Texas Press Perpetuates ID Myths
July 22, 2011
Some reporters refuse to listen. Advocates of intelligent design (ID) have clarified their definitions, their evidences, and their goals for years now, with numerous books, essays, web articles, papers and lectures, but the secular mainstream press continues to misrepresent their positions, and divert discussion from the issues to red herrings. A vote by the Texas School Board concerning supplementary materials to match science standards offered the latest example. The Associated Press story is filled with talking points and generalities; the Discovery Institute response is detailed and to the point, citing scientific journal references for support. Will intelligent design ever get a fair hearing in the mainstream media?
Science Can Be Wrong for Decades, Centuries
July 18, 2011
The history of science shows some wrong theories being accepted by leading scholars for long periods of time. Ptolemaic astronomy, unquestioned for over 1200 years, is a prime example. Not all examples are old, though. In modern times as well, scientists are finding that theories unquestioned for decades, even centuries, were wrong. That being so, what confidence can we have that today’s scientific beliefs will stand the test of time for the next decade or century? A recent spate of science articles shows some long-held theories being questioned – others being tossed overboard.
Can evolutionary theory explain terrorism?
July 2, 2011
In military strategy, it is vital to know what the enemy is up to. Can evolutionary theory help? An interdisciplinary team at the University of Miami got their heads together and appealed to an evolutionary notion called the “Red Queen” hypothesis, and claimed it provides a “Pattern in Escalations in Insurgent and Terrorist Activity” that is neutral regarding the good guys and the bad guys. It resembles, they argue, how pedators and prey evolve in nature. They offer their model as a way military planners can have the ability “to estimate not only the number of fatalities but how often attacks that result in fatalities will take place.” They applied their pattern prediction to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. How robust is this notion, and should evolutionary theory take credit for it?
NOMA Still Isn’t Working
June 26, 2011
Science journals and websites continue to act as if religion is a subcategory of the science department. If Stephen Jay Gould thought that NOMA was a good idea to keep peace between science and religion (see 11/05/2006), nobody paid any attention. Scientism has taken over the world. Teen religion: In “Teens Maintain Their Religion,” Medical […]
Political Science 101: Doubt Scientific Claims
June 25, 2011
Science goes through a chain of messengers from data to consumer. In between are fallible scientists, who speak often in incomprehensible jargon and often only partially understand what they observe, but often wish to gain notoriety with a major discovery (or need to publish or perish). Next, the institutional press offices decide what is significant and try to digest the jargon to layman level. The predigested stories are then delivered to science reporters, who sometimes sensationalize the filtered stories to make a name for themselves. Finally, the media outlets, prone to peer biases, dress up the products to grab the eyes of readers of their newspapers, magazines, or web pages. How much of the real scientific data remains at the end of this game of Telephone? Sometimes the bias is clearly evident, but often the product is delivered with all the presumptive authority of science. Once in awhile, a reporter comes clean about the dirty work involved.
Humans Are Devolving
June 21, 2011
“We are all mutants,” proclaimed a headline on Science Daily. “First Direct Whole-Genome Measure of Human Mutation Predicts 60 New Mutations in Each of Us.” The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute press release reported 60 new mutations per individual, received from parents – a “striking value” the article characterized the “unexpected findings”.
Stem Cell News
June 20, 2011
Stem cells continue to be hot subjects for research. They are divided into two basic “political” parties: embryonic stem cells (ES), which raise ethical issues about tampering with human life, and adult stem cells (AS), found throughout the body, which have no ethical issues and show the most progress for therapy. The latter include the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), coaxed from adult cells to recover the ability to differentiate into multiple tissue types. Even though AS is leading, some scientists are still demanding federal funding for ES.
A Little Knowledge Without Ethics
May 28, 2011
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. When is knowledge enough? And can a lot of knowledge be a dangerous thing, too? Whether little or much, knowledge without ethics empowers evil.
Embryonic Stem Cells Left in iPS Dust
May 23, 2011
A few years ago, scientists were clamoring for access to human embryos for stem cell research. Now, the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) from human skin and other adult tissues has sidetracked interest in embryonic stem cells. The momentum is clearly going with iPS. Is there any longer a need for embryonic stem cell research? (includes 9 bullet topics)
Enlightenment History of Science Being Rewritten
May 22, 2011
It’s a common myth that enlightenment atheists gave birth to the scientific era by casting off the darkness of the Christian middle ages and replacing magical arts like alchemy with the scientific experimental method. Historians of science know better. A couple of recent articles help set the record straight. Alchemy has long had […]
Does Science Belong Here?
May 19, 2011
Scientists continue to insert their particular methods and viewpoints into every aspect of life, but questions might be raised about the validity of their findings and the propriety of scientists acting as advisors on moral and political questions. Happiness science: Advice found online: “the best way to increase your happiness is to stop worrying about […]
Science Out of Touch
May 11, 2011
When science became a profession instead of an avocation, there were some unintended consequences. Scientists began to lose touch with the public. When a scientist goes to work doing science for a living, he or she sometimes takes public support for granted, thinking the work is justified for its own sake. Recent articles, however, warn […]
Embryonic Stem Cell Decision Overturned
April 30, 2011
Judge Lamberth’s decision to block federal funding of embryonic stem cell (ESC) research last fall (09/03/2010) has been overturned by a 2-1 vote in a federal appeals court. PhysOrg called this a “major victory to President Barack Obama’s administration.” Theistic evolutionist Francis Collins, head of the NIH, expressed delight at the reversal. The earlier decision […]
Scientists Invade Religion
April 21, 2011
Science and religion, those uneasy combatants in turf wars, do not get equal treatment in the media. The referees in the science news media frequently overlook invasions by science into religious territory, but fail to heed calls of foul by the invaded. World religion: Last month in New Scientist, Kate Douglas theorized about what an […]
Who Should Teach Self-Control?
April 15, 2011
A symposium at Massey University in New Zealand has come up with a profound thought: self-control is a key to a happier life. Academics have helped themselves to an ancient notion that teaching self-control to children leads to happier outcomes as adults. Did the world need science to reach this conclusion? Self-control is […]