Clay Farris Naff's Blog

Ad Astra: Science, Religion & Our Future

Clay Farris Naff

Clay Farris Naff
Lincoln, Nebraska, 68502
April 03
Clay Farris Naff ( is a science writer with a special interest in the rational reconciliation of religions with science. You can follow him at Twitter @claynaff, or visit his religion blog at An award-winning journalist and author, he has been a science-and-religion columnist for the Metanexus Institute, an editor for Greenhaven Press, and a freelance writer for various publications, including most recently Earth magazine and The Humanist.

  Getting Things Done?  Nyuk, Nyuk, Yuk!

 Dear Dead-in-the-Water Democrats:

     Look, fellas, I know an election is coming in less time than it takes to have a baby. I know it's been a tough winter, and at this point half your caucus is so panicked they are… Read full post »

Golfing on the Moon
With Drives Like These, How Can We
Afford Not to Go Back to the Moon?

     In a brilliant political stroke, President Obama has proposed killing Project Constellation. This was George W. Bush's plan to return astronauts to the lunar surface, where they could once again pl… Read full post »

Baboon in heat

     I have to admit that after all these years, sex is still a mystery to me. Especially human sex. Not that I've tried any other kind.
    What I'm trying to say here is that for all that biologists and other researchers have learned about human sexuality,… Read full post »

    Autism chart
Rise in Autism Cases Reported, 1992 - 2008

    Oops, it's happened again. As a science journalist, I am frequently embarrassed by the way important scientific ideas tranmogrify into gushy, silly, or scary notions in the media. The idea at stake this time coul… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 7, 2010 4:59PM

Hold the Phone! That Droid Just Might Be Good For Ya!
   Could This Be A Cure for Alzheimers?

    Awhile back, I posted a column casting doubt on the claims that cellphones cause brain cancer. Apart from well designed studies that found no evidence to support such claims, there are the simple facts of physics: cell… Read full post »

Why We Should All Resolve to Understand
Ourselves Better Before Casting Judgment

Tiger, Elin, and baby

    Care to guess what Tiger Woods' New Year's resolution might be? Why not; everyone else who writes does. You'll have to get to the back of a long line, though, and endure a lot of really lame jok… Read full post »

DECEMBER 29, 2009 10:25AM

Aboard That NW Flight: A Neuron Bomb

The Real Explosive Was In Abdulmutallab's Mind 

Suspect Umar Abdulmutallab

     Many words have been wasted on the type of explosive aboard Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit. Today PETN, tomorrow something else. (More on that below!) We'd do better to focus on the really scary stuff aboard th… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 24, 2009 2:01PM

Christmas: A Time for Science and Religion to Make Peace

The Time Has Come to Put an  End
to the Needless Conflict
Between Two Great Human Institutions
God discovers science

    What kind of world do we live in? That's a question that both science and religion attempt to answer. In the next few days, a pair of notable anniversaries will illuminate the… Read full post »

DECEMBER 18, 2009 2:28PM

The Health Insurance Fiasco

How Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska
Really Cares for Its Customers (See Update below!)

Steve Martin

[Update: A sense of fairness moves me to note that BC/BS did eventually call me back, and that they have offered me a different kind of policy that will cost less. I haven't yet had… Read full post »

DECEMBER 14, 2009 9:03PM

Culture Wars -- The Christmas Edition!

The Christian Right Wants to Tell Everyone
How to Celebrate the Holidays

The Cross-mas Tree

     Christmas is fast approaching. Shoppers are shopping, carolers are caroling, and evangelicals are ... declaring holy war??? Yes, the season of joy, peace, and giving knows no respite from religi… Read full post »

 A City in North Carolina Elects an Atheist,
But the State Constitution Says He Can't Take Office

         Goats on the rise

    A sign of the times? Or perhaps the End Times? Either way, the unthinkable has happened: an openRead full post »

DECEMBER 7, 2009 10:24AM

Climate Change and the Septic Skeptics

Does Climate Change Denial Amount to
An Evolutionary Pyschopathology?

  Climate change - see

   The threat of climate catastrophe elicits a curous social response: the stronger the evidence grows, the more the public listens to the professional deniers and climate skeptics.

   In recent m… Read full post »

DECEMBER 4, 2009 11:39AM

Cell Phone Radiation Scare

Why We Don't Need Any More Studies
Telling Us Cell Phone Signals Are Safe

  brain damage!

    So. Less than a month after CNN revived the cell phone brain cancer scare, another major study claims to confirm that cell phones don't cause brain cancer. Bah! What do studies know? If you're a…

Read full post »

DECEMBER 1, 2009 8:17AM

Men Aren't From Mars

Why Planning for Manned Missions to the Red Planet Is Dumb
Mars Rover Spirit

     It was great to see Bob Ballard on 60 Minutes this week. The discoverer of the Titanic and (more importantly, says he, tube worms) was, as always, delightful and sharp. He made a familiar poi… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 26, 2009 9:17AM

Triumph of the Turkey

By Darwin's Lights, This Is Our True National Bird
Wild Turkey

    On this day of Thanksgiving, let us choose to accentuate the positive.  It's all too easy to be a downer. As that lately late Sultan of Style, William Safire, once noted, anyone can be a nabob of negativity. Yes, the… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 23, 2009 9:18AM

Can Overfishing Be Stopped?

Or Will We Be Soon Be Eating This?


     Hi, my name is Clay, and I am a tuna addict. It's true. Even though I feel ripples of guilt every time, whether it's a tuna-fish sandwich or a translucent slice of maguro sashimi, I feel bad that I… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 19, 2009 8:22AM

Vampires Are For Real!

The True Bloodsuckers, However, Are Hardly Supernatural

Poster for New 'Twilight' Movie

   Are you afraid of vampires? I am.

    Not thatI believe there are supernatural bloodsuckers flapping around out there. No, I am afraid that my fellow citizens… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 16, 2009 8:42AM

Vaccine Madness

Can We Come To Our Senses
Over Our Single Best Shot to Defeat Disease?

     "You wanna get a flu shot?"
    My wife asked me that innocent question across the breakfast table, and to my outraged amazement I found myself hesitating. Me! The editor of a book… Read full post »

My Radio Program to Air Issues in Advance of Nov. 20th Vote

       Half of the University of Nebraska’ regents have drafted a resolution that would limit embryonic stem cell research at the university’s medical center to stem cell lines approved under former… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 12, 2009 8:13AM

An Alien Talks about God

    So, the Vatican has taken up the question of intelligent life on other worlds? Too rich!
Alien Icon from

    This move has, of course, prompted discussion about what effect its discovery would have on religion. Here's a snippet from science writer Hanna Devlin of the Times of… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 8, 2009 11:24AM

The Entropy of Trees*

Can Science Provide An Excuse for Goofing Off?
(*apologies to Enya)
Raking Leaves

    With the World Series over, I could no longer put off raking leaves. The one time I wanted it to rain on a weekend, the skies were blue and the temperature fine. Muttering sullenly, I let my thoughts wander… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 3, 2009 8:24AM

Who Wins The World Series in Heaven?

 How Can Either Side Stand the Pain of Loss in Paradise?
Quantum Mechanics May Hold the Answer!

  Chase Utley

   Man, the Phillies are killing me! In Game Four of the World Series they lost in the ninth, and last night in Game Five they very nearly did it again. Which… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 1, 2009 9:37AM

The Devil Made Me Do It

Why I Like To Dress Up as Satan At Halloween
Satan Impersonator

    I love Halloween, 'cause it gives me a chance to don my horns and play the most interesting character in all of religion: Old Scratch, Lucifer, the Devil himself. Let's face it, virtue may good, but it is booooooohring. I… Read full post »

OCTOBER 30, 2009 8:21AM

Onward, Christian Martyrs!

Doesn't a Public School Teacher in America Have the Right to Brand Students with His Religious Beliefs Anymore?

 Thomas Jefferson

 "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment ofRead full post »

OCTOBER 28, 2009 8:53AM

Quiver at the Human Population Tsunami

    "Be fruitful and multiply."

    Human Population Curve -- Creative Commons

    These words from Genesis are sweet, suggestive, and quite possibly catastrophic.  That spike on the right of the chart above represents 6 billion  people. More than 1 billion of them go hungry everyRead full post »