What's New | 5 Aug 20:49 2005

[BOBPARKS-WHATSNEW] What's New Friday August 5, 2005

WHAT'S NEW   Robert L. Park   Friday, 5 Aug 05   Washington, DC

science n. the intellectual and practical activity encompassing  
     the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the
     physical and natural world through observation and
     experiment. (Oxford English Dictionary, eleventh edition) 

1. THE PRESIDENT: MAYBE THE WHITE HOUSE COULD USE A DICTIONARY.
Conservative Christian supporters are gloating.  On Tuesday, in
an interview with Texas reporters, the President of the United
States came down on the side of equal time for intelligent
design.  Referring back to his time as Governor of Texas, Mr.
Bush said, "I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught." 
Which two sides are those Mr. President?  I don't think we can
teach the Genesis story in science class, even after you pack the
Court.  Surely you're not talking about the "intelligent design"
thing?  Can someone tell us who or what is doing the designing? 
I think that will tell us whether it's science or religion.

2. THE FOUNDER: DISCOVERY INSTITUTE DOESN'T NEED A DICTIONARY. 
The Washington Post on Saturday had a little-noticed letter from
Bruce Chapman, founder and President of the Discovery Institute. 
Director of the White House Office of Planning and Evaluation
under Ronald Reagan, Chapman learned from the master.  Facts are
not important, what matters is conviction.  "The only religious
believers in all this," he writes, "are the Darwinists, who are
out to punish scholars who see the weakness of Darwin's theory." 
And who are these scholars?  This brings up another alarming
trend, conservative think tanks manned by "scholars" who do no
research, but spew out books laden with conviction.  Chapman
(Continue reading)

What's New | 12 Aug 21:58 2005

[BOBPARKS-WHATSNEW] What's New Friday August 12, 2005

WHAT'S NEW   Robert L. Park   Friday, 12 Aug 05   Washington, DC

1. GLOBAL WARMING: ANOTHER DISPUTE SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN RESOLVED. 
Homo sapiens has been around for maybe 50,000 years, but most of
what we've learned about our universe, from how big it is to how
small its pieces are, has been learned in the span of a single
human lifetime.  What made it possible was the development of a
scientific culture that is open and conditional.  The effect of
homo sapiens on Earth's climate is perhaps the most complicated
problem humans have tackled, and conceivably the most important. 
The system is working.  We have a consensus on warming; disputes
remain only over the details.  One detail was records that were
interpreted by a group at the U. Alabama in Huntsville as showing
that the troposphere had not warmed in two decades and the
tropics had cooled.  However, three papers in Science this week
report errors in the Alabama-Huntsville calculations.  It seems
that warming of the troposphere agrees with surface measurements
and recent computer predictions.  The group at Alabama-Huntsville
concedes the error, but says the effect is not that large. 
That's the way it's supposed to work.  It's a textbook example of
science in the process of resolving a very complicated problem.

2. CREATIONISM: ABC NEWS AND GETTING THE DINOSAURS ON NOAH'S ARK. 
Earlier this year, WN asked a rhetorical question, "Is ABC News
nuts?" http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN05/wn021105.html.  There
is new information.  Last night, ABC Evening News took viewers to
the Museum of Earth History in Eureka Springs, Ark.  Disputes are
different in the Bible world.  Genesis says a pair of every kind
of air-breathing animal was taken on board Noah's Ark   and in a
world that's only 10,000 years old, that must include dinosaurs.
(Continue reading)

What's New | 19 Aug 21:49 2005

[BOBPARKS-WHATSNEW] What's New Friday August 19, 2005

WHAT'S NEW   Robert L. Park   Friday, 19 Aug 05   Washington, DC

1. THE BEACH: NATURAL CURES "THEY" DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT. 
Last week at the beach?  Need something to read?  Kevin Trudeau's
top bestseller might have you looking for a rip tide to throw it
into.  Worried about too much sun?  "The sun does not cause skin
cancer, sun screens do."  This sort of logic is on every page.
"Scientists in secret laboratories are developing chemicals that
are added to our food, but not included on the label."  These
"secret poisonous chemicals" are specifically designed to make
people hungry so they buy more food, make them fat because fat
people eat more, addict them to the product and cause disease. 
The food industry, the drug companies, the government, and the
scientists are in cahoots to keep you sick and profits up. 
What's the evidence?  Kevin Trudeau doesn't do "evidence."  A 42
year-old ex-convict and infomercial guru, he preys on the most
vulnerable among us, the sick and elderly.  The FTC fined him $2
million and barred him from selling products with infomercials - 
except for his book.  He wears his convictions like badges of
honor - proof that the establishment is trying to silence him.

2. BACK HOME: "THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON SCIENCE," BY CHRIS MOONEY 
By the time you're back from the beach, "The Republican War on
Science" should be in the bookstores.  It was already being
printed two weeks ago when the President of the United States
publically took the side of biblical literalists in the dispute
over the teaching of religious alternatives to evolution in
public schools http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN05/wn080505.html. 
Global warming deniers, stem cell research opponents, those who
claim to see a link between abortion and breast cancer, they're
(Continue reading)

What's New | 26 Aug 22:29 2005

[BOBPARKS-WHATSNEW] What's New Friday August 26, 2005

WHAT'S NEW   Robert L. Park   Friday, 26 Aug 05   Washington, DC

1. THE WAR: SENATE LEADER JOINS PRESIDENT ON INTELLIGENT DESIGN.
Back before he began humming Hail to the Chief to himself as he
walked the Capitol halls, Bill Frist headed the bipartisan Senate
S&T Caucus http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN97/wn021497.html, and
pushed for increased science funding.  Recently, he reversed his
opposition to stem cell research, supporting it despite strong
opposition by the President.  Bush said he believes "human life
is a gift from our Creator."  Some scientists saw Frist's action
as a calculated move to demonstrate independence.  Although Frist
had never voted in an election prior to running for the Senate,
he does know how to count votes, and he knows there are a lot
more born-again Christians in this country than scientists. 
Friday, Bill Frist, sided with the President on intelligent
design, calling for teaching it in science class with evolution.  

2. THE MIRACLE STUDY: COLUMBIA PRAYS THE SCANDAL WILL GO AWAY. 
The prayers aren't working.  Bruce Flamm, MD, Clinical Professor
at the U. of California, Irvine Medical Center, is the reason
http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN04/wn060404.html.  A 2001 study
from Columbia University Medical School, published in a
respected, peer-reviewed journal, reported in-vitro fertilization
was twice as likely to result in pregnancy if patients were
prayed for without their knowledge by total strangers halfway
around the world.  WN gently explained that they must be crazy
http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN01/wn100501.htm.  Bruce Flamm
dug deeper, publishing his findings in Sci. Rev. Alt. Med.  In
four years he has not let up.  Under pressure from the Dean, the
lead author, Dr. Rogerio Lobo, has removed his name from the
(Continue reading)


Gmane