Friday, August 26, 2005
Back before he began humming Hail to the Chief to himself as he
walked the Capitol halls, Bill Frist headed the bipartisan Senate
S&T Caucus (WN 14 Feb 97), and
pushed for increased science funding. Recently, he reversed his
opposition to stem cell research, supporting it despite strong
opposition by the President. Bush said he believes "human life
is a gift from our Creator." Some scientists saw Frist's action
as a calculated move to demonstrate independence. Although Frist
had never voted in an election prior to running for the Senate,
he does know how to count votes, and he knows there are a lot
more born-again Christians in this country than scientists.
Friday, Bill Frist, sided with the President on intelligent
design, calling for teaching it in science class with evolution.
The prayers aren't working. Bruce Flamm, MD, Clinical Professor
at the U. of California, Irvine Medical Center, is the reason
(WN 4 Jun 04). A 2001 study
from Columbia University Medical School, published in a
respected, peer-reviewed journal, reported in-vitro fertilization
was twice as likely to result in pregnancy if patients were
prayed for without their knowledge by total strangers halfway
around the world. WN gently explained that they must be crazy
http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN01/wn100501.htm. Bruce Flamm
dug deeper, publishing his findings in Sci. Rev. Alt. Med. In
four years he has not let up. Under pressure from the Dean, the
lead author, Dr. Rogerio Lobo, has removed his name from the
study. Another author, a notorious scam artist, is in jail on
separate fraud charges. The University has never retracted or
apologized for the study, but has now told the journal to remove
all links to Columbia. Maybe an intelligent eraser could help.
On 5 Sep 86, WN broke the story of the FBI's infamous Library
Awareness Program. Agents had asked the physics librarian at the
U. of Maryland for circulation records of "persons with Russian-
sounding names." The librarian refused. It took the ACLU and
the American Library Association years to get Library Awareness
stopped. Now we learn that the FBI is at it again, demanding
circulation records from a Connecticut library under the Patriot
Act. Because the PA prevents public disclosure concerning such
demands, little information is available. In the 80's, hundreds
of critics of the program were the subject of FBI checks.
A study at the University of Berne, reported in Lancet, compared
110 trials each of homeopathy and conventional medicine and found
benefits attributed to homeopathy were merely placebo effects.
The editors of Lancet called for an end to further investment in
research on homeopathy, and for doctors to be honest with their
patients about homeopathy's lack of benefits.