On the Anniversary of His Execution, What Can We Learn From the “First Martyr of Science”

Giordano Bruno

On February 17th, 1600 A.D., Giordano Bruno, a Dominican priest, philosopher, and mathematician, was condemned as a heretic and burned at the stake by the Roman Inquisition. Among his heresies was the belief in an infinite number of worlds (similar to what physicists today call the multiverse hypothesis). In more recent times, Bruno has become somewhat of a patron saint of atheist and free thought groups, who gather each year at the statue commemorating his death in Rome. Some have even heralded … [Read more...]

Science: It’s Worth Doing Badly

Success

A younger student of mine recently remarked, “No one can be good at everything, because then they would fail at failing.” If she had been in my Logic class, I would have given her extra credit for that little gem, but it was Science. And the reason failure was on her mind was because her experiment didn’t yield the results she wanted. She felt like a failure and was trying to comfort herself with a witty proverb.Failure has been on a lot of people’s minds lately, in both theory and practice. … [Read more...]

Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham: Continuing Our Long American Tradition of Spectacle and Culture War

Ham vs. Nye

In 1925, the people of Dayton, Tennessee arrested a young science teacher, John Scopes, for teaching the theory of human evolution in public school. They dragged him from his classroom and threw him in jail to await trial. The town leaders called in the well-known biblical literalist and politician William Jennings Bryan to face off against famous (agnostic) defense attorney Clarence Darrow in “the trial of the century,” and to help ensure Scopes’ conviction. The trial created a national fires … [Read more...]

Popular Science Disproves Virgin Birth with #SCIENCE!!!

718px-Fra_Angelico_069

Popular Science wants you to know that a human virgin birth (or, more properly 'virginal conception', not 'immaculate conception', which is something entirely different) is pretty impossible. While "parthenogenesis" has been known to happen in non-mammalian species, there are a couple of obstacles to that happening for us: So what stands in the way? First, a mammal’s egg cell usually won’t divide until it receives a signal from the sperm. Second, most mammalian eggs have only half the number of … [Read more...]

We Know Less About Our Universe Than We Think (and I’m OK With That)

heavens

When it comes to understanding how the universe works, humanity has made amazing strides. The realization that the Earth revolves around the Sun; Sir Isaac Newton's discovery of the laws of motion and gravity; Einstein's breakthrough regarding general relativity; last year's uncovering of the Higgs Boson particle -- these represent pinnacles of human reason and intelligence, and have given us deeper knowledge of the cosmos. However, with every discovery, nature is revealed to be far stranger and … [Read more...]

Four Ways Voyager Reminds Us We’re Human

Jupiter_and_Io_as_seen_by_Voyager_1

The Voyager-1 spacecraft recently made history by becoming the first man-made object to officially leave the solar system. Originally launched in 1977 with the intention of studying the outer planets, Voyager has lasted far longer than NASA engineers ever expected. It kept going, feeding data to scientists all the while, and has finally broken through into interstellar space. Throughout its journey, Voyager has given us an unprecedented view of the solar system and the universe beyond. This … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Your Life Is Even More Meaningless Than You Thought

Science has done much to improve humanity's lot in life, but it's done an awful lot to humble us, too. (For example, highlighting our puniness in light of the scope of the universe, or revealing that maybe we're not as different and unique from other animals as we thought we might be.) And now Dave Goldberg offers us several reasons for why we shouldn't even exist, claiming that we're "nothing but impurities in an otherwise beautifully simple universe." … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: What Are The Clergy’s Views On Faith And Science?

In 2012, the Barna Group interviewed over 700 pastors from a wide range of churches and denominations regarding their views on creation and evolution, faith and science. The results have recently been posted, and in some ways, they're not surprising (e.g., the majority of clergy subscribed to some version of young earth creationism). There was also considerable agreement on the importance of faith/science questions, and whether pastors should address scientific issues in their ministry. … [Read more...]

The Government Wants To Map Your Brain… And That’s A Good Thing

Human-Brain

How well do you know your own brain?  Can you tell the difference between your occipital lobe and your hippocampus? Many scientists have studied the human brain, but have little understanding of the total functions involved with it, and why this part does that. There are lots of theories, but little is solidified. We're not even sure where or why the human consciousness exists: whether it exists in only one portion of the mind, or in its total performance of its functions.It is for this r … [Read more...]

Hello Kitty Goes into Space

kitty3n-3-web

Seventh-grader Lauren Rojas from Antioch, California wanted to test the effects of altitude on air pressure and temperature for her school science project.Her plan was to launch a weather balloon into space and record the findings using borrowed flight gear from High Altitude Science and video cameras from GoPro Hero2. But then she gave her project a little zip.She sent Hello Kitty along for the ride in the most adorable silver space rocket. Check it … [Read more...]


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