Archives for August, 2006

The Decline of Conservative Judaism

Have a look at this interesting article, by Samantha Shapiro at Slate, about the decline of conservative Judaism. She writes: Since 1886, the Jewish Theological Seminary has sought to negotiate a middle ground between Orthodox Judaism, which (to vastly oversimplify) teaches that the Torah and Rabbinic law were authored by God, and Reform Judaism, which…

Democrats and Religion

Slate offers up this depressing article, by Amy Sullivan about how religious people view the Democratic Party: Which is why it is startling that in the two years since this Democratic revival began, the party’s faith-friendly image has dimmed rather than improved. The Pew Research Center’s annual poll on religion and politics, released last week,…

RWS in Paperback

Chris Mooney’s excellent book The Republican War on Science is now available in paperback. So if you didn’t buy it in hardcover, shame on you! But now you have a chanc eto redeem yourself. Kidding aside, Mooney does a first-rate job of confirming what anyone who has been paying attention has long suspected: That the…

Theistic Logic

David Heddle provides a typical example of the mental gymnastics required to believe that God is all -knowing and all-powerful. He writes: Many of you know I live in a small town in New Hampshire. In a month or so, the scenery will knock your socks off. Believers will marvel at God’s creation, while unbelievers…

PIG Roast

How bad have things gotten for the ID folks? They’re pathetically excited about the publication of Jonathan Wells’ new book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Drwainism and Intelligent Design. It used to be that the ID folks were keen to persuade us that they were going to revolutionize science. They published books like Darwin’s Black…

Snakes and Breaks

It’s been a good week for entertainment. I saw Snakes on a Plane, of course. Very enjoyable, though inevitably a bit disappointing given the hype. Needed more snakes. And Prison Break returned this week. I had to tape the premiere and only just got around to watching it. Looks like another fine season ahead. Classes…

Roughgarden States it Plain

I am currently holding in my hands a little book called Evolution and Christian Faith, by Stanford University biologist Joan Roughgarden. I don’t agree with Roughgarden’s religious views, but she sure does a good job of nailing ID: Furthermore, neo-Darwinism can account for complex structures. When you get together eye experts, lung experts, feather experts,…

Muddling Science at Parks and Museums

That’s the title of this article from the August 2006 issue of GeoTimes. The article is by Kathryn Hansen. The article details some of the difficulties faced by national parks and museums in communicating science to the public. It begins as follows: STOP: This exhibit is about animal thinking. It contains some things you may…

Colbert Does Math

The cable news channels have been falling all over themselves for the last few days, desperate to find something new to say about the JonBenet Ramsey fracas. Meanwhile, what do you suppose the lead story was on yesterday’s edition of The Colbert Report? Grigory Perelman’s refusal of the Fields Medal for his proof of the…

Weep For the Future

The Daily Howler has this disturbing report about the Q&A session from a recent presentation by Ann Coulter. Try to believe that a sentient human being actually asked the following question: QUESTION FROM SOMEONE EZRA KLEIN DOESN’T KNOW (7/28/06): Hi. My name is –, I’m a sophomore at Bucknell University and a summer intern at…

Darwin and Hitler

Anyone familiar with D. James Kennedy, leader of Coral Ridge Ministries, knows that he is one of the vilest ignorance peddlers in the business. When I lived in Kansas I listened frequently to his sermons on the local Christian radio station. He managed to stand out even on a station where lies and ignorance were…

New CSICOP Essay

My latest essay for CSICOP’s Creation Watch site is now up. This time: Why you should be suspicious of creationist and ID arguments even if you know very little of the science involved. Enjoy!

O’Leary’s Problem

A few weeks ago, Canadian journalist Denyse O’Leary joined the team over at William Dembski’s blog Uncommon Descent. This presented her with a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, she is surely aware that she knows nothing at all about science. But here she was expected to write regularly on the subject. How…

More on Poincare

I’m afraid I have to blog and run today. I have to scamper off to Dulles Airport an hour from now to retrieve a friend. (Don’t worry, I’ve already set the VCR to tape the premiere of Prison Break!) So why not have a look at Slate’s take on the Poincare conjecture. It includes this…

The Mobius Strip

A reader asked me, in response to yesterday’s post, why I failed to make any mention of the Mobius Strip. Addressing that topic seemed like a good way to close the week’s blogging. Imagine that you take a long thin strip of newspaper. Hold it at the top with your thumb and index finger, and…