Friday, May 5, 2006
Our story opens with the grisly defeat of the eight members of
the Dover Area School Board who were up for reelection. Behind
their demise, we now learn, is a shadowy organization called the
Discovery Institute, which is sworn to suppress the secret
identity of the "Intelligent Designer." Just "teach the
controversy," warns the founder of the Discovery Institute, Bruce
Chapman. Otherwise people might think the argument has something
to do with religion instead of pure science. He blames the Dover
School Board. To convince others not to reveal the identity of
the designer, the Discovery Institute has rushed into print with
a new book "Traipsing Into Evolution," in which their legal
experts analyze the impact of Kitzmiller v. Dover.
Unfortunately, so does the polygraph. It's been 18 years since
WN wrote that the polygraph "cannot tell a lie from the sex act"
http://bobpark.org/WN88/wn030488.html , and Congress barred
polygraph use by private employers. Twelve years later the
National Academy of Sciences concurred in "The Polygraph and Lie
Detection," (NAS Press, 2003). Nevertheless, the Washington Post
reported Monday that the CIA, the FBI and other federal agencies
are using the polygraph more than ever. It is "a pivotal tool in
the CIA's effort to identify leakers after embarrassing
disclosures about government anti-terrorism tactics."
A year ago, a new NIH policy asked researchers on NIH grants to
submit their results to a public Web site within one year of
publication. A leading advocate of free access, former NIH
director Harold Varmus, said he would have preferred "required"
rather than "asked." In fact, only 4 percent of grant recipients
bothered. But a Senate bill introduced Tuesday would indeed
"require" results of federally funded research be posted on the
internet http://bobpark.org/WN05/wn020405.html . The Association
of American Publishers opposes it, but the public pays for it --
and for publishing it -- and should not have to pay to see it.
For more than a decade, scientists reported an apparent
discrepancy between rates of warming at the surface and in the
troposphere. Warming deniers argued that it cast doubt on the
whole climate change picture. Now the federal Climate Change
Science Program, convened by the Bush administration, concludes
that there is no conflict. Moreover, there is clear evidence of
human influence on the climate system. In the meantime, viral
diseases, including the West Nile virus, are moving north, and
malaria is climbing the mountains in Africa and South America.