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Monthly Archive: June 2011

Jun 30 2011

Early eyes

A new article published today in Nature finds fossil evidence that fairly sophisticated eyes had evolved as early as 515 millions years ago, around the time known as the Cambrian explosion. There were no fossil bodies found attached to the eyes, but the eyes probably belonged to a shrimp-like creature.

Jun 30 2011

The disastrous Middle East policies of US and Israel

Henry Siegman makes in more detail the point that I made recently, that the US and Israel are pursuing policies that will lead to disaster in the Middle East. Lawrence Davidson says that the rising numbers of Israeli Jews who are leaving or planning to leave that country permanently is a sign that they too …

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Jun 29 2011

Test your Bible knowledge

Reader Chris sent me this link to 50 questions about the Bible. He got 26 right and he thought I would do better. Alas, I got only 25 right. Where I think I went wrong was with my method of guessing for those questions that I did not know the answers to. I followed the …

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Jun 29 2011

What makes a government legitimate?

Currently in the US the willingness to mount a sustained protest against injustices is usually lacking. Even the tea party movement, while very vocal, did not take to the streets on a continuous basis. The closest we came to that in recent days was in Wisconsin when there were continuous protests at the state capital …

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Jun 29 2011

Update on the Gaza peace flotilla

It looks like the Israeli government is nervous about the peace flotilla leaving Athens for Gaza and has been involved in some clumsy efforts by front groups to stall or stop it. One effort involved raising bureaucratic objections with the Greek government, claiming that the boats were not properly insured. Then a video that tried …

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Jun 29 2011

‘American Spring’ in the fall?

Although it seems to have stalled somewhat, the ‘Arab Spring’ of mass movements that resulted in the ouster of the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and threatens the despotic regimes of Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen is undoubtedly inspiring. It shows that sheer people power, the willingness of large numbers of unarmed people to mount a …

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Jun 28 2011

New article

The latest issue (July/August 2011) of the British magazine New Humanist has an article by me that tries to clear up the confusion about the distinction between atheist and agnostic. I received my print copy today and my article may be available online next week. New Humanist is published by The Rationalist Association and is …

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Jun 28 2011

New peace flotilla on its way to Gaza

A 10-ship flotilla of boats seeking to challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza is setting sail from Athens any day now. NPR had an account of the flotilla on today’s morning news show. Pulitzer-prize winning author Alice Walker is among the fifty or so Americans planning to be on one of the boats. Former CIA analyst …

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Jun 28 2011

Jon Huntsman’s 2016 strategy?

In yesterday’s post I said that Huntsman’s entry into the Republican race did not make much sense in terms of 2012. But if you think beyond the 2012 elections and look to 2016, it may be a smart move. For starters, few outside Utah have heard of Huntsman and name recognition is important in winning …

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Jun 27 2011

A Judge’s Dilemma

I received the following joke from my sister that I thought was worth sharing: In a small town, a person decided to open up a brothel, which was right opposite to a church. The church and its congregation started a campaign to block the brothel from opening with petitions and prayed daily against his business. …

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