Laughter is universal, but we know very little about the reasons we do it. Dr. Robert Provine has been studying the social and neurological roots of laughter for 20 years, and has come to surprising conclusions about how we operate as human beings.
For more on the health benefits of laughter, visit: theatlantic.com
To learn more about Dr. Provine’s research, read his latest book, Curious Behavior: bit.ly
The party that denies climate change and still refuses to accept the theory of evolution after more than a century is now planning to gut the National Science Foundation. Because of course they are.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration and the scientific community at large are expressing serious alarm at a House Republican bill that they argue would dramatically undermine way research is conducted in America.
Titled the “Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act of 2014,” the bill would put a variety of new restrictions on how funds are doled out by the National Science Foundation. The goal, per its Republican supporters on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, would be to weed out projects whose cost can’t be justified or whose sociological purpose is not apparent.
For Democrats and advocates, however, the FIRST Act represents a dangerous injection of politics into science and a direct assault on the much-cherished peer-review process by which grants are awarded.
“We have a system of peer-review science that has served as a model for not only research in this country but in others,” said Bill Andresen, the associate vice president of Federal Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania. “The question is, does Congress really think it has the better ability to determine the scientific merit of grant applications or should it be left up to the scientists and their peers?”
Shudder. This means that one of the people on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee who will be deciding which scientific research should be funded is: Paul Broun, who believes the Big Bang, evolution, and embryology are all “lies straight from the pit of hell.”
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), who drafted a resolution for Americans to “join together in prayer to humbly seek fair weather conditions” after a series of destructive tornados and droughts, is also on the House Science Committee, as is Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who suggested “dinosaur flatulence” may have caused climate change 55 million years ago.
They’re joined by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who has characterized climate science as an “international conspiracy,” as well as Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Fla.), who supports having public-school science teachers offer lessons on “theories that contradict the theory of evolution.”
It takes a lot to make my jaw drop after all these eons of blogging, but the amazing thing about this new religious right film is that something so deliberately ignorant and anti-rational is actually being made in 2014.
In “A Matter of Faith,” a good Christian girl who was raised right by her creationist daddy goes off to college, and daddy’s worst fears come true — Rachel falls under the spell of a sinister egg-headed evolutionist professor!
But daddy isn’t gonna take this lying down, no sir. He challenges this atheist science-lover to a public debate, enlisting the aid of a courageous black teacher who quit rather than “teach evolutionary lies from those textbooks.” It’s a by-the-numbers Hollywood script, with mind-numbingly trite characters, written by religious fanatics.
Cue ridiculously over the top martial music as creationist daddy puts the Satan-worshipper in his place.
Here we see the good Christian girl on her first exposure to the evil lies of Charles Darwin, causing her perfectly made-up brow to furrow in unaccustomed thought. Thought she will soon come to repent.
Gotta love it when The Onion trolls creationists: Biologists Confirm God Evolved From Chimpanzee Deity.
BERKELEY, CA—Challenging long-held views on the origins of divinity, biologists at the University of California, Berkeley, presented findings Thursday that confirm God, the Almighty Creator of the Universe, evolved from an ancient chimpanzee deity.
The recently discovered sacred ancestor, a divine chimp species scientists have named Pan sanctorum, reportedly gave rise over millions of years to the Lord Our God, Maker of Heaven and Earth.
“Although perhaps not obvious at first glance, there are actually overwhelming similarities between the Supreme Being of today and this early primate deity who preceded Him,” said Dr. Richard Kamen, a leading biologist who also heads Berkeley’s paleotheology department. “The holy chimp moved around on all fours, but its descendants eventually began walking upright to expend less energy while foraging across the infinite reaches of the universe. This of course led to the bipedalism of modern-day God.”
Bill Moyers takes on radical-right Republicans for denying the science behind evolution and climate change, showing a video clip of Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), chairman of oversight and investigations for the Science, Space and Technology Committee of the US House of Representatives, who says evolution is a lie “straight from the pit of hell” and climate change, a hoax.
The evolution of the bicycle told with animation all the way from the wooden horse to the modern racer.
Animation : Thallis Ville von Holck
Music : Flying Home by The Benny Goodman Sextet
For some reason, they can’t understand why real scientists aren’t giving them equal time to spread their inane nonsense.
Danny Faulkner of Answers In Genesis and the Creation Museum appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday to criticize Cosmos for not providing airtime for Creationism adherents. When Mefferd asked if Cosmos will “ever give a Creationist any time,” Faulkner responded by lamenting that “Creationists aren’t even on the radar screen for them, they wouldn’t even consider us plausible at all.”
Mefferd agreed that the show isn’t being very fair and balanced: “Boy, but when you have so many scientists who simply do not accept Darwinian evolution it seems to me that that might be something to throw in there, you know, the old, ‘some scientists say this, others disagree and think this,’ but that’s not even allowed.”
It’s almost like Cosmos wants to talk about real science..
More at Right Wing Watch: Creationists Demand Airtime on ‘Cosmos’ for the Sake of Balance
I was about to write that it was nice to see a Republican standing up to the all-powerful anti-science wing of the party for a change, but then I checked, and Gov. Jay Nixon is a Democrat, which comes as no surprise at all: Evolution Bill Not Best for Education, Governor Says.
Background: a group of fanatically religious Missouri Republicans are trying to pass a bill that would allow parents to take their children out of science classes that teach the theory of evolution.
“I think we need to respect people’s individual religious beliefs obviously, and I certainly appreciate that,” Nixon said. “But I think extricating children from science classes is not in the best interest of our STEM Initiative.”
Nixon said creationism is “what we study on Sunday, not on Monday.”
The state’s STEM initiative is an attempt to boost education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.
State Reps. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, and Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, have said they think parents should be allowed to remove their children from classes that teach evolution.
The Republican Party is the party for you — if you reject the entire basis of modern biological science.
I’ve uploaded a piece about this on my Potholer54 Facebook page. Basically, I think it’s a mistake to share a public platform like this with Creationists. Unless they can be questioned directly, it is simply a forum to make equal speeches in equal time. And that gives Creationism legitimacy. You have to be very familiar with Creationist arguments to be able to anticipate and ambush them.
In Missouri, the idea that public schools should teach creationism and treat the theory of evolution as an evil fraud is disturbingly popular, as this video from KCTV shows: Missouri Lawmaker Wants to Make Evolution Teaching Optional.
CASS COUNTY, MO (KCTV) - A lawmaker from Cass County believes the Missouri General Assembly should allow parents to opt out of evolution teaching to their children.
Second-term Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, said his bill is an attempt to address his concern about teaching evolution in a way that is more palatable to lawmakers than his last three unsuccessful efforts. The previous efforts would have mandated *how* schools teach evolution, requiring that it be taught alongside a biblical perspective referred to as intelligent design or creationism. This year’s effort keeps the curriculum as-is and uses the language of “choice.”
“What my bill would do is it would allow parents to opt out of natural selection teaching,” Brattin explained. “It would not prohibit the child from going through biology from learning about cell structure, DNA and the building blocks of life.”
Brattin contends public schools teach Darwinian theory as fact and says kids who question it are ridiculed.
“Our schools basically mandate that we teach one side,” said Brattin. “It is an indoctrination because it is not objective approach.”