News From Around The Blogosphere 9.23.08

September 24, 2008

Call Jenny 867-5309 – No, not that Jenny. I mean Jenny McCarthy, The Witless Witch of the West. She’ll be on the Oprah Woo Woo Show and is going to be available live for a web chat tomorrow evening at 7 PM CDT. If you intend to call think very carefully about the question. Commenters on Orac’s much more popular blog linked to above are posting question suggestions. Here are 3 super uncritical clips from that show airing tomorrow available at anti-vaccinationist Kim Stagliano’s blog. Jim Carey’s final line in the 3 clip couldn’t be more apt to his situation: “Love can kill you if you make the wrong choices.”

Sam Harris rips Sarah Palin a new one in Newsweek

Islamic assault on human rights

Jewish ‘ultras’ defend morals with menace

Gianna Jessen survived an abortion attempt and is now a pro-life advocate shamelessly attacking Barack Obama – As to why this constitutes as news on Faux News is even more shameless:

Sometimes the harm done because of magical thinking is done to the pseudoscientists themselves – “Biologist-turned- nutty-parapsychologist Rupert Sheldrake was stabbed in the leg earlier this year by Kazuki Hirano, a Japanese day laborer who had been stalking Sheldrake after believing he was the victim of mind control experiments.”

CREATIONIST NEWS:

A review of Christopher Hitchens’ most recent theist-crushing – Hitchens debated against Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete, a physicist, theologian, and author of God at the Ritz: Attraction to Infinity. And it seems that unsurprisingly he kicked his Albacete’s ass. I expect the debate will probably make it to YouTube soon enough.

Last week, I mentioned that creationist Bill Lucas was going to be speaking at Virginia Tech. Well he gave his talk and guess what? It turns out he’s at best totally full of it and at worst, crazy.

New excavation reveals Stonehenge was once a miracle healing destination – Not surprisingly, no real healing actually seems to have taken place there.

UK Cathedral seminar to equip clerics to deal with Dawkins

Atheists reading holy tests out loud for charity

Cleanliness is far from godliness – A little dirt is a good thing

Did Neanderthals Pray? part 2

Will anyone buy Expelled on DVD? Anyone? Anyone? – That’s right, the little creationist propaganda film that proved that Ben Stein doesn’t use “Clear Eyes” that nobody saw is coming to DVD. Jimmy cracked corn and I don’t care. But I figured I use this as yet another opportunity to plug the website that totally debunks the claims in the film, ExpelledExposed.com

EPIC FAIL:

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway’s logical fallacy in The Wall Street Journal – Hemingway’s idea of a logical argument is to cite a Baylor University study that vaguely suggests religious people are less likely to believe in other pseudosciences or paranormal claims to make her case that skeptics and atheists do more harm than good by trying to teach people how to think critically. Of course it doesn’t seem to occur to her that the reason the religious tend not to believe in other forms of pseudoscience or paranormal claims is because often the specific beliefs of the religion demand mutually exclusivity. For instance, fundamental Christians must reject psychics as at best charlatans and at worst devil worshipers. Religions are very good at keeping their parishioners away from the competition.

NEWS I SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED BEFORE NOW:

James “The Amazing” Randi is giving a talk in NYC – I will definitely be there with bells on (I haven’t decided whether these are to be literal or figurative bells yet). If you can come, this is not to be missed. There’s a reason they call him “The Amazing.” Oh, and it’s FREE.

New skeptical-friendly show, The Mentalist, coming to CBS – The main character is a guy who uses his keen observational skills to solve crimes. He used to make money pretending to be a psychic but then went straight. Sounds a little like the show Psych. Though it’s also received lots of comparisons to House.

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

New Optics Technology To Study Alien Worlds – “NASA Goddard scientist Rick Lyon has been working on potential missions and technologies to find planets around other stars (called exoplanets or extrasolar planets) since the late 1980s. Only recently has he begun to believe that NASA may actually fly a planet-finding mission in his lifetime.”

Why Chemo Works For Some People And Not Others – “MIT researchers have shown that cells from different people don’t all react the same way when exposed to the same DNA-damaging agent — a finding that could help clinicians predict how patients will respond to chemotherapy.”

Primordial Fish Had Rudimentary Fingers – “Tetrapods, the first four-legged land animals, are regarded as the first organisms that had fingers and toes. Now researchers at Uppsala University can show that this is wrong. Using medical x-rays, they found rudiments of fingers in the fins in fossil Panderichthys, the “transitional animal,” which indicates that rudimentary fingers developed considerably earlier than was previously thought.”


News From Around The Blogosphere 9.20.08

September 21, 2008

The McCain voting record on the environment – McCain may be able to give us the answers he thinks we want to hear on the Science Debate 2008 questions but his voting record isn’t as good at lying as he is.

With all the guardian angels floating about, why even see a doctor? – A result poll shows that 55 percent of Americans believe in guardian angels. I guess they just must have all missed the bus to Galveston, Texas.

Mormons biggest contributors to ballot initiative to reverse gay marriage decision in California

Those Turks sure are persistent – PZ Myers offers this suggestion:

“First they ban Richard Dawkins’ website, then they buy out the entire print run of the Turkish translation of The Ancestor’s Tale in a day. Clearly, we need to start making smuggling runs, bringing in copies of The God Delusion and printed pages of the daily commentary on richarddawkins.net, so we can make a fabulous profit.

There’s a certain romance to the idea of being a grim, scruffy smuggler, braving the rugged Aegean coast in daring midnight runs to bring atheist literature to underground freethinker salons of swarthy, hard-bitten raki-guzzling Turks.”

Coming so soon after International Talk Like A Pirate Day and after re-watching the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, I’d only like to add: YO HO!

Palin Toast:

Impromptu religious debate on Real Time:

Electrical failure with Large Hadron Collider taking it out of commission for over 2 months

Top 8 Atheist Moments on The Colbert Report

Did Neanderthals Pray? part 1

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

Naphthalene Found In Interstellar Space – “A team of scientists led by researchers from the Instituto Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has succeeded in identifying naphthalene, one of the most complex molecules yet discovered in the interstellar medium. The detection of this molecule suggests that a large number of the key components in prebiotic terrestrial chemistry could have been present in the interstellar matter from which the Solar System was formed.”

Emergence Of Agriculture Took Much Longer – “Researchers led by Dr Robin Allaby of the University of Warwick’s plant research arm Warwick HRI have found evidence that genetics supports the idea that the emergence of agriculture in prehistory took much longer than originally thought.”

Series of videos debunking faith healers, seances, psychics, casino cheats, psychic surgery, and crop circles: