Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Texas: careening toward doom

Posted in Bad Astronomy by Skepdude on July 7, 2009

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT BAD ASTRONOMY BLOG

So Texas had its brief shining moment of light when the state Senate rejected creationist goofball Don McLeroy’s bid to once again head up the Board of Education. McLeroy was the guy who famously said, “Someone has to stand up to experts!” when talking about the science advisors contacted by the BoE to advise them on, y’know, science.

And even in that very post I said that this win was at best temporary, since the same Governor Rick Perry who picked McLeroy in the first place would pick his replacement.

And guess what? I hate being right all the time. It looks like Perry may pick über-far right religious zealot Cynthia Dunbar to replace McLeroy.

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT BAD ASTRONOMY BLOG

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Breaking news: SCIENCE WINS IN TEXAS!! Barely.

Posted in Bad Astronomy by Skepdude on March 26, 2009

Incredible news out of Texas: creationists have lost a big battle to destroy science education in the Lone Star State!

The State Board of Education voted on the science standards — the list of basic scientific knowledge students should have at various grade levels, like knowing that atoms are the basic building blocks of matter, the Earth goes around the Sun, and — say — evolution is the basic and most fundamental aspect upon which all of modern biology is based.

Creationists on the board (and there are many) tried to water down the standards by creating a phony baloney “strengths and weaknesses” amendment, a totally bogus and arbitrary rule that says that teachers have to point out where a theory has faults. They did this specifically to weaken the teaching of evolution in biology classes. They don’t actually care if the students get a solid education on the fact of evolution, they only care to tear down real science and replace it with Biblical literalism.

And they failed. According to the fantastic science-based Texas Freedom Network, which has been live-blogging the vote, the creationist amendment lost in a 7-7 vote. They could not add the amendment without an actual victory, so the tie means the garbage amendment goes down.

But before you dance in the streets, have a mind that the vote was tied 7-7. In other words, half the people on the Texas State School Board of Education thought it was fine and dandy that evolution, a foundation of modern science and shown to be fact beyond reasonable doubt, be taught as being weak and flawed.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “BAD ASTRONOMY”

Skepnews – 8/21/08

Posted in Skepnews by Skepdude on August 21, 2008

  • Marla Steele makes pet talk a two-way street – For as long as I can remember I’ve had psychic dreams. And I’ve always had lots of pets — dogs, cats and horses. Sometimes when my cats were away from the house for what seemed like a long time, I would call them home in my mind and they would show up a few minutes later. Or when I was in bed and wanted to snuggle up with my dogs I would do the same thing, call them in my mind and they would come into my room. This happened enough times that I knew it wasn’t just coincidence. The more I paid attention to my dreams and the information I was picking up from my animals while I was awake, the clearer they became.
  • Woman gives birth to cups !!!A Mozambican woman recently gave birth to three cups in the southern province of Gaza, independent television channel Stv reported on Thursday, showing images of the crockery. The Mozambican association of traditional healers (Ametramo) told the station that there was nothing strange about the story.
  • Records show more Texas sect members wed minorsFive men from a polygamist sect raided by Texas authorities in April stand accused of sexually assaulting children, but they may not be the only ones. Church documents disclosed as part of a separate child custody case over the last several months identify at least 10 other men as allegedly having married girls who were 16 or younger. The girls’ fathers and stepfathers blessed the unions and sometimes even presided over ceremonies between other young girls and adult men, the documents show. In all, about 20 underage girls, a few as young as 12, are identified in the documents as having married jailed sect leader Warren Jeffs or one of his followers.
  • Man accused of killing stepdaughters in Satanic ritualProsecutors say 26-year-old Lawrence Douglas Harris Sr., who faces two counts of first-degree murder for allegedly killing his 8- and 10-year-old stepdaughters in January, was practicing satanism and carefully planned the killings as a part of a spell or ritual from “The Satanic Bible.” Harris owned a spell notebook, prosecutors say, that contained references to and drawings from “The Satanic Bible,” widely considered the founding document of the Church of Satan, “Necronomicom,” the so-called dangerous book of the dead invented by author H.P. Lovecraft and “Pagan Ways,” an introduction to Paganism. Firefighters found the girls, 10-year-old Kendra Suing and 8-year-old Alysha Suing, stabbed and strangled in their bedrooms on Jan. 6. Authorities had been dispatched to the house at 1420 Nebraska St. for a fire in the basement.
  • Increase in measles spread mostly due to anti-vaccination parents The number of measles cases in the U.S. is at its highest level since 1997, and nearly half of those involve children whose parents rejected vaccination, government health officials reported Thursday. Pediatricians are frustrated, saying they are having to spend more time convincing parents the shot is safe. The CDC’s review found that a number of cases involved home-schooled children not required to have the vaccines. In a typical year, only one outbreak occurs in the United States, infecting perhaps 10 to 20 people. So far this year through July 30 the country has seen seven outbreaks, including one in Illinois with 30 cases, said Seward, deputy director of the CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases. Of this year’s total, 122 were unvaccinated or had unknown vaccination status. Some were unvaccinated because the children were under age 1, making them too young to get their first measles shot.
  • Nigerian man faces death over his 86 wives – Nigeria’s Islamic authority has told the man who has 86 wives to choose only four and repent within three days or else he will be sentenced to death. Talking to the media then, Mr Abubakar challenged Muslim scholars, saying there is no punishment stated in the Koran for having more than four wives. “A man with 10 wives would collapse and die, but my own power is given by Allah. That is why I have been able to control 86 of them,” he told the BBC.

Skepnews – 7/22/08

Posted in Skepnews by Skepdude on July 22, 2008

  • The exorcism of Amutha Valli Krishnan – A PSYCHIATRIST on Monday portrayed the woman in the centre of the Novena Church ‘exorcism’ case as being capable of ‘overt deception’ to perpetuate her ‘symptoms’ for financial gain – Hmmm, does this not sound like a typical case of “blame the victim” game? Now, I don’t know if she is in fact making it up or not but how is a psychiatrist qualified to infer that something is being perpetuated “for financial gain”? Also, he was smart enough to qualify his statement by saying that she was “capable” of deception. Do we really need a psychiatrist to state the obvious? Aren’t all humans “capable of overt deception”?
  • With God’s blessing turn $1,000 into billions God’s blessing would last only two minutes and it would create 500 churchgoing millionaires or even billionaires – all they had to do was use their credit cards to pay $1 000 in offerings to televangelist Benny Hinn. He said one of Hinn’s American guest speakers, Pastor Todd Koontz, spoke about financial burdens and said 500 audience members would receive “an exceptional blessing”. “He said the service would yield millionaires and billionaires within 24 hours. “Everyone had to donate $1 000 because an exceptional blessing rested on $1 000.” Koontz apparently really had the congregation scrambling when he said, “This blessing will be poured out for only two minutes.” Ferreira said: “People stormed to the front – poor people, rich people, people from all sections of our society.”- It takes a special kind of specially brainwashed religious zealot to fall for such BS, and apparently there is no shortage since about 1,000 people forked over cash. At least one person became a millionaire that day, and he didn’t have to pay a dime himself!
  • Allah name shows up in pieces of meatWhat looks like the Arabic word for God and the name of the prophet Muhammad were discovered in pieces of beef by a diner in Birnin Kebbi (Nigeria). “When the writings were discovered there were some Islamic scholars who come and eat here and they all commented that it was a sign to show that Islam is the only true religion for mankind,” he said. – Hey I thought the potato chip Jesus already settled the “only true religion” issue! I guess this one showed up on multiple pieces of meat, so it must carry more weight. Can you say fraud? No, how about pareidolia?
  • Obama and McCain to appear at Megachurch ForumThe Rev. Rick Warren has persuaded the candidates to attend a forum at his Saddleback Church, in Lake Forest, Calif., on Aug. 16. Mr. Warren, the author of the best-selling book “The Purpose-Driven Life,” said he had called each man personally to invite him to his event, which will focus on how they make decisions and on some of Mr. Warren’s main areas of focus, like AIDS, poverty and the environment. Mr. Warren’s event will have as a co-sponsor Faith in Public Life, the multidenominational religious group that held the Compassion Forum at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., in April, featuring Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Pennsylvania during their primary fight. Mr. Warren said he would devise his questions with input from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders associated with the group. – Yeah, the Science debate they run from, but they find time for yet another religious forum. There’s a reason they say politics is a whore!
  • Bible classes approved in TexasThe state’s Board of Education gave final approval to establishing Bible classes in public high schools. Mark Chancey, associate professor in religious studies at Southern Methodist University, has studied Bible classes already offered in about 25 districts. His study found most of the courses were explicitly devotional with almost exclusively Christian, usually Protestant, perspectives. It also found that most were taught by teachers who were not familiar with the issue of separation of church and state. – Ok, I wouldn’t have a problem with this as long as they also offered Quran classes, Mormon Book classes, “Put your own holy book name here” classes etc. etc. Something tells me, these classes will not present one ounce of criticism towards the Holy Debacle. Ah, Christianity the Priviledged!