Archives for April, 2010

There were lots of reasons why I wanted to see Affordable Care (née healthcare reform) pass. Ending the tyranny of “pre-existing conditions,” of cruel recissions, and insuring more than 30 million uninsured Americans were big reasons. But it wasn’t a perfect bill, and there was a vocal group of Democrats on the leftward fringes of…

Two snarls, one Cupp

Lord love her, S.E. Cupp has posted the first chapter of her book Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity. That means I’ve now inflicted two chapters of the damnable thing on myself, and I feel no better for it. You’ll recall that the first chapter I saw was her look at evolution.…

On atheism and skepticism

I’ve been playing around in the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition and usage history for “atheism” and “atheist,” and found this rather relevant to ongoing discussions. 1876 GLADSTONE in Contemp. Rev. June 22 By the Atheist I understand the man who not only holds off, like the sceptic, from the affirmative, but who drives himself, or…

Creationist as skeptic

Yesterday I made the offhand comment, “Say what you will about creationists, some of them have genuine critical thinking skills.” I followed that up by adding “garbage in, garbage out.” My meaning there may have been obscure, and commenter PhysioProf objected: Dude, I get that you are now fully invested in how mean and shitty…

So Fox News breathlessly reported that Chinese researchers had found Noah’s ark. “Has Noah’s Ark been found on Turkish mountaintop?,” they asked, dumbly. “No,” answered slacktivist. Gawker replied at greater length: A group of evangelicals found some 4,800-year-old wood on top of Mount Ararat. They are “99.9 pecent” sure that it’s Noah’s ark. This is…

SkeptiCal recap

Last Saturday, we put on the first ever SkeptiCal: Northern California Science and Skepticism Conference. It was pretty awesome. The organizers included Bay Area Skeptics and Sacramento Area Skeptics, and we managed to fill a 200 seat auditorium by advertising to our members, other northern California skeptics groups, some email alerts to JREF, CSI, and…

A few coynes short?

Jerry Coyne, in the throatclearing before an otherwise reasonable dissection of wankery on the Huffington Post, brings the ahistorical and gratuitous FAIL: I?m coyneing the term ?New Creationism? to describe the body of thought that accepts Darwinian evolution but with the additional caveats that 1) it was all started by God, 2) had God-worshipping humans…

Via A Continuous Lean, an HD version of origina 16 mm film from the Apollo 11 launch: So awesome.

Cupp, unsupported

I’m in the Washington Post’s book review blog today, offering my take on a chapter from conservative pundit S.E. Cupp’s forthcoming book. I haven’t seen anything but the 4th chapter (“Thou Shalt Evolve”), but the book as a whole seems like an odd project. Not least that a book titled Losing Our Religion: The Liberal…

James Grimmelmann considers the Supreme Court’s inability to understand the difference between the pager and the e-mail: Reading about the Supreme Court oral arguments in City of Ontario v. Quon makes me sad and angry in equal measure. Why so emotional? Here are the Court’s questions, in a case about whether messages on an employer-provided…