This week for you guys we have our interview with Mr. Brian Deer. Mr. Deer is a social issues investigative reporter writing for the Sunday Times of London. He is the recipient of two coveted British Press Awards, the most recent of which in 2011 was for Specialist Journalist of the Year, and of the Healthwatch award, the yearly recognition given by the long-running British charity of the same name advocating for evidence-based medicine. His dogged determination stretching back to 2004 in getting to the bottom of the MMR vaccine autism connection claimed to exist by Andrew Wakefield and his followers culminated in 2010 with his report being featured as the key evidence leading to the loss of Wakefield’s license to practice medicine and to the UK General Medical Council, the UK’s governing body over medical doctors, labeling Wakefield as “dishonest”, “unethical”, and “callous”. There’s lots of people out there commenting on the bankruptcy of the claims regarding any MMR vaccine autism connection, but we wanted to have as our guest the person that has done the most for longer than anyone to expose Wakefield and the truth about his claims. Hear him discuss the findings of his investigations with us in person!
Philosopher Patricia Churchland gave an interview to Julian Baggini appearing at The Philosopher's Magazine. They talked about several subjects but most interesting perhaps, given how many atheists have read Sam Harris's The Moral Landscape and accepted its contents uncritically despite the fact that the book has been roundly and repeatedly criticized, is where Churchland says about Harris's claims about morality: "I think Sam [Harris] is just a child when it comes to addressing morality. I think he hasn’t got a clue."
Astronomers find galactic nursery 12.7 billion light years distant
Sam Harris responds to some of the criticism he's received on the back of his suggestion that we should be profiling Muslims at airports. Unless you read PZ Myers who says that Harris's response didn't address Myers's criticisms at all. As promised, Harris posted to his own blog a reply by noted security expert Bruce Schneier
CT scans of an Australopithecine skull provide clues to the forces that shaped human brain evolution
Greta Christina interviewed the newly named Executive Director of the Secular Coalition of America, Edwina Rogers. Reaction to her appointment to the position continues joined now by reaction to the interview with Christina. The interview is... almost perverse. It's weird. Ophelia Benson posted first once, then again with some thoughts. Adam Lee believes Rogers is "woefully unqualified" for the job. Matt Dillahunty of The Atheist Experience finds that the SCA "screwed up", "in a major way." The CFI's Ronald Lindsey allowed that he understands the reasons why people are skeptical but points out that we're only going to know how if she can do the job... once she actually starts the job. Ashley Miller penned the apology she would like to hear from Rogers for her past support for Republican causes.
Researchers at the LHC prepare to overcome perhaps their greatest hurdle: too much data.
Love this entertaining and informative takedown of the batshit silliness that is Ancient Aliens.
Astronomers predict that 90% of the observable universe's galaxies are unseen.
A confidential memo shows climate denalists intend to try to turn the American public against....
Michael Shermer wrote this week about rates of atheism around the world prompted by the release of a new survey.
Of course, disgusting news this week as North Carolina votes to add an amendment to the state's constitutio....The last time that state amended its constitution was to ban interracial marriage. Meanwhile, North Carolina does legally allow the marriage of first cousins. So you can marry your first cousin... as long as they have different sex organs than you.
Jacques Berlinerblau on the death of American secularism
No doubt you heard that President Obama came out in favor of gay marriage this week. PZ Myers isn't impressed. Of course the religious bigots are already mobilizing. But what does marriage equality look like worldwide? When it comes to same-sex marriage, those without religious belief lead the way.
Meat eating plant uses ants to digest other insects.
Climate scientists are closing in on a problem that's bedeviled them for years.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews shun their own for reporting child sex abuse.
A judge in an establishment clause case surrounding a display of the Ten Commandments suggests cutting the commandments down to six, removing the ones that refer to God.
The asteroid Vesta is made of the last bits of rock that formed the rocky inner planets at the solar system's formation.
41% of the UK– the highest ever– don't think God made the universe.
The Colorado governor's Day of Prayer proclamation has been ruled unconstitutional.
New archaeological find shows that the Mayan calendar went well beyond 2012. While everyone else breaths a sigh of relief, skeptics wonder what the excitement is all about: this nonsense was debunked long ago.