Santa lives! Richard Carrier has this hilarious and clever post arguing that Santa is real. replace "Santa" with "god" at any point and you'll see how clever it is.
Greg picked his favorite arguments from Carrier's piece while linking to an older post by Eric Steinhart arguing for Santa's simplicity- again, replace "Santa" with "god" at any point in the piece and you'll have typical apologetics silliness.
this past week saw a piece in Slate about how Americans are less religious than they claim to be being the spark for a back and forth between atheist bloggers. Ophelia Benson commented on the Slate piece to say that the "new atheism" has contributed to making a religious identity something fewer people are interested in wearing which will result in people being less interested in wanting to make people think that they're more religious than they actually are. Josh Rosenau commented on Benson's comment to say that he doesn't think the "new atheism" has done any such thing, that Benson didn't provide any evidence to think so. Jerry Coyne defended Bensonwhile pointing out Rosenau's hypocrisy in demanding that Benson provide evidence for her assertion while Rosenau has spent years as an accomodationist while never providing evidence for the success of that strategy. Benson herself shot back at Rosenau to say that he clearly didn't read her piece carefully enough.
a month ago i linked to news that an anti-vaccine group was planning to run a PSA in nationwide movie theaters warning people about the "dangers" of vaccines. the following week news came out that the skeptics had won and weighed upon the theater chain to pull the PSA from its theaters. now it appears that the same group is airing the same nonsense in other theaters. see what you can do to stop this from happening like you did last time!
religion's never going to be a thing of the past as long as the religious have more children than secularists.
one-forth of DNA had already been "born" 2.8 billion years ago.
the arsenic bacteria thing isn't dead quite yet. it seems that even from a simple chemistry standpoint the bacteria couldn't do what the paper's authors claim it to have done.
sequencing the genome of the owner of a 50,000 year old finger bone finds a new lineage of humans called Denisovans. Carl Zimmer in The New York Times as well as on his blog. John Hawks put together a FAQ on the find.
accomodationist Michael Ruse produced this piece wherein he argued that if confrontationalists keep pushing the idea that science and religion are in conflict then it might become an issue for the courts to decide whether teaching science is unconstitutional insofar as it prejudices students against religion. Jerry Coyne and Jason Rosenhouse respond to the silliness.
Ruse was busy this week, also arguing that evolution provided a defense of the doctrine of original sin. Jason Rosenhouse poured water on the fires of stupid once again.
Matt Johnson wrote a guest post for Sean Carrol's Cosmic Invariance blog talking about attempts to observe the multiverse.
8 year old school-children publish a study on bees in a Royal Society journal.
a new discovery rekindles the debate over the origins of multi-cellular life.
lots of talk about a new study that seems to show that placebos could still work even if the patient knows they're taking a placebo. Orac has questions about the study's value in determining if this is true.
fossil hunters uncover complete 252 million year old underwater world.
the new inquisition: the Roman Catholic man-cult's modern war on women.
the NCSE has a list of the top 10 evolution stories of 2010