Arctic Ice Update 2016

This is my fourth annual Arctic ice update. Once in a while, we pass a new milestone in our race to destroy our environment. The year 2012 was such a time, when the Arctic sea ice reached a record low extent. This year, things are getting a little crazy, probably due to the influence of a strong El Niño, which is aggravating the downward trend we have been seeing for decades. Sea ice extent has been running well below average, and is less than the record levels of 2012. Extent is only part Read more [...]
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Clear Thinking in Four Easy Steps

I ran across this graphic from a paper called Character and Leadership: Situating Servant Leadership in A Proposed Virtues Framework, co-authored by Jim Lanctot and Dr. Justin Irving. Something about it immediately tingled my "clear thinking sense" (like Spidey sense, but more cerebral), so of course I had to investigate. The paper itself, I discovered, wasn't badly done. It presents a reasonable layout of what may be considered basic virtues, not necessarily the ones I consider most important, but Read more [...]
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Harmless Church

Recently I had a dream. It started suitably nuts, as one might expect. I was driving an impossible vehicle, something like a giant geometric shape (triangle or trapezoid?), and having the usual traffic tie-ups, getting lost and so forth. I ended up driving down an offramp, through an archway and into the interior of a large building. “This is a little odd,” I thought. I got off the vehicle and started looking around. He seemed harmless. Almost immediately I was engaged in conversation by a Read more [...]
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Everyone Should Get Their Own Bathroom

Is that the solution to the pressing problem of transsexuals using public bathrooms? Perhaps first we should ask whether there is a problem. Many of the "religious freedom" bills being pushed through in several states address this very issue, whether needed or not. Mississippi's HB 1523 does indeed preserve the right of religious organizations and most private businesses to discriminate against classes of people, based on the organization's "sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction." For Read more [...]
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What if You’re Wrong?

I have been asked, "What if you're wrong? What if God exists and you are indeed bound for hell because you don't believe? You are risking an eternity of punishment and the loss of infinite reward, simply for refusing to have faith." There are a great many flaws in that argument, but more on that after a bit. I generally respond to those questions by turning the argument around: What if God is not what you expect? What if God does exist, but prefers honest inquiry to professions of faith? What Read more [...]
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Immeasurable Heaven

I don't normally comment on anything written by young Earth creationists. I have learned from experience that there is no arguing with them; their position is rock solid and will not be moved. It has to be so, because their arguments are so weak that if they actually considered alternatives they would be easily swayed. Any attempt at dialogue becomes a matter of each side repeating their standard responses. Nonetheless, a short article I ran across at the Institute for Creation Research, "The Read more [...]
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Organized Insanity

Religion can be a comfort in times of stress and times of loss. It can encourage believers to work together and accomplish good things. Religion has its benefits, but it is often ridiculous and harmful. Mohammad Akhlaq was killed because of rumors that he was consuming beef. For Pete's sake, people, get a life! Cows are not sacred. They are domesticated animals, the result of thousands of years of selective breeding. Furthermore: There is no such thing as a true prophet of God. There Read more [...]
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Arctic Ice Update 2015

There are three ways to keep track of the amount of sea ice in the Arctic: extent, area, and volume. Volume gives you the most useful information, in terms of how much ice is left and how fast it is diminishing, but it is also the hardest to measure accurately. To get an idea of the current conditions of Arctic ice, we can take a closer look at the ice area, a measure of the amount of water with ice cover of any thickness. Arctic Ice By the Numbers Bear with me—this isn't as complicated as it Read more [...]
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Marriage Equality at Last

Just a note to express how happy I am that the Supreme Court (in a five-four decision) made the right choice. Anyone of legal age will be able to marry who they choose, regardless of gender, in all fifty states. The reasons same-sex marriage is opposed are religious in nature, so should not be a consideration for a secular state like the US. I have to add a link to a statement from one of my favorite animals, the Atheist Pig. He says it so well: I am so glad to see Winston back, offering Read more [...]
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Ecosystems and Glory

I was walking past the pond, listening to hundreds of frogs singing in order to score a mate, and I was struck by the magnificence of it all. We don't know everything about the world, by a long way, but we know a lot of things. We have discovered why frogs sing and how they reproduce. We have found out how frogs came to differentiate from their fish-like ancestors, and how they interact with all the other plants and animals and microbes in that ecosystem. A creationist might say that it is Read more [...]
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