What I’m Reading, Thursday, August 23, 2012

Politics

Given all this talk about Akin, Rape, and Abortion I couldn’t help but be reminded of this quote from Sam Harris from his book Letter to a Christian Nation regarding abortion:
“…20 percent of all recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. There is an obvious truth here that cries out for acknowledgment: if God exists, He is the most prolific abortionist of all.”
_and_
“…The moral truth here is obvious: anyone who feels that the interests of a blastocyst just might supersede the interests of a child with a spinal cord injury has had his moral sense blinded by religious metaphysics.”
_and_

“…A three-day-old human embryo is a collection of 150 cells called a blastocyst. There are, for the sake of comparison, more than 100,000 cells in the brain of a fly. The human embryos that are destroyed in stem-cell research do not have brains, or even neurons. Consequently, there is no reason to believe they can suffer their destruction in any way at all. It is worth remembered, in this context, that when a person’s brain has died, we currently deem it acceptable to harvest his organs (provided he has donated them for this purpose) and bury him in the ground. If it is acceptable to treat a person whose brain has died as something less than a human being, it should be acceptable to treat a blastocyst as such. If you are concerned about suffering in this universe, killing a fly should present you with greater moral difficulties than killing a human blastocyst.

Perhaps you think that the crucial difference between a fly and a human blastocyst is to be found in the latter’s potential to become a fully developed human being. But almost every cell in your body is a potential human being, given our recent advances in genetic engineering. Every time you scratch your nose, you have committed a Holocaust of potential human beings.” 

More on the Niall Ferguson Debacle

Out there in front in many cases is Brad Delong

Climate & Climate Politics

Health & Skepticism

  • Science-Based Medicine » Acupuncture practice acts: legalized quackery
  • Science-Based Medicine » Homeopathy’s Recent Woes

    Be careful what you wish for. In the last few decades purveyors of dubious medical treatments and products have been trying to go mainstream, and they have had some unfortunate success. They asked for serious scientific investigation into their claims – and they got it. They asked to be treated like real medicine (but not really, they only want the trappings of legitimacy, not the substance), and when they actually are treated with the standards similar to science-based medicine, they cry foul.

    The response of the fake-medicine lobby is not to alter their claims to fit the evidence, or to carry out better studies, or to clean up their act when problems are brought to their attention – but to attack their critics.

    Homeopathy is perhaps the best example of this behavior. Homeopathy’s biggest marketing advantage is that most people don’t know what it really is. They think it’s “natural” medicine or herbs. That is why, during homeopathy awareness week, I was happy enough to oblige. I want people to know exactly what homeopathy is – sugar pills. They are placebos on which the equivalent of a magical ritual has been cast. Active ingredients, which themselves are as fanciful as fairy dust, are diluted into non-existence.

    Not surprisingly, when tested in well-designed double blind placebo controlled trials, homeopathic placebos are indistinguishable from regular placebos. Homeopathy, put simply, doesn’t work. (read the complete article…)

Science

I never was a creationist but this is still a great video and it turn out that this fellow who publishes under the YouTube channel name of atheistcoffee (I just became a subscriber) has a whole bunch of videos worth watching.

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