VIEW HEADLINES ONLY

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 […]

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Academic Bill of Rights?

Why would Nature claim that academic freedom is a threat to academic freedom?  In the April 7 issue,1 Emma Marris titled her news item, “Professors bristle as states act to mould lecture content – Academics are fighting right-wing ‘bills of rights’.”  The academic freedom the professors want is their own freedom to control lecture content, […]

No Excuses: Nazi-Era German Scientists Had Bloody Hands

A six-year, $5 million (US$) project in Germany to investigate the extent of scientific involvement with the Nazi regime completed its final report last month, reports Nature,1 with “uncomfortable truths.”  It can no longer be claimed that (1) there were only a few rotten apples involved, (2) the work was pseudoscientific, low-quality work with meaningless […]

Will Darwinian Law Protect the Unfit?

For the soccer moms, sports fans and teen girls with cell phones glued to their ears who think Darwinism is just an egghead scientific thing, a press release from Vanderbilt University connects evolutionary ideas to legal policies that could affect individual finances, private property rights, political correctness, social conventions, use of resources and public safety. […]

Mad Science: Stanford to Create Rat with Human Brain

Those who thought stem cell research was about helping people afflicted with disease may become alarmed over Stanford’s latest experiment, reported by the UK News Telegraph: the creation of a lab rat with all human brain cells.  The article quotes Wesley Smith of Centre for Bioethics and Culture warning, “biotechnology is becoming dangerously close to […]

Did Haeckel’s Defunct Recapitulation Theory Influence the Supreme Court?

One of our readers uncovered an amicus brief from the American Psychological Association (q.v. on American Bar Association website) encouraging the Supreme Court to overturn capital punishment for minors (see 03/04/2005 entry).  One of the key arguments in the brief is that “Neuropsychological research demonstrates that the adolescent brain has not reached adult maturity.”  Zeroing […]

Naturalistic Science Influences Criminal Law, Excuses Murder

Why was Science1 magazine happy about the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate the death penalty for murderers under 17?  Because the decision was not made on the basis of the Constitution or on Judeo-Christian values, but rather on psychiatric, neuroscientific and behavioral studies: Eight medical organizations, led by the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry (ASAP), […]

Iraqi Marshlands on Slow Mend

The ecological disaster wrought by Saddam Hussein’s policy of drying up ancient marshes along the Tigris and Euphrates (see 08/18/2003 and 05/01/2003 entries) is still severe, reports Science,1,2 but groups are working hard on restoration.  It may take many years and will probably never be the same.  About 20% has been reflooded, with portions coming […]

Stem Cell Research Launches into the Ethical Unknown, Full Steam Ahead

No one knows where stem cell research will lead.  Some hope for miracle cures.  Some fear horrendous abuses and ethical nightmares.  But states and nations, apparently more concerned over priority and prestige, are fighting to the head of the pack after the California Proposition 71 gun fired last fall.     With $3 billion in […]
All Posts by Date