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Malthusian Maniac Killed Before Killing Hostages

James J. Lee took hostages today at the Discovery Channel headquarters in Maryland, but was killed by police before he harmed anyone (see New York Times).  Lee, who authored a website called SaveThePlanetProtest.com, left a manifesto with a list of demands, calling humans “filth” and demanding the Discovery Channel inform viewers that humans were ruining […]

God Forbid: Public School Field Trips to a Creation Zoo?

Is it legal?  Can a public school take kids to a creation zoo?  Environment reporter Michael Marshall at New Scientist just about had a fit when he heard that “A UK zoo that pushes a creationist message has been approved as a destination for school trips by the government.”  That could never happen in America, […]

Best Face-on-Mars Photo Looks Dead

Conspiracy theorists will probably have little to say now that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken the clearest photo yet of the alleged “Face on Mars” in Cydonia.  For the before and after photos, see PhysOrg.  The new photo is clearly an eroded, rocky mesa – that’s all, folks. Use this as a teachable moment.  […]

Productive Science Imitates Nature

Examples continue to accumulate that some of the most interesting and fruitful science projects involve copying design principles found in nature.  This “biomimetics” approach not only pleases the consumers who can look forward to greener, cheaper, better products, but leads to deeper understandings of nature’s workings. Gecko adhesives:  PhysOrg published a story on the ongoing […]

What Good Are Science Societies?

It’s the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society, England’s oldest and most prestigious scientific organization.  Amid the celebrations are essays and commentaries about the role scientific societies play for the public, the government, and the advancement of natural knowledge.  It should only be expected that the scientific journals will give the positive side, but between […]

An Ugly Head Rises in Lenin’s Land

According to Andy Coghlan, reporter for New Scientist, the spectre of an “ugly head” is rising in Russia.  What is it?  It’s not atheism, because Coghlan admits that Russia once made that the state religion.  It’s not communism, because Coghlan admits “Godless communism” once prevailed in the Soviet Union.  No, it is an ugly head […]

Should Darwin Get a Pass in Science Class?

In many public school science classrooms today, Darwinism is taught uncritically as a scientific fact.  Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) defends that practice, and Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute (DI) contests it.  This month the two in their own venues argued their points of view, and another educator weighed […]

Darwin as Canary in a Coal Mine

The state of evolution teaching is like the fabled canary in a coal mine, Sean Carroll told Science.1  That’s why the molecular biologist from the University of Wisconsin, Madison is cutting back on his research and undergraduate teaching to concentrate on his new appointment: vice president for science education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  […]

Evolution as “Scientific Literacy” Dropped by NSB; Sets Off Firestorm

Can you be called scientifically literate if you deny that humans evolved from lower animals?  What if you deny the universe began with an explosion?  American students have typically scored low on those questions, leading to charges that they are scientifically illiterate compared to other countries in Europe and Asia.  But now, the National Science […]

Is the Internet Age Redefining Science?

To a middle school student, science is a clear category; it’s a subject you take, along with history, language, or P.E.  You have a science teacher; you read a science textbook.  You learn about the scientific method.  In the real world, though, categories are not always so clearly delineated.  In fact, the leading science journal, […]

Science Proves the Morally Obvious

When scientists find that virtue brings reward and vice bring trouble, are they doing a better job than preachers and parents?  Hold that thought while reading some of the things scientists have been telling us lately about ourselves. “R-Rated Movies Increase Likelihood of Underage Children Trying Alcohol.”  Thank Science Daily for that bit of advice […]

Cold Castles: Bad Climate for Imperial Science

To some people, the world would be a better place if ruled by scientists.  They could be like a benevolent oligarchy, employing the knowledge gained by the scientific method for the good of the people.  A recent editorial might shake that belief.     In Nature News this week,1 Daniel Sarewitz had some sobering thoughts […]

Old Primordial Soup Is Spoiled

Don’t open it; that can of primordial soup sitting on the shelf for decades is rotten.  PhysOrg announced, “New research rejects 80-year theory of ‘primordial soup’ as the origin of life.”  In its place come new theories about tiny chemical cooking pots in the pores of deep-sea vents.  Pioneered by Michael Russell (02/15/2008) and others, […]

Debunker Busters

Often in science reports, new findings debunk previously held beliefs.  But then, a thoughtful reader might ask, didn’t the previously held belief debunk a belief prior to that?  Sometimes it gets difficult to believe the current belief has any credibility, when the debunkers turn on each other. A dilemma about dilemmas:  Psychologists and philosophers have […]

Darwin Marketed to Kids

There’s a move on to get Darwin’s ideas taught to tots.  Britain is giving a “birthday present to Darwin,” wrote Andrew Copson for The Guardian, in the form of national curriculum for primary schools that will mention evolution for the first time – and prohibit teaching of creationism or intelligent design in science lessons.   […]
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