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18 March 2014

On ignorance, bias, data, and the tentative nature of (scientific) interpretations

A young-Earth creationist reinterprets one of Callan’s blog posts in light of a Biblical flood. Callan responds with a demonstration of how new information can change a true scientist’s mind, but no amount of data can convince someone whose conclusions are based on faith rather than empirical data.

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27 November 2013

The Meaning of it All, by Richard Feynman

The Meaning of it All, by Richard Feynman

Another week, another audio book. In this case, it didn’t even take a day – the two and a half hours of philosophizing lectures from celebrated physicist and oddball Richard Feynman make excellent listening. One of the reasons it works so well, I think, is that the material was originally delivered as a series of three lectures by Feynman. These were then transcribed into book form, and then read aloud …

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26 September 2013

The Family That Couldn’t Sleep, by D.T. Max

The Family That Couldn’t Sleep, by D.T. Max

How do we get sick? Let’s make a list… Genetic disorders; those we inherit from our parents Injuries Environmental issues (obesity, diabetes) Infection by bacteria Infection by fungi Infection by viruses Infection by animals (tapeworms, etc.) Infection by protozoans (ameobae, dysentery, etc.) Infection by carcinogenic cells (e.g. Tasmanian devil contagious mouth cancers) That last one may sound pretty weird, but today’s book is about a weirder one: Infection by proteins …

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14 February 2013

The Discovery Institute feels sorry for my students

Periodically, I get requests to use my images in publications. It’s very easy to find my photos, because I publish a lot of them on this blog, or on my NOVA website, and they always rise to the top of a Google image search. I got a distinctive one on Monday: Dear Mr. Bentley, My boss Dr. Stephen C. Meyer at the Discovery Institute is finishing up a book that discusses …

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17 December 2012

Another five days until nothing much happens

Here we go again. Another warning of an apocalypse that won’t happen. Thank goodness Erik already covered why the world won’t end this weekend, so I don’t have to be bothered writing it up. Want to hear about the “Mayan Apocalypse” from Mayans? Try this discussion at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Not only is the idea of a Mayan doomsday scientifically unsound, it doesn’t accord with …

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13 December 2012

“The evolution of creationism,” by David Montgomery

“The evolution of creationism,” by David Montgomery

The cover story in the November issue of GSA Today was by David Montgomery, MacArthur “genius” award winner and author of Dirt. Montgomery has a new book out on creationism and “flood geology,” and the article is a précis of the historical roots of creationism that appears in that book. The article is titled “The Evolution of Creationism,” and the book it’s derived from is The Rocks Don’t Lie. I’ve …

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11 December 2012

Why Geology Matters, by Doug MacDougall

Why Geology Matters, by Doug MacDougall

Callan reviews a new book by Doug Macdougall: “Why Geology Matters.”

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28 April 2012

Skype as an EASY method of connecting scientists and students

Skype as an EASY method of connecting scientists and students

This week, I took 20 minutes out of my day to have a conversation with a group of students… …in Canada. As you can see, our conversation was not in person, but mediated by the Internet’s video conferencing technology service called Skype. A free Skype account and a video camera allows free, easy video conversations in real time, with people anywhere in the world. It is an absolutely amazing technology, …

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5 March 2012

Scott Mandia, climate communicator

Scott Mandia, climate communicator

Callan has a conversation with Scott Mandia, a community college professor working on the national level to improve the public’s understanding of climate science.

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5 December 2011

AGU 2011, day 1

I got to San Francisco on Saturday afternoon, flying in on the same flight from DC as Rob Simmon and Maria-José Viñas. MJ and I took the BART downtown, and then met up with Jess Ball for Thai dinner and a yummy dessert of banana wrapped in roti with Nutella and coconut ice cream. Then, jet lag informing me it was time for rest, I went to bed. I had …

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