News From Around The Blogosphere 01.13.09

January 12, 2009

ATHEIST DISCRIMINATION:

i_dont_want_youFlorida Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart had this to say about his fellow Americans:

“I was very moved by the song that talked about the damage that atheism has caused and is causing. It was very moving…. The songs carry the sense that evil will not prevail, and so the message is that the truth ultimately prevails…. These times will pass because eternal truth will survive atheism and the difficulties of the 20th Century.”

Well atheism will survie your term in office, Congressman. You may be a receiving a complimentary box of tissues from me on election day. Prick.

Intelligent design my ass! – A woman refuses to abort her conjoined twins because of her strict religious (Catholic) beliefs. The twins have 2 heads and 1 body with only a 1 in 5 chance of survival according to some sources, and none at all according to others.

psychic-crystal-ball_1114702cWoman sues “psychic” after having her life ruined because she happens to have the same name as the woman the “psychic” fingered in Caylee Anthony case. – Yeah, it’s really kinda complicated. Just click the link. I wonder if she saw this coming?

saps-taps-parodyThe single most pathetic “ghost” video I’ve ever seen – It still amazes me that people actually buy this crap.

baby-with-middle-fingerSpeaking of total crap, the sCAM folks at  Natural News have responded to Patrick Swayze’s public rejection of alternative medicine – Shockingly, they’re not happy about it. After all they claim to have the magic, yet still unproven, ability to cure all cancer:

The mainstream medicine group that has failed to conquer cancer for half a century has clearly gotten into Swayze’s head.

. . .

The mainstream chemo theory is to weaken and destroy the cancer cells with chemical poison which also weakens and destroys the rest of the body’s cells and organs in the often misplaced hope that the symptoms of cancer (tumors and cancer cell masses) will somehow be eliminated before the treatment itself kills the patient. It is a desperate gamble that fails more often than not.

. . .

Fasting can be a key part of beating cancer, but not so much because it starves the cancer cells. Rather, fasting helps the body eliminate toxins and waste and helps it regain proper balance. Contrary to what Swayze has been led to believe, proper nutrition is also very much a key to beating cancer, because it is essential to build and maintain a strong immune system.

Seriously, is it wrong to want to see these guys hit by a very large bus?

6 cases of shamelessly false advertising

Richard Dawkins to release a new book in September – The title is The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.

Math is cool: Winnie Cooper says so – Every guy I know that’s my age has grown up watching The Wonder Years and has the hugest crush on Danica. It’s so awesome that she’s now getting to use that icon status for good.

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

scientist-use-in-case-of-emergency‘Reverse Evolution’ Replayed In Real Time – “Scientists have turned back the clock on the evolution in the fruit fly to provide key insights into the basic mechanisms of evolution.

In his book, Wonderful World, Stephen Jay Gould writes about an experiment of ‘replaying life’s tape’, wherein one could go back in time, let the tape of life play again and see if ‘the repetition looks at all like the original’. Evolutionary biology tells us that it wouldn’t look the same – the outcome of evolution is contingent on everything that came before. Now, scientists at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC) in Portugal, New York University and the University of California Irvine, provide the first quantitative genetic evidence of why this is so.” Here that John McCain? FRUIT FLIES!!

Dead Stars Tell Story Of Planet Birth – “Observations made with NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope reveal six dead “white dwarf” stars littered with the remains of shredded asteroids. This might sound pretty bleak, but it turns out the chewed-up asteroids are teaching astronomers about the building materials of planets around other stars.”

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News From Around The Blogosphere 12.29.08

December 30, 2008

Andrew Brown spouting trash about “New Atheists”

“So, who are they? The ideas I claim are distinctive of the new atheists have been collected from Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Jerry Coyne, the American physicist Robert L. Park, and a couple of blogging biologists, P Z Myers and Larry Moran. They have two things in common. They are none of them philosophers and, though most are scientists, none study psychology, history, the sociology of religion, or any other discipline which might cast light on the objects of their execration.”

Yeah, funny how you forgot to mention Philosopher Daniel Dennett, whose existence  single-handedly defeats your argument. Also, while not a psychologist, I believe Sam Harris is getting his Doctorate in Neuroscience, so I think it’s fair to say he knows a bit about the brain. Likewise, Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers are evolutionary biologists, so I fail to see the problem here. Oh that’s right, only people who agree with you have satisfactory credentials.

darwinstatueMadeleine Bunting can’t wait to celebrate Darwin’s big bicentennial, just as long as the atheists stay away – Here’s what she said followed by PZ Myers’ comment:

“The fear is that the anniversary will be hijacked by the New Atheism as the perfect battleground for another round of jousting over the absurdity of belief (a position that Darwin pointedly never took up). Many of the prominent voices in the New Atheism are lined up to reassert that it is simply impossible to believe in God and accept Darwin’s theory of evolution; Richard Dawkins and the US philosopher Daniel Dennett are among those due to appear in Darwin200 events. It’s a position that infuriates many scientists, not to mention philosophers and theologians.”

Well? Should Dawkins and Dennett stay home this year? Should only professing Christians who are scientists be allowed to speak in praise of Darwin in public? She seems upset that atheists will actually be given a voice in the Darwin bicentennial!

thestupiditburnsCreationists and HIV Deniers use the same tactics – This is not remotely surprising as all deniers/grand conspiracy theorists apply the same basic tactics to keep rejecting inconvenient evidence and create the illusion of a cover-up. Here it’s the HIV Deniers are trying to do the same thing that Andy Schlafly of Conservapedia did when challenging Richard Lenski’s e coli research. In this case 40 HIV Deniers are demanding that a 24-year-old paper get a retraction. One of those 40 is infamous anti-vaccinationist and friend to Jenny McCarthy, Gary Null.

The fallacy of “balance” and “fairness” about unscientific claims in the media – This is of particular interest to me as it concerns my field, media.

Was Jesus Real? Ask the Jesus Project scholars – I know there’s been a Jesus Project in the past to determine if Jesus really lived but this one is run by the Center of Inquiry comprised of 20 scholars of various disciplines.

God and Politics – The Secular Coalition for America put together a video showing how marginalized the atheist viewpoint has been in the U.S. this year. Check it out by clicking the link above.

Michael Newdow leading other atheists in suing over inauguration – This has nothing to do with Rick Warren but rather the use of the phrase, “so help me God” and the government sponsored use of any clergy. Sure, we’ll probably lose this one but it’s a symbolic lawsuit if nothing else.

EPIC FAIL!

Wanna bet?

Wanna bet?

Virginity Pledges don’t work – This comes as a surprise to no one who isn’t a devout member of the Religious Right. Ironically, in the video that can be found in the link above, the anchor remarks that this is the opposite of what you’d expect. Really?

Benjamin Radford, Managing Editor of Skeptical Inquirer Magazine explains why police often bungle missing child cases – Okay, the article is more about cases of police incompetence but I do love this quote, which truly is an EPIC fail:

Dozens of self-professed “psychic detectives” offered tips, ideas and information to police about where the missing girl was. Unfortunately, as with previous missing persons cases, all the psychics failed: not a single one gave information that led police to recover Caylee Anthony’s body. Despite claims to the contrary, the number of missing persons recovered by psychic detectives remains exactly zero.

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

Nanotechnology May Be Used For Food Safety – “A microscopic biological sensor that detects Salmonella bacteria in lab tests has been developed by an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist and university colleagues. The sensor could be adapted to detect other foodborne pathogens as well.”