May 2007

Why Do Some People Resist Science?
By Paul Bloom and Deena Skolnick Weisberg

The developmental data suggest that resistance to science will arise in children when scientific claims clash with early emerging, intuitive expectations. This resistance will persist through adulthood if the scientific claims are contested within a society, and will be especially strong if there is a non-scientific alternative that is rooted in common sense and championed by people who are taken as reliable and trustworthy. This is the current situation in the United States with regard to the central tenets of neuroscience and of evolutionary biology. These clash with intuitive beliefs about the immaterial nature of the soul and the purposeful design of humans and other animals — and, in the United States, these intuitive beliefs are particularly likely to be endorsed and transmitted by trusted religious and political authorities. Hence these are among the domains where Americans’ resistance to science is the strongest.
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Along with the swarm of love bugs that fill the air every May and September here in Florida, are tall tales of how these insects got here.

Read about them here:

More info:


The Top 10 Intelligent Designs (or Creation Myths)

GALLUP: Nearly 1 in 3 Believe Bible is Literal Word of God

“Believe in the literal word of the Bible is strongest among those whose schooling stopped with high school and declines steadily with educational level, with only 20% of college graduates holding that view and 11% of those with an advanced degree. “

From Michael Shermer’s column in Scientific American:

If the law of attraction is true, then the Jews–along with the butchered Turkish-Armenians, the raped Nanking Chinese, the massacred Native Americans and the enslaved African-Americans–had it coming. The latter exemplar is especially poignant given Oprah’s backing of The Secret on her Web site: “The energy you put into the world–both good and bad–is exactly what comes back to you. This means you create the circumstances of your life with the choices you make every day.” Africans created the circumstances for Europeans to enslave them?

Full Article

A man dubbed as “God’s dental assistant”, claims he can magically fix crooked teeth and turns filings to gold. I wonder if fluoride and whitening is extra.

Read the story here.

UPDATE: Mr. Meyer writes a letter scolding the Herald-Tribune for their uncritical article on “God’s Dental Assistant”.

Here is an interesting comment on this story after it was posted on

James Randi covered this guy already in his book The Faith Healers. Apparently, this man’s pen-flashlight that he uses when peering into people’s mouths has a feeble, yellowish glow, which causes the fillings to appear gold when they reflect the light. Many people who have been healed incidentally report that their fillings reverted to their ordinary silver colour when they got home.

He also used to say that the fillings put in by God were cross-shaped, which he interpreted as being God’s own “seal of approval”. Randi dryly noted that most fillings are made that way, as it gives strength to the structure.

This guy was debunked was published almost twenty years ago in that book, and yet the gullible masses are obviously still eager to be duped.

The most comical (or, if you prefer, tragic) aspect of all this is that Rev. Steve Jones’ own teeth are in dreadful condition. Physician, heal thyself.

5/29/07 UPDATE: Some additional letters from readers to the Herald-Tribune here and here.

6/11/07 UPDATE: ABC News 7 did a short news segment on Rev. Jones. You can watch it on YouTube here:

ABC News 7 was there the same day we were there to do our interview with Rev. Jones. I will have some clips from that interview soon.


The discovery of the carcass of Jerry Falwell on the floor of an obscure office in Virginia has almost zero significance, except perhaps for two categories of the species labeled “credulous idiot.” (more)

Christopher Hitchens appears on Anderson Cooper 360 to discuss the “Legacy” of Jerry Falwell:

Hitchens on Hannity and Colmes:

“I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians…the A.C.L.U., People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, ‘ You helped this happen.'” [Jerry Falwell, September 13th, on The 700 Club about last week’s terrorist attacks]

From The Wall Street Journal – Science Journal:

A provocative medical experiment conducted recently by neuroscientists at Harvard, Caltech and the University of Southern California strongly suggests these impulsive convictions come not from conscious principles but from the brain trying to make its emotional judgment felt.


Friday May 11th at 9pm Eastern. ABC 20/20 will air a 2 hour special: “Seeing is Believing: The Power of Faith.” One of the topics in the special is Peter Popoff, who Randi exposed 20 years ago on the Tonight Show (watch video). ABC sent a video crew to the JREF and got a good interview with Randi discussing Popoff and the so called Faith Healers. Make sure not to miss it. Afterward make it on over to the forums for further discussion on the topic.

Anderson Cooper interviews Christopher Hitchens:

Lou Dobbs w/ Hitchens on Al Sharpton’s Bigoted Remark:

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