AirTalk for December 29, 2009

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California Science Center and Darwin's Dilemma

LA's California Science Center is under fire (and facing a lawsuit) for scheduling, and then cancelling, a screening of a film about intelligent design. The American Freedom Alliance intended to show "Darwin's Dilemma" alongside "We Are Born of Stars," a documentary that supports Darwin's theory of evolution. Now the AFA contends that the California Science Center, in cancelling the screening, is violating the 1st Amendment by stifling scientific debate over the validity of intelligent design. Is a science center the wrong place to argue intelligent design? Or does academia have a responsibility to air both sides of this debate?
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Thou shalt steal?

The Ten Commandments say: "Thou Shalt Not Steal." Pretty clear, right? But Father Tim Jones, the vicar at a Church in York in the U.K., told his parishioners it's more subtle than that...for the poor, shop lifting from chain stores is more moral than mugging, prostitution or burglary. In fact, it might even be justified under desperate circumstances. A priest advising his flock on the morals of stealing? It's caused a huge scandal within the Church of England. But raises the question: can it ever be okay to steal?
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Abstinence education in the healthcare bill

Advocates of abstinence-based sex education are celebrating a last minute addition to the Senate health bill that allows programs with proven results to compete for slices of a $100 million pie allocated for prevention of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. What constitutes success in sex education—delayed sex, reduced teen pregnancy, increased knowledge of contraception? And what place does the provision have in a health overhaul bill?
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Top science stories of 2009

Water on Mars? The discovery of a giant snake that can tell us about climate change? Radiation turns your hair grey? These are just a few of the top science stories of 2009. What other profound, fascinating, and weird discoveries did scientists unearth and unleash this year?
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