I get email

This one is rather pedestrian, sorry to say — just another bible-thumper. I looked at some of his links, and he seems to be a bible-code-thumper, so even sillier. But his claim to have a scientific map of hell caught my attention.

“The Old Testament is a false history of the world. It should not be trusted” – Charles Darwin

Archaeology proves the man Jesus quoted on hell is 18 for 18 – http://www.bibleisaiah.com

“I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity” – Charles Darwin

“He who does not believe in the Son of God is condemned already” – John 3:18

“Hell from beneath. Everlasting burnings” – Isaiah
http://www.bibleisaiah.com/hell_testimonies.htm

A Scientific Map of Hell:
http://www.formerthings.com/map_of_hell.htm

“Go! and warn people so they do not come here. I am tormented in this flame!
Please! give me just one drop of water to cool my tongue” – Luke 16

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Republicans and Creationists are simply wrong

IDvenn

Alex Berezow is annoyed. Slate is picking on poor Republicans and Christians for their anti-science views! How dare they! Don’t they know Democrats and atheists are just as bad?

It’s a complaint that ignores reality. We can look at the voting record of congress: it’s eerie how polarized it is, and how the Republicans line up in lockstep to vote against any policies that might combat climate change, for instance. We can look at the current slate of Republican presidential candidates, and it’s terrifying — Huckabee, Santorum, Carson, etc.? Are you really going to argue that it’s one-sided to point out that the anti-science agenda of the Republican party is blatantly in contrast to that of the Democratic party (not that I’m a big fan of Democrats or Obama or Clinton: they are lukewarm swill against the toxic, corrosive sludge of the Republicans)? Of course he thinks it is.

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The chocolate diet, or how to lie with science

woman-eating-chocolate

I have to say that I was positively thrilled by this article on how you can lose weight by eating chocolate. It encapsulates so many things I try to drill into my students — I’ll probably use it in my genetics class as an example of bad statistics, and my writing class as an example of using science writing skills for evil.

Here’s the deal: chocolate doesn’t help you lose weight. But if you confuse the data with a large number of variables that you ignore, and do a little unscrupulous p-hacking, you can get an effect with statistical significance. So these authors set out to produce a bad study in nutritional science, and see if they can get it to be publicized.

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Junk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome

junkdna

I made a dreadful mistake. Before embarking on my trip to Germany, with those long transatlantic flights, I stocked up my Kindle with a couple of books to keep me entertained. One of them was Nessa Carey’s Junk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome. It was a poor investment. I could not finish it. I got maybe a half hour worth of reading out of it before I was too exasperated to continue, and instead watched a ghastly Night at the Museum sequel being shown on the plane’s entertainment system. It was a terrible movie, but better than this book.

Actually, it didn’t take me a half hour to become peevish. The very first page after the acknowledgments, in a section called “Notes on Nomenclature,” contained this abomination.

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Oh, joy

clown

Yet another wacky far-right conservative has announced his candidacy for president: Rick Santorum. It’s becoming a crowded field in opposition to the Democrats.

He is facing heavy competition for those voters this year from rivals like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

I don’t think it’s a good thing for the Republic that one side of our two party system is promoting a circus full of clowns.

Atheists don’t believe in original sin

sin

All our evils are acquired. It’s like the whole nature vs. nature controversy!

Michael Seewald, who is some relative by marriage to the Duggar family, comes up with some slimy excuses for Josh Duggar’s abuses. The appalling thing is how typical this is for Christians: they have a demeaning vision of human nature dunned into them from an early age, and they think this sort of behavior is normal, and you can only be rescued from it by Jesus Christ.

There are many who seem shocked that a child from a Christian family would do such things. While it is always alarming when we find out about our children’s sins, we should not be surprised. Christians (and many other reasonable people) believe that we are all born with a sinful nature. David, king of Israel spoke of his inborn sin like this when he was repenting of his adultery and murder by proxy: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm 51:5. The prophet Isaiah concurs. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6. While not all of our sins find a way to manifest themselves externally we all know the corruption that is present in each of our hearts. It is a mercy of God that he restrains the evil of mankind otherwise we would have destroyed ourselves long ago. Many times it is simply lack of opportunity or fear of consequences that keep us from falling into grievous sin even though our fallen hearts would love to indulge the flesh. We should not be shocked that this occurred in the Duggar’s home, we should rather be thankful to God if we have been spared such, and pray that he would keep us and our children from falling.

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How to deal with a medical emergency

My basic first aid skills are apparently a bit rusty. What do you do when you see a man losing control of his car at a slow speed, coming to a stop, and sitting unresponsively in his seat? I’d think you’d ask him what was wrong, call 911, and try to help him. Not if you’re a Fredericksburg cop! David Washington had a stroke and was clearly in distress, so a police officer applied what is apparently the modern approach to emergency medicine: he tased an unarmed, unthreatening man, then hosed him down with pepper spray, and dragged him out unto the pavement before running over his foot with a car.

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