Archives for May, 2011

Ben Stein, classy to the last

Remember when Ben Stein, promoting his schlockumentary in Canada, dismissed the ADL’s concerns about his mistreatment of the Holocaust by saying “it’s none of their fucking business”? Classy, right? Anyway, having been booted from the pages of the New York Times for violating the paper’s ethics policy, Stein is now shilling in decidedly down-market conservative…

Skeptical Bay Area events

Tomorrow (Wednesday), Bay Area Skeptics will be hosting the excellent Rebecca Watson for a Skeptics in the Pub Quiz. Watson is a founder of Skepchick, a host of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe, and a force for skepticism and sensibility in a world that is too frequently senseless. As a member of the Bay…

The Darwin Road Show

Scientists Take Darwin on the Road | Miller-McCune: “I want to send our scientists to rural schools and communities around the U.S. to talk about evolution for Darwin Day 2011.” Jory Weintraub’s words hung undigested in the silent air of the management meeting at our North Carolina center last July. “You want to send our…

On false equivalencies

In Ophelia Benson’s writeup of the Ron Lindsay/Chris Mooney discussion, there’s a passage about the Templeton Foundation that jumps out as deeply problematic: Then they talked about the Templeton Foundation, and Mooney’s “fellowship,” and the fact that it was controversial. Would you accept a fellowship from the Discovery Institute? Lindsay asked. No. Liberty University? Probably…

…because we said so

PZ Myers responds to a podcast debate between Chris Mooney and Ron Lindsay about accommodationism and New Atheism. I haven’t listened to the podcast, so I don’t know who won or who lost, or what brilliant points were or weren’t made. I do know that the title of PZ’s post reflects the general New Atheist…

I can’t say I’ve ever understood the adulation Noam Chomsky gets in some lefty circles. His arguments are generally fairly banal, drifting into a caricature of liberalism.. I don’t doubt that at some point in his life he may have been an incisive political commentator, but I’ve never seen it. This applies in spades to…

In cleaning out my open webpages, I came across the video above in an important post at Wired blogs, and it hardly matters that the post is from last October (yes, I keep too many tabs open in Firefox). Rhett Allain argues that there’s an inverse relationship between how much standardized testing students experience, and…

On Agnosticism

Christopher Lane has a fascinating history of agnosticism in the New Humanist, an ode to doubt. : Then [in the Victorian era] as now, doubt requires strength – it is not an easy or straightforward position to maintain. The impact of such doubt grew on both sides of the Atlantic, with subscription rates for freethinking…

Greg Laden suggests A multiplicity of strategies is better than infighting when addressing creationism and related problems. That seems reasonable, and I’m intrigued by his diagnosis for the conflict over accommodationism and New Atheism: I have always thought, naively and probably incorrectly, that what defined Accommodationist is what they think, not how they argue. At…

I endorse this open letter

Janet Stemwedel has an open letter, and as someone who got the same ham-fisted promotions, and didn’t write about it for roughly the same reason (also I don’t care about silly putty), I can endorse her letter wholeheartedly.