153 MetaFilter comments by bevets (displaying 1 through 50)

Doubt and disbelief on the rise in the U.S. The Harris Poll found that 42 percent of American adults are not “absolutely certain” there is a God. Only 34 percent responded that way three years ago when asked the same question. Online surveys may reveal more accurate numbers than telephone surveys.
comment posted at 4:21 AM on Nov-4-06
comment posted at 4:46 AM on Nov-4-06
comment posted at 5:14 AM on Nov-4-06
comment posted at 5:35 AM on Nov-4-06
comment posted at 6:07 AM on Nov-4-06
comment posted at 8:00 AM on Nov-4-06
comment posted at 9:51 AM on Nov-4-06

When Scientists Go Bad
comment posted at 7:51 PM on Oct-27-06
comment posted at 1:39 PM on Oct-28-06

Meet George -- 39, single, quirky sense of humour, looking for friends to chat with online. Last year, he won the Loebner Prize, to bots who can most successfully pass the Turing Test. More here from BBC. How long before we have our own Mefibots?
comment posted at 10:30 AM on Sep-17-06

Bush's threat to veto stem cell funding is a joke. Scott Rosenberg says flat out why Bush's threat is shamelessly amoral and hyporcritical, and purely political in nature. (via)
comment posted at 7:11 PM on Jul-19-06
comment posted at 4:33 AM on Jul-20-06

The Supreme Court is increasingly anti-abortion, and they have already agreed that next year they will be deciding on so-called partial birth abortion bans. Given this context, you might need to learn how to do it yourself. (Here's more on some useful equipment.) Also see more inside.
comment posted at 6:18 AM on Jul-15-06
comment posted at 9:20 PM on Jul-20-06

the origin of fun bags. The age old question of where breasts came from may have finally been answered!

[boobs] first evolved as an immunoprotective gland that produced bacteriocidal secretions to protect the skin and secondarily eggs and infants, and that lactation is a highly derived kind of inflammation response. [...] Milk is actually a kind of anti-microbial snot mixed in with a lot of fat and sugar.

All vertebrates have an innate immune system consisting of molecules which are hostile to microbes. It appears that the nutritional content of the milk is a product of mutation and repurposing of these immunological molecules! Xanthine oxidoreductase, which produces natural preservatives and disinfectants is also responsible for the essential role of encapsulating fat droplets which promotes suspension in water. Lactose (sugar) "requires a specific synthetic complex consisting of β-1,4 galactosyltransferase and α-lactalbumin for its production." As it turns out, α-lactalbumin is a modified (mutated) version of an awesome little molecule that literally skins bacteria alive - lysozyme!
comment posted at 3:40 AM on May-20-06

Why Rush Limbaugh prefers radio. Back in 1990 Rush Limbaugh guest-hosted a talk show in front of a live audience. The audience did not agree with him and tore him to pieces. His facial expressions are priceless. Watch the video at The Panopticist.
comment posted at 4:52 AM on Mar-15-06

Prof. Daniel Dennett's (New York University, Philosophy) new book Breaking the Spell appears to have frightened its NYT book reviewer, Leon Wieseltier (The New Republic, Literary Editor). Wieselter claims "The question of the place of science in human life is not a scientific question. It is a philosophical question", and promptly proceeds to demonstrate that he himself knows nothing about philosophy. Dennett responds.
Prof. Brian Leiter (University of Texas, Philosophy) responds that "'The view that science can explain all human conditions and expressions, mental as well as physical' is not a 'superstition' but a reasonable methodological posture to adopt based on the actual evidence, that is, based on the actual expanding success of the sciences . . . during the last hundred years."
b l o g s s and serious reviews.
comment posted at 6:54 PM on Mar-7-06
comment posted at 7:24 PM on Mar-7-06

Ten things evolutionists can do to improve communication. Speaking as a battle-scarred survivor of a few battles over evolution on teh Interweb, I plead guilty to ignorance of a few of these rules. But I wonder, too, what good any of these would do in the grand scheme of things: could we expect Creationists to act as honorably, or as honestly? And what would the Flying Spaghetti Monster think?
comment posted at 8:40 PM on Feb-26-06
comment posted at 9:23 PM on Feb-26-06
comment posted at 10:29 PM on Feb-26-06
comment posted at 10:55 PM on Feb-26-06
comment posted at 5:37 AM on Feb-27-06
comment posted at 6:43 AM on Feb-27-06
comment posted at 7:58 PM on Feb-27-06
comment posted at 8:59 PM on Feb-27-06
comment posted at 11:41 AM on Feb-28-06

Science is better: An enormous scientific study has conclusively demonstrated that "diet had no effect" on rates of women getting cancer or heart disease. Because the study investigated the efficacy of overall low fat diets, rather than the more recently developed hypothesis that saturated fats are the only pernicious kind, some leading medical researchers accept these findings but still think there MAY be a direct link between certain diets and major health problems in women, but (and here's the money shot) "if they did a study like that and it was negative, then I'd have to give up my cherished hypotheses for data." Now that, my friends, is a heartwarming example of one of the pinnacles of human creativity, the scientific method, which is under so much attack these days. . .
comment posted at 5:25 PM on Feb-7-06
comment posted at 4:54 AM on Feb-8-06

Before the class, Crocker had told me that she was going to teach "the strengths and weaknesses of evolution." Afterward, I asked her whether she was going to discuss the evidence for evolution in another class. She said no.
A "Biology 101" class turns into a gripe session for creationists at a state school, the Northern Virginia Community College. The lecturer then whines about being discriminated against when she fails to teach the subject she's hired to teach.
comment posted at 7:42 AM on Feb-5-06
comment posted at 7:27 PM on Feb-5-06

"Who's afraid of evolutionary biology?" (I've linked Bede before, but this piece bears a much more important message to Christians who feel it their biblical duty to get hot and bothered over evolution and origin-of-life issues.) Also see a Christian response to "Young Earth" apologetics, and the Young Earth Argument Index, both from "Old Earth" Creationists who disagree with 6-Day biblical literalism. (Note that Old Earthers may still be Intelligent Design advocates. Heaping spoonsful of salt all around.) If that's still too "Christian" for you, Talk.Origins has a summary of other Genesis interpretations.
comment posted at 6:46 PM on Jan-30-06

BBC News: British unconvinced on evolution "More than half the British population does not accept the theory of evolution, according to a survey. Furthermore, more than 40% of those questioned believe that creationism or intelligent design should be taught in school science lessons." Nice to know that the maxim for the UK being five years behind the US still holds true, more or less.
comment posted at 7:22 PM on Jan-26-06

Breaking the Science-Atheism Bond. "When I was growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the 1960s, I came to the view that God was an infantile illusion, suitable for the elderly, the intellectually feeble, and the fraudulently religious."
comment posted at 6:35 AM on Jan-25-06

Roe v. Wade, 33 years old today. With abortion back in the news due to the Supreme Court nomination of Alito, will the Ideological Rumble over the issue ever be settled or are we doomed to see questionable declarations like today's recognition of "National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2006"? ...creating a society where every life has meaning...-- every life? Really?
comment posted at 7:39 PM on Jan-22-06
comment posted at 8:11 PM on Jan-22-06
comment posted at 8:53 PM on Jan-22-06
comment posted at 9:09 PM on Jan-22-06
comment posted at 9:40 PM on Jan-22-06
comment posted at 4:52 AM on Jan-23-06
comment posted at 6:35 AM on Jan-23-06

A conservative Metafilter loves to hate weighs in on the issue of intelligent design being incorporated into the classroom. Some of Orson Scott Card's views have been linked to before (see here; here; and most notably here.) This time, he seems to be less reactionary and more thoughtful. This is related to many prior Mefi threads on this issue some of which include this; this; and this.
comment posted at 7:13 PM on Jan-20-06
comment posted at 9:34 PM on Jan-20-06
comment posted at 4:30 AM on Jan-21-06

The Root of All Evil? is Richard Dawkins' new programme on Channel 4 in the UK, where the noted scholar says we must abandon all religion to advance human kind. RD notes that he is technically an agnostic, but his bold show suggests that declared atheism is the correct political stand. Reminds me of the recent NPR piece on what Penn believes. Are popular-media pieces of this sort a bellweather for a new anti-theism?
comment posted at 7:57 PM on Jan-16-06
comment posted at 5:12 AM on Jan-17-06

Did Jesus Really Exist? Also some notes on the doubtful existence of Hannibal.
comment posted at 8:17 PM on Jan-9-06

Decision in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District:
The weight of the evidence clearly demonstrates, as noted, that the systemic change from "creation" to "intelligent design" occurred sometime in 1987, after the Supreme Court's important Edwards decision. This compelling evidence strongly supports Plaintiffs' assertion that ID is creationism re-labeled.

comment posted at 9:08 PM on Dec-20-05
comment posted at 6:55 AM on Dec-21-05

next page »