Daily Archives: June 27, 2009

The Perfect Bird Family Tree…

The best of last June
… is certainly still in the future. But we have seen a step in that direction in a new paper, coming out this week in Science. This research applies intensive and extensive genomic analysis to the avian phylogenetic tree. The results are interesting.

ResearchBlogging.orgThis paper is summarized in a number of locations, most notably here on Living the Scientific Life. Here, I will summarize it only very briefly. However, there are two observations I would like to make about this paper and its apparent meaning. One has to do with the nature of science, and the other has to do with the nature of evolution in particular. I’ll argue that we can quantify (almost non-trivially) the number of times science is wrong. I’ll also argue that Stephen Jay Gould was wrong (not totally, but not trivially) about one of his most important assertions (other than his musings about the myth of vaginal orgasms … we’ll talk about that another time).

Continue reading The Perfect Bird Family Tree…

Missionaries in Africa: The Last Live Atheist Talk Ever on KTNF

The long running Minnesota Atheist Talk Radio air’s its very last show tomorrow morning at 9:00 Central Time. Details of how to listen to the show, which will also be a podcast, are here.

This week’s show will feature yours truly, and I’ll be interviewed by Stephanie Zvan. The subject will be Missionaries in Africa. This interview should be considered an extension of this series of blog posts on the same topic.

My understanding is that the people who have produced this radio show up until now are planning to produce a podcast in the future. I will let you know as soon as I hear anything about that.

Don’t be a Jew

Joseph and Mary, and Little Joe and Mary, and Grinker and I, sat around the table where most of the dinner had been laid out. Additional bits and pieces of the dinner would be brought out as needed shortly, but now it was time to pray.

So we held hands and bowed our heads, and Mary led a prayer to Jesus for the bounty we were about to receive and stuff, and we all said Amen and were about to dig in, when Mary interrupted with a tone of voice and a hand signal that made everyone stop with their forks in mid air.
Continue reading Don’t be a Jew

Marriage: Why and how? And an Update on Jason and Jodi.

In case you didn’t know, the marriage proposal launched by Jodi (asking Jason) and largely organized by Stephanie, has resulted in an answer.

Congratulation Jodi and Jason!

Not long before this internet round robin was launched, Jodi made a limited distribution, organized by Stephanie, of some background on their situation, and a version of this is what you see in the proposal itself.

That prompted me to think about marriage related issues a bit, which in turn prompted me to sit down with Jodi and have a private little talk with the girl. Which, of course, I will now share with the entire internet (I’m sure she won’t mind).
Continue reading Marriage: Why and how? And an Update on Jason and Jodi.

Summer Reading: Tourist Season

previously reviewed

It utterly shocks me every time I make a reference to plastic alligators, Macy’s bags with poisonous snakes in them, a guy named Skink or my favorite Bass Lure …. the Double Whammy …. and people look back at me with blank stares. Like, don’t you get it? “To be or not to be” jokes or allusions to Sherlock Holmes are always understood. Or at least, people pretend to get them. But does no one read contemporary literature?

Continue reading Summer Reading: Tourist Season