Thursday, December 28, 2006
To see evidence of evolution, look no further than the Cobb County Board of Education. From a tax-frittering, pseudo-science muddle, the board seems to be evolving into a deliberate and engaged panel capable of putting the reputation and credibility of the district ahead of politics or personal creeds.
While it is probably true that the decision was correct, the evolution sticker side acted in good faith and with good motives. Ms. Downey makes no attempt to hide her contempt for them. Not professional.
We like to romaticize the Native Americans and Native Australians and think that they were "close to the land." The fact of the matter is that, as humans, we haven't changed much over time.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
One thing did cross my path in the last week. In a press release by the organization Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (an organization I can throw a little bit further than I can the ACLU, but not much), the Cobb County Georgia sticker brouhaha seems to have been settled. Part of the release states,
In an agreement announced today, Cobb County school officials state that they will not order the placement of “any stickers, labels, stamps, inscriptions, or other warnings or disclaimers bearing language substantially similar to that used on the sticker that is the subject of this action.” School officials also agreed not to take other actions that would undermine the teaching of evolution in biology classes.
Sounds like unilateral surrender to me.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Quantum physics predicts the cosmological constant should be far larger than what is actually seen: roughly 10 to the 120th power larger, a number represented by 1 with 120 zeroes behind it. By comparison, [Steven] Weinberg's original estimate was off just by roughly a hundredfold, and refined versions of this argument claim greater accuracy, suggesting anthropic reasoning could provide answers quantum physics currently cannot.
Others are not convinced.
However, theoretical physicist Glenn Starkman of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and cosmologist Roberto Trotta at Oxford University in England take issue with how anthropic reasoning predicts the cosmological constant.
"The specifications used to allow life are rather arbitrary and can lead to very different expected values for fundamental constants," Starkman told SPACE.com.
Seems to me that you still have the other 28 dimensionless variables to deal with, though.
Monday, December 04, 2006
The meteorite likely formed in the outer reaches of the asteroid belt, but the organic material it contains probably had a far more distant origin.
The globules could have originated in the Kuiper Belt group of icy planetary remnants orbiting beyond Neptune. Or they could have been created even farther afield.
Whether this lends credence to the hypotheses that life on earth is extraterrestrial in origin remains unclear. Stay Tuned!
Friday, December 01, 2006
"Barn swallows that develop lighter, more streamlined builds to enable faster migration, for example, could live out the rest of their brief lives in prison," said Indiana University chemist and pro-intelligent-design author Robert Hellenbaum, who helped compose the language of the law. "And butterflies who mimic the wing patterns and colors of other butterflies for an adaptive advantage, well, their days of flaunting God's will are over."
This is truly a major step in legislation.
Hat tip to Jon Reid.