The Use and Abuse of ‘Faith’

The word "faith" is one of those magical words that can mean everything or nothing simultaneously. It's used by those who accept its validity to mean a number of things that are entirely different, amounting to little more than a rhetorical trick used to shield their beliefs from scrutiny. Jerry Coyne agrees: … [Read more...]

‘Proof’ That Humans are Extra-Terrestrial

There's a new book out by an ecologist that claims that humans were placed here on earth by aliens, perhaps using earth as a penal colony. But he has proof! Hard evidence! What evidence? Oh, you're gonna love this. We get sunburned. And bad backs. And alien origin is the only explanation. … [Read more...]

And the Nobel Prize for Being Precocious and Adorable Goes To…

The highlight of the Neil deGrasse Tyson's talk in Michigan Wednesday night was the last question asked, by the world's smartest and most adorable 9 year old kid named Jacob. He's the son of one of our CFI Michigan members. When was the last time you heard a 9 year old use the phrase "non-Newtonian solid"? Like never? Watch this. … [Read more...]

Barber’s Big Bang Straw Man

Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel bravely leaps into the field of science and, unsurprisingly, lands with a resounding thud. Read these two paragraphs, which betray either complete ignorance of the big bang and evolutionary theories or the deliberate construction of an absurd straw man: … [Read more...]

Owls and Larks: The Importance of Sleep Chronotypes

Elizabeth Kolbert reviews a couple of recent books on the science of sleep and hits on something that increasingly fascinates me, which is how different people have very different sleep patterns. One of those books discusses how those distinct patterns can put one quite out of step with normal society. … [Read more...]

The Absurdity of the ‘Rational Science’ Method

I've recently come across this group that refers to themselves as advocating "rational science." There's a Facebook group for it. They are followers of a first class looney tune named Bill Gaede, who is a 9/11 truther and apparently believes that all science after Faraday is wrong. You can find more information here. … [Read more...]

SCOTUS Denies Cert in Stem Cell Case

The Supreme Court this week denied cert (that is, refused to hear the appeal) in a case where two scientists are trying to prevent the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) even if it involves stem cell lines that already exist. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against them, so the cert denial leaves the Obama administration's policy of allowing such research on existing stem cell lines in place. … [Read more...]

The ‘Science’ of Bigfoot, Done by Press Release

Here's another perfect example of pseudoscience by press release, making breathless claims about the DNA of Bigfoot being sequenced and found to be a new species of hominid that is a hybrid of Homo sapiens and some other species. Ben Radford of the Committee for Scientific Inquiry explains: … [Read more...]

Stem cells in the 2012 Presidential election

This is a guest post by Laurel Barchas, the Director of Academic Outreach for the Genetics Policy Institute and a friend and classmate of my old pal Nick Matzke at Berkley. It's about an upcoming conference on stem cell research and the political implications for that research pending the outcome of the presidential election. … [Read more...]

The Unreality of Reality TV — Or Why NatGeo Should Be Ashamed

One of the more irritating things about the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel, which purport to be pro-science and educational, is how often they put on shows that push egregious nonsense instead of critical thinking. And a new NatGeo show about UFOs is so bad that even the stars of the show are now slamming the network: … [Read more...]

Why Framing Matters, Climate Change Edition

I wrote recently about Jonathan Adler's conservative and libertarian argument for taking climate change seriously and adopting policies to respond to it. Here's a recent paper that supports the importance of framing an argument effectively in order to get people to respond positively to it. The bottom line is that evidence rarely actually changes anyone's mind on a subject they feel strongly about; the thing that can change their mind is an argument that appeals to their values and … [Read more...]

Can We Please Ban the Evolution Article Template?

This article just pisses me off, as has almost every article in the media about evolution, especially human evolution, for as long as I can remember. I swear there must be a template in Microsoft Word for such articles, where the meaningless term "missing link" is already there, along with a title that announces how this changes everything we thought we knew about (fill in the blank). … [Read more...]


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