Neutrinos not faster than light, evolution safe!

Last year, when bemused physicists reported the apparent discovery of faster than light neutrinos, a shock wave ran through the news media, despite professional physicists the world over pointing out that it was almost certainly a technical cockup (ISTR the original experimenters suggested such). In the bizarre world of creationism, the potential upset to such a well-entrenched scientific theory as Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity was seen as evidence that the whole edifice of evolutionary biology was teetering on the brink. Here for example is a brief piece by David Klinghoffer at the oddly named Evolution News and Views (which is a mouthpiece for Intelligent Design creationism) – “Another One Bites the Dust?”. Here, Klinghoffer makes a very brief point:

If you think Darwin’s theory of evolution is as secure as Einstein’s theory of special relativity, well…maybe you’re right. [followed by a slightly longer quotation from The Guardian]

Well, actually I do (and did) think that modern evolutionary biology is pretty secure.  And as it turns out, physicists’ expectations that there was something wrong with the experimental set-up are supported – news reports indicate that the faster than light neutrinos weren’t faster than light, but that the data are explained by a loose fibre optic cable connecting GPS devices. You can read the reports at the journal Science’s website: BREAKING NEWS: Error Undoes Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Results – ScienceInsider.


Signed Dawkins books on eBay

The Reverend Dr Peter Hearty (of Platitude of the Day fame) has announced that signed copies of five books by Richard Dawkins have been put up for auction on eBay.  From the Platitude of the Day web page:

Five Richard Dawkins books, signed by the author and dedicated to the “Platitude of the Year 2009 winner” are now being auctioned on eBay. Proceeds of the auction will go to the National Secular Society.

The books were the prize offered for the most platitudinous Thought For The Day on Radio 4 during 2009. This was won by the Rt Rev James Jones, Lord Bishop of Liverpool and Bishop of Prisons, for reminding us of the contribution that Christianity played in solving the problems of Northern Ireland. The prize was forfeit as the bishop failed to attend the award ceremony during the Secularist of the Year.

These books therefore form a unique and highly collectable set. They were purchased by Roger Scotford and are being auctioned by Peter Hearty. The five books are:

The Greatest Show on Earth (hardback)
Climbing Mount Improbable (paperback)
Unweaving the Rainbow (paperback)
The God Delusion (paperback)
The Ancestor’s Tale (paperback)

More details on eBay.

Jesus App banned from iPhone

Apple have earned themselves a bit of a reputation for banning applications written for their (admittedly gorgeous) iPhone  and iPod Touch.  Usually these seem to be banned on the grounds of bad taste. And who could argue that the iBoobs app could be considered offensive?  Just in case my gentle readers are of sensitive disposition, I’ve placed the iBoobs video below the fold… Continue reading “Jesus App banned from iPhone”

Elephant wings and religious belief

PZ Myers (Pharyngula) has an amusing story (Elephants’ wings) parodying religious belief, in which elephant wings are just not visible because of quantum effects,  Definitely worth a read.

Mind you, clearly the “Elephant Wing” belief system has its prophet – check out this artwork by Roger Dean for an Osibisa album…

…and, no, I don’t think I’ve ever listened to Osibisa – such things were a bit forbidden in the white heat of punk!