Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Great Education - Not!

If you want great education for your kids (and who does not), here is a map that shows you where NOT to send them to obtain it:

Map: Publicly Funded Schools That Are Allowed to Teach Creationism.

Sunday School is one place to get religious education and that's where it belongs. Outside of that, public schools, or schools that receive public, tax funds, should be teaching solid science in science classes. I'm disturbed by how Florida looks like on this map. Hopefully, this issue can be addressed by some changes in law to prohibit my tax dollars from being used in that fashion.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

How Stupidity Affects our Children

If you ever find yourself in a presence of parents in a developed country like the US, or somewhere in Europe, you will almost always get someone who is anti-vaccination. They come up with the typical set of excuses, from natural (nothing unnatural around my family), semi-scientific (maybe vaccines cause autism, and after all, they are not 100% effective), and religious (aborted tissue in vaccines?), to plain wacky (I'd rather have my child contract the disease, the natural way). Why is it more visible in developed countries? I guess, because most of the parents in those countries do not have to actually see their kids being severely sick, or even dying from an easily preventable disease.

However, it is very enlightening to see how those diseases have been spreading and popping up in rich and seemingly rational countries all over the world, in the last years. This is exactly what Council on Foreign Relations did in their visualization:

Notice, how much the points are concentrated where people are better off? And they are growing...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Freedom of Speech for Bloggers

Good (if not GREAT!!!) news for all of us bloggers. The First Amendment rights seem to be applying to us the same way as they are to the regular journalist. The courts just affirmed that:

From the FreethoughtBlogs:
The Ninth Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Friday that bloggers have the same free speech protections as journalists.
Even more extensive analysis from the Popehat: Protecting The Free Speech of Censors: The Crystal Cox Saga

Why is this important? Because when you criticize ideas in public forums like the Internet, there are always people who don't want discussions based on merits, usually when there is a significant financial gain at stake. This is especially the case with alt-med and faith-based endeavors, which love to intimidate bloggers by sending fake "legal" threat and attempting to sue us into silence.

This legal victory is great for all of us, bloggers and general public alike, as it makes rational criticism protected and it enables discussions that are based on facts, and not someone's opinions.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

It's About Money...?

Big hit, lots of money to be made...
In the meantime, anyone can pay sixty dollars to access his webinar guided-meditation series, "Discover Your Own Proof of Heaven," and he's been consulting with a pair of experts in "archaeoacoustics" to re-create some of the music that he heard while on his journey. You can even pay to join him on a "healing journey" through Greece.
If you are not sure what it is about... it's probably about money:

The Prophet

Unvaccinated Life

I have been a big proponent of all vaccinations, both childhood and adult.

After years of research, there is very little (if any at all) doubt that they save lives and help maintain healthy society. A few years ago, when the fraudulent paper about a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism was officially dumped by the Lancet, the discussion died out a bit and I was happy to see that less and less people question validity and positive aspects of vaccines.

Yet, this dead corpse of a topic was recently resurrected by Katie Couric, who decided to apply her doubtful scientific knowledge to question HPV vaccinations and their safety. Her bad journalism was exposed by many and she was forced to not-apologize, but the damage has been done again.

So, it's nice to see that a reputable, on-line news outlet stands behind the reality and science, and publishes a great account of someone, who was forced to live her childhood without vaccines:

Growing Up Unvaccinated - from Slate.com

Now, I know this is just one case, and, as we all know, that does not make for a convincing proof of anything, but it's a great insight into a "natural" way of life and its many fallacies.