February 5, 2014

Bill Nye - Ken Ham debateWhat Happened When Bill Nye Debated Ken Ham Last Night
Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Ham the Genesis Guy fought over the use and the misuse of the word “science” on Tuesday, during a public face-off over evolution that had the air of a presidential debate. The discussion here at the Creation Museum featured video clips and a breakneck series of slides, a formal back-and-forth schedule of speeches and rebuttals, CNN’s Tom Foreman as moderator, and a packed 900-seat auditorium. The live streaming video on YouTube drew as many as 532,000 simultaneous viewers. (Alan Boyle, NBC News)

Debate live tweets (Elizabeth Dias, TIME)

How Bill Nye Won the Debate
Josh Rosenau: On the way to the venue, he picked up a piece of limestone from the roadside, with a fossil in it, to show how the rocks beneath the auditorium themselves show the evidence of evolution. He opened by undercutting the core of Ken Ham’s claim to authority, emphasizing that Ken Ham bases his claims not on the empirical evidence, but on a very particular reading of Genesis. And that way of reading Genesis is very specific to Ken Ham, not to most of the world’s religious people, or even Ham’s fellow evangelicals. He never stopped emphasizing that Ham’s theology is an outlier, and that he doesn’t speak for religious people, Christians, evangelicals, or even all creationists. (Science League of America, National Center for Science Education)

Religious Brain Project
Researchers at the University of Utah are planning to study the brains of returned missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to examine how spirituality affects the so-called social brain. The missionaries will be encouraged to “experience spiritual feelings” while undergoing MRI scans, allowing researchers to see how those thoughts impact portions of the brain that govern social behavior, such as charity and relationships. (Lindsay Whitehurst, The Salt Lake Tribune)

When Sad Music Can Boost Your Mood
In a study, sad music “directly predicted mood enhancement” only when it was of “perceived high aesthetic value,” according to researchers Annemieke J.M. Van den Tol of the University of Kent and Jane Edwards of the University of Limerick. Losing yourself in a work of ethereal beauty—say, a Mahler symphony, or a great jazz player wailing the blues—is an effective strategy to transcend sadness. Their work suggests turning to a somber song or symphony can be an effective route out of sadness—if you can focus on experiencing the work’s inherent beauty. (Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard)

Flirting and Loyalty
Francesca Gino: Flirting is a ubiquitous activity people engage in for the very fact they are human. And though experience may have taught us that flirting often leads to trouble in close relationships, when we are loyal to our partners, friends, jobs, or given brands, flirting with the competition may in fact increase our commitment to them. (Scientific American)

Category: Field Notes

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