Phi Zappa Quakka

It?s nice to see a Frank Zappa fan working in the Nature press office. A recent release extolling the current issue?s report on space dust from meteorites was titled: ?Who you jivin? with that cosmik debris?? The line is pulled from a 1974 classic railing against quackery from the same jester who had hypothesized that there?s more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe (and that stupidity has a longer shelf life). And to the list of Zappa quotes unintentionally relevant to the sciences I offe

By | August 24, 2005

It?s nice to see a Frank Zappa fan working in the Nature press office. A recent release extolling the current issue?s report on space dust from meteorites was titled: ?Who you jivin? with that cosmik debris?? The line is pulled from a 1974 classic railing against quackery from the same jester who had hypothesized that there?s more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe (and that stupidity has a longer shelf life). And to the list of Zappa quotes unintentionally relevant to the sciences I offer his take on breaking free from the chains of oppressive monoculture: "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible." It?s a fair bet that Zappa would have guessed the significance of such a statement to geneticists and evolutionary biologists. Although in the culture-war realm, we?re increasingly seeing the charlatans donning the mantle of the underdog. The well funded folks at Discovery Institute increasingly posit Darwinism as the monoculture. ?When someone says there?s one thing you can?t talk about, that?s what I want to talk about,? said institute president Bruce K. Chapman in the New York Times series on this increasingly ubiquitous science/religion clash. Even author and convicted felon, Kevin Trudeau, has said that the pressure to ?censor? his book-hocking infomercials came from pharmaceutical interests. I?d like to think he isn?t jivin? anyone with that cosmik debris, but the book Natural Cures ?They? Don?t Want You to Know About is sitting at the top of the Times Bestseller list for hardcover advice. If Frank could see us now!

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