"After hosting a panel earlier this year to discuss supposed flaws in evolutionary theory, Italy's science agency the National Research Council (CNR) reportedly put up thousands of dollars to help with the publication of a follow-up book, Evolutionism: The Decline of an Hypothesis. The move has vexed many scientists in the country where the Vatican recently came out in support of Darwin's ideas.
Authored by CNR's Vice President Roberto de Mattei, the book asserts, among other things, that scientific dating of rocks is inaccurate and that dinosaurs went extinct just 40,000 years ago (rather than some 65 million years ago, not accounting for modern birds, of course), according to the blog ScienceInsider. The American Academy for the Advancement of Science blog notes that an Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, is reporting that CNR provided 9,000 Euros (some $13,255) to help publish the book, which came out last month. "
"It's the ones who think they know what there is to be known that we have to look out for. 'All is explained in this text - there is nothing else you need to know,' they tell us. For thousands of years we put up with this kind of thing. Those who said, 'Hang on, I think we might be ignorant, let's see...' were made to drink poison, or had their eyes put out and their bowels drawn out through their botties."
Mrs Cody, a 44-year-old mother from Massachusetts, spotted a likeness of Jesus in the residue on the burnt bottom of her old iron.
She immediately told her two daughters, who said "Mom, that's Jesus looking at us."
The medical secretary said the siting had renewed her religious faith. The image, which she first noticed last week, had reassured her that "life is going to be good", she said.
She added that she would keep her old iron - but would buy a new one for everyday use.
The well know crack-pot Prince Charles has met Health Secretary Andy Burnham to try and persuade him to protect homeopathic "medicine". Yes, that's right, we need to protect people who sell water to the sick telling them it's medicine.
"When he was a small boy, Diarmaid MacCulloch's parents used to drive him round historic churches. Little did they know that they had created a monster, with the history of the Christian Church becoming his life's work."
The Times today claims that the children fronting the Don't Label Me campaign are Evangelical. They are not, they are too young, they are the children of evangelical parents. we can't hold that against the children.
Apparently it seems the Natural History Museum, London has an agreement to identify any organisms claiming to be the Loch Ness Monster or the Yeti given them to by bookmakers William Hill.
Dawkins sometimes get accused of being an evangelical atheist. In this interview however he just comes across as the voice of reason. Science classrooms should be full of science. Period.
Originally from BBC news: 'Haunted' Indian Station Reopens
All ghost stories are either scams or lies. This one definitely lies in the lies category. Indian railway workers invented a ghost to prevent them having to work at a remote train station. The sad thing is, until just recently, it worked.
An extensive review has failed to find good evidence which convincingly demonstrates reflexology (a practice involving applying pressure to, or, massaging feet) is an effective treatment for any medical conditions.
Details of the review, conducted by Dr Edzard Ernst, Director of Complementary Medicine at the Peninsula Medical School in the United Kingdom, were published in theMedical Journal of Australia.
"There is little doubt that a foot massage is pleasantly relaxing, however specific medical claims should always be supported by sound evidence," Dr Ernst said. "
I think this one quite effectively demonstrates that whilst folklore is very interesting, and can be a positive thing, it becomes distinctly weird when people start to believe it is real, and that worshipping it can change your life.
The existence of evil is then a terrible stumbling-block to the Theist. Pain, misery, crime, poverty, confront the advocate of eternal goodness, and challenge with unanswerable potency his declaration of Deity as all-good, all-wise, and all-powerful. Evil is either caused by God, or exists independently; but it cannot be caused by God, as in that case he would not be all-good; nor can it exist independently, as in that case he would not be all-powerful. Evil must either have had a beginning or it must have been eternal; but, according to the Theist, it cannot be eternal, because God alone is eternal. Nor can it have had a beginning, for if it had it must either have originated in God, or outside God; but, according to the Theist, it cannot have: originated in God, for he is all-good, and out of all-goodness evil can not originate; nor can evil have originated outside God, for, according to the Theist, God is infinite, and it is impossible to go outside of or beyond infinity.
To the Atheist this question of evil assumes an entirely different aspect. He declares that each evil is a result, but not a result from God or Devil. He affirms that by conduct founded on knowledge of the laws of existence it is possible to ameliorate and avoid present evil, and, as our knowledge increases, to prevent its future recurrence.
Charles Bradlaugh. 1874. A few words about the devil: and other biographical sketches and essays.
Collins has been nominated by Barack Obama to head the National Institutes of Health. Initially this seemed to be ok, he's a skilled administrator of science, as his work on the Human Genome Project showed. The problems started when details of his religious beliefs came out. It seems like the man from "nominally Christian" parents and who is 'ex-atheist' is a bit too mad for comfort. Sam Harris dismantles the man in this New York Times op-ed.
This photograph is from the top of Mount Nebo, looking out towards the 'Promised Land'. It was New Year's Day, and I'd celebrated the night before, but still doesn't look particularly promising. In fact, if you turn around 180 degrees the country was much more lush.
You see, the rock first does it's magic trick of providing water when Moses is instructed to hit it by God. But then, 40 years later, God instructs Moses to talk to it. But he hits it, and water comes out.
The punishment for tapping a rock? Murder before you reach the promised land. Sounds very reasonable and forgiving to me!
(Yes, I've been there. I find the Biblical stories fascinating. I just recognise that they aren't true. The Middle East would be a much nicer place if people realised this.)
It was that easy! Incidentally, the BHA's website is www.trusthomeopathy.org. Trust homeopaty to take your money and not cure you? Trust homeopathy practitioners to be liars? Trust homeopathy to give you water when you need medicine? Any more suggestions?
In what is probably the first big experiment performed on the micro-blogging service Twitter, psychologist and magician Richard Wiseman has shown that those people calling themselves psychics are no more psychic than the rest of us. Of course this is hardly surprising, but by opening the experimental process to anybody who wants to participate it may become easier to show the deluded and fraudulent for what they really are.
I haven't said anything really on the libel action taken by a bunch of frauds (the British Chiropractic Association) against somebody who dared to point out they were frauds (Simon Singh, author of Fermat's Last Theorem, The Code Book & Big Bang). Needless to say the case seems to have progressed to the stage where th chiropractors are on the back foot.
This is an interesting case that will hopefully highlight to the public that not all of those who claim to be able to heal you actually can. Unfortunately unless the British legal system protects the right of people to criticise alternative 'medicine' it may become harder for honest people to speak freely.
I've been using Newsvine for a while now, for two reasons. The first is it acts like a storage facility for stuff from the press that I find interesting and would loose otherwise, the second is it produces an RSS feed of what I find interesting that I use on my site.
I haven't, until now, been particularly interested in its other features. An article I posted a while ago about creationism in the UK education system has gathered around 200 comments (that's roughly 200 more than any other article I've posted). This shows that the debate is alive and well.
So, shamelessly, here is a link to my Newsvine. You can even vote for my stories!
Perhaps one of the most interesting things that I have heard about post Costa Rica however is the French taking the Church of Scientology to court. look forward to seeing how this case develops.
Apparently gay rights and Christian rights don't mix. Guess which side is becoming oppressive to try and win the day....
The Lancet stands up to him - quotes from BBC News:
But the London-based Lancet said the Pope had "publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on this issue".
It said the male latex condom was the single most efficient way to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV/Aids.
"Whether the Pope's error was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology is unclear," said the journal.
But it said the comment still stood and urged the Vatican to issue a retraction. "When any influential person, be it a religious or political figure, makes a false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of millions of people, they should retract or correct the public record," it said.
This post is worth a read, I was meant to write about it earlier but I am pushed for time at the moment.
I quite like the arguments here - I guess because my interests in invertebrates and reason join forces.
I don't want your life savings - just your spare change. In compensation for your donation I will accept ideas for topics to blog about. I won't make any promises - but if I know enough, or can research enough in my spare time I will write about them.
If you do donate, thank you!
This is a pretty sad tale. Giving £4,500 to people who claim that they can talk to the dead. Creating jobs is a good idea, nobody would argue with that. Giving money to two likely frauds to con other people on the other hand is absolutely ridiculous. In the words of one member of the Welsh Assembly: "It is an utter disgrace that taxpayers' money is being wasted and given to an organisation that believes it can teach people how to communicate with the dead."
Incidentally, I can talk to the dead. They never reply though...
Click to enlarge.
The Pope has suggested that condoms are not the key to preventing AIDS in Africa. In fact he has said they aggravate the crisis.
This is essentially a "do as I do, or die" philosophy. Yes, if people stuck to abstinence before marriage there would be no problem. But there are a large number of people who are not under the delusion that one of the most joyous activities is sinful. Distributing condoms does help, and we must keep doing it.
What I find most shocking about this is the state legislature trying to censor who can talk to university students - who are more than capable (perhaps uniquely in Oklahoma) be able to listen to an idea and choose whether to adopt it, or not, based upon evidence.
1) Barack Obama
Good choice, it's great to have someone literate as "leader of the free world" again.
2) Nelson Mandella
Possibly should be at number 1 given his track record, but without doubt a worthy contender.
3) Jade Goody
EPIC FAIL. Britain I want to disown you. Yes, she has cancer and will die. That shouldn't be a reason for somebody whose only reason for fame is (1) being stupid, and (2), going on Big Brother, to rank higher than David Attenborough. Or even, well.... anyone else really.
1. Breaking a mirror
2. Walking under a ladder
3. Friday 13th
4. Opening an umbrella indoors
5. A black cat crossing your path
6. The sight of a single magpie
7. Spilling salt
8. Placing shoes on the table or on the bed
9. Treading on cracks in the pavement
10. Walking over three drainsI mean, really? People actually believe this?
Pastor Danny Nalliah is quoted as saying: "a flash from the Spirit of God: that His conditional protection has been removed from the nation of Australia, in particular Victoria, for approving the slaughter of innocent children in the womb".
I'm going to file this one under 'coincidence' along with the fact that I recently went to visit Big Ben and have woken up on time ever since.
digging a bit deeper into the shadowy world of Mervyn Storey we find that he has already tried to get intelligent design (read: creationism) taught in schools.
Hopefully this lunatic will disappear in a giant failure, but then again.
There seems to be lots of UFO stories doing the rounds at the moment. This one comes from Athens, but thankfully is a little more realistic than some reports I have read: "Greek officials say that the object, which was not detected on any radar, was probably a mistaken sighting of the planet Venus in the Autumn night sky."
There have also been reports of UFOs above the Houses of Parliament, and from Somerset (see video below).
Also it seems that someone has been collecting UFO reports from police officers.
It appears that the wind turbine damage wasn't due to UFOs after all, it was just mechanical failure. I bet some of the conspiracy theories drag on for a bit though! I do have some more UFO news to follow though - perhaps I'll reveal some real evidence?
Today marks the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, co-discoverer with Alfred Russel Wallace of the theory of evolution by natural selection.
I won't go on too much; Darwin and Wallace where both great men but science is the collective work of many individuals. Some of us just hit the big time. Rather than make you read a load I'd suggest you go and make a donation to the Beagle Project and help fund a rather cool project.
To celebrate the day Google has created a special logo - see above.
I have mixed feelings about Tony Blair. I remember the excitement he caused when I was at middle school about him becoming Prime Minister. Which is odd on two fronts: I knew nothing of any worth about politics, and as fas as I remember the school election was won by the Monster Raving Loony Party.
Since his departure from Number 10 Blair has been going on about god a lot. Most notably Blair was guided by an imaginary friend, voice or apparition when deciding whether to invade Iraq. This is not a good way to make such decisions. The decision to go to war is difficult, just as the decision not to can be difficult. That decision can only be made on the basis of the evidence available at the time.
But Blair seems to have continued on, and at a recent 'Prayer Breakfast' (who says there's no division between church and state in the USA?) he mention god over 3o times. Quotes such as 'The 21st century will be poorer in spirit, meaner in ambition, less disciplined in conscience, if it is not under the guardianship of faith in God' are find highly comical. It is the liberation from faith that seems to be driving moral progress.
Read through this article, it seems the UK thankfully isn't quite as bad as the USA yet!
Will the atheist bus campaign help promote The Christian Party in forthcoming elections? Well, not really. Sadly for their leader, George Hargreaves, we have a political system with, on average, 2.5 main parties. Thankfully the Christians are miles down the list.
So what do these organisations have to say?
The Christian Party: "There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life." That's very definite, if, I believe, almost certainly wrong. I have huge issues with bringing religion into politics, so I will refuse the offer to join their party.
The Russian Orthodox Church: "There IS a God, BELIEVE. Don't worry and enjoy your life." Unfortunately believing in the Christian god requires worry, and more often than not fear. Not for me either.
The Trinitarian Bible Society: "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God," I take exception to being called a fool.
Oh well, looks like I'm going to be a godless heathen for a while longer, damn!
P.S. Have you notice how terrible all three of those websites are? The TBS even refers to Richard Dawkins as an 'atheist'. Do the quote marks indicate they know something we don't?
Thank you for your note. Although we have recently learned that Mr. Stein will be unable to receive the honorary degree here or to serve as commencement speaker, please know that it was our expectation that his remarks would address the global economic crisis and that he would speak from his widely acknowledged area of expertise on the economy. We regret that he will be unable to do so.
With thanks again for writing and with every good wish—Daniel Mark Fogel, President
How very impersonal! Just a form letter.
At least he won't be there.
Copyright Ed Baker