Video of the day

Been a while since I posted a cool time lapse video.  This one is pretty awesome.  My favorite part is all the lightning starting just after a minute in:

Religion vs. Science

Intriguing new study that looks at if not the “Republican War on Science” the conservative Christian war on science and finds some interesting results.  The abstract:

Due to conservative Protestant elites challenging scientists in the public sphere, and prominent scientists attacking religion, scholars have claimed that there is an increasing conflict between conservative Protestants and science. However, these claims have never been empirically investigated and these general claims do not specify what conflict is actually about. In this article I use the General Social Survey from 1984 to 2010 to examine whether conservative Protestants are increasingly opposed to the social and moral influence of scientists. I find evidence for increasing opposition by biblical literalist conservative Protestants to the involvement of scientists in social debates about moral issues.

And in graphical form, you can see that this change over recent decades is pretty consistent and pretty dramatic.  At least for a particular subset of Christians, science has, sadly, increasingly become the enemy:



The Catholic Church gets it right

I’ve been a fairly harsh critic of the Catholic Church’s involvement in politics– including the local Raleigh diocese I belong to– when I felt like it deserved it.  In large part because I am so frustrated how they seem to ignore the Church’s long-standing commitment to social justice to instead focus on far more narrower issues of homosexuality.  So it’s time to give credit where credit is due:

The protest at the General Assembly this Monday, which will be led by clergy from around the state, brings together a sampling of mainstream Christians, including Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists and Evangelical Lutherans. Their involvement marks a noteworthy turning point in the weekly protests.

So far, the demonstrations, which have led to the arrests of more than 300 people over five weeks, have been heavily partisan. (Note, Democratic U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield of Wilson announced he’ll join in.) But the clergy coming Monday have made a point to say their interest isn’t political.

“Rather it is a matter of faith with respect to our understanding of the biblical teachings and imperatives to protect the poor, respect the stranger, care for widows and children, and love our neighbors,” according to a statement provided to Dome over the weekend.

Signing it are Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Catholic Diocese in Raleigh [and many other mainstream NC religious leaders]

Hooray.  I’ve been no fan of Bishop Burbidge, but this was absolutely the right thing to do and I’m very pleased to see the NC Catholic Church getting involved in what is actually the compelling moral issues of are times.

Oh, and I realize I haven’t actually written about “Moral Monday” before, but I should have.  It is a series of Monday protests featuring civil disobedience (a number of protesters get arrested each week through non-violent resistance) to protest the General Assembly’s harsh policies towards the poor, unemployed, public education, etc.  I haven’t gone myself, but that’s only because I’m ultimately pretty lame.

Here’s some background featuring quotes from a wise political science professor.

Photo of the day

From the N&O day’s best gallery:


Scott Brash of Great Britain on Ursula XII piles through the London 2012 bus during the Longines Global Champions Tour of London on Day Four at Olympic Park on June 9, 2013 in London, England. MIKE HEWITT — Getty Images

Concealed Carry

I think it is a good thing that those seeking a permit to carry a concealed weapon need to take a class.  That said, the fact that those offering such classes provide this to students (as told to me by a recent NCSU grad who attended a concealed carry class) does not make me feel so good:

Seriously?  Gun nuts.  Ugh.

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