## Thursday, May 16, 2013

### Jerry Coyne - Why Evolution is True and Why Many People Still Don't Believe It (2012)

I've been reading On The Origin of Species which has been inspiring me to post more evolution related lectures and debates. I've read quite a few books on evolution so its interesting to go back to the source. Darwin's work is still highly relevant and engaging so it's been good to revisit it. This post is also a response to the last debate I posted, where the imitable "Dr." Hovind convinced us so effectively of creationism's truth. In other news, my band is leaving for tour today, so posts may get a little spaced out for the next two weeks.

AUDIO ONLY (MP3)

## Monday, May 13, 2013

### The Great Debate - Kent Hovind vs. Michael Shermer (Creationism vs. Evolution)

This classic debate between Kent Hovind and Michael Shermer pits creationism against evolution as if they were two equally scientific ideas. Creationism, as Shermer repeatedly says in his rebuttals, is not science and not even close to being on equal footing. Just slapping the word science before or after a term does not make it so. We all know and love Shermer (he has some of his hair left in this debate!), founder of Skeptic magazine and author of Why People Believe Weird Things. I decided to look into Kent Hovind and his credentials to which I was immediately ROTFL (excuse my internet vernacular). From his Wikipedia article:
In 1988 and 1991 respectively, Hovind was awarded a master's degree and doctorate in Christian Education through correspondence from the non-accredited Patriot University in Colorado Springs, Colorado (now Patriot Bible University in Del Norte, Colorado, which no longer offers this program).[9] Having a website called "Dr. Dino" has provoked some academics to look closely at how Hovind presents his education and credentials. Chemistry professor Karen Bartelt has said that it is "very unusual for a person with a Ph.D., even a real one, to list oneself in the phonebook as "Dr Hovind", as Hovind has done."[10] [emphasis in original]. Barbara Forrest, a professor of philosophy, expert on the history of creationism and activist in the creation-evolution controversy, wrote that Hovind's lack of academic training makes it impossible to engage him on a professional level.
Other critics of Hovind have pointed out that Patriot Bible University is a diploma mill, as it has unreasonably low graduation requirements, lack of sufficient faculty or educational standards, and a suspicious tuition scheme.[12][13] The school's current policies allow students to attain bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and even "Doctor of Ministry" degrees in months, rather than years, for as little as \$25 per month. Currently Patriot offers a monthly fee, unlike most universities, which only charge per-credit fees.[14]
Bartelt has stated that Hovind's doctoral dissertation is evidence of the poor requirements at Patriot and that Hovind lacks knowledge of basic science.
Also, most hilarious, since January 2007 "Dr." Hovind has been serving out part of a 10 year prison sentence for a litany of charges.
...after being convicted of 58 federal counts, including 12 tax offenses, one count of obstructing federal agents, and 45 counts of structuring cash transactions. He is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution at Berlin, New Hampshire.
This level of hypocrisy is astounding. It's somewhat reminiscent of the recent wire fraud charges brought against skeptical podcaster Brian Dunning. However Dunning doesn't espouse a hardline stance on biblical morality so I would say his case doesn't display nearly as much duplicity of character.

AUDIO ONLY (MP3)

## Saturday, May 11, 2013

### Charlie Parker - The Essence Of Charlie Parker (2006)

Often considered a pioneer of bebop, Charlie Parker was a confirmed atheist. Often referred to simply as "The Bird", he struggled with heroin addiction while putting out some of the greatest jazz recordings of all time. He died from a heart attack when he was 34 years old and the coroner mistook his age for being 50 to 60. Remember, don't do drugs kids. Miles Davis said, "You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker." An atheist bebop soundtrack for filling out your pro-fluoride ballot, awwww yeaaahhh.

$\frac{\partial f}{\partial t} + \frac{\mathbf{p}}{m}\cdot\nabla f + \mathbf{F}\cdot\frac{\partial f}{\partial \mathbf{p}} = \left(\frac{\partial f}{\partial t} \right)_\mathrm{coll}$

WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

AUDIO ONLY (MP3)

## Sunday, May 5, 2013

### Understanding Science - Lecture 5: The Burden of Proof (2012)

Sorry for the long wait between posts. I usually wait an arbitrary amount of time between posts when I write a large fluoridation essay because the blog tends to get link dropped. I'm going to be fairly relieved when this damn vote is over. I've been wearing my pro-fluoride button which tends to get me into hilarious debates with passionate antis. Sometimes I'm in the mood for it and sometimes I'm not but I still haven't heard any argument that sounds rational or logical yet. The anti-campaign seems to have resorted to just saying "NOOO!" instead of engaging in rational argument. Another side effect of these high profile anti-science campaigns is that the online skeptical groups become awash with people name calling and attacking science-based thinking. They often purport to be "skeptical" but they are one-trick ponies, there only for countering arguments on this one issue. The momentary relief between campaigns draws near and we can all go back to posting Neil deGrasse Tyson videos and poking fun at religion.

AUDIO ONLY (MP3)

## Friday, April 26, 2013

### Clean Water Portland Conducting Push Polling

An internet buddy of mine (who I know personally but wished to remain anonymous for fear of internet backlash) recorded this robotic phone poll last night. DOWNLOAD THE AUDIO HERE. Here is a transcript of the message:
[If you would vote] no or undecided. If you would vote yes press one.

Did you know the fluoridation chemical the water bureau would add to our water is called fluorosilicic acid and is not a naturally occurring fluoride mineral or even the pharmaceutical grade fluoride in toothpaste? Instead, fluorosilicic acid is an industrial by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry.

Press one if you are aware of this. Press two if you were not aware of this.

Did you know that following a major National Academy of Sciences report in 2006 the federal government called for a reduction of fluoridation concentrations by over 40% because of concerns people were getting too much fluoride?

Press one if you knew this. Press two if you did not know this.

Did you know that according to recent studies by the National Academy of Sciences and other leading researchers that even low fluoride levels can damage the brain, thyroid, and bones?

Press one if you were aware of these risks. Press two if you were not aware of these risks.

In light of these facts, has your opinion changed on the measure to add fluoridation chemicals and increase water rates? If the election were held today, how would you describe your position on the measure to add fluoridation chemicals and increase water rates? Voting yes, meaning to vote yes, voting no, meaning to vote no, or undecided.

If you would vote yes press one.

Thank you for your participation. This poll was paid for by Clean Water Portland PAC.
This is a very obvious case of push polling. It is an underhanded telemarketing technique where a political campaign, under the guise of conducting a poll, conveys innuendo and negative information about a particular stance. Very often there is no attempt at analyzing or interpreting the polling data and their sole purpose is to convey the negative information. Push polling is a form of negative campaigning (in the same category with smear tactics, fear mongering, and voter suppression) and is condemned by the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) [1].

As for the information contained in the push poll, its loaded with scientific falsehoods and manipulating innuendo. They continually repeat "fluoride CHEMICAL" in an attempt to play on people's misguided and unscientific fear of the word "chemical". Chemicals are all around us, sugar is one and water is another, therefore it is irrational to fear them or to believe that the word "chemical" has any sort of negative connotation. Some continued internet reading on the subject here, here, and here.

The fact that fluorosilicic acid is a by-product of an industrial process does not make it inherently unsafe. A by-product is a secondary product derived from a manufacturing process or chemical reaction. It is not the primary product or service being produced. Hexafluorosilicic acid, once put into water, converts completely into fluoride ions (F-), hydrogen ions (H+), and sand [2]. It is scientifically impossible to separate naturally occurring fluoride ions from fluoride ions added artificially in this manner.

The National Academy of Sciences report ( has many enlightening statements including:
• Addressing questions of artificial fluoridation, economics, risk-benefit assessment, and water-treatment technology was not part of the committee’s charge. (p. 2)
• The committee only considered adverse effects that might result from exposure to fluoride; it did not evaluate health risk from lack of exposure to fluoride or fluoride’s efficacy in preventing dental caries. (p. 2)
• The report makes no concrete claims to any negative effects of fluoride at the normal accepted levels of fluoridation other than dental fluorosis.  It continually calls for more studies to be conducted.
• It calls for more studies and concern over possible negative human effects based off of animal studies in which rats were given extremely large (10 mg for 30 days in one) dosages of fluoride.  The average rat weighs 550 grams while the average human in North America weighs 80.7 kg.  Toxicity is weight dependent.  That's 10 times the recommended human dosage to an animal that weighs 146 times less.
• It references the Chinese and Iranian studies linking lower IQ scores to fluoride that can be discounted because of their poor quality.  It even states: Without detailed information about the testing conditions and the tests themselves, the committee was unable to assess the strength of the studies. (p. 208)
• Strong evidence exists that the prevalence of severe enamel fluorosis is nearly zero at water fluoride concentrations to below 2 mg/L. (p. 346)
This study says nothing about the safety or efficacy of community water fluoridation (at .7 ppm), it is a study measuring the toxicology of high doses of fluoride. It cannot be used to back negative arguments regarding the safety or efficacy of community water fluoridation because, I reiterate, there is no evidence within the study that fluoride at the recommended .7 ppm level has any negative health effects whatsoever and the study explicitly states that it was not evaluating fluoride's efficacy in preventing dental caries.

Clean Water Portland is leading a campaign of false facts, negative campaigning, and fear mongering. While you may or may not be for water fluoridation, you are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts. The fact is the science is overwhelmingly in favor of water fluoridation, it is safe and effective. Clean Water Portland knows this and is resorting to improper campaign tactics in order to counter this damning fact. Vote yes on Measure 26-151, vote no on pseudoscience and fear.

### Ascetic: – Self Initiation (2013)﻿

The Australian post-punk/gothic rock band Ascetic: have an interesting way of describing themselves which invokes ambiguity and curiosity.
Drawn from a collective obsession with fringe philosophy and post-new-age consciousness...
Looking at one of the member's Facebook, he has Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche listed along with a few other philosophical books. GOD IS DEAD.

$R_{\mu \nu} - {1 \over 2}g_{\mu \nu}\,R + g_{\mu \nu} \Lambda = {8 \pi G \over c^4} T_{\mu \nu}$