Quickies

Quickies: Creationists and Aliens, Asexual and Intersex TV Characters, and Bill Maher’s Understanding of Vaccines

  • Modcloth Spotlights Transgender Comedian Rye Silverman – “When asked to name one thing that people should know about the trans community, or about her experiences as a trans-identified person, and she uses it as an opportunity to push back on the idea that there’s just one thing to know.” From Courtney.
  • Bill Maher lashes out at anti-vaxx accusations: “I’ve never argued that vaccines don’t work. I just don’t think you need them” – In other words, “I have no idea how science works, so I’m just going to talk because I like the sound of my voice.”
  • Asexuality and Intersex Conditions Are Television’s New Frontier – “Bob Fisher, who created the U.S. version of Sirens with Denis Leary, told me that when they were inventing new characters who hadn’t existed in the original British show, they thought about friends who identified as asexual. ‘We did some research, and we thought that it would be an interesting thing to explore.’ Originality was a big part of the appeal. When considering potential relationships, having an asexual character ‘was an interesting flip on the convention of will-they-won’t-they. It’s an entirely new spin on that issue, because you have a character who won’t. If they feel a strong friendship, how do they navigate that?’ “
  • God’s Chosen Planet – “Why creationists are praying we never find alien life.” From cerberus40.
  • Abuse Victims Fight for Fair Sentencing – This article is about a documentary that highlights the fact that abused women who killed their abusers got disproportionately long sentences because they weren’t allowed to submit their history of being abused into court. Content warning for discussions of domestic abuse. (From Julia.) On a similar note, I would also recommend the harrowing documentary Every F*cking Day of My Life.
  • 7 Places That Could Give You Superpowers, But Will Probably Kill You – Basically, creepy photos and interesting descriptions of abandoned places. Naturally, I’m hooked.
  • Thousands Of Young Women In U.S. Forced Into Marriage – “U.S. laws are not designed to deal with the complexity of forced marriage, Miller-Muro says, especially if there’s no pattern of past violence. Even state laws on the marriage age don’t always help. Most were written for Romeo and Juliet scenarios, she says, and power lies with parents, not the young people.”
  • What If?: Spiders vs. the Sun – “Which has a greater gravitational pull on me: the Sun, or spiders? Granted, the Sun is much bigger, but it is also much further away, and as I learned in high school physics, the gravitational force is proportional to the square of the distance.”

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Mary

Mary

Mary Brock is a scientist who works on drugs you've hopefully never heard of. She enjoys cooking to Blue Grass music, messing with her cats, and hosting the Boston Skeptics' Book Club. She was born in the South but loves living in New England (despite the lack of chocolate chip pizza). Mary does not use Twitter and don't even try to follow her, because she is always looking over her shoulder.

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6 Comments

  1. April 15, 2015 at 10:30 am —

    A lot of those abandoned places were featured in a series called Forgotten Planet that is currently on Netflix.

    It’s a bit dry but I find abandoned places fascinating, I also loved Life After People even though it was pretty damned ridiculous.

  2. April 15, 2015 at 10:49 am —

    Does Bill Maher know what the prefix anti- means?

    Does he think that anit-nuke people doubt the effectiveness of a runaway nuclear reaction? That anti-abortion zealots think that the surgery turns back time to before conception? That anti-GMO fear-mongers think that products haven’t actually been produced from genetic manipulation?

    No, all of those anti- people believe in the effectiveness of what they oppose, they just think we don’t need them.

    To wit, Bill Maher is an anti-vaxxer by definition.

  3. April 15, 2015 at 1:48 pm —

    Mary,

    If and when we find alien life out there, if anyone desperately tries to deny it, most likely it won’t be the government, it will probably be creationists.

    • April 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm —

      I think they’ll split evenly in half.

      With some arguing that whatever incredibly small similarities exist between terrestrial and extraterrestrial life being proof of a common designer.

      And the others will be in simple denial.

      • April 15, 2015 at 3:22 pm —

        Ikanreed,

        The aliens could actually be far more similar to us than we would suspect, if panspermia turns out to be the origin of life on Earth and other planets in the galaxy.

        PANSPERMIA – Biology Cabinet
        http://www.biocab.org/panspermia.html

        Off course that wouldn’t be evidence of intelligent design, or a creator either, but could me that alien life would in many ways be a very similar to life on Earth. If life began one planet, and than colonized another, it would most likely both be carbon based, and both use DNA, and the aliens would have genetic code in common with us, and would possibly use many, if not all of the same proteins as life on earth. Even without panspermia, there would also probably be at least some convergent evolution, but wouldn’t count on alien Foxes, or intelligent life on other worlds that looks human.

        • April 15, 2015 at 5:07 pm —

          On the other hand, evolution is a harsh mistress, and we’re chemically adapted to some very specific conditions here.

          And anything Eukaryotic(all multicellular life) evolved billions of years after panspermia. The differences between us and and aliens even in that analysis would be as great(or more likely greater) as between a human and a thermal vent extromophile bacteria.

          Any visual similarities(let’s be honest: the only kind creationists pay any attention to) that would arise wouldn’t be from common ancestry but convergent evolution.

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