Hey guys, thanks for stopping in for another Sunday wrap up! You know how it goes... Let's get some Show announcements out of the way and then we'll get to the links!
I'm sure by now you've seen that The Think Atheist Radio Show has been named a finalist in the About.com Favorite Agnosticism/Atheism Podcast of 2011 category, and in our very first year! We're thrilled to be distinguished in this way. It means a lot that everyone would have nominated us and then voted for us to get us to the finals. Thank you!
This week we'll be featuring our interview with Mr. Guy Harrison. Mr. Harrison is a journalist and writer by trade, having won awards for his writing and photography. Editorial writer, world news editor, sports editor, photographer, page designer, and columnist: he's been around the news industry. He's also a sometime teacher of history with a degree in history and anthropology. He is the author of the highly recommended 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in God. But it's a discussion of his new book, 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True, that we're excited to bring you. This book functions as an encyclopedia and bibliography of nonsense beliefs and should be on every skeptic's bookshelf!
And if you missed last week's interview with philosopher Dr. Russell Blackford always remember you can still catch that! Dr. Blackford is an Australian philosopher, writer, and literary critic. A columnist for Free Inquiry magazine, he is a Conjoint Lecturer at the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle and the editor-in-cheif of the Journal of Evolution and Technology. Well known for his excellent book, 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists, written with co-author Udo Shuklenk, his new book is Freedom of Religion and the Secular State. Where do the rights of the religious to practice end and civil law begin? How should a secular state be structured? Anyone interested in church/state issues must tune in!
But first! I trickle out Sunday School links throughout the week on Google+. No reason to wait to read all the fascinating stuff! There's a great community of people I share the links and interact with. And on Twitter is where we do our book giveaways! Say it with me: FURREEE-BUKSSS. :P If you connect with me at either place, let me know you found me through Sunday School, say hi!
In the first of two big stories this week, the leaker of documents belonging to the Heartland Institute, a libertarian "think tank", has been identified by his own admission as climate scientist Peter Gleik (turns out it was really easy!). Gleik's admission has stirred an ethics debate. Are there any circumstances under which a climate change activist should lie to defend their cause? Andrew Revkin was especially critical of Gleik's actions in the New York Times, saying that Gleik's actions ruin his reputation and undercut the case for climate change that he's spent his career making. George Monbiot, on the other hand, called Gleik a democratic hero. And others, even while admitting that Gleik's deception wasn't acceptable, acknowledged the documents are an important source for laying bare the tactics of the climate denialists. Others pointed out the hypocrisy of Heartland's outrage at having had their documents taken when they never said a word against those who hacked East Anglia's emails and even while Heartland continues to do other shady things (like trying to ensure that school children are taught that climate change is a hoax). At any rate, Gleik is on leave while his employer is performing an investigation and he may lose his job.
Attacks paid for by big business are driving science into a dark era.
A story in The Independent, a UK newspaper, tried to link Dawkins with his slave owning ancestors, asking him if he felt that he owed anyone reparations, did he believe he had a "slave supporting gene." Jerry Coyne rightly called the accusation a slur. The absurdity of it prompted this parody piece that points out that Dawkins also has a single-celled ancestor, just as we all do!
Today's "biblical view" on contraception and abortion is younger than the McDonald's Happy Meal.
Trying to solve three puzzles of non religion in Britain.
Martin Robbins on the irrational and sinister campaign against gay marriage.
Steven Novella took a moment to point out that that over the past 150 years evolution could have been disproved over and over again. It could have been different, it's just not.
1 in 10 children face elevated risk of abuse and future PTSD owing to gender nonconformity.
What The Bible could have said, but doesn't, and why that's a problem for anyone who finds inspiration in that book.
Five kinds of fungus found to be capable of farming animals.
Our ethical progress hangs on knowing our evolution-responsible ethical past.
In the search for life on other planets, reflected light could give us clues.
Brian Cox took to the Wall Street Journal to offer an explanation for why Quantum Mechanics is so misunderstood. Physicist Tom Swanson criticized the piece's notion that everything is connected (check out the comments for Cox's appearance there). Sean Carroll posted to his own blog with some thoughts on Swanson's criticisms.
A huge set of fossil tracks preserves the march of ancient elephants from 6 to 8 million years ago. (Click on this link for the overhead shot of the tracks alone. Amazing!)
Water enough for 140 trillion times Earth's oceans surrounds a voracious black hole at the edge of the observable universe.
Rolling rocks appearing in images of Mars suggest a seismically active planet.
And in the second of the two big stories, turns out the solution to all the faster than light neutrinos excitement may be down to a faulty cable connection! Is the jig up or will more testing with fixed equipment still offer strange results? Is light's speed limit safe now? Of course there have been some people saying that the fact that the FTL neutrino results were published and announced in the first place is an indication that science doesn't work. But as Jon Butterworth points out, this whole thing has shown just how, why, and how much science does work. To refuse to publish the results makes it pointless to even take the measurements.
In a scalding spring, one species of microbe is becoming two.
How Earth's primordial soup came to life. The chemicals that would eventually give rise to life underwent natural selection too.
Check out this fascinating piece on the race to get to the bottom of the ocean, 7 miles down!
Another court finds the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
It came out this week that Mormons have posthumously baptized Anne Frank again, for the ninth time, despite having apologized for doing it in the past and promising not to again. In response, someone set up this fantastic website that allows you to put in the name of a Mormon and click a button to turn that person gay! Stephen Colbert took aim at this disgusting Mormon practice by circumcising all dead Mormons.