Archives for June, 2010

What is religion?

PZ is unamused. I criticized his criticism of prayer vigils in the Gulf, and he responds: It’s strange how the people who most advocate sympathy and rapprochement with religion are blind to what religious people really think. Here’s another case where Josh Rosenau complains that I misunderstand what the faithful were trying to do with…

Via ClimateProgress (who got it from Barefoot and Progressive), we get Kentucky’s Republican nominee for the US Senate, Rand Paul, at an event for local homeschoolers. At the top of the Q&A, he’s asked when he became a Christian and how old the earth his. Paul has no trouble giving a detailed account of where…

Robert Byrd, RIP

Robert Byrd, the longest serving legislator in US history, died last night in a Washington hospital. He overcame the racial politics of his upbringing, repudiating his youthful flirtations with the Klan and championing a vision of the Constitution that secured rights to all Americans. He was a voice against needless war and against abusing the…

Missing the point

PZ Myers is disappointed. There’s a massive oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, BP is incapable of stopping it, as is the federal government, and the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida (and soon on to Georgia and the Carolinas) are being coated in a chocolatey rainbow of crude oil. This is bad, and…

Noted without comment

Martin Cothran, scourge of all deviation, whether from his ideal of “classical education,” from his creationist beliefs, from his homophobia, from his misogyny, from his aversion to women who assert their own sexuality, or from his conservative ideals, wants us all to know: My mother still keeps peacocks on her form in Kansas. Thanks for…

Deep thought

I don’t care that Gen. McChrystal and his aides got drunk and talked smack. I care that they were dumb enough to do so on the record with a reporter, and I care that McChrystal is behind schedule on in implementing his plan to win in Afghanistan. Neither speaks to his competence, or his staff’s…

Deep thought

Contrary to the expectations of my correspondent Miss.Alberta.Smith, invitations to international symposia generally do not have one exclamation point – let alone 15 – in the Subject line.

Remember when Disco. spinner Casey Luskin rolled out this silly attempt at refuting critics of irreducible complexity?: Car engines use various kinds of bolts, and a bolt could be seen as a small “sub-part” or “sub-system” of a car engine. Under [Ken] Miller’s logic, if a vital bolt in my car’s engine might also to…

Casey Luskin, Disco. ‘Tute spinner, has recently relaunched a fight over whether and how textbooks use embryological drawings from Ernst Haeckel’s 19th century popular works. In his two posts (excerpting from a jumbled essay he wrote for a law review), he repeatedly claims that those drawings are fraudulent. To wit: textbooks in use today, in…

Deserving of special attention

John Fleck, a superstar science journalist whose work on water in the southwest is consistently brilliant, has some sage thoughts on the Problem With Science Journalism: In the newspaper this week, I took a whack at what I think is one of the fundamental public misunderstandings about the nature of science. I like to call…