Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart February 28, 2011 at 8:26 am

In 2000, the Clay Mathematics Institute published a list of seven unsolved problems in mathematics called the Millennium Prize Problems. There is a prize of US$1,000,000 for solving each problem.One of these problems has already been solved. In 1900, David Hilbertpublished a list of 23 unsolved problems in mathematics. Looking at the status of these problems on Wikipedia, only five of them remain unresolved.

Although there are many unsolved problems in science and mathematics, we have been making steady progress in solving open problems. Fermat’s Last Theorem was conjectured in 1637 and was solved in 1995. The four color theorem was stated in 1852 and proven in 1976. Throughout human history we seem to be systematically progressing and accumulating scientific knowledge.

5 important problems are as follows:

1) Theory of Everything, 2) Intelligence, 3) Dark Energy and Dark Matter, 4) One-way Functions, 5) Abiogenesis.

Full article over at Byron Knoll


Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart February 28, 2011 at 8:13 am

Pope Benedict XVI has urged doctors to protect women from the “deceptive” thought that an abortion might be a solution to social or economic difficulties or health problems.

The Pope reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s firm opposition to abortion in a speech to members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the Vatican’s bioethics advisory board.

He argued that women are often convinced, sometimes by their own doctors, that abortion is a legitimate choice and in some cases even a therapeutic act to prevent their babies from suffering.

Saying “abortion solves nothing”, he called on doctors not to give up their duty to defend the consciences of women from such “deception”.

Catholic Church teaching holds that human life begins at conception.

Full article via Independent (IE)



Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart February 28, 2011 at 7:03 am

In 2001, when the last Census of the UK was carried out, nearly 400,000 people claimed “Jedi” as their religion. Not only did this confirm Jedi-ism as a religion in the UK – but meant it was the fourth largest, with more followers than Judaism or Buddhism.

With the 2011 Census forms sealed in their envelopes and ready to post to households across Britain, numerous Facebook groups have been created to encourage even more people to put their faith in the ‘Force’ and claim to be Jedis.

The religion question is the only voluntary question on the form but Mr Benton says that the responses directly affect community services. “People are developing their local policy and activities on the basis of this information. I would urge people to give an accurate response,” he said.

The Times sent a video team to one of the largest Star Wars memorabilia shops in the UK to find out just who considers themselves a Jedi.

Via Richard Dawkins – Full article at The Times (paywall)




Posted in Derren Brown News

Posted by Derren Brown News February 27, 2011 at 11:20 am


Derren Victor Brown (born 27 February 1971) is an English magician, mentalist, painter and self-professed sceptic regarding paranormal phenomena.

Your comments welcome.


Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart February 25, 2011 at 9:21 am

“The recent headlines were disturbing:

13% of H.S. Biology Teachers Advocate Creationism in Class
Troubling: 13% of Biology Teachers Supporting Creationism
13% of US biology teachers advocate creationism: Welcome to 2011

These articles were responding to a commentary in Science by Penn State political scientists Michael B. Berkman and Eric Plutzer (“Defeating Creationism in the Courtroom, But Not in the Classroom”; 28 January 2011). Berkman and Plutzer’s research — detailed in several articles and a book–involves large surveys of science teachers. In this most recent study, 926 public high school biology teachers were surveyed, and 13 percent reported “explicitly advocat[ing] creationism or intelligent design.”

The 13 percent number is bad — 1 in 8 public school biology instructors teaches creationism. As the headlines above show, most reporting focused on this 13 percent. But Berkman and Plutzer identified an even greater problem: a “cautious 60 percent” of teachers who, while not preaching creationism, nevertheless fail to be “strong advocates for evolutionary biology.”

Berkman and Plutzer write,

The cautious 60 percent may play a far more important role in hindering scientific literacy in the United States than the smaller number of explicit creationists.

There are more of these cautious teachers, and their reluctance to present evolution forthrightly not only impedes their students in learning biology, but also undermines understanding of the nature of science. They fail to teach evolution in the way recommended by the nation’s leading scientific organizations, such as the National Research Council — as the central, unifying principle of the life sciences.

Why is “neutrality” toward evolution such a disaster for college-bound kids?

Evolution is the foundation of biology. Just as geologists cannot decipher the earth’s features without plate tectonics, and physicists cannot understand the interaction of light and matter without quantum electrodynamics, biologists cannot explain the diversity of life on earth without evolution. Trying to teach biology without evolution is like teaching auto mechanics without discussing engines. Teachers should not be neutral toward evolution because scientists are not neutral about evolution.”

Read more at Huffington Post (Thanks Annette M)


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