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Apr 18 2014

Request for suggestions for pre-debate questions

Joe Puckett, Jr, a minister at the Hartville Church of Christ that is about an hour’s drive from where I live, has invited me to a debate. The topic we have agreed upon is God Does Not Exist that I will affirm and he will deny. I know the proposition is a counter-intuitive one but I have reasons for choosing it.
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Apr 18 2014

Treat press releases about science with caution

Journals frequently send out pre-publication copies of what they think are important papers to science journalists under an embargo, where they are free to research the topic and gather material to write articles, but not publish them until the release date that the journal specifies. This enables journalists to write articles that put the research in context and provide alternative and critical views on the research in a timely manner. In the hands of good science journalists, this practice enables the general public to get a reasonable sense of what new research reveals.
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Apr 17 2014

The plight of ‘student athletes’

The issue of college athletes being recognized as employees and having the right to unionize has resulted in a lot of information coming out about them. I had not realized that athletes at those universities that have big sports programs have to practice and watch game films and the like for fifty or more hours per week. That is shocking because that would leave them hardly any time to attend classes, let alone study for them. No wonder that this breeds the practice of bogus classes that they sign up for in order to maintain their academic standing.
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Apr 17 2014

Same-sex marriage cases update

As he promised, US District Court judge Timothy Black issued a ruling on April 14 in favor of four same-sex couples who had been married in other states, saying that Ohio had to recognize those marriages.
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Apr 17 2014

New book on helping atheists come out

Despite all the advances that atheists have made in recent years, it is still not easy for some to declare themselves to be unbelievers. This is so even in the US and in some countries it is sufficient to warrant the death penalty.
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Apr 17 2014

Is growth always good?

It seems to be almost axiomatic these days to think of economic growth as an unfettered good. But must it always be so? Johann Hari in the April 2010 of The Progressive magazine wrote in a review of a book about John Maynard Keynes, whose influential work has been used to fuel growth, about what that famous economist thought about when we might know that it might be time to call a halt to growth.
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Apr 17 2014

Parody of Aaron Sorkin’s TV shows

Aaron Sorkin is the creator of popular shows such as The West Wing and The Newsroom that have his signature style such as the walk-talk in which characters in positions of importance are moving around and talking over each other at times of crisis, behaving with a great sense of urgency, mixing the personal with business, interspersed with somewhat preachy messages and moralizing.
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Apr 17 2014

Swear words

I don’t use swear words in my normal conversation or in my writing. But I have no objections to other people using them and those words do not shock or offend me. It is just not my style. But custom dictates that in certain situations, certain words should not be used, the most famous example in the US being the seven words you cannot use on radio or broadcast TV and which comedian George Carlin exploited heavily in one of his most famous standup routines, and for which he was arrested many times, like Lenny Bruce before him.
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Apr 16 2014

Equal time for creationists

Religious people are upset that their views on creation are not being given sufficient deference in the TV series Cosmos and that the shows promote (oh, the horror!) evolution. The website Funny or Die has got hold of an alternative show that gives their side of the story. As you can see, the Biblical version of creation is pretty succinct.
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Apr 16 2014

Update on Mount Soledad cross case

Readers may recall the long and tortured saga of the huge cross erected on land near San Diego as part of a veterans’ memorial for which I gave the timeline. In a ruling on December 15, 201e, a US District Court judge reluctantly said that although he disagreed, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in such a way that he saw no alternative other than the cross must come down by March 15, 2014 unless there was a further appeal.
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