Keeping Perspective

WHAT’S NEW   Robert L. Park   Wednesday, 15 Feb 2012   Washington, DC

1. CULTURE WAR: ABSOLUTE FREEDOM OF RELIGION IS A MYTH.

Republican Presidential wannabes Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have worked themselves into a lather protesting the Obama policy of including coverage of contraception costs incurred by employees of religious institutions under the Affordable Care Act, describing it as a “declaration of war against the Catholic Church.”  This was mere ignorant political hyperbola. There are, after all, 217 religious denominations listed in the

2006 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, differing only over which superstitions they choose to believe. There is, of course, a strong precedent for legislation that gets into the marriage bed, as in the ban on polygamy practised mostly by Mormons. We certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from practicing contraception.

2. THE PILL: THE MOST IMPORTANT TECHNOLOGY ON EARTH.

Atmospheric pollutants are causing global warming, our oceans are becoming sewers, shrinking freshwater resources are threatening food production, energy costs are rising, our beautiful blue planet is changing color. There is hope. These trends will all be reversed if the average fertility rate of the planet falls below two; it already has for much of our planet .

3.DECEPTION AT DUKE: SADLY RECALLING AN EARLIER EPISODE.

On Sunday, February 12, the CBS series 60 Minutes reminded us of the largely unfulfilled promise of television to expose the foolishness and fraud that diminishes our brief lives. If you did not see Sunday’s program I urge you to obtain a copy. Much earlier, many of us had followed with growing wonder the news on television as Dr. Anil Potti reported amazing progress in tailoring chemotherapy to a patient’s own genetic makeup, with remarkable results. However, as the science community often tells the public, it’s not a discovery until it’s been independently confirmed.  The willingness of researchers to open their findings to the entire scientific community is what gives science its success and credibility.  In this case, it could not be confirmed and may be one of the biggest medical research frauds of all time.  Unfortunately, it was not the first time that Duke University had fallen victim to foolish and fraudulent

science.

3. PARAPSYCHOLOGY: J.B. RHINE FOUNDED THE FIELD AT DUKE IN 1934.

Even today, Parapsychology, including extrasensory perception, has millions of believers, including some describing themselves as scientists who tend to be drawn ever more deeply into belief.  Perhaps it’s a selection process. A scientist won’t get much coverage by announcing to the press that no evidence could be found. The unexpected is more interesting; of course it’s also more likely to be wrong.

(Swanplants adds – Just in case you thought I was a believer – I am not).

THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND.

Opinions are the author’s and not necessarily shared by the University of Maryland, but they should be.

Archives of What’s New can be found at http://www.bobpark.org

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About Alan

Alone in a sea of spinifex.
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