[EAS] Bob Park's WHAT'S NEW
Peter J. Kindlmann
pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Sun Aug 7 02:08:54 EDT 2005
Dear Colleagues -
I've been reading Bob Park's weekly WHAT'S NEW mailings since their
inception in the late '80s. (Their archive has just moved to a new
site <http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/archives.html>). His intention
has always been to look critically at science policy in government
and at the public perception of science. All of us interested in
these issues have had occasion to be impatient or frustrated, but
those feelings played out within a setting we still believed to be
largely governed by ideas inherited from Eighteenth Century
Enlightenment -- ideas for a humane direction for the future, of
scientific reasoning, of ways of facing reality as it is.
How times have changed. Public gullibility has reached a medieval
scale, assertion with conviction has replaced reasoning from facts,
aliens and devils walk among us.
<http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/050530fa_fact>, the last
an interesting article about the Discovery Institute.
And journalism has sunk to the hypocritical premise that it is
enough to be a conduit for differing opinions, the more gaudily
entertaining the better, without any effort to discover what is
true. I can sympathize with the increasingly anguished tone of
Bob Park's mailings. --PJK
>Approved-By: whatsnew at BOBPARK.ORG
>Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2005 14:49:52 -0400
>Reply-To: whatsnew at BOBPARK.ORG
>Sender: "Bob Park's What's New" <BOBPARKS-WHATSNEW at LISTSERV.UMD.EDU>
>From: "What's New" <whatsnew at BOBPARK.ORG>
>Subject: [BOBPARKS-WHATSNEW] What's New Friday August 5, 2005
>To: BOBPARKS-WHATSNEW at LISTSERV.UMD.EDU
>WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 5 Aug 05 Washington, DC
>science n. the intellectual and practical activity encompassing
> the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the
> physical and natural world through observation and
> experiment. (Oxford English Dictionary, eleventh edition)
>1. THE PRESIDENT: MAYBE THE WHITE HOUSE COULD USE A DICTIONARY.
>Conservative Christian supporters are gloating. On Tuesday, in
>an interview with Texas reporters, the President of the United
>States came down on the side of equal time for intelligent
>design. Referring back to his time as Governor of Texas, Mr.
>Bush said, "I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught."
>Which two sides are those Mr. President? I don't think we can
>teach the Genesis story in science class, even after you pack the
>Court. Surely you're not talking about the "intelligent design"
>thing? Can someone tell us who or what is doing the designing?
>I think that will tell us whether it's science or religion.
>2. THE FOUNDER: DISCOVERY INSTITUTE DOESN'T NEED A DICTIONARY.
>The Washington Post on Saturday had a little-noticed letter from
>Bruce Chapman, founder and President of the Discovery Institute.
>Director of the White House Office of Planning and Evaluation
>under Ronald Reagan, Chapman learned from the master. Facts are
>not important, what matters is conviction. "The only religious
>believers in all this," he writes, "are the Darwinists, who are
>out to punish scholars who see the weakness of Darwin's theory."
>And who are these scholars? This brings up another alarming
>trend, conservative think tanks manned by "scholars" who do no
>research, but spew out books laden with conviction. Chapman
>perfected this by recruiting bright young believers to the cause
>and assigning them the task of becoming biology PhDs.
>3. THE SCIENCE ADVISOR: THE PRESIDENT HAS A SCIENCE ADVISOR?
>Asked by the New York Times to comment, John Marburger responded,
>"Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology .... intelligent
>design is not a scientific concept." Good response. It would be
>nice if the President's science advisor advised the President.
>4. THE VATICAN ASTRONOMER: CATHOLIC CHURCH SPLITS OVER EVOLUTION.
>A cardinal close to the pope has ties to the Discovery Institute
>http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN05/wn071505.html, but in today's
>issue of The Tablet, Britain's Catholic Weekly, Father George
>Coyne, an American Jesuit priest and a distinguished astronomer,
>directly attacked Cardinal Schoenborn's position on evolution.
>5. THE PRINCE: WEALTHY BRITISH FARMER LOOKS TO THE MOON FOR HELP.
>Tormented by fears of nanorobots turning the planet into "grey
>goo," and poisoning by genetically modified foods, Prince Charles
>fights science by embracing homeopathy, coffee enemas, organic
>farming, and now "biodynamics," which involves planting according
>to cycles of the moon and signs of the Zodiac. In a monarchy you
>are stuck with what you get, while in a democracy we can pick the
>best qualified among us to lead. But it's only a theory.
>THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND.
>Opinions are the author's and not necessarily shared by the
>University of Maryland, but they should be.
>Archives of What's New can be found at http://www.bobpark.org
>What's New is moving to a different listserver and our
>subscription process has changed. To change your subscription
>status please visit this link:
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