Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

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Nearly Live at TCC

Sam, Mike, and Becky join the Science & Inquiry Club of Tacoma Community college to respond to talk Star Wars, the News, and answer a particularly pernicious email regarding vaccinations.

A few notes:

  • The painting that Sam used as his background image for some time is from Jon McNaughton, who is has weird ideas about religion and politics.  You can see the crazy here.
  • The “syndrome” Sam talked about (which is not at all a syndrome) is called the Dunning-Kruger effect. We think.
  • Case mentioned that he didn’t mean to say isotope in the Q&A in the third segment.  We think he means “isomer,” but honestly, we’re not biology people.
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Godless Poutine

Great show!

An update from Canada!

You guys may be interested in the situation with Jenny McCarthy and the Ottawa Cancer Foundation:

It was from pressure put on by the skeptical movement that got the foundation to drop her. (twitter tag #dropjenny)

Also take a look at this campaign a fellow blogger is working on:

My coverage of this:

Finally, this good story from Globe &Mail:


Yep, it’s an isomer that Case ment. An isomer of a given compound has the same molecular formula, but a different structure. The difference can be massive, like the difference between benzene, which is incredibly unreactive and thermodynamically stable, and such isomers as “Dewar benzene”, which turns itself into benzene over time, or prismane, which can barely be synthesized. In the case of thalidomide, it’s much more subtle, coming down to the orientation of different groups the same carbon atom, a phenomenon known as stereoisomerism, in this case four: two ends of the same ring, one other large system of… Read more »

Anne C. Hanna

Becky’s reponse to the female student who said she doesn’t get the flu vaccine made me want to stand up and cheer. Herd immunity is, IMO, the most important issue of all in vaccination, and it was really great to hear Becky give such a clear and sharp explanation of it as the immediate response. The other hosts and audience members chiming in afterward pretty much covered all the rest of the bases, but I really liked to hear the most important issue emphasized so strongly right at the beginning. I also think it’s especially important to talk about this… Read more »

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