Creationism legislation–Tennessee ACLU update

As we discussed previously, Tennessee is doing all it can to violate the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution by pushing an anti-science legislation onto the public school students of the state.  They want teachers to allow discussion of the non-existent “scientific controversy” regarding the origin of life, evolution and climate change.  The only controversy is in the deluded brains of Republican legislators pushing the religious agenda of the fundamentalist Christians.   Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Tennessee ACLU update”

Australia sees sharp rise in whooping cough cases

According to the Vaccine News Daily, Australian sees sharp rise in whooping cough cases. In 2011, Australia has seen about 38,000 cases of  whooping cough, despite a relatively high level of vaccination. As a comparison, California, which has about 15 million more people than Australia (37 million and 22 million people, respectively) had only 3,000 cases of whooping cough in 2011.  Some of the difference may be related to improved diagnostic procedures, but they have also been implemented in California. Continue reading “Australia sees sharp rise in whooping cough cases”

Antioxidant supplements–hype doesn’t match reality

I’ve never been a fan of vitamin supplements.  Aside from a very few supplements intended for a few specific clinical conditions, like vitamin C and scurvy, they have little use in preventing or treating diseases.  In fact, because mammalian physiology has evolved a homeostasis for these chemicals, any excess amount that can’t be stored is cleared by the kidneys and becomes part of your urine.  I’m willing to venture that the urine of many Americans is quite expensive, with all of the cleared vitamins and other micronutrients.  A balanced diet over several weeks is sufficient to provide the body with all of the nutrients and vitamins to be healthy and strong.  In fact, you are not even required to have all vitamins and nutrients every day, as storage of a few nutrients will be released as necessary, and clinical manifestations of nutrient deficiency may take weeks or months.  

Continue reading “Antioxidant supplements–hype doesn’t match reality”

Creationism legislation—Tennessee Monkey Bill (update 3)

There’s been a lot of press and internet complaints about the new Tennessee anti-evolution bill that recently passed the Tennessee Senate, and passed last year in the House.  Essentially the bill encourages teachers to present the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of “controversial” topics such as “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”  And I can’t say this enough, what scientific weaknesses?  The only debate that makes sense would one on the ethics of human cloning, but then again, it could be a code word for anything from stem-cell research to in vitro fertilization.

Continue reading “Creationism legislation—Tennessee Monkey Bill (update 3)”

Creationism legislation–Tennessee Monkey Bill (update 2)

Tennessee Senate Bill 893, which, if enacted, would encourage teachers to present the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of “controversial” topics such as “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”

There are no scientific controversies about biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming or human cloning.  The only controversies exist if you add political expediency, religious faith and corporations who want to pollute without restrictions.

Unfortunately for the science side of the equation, the Tennessee House passed the bill in April 2011, so after a conference between both houses to resolve small differences in language (the Senate amended the bill), it will be sent to the Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, for final approval.  Haslam is a Republican, but has stated in the past that the State Board of Education and not the legislature who should be responsible for educational standards.  Nevertheless, even if he signs it, the state will be sued soon thereafter for violating the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution, costing the Tennessee school system millions of dollars.  Undoubtedly, the legislature did not fund the bill to help school districts fight the inevitable lawsuits.

Again, it’s nice to live in an area of the United States that lacks this overt religious dominance over the body politic.  

via “Monkey bill” passes Tennessee Senate | NCSE.

Religion and global warning denialism

The other day, I was watching some news story about climate change; it was mostly from the denialist point of view, but I was struck by what seemed to be almost the same arguments that the creationist folks say about evolution.  I began to wonder if there was a religious component to the global warming denialists, maybe at the same fundamentalist belief level as the creationists.

While I was digging through the Huffington Post’s Science Section (which publishes story about how homeopathy works or how a bug jumping on a camera lens is obviously a UFO chasing the powerful Chilean Air Force, I noticed a couple of articles by Victor Stenger, a world-renowned particle physicist who writes about scientific skepticism of religion and faith.  It’s possible that I’m too harsh about HuffPo’s general anti-science content, though Stenger only partially makes up for the rest of the anti-science articles on HuffPo. Continue reading “Religion and global warning denialism”

Huffington Post sees UFO’s–logical fallacies everywhere

This quality of photo would be convincing evidence of a UFO visit.

I know all of my liberal friends love the Huffington Post (HuffPo), but I think that the online newspaper is no better than anything published by Rupert Murdoch.  And it’s not just me.  Brian Dunning, over at Skeptoid, considers it one of the 10 worst anti-science websites, although I think it deserves a higher seeding in the Pseudoscience Bracket.  Here’s how I look at it:  if they can’t get the science right, if they continue to support non-evidence based stories, how are we to trust anything else they write?  If they aggressively promote homeopathy, anti-vaccine lunacy, and colon detoxification, all thoroughly debunked with real science published in real peer-reviewed journals, then what are they promoting in their political news?  I rarely read anything from HuffPo, and I consider them an insult to the science journalism. Continue reading “Huffington Post sees UFO’s–logical fallacies everywhere”

iPhone and iPad Apps–skepticism and atheism (update 1)

When I write about skepticism, sitting at my trusty MacBook Pro, I have access to every source and bit of information that is required to write about evolution, vaccines, global warming, and the existence of sasquatch.  If I need to dig up a link to an article that debunks some silly anti-vaccination lunatic’s claim, it’s easy to do.  However, since people make pseudoscientific claims all the time, it’s always good to have access to information right at the tip of your fingers.  Of course, it’s relatively easy to put your question in google, in the hope of getting a good answer.  Then again, you have to weed through the 100 hits that might actually support the bogus claim. Continue reading “iPhone and iPad Apps–skepticism and atheism (update 1)”

Antiscience legislation updates–Oklahoma, New Hampshire and Tennessee

There’s been lots of news this week regarding anti-evolution legislation.  Republicans in various state legislatures are starting to push their religious agenda in violation of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution.  Remember, according to the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution, teaching religion in public schools is prohibited, and numerous court rulings have clearly stated that creationism is a religious doctrine, not a scientific controversy.  These Republican legislatures are trying to push a full anti-science agenda, forcing school children to think that abiogenesis (the origin of life on Earth), global warming and evolution are somehow scientifically unsound principles.  In the real world, these is no controversy, except with regards to fine-tuning mechanisms, rather than on the broad theory.

Continue reading “Antiscience legislation updates–Oklahoma, New Hampshire and Tennessee”

Skeptics guide to skeptical iPhone apps

When I write about skepticism, sitting at my trusty MacBook Pro, I have access to every source and bit of information that is required to write about evolution, vaccines, global warming, and the existence of sasquatch.  If I need to dig up a link to an article that debunks some silly anti-vaccination lunatic’s claim, it’s easy to do.  However, since people make pseudoscientific claims all the time, it’s always good to have access to information right at the tip of your fingers.  Of course, it’s relatively easy to put your question in google, in the hope of getting a good answer.  Then again, you have to weed through the 100 hits that might actually support the bogus claim. Continue reading “Skeptics guide to skeptical iPhone apps”