News From Around The Blogosphere 3.12.10

March 13, 2010

1. Texas school board pushing Conservative and Christian spin on American history – Who’s pushing it? Why it”s the recently voted out creationist Don McLeroy. Essentially, they feel that American history is too liberal and atheist, so therefore, students should be taught about all those times Conservatism won out. That should be easy, right? Slavery? No. Keeping evolution out of schools? No. Black suffrage? No. Women’s suffrage? No. Segregation? No. Abortion? No. I guess they want a class to teach about the Great Depression that followed 12 years of conservative presidents, the early 90’s recession that followed 12 years of conservative presidents, the current economic crisis that followed 8 years of conservative rule, and of course Watergate.

2. A Winnipeg man, Rob Johnstone, struggles to find non-religious alcohol rehab program – I don’t understand why everyone’s always whining that AA is religious. Just because a group of people congregate in a church to kneel before god, pray to that god for strength, confess their sins, and acknowledge that they’re sinners by nature and thus powerless to change their sinful ways–that’s no reason to accuse AA of being a religion.

3. ‘Under God’ sustained in Pledge by Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals – By a final vote of 2-1, Michael Newdow lost again to get the ‘Under God’ removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. That’s a very small amount to lose by though. At least someone in that decision was persuaded so that leaves room to be hopeful that we may prevail in the near future. Here’s the decision (PDF). Newdow’s next step is to ask the appeals court to rehear the case. If that’s rejected he says he’ll appeal to the Supreme Court.”

4. Ancient DNA found in fossil bird egg shell –

“We were really surprised to discover that ancient DNA is well-preserved in fossil eggshells, particularly the heaviest bird to have existed the elephant bird called Aepyornis, which is now extinct,” said Murdoch doctoral student Charlotte Oskam, who undertook the research.

5. Scientists discover 600 million-year-old origins of vision

By studying the hydra, a member of an ancient group of sea creatures that is still flourishing, scientists at UC Santa Barbara have made a discovery in understanding the origins of human vision.

. . .

Hydra are simple animals that, along with jellyfish, belong to the phylum cnidaria. Cnidarians first emerged 600 million years ago.

“We determined which genetic ‘gateway,’ or ion channel, in the hydra is involved in light sensitivity,” said senior author Todd H. Oakley, assistant professor in UCSB’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology. “This is the same gateway that is used in human vision.”

There once again goes the “irreducible complexity” of the eye argument. And of course for those keeping track, that’s 599,994,000 years before the existence of the entire universe, according to Young Earth Creationists.

6. Simon Singh leaves The Guardian

“Being sued for libel is not only ruinously expensive, writes Simon Singh, it takes over your whole life. Which is why this will be his last column”

This is deeply sad. Singh is a fantastic science journalist and we could use people like him more than ever. But it’s inspiring to see him continue to fight for his article exposing chiropractic and for UK libel reform.

7. Surgeon goes into the faith healing business

Dr. Issam Nemeh is a certified surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio but is now using his hands more for praying over people. Numerous medical miracles are being reported by people after visiting and being prayed for by Dr. Nemeh. However, Nemeh refuses to accept the credit for any miracle that takes place with an individual. He says GOD heals people with the Holy Spirit. Nemeh insists he is only an instrument.

Well, we agree on one thing:  he’s a tool.

8. Cancer researchers in British Columbia make lymphoma ‘breakthrough‘ –

The discovery by a team of 26 scientists from throughout North America and Europe shows a new way to predict the 15 to 25 per cent of patients who will have a poor prognosis if they aren’t treated more aggressively from the time of diagnosis.

As Carl Sagan said, science delivers the goods.

9. $cientologists try to censor German film

Bis Nichts Mehr Bleibt, or Until Nothing Remains, dramatises the account of a German family torn apart by its associations with Scientology. A young married couple joins the organisation but as the wife gets sucked ever more deeply into the group, her husband, who has donated much of his money to it, decides to leave. In the process he loses contact with his young daughter who, like his wife, is being educated by Scientology instructors.

Scientology leaders have accused Germany’s primary public TV network, ARD, of creating in top secret a piece of propaganda that sets out to undermine the group, and have demanded to see it before it is broadcast.

Oh, come on! When have the Germans ever been known for making propaganda films? Kidding. I hope the film makes a gazillion dollars.


News From Around The Blogosphere 12.14.09

December 14, 2009

1. Latest Pew poll shows Americans mixing and matching traditional religions, fantasy, and mythology – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Today’s religion is yesterday’s cult and tomorrow’s mythology.

Entitled “Many Americans Mix Multiple Faiths,” the report points out that many Americans are now choosing to “blend Christianity with Eastern or New Age beliefs” and that “sizable minorities of all major U.S. religious groups” said that they have had supernatural experiences, like encountering ghosts.

. . .

Twenty percent of Protestants and 28 percent of Catholics said they believe in reincarnation, which flies in the face of Christianity’s rapture scenario. Furthermore, about the same percentages said they believe in astrology, yoga as a spiritual practice and the idea that there is “spiritual energy” pulsing from things like “mountains, trees or crystals.” Uh-oh. Someone’s God is going to be jealous.

. . .

The report is further evidence that Americans continue to cobble together Mr. Potato Head-like spiritual identities from a hodgepodge of beliefs — bending dogmas to suit them instead of bending themselves to fit a dogma. And this appears to be leading to more spirituality, not less.

So suck it, Jesus! Edward Cullen is my god now. He sparkles!

Or maybe Americans will start worshipping Pokemon, as one pastor warns.

2. Female fruit flies too sexy?

Females can be too attractive to the opposite sex — too attractive for their own good — say biologists at UC Santa Barbara. They found that, among fruit flies, too much male attention directed toward attractive females leads to smaller families and, ultimately, to a reduced rate of population-wide adaptive evolution.

C’mon, didn’t we all know that attractive females would be the downfall of at least one species? That’s pretty much the one thing the Bible got right.

3. ‘Nonsense’ DNA Key to Evolution of Genomes

The sequences of nonsense DNA that interrupt genes could be far more important to the evolution of genomes than previously thought, according to a recent Science report by Indiana University Bloomington and University of New Hampshire biologists.


News From Around The Blogosphere 10.8.09

October 9, 2009

1. New study further shows autism’s genetic origins – It seems that the difference between those with autism and those without autism is a single-letter change in the genetic code. I know, Jenny McCarthy. I know. It was those darned vaccines with their magical District-9-magic-alien-fuel-like ability to alter DNA that’s to blame! Damn you, magic DNA-switching plot devices!!!

2. Dear Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Jews don’t recognize the cross – In a fail of supreme magnitude, Scalia attempted to justify an old memorial to fallen WWI soldiers on public land in the shape of a cross as not violating the First Amendment by insisting the cross is a universal symbol. Um, Tony. Maybe you should visit a Jewish cemetary some time. Just a thought.

thank-god-im-an-atheist3. Kiva atheists make $1,000,000 in charityI’ve blogged about Kiva.com before. It’s the site that allows people to lend money to micro-finance institutions in developing countries which in turn lend the money to small businesses. Well back in July, I reported that the atheist group on the site were the number 1 donating team. And now we’re still number 1, but we’ve also given away over a million dollars in loans, leaving the Kiva Christians a distant second with only about $640,000. Congrags everyone!


News From Around The Blogosphere 11.13.08

November 14, 2008

Congratulations Connecticut same-sex couples spouses – Suck it, Jesus!

Mankind to detect alien life by 2025?

Senior Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) astronomer Seth Shostak last night boldly claimed that mankind would certainly detect intelligent alien life by 2025, assuming the right technology is in place to probe 500 light years into space where there are doubtless thousands of ET radio stations transmitting into the ether.

alternative-medicine-for-dummiesNew Alt. Med. propaganda film to be released tomorrow in NYC & L.A. – The title: The Beautiful Truth. Wow, they managed to stick 2 pleasant-sounding things into the title. I guess “The Beautiful Truth Honor Justice and Loyalty” wouldn’t fit on the marquee. Like the creationist film Expelled, this film attempts to play the “suppressed by science” card.

Former Evangelical Ted Haggard explains why he had gay sex and did Crystal Meth–it was someone else’s fault!! Ugh! Biggest douche in the universe!

ATHEIST DISCRIMINATION:

i_dont_want_youAtheists have hit rock bottom again – We’re once again the least likely minority group in the U.S. to be elected president. Here’s the order:

Here are the answers in order: Women. Mormons. Jews. Muslims. Hindus. Gays and lesbians. Atheists.

I have my doubts though about this considering technically at least 16% of the country is not affiliated with any particular religion. That means we outnumber the Jews, Muslims, and Blacks. And I have a feeling we’ll see a Black president very soon.

Elizabeth Dole’s “Godless” Ad backfired

Democratic pollster John Anzalone says that Elizabeth Dole’s “Godless” ad against North Carolina Senate seat opponent Kay Hagandoomed Dole’s chances to keep the race close.” Hagan’s numbers “skyrocketed” after the ad was aired.

WHAT’S MAKING BABY JESUS CRY NOW?

Perpetually unhappy Bill Donohue loses it on the recent Humanist bus ads on Faux News – Geez, if religion makes you so unhappy, Bill, maybe you should stop being so religious. Just a thought.

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyFirst Direct Images Of Solar System Like Ours – “Astronomers using the Gemini North telescope and W.M. Keck Observatory on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea have obtained the first-ever direct images identifying a multi-planet system around a normal star.”

New Plastic: Acrylic Glass Made Of Sugar – “In future, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA for short) – better known as acrylic glass – could be made from natural raw materials such as sugars, alcohols or fatty acids. Compared with the previous chemical production process, a biotechnological process is far more environmentally friendly.”

Octopus Family Tree Traced – “Octopuses started migrating to new ocean basins more than 30 million years ago as Antarctica cooled and large ice-sheets grew.” For the record, this was 29,994,000 years before the entire universe existed according to Young Earth Creationists. . .but who’s counting.

Frogs Not Harmed By Global Warming? – “Evidence that global warming is causing the worldwide declines of amphibians may not be as conclusive as previously thought, according to biologists. The findings, which contradict two widely held views, could help reveal what is killing the frogs and toads and aid in their conservation.”

DNA Replication Backstreet Boys-style –