Speaking of Science

May 2012's selection of notable quotes

By | May 1, 2012

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HB 368 and other bills like it are a permission slip for teachers to bring creationism, climate-change denial, and other non-science into science classrooms.

—Eugenie Scott, director of the Oakland, California-based National Center for Science Education, referring to a law passed in Tennessee that allows public-school educators to teach alternatives to mainstream scientific theories, such as evolution and global warming (Nature, Apr. 11, 2012)

I do not believe that this legislation changes the scientific standards that are taught in our schools or the curriculum that is used by our teachers.

—Tennessee Governor William Haslam, a Republican who failed to either sign or veto Tennessee’s “monkey bill,” which therefore became law on Apr. 10, 2012

It’s not a bad thing to investigate the existence of biological bases for difference between the genders. But between the time researchers test their subjects and the date of their birth, so many cultural imperatives have been hard-wired into both men and women, it’s hard to imagine a test that could demonstrate that women lack some leadership gene or that men are pre-programmed and hence destined to underestimate women’s leadership ability by their DNA.

Forbes contributor Victoria Pynchon, on a Stanford Center of Neuroscience for Women’s Health study of the biological underpinnings of the “gender leadership gap”  (Apr. 10, 2012)

We’re confident that it will result in significant reductions in agricultural antibiotic use and reductions in resistance pressure. That’s why we’re doing this.

—Michael Taylor, the US Food and Drug Administration’s deputy commissioner of food, on a new rule that requires farmers and ranchers to get a prescription to use antibiotics in livestock (The New York Times, Apr. 11, 2012)

All of science is uncertain and subject to revision. The glory of science is to imagine more than we can prove. The fringe is the unexplored territory where truth and fantasy are not yet disentangled.

—Physicist Freeman Dyson, in a review of Margaret Wertheim’s Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything (New York Review of Books, Apr. 5, 2012)

Understanding the biology behind artistic insights, inspiration, and the beholder’s response to art could be invaluable to artists seeking to heighten their creative power. In the long run, brain science may also provide clues to the nature of creativity itself.

—Eric Kandel, in an interview with Jonah Lehrer about the Nobel laureate’s recently published book, The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art (Wired Science, Apr. 7, 2012)

 

 

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Comments

Avatar of: peterpf

peterpf

Posts: 1

May 18, 2012

your cartoon might be eye-catching but it is generally no longer believed to be valid...ancestors to humans probably did not knuckle-walk.

A new kind of ancestor: Ardipithecus unveiled, Ann Gibbons, Science, 2 October 2009. Special issue on Ar. ramidus

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

May 18, 2012

your cartoon might be eye-catching but it is generally no longer believed to be valid...ancestors to humans probably did not knuckle-walk.

A new kind of ancestor: Ardipithecus unveiled, Ann Gibbons, Science, 2 October 2009. Special issue on Ar. ramidus

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

May 19, 2012

Sounds to me like the Tennessee law is crossing the separation line between church and state - mandating religious beliefs be taught in science classes is the state mandating a religious perspective that has no scientific basis.

Avatar of: walkabouts3

walkabouts3

Posts: 3

May 19, 2012

Sounds to me like the Tennessee law is crossing the separation line between church and state - mandating religious beliefs be taught in science classes is the state mandating a religious perspective that has no scientific basis.

Avatar of: mightythor

mightythor

Posts: 1457

May 21, 2012

I'm a big fan of Freeman Dyson, but I disagree with the remark quoted here.  Every single belief system ever elaborated imagines more than it can prove. It's the proof that sets science apart. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

May 21, 2012

I'm a big fan of Freeman Dyson, but I disagree with the remark quoted here.  Every single belief system ever elaborated imagines more than it can prove. It's the proof that sets science apart. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

May 22, 2012

There is a correlation between the Tennessee "creationism" law and the recent report on dumbing-down of political speech by politicians.  We are educating or under-educating an electorate which is less capable of evaluating evidence for decision-making and more subject to manipulation by faith-promoters and slick personality types.

Avatar of: hhhher123

hhhher123

Posts: 1

May 22, 2012

There is a correlation between the Tennessee "creationism" law and the recent report on dumbing-down of political speech by politicians.  We are educating or under-educating an electorate which is less capable of evaluating evidence for decision-making and more subject to manipulation by faith-promoters and slick personality types.

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