So how do contraceptives work?

Pro-lifers are told not to worry about the morning after pill, as mandated by Obamacare.  It doesn’t work by preventing the fertilized egg from being implanted in the womb, though that was how it used to be described.  It simply prevents ovulation, just like a regular birth control pill.  (Though how it prevents pregnancy the morning after ovulation has occurred is not clear.)  See the facts cited and the links given in our discussion of the Morning After pill on this blog here and here.

But when pro-lifers promote measures defining “personhood” as existing from the moment of conception, we are told that this would outlaw contraception, including the birth control pill, which–though we were always told it prevents ovulation–prevents the fertilized egg from being implanted in the womb.  (Example after the jump.)  If that’s true, many women would not want to take the things.  But that’s not what they have been told about how they work.

Is this dishonesty, rhetorical manipulation, or ignorance?  And what should we conclude about contraception from this controversy? [Read more…]

Birds as Bloggers

Researchers often tag birds and other animals so that their movements and activities can be traced and studied.  A website entitled Blogging Birds takes data about kites (a kind of hawk) in Scotland and applies language algorithms, translating it all into a narrative of the bird’s day. [Read more…]

Breakthrough in implanting false memories

Scientists have successfully implanted false memories into mice.  The researches are excited at prospect of applying the same processes to human beings, which they say holds promise for treating emotional problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder.  Read about the experiment after the jump, and then I want to pose some questions. [Read more…]

Dogs are not color-blind after all

It has long been said that dogs can only see in black and white.  But scientists have now proven that they do, in fact, perceive colors, though in a slightly different spectrum from humans, and that they derive information from the color of objects that they see. [Read more…]

Why naked mole rats don’t get cancer

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post in praise of the naked mole rat, an exceedingly odd little creature with seemingly super powers when it comes to health and longevity.  Well, scientists have recently discovered why these things don’t get cancer, something that could lead to treatments in human beings. [Read more…]

Bee summit

Back in 2007, about three different servers ago when this blog was with World, I wrote a post entitled The Rapture of the Bees.   Honeybees were disappearing, which is a major concern, since they are so important in the pollination of crops.  Since then, I’ve read several pieces that purportedly solved the mystery of why that’s happening, but I guess there is still controversy over the causes, and the problem remains.  Thanks to Pete Muller, who sent me an account of a “Bee Summit” sponsored by pesticide-maker Monsanto.

Some are blaming pesticides for the die-off of bees, while others are blaming a kind of mite that preys on bees and that presumably could be controlled by. . . pesticides.  Anyone want to guess what the diagnosis will be from the Monsanto summit?  Or from environmentalists?  Notice how science, though supposedly objective, is not free from conclusion-shaping presuppositions. [Read more…]