Archive for March 15th, 2009

How to spot religion in science clothing

| March 15, 2009 | 1 Reply
How to spot religion in science clothing

How can you easily spot religion in science clothing? According to New Scientist book review editor Amanda Gefter, look for these code words:

  1. Scientific Materialism
  2. The invocation of Cartesian dualism
  3. Misguided interpretations of quantum physics (also a “New Age” giveaway)
  4. The terms “Darwinism” or “Darwinist” (scientists refer to “evolution” and “biologists”)
  5. Referring to natural selection as “blind”, “random” or an “undirected process”

There’s also a censorship story within this story. Click the above link for more.

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Muffins and the end of innocence

| March 15, 2009 | 12 Replies
Muffins and the end of innocence

“Did you know there’s totally science behind muffins? Totally ruined muffins for me.”

Ah, the wisdom of youth. That particularly large & shiny pearl came from a blazered private school girl of perhaps 15 who I was standing next to (almost on top of) on my Connex-brand cattle-truck – I mean, “train” – this morning. Girl Student (henceforth “GS”) was bemoaning the fact that in her cooking class her teacher explained that the release of carbon dioxide during the cooking process was responsible for the rising of muffins and for the tiny little pockets of air that end up being formed in all things baked. So, in response to this new but unwanted & unwelcome knowledge, GS now proclaims her hatred for – or at least new found apathy toward – the little round cakes she used to love.

Naturally, her comment got me thinking. Does GS approach every mundane mystery in her life in such a manner? Would she disavow Myspace if she figured out that barely any of those seventeen thousand and eighty-four “friends” of hers actually qualified for such a title? Would she stop catching the train if she knew a tad more about electricity? What if she found out what keeps planes in the air? Sweet flaming crikey, no more summer trips to the Whitsundays then (probably a good thing, it’d totally suck to find out how that big hot disc in the sky is making you slightly darker). Safer stuck at home I guess, with just the TV/Wii/Blu-Rayer/microwave/mobile phone for company … on the other hand, perhaps not. Perhaps all those modern wonders are just a fresh crop of parades waiting to be stripped of their brilliance by the acid rain of knowledge. You never know what awful, awful knowledge might leach into your brain if you sit on the remote and accidentally switch to the Discovery Channel.

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