This study says yes: Women are surprisingly underrepresented in the chess world, representing less that 5% of registered tournament players worldwide and only 1% of the world’s grandmasters. In this paper it is argued that gender stereotypes are mainly responsible for the underperformance of women in chess. Forty-two male-female pairs, matched for ability, played two chess games via the Internet. When players were unaware of the sex of opponent (control condition), females played approximately as well as males. When the… Read more

PZ Myers with a solid post on why religion and science cannot meaningfully be said to simply be “answering different questions.”  Short answer why not—because religion is not answering any meaningful questions with anything like meaningful reasons. An excerpt: I mean, religion might well be the only avenue for addressing the question of how many bicycles are being peddled by angels right now, but that’s because it’s an irrelevant question that doesn’t affect our lives or the universe in any… Read more

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ classic on the sorrow of the unforgiven Read more

Indiana offers one license plate phrase added for no extra fee “In God We Trust” but here’s an atheist’s experience trying to get the words “NO GODS” for his chosen license plate: I figured if it was okay for the state of Indiana to officially endorse religion (and specifically the Christian religion, no matter what they might say about “God” being ambiguous), then it would be okay for me to personally request my belief in no gods. Having forgot about… Read more

A self-proclaimed prophet blames his sexual assaults on being “full of the “Spirit”: (Hint: That’s not really what he was full of and it’s not what he’s full of now.) “We feel he was probably befriending the parents under the guise of giving the children counseling,” said Metro Police Officer John Bradshaw. According to the arrest report, one victim was forced to leave her family and move in with Catello so he could “counsel her.” There she said she was… Read more

Did he scandalously cart it off in his pocket instead of swallowing it?  Here’s the controversial footage and story: Read more

Ahead of his coming first trip to Africa as president, he provided an online interview.  Included in his remarks were demands for governmental responsibility in African nations. From Politico’s helpful transcription efforts: “I’d say I’m probably as knowledgeable about African history as anybody who’s occupied my office. And I can give you chapter and verse on why the colonial maps that were drawn helped to spur on conflict and the terms of trade that were uneven emerging out of colonialism.”… Read more

Go to Psychology Today for solutions for dealing with this bit of bad news: Only 25 percent of women are consistently orgasmic during vaginal intercourse. Read more

PZ Myers watches FOX and Friends so we don’t have to: Brian Kilmeade is, for some unknown reason, trying to dismiss a study that found that married people were at a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease. his reasons for dismissing its applicability to Americans are bizarre. BRIAN KILMEADE: We keep marrying other species and other ethnics– GRETCHEN CARLSON: Are you sure they are not suffering from some of the causes of dementia right now? BRIAN KILMEADE: The problem is the… Read more

In two previous posts, I have addressed current tensions in the Anglican church over gays. You can find those posts here and here. In reply to my second post on the topic, I received several excellent comments. I decided to reprint the one which challenged me and my reply to that comment here to keep the debate moving forward, but I also encourage you to read the insightful remarks of the other commentators as well. seanachain writes: While I agree… Read more

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