India considering extending abortion cut-off from 20 weeks to 24

The Times of India reports that the government of India is to consider extending the cut-off for abortions under the country’s abortion laws.  Currently abortions are legal up to 20 weeks but they are considering extending it to 24 weeks.  The Health Minister cites a recent case involving a heavily pregnant woman, Nikita Mehta, who was refused an abortion by the High Court in Bombay.  She had only recently been informed by doctors that the fetus in her womb had a congenital heart block and the child would probably suffer from severe congenital deformities. She later had a miscarriage.

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Newspapers and blogs misrepresent Dennis Wheeler on climate change

You may have read in some blog or newspaper over the past month or so a story that went something like “Old logs from Captain Cook show that warming periods such as the one we’ve had most of the past century are normal” and going on to say that this casts doubt on global warming.

The articles cite work by Dennis Wheeler, a geographer at Sunderland University.  Dennis is not a happy bunny.

Contacted by Ben Goldacre, famous for his “Bad Science” column in The Guardian that (among other things) roots out bad science journalism, Wheeler said:

Now I’ve had emails from cranks around the world thinking I’m some kind of anti-global warming conspiracy theorist and a friend to them. I’m most certainly not. The newspapers grossly and crassly misrepresented everything we are doing.

Far from it, he’s convinced that climate change is real, and his work has been grossly misrepresented by scientifically illiterate or dishonest journalists out to feed the denialist conspiracy thery

Full story at this link:

Blogs that seem to have at least partially misreported this story:

Examining a creationist argument on the fossil record

This is a followup to an earlier posting that examined the first part of this posting by somebody who calls himself Sirius Knott.  Creationists tend to make bold claims that attempt to rubbish the consensus of biologists, geologists and paleontologists, reveal their ignorance of the field, and wonder why nobody takes them seriously.  Sirius seems to follow the same pattern.

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Examining a creationist case against modern geology

I encountered this posting by Sirius Knott and asked him to read some textbooks.  After a bit he got bored with my patient requests that he educate himself, and even grew tired of taunting me.  Fair enough.  Time for me to deal in detail with his errors–because there are a lot of people who have ideas like this and they probably, deep down, are seeking some kind of response from the scientific point of view.  I’ll present my response by links to standard answers, for the most part, because these objections have been raised by creationists many times in the past, and they have no scientific credibility.  There is absolutely nothing new about creationism or intelligent design.  The same arguments have been raised again and again down the decades, but not one of them has convinced the scientific community.

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