Archives for January, 2010

Here’s a quote from the book Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths About Science and Religion: In Augustine’s influential view, then, knowledge of the things of this world is not a legitimate end in itself, but as a means to other ends it is indispensable. The classical sciences must accept a subordinate position as…

Leno to Host WHCD

Well, this is just great: The White House Correspondents Association has picked Jay Leno — also known as this week’s most publicly unpopular stand-up comic — to headline the White House Correspondents Dinner in May. An NBC rep confirmed the invitation to The TV Column. To be clear, the association asked Leno weeks ago —…

Maddow States it Plain

I thought Rachel Maddow had a very smart take on the fallout from the Massachusetts Senate race. I’ve placed a lengthy excerpt below the fold.

Department of Low Standards

Just in case you were thinking that religious institutions have not always bathed themselves in glory in their relations with science, here’s Ronald Numbers to set you straight: Historians of science have known for years that White’s and Draper’s accounts are more propaganda than history. … Yet the message has rarely escaped the ivory tower.…

Massachusetts Fallout

Here’s a prominent Democratic congressman commenting on the effect of the Massachusetts Senate race on health care reform: I have two reactions to the election in Massachusetts. One, I am disappointed. Two, I feel strongly that the Democratic majority in Congress must respect the process and make no effort to bypass the electoral results. If…

Home Again

After a lengthy trip that involved not just planes and trains, but automobiles as well, I made it back from San Francisco in one piece. Yay! The conference was a big success, both mathematically and socially. Saw lots of old friends, which is, after all, the point of the conference, and also hopefully made some…

To San Francisco!

Winter term classes started on Monday here at JMU, so I figure this is a good time to get out of dodge! I will be participating in the 2010 Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Francisco. Yay! And while I’m there I expect to take a quick train ride over to Oakland to visit the National…

Scott Wins NAS Public Welfare Medal

A well-deserved honor: The National Academy of Sciences Council has selected Eugenie C. Scott to receive its most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal. Established in 1914, the medal is presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. The Council chose Scott for championing the teaching of evolution in the United…

Newton on Science Denial

The Huffington Post is not usually the go-to place for intelligent commentary on scientific issues, but sometimes they come through. Go have a look at this essay by Steven Newton, Project Director for the National Center for Science Education. Science requires conclusions about how nature works to be rooted in evidence-based testing. Sometimes progress is…

Of course, the focus of that last post was a development in New York City, which is considerably more civilized than most of the country. In rural Mississippi things do not seem quite so cozy. This is from a reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog:

Here’s an encouraging story: Ken Bronstein was excited to notify us of a great coup: six members of his organization, the New York City Atheists, attended Mayor Bloomberg’s annual Interfaith Breakfast this weekend. It’s believed to be the first time nonbelievers have been invited, as nonbelievers, to the event. We asked Bronstein why atheists would…