Friday, 19 May 2000
1. INTELLIGENT DESIGN: YOU AND ME BABY AIN'T NOTHIN' BUT MAMMALS.
In last week's Capitol Hill bashing of Darwinism
(WN 12 May 00),
Nancy Pearcey, a writer for Charles Colson, spelled out what this
debate is really about: Darwinism would replace religion with a
new science-based cosmic myth. In fact, in "The Sacred Depths of
Nature," biologist Ursula Goodenough points out that a science-
based myth has deep religious potential. But Pearcey contends it
undercuts morality. To make her point, she quoted the lyrics of
a popular song by the Bloodhound Gang: "You and me baby ain't
nothin' but mammals, so let's do it like they do it on the
Discovery Channel." So much for the pretense that this debate is
over the science. House sponsors of the briefing included Roscoe
Bartlett (R-MD), Charles Canady (R-FL), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-
TX), Thomas Petri (R-WI), Joseph Pitts (R-PA), Mark Souder (R-
IN), and Charles Stenholm (D-TX). Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) was
on hand to introduce several of the speakers.
2. EQUATION OF STATE: SECRETARY ALBRIGHT SEEKS A SCIENCE ADVISOR.
"Whether the issue is countering weapons of mass destruction,
dealing with infectious diseases or expanding the global economy
while protecting the global environment, if we are to get our
international strategies right, we must get our science right."
The State Department is counting on the scientific community to
support a reorganization based on a study released by the
National Academy of Sciences last fall. Secretary Albright's
first step will be to appoint a science advisor, but this late in
the Clinton Administration, an advisor may be hard to find.
3. MISSILE DEFENSE: AMIDST COVER-UP CHARGES, ANOTHER TEST DELAY.
Wiring problems with the interceptor have postponed the June 26
test by two weeks, but the Pentagon has a bigger problem on its
hands. Ted Postal, who exposed the bloated claims made for the
Patriot missile in the Gulf War
(WN 20 Mar 92),
that sensor data from a 1997 test clearly shows that the system
was incapable of distinguishing a weapon from a decoy. Another
expert who has examined the 1997 data tells WN Postal is right.
The Pentagon counters that a new system is now being used, but
Postal insists that no existing technology is capable of making
the distinction. Postal also charges that the Pentagon and its
contractors have deliberately sought to obscure the truth.
4. SPEAKING OF DELAYS: ATLANTIS IS HEADED FOR THE SPACE STATION.
Which space station you ask? The uninhabited one that is running
out of batteries, falling out of orbit, and on which the noise is
deafening and the air is foul. Atlantis, which has been grounded
by its own troubles, will give the station an orbital boost and
replace its failing batteries and leave it again uninhabited.
Next week: The Impact of Selling the Federal Helium Reserve.