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Conservatives, Evil and Psychopathy: Science Makes the Link!

photo_1330841204480-1-0_1[1]It’s not the least bit surprising that Rush Limbaugh is still defending Donald Sterling, spinning an elaborate conspiracy theory about how Sterling was “set up,” as  Elias Isquith described here at Salon: “Whoever set this up,” Limbaugh said with understated drama, “is really good.” He continued: “They covered every base. They’ve got the media wrapped around their little finger. I mean, when you get rid of the anthem singer — I used to be in charge of anthem singers at the Kansas City Royals. When you can get rid of (the) anthem singer, you’ve got power.” Sure, it’s so far gone it’s silly, but defending old white guys is Limbaugh’s thing. [Read more]

Modern Humans Were Not Any Smarter Than Neanderthals, Say Scientists

04-30-neanderthal_full_380[1]Some scientists have speculated that they were out-competed by brainier H. sapiens, but researchers now say that Neanderthals, who lived in Eurasia for more than 300,000 years, were not that dumb after all. In a paper titled “Neanderthal Demise: An Archaeological Analysis of the Modern Human Superiority Complex” published in PLOS One, researchers challenge the notion that modern humans were superior to Neanderthals “in a wide range of domains, including weaponry and subsistence strategies, which would have led to the demise of Neanderthals.” [Read more]

Top Ten Myths About Neanderthals

myths-neanderthals[1]Neanderthals are generally classified by palaeontologists as the species Homo neanderthalensis, but some consider them to be a subspecies of Homo sapiens (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis). The first humans with proto-Neanderthal traits are believed to have existed in Europe as early as 600,000–350,000 years ago, and they died out around 30,000 years ago. When it comes to behaviours, Neanderthals tend to get a pretty bad rap. However, a plethora of research over the last several years has been breaking down many of the myths associated with this ancient species. [Read more]

May 7: Sean Carroll and Steve Novella to Debate the Woomeisters on Life After Death

screen-shot-2014-04-30-at-12-03-07-pm[1]Make a note on your calendar: on May 7, one week from today, physicist Sean Carroll and doctor/podcaster Steve Novella will be debating Eben Alexander (author of Proof of Heaven) and doctor Raymond Moody (author of Life after Life) on the issue “Death is not final.” It’s an Intelligence-Squared debate that will be live-streamed at this site starting at 6:45 Eastern U.S. time. The moderator is John Donvan from ABC News. These debates take a poll on the issue before and after the debate, and you can cast your vote here. At this moment, the results are mostly “against the motion,” meaning “against the notion that Death is not final”—the materialist stand. [Read more]

AP Survey On Faith And Science Reveals That Science Is Often Trumped By Religious Belief

n-GALAXY-large570[1]Believers don’t buy the Big Bang, God-less evolution or a human responsibility for global warming. Actually, neither do many Americans. But a new survey by The Associated Press found that religious identity — particularly evangelical Protestant — was one of the sharpest indicators of skepticism toward key issues in science. The survey presented a series of statements that several prize-winning scientist say are facts. However, the research shows that confidence in their correctness varies sharply among U.S. adults. [Read more]

Antibiotic Resistance Now A Global Threat According To Latest WHO Report

Diverse_e_Coli[1]The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a report that serves as a stark wake-up call to the growing worldwide problem of antimicrobial resistance. The report highlights the need for a concerted effort from both governments and society as a whole to tackle this ongoing issue which poses a “global health security threat.” Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when organisms such as bacteria and viruses evolve mechanisms to evade therapeutic agents, for example antibiotics, rendering them ineffective. We’re all familiar with the “hospital superbug” MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), but that just scratches the surface on this now incredibly widespread problem. [Read more]

Egyptologists Discover Unusual Structure with a Possible Early Depiction of Jesus

egypt-depiction-jesus[1]A team of Catalan Egyptologists from the Catalan Egyptology Society and University of Barcelona claim to have found one of the earliest-known pictures of Jesus in a 6th century tomb unearthed in Upper Egypt, according to a news report in La Vanguardia. The image found painted on the wall of the Coptic Christian crypt depicts a young man with curly hair and a short tunic, with a hand raised in blessing. The tomb is located in the ancient city of Oxyrhynchus at Al Bahnasa, approximately 160 km south of Cairo. [Read more]

Human Sexual Responses Boosted by Bodily Scents

666A3E97-CC58-4630-83DCFB6A62638619_article[1]Could men and women rely on smell to find potential mates? Birds do, bees do—and now scientists have some reason to think that humans do, too. Growing evidence suggests that bodily odors carry chemical signals that affect moods and menstrual cycles, but isolating the specific compounds that elicit these effects, called pheromones, has proved difficultWen Zhou, a psychologist and olfaction researcher at the Chinese Academy of sciences, and her colleagues looked at two compounds found in bodily fluids that, according to earlier studies, are good candidates for human pheromones: androstadienone, associated with men, and estratetraenol, from women. The two steroids were found to elicit markedly different responses in male and female test subjects. [Read more]

How to Spot Bad Science

Science-Daily-Bad-Science[1]If you’re a regular at this blog, you’ll have picked up on my favourite theme – bad science (and bad science journalism) in the world of psychology and neuroscience. The anonymous author of the Compound Chem blog has put together a rather splendid bucket list of issues to look out for when reading science news, that fits in so well with the Big Think colour scheme that I couldn’t help but repost it. You can download the PDF here which is released under a creative commons licence. [Read more]

The Pseudo-Science of Alcoholics Anonymous: There’s a Better Way to Treat Addiction

coffee_maker_donuts-620x412[1]Alcoholics Anonymous is a part of our nation’s fabric. In the seventy-six years since AA was created, 12-step programs have expanded to include over three hundred different organizations, focusing on such diverse issues as smoking, shoplifting, social phobia, debt, recovery from incest, even vulgarity. All told, more than five million people recite the Serenity Prayer at meetings across the United States every year. Twelve-step programs hold a privileged place in our culture as well. [Read more]

Gravity and the Laws of Attraction, Somewhat Revised

isaac-newton_physical_laws[1]Here’s a bit of great news: no matter how ugly you are, scientifically speaking, you’re still attractive! That doesn’t mean that the guy or girl you’ve crushed on for one year, eight months, 37 days, 12 hours and 33 minutes (who’s counting?) is going to jump into bed with you… but it does mean that your feet will always remain planted firmly on the ground. And this is because, to planet Earth, you are attractive. How romantic! [Read more]

From The New Yorker, More Malarkey on Darwin’s Doubt

AG_BY_BL_2009[1]An initial review of Darwin Doubt appeared in The New Yorker back in July soon after the book came out. Though author Gareth Cook dismissed ID largely based on Nick Matzke’s review at Panda’s Thumb — the one Matzke claimed to have completed in the course of a single session on the elliptical machine at his gym* — Cook’s review was also replete with backhanded compliments. Now there comes along Adam Gopnik in the same magazine with a long, silly essay (“Bigger than Phil”) thumping for atheism. His remarks on Stephen Meyer and intelligent design make Cook and Matzke look judicious and thoughtful. [Read more]

Oklahoma Satanists’ Statue Planned for City Hall is Totally METAL

Screen-Shot-2014-05-01-at-1-24-57-PM-1[1]In January, the Satanic Temple generously offered to erect a monument to the Dark Lord. After a successful Indiegogo campaign that raised $30,000 to erect the monument to Baphomet (out of a $20,000 goal) a sculptor is busily constructing the statue. The statue is a direct response to Oklahoma City allowing the erection of a Ten Commandments monument. In December, the Satanic Temple’s spokes man Lucien Greaves said, “By accepting our offer,the good people of Oklahoma City will have the opportunity to show that they espouse the basic freedoms spelled out in the Constitution … Allowing us to donate a monument would show that the Oklahoma City Council does not discriminate, and both the religious and non-religious should be happy with such an outcome.” [Read more]

4 Robots That Teach Children Science and Math in Engaging Ways

92142D94-8F9F-44BE-97C79172A1240145_article[1]Robots can capture a child’s imagination like no other tool by creating a fun, physical learning process. With robots, kids learn programming via interactive play by moving a robot in various sequences and using intuitive, visual programming on a computer screen. The children also learn STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) by watching and interacting with robots that demonstrate the practical results of the day’s lesson. “Kids recognize when they are learning something themselves—robots give them that,” says Larry Johnson, CEO of the New Media Consortium, a research organization that specializes in educational technology. Robots are proving to be valuable educational tools from the lower grades all the way up to graduate school. “Building and programming these devices is part of becoming a creative science and engineering kind of person,” he adds. [Read more]

Creationists Hit the Panic Button After Neil DeGrasse Tyson Destroys The Myth That the Universe Is 6,000 Years Old

Creationists find evolution so offensive that this week they attacked Neil deGrasse Tyson and his show Cosmos over the claim that stars evolved and created life as we know it. In episode 8 titled, “Sisters of the Sun,” Tyson highlighted the stellar evolution and explained in detail the life and death of stars. [Read more]

Stephen Meyer: “I Don’t Use God of the Gaps”

You have all heard of Darwin’s Doubt, the new book by Stephen Meyer. We haven’t read it so we haven’t critiqued it, but judging by the amount of blog posts the Discoveroids have devoted to praising and promoting it, his book is the biggest thing they have going for them this year. [Read more]