Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A troubling news story

This is the first, and possibly last, political item I will post on this blog - but I feel as if I have good reason to. Read this story. As a concerned citizen, biologist and supporter of science in general, I cannot believe that this would occur - and as a proud Brown biology department alumni, I am saddened that a fellow Brown biology major (Bobby Jindal) would facilitate this nonsense.

Blow this picture up and look at the bill on this juvenile Snail Kite - perfectly evolved to eat large snails. 

I see two problems with this:

1) Obviously evolution is being horribly misconstrued, though perhaps it is heartening to hear that the books claim the Loch Ness monster is real, if that is the best anti-evolution defense they can come up with, they cannot expect to be believed wholeheartedly (perhaps). If we wish to continue to advance as a society, we need scientists working on biological questions (among all the sciences, clearly). As evolution is the backbone of biology and has informed our profitable (not monetarily, perhaps) research into human health issues as well as conservation/environmental science issues, we need to acknowledge its existence.

2) Science in general is being cast doubt upon. The credibility of evolutionary biologists/climate geologists/etc have been questioned publically by (imbecile) politicians without a firm grasp of the science, simply with a political agenda. While this is ridiculed and many of the arguments downright laughable, it is giving the public a perception that scientists perhaps are not to be trusted and their findings not true. To continue to advance and learn (I would argue a necessary part of any society) we need incorporate science better: fund it better, apply the findings in all fields, and simply understand it better (teach it better). The Louisiana system here is a regression to the middle ages. 

I wrote this in haste, perhaps it is a bit digressive and certainly a bit of a rant, but it should be brought to attention of more (as I know this blog has at least 4 people that read it!). 


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    1. What is "http://www.scotsman.com"? It's like a tv program or a newspaper?
      I'm really impressed with the main title of that news. I remember the Simpon's chapters about the discussion between creationism and darwinism in USA. Is it so powerfull the "fight" between religion and science, there? In Chile, Darwin theory is the base of education about evolution in the school, and the discussion "doesnt exist" with intensity (yet). In fact, I think on University, any alumni learn about Darwin; and creationism (i dont know if is a good example) is less value.
      This discussion is very strange to me (and remember, i'm christian), and probably to any biologist in Chile. For example, Eternity Christian Academy... wtf is that?!

    2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKkT5eZgBgc this is what i mean

  2. agreed - we are backwards. In 1929, the scopes trial set a precedent in whether to teach evolution - and yet, 83 years later we are still mired in the same nonesense.

    But Chile/Italy/etc, etc, etc - all very Catholic countries - have not this problem, which is mystifying (from my perspective seeing it from the US, surely the perspective there is that the US is mystifying).

  3. The Catholic church is not against evolution. They learned for their experience with Galileo not to mess with scientific thought. It is the fundamentalist Protestants who believe in the absolute truth of every word of the Bible. This is a big issue to them because their entire world view collapses if evolution is real. The US has always been susceptible to fringe religions, having no state religion and a tradition of religious tolerance so it is not surprising that this is the country that is having the biggest battles over evolution. While it is true that this argument has been going on virtually since Darwin published, it has been cyclical, and I believe evolution is winning more adherents each cycle, very much like Hegel would have predicted as a social evolutionist.

  4. Couldn't agree more with your two points, especially the second, what's going on? Dicrediting scientists ans science because their findings are threatening profits?