In "Climate of Fear: Big Science, Big Government" (Forbes, July 8, 2011), Patrick Michaels, lobbyist for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, admits,
In his 1961 Farewell Address, Dwight Eisenhower famously predicted the rise of a “military-industrial complex,” in which he said, “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist”.
He then went on to speculate as to what Vannevar Bush had wrought. Few remember the next paragraphs, in which he said that at universities, because of the enormous cost of scientific research, “a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity,” and that “we must also be alert” to the “danger that public policy itself could become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”
And the situation is far too important to justify stopping to find out what is going on. Here, "Granite geek" David Brooks warns, "Creationism trying to sneak into New Hampshire laws" (July 4, 2011):
… two possible bills may come up in the fall to get creatonism into the classroom. One would mandate teaching "intelligent design", the other would mandate teaching evolution “as a theory”. Both lawmakers agree there are theological/philosophical elements to their proposals – one wants to examine how much atheism is being the push for evolution in classes; the other is concerned by the lack of a deeper meaning in evolution. I argue in the column that evolution, linking us to the understandable reality of the universe, has more meaning that an arbitrary creation by some other-worldly being or beings, but I also note that the argument is irelevant: Science classes should teach science.
The Granite one seems unaware that just saying that "evolution, linking us to the understandable reality of the universe, has more meaning that an arbitrary creation by some other-worldly being or beings" means that he has a definite theological position, and saying that "Science classes should teach science" only raises the question of what he means by "science." Happily, he answers that:
And didn’t star Ronald Reagan opposite a chimp.
On July 8, a documentary on the fate of Nim "Chimpsky" opens in U.S. theatres (trailer). In “Project Nim: A chimp raised like a human” (New Scientist 4 July 2011), Rowan Hooper tackles the question of why:
What on earth were they thinking of? Nim was put in diapers and dressed in clothes. He was breastfed by his human surrogate mother, Stephanie Lafarge. "It seemed natural," she says.Lafarge's daughter, Jenny Lee, has a better explanation: "It was the seventies". Jenny was 10-years-old when Nim came to live with her family. The film, assembled from archive footage shot at the time, recreated scenes and interviews with the main characters, tells the story of Nim's chaotic life.
The purpose was to show that chimpanzees could learn American Sign Language, under the right conditions, and converse like a human. Nim learned 120 signs, but …
The leaders are divided on evolution. Slightly more reject the idea of evolution (47%) than believe in theistic evolution, the notion that God has used evolution for the purpose of creating humans and other life (41%). Few (3%) believe that human life has evolved solely by natural processes with no involvement from a supreme being.
Did the 3% understand the question?
At Eurekalert (June 29, 2011), we learn: "Finding showing human ancestor older than previously thought offers new insights into evolution." In the current episode, new excavations in Indonesia and dating analyses show that modern humans never co-existed with Homo erectus. The find counters previous hypotheses – which it must, in order to qualify as an episode:
The new story supports the "multiregional" model of human evolution.
In "Family ties doubted in Stone Age farmers" (New Scientist, 01 July 2011), Michael Marshall reports that
Blood may not always be thicker than water, if a controversial finding from one of the world's best-preserved Stone Age settlements is to be believed. At Çatalhöyük in Turkey, it appears that people did not live in families. Instead, the society seems to have been organised completely differently.
How do we know? They
buried their dead beneath the floors of the houses, suggesting that people were buried where they lived.
The researchers measured the teeth from 266 individuals, assuming that teeth are are more similar among relatives ad that people buries together qould be more closely related.
But she found no pattern at all. "It does not appear that individuals that were buried together were closely related to each other," she says. "Çatalhöyük was likely not centred around nuclear families."
In the best tradition of the assured results of modern science, further speculations follow. In the rush to confirm a trendy idea (families are optional), no one seems to consider that