165 Million Year Old Cricket Song

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2012/8210.html

Excerpt:

The love song of an extinct cricket that lived 165 million years ago has been brought back to life by scientists at the University of Bristol. The song – possibly the most ancient known musical song documented to date – was reconstructed from microscopic wing features on a fossil discovered in North East China. It allows us to listen to one of the sounds that would have been heard by dinosaurs and other creatures roaming Jurassic forests at night.

The Digital Nativity Story

What if the Christmas nativity story happened in modern times? How would it be represented in social media? Here’s one group’s rendition.
Excerpt of article:
A popular new video takes the Immaculate Conception into the 21st century. Designed by Excentric, a Lisbon, Portugal-based digital marketing company, “The Digital Story of the Nativity” tells the familiar biblical story through Google searches, e-mails, tweets, Facebook “Likes” and Foursquare “check-ins.”
Story about the video is here:

RDF TV – Baloney Detection Kit – Michael Shermer

With a sea of information coming at us from all directions, how do we sift out the misinformation and bogus claims, and get to the truth? Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine lays out a “Baloney Detection Kit,” ten questions we should ask when encountering a claim.
The 10 Questions:
1. How reliable is the source of the claim?
2.Does the source make similar claims?
3. Have the claims been verified by somebody else?
4. Does this fit with the way the world works?
5. Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
6. Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
7. Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
8. Is the claimant providing positive evidence?
9. Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
10. Are personal beliefs driving the claim?

Shermer & Purdom Interview at Creation Museum

Dr Michael Shermer and Dr Georgia Purdom talk at the Creation Museum.

http://www.ted.com Why do people see the Virgin Mary on cheese sandwiches or hear demonic lyrics in “Stairway to Heaven”? Using video, images and music, professional skeptic Michael Shermer explores these and other phenomena, including UFOs and alien sightings. He offers cognitive context: In the absence of sound science, incomplete information can combine with the power of suggestion (helping us hear those Satanic lyrics in Led Zeppelin). In fact, he says, humans tend to convince ourselves to believe: We overvalue the “hits” that support our beliefs, and discount the more numerous “misses.”

Symphony of Science – We Are All Connected

“We Are All Connected” was made from sampling Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, The History Channel’s Universe series, Richard Feynman’s 1983 interviews, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s cosmic sermon, and Bill Nye’s Eyes of Nye Series, plus added visuals from The Elegant Universe (NOVA), Stephen Hawking’s Universe, Cosmos, the Powers of 10, and more. It is a tribute to great minds of science, intended to spread scientific knowledge and philosophy through the medium of music.

25 Fallacies That Lead Us To Believe Weird Things

This is a list by Michael Shermer: 25 fallacies that lead us to believe weird things.

(1) Theory influences observation. Heisenberg wrote, “What we observe is not nature itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” Our perception of reality is influenced by the theories framing our examination of it.

Continue reading 25 Fallacies That Lead Us To Believe Weird Things

Penn and Teller: Creationism

The Creationism segment from Penn and Teller’s “Bullshit” show.

Includes footage of Duane Gish from the Insitute of Creation Research and also the Cobb County school board in their voting process to include creationism as part of the school science curriculum.

One of the other websites I run is a bible discussion website. The Creation vs. Evolution debate section of that website is located at:
http://forum.bible-discussion.com/forumdisplay.php?f=17

You can spend many hours there reading debates between “creationists” and “evolutionists”. The debates include specific points of biology and geology. I have been literally amazed to see the amount of effort and research members put into their posts. For me, the most telling element of these debates is to see which side consistently posts documented information to support their side; and to see which side consistently changes the argument mid-stream.

Many US residents are not aware that the creation vs evolution “debates” are primarily an issue solely in the United States. There is not such widespread conversation on this subject outside the USA; although it has begun to spread to Australia.

Penn and Teller are magicians from Las Vegas. They devote a lot of their time to bring up subjects they consider “Bullshit”. If you search their other videos on YouTube you might be surprised to see some of the other subjects they cover.

Continue reading Penn and Teller: Creationism

Study: Monkeys share human preference for imitation

capuchin-monkey

Excerpt: “If one person imitates what a monkey does, and the other person does not imitate, the monkey prefers to spend more time in front of the person that imitated them,” said Dr. Annika Paukner at the National Institutes of Health offices in Poolesville, Maryland.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/08/13/monkeys.imitations/index.html

Calculate Your God Delusion Index

Calculate your God Delusion index. The “God Delusion” is a book by Richard Dawkins published around 2007 (I think). I read it. This video was posted on one of my bible discussion forums. I was interested to note that my answers to the questions in the video were radically different than they would have been five years ago.

And this comment from the original poster of the video: A STUPID video that I found — a quiz that supposedly measures how deluded by religion you are. I’m glad this hateful moron won’t be spending the next trillion years in heaven with Jesus and me!

Would be interested in your thoughts on this video and it’s questions…

Asian Buddhism and the Lay Population

Mmmmm…….another blog post about nothing that I am an expert on. Just an observation from my limited personal experience. This post is about my perspective of religion and Buddhism in Asia and the lay population. (“Lay people” are ordinary people like you and me. Members of congregations and everyday people. They are not church leaders, monks or ministers.)

Continue reading Asian Buddhism and the Lay Population

Pope visits Africa, reaffirms ban on condoms

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/03/17/cameroon.pope/index.html

Excerpt:
Sub-Saharan Africa has been hit harder by AIDS and HIV than any other region of the world, according to the United Nations and World Health Organization. There has been fierce debate between those who advocate the use of condoms to help stop the spread of the epidemic and those who oppose it.

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I’m sure the blogosphere is on fire with this one right now. I have a friend who is Catholic and I asked her about this. She said it’s only for conservative Catholics. I said, “But the Pope is in Africa where millions of people have AIDS, and he’s telling them not to use condoms.” She replies, “Cannot. If people do not use condoms they will die. So they must.”

Continue reading Pope visits Africa, reaffirms ban on condoms

Mental Xenophobia and Retaining Beliefs

“If what I start to read, goes against my beliefs, then I just don’t read it.”

That comment was made recently on one of my discussion forums. I had to ask the member if that was really what they meant to say and they confirmed that yes, that is exactly what they meant.

Continue reading Mental Xenophobia and Retaining Beliefs