Friday, February 25, 2005
1. MISSILE DEFENSE: CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER FINALLY DECIDES: "NO!"
With US interceptor missiles refusing to come out of their silos, (WN 18 Feb 05), Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin did the same, declaring that Canada would concentrate its defense efforts elsewhere. President Bush had personally lobbied the PM since August to join the US in ballistic missile defense (WN 27 Aug 04). Martin appeared to be leaning toward joining, agreeing in August to share information on incoming missiles, but the plan had virtually no public support.
2. JUICED: CANSECO WANT'S A POLYGRAPH EXAM ON PAY-PER-VIEW TV.
Why should science concern itself with baseball's steroid-enhanced bad boy? It shouldn't. But the best-selling author of Juiced wants to prove he's telling the truth about those other over-paid, bulging, mesomorphic icons who used the needle. For telling the truth, Canseco thinks he should make a lot of money. He believes the polygraph detects lies. So does Rep. Joe Barton (D-TX), chair of the House Energy Committee, who thinks we could round up all those spies at Los Alamos (WN 30 Jul 04). Does anyone pay any attention to what science says? For 20 years WN has reported overwhelming scientific evidence that polygraphs can't tell a lie from the sex act. Does anyone listen to science?
3. ABC: PETER JENNINGS REPORTS ON "UFOs - SEEING IS BELIEVING."
Yawn! ABC advertised it as "a fresh look at the UFO phenomenon," but there was Stanton Friedman, author of Crash at Corona and a major creator of the highly-profitable Roswell myth. ABC called it, "the enduring mystery of Roswell." There was no mystery, but it was a gold mine, shamelessly exploited on TV documentaries, and nothing has changed. It ended with "one of the world's leading physicists," who looked a lot like Michio Kaku, saying "You simply cannot dismiss the possibility that some of these objects are from a civilization millions of years ahead of us in technology." Sigh.
4. SCIENCE MEETS SOCIETY: AAAS AND "NON-OVERLAPPING MAGISTERIA."
On Saturday, six distinguished scholars solemnly discussed the late Stephen Jay Gould's idea that both science and religion have their place in a full life, but do not overlap. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have chosen science as a career have an obligation to share with the public what we learn about how the world works. Not because scientists have any claim to greater intellect or virtue, but because science is the only way we have of separating the truth from ideology, or fraud or foolishness. It pains me that some of us get so little gratification from this that they carry on a separate affair with this Magisteria person.