hey guys, first of all, tonight we're really excited to feature a live chat with the Bad Astronomer himself, Dr. Phil Plait. he's the creator of and blogger at Bad Astronomy where he writes to popularize science and promote skepticism.
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alright, well, Sam Harris debated William Lane Craig recently on the question of the existence of objective morality and there's been lots of commentary on the debate and the subject of the debate.
the following links are filled with all kinds of information on moral ontology and epistemology so don't skip them. it's important stuff for the question of whether god grounds morality. sharpen your arguments against theistic morality here!
Kenan Malik at The Humanist critiqued Harris' book (adding to the huge number of people who have faulted the book's grand claims), relevant to the debate because Harris arguments were the same as those from the book.
John Danaher took the opportunity of the post debate examinations to look deeper and critique Theological Voluntarism.
Nathan Schneider at the Religion Dispatches posted some thoughts, thought that the two players talked over each other and left the crowd wanting.
Harris himself posted some thoughts.
meanwhile, Harris debated Robert Winston in print in The Guardian on the subject of the compatibility between science and religion.
is Queen Vashti the best person in the bible?
humpback whale songs go viral, cross the Pacific.
legal moves against a National Day of Prayer suffered a setback when an appeals court reversed a previous ruling by a lower court declaring the practice unconstitutional.
where did language begin? southern Africa. (so much for the Tower of Babel mythology...)
lots more links on the subject at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker.
mutation explains the classic example of evolution in the peppered gray moth.
last Christmas Ricky Gervais wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal on atheism. now he's back for Easter with another: Why I'm An Excellent Christian.
David Dobbs puts the final nail in the coffin of the "gay caveman" stories from last week.
does this bonobo have autism? a young bonobo appears to be displaying the same kind of symptoms seen in young children with autism.
your reptile ancestors' jaw bones are in your ears. Chinese scientists have published their findings on the transition between reptiles and mammals.
what happened before the Big Bang? what is the universe made of? are space and time fundamental?
looks like the first galaxies were born much earlier than expected.
enjoy this TED talk where MIT researcher Deb Roy explains how he set up cameras around his house recording 90,000 hours of video in order to watch how his infant son acquired language.
"We’re remarkably bad at making good decisions. Even when we know what goal we’re pursuing, we make mistakes predicting which actions will achieve it. Are there strategies we can use to make better policy decisions? Yes – we can gain insight by looking at cognitive science."
make no bones about it, religion lies about women.
we're starting to see ID'ers and creationists point to lateral gene transfer (LGT) as a wrench in the gears of common descent so it's important to examine just how important LGT is.
is morality relative? depends on your personality.
"Craig Schaffner, 46, a Fayetteville-area computer consultant, has earned the pity of friends and acquaintances for his tragic reluctance to embrace the unverifiable, sources reported Monday."
as much as liberal Christians would like to think otherwise, the bible really does condemn homosexuality.
convergent evolution: moth and plant hit upon the same way of making cyanide.
this week saw us celebrating 50 years of humans in space.
a general purpose need-to-belong drives belief in god.
in abiogenesis research news, biologists create self-replicating RNA molecule.
another great TED talk, the history of the universe from the big bang to the internet in a few minutes.
lots of people running around pointing to a newly released document that they say points to the reality of alien visitation. 'cept. it doesn't.
the Knight Science Journalism Tracker has a roundup of all links on the bump in the data coming from Fermilab that may indicate new physics.
Ray Kurzweil and the singularity: visionary genius or pseudoscientific crank?
Jerry Coyne points out that "scientism", in popular usage, seems to mean "the practice of applying rationality and standards of evidence to faith."
Patricia Churchland on Morality and the Mammalian Brain (video)