Archives for January, 2009

We close the week’s blogging by savoring an amusing example of just how bad things have gotten for the creationists. For as long as there have been creationists there has been the argument from complex structures. You know the one I mean. Some erstwhile evolution critic points to some complex structure and says, as smugly…

Miller, Giberson Spank Back

If you saw my post the other day about Jerry Coyne’s review of the recent books by Ken Miller and Karl Giberson, then you might also be interested to know that Miller and Giberson have now replied. Click here for Miller’s reply, and click here for Giberson’s.

What Did Billy Joel Ever do to Him?

Writing in Slate Ron Rosenbaum has a very funny, but very mean, polemic against…Billy Joel. What the aging pop star did to deserve this I don’t know, but for anyone who grew up in the eighties it’s worth a look:

Coyne Spanks Miller, Giberson

Jerry Coyne returns to the pages of The New Republic with this review of Ken Miller’s recent book Only a Theory and Karl Giberson’s book Saving Darwin. I previously reviewed Giberson’s book here and Miller’s book here. Miller and Giberson, recall, were both rying to carve out space for a reconciliation of evolution with Christianity.…

If you have some time this weekend, be sure to read this magnificent article from Vanity Fair. It presents excerpts from intervies conducted withhundreds of Bush administration officials and other politically important individuals, going through the entire eight years of the presidency. If a fiction writer devised a short story along these lines, no one…

The Trouble With Science Journalism

Recently, ScienceBlogs own Abbie Smith made some trenchant remarks about the problems with science journalism. The combination of sensationalism with writers who frequently do not understand the work about which they are writing leads to some serious difficulties for scientists wishing to communicate with the public. Abbie was talking specifically about reporting on AIDS, and…

Gardner on Theodicy

Writing in The New Criterion, the always excellent Martin Gardner reviews Bart Ehramnn’s new book God’s Problem: how the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question — Why We Suffer. Since I am among those who think the problem of evil and suffering in its various forms is a real crackerjack argument against traditional…

Straight Talk From the Financial Times

And let us conclude the week’s blogging with some wise words from the Financial Times: Yet at the beginning of the 21st century, evolution is under sustained attack from creationist theories inspired by fundamentalist religion — sometimes dressed in scientific clothing as “intelligent design”. Opinion polls show that more Americans believe in Biblical creation than…

The Atheist Bus Campaign

Over at the New Republic Issac Chotiner offers up the following worthy thought: As a respite from all the talk on cable television yesterday (and today) that the New York plane rescue was in fact a “miracle,” it is nice to see more coverage of the atheist ad campaign currently centered on London buses. (As…

Montalban and McGoohan

By now I am sure you have heard that Ricardo Mantalban and Patrick McGoohan have died. Mantalban is being remembered primarily for playing Khan in Star Trek and Mr. Rourke in the godawful-but-strangely-watchable Fantasy Island. For me, though, his best role was as a murdering bullfighter in a memorable episode of Columbo. Be warned: some…

Today’s New York TImes features two op-eds essential to clear thinking about the situation in Gaza. The first comes from journalist Jeffrey Goldberg. He paints a grim picture of the enemy Israel faces. It is a useful corrective to those who think Hamas is a leigitmate negotiating partner interested, with the right incentives, in peaceful…

What Mathematicians Do

This particular problem is a bit too applied for my taste, but it’s always nice to see mathematicians in the news:

We militant atheist types often wonder, with exasperation, how people manage to persuade themselves of God’s existence. Former conservative MSNBC pundit Tucker Carlson gives us his answer:

Shallit on Information Theory

Since I am still getting caught up on my blog reading after my trip to the big conference, I have only just noticed Jeffrey Shallit’s interesting post on information theory. He writes:

The Big Math Conference

Now that the big ScienceBlogs software upgrade is complete, I can tell you about the big conference in Washington D.C. Lucky you! According to careercast.com, mathematicians have the most wonderful job there is. I am inclined to agree, of course. I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t get a PhD in the subject and join the…