Shroud of Turin DNA Comes from All over World

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

The Shroud of Turin, the supposed burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth, has remained an object of fascination for the Christian faithful and scientists alike. Those who would suggest a supernatural origin nearly 2,000 years ago must contend with radiocarbon evidence, which dates the shroud to approximately the 13th or 14th Centuries. Those who would suggest a medieval European origin must contend with a rather large controversy over the accuracy of the sample used for dating, as well as historical evidence to the contrary. Additionally, despite extensive analysis, nobody knows how the image of a buried man was created on the shroud. In Facebook terms, the shroud’s status remains “complicated.” Continue reading

Great Theologian Quotes on Science

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

From the pulpit of University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, the now-retired Rev. Earl Palmeronce said, “We have nothing to fear from science.” It was one of the many times I knew that I had found the right church for me.

Rev. Palmer is not alone in his embrace of science. Indeed, theologians past and present have found science to be illuminating rather than threatening, undermining the widespread notion of a “war” between science and religion. Just as many prominent scientists have spoken kindly of religion, many theologians have spoken highly of science. We have compiled some of the best quotes below: Continue reading

Slate’s Science Page Has Gone Crazy

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Something has happened at Slate. Until relatively recently, Slate‘s science page produced so much amazingly good content that we were tempted to link to them multiple times per day. In our 2013 list of the Top 10 Science News Sites, we awarded them an honorable mention.

But, that was then. Now, for some reason, Slate‘s science page has partially abandoned its strong tradition of in-depth analysis to promote an angry, opinion-driven reportage that is mostly aimed at insulting Republicans and Christians.

Continue reading

The Smartest Person Who Ever Lived

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Who was the smartest person to ever live? There are certainly many worthy contenders. Today, the very name of “Einstein” is synonymous with genius. Others may suggest Stephen Hawking. Those who appreciate literature and music may proffer William Shakespeare or Ludwig van Beethoven. Historians may recommend Benjamin Franklin. Continue reading

Turkish Researcher Claims that Virgin Mary Was a Hermaphrodite and Souls Are Dark Matter

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

The history of science is populated with three types of ideas.

First, there are the great ideas. Peter Atkins counts ten of them, in his book Galileo’s Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science. Evolution by natural selection, the heritability of genetic information, the conservation of energy, and an expanding universe are among those ten ideas.

Second, there are the fascinating-but-wrong ideas, such as alchemy, phlogiston, and spontaneous generation. All of those ideas seemed reasonable in their day, but subsequent investigation proved they were incorrect.

And then there are the stone cold crazy ideas. This is a post about those. Continue reading

Do Catholics Think I’m a Nazi?

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Godwin’s Law ought to be enshrined next to Newton’s Laws or Kepler’s Laws for all posterity. For the uninitiated, Godwin’s Law states, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” The concept was devised by Mike Godwin in 1990 and officially codified into law in a Wired article in 1994. Since then, the evidence for this law has only gotten stronger.

Because of the unquestioned veracity of Godwin’s Law, it is perhaps inevitable that a journalist will, eventually, be compared to a Nazi. We could even formulate a corollary called Godwin’s Law of Journalism: “As a journalist’s career grows longer, the probability he or she will be compared to Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”

And I have evidence. Continue reading

Nobody Wins in Fundamentalist ‘Creation Debate’

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Thus far, the biggest event of the year for the scientific community was the “Creation Debate” between Bill Nye (“The Science Guy”) and Ken Ham, a Young-Earth Creationist and founder of the Creation Museum. Other than this 3-minute clip which summarized the essence of the debate, I didn’t bother watching.

Why? For three reasons. Continue reading