Peddlers of woo claiming last year in a review of research into acupuncture that in fact acupuncture does work received quite a bit of criticism, as you'd imagine. Recently they responded to that criticism with some comments. Steven Novella writes this week to address their comments. Humorously, as this is going on, yet another study of acupuncture, this one looking into lower back pain, finds that it doesn't work.
The Mormon Church is attempting toa rewrite its rcist history.
You might have come across news of claims to have found evidence of life in a meteorite. Phil Plait explains that, no, life has not been found in a meteorite.
Last week I linked to news that Russian scientists were saying they had found some new life form in Antarctica's subglacial Lake Vostok. But almost immediately following my posting last Sunday's edition came news that there had been no new life form found at Vostok. Conflicting reports kept coming, some saying yes and some no (and some pointing out that this episode highlights the need to vet discoveries through peer review instead of going right to the media with new results). At this point it appears as if the confusion has been resolved and that there DOES seem to be something new in the waters of Lake Vostok.
Images snapped from Earth of multiple exoplanets in orbit around a distant star have allowed us to determine their chemical make-up, a process that will help us determine the habitability of planets out there.
Do child evangelism clubs deserve free speech in public schools?
Nevermind conservative legislators ignoring the separation of church and state, this Tennessee legislator wants to make it illegal to even complain about church/state violations!
Surely you've heard that there's a new pope. Don't expect much change though. The new guy is just as doctrinaire and conservative about social issues as Ratzinger was. There are questions, however, about the new pope's involvement in the bloody military coupe in Argentina in the 70's: did the new pope play a role in the kidnapping and/or death of Argentine citizens? Anyway, that aside, does the pope even matter? The Onion has the new pope as an old man, confused and paralyzed with sexual frustration.
Mars Curiosity was sent up with a mission to discover if Mars was habitable at some point in the past. This week NASA scientists announced mission accomplished as Curio's instruments pick up evidence indicating the former presence of water that would have been perfectly fine for you or I to drink!
Received wisdom is that non-believers are perceived as less moral. Is it true? New research says perhaps not.
Anti-gay activists get more bad news as even the polling arm of the Southern Baptist Convention reports results from a new poll. A majority feel that gay marriage is a civil rights issue and a significant majority feel that it's inevitable that same sex marriage will be legal in the US.
Richard Carrier has posted a transcript of a speech he gave at the most recent National Atheist Party convention in which he blows up this absurd notion of the US being a Christian Nation.
A new lawsuit seeks to challenge "In God We Trust" on US currency.
This week saw scientists gather for a TEDX symposium on "de-extinction"; bringing extinct animals back. Is this a good idea? What are the promises and pitfalls? Might it be a stupid idea? Is the desire to bring animals back from extinction more about us than about the animals we might bring back?
The 11 most absurd lies conservatives are telling in order to brainwash American schoolkids.
Scientists examining the differences between Neanderthal and modern human skulls find that large eyes caused the demise of our ancient cousins. But is this comparison of skulls anything more than voodoo?
Craig Venter and team are close to creating synthetic life, says Venter.
Church/state orgs are praising President Obama's choice of the new director of Faith-Based Initiativesoffice. We should see someone who actually knows and cares about the law rather than being ignorant and uninterested in it. Hemant Mehta has a rundown of other reactions to the choice.
Researchers say that more Americans than ever report "none" as their religion.
Colorado inches closer to civil unions while Christians cry intolerance.
The "Higgs-like particle", as physicists have described the particle they found that had all the Higgs properties they were looking for, has now been confirmed as the Higgs in fact. Why is it important that the LHC has confirmed the Higgs?
The closest Earth-like planet could be just 6.5 light years away.
"Parallel universe" of life discovered beneath the Pacific Ocean almost completely disconnected from the surface.
Brain researchers claim to be able to detect who we're thinking about.
Are we nearing the maximum capacity of the human brain?