An archaeologist watches the History Channel

And deeply regrets it.

It’s very sad. I remember when cable TV was new, and had such promise — there would be channels dedicated to specialty disciplines, that would pursue a niche doggedly for a slice of the audience. The History Channel would be about history, not von Daniken and Nazi UFOs; Discovery would be about science, not motorcycle enthusiasts and bargain hunters; the Learning Channel would be about learning, not octuplets and hoarding; the SciFi channel would actually present decent science-fiction, instead of schlock horror, ghost-hunters, and fake wrestling. Garbage conquered all, didn’t it?

(Also on Sb)

Belief matters, and bad beliefs hurt us all

Tell me if you’ve heard this excuse for religion before. Religion isn’t really about what people believe — all that stuff about salvation and an afterlife and heaven and hell and holy books isn’t that important, it’s instead all about comforting rituals and emotion and feelings. It’s like art, like poetry — nobody really believes in that stuff literally, except crazy people, so all those rabid atheists are barking up the wrong tree.

That is so tired, so old, so familiar that anyone who tries to advance such a stupid argument ought to be ashamed at how out of touch they are. John Gray, that favored religious apologist for the British press, drags out the old fleabag and tries to coax it around the track once more. That horse is dead, though, and all the flogging is doing nothing but making the bones and hide bounce about.

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Anti-Caturday post

I have never seen one of these alive before, and most of you probably haven’t, either: a priapulid worm. You’ve seen thousands of cats, which are common as dirt, but here’s something wonderfully unusual.

Definitely uncircumcised.

(Also on Sb)

What have my students been thinking about this week?

I’ve got my neurobiology students blogging — all I ask is that they write something relevant to understanding how brains work. Let’s see where their minds are at this week, shall we?

(Also on Sb)