Further Info on Topics Discussed on Stratosphere Sarasota

I was a guest on the WSLR radio show Stratosphere Sarasota this morning and I'd like to offer sources for more information on the subjects that came up. 

Creationism in Public Education:

  • Butler Act: The Tennessee law that prohibited teaching of evolution and lead to the events in the Scopes Monkey Trial.
  • Scopes Monkey Trial: The famous trial that found John Scopes guilty of violating the Butler Act (later overturned on a technicality). 
  • Tennessee 'monkey bill': Recent Tennessee law that opens science classrooms to the injection of creationism and 'teaching the controversy.'
  • Schools teaching creationism and taking tax money to do so.
  • The Revisionaries:  Documentary which recorded events at the Texas School Board meetings which lead to insertion of pro-creationist verbiage in science textbooks.
  • Kitzmiller v Dover: The landmark case that stripped the Dover School District of the ability to insert creationism into public school science classes.
  • Of Pandas and People: The creationist-guided textbook which Dover attempted to provide to students and which popularized the term 'Intelligent Design.'

Town of Greece v Galloway:

The Hobby Lobby Decision:

  • The case which established the right of some corporations to refuse to cover some health care on religious grounds.
  • Satanists protest 'informed consent' based on this decision

Dr. Oz Appearing Before Congress:

Suncoast Skeptics Speaker Series:

Atheists.tv Launching Tonight


The first US-based television channel to feature atheist content is launching tonight, July 29, 2014 at 7pm. The channel is available on Roku as well as online at atheists.tv. From the Atheists.TV:

Tonight's the night! Are you ready?

You can subscribe to the channel NOW on Roku by going to the New Channels category in the channel store!

The very first broadcast begins at 7 PM Eastern.

If you don't have a Roku, you can still watch the launch! Just go tohttp://www.atheists.tv

It's going to be great. Make sure to follow us on Twitter, too:

Suggested tweet:

Tonight's the night! The world's first @Atheist_TV channel launches @ 7 PM Eastern on Roku or free online @ www.atheists.tv Tune in!

FiveThirtyEight and Roger Pielke, Jr. Part Ways

Political poll guru and founder of the site FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver took a lot of heat for hiring Roger Pielke, Jr. to work for 538 in March, 2014. Pielke is professor and political scientist who has been heavily criticized by climate change researchers for his article published on 538 that the damage caused by climate change is rising in value only due to the corresponding rise in global wealth. Pielke has fought against charges of being a denialist, and according to his Wikipedia article, accepts human-driven global warming. In his book The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won't Tell You About Global Warming, Pielke spends a great deal of time criticizing researchers and critics note that he seems unwilling to agree that the situation is one worthy of immediate and dramatic changes in how humans affect the environment.

Pielke has now parted from 538 according to an interview on the Collide-a-scape blog on Discovermagazine.com. I'm not fully aware of Pielke's arguments or those of his critics against him to weigh in on this issue. A quick read of some of the sources cited in the interview shows Pielke has a history of snide comments about climate science and the political nature of the controversy. While he may be correct about the link between losses and global wealth, I feel his tight focus on politicalization and existing losses due to climate change are myopic at best. The science is clear, and Pielke does not seem to doubt the fact that humans are making the planet warmer. Instead of spending so much effort adding to the squawking politicos that seem to miss the point, I'd much rather see him working on building bridges between researchers and the politicians who need to act.

Debunking the Paleo Diet

There are many myths and misconceptions in the world of weight loss and nutrition. Diets, especially, suffer from misleading claims and unreasonable expectations. From the Cookie Diet to Gluten-Free diets, there are no shortages of hopeful and eager people looking for the next miracle menu that both tastes good and helps shed the pounds while providing the nutrition needed to stay healthy.

One of the hottest in the middle of 2014 is the Paleo Diet.

I met a woman at a recent meeting who runs a group here in the Sarasota area which supports eating food as our ancestors did back before agriculture. I became interested in this concept, having read some skepticism about it but didn't recall the details. The Paleo diet avoids dairy, beans, salt, refined sugar, and almost all grains. The diet is heavy on meats and encourages more fat and protein than many diets.

I haven't had a chance to talk to the woman I met about her group or the evidence she has for the diet's benefits, so I'm withholding judgement on her specific situation until I know more. But with a bit of research, as often turns out in the fad-and-fade pattern of diets, there are many myths and misconceptions where the Paleo Diet is concerned.

Christina Warinner studies diets and health of ancient people, and explores the foundational ideas of the Paleo Diet in a TEDxOU talk which took place in Norman, Oklahoma.