Friday, June 25, 2010

Pharyngula (science, religion, politics)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Pharyngula, by Seed Media Group


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Seed Magazine presents Pharyngula, a scientific and freethinking blog named after an important period of embryonic development. Pharyngula is a mixed bag of science news with a liberal slant, as well as other topics guaranteed to make you think and make you laugh.

MY REVIEW: I enjoy this blog, for all that I'm a Republican (although an atheist one) and the author is a Liberal, but an atheist also, so he gets a pass on his politics.

The author is PZ Myers, a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. He works with zebrafish in the field of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), and also cultivates an interest in cephalopods. (He also has a biography on Wikipedia!)

The blog makes for very interesting reading, and I encourage all biology and cephalopod fans, and atheists, and anyone with an interest in good writing, to read it. As for the politics - regardless of your views, it's always good to read the other side...

Sample post
How Mormons will conquer the world
There's a documentary coming out about how the Mormons influenced California's Proposition 8, and Salon has an interview with the director, Reed Cowan. He makes the point that it wasn't just that they raised buckets of money, but that they had willing volunteers.

Nobody does it better than the Mormons. Money is one thing. What outsiders don't understand is the volunteer aspect: the "means and time" trigger language that comes from the temple, and how it literally played to their obedience.

Their greatest asset is the obedience of their people. They had people signed up to go street by street and house by house. They knew who to take with them and were extremely organized.

What is it about those two words, "time and means," that triggers obedience?

You're told in the temple that what you are about to do, your eternal salvation hinges on it. God will not be mocked. Then you see a character named Satan who basically threatens to take away your eternal salvation if you don't live up to covenants you're making. When they used the trigger language of the temple, most of the Mormon faithful got it. Your salvation and the salvation of humanity depends on it. It's inferred that you will lose everything if you don't obey.

If there's one thing religion is good at, it's using fear to make people conform and obey. The question is whether uniformity and mass action at the behest of a few authoritarians is good for humanity…and I think not. At least not the kind of humanity I want to live among.

--How Mormons will conquer the world
--Friday Cephalopod: Eye of the cuttlefish
--Great Beards: Darwin!
--Irreligiosophical podcast
--Octopuses do not have psychic powers

Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

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