News From Around The Blogosphere 7.31.08

August 1, 2008

Doctor Bashing -Another great post from Steven Novella. Here, he discusses anti-doctor sentiments that seem to be growing in our culture of late.

Dead Monster washes ashore in Montauk– Oo, I’m a sucker for a good monster sighting. Gawker speculates it’s some sort of viral marketing, and I’m inclined to agree. Though PigMonkey turned out to be real.

10 things to scratch from your worry list-Next time people tell you science is dogmatic and unwilling to change, point them to this page here. Science is constantly testing itself and being revised. Okay, now it’s the creationists’ turn to show their not dogmatic.

Why’d it have to be snakes? -PZ Myers looks at how venomous snakes and their fangs evolved.

PZ Myers’ review of Kenneth Miller’s ‘Only A Theory’ -I’m a big fan of Kenneth Miller. I can’t think of anyone who does a better job at demolishing the claims of cdesign proponentsists. And his Catholicism has always made a strong defense against accusations that Evolution is just “the religion of atheism” as the propaganda often claims. But Miller’s Catholicism is simultaneously a problem since the implications of Evolution seem to legitimately and powerfully point science away from supernatural explanations and towards natural ones. Miller, who knows more about Evolution than I’ll probably ever know, still clings to a supernatural creator even though he’s clearly able to effortlessly defeat Intelligent Design arguments. As a result, he sets himself up for criticism on both sides. Though he makes a great example of a scientist who believes in god who isn’t “Expelled” from scientific institutions, I’m hoping for the day he finally embraces a more atheistic philosophy. He’s a brilliant critic of cdesign proponentsists now. As an intellectually honest atheist, he’d be unstoppable.

Phil Plait tastes something funky in this Martian water rumor -There was a widely reported rumor that today NASA was going to announce that they’d discovered water ice on Mars. Of course, had they not already discovered water ice on Mars a while ago, this might have been a big story. Unfortunately, for the news media, this discovery was already made a while ago. Even my mother mentioned it to me.

1/3 of Brits are gullible? -Roughly 35% of Brits polled believe the moon landing was faked! I don’t think that’s possible. And since I don’t know any of the details about the poll such as how many people were polled, who was polled, what were the questions, etc. I’m thinking this is probably not correct. Then again, a U.S. poll found that allegedly 25% of Americans don’t know the Earth revolves around the sun, so who knows? And here’s an awesome trailer for the August 27th episode of Mythbusters addressing Moon Hoaxers:

New Evidence for Big Foot? -Wow! Two cryptozoological stories in one day! I could not resist posting this one. Still no sign of Skepacabra’s brother Chupacabra though. So keep your eyes peeled.

So what’s the deal with secondhand smoke? -This is an issue in which I’m personally not up on science. Growing up I thought the secondhand smoke claims sounded exaggerated. They probably were considerably to fight the tobacco companies. The tobacco companies pretty undeniably evil and repulsive. Though I think the science today is showing that secondhand smoke is harmful, though probably not as harmful as we were once led to believe. So this is an issue I need to spend some time researching one of these days and make an informed position but this article above is worth looking at.

More on the effects of tobacco poisoning -Here’s another interesting smoking-related article.

Interview with Candace Chellew-Hodge, Gay-Friendly Pastor -Definitely an interesting interview worth checking out.

Amazon Expedition – “Take your kids on an Amazon Expedition! Explore the “Seven C’s of History” while teaching them that the Bible is the true history book of the universe. From dinosaurs to Noah’s Flood, and so much more, kids and leaders alike will enjoy their best Vacation Bible School ever!” Yeah, this is what Answers in Genesis is teaching children, that it’s historically proven that the world was magically poofed into existence in 6 days, that an evil magic talking snake tricked human beings into eating a magic apple, that a 900 year old alcoholic saved all life on Earth by building a wooden boat large enough to sustain them all and stay a float, etc. This is why we fight. And in case you were wondering what those “Seven C’s of History” are:

The 5-day, Amazon Expedition VBS includes:

Day 1: Creation—Destination Creation Day 2: Corruption—The Fall of All Day 3: Catastrophe—Water, Water Everywhere Day 4: Confusion—The Babel Rabble Day 5: Christ, Cross, Consummation— Sad Turns to Glad

And now a moment of science:

Stem Cells Created From ALS Patient’s Skin -“Harvard and Columbia scientists have for the first time used a new technique to transform an ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) patient’s skin cells into motor neurons, a process that may be used in the future to create tailor-made cells to treat the debilitating disease.”

2,000-year-old Astronomical Computer Decoded -“Cardiff University experts have led an international team in unravelling the secrets of a 2,000-year-old computer which could transform the way we think about the ancient world.”

New Genetic Variations Found In Schizophrenia -“People with schizophrenia bear an “increased burden” of rare deletions and duplications of genetic material, genome-wide, say researchers supported in part by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).”

Vaccine To Protect Against Black Plague -“A University of Central Florida researcher may have found a defense against the Black Plague, a disease that wiped out a third of Europe’s population in the Middle Ages and which government agencies perceive as a terrorist threat today.” Vaccines–is there anything they can’t do? Well, I guess they can’t cause autism, but other than that…