The big news I have for you this week is that Think Atheist has signed on as official supporters of the Foundation Beyond Belief and the Stiefel Freethought Foundation's $500,000 matching challenge to raise 1 million dollars for cancer research on behalf of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and their Light the Night Walk. In signing on as supporters we're standing up with some fantastic freethought organizations such as the Richard Dawkins Foundation, the James Randi Educational Foundation, and Sam Harris's Project Reason, among many others.
We're going to have a marathon broadcast later this year featuring discussions and giveaways while we publicize Light the Night, asking for donations, and urging people to get out and walk in the local walk events. But we'd also like to read during the broadcast some personal accounts of how cancer has impacted your lives. As I said at the link above, we want to keep the focus on the fact that this isn't a problem to be solved in the abstract. These are people's lives.
My grandmother 10 years ago. My brother last year. And my other grandmother who is fighting right now. And, of course, my entire family who has experienced the pain and loss. And no doubt you've had similar experiences with your friends and family.
We need to put a stop to this disease. Help us guys? Please. Send in an account of your experience to Nelson@ThinkAtheistRadio.com. Let us know if and how you'd like to be credited.
Alright, to happier stuff...
This week on TA Radio we're featuring our interview with Dr. Jason Rosenhouse. Brown and Dartmouth educated and with a PhD in mathematics, Dr. Rosenhouse is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Virginia’s James Madison University. He is the blogger behind the popular EvolutionBlog on the ScienceBlogs network where he discusses his experiences in the trenches, going back to his time as a post-doc at Kansas State University, of the evolution/creation “debate” plus the conflict between science and religion generally. The author previously of two popular level and entertaining books on mathematics, it’s his newest book that we asked Dr. Rosenhouse to talk to us about. Among the Creationists, coming highly recommended by Jerry Coyne, Barbara Forrest, and Eugenie Scott, is partly an account of his experiences at creationist conferences over the last decade, partly a look at evolution and intelligent design. We’ve enjoyed the surprising insights into just why creationists reject evolution (it’s often not what you think!) and what those insights mean for how we approach those that deny the fact of evolution! Join us!
The embarrassing truth about the Bible: it's still being edited, even today.
Professor of the New Testament Craig Evans comments on what is just the latest of these periodically popping up Jesus discoveries involving an archaeological find in and around Israel. Get educated now because you just know you're going to come across a theist that touts this as evidence for Jesus. Sigh.
Ancient virus DNA thrives within us. Creeped out or fascinated or both? Up to you. LOL.
Cassini spots snowballs punching through one of Saturn's rings.
What does the new skepticism look like? Well. See for yourself at this profile.
A new study has dispelled the existence of a "God spot" in the brain but has concluded that people experience more spiritual feelings when the right brain is impaired.
Michael Shermer recapped his recent debate with Christian philosopher and apologist Gary Habermas on the existence of an afterlife.
This bug becomes instantly resistant to insecticide by swallowing the right bacteria.
This guy posted to the JREF forums to describe his past as a 9/11 Truther and what brought him back to reality.
A private company plans to mine asteroids. No. Seriously. Can they do it? Phil Plait thinks so. George Dvorsky lists the hurdles.
In an interview in The Atlantic Lawrence Krauss made sort of par for the course for him disparaging comments about philosophy. Lots of reaction followed. Massimo Pigliucci fumed. Jerry Coyne allowed that philosophy has a real contribution to make. Krauss backed off a bit as he clarified with sort of a notpology. Sean Carroll remarked that Krauss's numerous potshots are "kind of silly." I can honestly say that the best rebuttal to all of this is not Pigliucci, Coyne, Carroll, or anyone else I've seen (and as you can imagine as the editor of Sunday School, I've read it all this week on this subject); nope, it was our very own host of Think Atheist Radio, Greg. He pointed out numerous instances of the contributions that philosophers have made to our knowledge, citing specific instances with specific philosophers, and even pointed to a study where philosophy was brought into classrooms under controlled conditions with impressive results. Michael Shermer stuck his head in the room to make a good point: none of this means that we aren't still advancing scientifically on the answer to the question of why there is something rather than nothing, and that this should make us extremely skeptical of supernatural non-answers to the question. And he's right.
PZ Myers eviscerated a silly piece at Salon alleging that science provides evidence for the afterlife via Near Death Experiences. To Salon's credit, they reprinted Myers's critique and the author of the piece promises a response soon.
Instinctive thinkers more likely to believe in a personal god, less likely to be atheists.
Tax-payer funded crisis pregnancy centers using religion to oppose abortion.
After a teacher was fired from a Catholic school for undergoing IVF treatments PZ Myers proposed that the states should seize all Catholic schools.
As the Voyager probes are on the edge of the deep space beyond our solar system one of the authors of the time capsule contents onboard the probes reflects on this, our deepest foray into space. What to know what those time capsules consist of? A cool read in its own right. I gotcha covered. :)
Qualia Soup is back with another phenomenal video, this time on the Burden of Proof.
That kooky letter signed by 49 ex-NASA climate-denialist employees urging NASA not to talk about the evidence for climate change has been dissected now from the standpoint of the actual scientific evidence and found to be total bollocks.
Even when looking at 15 year users of mobile phones a new review, the largest yet, shows that there is no evidence that mobile phone radiation causes health problems.
Evo psych Nigel Barber concludes that atheism will be the majority over theism by 2038.
Why are millennials leaving the church? The church's intransigence and bigotry on GLBT rights is a big key.
The furor surrounding Bart Ehrman's new book on Jesus historicity continues. Quickly: Ehrman released the book with a post at the Huffington Post. Before reading the book Richard Carrier criticized the HuffPo piece on several grounds. Following that, Carrier then issued a full review of the book concluding that it is useless and a waste of trees and electrons. There's been some pushback against Carrier this week, and Carrier has pushed back in turn. Ehrman replied (sort of) to Carrier. R.J. Hoffman criticized Carrier. Thom Stark took Carrier to task on one feature of his critique of Ehrman. Chris Hallquist who initially didn't find Carrier's review of Ehrman's book to sit very well with him, after Ehrman replied to Carrier's review of the book, urged Carrier to do the right thing and admit that he was wrong. Carrier replied to Ehrman and Hoffman while promising more to come. It's a fascinating discussion.
Lots of ink spilled this week over a new study that showed that thinking analytically undermines religious belief. Really easy to accept that claim given that it falls inline with the position most of us hold. Accordingly, let's remember to be skeptics and make sure we have an accurate grasp of what the findings mean.
Entry #4316546513241654321346541 in my "What's the harm in believing in nonsense?" series: Swiss woman dead after deciding to live off of the Sun after seeing such a thing was possible (riiiiight...) in a batshit documentary.
Russell Blackford reviews Sam Harris's Free Will and takes issues with Harris's characterization of compatibilism.
Bacteriacicles: ancient bacteria being released into the oceans from melting glaciers. And on that score, check out this time lapse of an Alaskan glacier retreating almost 12.5 miles over the last 7 years as it dumped 150 cubic kilometers of ice into the ocean.
Theists will tell you that, pragmatically, religion makes people happier. But what they fail to understand is that the literature on this question shows that it's not religion per se, only that the social support that comes along with religion makes people happier, a far less grand claim. So the natural question is can secular alternatives to the religious social support provide the same benefit. Well. Yes.
Another study provides evidence of a connection between the pseudoscience of chiropractic ....