245 posts categorized "Science"

September 24, 2014

Leo at the UN: the urgency of addressing global climate change

Leonardo DiCaprio's opening remarks at the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit in New York City.

September 23, 2014

Ben Carson: Evolution Is An Absurd Myth, 'Give Me A Break'


Right Wing Watch reports:

In a “Faith & Liberty” interview posted last week, potential GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson discussed his rejection of the theory of evolution, arguing that the science of evolution is a sign of humankind’s arrogance and belief “that they are so smart that if they can’t explain how God did something, then it didn’t happen, which of course means that they’re God. You don’t need a God if you consider yourself capable of explaining everything.”

He claimed that “no one has the knowledge” of the age of the earth “based on the Bible,” adding that “carbon dating and all of these things really don’t mean anything to a God who has the ability to create anything at any point in time.”

Carson pointed to the “complexity of the human brain” as proof that evolution is a myth: “Somebody says that came from a slime pit full of promiscuous biochemicals? I don’t think so.”

Next we'll put the nucleotide sequencing in Dr. Carson's DNA molecules up for a popular vote. Because science is dependent on popular opinion. Actually no. Because, as Neil deGrasse Tyson recently told Stephen Colbert, "That's the good thing about science: It's true whether or not you believe in it."

August 01, 2014

9 former leaders of 'ex-gay' movement apologize

Maya Rhodan at Time reports.

July 26, 2014

Applause from an adversary

The group Faith and Action says on its "About" page:

The missionary outreaches at Faith and Action are targeted specifically toward our nation’s public policy makers and particularly to Capitol Hill. We believe such a narrowly targeted effort is the most effective method for accomplishing our mission – to challenge our leaders with Biblical TRUTH.

If you suspect they are not big fans of GLAA's work, you are right. But on Friday, I came across this tweet in response to my article, "Free Speech and the Bible Museum":

Here is the praise from Faith and Action blogger kaitlynn:

We’re often too quick to condemn and too slow to compliment. So, this time we wanted to make a point to applaud the writer of this article for standing up for religious freedom to back a cause that we happen to agree with, and HE happens to disagree with.

Richard J. Rosendall (President, Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance) there are plenty of things we fully disagree with you on, but find your willingness to champion the freedom of speech and religious freedoms of everyone (despite the fact that you disagree with their views, and probably taking some heat for it) impressive.

I replied:

Oh, dear, I'm in trouble now! But thank you. I hear faint echoes of the famous Christmas ceasefire in WWI. Or to quote JFK: "We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

Best wishes and God bless America,

Rick Rosendall
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance

A friend joked that I would be run out of town by angry liberals, and offered me sanctuary in another state (which I will keep confidential in case I need it); but joking aside, it is foolish and ahistorical to think we weaken our position by defending the free speech rights of our opponents. Censorship by our side is not only obnoxious and hypocritical, it is (as my article points out) unnecessary because we have the better arguments. As another friend put it yesterday, GLAA's approach demonstrates the maturity of our movement. (Or at least our corner of it, as I said back to him.)

July 02, 2014

Evangelism as Therapy


My latest column is now online at Metro Weekly, arguing that faith-based advocacy should not be disguised as licensed healthcare. Here's an excerpt:

Encountering the Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg in the D.C. Council Chambers on June 27 took me back five years to our battles over the District's marriage equality bill. This time it was a hearing on a bill to prohibit conversion therapy for minors. Sprigg was furious at the attempt to deny choice to troubled teens seeking to overcome their gay desires.

One should always be skeptical toward right-wing busybodies who use "choice" as a rallying cry, and so it is in this case. Gay and lesbian teens whose ears are filled with cries of abomination know the sound of rejection. If choice is a concern, shouldn't they be given the choice of a supportive environment? And if professional therapy is the way to help, shouldn't we mention that homosexuality was declassified as a mental disorder in 1973?

The anti-gay groups represented at the hearing, including FRC, PFOX, and the International Healing Foundation, are frozen in amber on homosexuality, which they deem forever sick, sinful, and illicit. With the pathologizing and criminalizing of gayness having ended in America, and with many faiths affirming LGBT lives, the dwindling band of demonizers resorts increasingly to shrillness and deception at home and proselytizing overseas.

The homophobes conceal their faith-based motivation behind a veil of pseudoscience. The trouble is, they dictate nature rather than observing it.

Read the whole thing here.

Tag: #BornPerfect

June 28, 2014

Friday's hearing on bill to prohibit conversion therapy for minors

I spent 5 hours on Friday in a D.C. Council hearing on a bill to prohibit conversion therapy for minors (so you wouldn't have to). One highlight was Peter Sprigg of FRC expressing his fury over the bill. Special thanks to Bishop Rainey Cheeks and Rev. Graylan Hagler for their testimony, to Saul Cruz for representing GLAA, and to Alison Gill of HRC for coordinating the coalition effort. Frank Kameny would be rolling in his grave (if he had one) over the repeated invocations of NARTH and other quacks by our opponents. But we have the science, the DC Council, and 2 federal courts on our side.

Lots of groups got involved, including the DC Center, Wanda Alston Foundation, SMYAL, SPLC, The Trevor Project, American Academy of Pediatrics, PFLAG, National Association of Social Workers, American Counseling Association, Alliance for Progressive Values, People of Faith for Equality, plus survivors of reparative therapy. It was a fine demonstration of a broad and strong coalition effort. Thanks to all of them. But oh, how happy I was when Graylan Hagler's voice boomed from the witness table. It made up for so much nonsense and lies I had been listening to from our opponents.

Oh, and though HIV Testing Day and other matters kept Metro Teen AIDS from attending, they are submitting written testimony. Speaking of which, anyone is free to weigh in. From the hearing notice: "For those unable to testify at the hearing, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. Copies of written statements can be emailed to rsmith@dccouncil.us or mailed to Rayna Smith at the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Room 115, Washington, D.C., 20004. The record will close at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 11, 2014."

In the next few days I will post links to various groups' testimony over at GLAA's main website.

June 25, 2014

#BornPerfect: the Campaign to End Conversion Therapy

On Friday, June 27 at noon in the D.C. Council chamber, GLAA and others will testify on Bill 20-501, to prohibit so-called conversion therapy for minors. The above video from National Center for Lesbian Rights, with whom GLAA is in coalition, is from their #BornPerfect campaign against this dangerous and discredited junk medicine.

June 22, 2014

'Reparative therapy' platform plank misunderstood, Republican delegate says

This guy says he doesn't want to be misunderstood as being anti-gay. He just wants to preserve dangerous quackery as an option.

June 13, 2014

A rare, satanic confluence!


It is extremely rare to have a full moon on Friday the 13th. The next one won't come until 2049.

Even rarer and more satanic, says brave dyslexic Michele Bachmann, is when Friday the 13th and a full moon coincide with Halloween.

May 27, 2014

Google doodle for Rachel Carson's birthday upsets Teabagistan


The Google doodle today honors environmentalist author Rachel Carson, born on this day in 1907.

Joe Jervis notes that Tea Partiers are having a fit over it.

(Hat tip: Craig Howell)

April 29, 2014

Truth In Action Ministries Film Decries Climate Scientists As Idolaters And Communists

Right Wing Watch reports:

Truth In Action Ministries, which has released several over-the-top films (including one likening the rise of gay rights to the sinking of the Titanic), in its latest project takes on the “religion” of environmentalism and climate science. The film closely resembles “Resisting the Green Dragon,” the 2010 “documentary” in which Religious Right activists unironically accused environmentalists of religious fanaticism.

In the new film from Truth In Action, formerly known as Coral Ridge Ministries, Southern Baptist Convention official Richard Land describes environmentalists as “watermelons” who are “green on the outside and pink on the inside.”

April 11, 2014

Krauthammer on 'thought police'


Check out Charles Krauthammer's latest column.

I hardly know where to start with Krauthammer's attempt to turn liberals into totalitarians. He blames "activists" for a grassroots effort by Mozilla employees and developers. He ignores the legal and constitutional issues at the core of the marriage equality fight and pretends it is all moral and philosophical -- because the religious bullies on his side of the aisle are determined to cast themselves as victims. He pretends that Obama had the same position as Brendan Eich in 2008, but Obama opposed Proposition 8. I was not happy with Obama's position back then, and criticized his slowness to "evolve" on the issue; but ballot measures were a key battleground, and Obama opposed their use to attack gays.

Krauthammer's argument on climate change is not with Obama but with scientists, who (despite his tendentious cherry picking) overwhelmingly agree that human activity played a role in it. And he mocks the reference to "change" instead of "warming" as if it is an evasion, when it more accurately reflects the science, which does not claim uniform effects. Here Krauthammer flirts with those who confuse weather and climate, though he knows better.

What is the point of all this furious and smug propagandizing? It is to make the relentless assault on gay families look like a mere dinner table argument, and to make those defending themselves look like the aggressors. It is to deflect attention from plutocrats like the Koch brothers who use fights on social issues to distract people from the harm being done to their own interests, as with Art Pope hijacking North Carolina and installing minoritarian government.

Just get everyone arguing over free contraceptives and women being sluts, and somehow the women whose reproductive freedom is under aggressive assault become the aggressors. All of this would be hilarious were it not so pernicious.

March 19, 2014

Rafael Cruz: 'Sexual orientation is a choice, it’s not a civil right'

The senator's wacky dad has an odd way of showing his love for gay people.

Setting aside the fact that sexual orientation is not a choice (just ask homophobes when they chose to be straight), the notion that something chosen cannot be a civil right is awfully strange coming from people who make a lot of noise about their chosen religion.

February 27, 2014

Resistance is Futile

You will be assimilated into the Google hive mind.

The internet is noting what happened to this woman in a bar in San Francisco when she wore Google Glass.  She has called this a hate crime.  As she notes the product hasn't even been released yet. But when it is released it will be irresistible.

Think of some of the possibilities. An app has been announced Where when you meet someone new in a bar you can take a photo of them and it will search a database and identify who they are. A woman could know if this person is who they say they are, if they are married or has a criminal record. Gay men could know if the guy was on the downlow and what they were packing in their pants. And you could get a review of their performance in bed from your trusted social circle. Priceless. Grindr for Glass can't be far away. And the amazing thing is that people will pay to be assimilated. A lot.

Keep in mind that this is just the start. They are already working on contact lenses that have video displays in the lens. In 50 years the technology will be light years along. Instead of having a earpiece for sound you will have implants. So while non-enhance humans are sleeping you could be learning new things. And Google could improve your mental health by assuring you that you have nothing to worry about from technology and your retirement is perfectly safe in a 401k plan invested in their company. In 50 years the non-enhanced will be at a distinct disadvantage. This woman is a visionary not a clueless Glasshole.

February 14, 2014

Study confirms a genetic link to sexual orientation

Wayne Besen writes at Truth Wins Out:

Sexual orientation is not a choice and the evidence is quite clear that it is caused by biological factors.This study helps further debunk myths and misconceptions spread by anti-gay activists who falsely portray homosexuality as unnatural.

January 19, 2014

Trans Woman Commits Suicide Amid Fear of Outing by Sports Blog

Jezebel reports a tragic story in which a couple of ethical issues arise, including journalistic ethics. Bottom line: Dr. V's credentials fraud was separate from her gender identity and did not require disclosure of it.

January 07, 2014

War on Carbon

The Daily Show takes on the smirking ignoramuses who don't get the difference between weather and climate, who mock climate scientists as if the latter had ever said there would be no more winter. But this is no joke. America's ability to compete globally is under serious threat from aggressive know-nothingism, as illustrated by anti-science congressmen on the House science committee. Fight back!

December 24, 2013

Alan Turing receives posthumous pardon from Queen Elizabeth


Alan Mathison Turing, the brilliant mathematician who broke the Nazi naval Enigma code in World War II and pioneered modern computing — but who was hounded to an early grave for being homosexual — has been pardoned by Queen Elizabeth.

This was a long time in coming. Bravo and thanks to all who have worked over the years to tell his story and to bring him some measure of justice — including Andrew Hodges, who wrote Alan Turing: The Enigma in 1983; to Hugh Whitemore, whose 1986 play (and 1996 movie) Breaking the Code starred Derek Jacobi as Turing; and to Patrick Sammon, executive producer of Codebreaker. Winston Churchill said that Turing deserved a peerage for his contribution to defeating Hitler. A royal pardon is well short of that; but it is a graceful act, and a bit of vindication.


November 25, 2013



The Economist reports on the dilemma faced by biblical literalists contending with genomics that shows homo sapiens is not descended from a single pair. Happily, young evangelicals are less inclined to insist that their religion be at war with science. Tick tock, Know-Nothing Party.

November 21, 2013

Video: Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony

The video of the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House on November 20, 2013.

November 19, 2013

Conservative Catholic Group Ties Illinois Tornadoes To Gay Marriage


Right Wing Watch reports on the latest murderous rampage by the Christian right's angry tribal deity. Why anyone would worship such a monster rather than curse him I have never understood. Just to be clear, I do not for a moment believe that any such infantile brat is supervising the cosmos. I very much appreciate the fact that many people of faith have a conception of God that is not so primitive and idiotic. Pardon me, but that's the best I can do at the moment. Please don't sic a cyclone on me, in the name of Angry Mary Whom You Really Shouldn't Mess With, Amen.

Incidentally, here's a real news story on the deadly tornados that hit the Midwest on Sunday.

Pope honors gay teen science prodigy

(Photo courtesy Jane Andraka)

Salon reports:

Pope Francis this weekend honored the 16-year-old science prodigy who developed a cost-effective method to detect pancreatic cancer.

Jack Andraka has received several awards for his breakthrough cancer research, but he says, as a gay scientist, the honor from the Vatican feels uniquely rewarding....

Andraka received the International Giuseppe Sciacca Award, which is given to young adults whom the Vatican considers to be positive role models.

November 04, 2013

Sunrise partial eclipse

This video by Steve Ellington shows the partial solar eclipse that was in progress as the sun rose on the east coast on November 3, 2013. I went to my roof to see it, but clouds obscured the horizon. Hat tip to Craig Howell. We share this in memory of our friend and former GLAA president, eclipse chaser Barrett Brick. He would have been watching from Africa or the mid-Atlantic.

November 01, 2013

Barton: It's Not Global Warming, It's The Judgment Of God

Right Wing Watch shares this bit of amateur science from Christian nationalist David Barton, who attributes global climate change to a divine punishment for abortion. When you don't bother voting, remember that some guy around the corner who follows Barton is voting. The problem is not so much the ignorance itself as the aggressiveness with which it is promoted as the basis of public policy. Let's not be smug; the crazies are unrelenting.

October 26, 2013

Pat Robertson blames mother for son's deafness, says she prayed wrong

Addicting Info shares this video of Pat Robertson being a heartless, ignorant jackass. (Not the heaviest of lifting, but we appreciate their efforts nonetheless.)

Dear Pat, I respectfully, and with the abiding love of our lord and savior etc. etc., submit two options for your consideration:
1. STFU.
2. Go to God. Now, please.

(Hat tip: Steven Publicover)

October 17, 2013

Ex-gay of the year?

Get this.

Meanwhile, Justin Snow's cover story in today's Metro Weekly describes "The Decline and Fall of the Ex-Gay Movement."

(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)

October 13, 2013

Rios cites shoddy book to call Matthew Shepard murder a 'complete fraud'

Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch writes:

Not only did American Family Association talk show host Sand Rios plug the ex-gay movement and warn that gay people are trapped in “a powerful web of deceit” during her Values Voter Summit speech yesterday, but she also cited Stephen Jimenez’s shoddy reporting on the Matthew Shepard case to call his murder a “complete fraud.” She lamented that schools host the play The Laramie Project to teach tolerance to students and said that Shepard’s murder was a result of a “drug deal gone bad.”

Luke Brinker at Media Matters debunks the Jiminez book.

August 28, 2013

The Gay AIDS Ring Video Pat Robertson Doesn't Want You To See

Right Wing Watch reports:

The Christian Broadcasting Network has embarked on a total and frankly embarrassing cover-up of Pat Robertson’s statement yesterday that gay people in San Francisco try to cut people’s fingers with special rings in order to infect them with AIDS. After editing Robertson’s comments out of their online broadcast of the 700 Club and taking down their own YouTube video featuring the claims, CBN has now filed with a flimsy copyright complaint against Right Wing Watch’s copy of the video on YouTube, causing it to be temporarily removed.

To Pat Robertson I just want to say: Thanks a lot, Rev. Blabbermouth. I got my magic AIDS ring in a box of Cracker Jack; maybe he'll boycott that and piss off baseball fans. Then a bunch of ballplayers will come out. Then Pat will hit back by revealing the shocking real meaning of those catcher hand signals. Then the Kiss Cam operator will go wild. And all hell will break loose.

Update: CBN keeps pressuring web providers to take down the video, but it keeps cropping up elsewhere. So I have updated this post multiple times to embed a still-working version. Watch it while you can!

Fighting misinformation

Please pardon my heresy, but forget for a moment whether you're "Ready for Hillary." She'll keep for a couple of years. Closer at hand are the 2014 midterm elections, and we darn well don't want to ignore them (including at the state level) the way we did in 2010. Dana Milbank suggests that a significant portion of the embrace of misinformation by conservative voters is a desire to stick it to Obama; but whatever the motive, our competitiveness as a nation is imperiled if the Know-Nothings with their proud, defiant contempt for science and evidence are not defeated. Defeating sheer ignorance is more fundamental than defending this or that particular policy position.

August 19, 2013

Chris Christie signs bill banning ex-gay therapy for minors


Think Progress reports that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie today signed a bill banning the discredited and highly dangerous reparative therapy for youth. Gov. Christie states:

The American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientations can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.

Bravo, Governor, and thank you.

This, of course, enrages the radical right-wing bigots who have taken over the GOP. Here's a sample of tweets today by Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel (hat tip to Joe Jervis):

Gov. Christie Harms New Jersey Children By Signing Change Therapy Ban. @LibertyCounsel Will File Suit http://www.lc.org/index.cfm?PID=14100&PRID=1362#.UhJsSR2Kohg.twitter

Sexual reorientation therapy not unethical: Column http://usat.ly/1clvDdy via @USATODAY

Christie to sign away chance at presidency with support for NJ's Jerry Sandusky bill. It bans help for molested teens

Nice touch, Mr. Barber, trying to turn the tables by pretending it is gay rights activists who are harming sexual minority youth, rather than the practitioners of junk medicine. But the fact is that time and again the LGBT community has fought to protect our youth. It is anti-gay slanders and the closet that harm our kids. Slowly but surely, we are winning the fight.

More about Barber's threatened lawsuit here.

July 22, 2013

Meanwhile, outside Comic Con

Just what you went to Comic Con for, to listen to a fundie discuss gays and evolution.

May 21, 2013

Obama will award posthumous Medal of Freedom to astronaut Sally Ride

AP reports.

May 13, 2013

In performance, 250 miles up

Commander Chris Hadfield performs David Bowie's "Space Oddity" aboard the International Space Station.

May 01, 2013

Obama at NAS on the science that helped win the Civil War

"Certainly I would not be here" without the scientific contributions of the National Academy of Sciences to the Union in the Civil War, the President quipped in remarks celebrating the organization's 150th anniversary. (Click on link for video.)

April 02, 2013

Fischer: Ben Carson is the victim of gay activists' "demonic hatred"

According to Bryan Fischer, Ben Carson, who thinks the world is six thousand years old, was totall blown away by the "demonic hatred" that homosexuals have for Judeo Christian traditions. Never mind that many gay people are themselves Jews and Christians.

March 26, 2013

Petition demands Scalia recuse himself from court deliberations on DOMA and Prop 8

Click here (AFER website) for links to the audio and transcript of Tuesday's oral argument on Proposition 8 before the U.S. Supreme Court. Look at Scalia's remarks on Page 19 of the transcript, then read the following news release.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Brett Abrams : 516-841-1105 : brett@fitzgibbonmedia.com

Petition Demands Justice Scalia Recuse Himself from Court Deliberations on DOMA and Prop 8

WASHINGTON, DC - In a petition on MoveOn.org’s online petition platform, SignOn.org, thousands of Americans are joining Brandy Harris in demanding Justice Antonin Scalia recuse himself from Supreme Court deliberations on DOMA and Proposition 8 over personal bias and homophobia.

SIGN ON HERE: http://signon.org/sign/scalia-must-recuse-himself

“Judicial bias has no place in the highest court in the land,” said Brandy Harris. “Judge Antonin Scalia has expressed openly, time and again, his bias and contempt for GLBT issues. For this reason, he should recuse himself from any deliberations by the Supreme Court of the United States on issues involving DOMA, California's Prop 8, and any other gay-rights issues.”

In oral arguments on Proposition 8 today, Justice Scalia asserted the false claim that “there’s considerable disagreement among sociologists as to what the consequences of raising a child in a single-sex family, whether that is harmful to the child or not.”


Justice Scalia has a long record of expressing his own personal opinions on homosexuality. In December 2012, Justice Scalia equated the morality of sodomy and homosexuality with murder.


For more information, or for interviews with Brandy Harris, please contact Brett Abrams at 516-841-1105 or by email at brett@fitzgibbonmedia.com.

Of course Scalia will never recuse himself. But the complaint is legitimate.

March 22, 2013

Gov. Christie does not believe in "ex-gay" therapy

Good news from the governor of New Jersey.

March 17, 2013

The Shaky Science Behind George Will’s Column On Same-Sex Marriage

Zack Ford at ThinkProgress dismantles George F. Will's recent column titled "The shaky science behind same-sex marriage" in which Will cites a brief by Maggie Gallagher’s Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. Ford writes:

Will endorses two arguments here, both of which are unsupportable. The first is that any social science that supports a liberal position shouldn’t be trusted because social science already has a liberal bias. The second is that it’s reasonable to conclude that it’s impossible to measure anything that hasn’t been legalized, even if legalizing it is the only way to test it. Together, these form a tautological argument that social science is only valid and useful if it supports keeping things the way they already are, which is not only a very narrow dismissal of the work social scientists already do, but also a philosophy that inherently prevents change.

February 15, 2013

D.C. is the gayest state

Gallup makes it official.

To those of you who say it would be more meaningful to compare D.C. to other cities, be quiet and let us savor our moment of glory.

Riding a great white

I'm adding this to the things I have no intention of doing. It reminds me of an attorney-client conference.

(Hat tip: AMERICAblog)