Creationism: Still Crazy After all These Years

Creationism: Still Crazy After all These Years

Eugenie Scott is always a good listen.

Teach the Controversy!

Teach the Controversy!

Today’s tongue in cheek video humor comes from NCSE:

Why Scientists Accept Evolution

Why Scientists Accept Evolution

Don Exodus probably disagrees with me along a wide spectrum of political views, but he gets science right.

Pluto Rediscovered

A great documentary on the Dwarf planet Pluto from National Geographic, watch closely for one of the coolest bumper stickers you’ve ever seen.

Amazing Nanotech Breakthrough

Amazing Nanotech Breakthrough

IBM scientists have made an amazing breakthrough in Nanotech: they can now measure charge on single atom. What this portends for microscale computer technology remains to be seen. Here’s the video.

IDA: Darwinius Masillae

IDA: Darwinius Masillae

This is an important fossil find due the the age and completeness of the fossil, and coming from 47 MYA it’s at an important branch in evolution. It’s not the missing link, it’s another missing link. Please watch the report, keep in mind that the news story is a bit overdone as is the style of all Murdoch outlets, and come to think of it most science reporting everywhere.

More on how this might not be “the” missing link that that news outlets are painting it as at Evolving Thoughts. It’s definitely important and shows some characteristics that are exciting, but more data needed before it can be known if IDA is mainline or offshoot from our path.

More from Carl Zimmer

PZ Meyers has more at Panda’s Thumb

Charles at Little Green Footballs has more as well in the ongoing debate over science and the Republican party. This is just the latest fossil that the shills at the Discovery Institute and their flacks are working to dismiss, a tedious kneejerk reaction.

The hype, the documentary, the book has the science community all abuzz with how this was released. There’s a good and bad side to it. Sensationalizing science does gain public attention to science which is sorely needed in the years ahead, on the other hand overblown reporting allows misinterpretation, and niches that Discovery Institute can claw into with “controversy” in mind. With their stable of prolific spin meisters and outright liars they’ll have the conservative public believing this is a plastic model before you know it.

A Panda Baby Step Back

A Panda Baby Step Back

Hoppe at Panda’s thumb backs off a bit from his case for NCSE’s approach after further analysis and debate, and once again I support his conclusion with the added information.

Just as ID should not be taught in Science class, NCSE should not be suggesting means to reconcile science and religion, but instead should stick to the fact that many people have and do reconcile evolution and religion. That’s fine since it’s science and empirical. [ I have a mea culpa here, I skimmed part of the articles on this because it was more back and forth than fact, so I missed that they were in fact suggesting means to reconcile.]

Hoppe argues that NCSE should use their strength which is Science, and leave the religious means for accomodating evolution to churches rather than suggesting a particular method; doing that puts them in a religious rather than scientific realm and could lead to pitfalls.

Here’s my original article:

Evolution, Pragmatism or Agnosticism?

In the Evolution discussion Richard Hoppe at Panda’s Thumb dissents from the Coyne/PZ Meyers view. I’m in agreement with Hoppe, but it’s not pragmatism alone that makes it so.

The pragmatism goes like this: Since we hope to convince more conservatives that teaching religion in science class is a bad thing, then we shouldn’t hand out the big smackdown to religion by essentially agreeing with Discovery Institute’s dichotomous view that to be a good Christian you must be opposed to science, since the Coyne/Meyers version of that is just the obverse wedge: If you support science then you must automatically deny G-d.

One is philosophy, the other religion – neither wedge should be allowed in science. Ayn Rand said “Politics is philosophy in action.” If we allow the teaching of a politics in science that denies G-D, then not only are we diminishing Science and being unpragmatic, we are also proselityzing a philosophy.

That’s probably just as unconstitutional as teaching religion as science, and as you will see below it’s not scientific. If the rabid atheists  must have that view taught then like religion it belongs in history, philosophy, and social classes, but not in science classes.

One of my heroes in this ongoing political struggle is Genie Scott and she explains this much better than I in the video below.

Even as a child I did not have faith, and PZ in many ways is like an ex-smoker in that he had faith and changed his mind – now he wants everyone else to. So he’s taking a hardline and saying that Evolution’s defenders should go on offense in his reply to Hoope here

Science is Agnostic

Science is Agnostic

Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education gives an excellent lecture on why the dichotomy presented by the Discovery Institute is false, and why importing atheist philosophy into science class isn’t right either. Eugenie’s new book is also available at Amazon, see the link below the video.

Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction

Leo Berman Introduces Bill to Allow Creationist Schools to Grant Science Degrees

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Leo Berman Introduces Bill to Let Creationist Schools Grant Science Degrees

Leo Berman,  Republican Texas state congresscritter, has introduced a bill that would allow private schools to issue Science degrees with exceptions to science standards. This exemption from state standards is specifically designed for the Dallas-based Institute For Creation Research, a Young Earth Creationist think tank that searches for evidence of God through pseudo-science.

Leo’s known for bone-headed bill attempts, like this one that attempts to subvert the US Constitution at state level in determining what US citizenry consists of.

Allowing ICR to issue science degrees is ridiculous, especially in view of their support of biblical inerrancy, outright lies, and pseudo-science, (hell, these guys are so off the deep end, let’s call is “Suedo-Science”.)

It lowers the standards for all science degrees from Texas if allowed, and what the heck is next? Degrees in Astronomy from the Velikovsky institute? Degrees in Cosmology from Harun Yahya? Geology degrees from the Shirley McLaine school of crystal gazing?

To put this in perspective take a look at the picture, click on the thumbnail and enlarge it. You can see a series of striae of sedimentary rock: silt and detritus deposited over eons and eons and eons. The silt was compacted gradually over time into rock from the steadily increasing weight above it. ICR teaches that it was all the outcome of one flood. If you believe that I still have a bridge for sale, and it’s not only a bargain, but really pretty.

More at :

Science Examiner

NCSE

Madness Beckons

Space City Skeptics

Tales of Brave Ulysses II – Solar Wind at Lowest Pressure Since Measurement Began

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Tales of Brave Ulysses II – Solar Wind at Lowest Pressure Since Measurement Began
 

The Ulysses satellite Solar Wind Observations Over the Poles (SWOOPS) solar wind sensors are reporting a 20 percent drop in pressure, with only a 3 percent drop in speed. Dave McComas, the principle investigator for the project, states  this as the lowest solar wind pressure observed since the early sixties when we began measuring it.

“What we’re seeing is a long term trend, a steady decrease in pressure that began sometime in the mid-1990s,” explains Arik Posner, NASA’s Ulysses Program Scientist in Washington DC.

How unusual is this event?

“It’s hard to say. We’ve only been monitoring solar wind since the early years of the Space Age—from the early 60s to the present,” says Posner. “Over that period of time, it’s unique. How the event stands out over centuries or millennia, however, is anybody’s guess. We don’t have data going back that far.” 

What this bodes longer term is unknown, we don’t have a long history of solar wind measurements to judge by. Here’s a link to the positve Ion measurements half of the data if you want to take a look at it yourself, and I’ve also included a McComas jpg visual above, click the thumbnail to enlarge. On Earth we aren’t going to be affected short term, but Space Travel has become slightly more dangerous due to increased Cosmic Ray penetration of the Heliosphere.

“The solar wind isn’t inflating the heliosphere as much as it used to,” says McComas. “That means less shielding against cosmic rays.” Dave McComas

To picture this think of the solar wind pressure emanating from the sun as part of the atmosphere of the sun (no, it really isn’t, but bear with me a moment;) a huge bubble around the solar system called the Heliosphere. Then picture that heliosphere zooming through a dense sea of Cosmic rays. Still can’t picture it? Take a look here.

Anecdotal but truth as I know it: People living near the poles will also be exposed to more cosmic rays, which could lead to some effects. One of the visible effects I’ve observed is higher incidence of gray hair at earlier ages in populations living near the Northern pole. Earth’s magnetic shield is the backstop for the heliosphere in stopping cosmic rays from affecting life on Earth, and the shape of the magnetic field allows entry to more Cosmic rays at the poles.

Another effect could be on Clouds and climate, which the linked story speaks of.