Social Sciences

There is an e-mail making the rounds with a set of arguments alleging to prove that the US is a "Christian Nation." The entire e-mail was taken directly, word for word, from this webpage: http://www.errantskeptics.org/hold_quotes_2.htm, which was in turn taken from an article in Worldnetdaily, and which is quoted verbatim on what seems like hundreds of other webpages. I've put the original in italics and my responses in normal text. We are a Christian nation. A loaded beginning right off the bat. This statement could mean two very different things, and has been used to mean both things…
Futurepundit has an interesting post based on a new paper about so-called junk DNA. Only 2% or so of the human genome actually encodes protein sequences. The rest is a grab-bag of broken genes and virus-like sequences called mobile elements that hijack the cell's DNA copying-machinery from time to time and insert new copies of themselves back into the genome. A pair of scientists have come up with some ideas about why organisms like us have junk-rich genomes, while bacteria have barely any. I was going to post on it until pre-Thanksgiving business overwhelmed me. After summarizing this…
Chris Mooney, CalPundit, Signal+Noise and others have been doing a great job of keeping track of the woeful textbook battles down in Texas. The Board of Education there has been arguing over how evolution should be presented in the textbooks they're about to buy for the state's high school students. The Discovery Institute, the headquarters of "Intelligent Design" proponents, has been lobbying them hard to present their ideas on equal footing with those of evolutionary biology. It looks this morning like they've lost (again). The conservative members of the board are disappointed--they say…