits. And Washington voted for doctor-assisted suicide. So it wasn’t a clean sweep for reason, but all things considered, I think more good came out of this election than bad by a large margin.

Red sex, blue sex – Republicans are anti-sex ed but okay with pregnant teens. Democrats are pro-sex ed and not okay with pregnant teens.

Circumcision: arguments for and against

New study shows possible link between autism and rainfall – I don’t know enough about this but I think there’s still a lot of reason to be skeptical. But there’s at least a real study that suggests such a connection, which is still at least a thousand times better than the antivaccinationist claims, so medical science will do what it always does and do further study. (Thanks Brian)

NYC’s Beth Israel Medical Center has turned to the dark side – I’d meant to report this sooner but never got around to it. But I’m glad I waited because this blog seems to have the most information of all the ones that I’ve seen.

Just saying you have new evidence doesn’t make it so – A recent press release titled “New Evidence For Homeopathy” might be a slight misnomer as it doesn’t actually present any new evidence . . . just all the old crap.

Creationist Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis in denial about his own moron-ness – Aww, calling Ham a moron hurt his delicate little feelings. That’s a shame.

Supernatural belief & skepticism in the New York Times – Joyce Wadler proves that there are still skeptical minds at The Times, and this one article makes for an entertaining read.

Melting steel with the sun:


scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyAny Caffeine May Affect Growth Of Unborn Child – “Consuming caffeine at any time during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of fetal growth restriction (low birth weight), according to research published on the British Medical Journal website.”

Rainforest Fungus As New Fuel Source? – “A team led by a Montana State University professor has found a fungus that produces a new type of diesel fuel, which they say holds great promise. Calling the fungus’ output “myco-diesel,” Gary Strobel and his collaborators describe their initial observations in the November issue of Microbiology.”

Solar Power: ‘Near Perfect’ Sunlight Absorption – “Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have discovered and demonstrated a new method for overcoming two major hurdles facing solar energy. By developing a new antireflective coating that boosts the amount of sunlight captured by solar panels and allows those panels to absorb the entire solar spectrum from nearly any angle, the research team has moved academia and industry closer to realizing high-efficiency, cost-effective solar power.”

Saving Australia’s Endangered Tasmanian Devil – “University of Adelaide zoologist Dr Jeremy Austin will lead a national project to help save the endangered Tasmanian devil from extinction.”

Human Genes More Multi-talented Than Thought – “Scientists have long known that it’s possible for one gene to produce slightly different forms of the same protein by skipping or including certain sequences from the messenger RNA. Now, an MIT team has shown that this phenomenon, known as alternative splicing, is both far more prevalent and varies more between tissues than was previously believed.”


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