A Natural Selection, by Olivia Judson of the New York Times Blog. On examples of evolution taking place in our lifetime, in an observable time span. (I especially like the example of the Croatian lizards: it seems to me to be a wonderful counter to the idea that sudden jumps in the evolutionary record indicate divine intervention. This is a pretty drastic evolutionary change in a short period of time… and there’s no reason to think it’s the result of anything other than descent with modification.) Via Pharyngula.
Cereal Box Science, by Jens Hegg of Please Hold, Your Call is Very Important To Us. On why you need to be careful when reading commercially- motivated or self- serving “science”… and how to recognize it. Via the Tangled Bank carnival.
I’m Only Going To Be Alive Once, from Susannah Breslin’s
Letters from Johns. In the Letters from Johns project, sex customers write in anonymously describing their experiences with sex workers and explaining the reasons they’ve done it. This is a particularly thoughtful and articulate example.
Need a Babysitter? Donât Call God!, by The Chaplain at An Apostateâs Chapel. Why do so many Christians believe that God helps them find parking spaces and car keys, but doesn’t protect children who are being abused? An idea that’s been expressed before… but The Chaplain expresses it uncommonly well here, with articulate intellect and passionate anger.
Back into the secondhand smoke fray, this time with a Scottish brogue! by Orac at Respectful Insolence. On a large, rigorously- done study measuring the effects of workplace smoking bans on rates of acute coronary syndrome… and on the results, which were so striking they amazed even Orac.
Doctor Bashing by Steven Novella at Neurologicablog. A defense of doctors and the medical profession against outdated stereotypes… and a discussion of how confirmation bias works to bolster bigotry. Via the abovementioned Respectful Insolence.
Who Can Discuss Sex Without Discussing Damage?, by Dr. Marty Klein at Sexual Intelligence. Dr. Klein asks, “Is there any point in talking about cars without mentioning car accidents? Certainly. Is there any value in discussing the Golden Gate Bridge or Niagara Falls without bringing up drowning or suicide? Of course there is. So why do so many people find it impossible to tolerate a serious conversation about sex that doesnât include human trafficking, rape, kiddie porn, and child molestation?”
And, of course, for the six of you who may not have read it already, The Great Desecration, by PZ Myers of Pharyngula. In which PZ desecrates a cracker (and gets an unimaginable shitstorm of death threats and hate mail as a result). A thoughtful and well-written piece, with enlightening information on the anti-Semitic history of host desecration. (See also this piece by Ebonmuse of Daylight Atheism, On Desecration, in which the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy deplores PZ’s cracker desecration as not only unethical but unconstitutional. No, really.)