Middle of the Week Starlinks

July 8th, 2009

From the people are ignorant department: a significant number of people think Buzz Lightyear and Louis Armstrong were the first men on the moon.   It’s only been 40 years people!   Also, NASA is taking some photos of the lunar landing sites, so hopefully the hoax crowd will shut up.   But I doubt it.

More from the same department.   Phil Plait links to a video of an Arizona State Senator casually dropping the age of the Earth as 6000 years in public discussion.   As he says, way too often, the stupid, it burns!

There’s definitely a double standard when it comes to atheists and Christians.   Guess who is better at turning the other cheek?   I guess it’s okay if it’s the oppressed minority, because they’re more used to not getting their way in all things all the time, and must be called militant when they do the same thing as mainstream religious folks.   Right?   A little ironic that this is coming from a black neighborhood, from people who 40 years ago were fighting for their own right to be heard.   Again, 40 years.

Which brings us back to the issue of the compatibility of science and religion.   There’s a new Pew poll about how the public resolves issues involving science and faith.   Basically, they accept science, except where they see it in conflict with their religious beliefs, and then they choose to ignore the science.   This I think shows a basic compatibility problem.   Chris Mooney (author of the Republican War on Science) sees an opportunity and wants push for compatibility by trying to show people that there aren’t incompatibilities, but I think he’s clearly turned off his brain as demonstrated by the second comment of the thread there, which echoes my thoughts:

Quoting Mooney: “But where Coyne sees sheer science-religion incompatibility, I see something else: An opportunity. For it seems to me that if we could only dislodge the idea that evolution is contradictory to people’s belief in “Jesus (19%), God (16%) or religion generally (16%),” then they would have no problem with evolution. In fact, the passage above shows that many of them (62%) already know evolution is good science–it’s the perception of religious conflict that is holding them back.”

What? You implied no such thing in your original post siting the Pew data to which Coyne, Cline, Benson and Hallquist were responding towards. In fact, you just co-opted this interpretation from Hallquist’s criticism (where he wrote about the interpretation you *could* have taken away from the data, but didn’t). http://www.uncrediblehallq.net/chris-mooney-lies-about-scientific-research/ ,via, http://atheism.about.com/b/2009/06/25/mooney-framing-rejecting-science-for-religion-means-theyre-compatible.htm

Further to the data, it shows that there is clearly a perception that science and religion are incompatible. On many counts, this is because they *are* incompatible. You say you want to demonstrate compatibility. How does one do that between the religious concept of creation and evolution? You convince them to become watered down deists?

I’ve lamented about these sorts of issues in the past.   Picking and choosing which science to believe has no intellectual integrity, and when science and religion are in direct conflict, science provides the only reliable information.   Thor doesn’t cause storms, for instance, and no one today has a problem with that.   But when State Senators aren’t called out for “we know the Earth is 6000 years old” bullshit, that’s not helping.   That sort of religious belief isn’t ever going to be compatible with the science, and pretending it is doesn’t help.

Moving on from warring atheists to warring robots, Topless Robot provides a great review of Transformers 2.

How humans could end war.   Come on, let’s have a war on war!

At Io9, there’s an article suggesting that online publishing is the best way to break into science fiction writing.   Not sure I agree or disagree.   It is a way…

An old article, On Thud and Blunder by Poul Anderson, about writing sword and sorcery tales.   New to me.   And it’s about the fantasy equivalent of hard science fiction, about how to research things and get them a bit more realistic.

Valentin Ivanov (a Diamonds in the Sky contributor) has a statistical study of publishing trends in science fiction and fantasy over at Strange Horizons.

New anthology contest now open, 8 Minutes.   “Something has happened to the sun. In 8 Minutes everything changes!”   If you don’t understand the significance of 8 minutes, think of the finite speed of light.

The mystery of a bat with an unusual nose.

Finally, Jeffrey Carver has a short video for his novel Sunborn, which features a lot of NASA images and animations:

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