A Boy Scout troop changed its policy regarding the admission of gay scouts only to have the Boy Scouts of America force them to choose between keeping the policy and keeping their BSA charter. The troop ultimately went back to discriminating against gays. However, owing to the backlash over the BSA's anti-gay policies on membership, including the loss of several big corporate donors recently, the BSA now appears close to ending this particular discriminatory policy. Now, don't let's raise a cheer quite yet. Turns out all the BSA is prepared to do is to stop forcing troops to discriminate; the BSA is still quite happy to allow individual troops to continue the discrimination if they choose. And of course the revised policy would still discriminate against atheists. And that's unlikely to change any time soon. Anyway, as you'd expect, right-wing groups are already up in arms insisting that the BSA continuing its discrimination of gay scouts.
Here's an interesting Philosophical Health Check. See if your stance on different issues forms a cohesive system of belief or if one or more of your positions conflict.
An analysis finds that your molar roots are leftover from one of our ancestors, Homo erectus.
A US team announced success in its bid to reach the waters of an Antarctic sub-glacial lake nearly 1km under the surface of the ice. The big question then is whether or not there's anything living in such an extreme environment. First indications are, yes.
Michael Specter penned a long read profile of Dr. Mehmet Oz in the New Yorker this week. Definitely worth the read, it's incredible the justifications Oz offers for his habit of putting the most unadulterated garbage on his air.
5 ways the Christian right has forced the Bible into America's schools.
Recently a New Mexico lawmaker who proposed to charge with a felony women who had an abortion when the pregnancy was the result of rape, saying that these women were destroying evidence of a crime, was forced to drop the proposal due to the backlash that ensued. This week that same lawmaker simply switched the focus of the proposal to abortion providers instead.
Frequent-flyer microbes ride hurricanes and live in the clouds.
Steven Novella offered some thoughts on what skeptical activism should look like, what form should it take. PZ Myers responded. Novella replied in turn. PZ returns the volley. A very interesting discussion.
Who among us hasn't heard the size of a dinosaur's brain compared to the size of a walnut? But is this a fair comparison? Scientists performing scans of dino skulls have the answer.
5 states have anti-evolution bills in play right now.
These appear to be the oldest known alien planets, having formed at the dawn of the universe.
As the result of information gathered over time from observations of the cosmos Earth and other so called "goldilocks planets" have lost this distinction.
Babies start mind reading earlier, developing a "theory of mind" before previously thought.
Scientology demonstrates what an organization with enough money and zealous acolytes can do once it has wrapped itself in a religious cloak.
Scientists have long recognized that we and other animals are modular; we're made up of parts that work together to accomplish some goal or another. But scientists want to know why. And you can probably think of a few plausible reasons why modularity would be helpful in accomplishing some goal. But do these ideas have anything in common with reality?
Humans have already set in motion a sea level rise of 69 feet.
Are ghosts real? Ben Radford answers.
Another "invisible gorilla" experiment has been conducted highlighting the power of inattentional blindness.
This is SO cool! Scientists actually watched fishes think.
The Lock Ness Monster as evidence against evolution, and 5 odder things kids are taught as part of an accelerated Christian curriculum being taught in the UK.
Tennessee's "Don't Say 'Gay'" bill would require teachers to out gay kids to their parents.
A leading US cardinal has been relieved of his duties for failing to protect teens and children from abusive priests. This immediately following the release of the Los Angeles Catholic archdiocese's collection of priest abuse files. Want to read some of these documents? The callous disregard for the kids while placing The Church above all else is just unbelievable.
Recently it was announced that anti-vaccine kook Jenny McCarthy had accepted an invitation to attend a regional Ottawa, Canada cancer charity's drive for breast health and fitness. Skeptical groups fired back with outrage upon hearing the news. The result: McCarthy's invite was rescinded.
Michael Shermer asks "What is skepticism, anyway?"
Ethicist and atheist Alonzo Fyfe objects to the catch-all positing of evolution to explain human morality.