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Monthly Archive: August 2011

Aug 25 2011

Not you too, New Zealand?

Let’s imagine that you, a rational person, are a high muckety-muck in some prestigious scientific institution — like, say, the Royal Society of New Zealand — and you’re asked whether some fringe subject — like, say, Traditional Chinese Medicine — should receive the endorsement of your society. How would you determine your answer? If you’re …

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Aug 25 2011

The wellspring of grade inflation

I hate to discourage teachers (we need them!), but there’s a problem in teacher education. Well, guess which students earn the highest grades? It’s future teachers. According to a new study by Cory Koedel published by the American Enterprise Institute: Students who take education classes at universities receive significantly higher grades than students who take …

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Aug 25 2011

The strength of Dawkins, and the murk of accommodationism

Richard Dawkins hits this one out of the park: he slams the ignorance of Rick Perry specifically and the Republican party generally. There is no excuse for the foolishness we get from Perry, or Bachmann, or Huckabee, or Palin, or Robertson, or any of the candidates who have sought validation through the Republicans — it’s …

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Aug 24 2011

A questions about those ancient bacterial fossils…

Both Jerry Coyne and Larry Moran have good write-ups on the recent discovery of what are purportedly the oldest fossil cells, at 3.4 billion years old. I just have to add one little comment: a small, niggling doubt and something that bugs me about them. All the smart guys are impressed with this paper, but …

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Aug 24 2011

The fish rots from the head, the tail, and every place in between

Here’s an educational opportunity for everyone! The Community College of Rhode Island [CCRI] has proudly announced that this fall, a “reiki master” will be holding a seminar on “crystal and mineral healing” at the college. This, we’re told, is …a type of alternative therapy that involves laying crystals or gemstones on the body. Each student …

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Aug 24 2011

A gay Australian poll

I don’t even understand why this is a matter for debate, but yes, Australians are also wrestling with the idea of legalizing gay marriage. It shouldn’t be an issue, but there it is. One thing particularly notable, though: a Catholic(!) MP spoke out clearly in favor of gay marriage. But Catholic Labor MP Graham Perrett …

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Aug 24 2011

No weirder than any other religious story

Shingo

That Jesus guy sure got around. This is a sign in Shingo, Japan, where they claim that Jesus settled down after escaping crucifixion. Here’s the story: When Jesus Christ was 21 years old, he came to Japan and pursued knowledge of divinity for 12 years. He went back to Judea at age 33 and engaged …

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Aug 24 2011

Botanical Wednesday: the fragile things sometimes last

blossoms

There was a little earthquake on the east coast yesterday, which shook up the Washington Monument and may have caused some damage to it. But you know what still stands unharmed: the cherry trees. (via National Geographic) (Also on Sb)

Aug 24 2011

Marching on Europe

During the week of 17 September, the National Secular Society is organizing a series of events (in collaboration with other European secular societies) in a Secular Europe Campaign. They will be protesting the privileged status of churches, the political meddling of the Vatican, and faith schools, in support of secularism and state neutrality on religion, …

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Aug 24 2011

Episode CCXLVIII: Too, too cute

What is the world coming to…now we’ve got video games that trivialize cephalopods and turn them into goofy cutesie-pie characters. I must protest! (Last edition of TET.)

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