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Nature of Peer Review Undergoing Review at Nature

The science cops are on trial.  Peer review, the process that many are led to believe enforces objectivity and validity in scientific papers, has come under fire lately (see 03/17/2006, 02/05/2006, 01/31/2006, 01/09/2006).  In response to scandals and criticisms that the peer review as practiced is no guarantee against fraud, Nature is stepping out into […]

Update:  Iraq Marshlands Recovering Quicker Than Expected

How is south-central Iraq doing?  Recall that Saddam Hussein nearly obliterated, intentionally, one of the world’s premier wetlands (05/01/2003, 02/18/2005).  His fall from power enabled scientists to measure the damage and estimate hopes for recovery.  The outlook was pretty bleak at first.  Now, after two seasons of above-average rainfall upstream, fresh water has again been […]

Doctors Deny Darwin

Doctors and medical professionals may comprise the largest block of scientists with qualms about evolution.  According to a Finkelstein poll, an average of 60% of doctors, depending on religious demographics, reject the completely unguided Darwinian evolutionary explanation for life.  A new organization, Physicians and Surgeons for Scientific Integrity (PSSI), has begun a website Doctors Doubting […]

Scientists Cheer Theoretical Holocaust

Popular science reporter Forest Mims III heard a chilling round of applause at a meeting of scientists, reported World Net Daily.  When lizard expert Eric R. Pianka suggested it would be a good thing if airborne ebola killed off 90% of the human population, he got a standing ovation – and an award.  At a […]

Can Scientific Journals Perpetuate False Ideas?

An unusual paper appeared in PNAS this week.1  Four social scientists from Columbia and Yale argued that scientific papers can actually perpetuate false ideas rather than correct them.  The abstract says that an influential paper can generate momentum that becomes merely cited as fact by subsequent authors: We analyzed a very large set of molecular […]

Lest We Forget: Website Recalls Horrors of Eugenics

The American Holocaust Museum has a website, “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race.”  It discusses how Hitler’s Germany depended on currently popular scientific ideas of eugenics to try to create a master race, and in the process, eliminate the unfit – millions of them.  The website was mentioned in Science this week. The website profiles […]

March of the “Selfish Darwinians”?

Penguins: are they moral models, or evolutionary examples?  Ever since last year’s surprise blockbuster documentary March of the Penguins, the well-dressed seabirds and their harsh lives have provoked empathy and commentary.  Marlene Zuk (UC Riverside) took issue in Nature1 with those who try to moralize about monogamy from taking their cues only from the movie.  […]

More on “Literary Darwinism”

Harold Fromm in Science1 reviewed Gottschall’s new book on literary Darwinism (see 01/27/2006 entry).  Like Gottschall, he argued that an evolution-informed approach to literary criticism is superior because it provides quantifiable certitude: For years, scholars in the literary humanities have struggled to achieve at least a semblance of the certitude possible in the sciences, although […]

Science Seeks Integrity After Scandals

The Hwang scandal (01/09/2006) has prompted a good deal of international soul searching about scientific ethics.  (Now, it appears that Hwang also corrupted officials with monetary gifts; see New Scientist).  Some journals are preaching ethics like an old time revival is in session.  This raises an interesting question: what is the source of ethics?   […]

Ruse Gives Dennett Poor Grade on “Evolution of Religion” Book

Daniel Dennett is one of those Darwinists not shy about getting in the face of religious people, particularly Christians.  Philosopher and pro-Darwinist historian Michael Ruse, on the other hand, has spent enough time around theologically-inclined people to give them a more sympathetic hearing.  Ruse has regularly appeared on panels and in debates with leaders of […]

Darwin Acid Eats Literature

A potent acid has fallen on the bookshelf, eating away the minds and intentions of its characters, dissolving romances and adventures into a hideous morass of uniform consistency.     Prominent evolutionist Daniel Dennett, author of Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, wrote that evolution is like a “universal acid” that cannot be contained in its scientific vial.  […]

The Evolution of Spite

Since everything evolves, according to consensus science, why not attitudes like spite?  The BBC News reported about a University College London study on attitudes of revenge between the sexes.  They found that men seemed to get more satisfaction out of hurting foes than women.  This is all part of an evolutionary explanation for altruistic behavior […]

Plants Contribute to Global Warming?

If anyone needs a reminder that scientists still have a lot to learn, consider this major discovery of something right under their noses that caught them completely off guard.  Up to a third of methane in the atmosphere comes from plants.  This is not only a baffling puzzle about how or why plants would create […]

Peer Review: Can You Trust a Scientific Journal Paper?

Science magazine has egg on its face – deviled, poached, and scrambled – everything but sunny side up.  Last May, it printed one of the biggest breakthrough stories of the year in stem cell research: Korean scientist Woo Suk Hwang, a professor at the Seoul National University and President of the World Stem Cell Hub, […]

Darwin Hits Home: Adultery Rationalized

USA Today began an article with a steamy picture of a man and a woman embracing.  As could be expected, they are not married; reporter Sharon Jayson began, “Some men cheat on their partners.  So do some women.  Now researchers say it is more than a wandering eye that might cause a woman to stray.”  […]
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