The Scientific Activist (Archives)


Apr 22, 2006

There's Some Good Stuff Out There

I came across a few interesting (and relevant) posts today, and while I’m not going to comment on them at length, I would encourage my readers to check them out.

  • Through his blog The Intersection, I came across Chris Mooney’s interview with New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin. You may remember Revkin from his coverage earlier this year of the NASA censorship scandal, including his reporting on the findings from The Scientific Activist that one of the key players in the scandal had lied on his resume. Although the interview focuses in a large part on Revkin’s new book, it covers a wide variety of issues, from the science of global warming to the quality of the news media’s coverage of the phenomenon.

  • Over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, Ed Brayton has been covering a story originating out of Baylor University, not far from my hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. From his original post on the issue:
    Yesterday, the Baylor student newspaper printed an article that referred to the Discovery Institute as a "conservative Christian think tank". The DI, as you can imagine, didn't like that description one bit because, frankly, they've spent so many years selling the silly notion that they're not a conservative Christian think tank and it's just annoying when all that propaganda doesn't pay dividends. They fired off a letter and the Baylor paper caved in immediately and pulled the article and made a "correction".

    Although the behavior of the Discovery Institute, which is in fact a “conservative Christian think tank,” is not surprising here, what is disappointing is how easily the Baylor paper gave in. Brayton has followed up his original post with several others, so be sure to check them out.

  • Finally, Orac of Respectful Insolence has taken on a question I have often asked myself: why do so many physicians seem to so easily subscribe to the creationist philosophy? He attempts to answer the question in his first post on the subject and adds further thoughts in a second. Orac advocates teaching evolutionary biology as part of the medical curriculum. It's not a bad idea:
    So what's the solution? Certainly it won't be easy and it won't be fast, but education is the key, particularly in medical school to show future physicians that a solid understanding of evolution is not only relevant but critical to understanding human disease….

    … As far as I'm concerned, courses in evolutionary biology, in contrast, would contribute to the training of physicians far more than either courses in art or credulous courses on non-evidence-based alt-med therapies and, if I had my way, would supplant them. Training in evolution would help to prepare the next generation of physicians not only to apply the findings of evolutionary biology to improving human health and developing treatments for disease. It would also have the salutory effect of providing additional training in science and critical thinking that could innoculate budding physicians from at least some of the credulity that even the most educated person finds hard to avoid--rather than contributing to such tendencies, as medical schools are sadly beginning to do with their unskeptical treatment of alternative medicine.


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