Friday, September 2, 2005
Senator John McCain made it clear last week that he too can read
polls. In an interview with the Arizona Daily Star, McCain said
"all points of view" should be available to students studying the
origins of mankind. WN was unable to reach Senator McCain for
clarification, but by "all" we think he means just evolution and
intelligent design. Or maybe he hopes to corner the votes of
those who worship "the giant frog from whose mouth the river of
life flowed." McCain's appeal to evolution deniers came just
four days after Senator Frist made a pitch to the scientifically
challenged (WN 26 Aug 05).
The respected Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that
64% of Americans favor teaching creationism along with evolution
in public schools. A scary 38% want to REPLACE evolution with
creationism. The tiny glimmer of hope for civilization was the
number of inconsistencies in the responses, suggesting confusion
over the meaning of the terms. There is room for education.
Actually, no. The President didn't consult his science advisor
about intelligent design because he doesn't have one. George W.
Bush eliminated the job when he named John Marburger Director of
the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Previous OSTP
directors held both titles, and WN always referred to Marburger
as "Science Advisor." We were wrong, but not alone. We Googled
"science advisor" and got 597,000 hits on a nonexistent job.
As they used to say at Stony Brook when he was president, "this
would never have happened if Jack Marburger was alive."
Scientists at MIT and Washington University, St. Louis, announced
Wednesday that they have determined the precise order of the 3
billion bits of genetic code needed to make a chimpanzee. There
is only a 1 percent difference from the human genetic code. But
for that 1 percent, chimpanzees would have a seat in the UN.
Robert Waterston, who led the Washington University team, was
quoted in yesterday's Washington Post saying, "I can't imagine
Darwin hoping for a stronger confirmation of his ideas."
Assistant FDA Commissioner Susan Wood has resigned following a
decision to further delay action on a plan to allow easier access
to the morning-after contraceptive. An expert advisory panel of
the FDA favored the change 23 to 4, in order to reduce abortions
and unwanted pregnancies. Opposition comes from religious
conservatives who believe a fertilized egg is a new life.
Although Plan B is a contraceptive, researchers think that in
some cases it might keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the
uterus. Susan Wood's job description calls for her to be "a
champion for women's health." The description fit her well.