Archives for December, 2010

Ontology

Denyse O’Leary – I call her D’OhLeary for short – quotes John Templeton making the ontological argument for God: Would it not be strange if a universe without purpose accidentally created humans who are so obsessed with purpose? But this is an awful argument, and especially badly stated here. Let’s try something: Would it not…

Happy New Year from the BCSE

The British Centre for Science Education sent this New Year’s note: Happy new year to our friends in the NCSE For those unfamiliar, this is the reference our friends across the pond are making. And a happy New Year to y’all as well!

The military and spirituality

Ed Brayton has been doing yeoman work to expose the overtly religious agenda of various parts of the armed forces, especially the Air Force. Today he posts the second part of a story about the Army’s “Soldier Fitness Tracker,” a survey which evaluates “spiritual fitness,” and can require soldiers to undergo “spiritual remedial training” if…

Hughes asks the Question of the Year?

Virginia Hughes, once the benevolent overlord here at Scienceblogs, asks the Question of the Year: What is Life, Anyway? She notes that many of the major scientific discoveries or advances of the year hinged on that question, and this month’s Astrobiology has a series of essays on the state of our understanding. She explains: Is…

Kentuckians out of touch with nature

Mark Cothren of Kentucky cannot recognize a raccoon with mange. This is noteworthy mainly because Texans can’t recognize a dog with mange, either. It’s also noteworthy because it’s possible Mark Cothren is related to Martin Cothran, and there’s a new blogger at Martin Cothran’s blog. He signs off as “Thomas Cothran,” who is either an…

Attention conservation notice: A couple thousand words that can be summarized as: “Someone is wrong on the internet.” Jerry Coyne has a longish reply to my post yesterday. He seems quite upset about it. He seems to think I’m very, very wrong. And yet he cannot manage to characterize my argument correctly, and offers nothing…

I don’t know if that’s helping

The nice thing about being an agnostic is feeling comfortable saying “I don’t know” when there’s not enough evidence to say yes or no. I mention this because I want to be clear that I mean no criticism by saying that I don’t know if Ophelia is right about the positive effects of New Atheism.…

Rape Victim Refuses TSA Breast Grope; Handcuffed, Arrested by Police: Claire Hirschkind couldn’t go through the stripsearch scanner because of a pacemaker-type device in her chest. So she was taken to a female TSA officer to be groped. “I told them, ‘No, I’m not going to have my breasts felt,’ and she said, ‘Yes, you…

A bit more on abortion

I’ll be in and out of internet contact for the next few days, so I may or may not respond to any new wingnuttery from Michael Egnor. But it’s worth making a few broad points. First, nothing I’ve written should be taken to suggest that fetuses (especially in the third trimester) don’t have moral status…

Michael Egnor is still upset. Earlier, he penned an inaccurate, misleading, and … well … egnorant defense of his views on abortion, responding to my critique of his claim that personhood is easy to define. His earlier reply repeatedly and incorrectly attempted to associate the content of this blog with my employer. As the sidebar…