Friday, February 15, 2002
1. CREATIONISM: THIS ROSE, BY ANY OTHER NAME, STILL SMELLS.
Having made Kansas an object of ridicule, this sad little comedy, now
playing under the title "Intelligent Design," promises to do the same
for Ohio and perhaps Washington state. They've dropped the "new Earth"
stuff, but insist the "irreducible complexity" of nature must result from
an intelligent designer (WN 27 Dec 96);
a little slow maybe, but very intelligent. Tracing the roots of the ID
movement took WN all the way back to 17th Century England. WN: "I understand
you've had a nasty encounter with an apple." Isaac: "True, but it led
me to an important discovery, apples are pulled toward the ground by gravity."
WN: "Remarkable. What's your next project?" Isaac: "I'm looking into falling
oranges." WN: "But wouldn't oranges follow the same law as apples?" Isaac:
"Reductionist nonsense. You're mixing apples and oranges. We'll have to
find the law for each fruit. This is the irreducible complexity that proves
nature has an intelligent designer."
2. GLOBAL WARMING: INDUSTRY HAILS BUSH'S BOLD LEADERSHIP.
In a speech yesterday, the President outlined his plan for reducing
emissions. The solution, he explained, is not to risk American
jobs by imposing restrictions on industry, but rather to ask
industry to voluntarily reduce emission levels, while providing
them with tax breaks and incentives to encourage investment in
research. "Economic growth is the solution, not the problem," he
said. Mr. Bush boldly called for an assessment in 2012 of how
well his plan for dealing with emissions is working, at least 4
years after he's out of office. "What we're seeing is a balanced
approach," cooed the chief spokesman for the coal industry.
3. R&D BUDGET: CONCERNS ARE VOICED OVER PORTFOLIO BALANCE.
The House Science Committee this week grilled the Administration on
the President's budget request. Jack Marburger, Director of OSTP
and Rita Colwell, Director of NSF, were among those testifying.
While supporting increases for NIH, Committee Chair Sherwood
Boehlert (R-NY) expressed the discomfort of many of the members:
"The NIH cannot undergird economic health, or even improve human
health, alone. Yet the NIH budget is now larger than the rest of
the civilian science agencies put together, and just the increase
in the NIH budget is larger than the research budget of NSF."
4. THE MORATORIUM: A VALENTINE TO BUSH FROM 75 LAWMAKERS.
The letter, dated February 14, 2002, expresses "deep concern" about
reports that the Bush Administration is considering development
of a new generation of low-yield nuclear weapons and resumption
of underground nuclear testing. Since 9/11, pressure to develop
"micro-nukes" has been justified by the use of hardened or deeply
buried targets by terrorists. But in fact, the Dr. Strangeloves
in the Pentagon have sought them for years.