Category Archives: GWOG | Science

The hostility of Christianity and other religions towards homosexuality is not a reason to shed one’s belief in God. It is scientific skepticism as a mode of thinking that provides us with a logical framework that shows that God is not a part of the picture of reality.

The scientific method is the only tool we have that has proven time and again to enhance our resolution of reality. Religion has done nothing in this regard and in fact has been consistent only in redefining its interpretations of static doctrine in order to fit what science reveals about the world around us. This topic takes a skeptic’s approach to exploring our universe by way of critical thinking on the one hand while highlighting the logical fallacies characteristic of faith based thinking on the other.

Sunday Science Roundup #3

Acute_leukemia-ALL
Wikimedia: VashiDonsk

All six of these articles show what we are capable of. We are a clever species that (sometimes) learns from experience and is able to manipulate even nature to our will. We can create as much as we destroy, and with the proper tools to express oneself we can change the progression of aggression with creativity. We can protect and help as much as we can take… if given we only had that will.

After all, what would we do with these rejuvenated species? Most species that have gone extinct within human history are from loss of habitat or culling (our bad). So where would we put these creatures? Some of them have been gone for so long, wouldn’t they then also be invasive? Efforts to make corridors for nature (much like our highways to us that create barriers to it), allow species to move with the climate should have been done long ago.

This not even for global climate change but also for the genetic diversity and health of our biosphere. It’s a beautiful idea but how it’s being implemented is almost defeatist, suggesting that there is nothing to do about human induced environmental change other than let nature take its course.. ridiculous..

Deniers of global climate change and people that think there is a wide spread vaccine conspiracy are not that different from each other. They lack solid data and/or don’t except widely excepted concepts of established facts (like the earth is old as shit)..

There are multiple factors that play a hand in development and yes- modern medicine isn’t perfect but all the studies and tests that have been done on vaccines over the past twenty some years show the increase of developmental disorders caused by vaccines is below the margin of error, meaning there is a rise in developmental disorders, but there is absolutely nothing linking that rise to vaccines.

These studies now include a wide array of subjects; demographically speaking, most of the people that have access to the internet.. So if you don’t believe/agree with the general consensus of the scientific community, download some biology books, learn some chemistry, get creative, figure out how your body works.. After all, that would help you understand global climate change too. Convert your hostility into achieving constructive goals.

Power of Art: Can painting improve your grades?
bbc.co.uk

T-cells engineered to attack B-cells sent adults’ acute leukemia into remission.
the-scientist.com

Vaccines Not Linked To Autism. Again.
Forbes.com

Climate Scientist Describes Death Threats And Personal Attacks At The Hands Of Deniers
businessinsider.com

Resurrected Frog Gives Us Cause To Brood
npr.org

Federal plan aims to help wildlife adapt to climate change
latimes.com

Science Roundup #2

‘Best Map Ever Made of Universe’s Oldest Light: Planck Mission Brings Universe Into Sharp Focus’

Read the article at Science Daily

MWB enhancedEarlier this week when I got excited about this article and a friend of mine asked what the point of the study was and what it did for him or the average person. Which is more than a fair question since he as well as all tax payers are making this study possible..

Since he is not as much of a dork as I am I didn’t really have an easy answer, I was actually dumbfounded as to why this mattered to the average person at all.

Then I heard someone say, I think on a science podcast: ‘this proves that the universe is this old and can no longer be shaken off as an opinion anymore than the distance between New York and LA can be an opinion.’ So basically, because we know how motion/movement works and the distance/speed of these celestial objects now in great detail, scientists with multiple sources and data (which now include this study) can say with greater accuracy than before how long it’s been expanding … which is confirmed to be about 13.8 Billion years.. give or take a few 10 million… Not to be snarky but #religiongotitwrongagain

 

Modest Changes in Military Dining Facilities Promoted Healthier Eating

Read the article at Science Daily

military eatsI’m sorry, but obviously.

Who would have guessed that if you cut off a person’s ability to get food themselves and only feed them crap that they would get fat. It’s no surprise, nor should it be, that if you have better food available to you that you will be healthier and be able to preform on an equally higher level.

This study should be applied to public schools. Food has a huge outcome on how healthy children grow physically and develop mentally. The quality of public school food options are limited to say at best and given many kids have to worry about when their next meal is or if lunch is the only time they eat, has a dramatic impact on how well they digest the education. An overhaul on food distribution policies giving better diet and exercise choices is needed at this stage to make sure it meets growth and performance requirements.

The rise of both malnourished children and obesity in our culture is obviously the product of the lack of knowledge on what’s good for you to eat, and the vast availability of easy-to-make shit that might taste ‘good’ but ultimately is crap doesn’t help any. It all starts at schools and a simple shift in food education can make a radical difference. You are what you eat.

Finding the Holy faggot atheist within

I love planets. Actually, I love exoplanets — anything about them. I want to know everything I can. How massive/dense they are, what materials they are comprised of, what type of star(s) they circle, if they have sister planets, if they have moons, if they are moons. Anything about them that is confirmed and known by the astrometry community, I bet I know or will know within a relatively short amount of time.

A friend of mine calls me an exophile. Though it is meant to be a derogatory term for my obsession, it’s still accurate. I do not have a degree in any type of physics and I am not a part of any astronomic group, but my information is legit. Over the past fifteen years I have spent my free time searching for new things to read on planetary information, and over the past twelve years, I’ve taken my research to the internet.

exoplanet1

Often at times, especially since a space telescope called Kepler launched, I  have allowed my obsession to consume me hours a day. For not having a formal background in astro/cosmo studies, I know a fair amount about the universe, its growth, and the decay of matter within it. And as an atheist — a homosexual one at that — it brings me great joy that I STARTED questioning myself, my environment and other individuals because I recognized the ignorance of a single religious zealot separating himself from the possibility of there being more than what he knew.

*****

I was raised ‘Christian’ or, rather, to be christ-like. My family didn’t stick to any one denomination and went to many churches during my rearing. Due to my own circumstances as a child, I was surrounded by poor health and extreme personal wealth. I went to the best schools my state had to offer. My parents spared no expense for the best medical care for me during my adolescence, during which time I was struggling with a myriad of health problems. Even though I went to a good school it was still a religious one.

I remember in great detail a conversation I had with a pastor at the school, I had initially wanted to have a conversation with him about why I had so many health problems — why would god do harm to a child? But after hearing his sermon during chapel about Man being the crown jewel of god’s achievement, I wanted to know how and why aliens fit into his vision.

He dismissed them entirely and then wanted to talk about me being sick, trying desperately to get back to the speech he had prepared for me, given my teacher told him I was curious to have a one-on-one discussion. I grew bored of what he was saying. The only thing I really remember after that point was him distinctly saying earth was special, and that life couldn’t be elsewhere because we didn’t even know of any other planets besides the then nine planets of our solar system…and at the time the only interest I had in space was what I saw in fiction, that is until I saw him try with such difficulty to change the subject back to his typical talking points.

*****

Soon after, I realized medical doctors had the answers that my pastor didn’t.

That’s when I fell into science. My mind developed in a way in which it understood I could get answers, but also I sought further questions. My parents tried to provide spiritual guidance — my mother helped me emotionally but she had fewer answers than what I was able to answer myself. The guidance that they tried to give me through others was just as much of a failure. Not to say my parents failed, however they themselves are just cogs in the machine from which the real problems originated. I wanted to know why I was sick. Why is there sickness at all? And why should Christ’s terrible death by crucifixion amount to us being magically cured of all our ‘sins’?

Continue reading Finding the Holy faggot atheist within

Science Roundup #1

science-readingsThis week’s GWOG recommended readings in science:

Life Deep Within Oceanic Crust Sustained by Energy from Interior of Earth

pulled from ScienceDaily

The core drill slides through a drill pipe, extending from the drill ship at the sea surface, through a water depth of 2.5 km and hundreds of metres of sediment, into the oceanic crust off the west coast of North America. Microbiologist Mark Lever is on board the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program’s research vessel JOIDES Resolution to examine rock samples from the depths.

The results of the studies he and his colleagues carried out are published today in the journal Science.

“We’re providing the first direct evidence of life in the deeply buried oceanic crust. Our findings suggest that this spatially vast ecosystem is largely supported by chemosynthesis,” says Dr Lever, at the time a PhD student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, and now a scientist at the Center for Geomicrobiology at Aarhus University, Denmark.

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Suppressing Brain’s ‘Filter’ Can Improve Performance in Creative Tasks

pulled from ScienceDaily

The brain’s prefrontal cortex is thought to be the seat of cognitive control, working as a kind of filter that keeps irrelevant thoughts, perceptions and memories from interfering with a task at hand.

Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have shown that inhibiting this filter can boost performance for tasks in which unfiltered, creative thoughts present an advantage.

Previous studies have shown that the prefrontal cortex — in particular, the left prefrontal cortex — is one important area of the brain that supports cognitive control. As a test of whether reduced cognitive control might be advantageous in some circumstances, Thompson-Schill’s team designed an experiment that involved inhibiting the activity of the left prefrontal cortex in adults while they completed a creative task.

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The Blessings of Atheism

Just over two years ago, I suddenly lost my best friend to lymphoma. He was twenty-eight years old, in seemingly good health, and had just married six months prior. Over the course of two weeks, he fell ill with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes until he suddenly went into septic shock and died, only to be diagnosed with lymphoma after an autopsy.

It was the first time I had faced the emotional whirlwind that is losing someone you love. I was twenty-four years old and it was right around this time that my beliefs as an atheist truly started taking form. His wonderful family members comforted each other with the usual phrases of “He is with our lord,” “he is in a better place,” etc. I felt almost guilty having thoughts that my friend, once so vibrant and alive, was now mere dust. That he was not bouncing off clouds with a higher being in some sort of paradise, but instead that his greatest being, his most perfect self, was the individual that walked this Earth for twenty-eight years.

I connected with the understanding that he was alive within me. Not that he was among me in any physical or supernatural sense… but that his traits… the very essence of him that made myself and so many others love him will be instilled within us, until it is our time to pass. I am sad that my friend is no longer alive. But moreso, I am so grateful to have known him, to have been influenced by him, to have been graced with the good fortune of having known him for eight years.

Right around the two-year anniversary of his passing, I read a New York Times editorial that spoke of atheism and the blessings offered therein. I’d like to share that article with you and ask that you contribute your thoughts on death as an atheist. (Article: The Blessings of Atheism).

Homosexuality ultimately a result of gene regulation, researchers find

Initially, I planned to post this study from a conservative news source in attempt to add some levity to their foot-in-mouth reporting style. It seems, however, that most conservative publications have taken the liberty of adding their own thoughts to this, oftentimes spinning it into an ethical thesis regarding “gay conversion therapy” and how it “shouldn’t be forcibly thrown out.” Upon realizing this, I decided I would be personally remiss to repost such smut.

Instead, I give you an article from The Scientist. Epigenetics seem to be the new frontier in science, and it is fascinating what developments could come of this. Personally, my favorite part of the article is the final paragraph which surmises that we, essentially, should already understand that homosexuality is biologically based and not feel the need to pour money into proving this.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

By SABRINA RICHARDS | THE SCIENTIST

Researchers looking for a genetic signature of homosexuality have been barking up the wrong tree, according to a trio of researchers in the United States and Sweden. Instead, the scientists posit, epigenetic influences acting on androgen signaling in the brain may underlie sexual orientation. In a paper published last week (December 11) in The Quarterly Review of Biology, they propose a model describing how epigenetic markers that steer sexual development in males could promote homosexual orientation in females, and vice versa. The scientists offer their model to explain both the tendency of homosexuality to run in families, and the fact that so far no “homosexual gene” has been identified.

“It’s a very provocative, very interesting new twist that is plausible,” said Margaret McCarthy, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland who studies how hormones influence brain development and was not involved in producing the model. But, she cautioned, so far the theory “is not supported by any data.”

Indeed, Andrea Ciani, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Padova, thinks that a variety of factors, including genes and epigenetics, influence sexual orientation. “It’s a little bit vain to think we’ll find the answer to homosexuality as a whole.”

The model was developed by William Rice, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Sergey Gavrilets, a mathematician at the University of Tennessee; and Urban Friberg, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Uppsala. The notion that epigenetics, rather than genetics, is the primary force promoting homosexuality sprang from several observations, explained Rice.

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