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Will Hurricane Katrina End Social Darwinism in America?

Harold Evans, writing an op-ed piece for the BBC News, thinks the TV images of destruction from Hurricane Katrina will arouse a new wave “compassion in government” (which he interprets as “the responsibility of government to relieve individual suffering”), and spell the end of Social Darwinism (which he interprets as laissez-faire individualism): My judgment is […]

Are Democrats the Guardians of Science?

Dan Danbom reviewed Chris Mooney’s The Republican War On Science in the Rocky Mountain News.  According to Danbom, Mooney argues “that the Bush administration ignores, subverts, twists and misrepresents science to conform to its political goals.” The review includes these quotes from the book: ….in politicized fights involving science, it is rare to find liberals […]

Looking for Ethical Alternatives to Embryonic Stem Cells

Pro-life advocates perked up their ears at the announcement of a new method that can produce stem cells without destroying embryos.  National Geographic News and MSNBC News talked about the method, which uses skin cells and “reprograms” them to act like embryonic stem cells.  Religion Journal thinks the ethical debate over stem cells may be […]

I.D. vs. Evolution Rhetoric Continues Unabated

The surge in articles and editorials about intelligent design vs. evolution, prompted by President Bush’s remarks (08/13/2005) often seems to track the political philosophy of the person or group: Republican vs. Democrat, conservative vs. liberal – but not always.  Recent salvos: Irish Scream:  Bill O’Reilly had Dr. Richard Sternberg on his O’Reilly Factor show on […]

Evolution vs. ID: This Means War

President Bush’s mild off-the-cuff remarks about students needing to hear alternatives to evolution (see 08/02/2005) set off a firestorm of reaction pro and con in the media.  Get your ringside seat here for the war of the words: Mad Scientists:  Nature, as reported this week (08/10/2005), expressed outrage at the President’s remarks – a reaction […]

What’s On the Agenda?  Kansas Votes in New Science Standards

Science Now (from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, publisher of Science magazine) reported that Kansas voted 6-4 to adopt the new science standards yesterday that “allow for the teaching of alternatives to evolutionary theory.”  It alleged that “scientists” (unspecified by name or number) say that the new draft standards are “a thinly […]

Nature Rallies Troops Against I.D. to the Defense of “Science”

“President Bush’s endorsement of ‘intelligent design’ has sparked a national debate in which scientists are well positioned to prevail,” editorialized Nature this week,1 with the a rallying-cry title, “Keeping religion out of science class.”  This editorial, along with a news item by Virginia Gewin, “Scientists attack Bush over intelligent design,”2 was prompted by President Bush’s […]

Has Anti-Semitism Been Good for Jewish Evolution?

National Geographic News gave favorable coverage to a controversial theory by anthropologists at University of Utah that anti-semitism was a form of natural selection.  The racism against Jews in Europe, while selecting for higher intelligence, also selected for certain types of diseases.  Reporter James Owen did point out that not all anthropologists agree with the […]

Scopes 80th Anniversary Leads to Reanalysis

Alex Johnson, reporter for MSNBC News, has written a piece trying to set the record straight about the Scopes Trial of 1925.  Often portrayed as a battle of science vs religion and a group of hillbilly hicks against enlightened intellectuals (the “Inherit the Wind” stereotype), the historical trial was much different, he demonstrates.  William Jennings […]

Tulsa Zoo Tolerates Religion &#150 Except the Bible Kind

It’s OK to praise the Hindu god Ganesha and preach pantheism at the Tulsa zoo, but not to mention Genesis.  The zoo board reversed itself after first agreeing to permit an exhibit of the biblical creation account, reported Agape Press.  Christian supporters argued that the zoo “already features religious symbols in other displays, including a […]

Does the Brain Produce the Mind – and Ethics?

Two contrasting views on the mind/body problem appeared in science journals recently.  In Nature this week,1 Paul Bloom (Yale) reviewed The Ethical Brain (Dana Press, 2005) by Michael S. Gazzaniga, a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics.  Bloom felt the need to clarify the difference between theological and evolutionary views on the source of […]

Scientists Own Up to the Need for Ethics

The image of a scientist free to follow his quest wherever it goes is changing.  In an age of international terrorism, governments are becoming more wary of the potential downsides of scientific investigations, and scientific organizations are beginning to fall in line, reluctantly but understandingly.  “Biologists may soon have little option but to sign up […]

Scientists Confess Their Sins

One-third of scientists engaged in unethical behavior over the last three years, according to a report in Nature.1,2  These include falsification, fabrication and plagiarism as well as a host of questionable research practices.  It’s not so much a problem of high-profile cases of fraud as much as everyday, mundane, “corrosive” ethical lapses that are endangering […]

Stem Cell Headlines

Research on embryonic stem cells is proceeding apace without an ethical anchor, and no clue where it will lead.  News coverage of the debate accelerated with an announcement from South Korea. Match point:  The BBC News and many other news sources published South Korea’s announcement that stem cells matched to the individual have been tailored […]

Temple Mount Debris Yields Artifacts from Solomon’s Temple

Israelis were shocked and outraged when Palestinians undertook an illegal construction project in 1999 on the Temple Mount, and threw the debris into the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem, but there was little they could do about it.  Though this “archaeological disaster” caused irreparable damage to the site, the holiest place for the Jews, some Israelis […]
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