Weekend Intellectual Free Fire Zone #26

This is a typical slow news day. We’re still waiting for a Coppedge decision. Wouldja believe it — the trial ended on 16 April, and the judge hasn’t wrapped it up yet.

We found a few items that may be of interest. If you’d like another adventure in social science, take a look at Sociologist examines the challenges of women in professional football. The researcher concludes — this may shock you — that football isn’t easy for women.

If you’re concerned about your pedigree, you might be relieved to learn that New research raises doubts about whether modern humans and Neanderthals interbred. It seems that the DNA we have in common with Neanderthals came from a common ancestor, and not from a more recent inter-species hybridization event.

And here’s something the creationists may try to avoid: DNA used to encode a book and other digital information. If the magic designer wanted to write something in our DNA he could have done so, but for mysterious reasons (non-existence, perhaps?) it appears that he didn’t.

That’s all we’ve got, so once again, we have to entertain ourselves. As with all our free-fire zones, we’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “Weekend Intellectual Free Fire Zone #26

  1. The Neanderthal DNA thing doesn’t look very solid. I’ve already seen one creationist fail completely there.

  2. @eyeonicr Excellent find. I note they perfectly define creationism.

    ‘to create imagined truth out of a lie’

  3. One Creationist of my slight acquaintance once claimed to me that as described in the Bible, the Ark is actually vastly oversized, and this is an indication of the story’s truth. The logic was that if the Ark story had been made up by Babylonians or whomever, Middle-East desert-dwellers of circa 500 BC would have been familiar with only the relative few wild and domestic animals in their immediate area. They would have had no reason to imagine there were any others, and they would have known nothing of the animals in the forests of Europe or the jungles of Africa. They might have heard of a few unfamiliar species from travelers, but by and large they would have assumed samples of every living creature could easily fit on an Ark of modest dimensions. Instead, the Biblical Ark is much larger than would have seemed necessary long after the Flood when human memory of it had long faded, allowing room for the many more animals that existed in the world than were known to the Babylonians, so this shows a glimpse of a reality mere mortals could not have imagined, therefore the story must be true. You may argue that the Ark still isn’t big enough, but that’s just quibbling over details.
    Anyway, that’s what my informant said. I’m merely reporting; you decide. (But don’t let this rationalization reach Ken Ham’s eyes. I don’t want to make his work of thinking stuff up on the fly any easier!)

  4. Ceteris Paribus

    Mark Twain noted that people who are conceited about their blue-blood lineage will trace their genealogy back until they discover that one of their ancestors was merely a friend of the family, and then stop looking.

  5. Man, you own Coppedge Trial coverage! I’m sorry to say that I lost faith in the currentness of your reporting a few days ago and searched to see if there were any news about the trial. I searched for ‘Coppedge trial’ and the first nine results were for the Sensuous Curmudgeon.

  6. I would have thought that if Copper’s case was so compelling, heart rending, sad and unjust that the judge would have ruled quickly so Coppy could get speedy relief. Not being the case, however, there’s no rush and probably more compelling to write a careful, meaningful judgement that would serve any future similar litigation.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been in France for the month enjoying the fraternity, liberty and equality, good cheese, wine, friendly people, excellent rail system, nice scenic roads and villages and all those wonderful things socialism brings. Might be a nice refuge under Pope Romney. And, as a one-percenter (more like 0.04%) my tax break will pay for it! Win-win, je dit!

  7. Jim Thomerson

    Study of DNA is rapidly evolving on technical, analytical, and conceptual levels. Back in the 90s, my DNA collaborator called me on the phone (no Internet) and told me, ” I have this new machine. This afternoon I replicated all the work I had done over the past three years.” He also made a comment which I strongly agree with, and I’m sure most scientists would, as well. “I want people 100 years from now to think I did good work!”

  8. retiredsciguy

    Doc Bill says, “And, as a one-percenter (more like 0.04%) my tax break will pay for it!”

    Well, hell, Doc, if it makes you feel guilty to get a tax break, the US Treasury accepts donations! And of course they’re tax-deductible!
    The more you give, the more you save! Maybe it’ll pay for two trips to France.

  9. Although its off season, we got into the sailfish and one blue marlin off Puntarenas, Costa Rica
    this weekend. Amazing predators but I bet they’re no good at football either.