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The War on Science

You may have heard rightwing pundits such as columnist David Limbaugh, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Todd Starnes of Fox News tell you (with no real evidence, but with lots of emotional rhetoric) about the war that’s being waged against Christianity.

The Christians are absolutley safe. The Justice Department isn’t going to investigate the claims made by priests during sermons. The FCC isn’t going to regulate church sermons and force priests to be truthful and accurate. The United States Congress isn’t going to order the U.S. Treasury to take the words “In God We Trust” off of our money, and religious programming such as “The 700 Club” will not be taken off American television. Christians make up more than 75 percent of the U.S. population and they run all three branches of the U.S. government. They also control the American mainstream media and comprise most of the U.S. armed forces and law enforcement agencies. With such power and wealth and influence at their command, who in America could possibly wage war against them?

However, while many of you are focused on the fabricated “war on Christianity”, there is a very REAL war going on against science and scientists in America. Unlike David Limbaugh, Rick Perry and Todd Starnes of Fox news, I will sumbit real evidence that this war is being waged.

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Open Thread - Lewis Black on why he yells so much

Below the fold is a video that is not so safe for work (profanity out wazoo) but Lewis Black explains why he seems so pissed off all the time... And for those who don't get mad enough about what is going on these days? "Suck on this" Open Thread:

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Glowing Scientific Reports on Fruit Fly Sperm Spat

Glowing Sperm Pictures, Images and PhotosFrom the BBC we get news that scientists have managed to observe fruit fly sperm that they have made glow either red or green and watched them duke it out in the sexual selection process. They believe this breakthrough may help advance theories on evolution and could provide solutions to human infertility:

In nature, monogamy is often the exception, promiscuity usually the rule, the BBC's Matt McGrath reports.

But whenever a female of any species mates with more than one male there is a battle between the sperm of the potential fathers as they attempt to fertilise the eggs.

Scientists regard this type of sexual selection as a very important force for evolutionary change.

...snip...

Prof Scott Pitnick says it was a jaw-dropping moment when he saw the multicoloured sperm through the microscope for the first time.

"It turns out that they [the sperm] are constantly on the move within the female's specialised sperm-storage organs and exhibit surprisingly complex behaviour," Prof Pitnick said.

Below the fold are some other stories on this breakthrough and other related fields of study as recommended by the BBC.

Open Thread: Isolated Diversity, Land of the Lost Edition

Cheesy old science fiction movies about isolated jungle volcanoes serving as the home of exotic or previously extinct species play upon the known experience of explorers: when life is encountered in hard-to-reach areas of isolation, strange creatures abound -- the flora and fauna follow their own unique evolutionary path, shaped by the special and unique circumstance of the immediate environment.


Photograph of the opening to Mageni cave, New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Photo by Jonny Keeling/BBC

Scientists entering the kilometer-deep Mount Bosavi crater found more than 40 previously unknown species, making their first discovery within 30 seconds of their arrival by helicopter and remaining in the crater for two weeks.

Check out the BBC stories here and here (they also have a few other links) for more details.

This is an Open Thread.

Open Thread -- Evolutionary Stain Edition

In the ongoing battles of wits and twits currently -- and constantly -- taking place across the school boards and classrooms of select areas of the nation, evolution and creationism ("intelligent design") continue to clash, constantly evolving and adopting ever more complex adaptations as devoted creationists verbally spar with common sense, reason and the secular logic of reality. The following blurb was in the piece Creationists Lay the Dover Trap On Unwary North Carolinians by DarkSyde, on the front page of DailyKos yesterday:

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Another school board overtaken by Dominionists, another unwary community exposed to millions of dollars at the mercy of the ignorant. This time it’s the board members of North Carolina’s New Brunswick Independent School District putting their voters in financial peril:

"It's really a disgrace for the state school board to impose evolution on our students without teaching creationism," county school board member Jimmy Hobbs said at Tuesday's meeting. "The law says we can't have Bibles in schools, but we can have evolution, of the atheists."


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"...but we can have evolution, of the athiests." Riiiiiiight -- there's a twist that the "ID" (intelligent design) folks have been trying for a few years now -- attempting to position anything related to the scientific method to the realm of atheism, and in turn pushing the meme that atheism itself is a religion.

It's too bad they don't have an eye for humor, 'cuz this piece from The Onion will likely go right over their heads:

Open Thread: Science vs. Creationism -- No-Nonsense Edition

In June of 2002, Scientific American published an article by John Rennie entitled 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense. In it, he provides 15 rebuttals for the standard arguments that creationists attempt to give in order to attack science and promote their biblical agenda.

The article opens with the following words:

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When Charles Darwin introduced the theory of evolution through natural selection 143 years ago, the scientists of the day argued over it fiercely, but the massing evidence from paleontology, genetics, zoology, molecular biology and other fields gradually established evolution's truth beyond reasonable doubt. Today that battle has been won everywhere--except in the public imagination.

Embarrassingly, in the 21st century, in the most scientifically advanced nation the world has ever known, creationists can still persuade politicians, judges and ordinary citizens that evolution is a flawed, poorly supported fantasy. They lobby for creationist ideas such as "intelligent design" to be taught as alternatives to evolution in science classrooms. As this article goes to press, the Ohio Board of Education is debating whether to mandate such a change. Some antievolutionists, such as Philip E. Johnson, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and author of Darwin on Trial, admit that they intend for intelligent-design theory to serve as a "wedge" for reopening science classrooms to discussions of God.

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Emphasis mine.

Over the fold you'll find the fifteen points that Rennie rebuts.

Feel free to add more in the comments, and remember:

This is an Open Thread.

That stubborn, stupid 30%...it's genetic.

Well well well...science marches on, and we now find some answers to one of the most puzzling questions that has haunted us over these past seven years.

Remember how, no matter what facts come to light and no matter how often George W. Bush and friends are caught lying or committing other crimes, they are invariably, inexplicably supported by 25-30% of Americans? We now have an apparent explanation for this.