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”

Indiana reports 17th measles case

A seventeenth patient has contracted measles in Indiana.  The patient, who was not vaccinated for measles, had travelled outside of the US to an area where the disease is prevalent.

Although 17 cases may seem like a small outbreak, it is actually large compared to the disease’s almost non-existence during the past few years.  Measles is so contagious that those who are not vaccinated are highly susceptible.

Natural selection at its most powerful.

via Seventeenth measles case reported in Indiana | Vaccine News Daily.

Indiana confirms 15th measles case

❝Public health officials in Indiana recently confirmed a 15th case of the measles in the central portion of the state.

Although all of the previous cases occurred in either Boone or Hamilton counties, located north of Indianapolis, the Indiana State Department of Health declined to specify where the newly confirmed case is located, according to the Indianapolis Star.

The health department said that the new case does not pose any increased public health threat because the individual has been in self-isolation since being exposed to the highly contagious respiratory illness.

“Through our investigation, we were made aware that this individual was exposed and may be at high risk for developing the disease,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin said, WANE-TV (Ft. Wayne, IN) reports. “This is good news, because since we knew about the exposure and risk, this person was able to stay home and avoid exposing anyone else while infectious.”

An Indiana school district recently refused to allow unvaccinated students to attend classes in the wake of the outbreak. This is the second measles outbreak in Indiana in less than a year.

“In general, when we experience measles in the United States, it’s a result of an unvaccinated U.S. resident traveling abroad or a foreign visitor from a part of the world where measles is endemic,” Larkin said, according to WANE-TV.❞

Continue reading “Indiana confirms 15th measles case”

Indiana school district bars students who aren’t vaccinated against the measles

Indiana school district bars students who aren’t vaccinated against the measles via Vaccine News Daily.  Excerpt:

❝A school district in Indiana has refused to allow students not vaccinated against the measles to attend classes in the wake of an outbreak that continues to spread.

School officials in Hamilton County, Indiana, recently announced that White River Elementary and Noblesville Intermediate School students will no longer be allowed to attend school without the state-required measles vaccine until further notice, according to WISH-TV.

Approximately 250 teachers and staff were examined at a clinic held to aid in determining whether the measles was continuing to spread. Many had blood drawn for further testing.❞

This is an outbreak that started from just two infected individuals who attended the Super Bowl, which has grown to 14 cases.  The speed at which this is spreading probably results from the fact that it is highly infectious and it “finds” unvaccinated individuals easily.

Creationism legislation–Indiana update

The right wing push to subvert the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution has been put on hold in Indiana.  According to the Indianapolis Star, Indiana’s creation science bill is dead .  This is good news.  Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, an Indianapolis Republican, moved the bill to the rules committee, a procedural step that all but assures it will not make it to a vote this year.  According to Bosma, “I didn’t disagree with the concept of the bill, but I hesitate to micromanage local curricula. Secondarily, I didn’t think it was prudent to buy a lawsuit the state could ill afford at this point.”  A pragmatic Republican is rare these days, since it really should be up to the school district to teach science in the best way possible (which is completely ignoring the religion of creationism).  And there will be lawsuits which the state would lose. Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Indiana update”

Indiana measles outbreak illustrates disease risk

Two individuals infected with measles attended the Super Bowl last week, and as a result, MSNBC is reporting “Indiana measles outbreak illustrates disease risk .” Measles is such an infectious disease, and even with relatively large vaccination rates, the unvaccinated are at a very high risk of getting infected. Continue reading “Indiana measles outbreak illustrates disease risk”

Purdue warns students without measles immunization

Entrance to Purdue Mall

In light of the measles outbreak at the Super Bowl, Purdue University has taken a very aggressive step in requiring that their students provide documentation that they have received their measles vaccinations.  Purdue is a state university in Indiana, and as such, is covered by state immunization regulations for public school students.  Of course, standard immunization covers measles.  If the student doesn’t comply, “a hold will be placed on their academic records and they will not be able to register for classes.”  That’s tough! Continue reading “Purdue warns students without measles immunization”

The Discovery Institute opposes Indiana’s Creationist Bill

Kids love the theory of intelligent design.

The Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think tank that focuses on Intelligent Design, has issued a press release that “condemns passage of creationism bill by Indiana Senate as bad science and bad education.”  The irony is so thick that it’s displacing oxygen in the atmosphere, since Intelligent Design is simply a flavor of creationism that purports to be a scientific theory that proposes that evolution is controlled or directed by an intelligent designer.  They state, in the release that:

“Instead of injecting religion into biology classes, legislators should be working to promote the inclusion of more science,” said Joshua Youngkin, a law and policy analyst at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture. “There are plenty of scientific criticisms of Darwin’s theory today, and science students should be able to hear about them, not about religion.” Continue reading “The Discovery Institute opposes Indiana’s Creationist Bill”

Indiana creationism bill passes Senate–Intelligent Democrats creatively amend it

This is part of a long multi-part series on the Republican state legislatures in the USA pushing religious teaching into public schools in clear violation of the US Constitution’s Establishment Clause. I’ve discussed Indiana here, here and here, so this is a small update with a bit of intelligent design (of the bill) by some Democrats. Indiana Democrats are a feisty group, and the science deniers must be annoyed by them. Continue reading “Indiana creationism bill passes Senate–Intelligent Democrats creatively amend it”

Indiana creationism bill passes the Senate

The Republican dominated Indiana Senate passed, by a vote of 28-22, a bill that allows school districts to teach creationism.  The bill’s language states:

❝The governing body of a school corporation may offer instruction on various theories of the origin of life. The curriculum for the course must include theories from multiple religions, which may include, but is not limited to, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology.❞

First of all, evolution doesn’t cover the origin of life, but that’s just one of those mistakes creationists always make.  I’m not sure why they’re including all the religions, possibly to show that it’s not just Christian-oriented creationist myths.  But Scientology? Continue reading “Indiana creationism bill passes the Senate”