The Southern Poverty Law Center's "Hatewatch" fails to use objective criteria in determining which organizations should be labeled a "hate group," George Yancey, professor of sociology at the University of North Texas, finds in a new study, "Watching the Watchers: The Neglect of Academic Analysis of Progressive Groups," published in the January issue of the journal Academic Questions.
SPLC's list dubiously lists Family Research Council as a hate group while ignoring anti-Christian groups that use similar rhetoric, which demonstrates that the list is more about mobilizing liberals than providing an objective source for hate groups, Yancey argues. SPLC has escaped critical analysis of its work in academia because of a liberal bias among academicians, the study additionally claims.
SPLC's Hatewatch has become the definitive guide among some scholars, authors and media organizations to what is, or is not, a "hate group." Conservatives have long criticized the list for labeling social conservative organizations, such as Family Research Council, as hate groups. more >>
A bill meant to ban abortions for fetuses capable of feeling pain has passed a South Carolina House of Representatives committee.
H. 4223 was passed by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and will soon go before the full House for debate.
Known also as the "South Carolina Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," the proposed legislation would ban most abortions after 20 weeks due to some indications that this is when the typical fetus can feel pain. more >>
Dr. Peter Higgs, the theoretical physicist who discovered the Higgs boson, also known as the "God particle," attempted to describe the fundamental particle in the most basic way he could in a recent interview.
Higgs, 84, recently described the particle, considered to be a fundamental building block of the universe, in a short, two-minute simplified version on the BBC Radio 4 program "The Life Scientific." The physicist said the particle basically enables other particles in the universe to acquire mass.
"… these particles are just packages of energy of some kind of field," the scientist began explaining on BBC Radio 4. "And the feature [that] distinguishes this kind of theory, which leads to this kind of symmetry breaking, is the existence of what we, theoretical physicists, call the vacuum, which means nowadays something different from what it used to mean. It's just the lowest energy state that you could possibly have in which there are no particles around but there may be something around. And that something around can be a background field of some sort, which pervades the universe." more >>
Despite what conclusions many Americans have arrived at following Ken Ham and Bill Nye's creation and evolution debate earlier this month, a new survey suggests that science and religion might not be nearly as antithetical as suggested by popular culture.
According to Rice University sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund, who presented her findings at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on Sunday, Evangelical Protestants were far more likely than the general public to believe that science and religion could work together.
"We found that nearly 50 percent of Evangelicals believe that science and religion can work together and support one another," Ecklund, the Autrey professor of sociology and director of Rice's religion and public life program, said in a statement. "That's in contrast to the fact that only 38 percent of Americans feel that science and religion can work in collaboration." more >>
Bill Nye "The Science Guy" has criticized Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn for disputing the reality of climate change, insisting that the scientific community accepts it as fact. He also called for legislation to tackle climate change.
"There is no debate in the scientific community. And I encourage the congresswoman to look at the facts," Nye said in a debate on "Meet the Press" Sunday, NBC News reported. "We need you to change things, not to deny what's happening."
Blackburn, who is the vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, argued that there is no consensus on the subject. more >>
When Alana S. Newman attended a conference on family formation, she was shocked to find that surrogacy has become a "booming" market among gay couples.
"The event was overflowing with a shocking enthusiasm for motherlessness, and it served as an opportunity to promote the fertility industry's most lucrative package: egg donors plus surrogates, for gay male couples and single-dads-by-choice," said Newman of the Anonymous Us Project, an organization which focuses on the topic of "third party reproduction," while describing the event (sponsored by American Association for Adoption and Reproductive Technologies Attorneys) that took place in Charleston, S.C. more >>