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Medical Professionals Lambaste the Nature of Ethics

Nature’s editorial on religion and ethics last month (see 12/09/2004 entry) motivated two medical professionals to write in and give the journal a piece of their mind.1  Apparently indignant over the editorial’s patronizing view of religion and its simplistic view of ethics, they made it clear that the scientific establishment is no judge of truth […]

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 […]

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 […]

Clean-Air Laws and Tree-Planting Cause Increased Air Pollution?

A major source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), precursors of ozone pollution, is tree leaves, says a report in EurekAlert.  Surprisingly, the increase in trees due to abandoned farms has worsened the pollution.  Industry-caused nitrogen-oxygen (NOx) compounds also lead to ozone, and it is not clear how these sources interact.  Nevertheless, it appears that reductions […]

Letter: The Case Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Sometimes the letters to the editor are the most interesting parts of a magazine.  Read what John T. Durkin says about embryonic stem cell research in response to an April letter by another scientist: In his Letter “Human being redux” (16 April, p. 388),2 M. S. Gazzaniga constructs his defense of human embryonic stem cell […]

Adult Stem Cells Might Restore Hearing

A report from Marine Biological Laboratory found that adult stem cells show promise for restoring inner ear hair cells (see 08/09/2004 headline).  The tests, done on mice, might lead to treatment of hearing loss and balance disorders that affect 28 million Americans.     A few days earlier, Jonathan Knight, in Nature, worried over the […]

Interview

    Lest anyone suspect that atheism is no longer an issue, it’s “Reign of Terror Week” on The History Channel.  No fictional horror film could match what this series is revealing.  The episode Inside North Korea is a must see about the unbelievably horrible atrocities going on now in one atheist regime under the […]

AIDS Policy: Morality a Casualty at the Intersection of Politics and Big Science

A news item in the July 15 issue of Nature1 seems to take sides against President Bush’s AIDS policy.  The United States, the largest donor for AIDS prevention and treatment, “is promoting a mantra known as ABC: abstinence, be faithful and use condoms.”  Although it would seem these simple preventative steps would quickly diminish the […]
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