John Gray asks what scares the New Atheists — and I tried to think of what scares me before I read it. And the answer is…
What is the average size of a human penis?
The enduring question now has a scientific answer: 13.12 centimetres (5.16 inches) in length when erect, and 11.66cm (4.6 inches) around, according to an analysis of more than 15,000 penises around the world.
In a flaccid state, it found, the penis of the average man is 9.16cm (3.6 inches) in length and has a girth of 9.31cm (3.7 inches).
I shall sleep easier tonight, knowing that knowledge has been acquired.
David Petraeus has made a plea deal on the charge of revealing secret military plans to his paramour/biographer, and of lying to federal investigators. He’s getting off with a trivial misdemeanor rather than getting strung up for treachery. Popehat has a few things to say about that.
Jimmy Kimmel put together a nicely scathing PSA on those damned stupid anti-vaxxers. Here it is:
Guess who got upset about it?
Mike Adams, the demented Natural Health Ranger. It’s an amazing rant. He announces that he, and all the other people who refuse to prevent terrible diseases in their children, are just like gay and black people, because they’re hated by bigots.
Really. He goes there.
Then he claims that the PSA is making fun of sick children, and shows photos of disfigured and dreadfully ill children, claiming they’re all of kids damaged by vaccines.
I think it’s obvious how fallacious his nonsense is, so I don’t need to say more…especially since you can go read Orac, who definitely says more.
As pointed out in the comments, the RationalWiki has a good summary of Mike Adams’ lunacy.
You may have heard that a pair of no-talent MRA hacks named Jordan Owen and Davis Aurini were making a bad “movie” called The Sarkeesian Effect. The excerpts seen so far have been uniformly atrocious: bad lighting, bad sound, droning interviews, all somehow supposed to make Anita Sarkeesian look bad.
Well, it’s a pair no longer. Owen fired Aurini. Aurini is threatening to accuse Owen of absconding with all the money they raised. It’s hilarious!
The Mountain Express, a newspaper in the liberal bastion of North Carolina, Asheville, ran an article on one of those alt-med quackeries, “medical intuitives”. These are people who claim to be able to see inside you and diagnose diseases, and the newspaper article was completely unquestioning. A reader, Robert J. Woolley, wrote in to complain, and listed some of the claims made.
Specifically, Teresa Eidt claims, “I was shown a cancerous ulcer on the internal wall of [a massage client’s] abdomen,” and “I scan the body system by system.” Kimberly Crowe is said to claim “that when she placed her hands on people, she could see things in their bodies.” Rachel Frezza claims that her ability in this regard was objectively tested: “Frezza was given no information about [10 patients] or their conditions. Only by accurately reporting the conditions did she pass the course.” Tammy Coffee is quoted as saying, “I see the physical body like an X-ray machine, like I have a camera and I am going inside the body … I will look through, for example, the entire small and large intestine.”
The editor’s reply reveals the problem.
Jonny Scaramanga wrote a good post explaining why creationism matters.
We should be worrying about creationism. But everyone is worried about it for the wrong reasons. Yes, creationism is false, and young-Earth creationism is particularly ridiculous. But with thousands of false beliefs in circulation, why should we particularly care about creationism? It doesn’t make much difference to my daily life whether or not I accept that all life on Earth shares a single common ancestor, or that the planet is 4.54 billion years old. Even in science, there are limited areas where the fact of common descent is immediately relevant.
The trouble is that the areas of fundamentalism which are truly oppressive— the denial of women’s rights and bigotry against LGBTQ people, for example—are intimately bound up with creationism. You’ll notice that, amid its busy schedule of producing pseudoscience, Answers in Genesis has found time to oppose gay marriage. There aren’t a lot of copies of The Selfish Gene in Quiverfull homes, either. These facts are not coincidences.
Clifford Stoll wrote about the Internet in 1995. It’s amusing. He completely disses the whole idea.
Some parts of his rant are correct — he says no CD-ROM will replace a good teacher, which is true. There are aspects of the internet that were oversold, often imposing a computer on human skills inappropriately. But as it’s turned out in the last 20 years, there are some things the computer is really good at, and he missed those.