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Shroud of Turin Debate Reopens

The shroud was from the 13th century, concluded earlier researchers, using carbon 14 dating methods.  Now, other experts are claiming the methods were flawed, because the researchers dated a mended patch made by medieval monks.  The BBC News reports a new claim that it is older than thought: between 1300 and 3000 years old.  National […]

Newspaper Editorials Lead Revolt Against King Charles

Some columnists and editorial writers are gaining boldness to attack the Darwin-only rule in science education.  Some examples: Senator Rick Santorum (R., Pennsylvania) in The Morning Call advocated a balanced approach to teaching evolution. Brian Fahling in The Union Leader took up the charge to defend Georgia’s “critical thinking” stickers (see 01/13/2005 entry). Neal McCluskey, […]

Critical Thinking Outlawed in Georgia School District

A federal judge has ordered the stickers removed from Cobb County, Georgia biology textbooks that encourage students to think critically when examining the theory of evolution (see 11/08/2004 entry), according to Yahoo News.  The attorney defending the stickers tried to argue that science and religion are not mutually exclusive, and that the school board was […]

Dover, PA Administrators Will Read ID Statement

In a compromise aimed at relieving recalcitrant teachers, the Dover, Pennsylvania school board decided that administrators will read a four-paragraph statement about evolution and intelligent design (ID) to high school students for any teachers that want to “opt out” of the new policy (see 11/04/2004 headline).  The decision, according to the York Daily Record, was […]

Media and Journals Conflict Over Mars Life

Timed for the one-year anniversary of the Mars Exploration Rovers, PBS aired a NOVA program last night about Spirit and Opportunity, and the teams that landed them and operated them on Mars.  As is common for popular programs about Mars exploration, NOVA suggested that evidence for past water found (especially by Opportunity at Meridiani Planum) […]

Nature Takes Note of Religious Influence

The surprisingly strong show of support for moral issues in the recent U.S. election has been the talk of the news for weeks now, and Big Science can’t ignore it.  “The voices of religion are more prominent and influential than they have been for many decades,” begins a prominent editorial in Nature1 Dec. 9, entitled […]

The Politics of Academic Scientists: Democrats Vastly Outnumber Republicans

A news item in Science1 entitled “Academia as a ‘One Party’ System” will probably attract the attention of conservative talk show hosts: Universities in the United States are very keen on fostering “diversity” as long as it’s not ideological diversity, according to the National Association of Scholars (NAS), a conservative group of academics.  Last year […]

Will it Become Unlawful to Think Critically?

The legality of disclaimers in biology textbooks will be decided by a U.S. District Court in Atlanta, Georgia.  A judge will hear the case Nov. 8 about stickers the Cobb County school board put in the books that say, “This textbook contains material on evolution.  Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin […]

Adult Stem Cells Continue to Work Miracle Cures

Chalk up two more amazing successes for adult stem cells (not derived from human embryos, like the controversial ES stem cells): 1. Blindness:  The BBC News reported that stem cells from the back of the eyeball might be able to restore sight to those afflicted with macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. 2. Parkinson’s […]

Scientific Supporters of ES Stem Cell Research Fear Future Abuses

“How would you know if a human brain was trapped in a mouse’s body?”  This frightful and intriguing question opened an article in Nature this week.1  More on that in a minute.     Last week, in the Oct. 14 issue,2 a Nature editorial on California’s Stem Cell Proposition 71 stated that “the proposal is […]

Ghost of Hitler Still Haunts Western Medicine

“During the 1930s, the German medical establishment was admired as a world leader in innovative public health and medical research.  The question we want to examine is: ‘How could science be co-opted in such a way that doctors as healers evolved into killers and medical research became torture?’”  The question was posed by Dr. Alan […]

Grand Canyon Creation Book Stays on Shelves

The ruckus over a creation-oriented geology book on Grand Canyon at the Visitor Center (see 01/18/2004 headline) is back in the news.  The Environmental Media Services reports that plans for a review have been shelved by the park: Despite telling members of Congress and the public that the legality and appropriateness of the National Park […]

Another Thing to Worry About: Synthetic Biology

Philip Ball is no alarmist, but as consultant editor of Nature,1 he had sobering words last week about things that could go wrong in the new field of synthetic biology, where scientists are tinkering with cells to create artificial life forms: The expanding toolbox of ways to re-engineer microbes – and even construct new ones […]

Do ES Stem Cells Prevent Heart Disease?

The promise of stem cells, whether embryonic or adult, is in their power to differentiate into any type of somatic cell.  Although adult stem cells have racked up an impressive number of therapeutic successes,* embryonic (ES) stem cells have only been promised to do so – until now.  In Science Oct. 8,1 Cornell scientists coaxed […]

Big Science Portrays Embryonic Stem Cell Issue as Political Litmus Test

The number of articles in scientific journals on embryonic stem cell research (also called “therapeutic cloning”) has been on the rise, particularly those referring to Britain’s or John Kerry’s support of it (see 08/11/2004 editorial), and Germany’s or Bush’s opposition to it.  Though science journals are expected to be above politics, on this issue their […]
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