Category Archives: Science

Technology and Wisdom

Tech advancements make it too easy to forget age-old realities.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

Americans now have more computer power in their smart phones than did the

AVIDAC was Argonne's first digital computer. Designed and built by Argonne's Physics Division for $250,000, it began operations Jan. 28, 1953.

AVIDAC was Argonne’s first digital computer. Designed and built by Argonne’s Physics Division for $250,000, it began operations Jan. 28, 1953.

Pentagon in all its computer banks just 30 years ago. We board a sophisticated jet and assume that the flight is no more dangerous than crossing the street.

The downside of this complete reliance on computer gadgetry is a fundamental ignorance of what technology is. Smart machines are simply the pumps that deliver the water of knowledge — not knowledge itself.

What does it matter that millions of American students can communicate across thousands of miles instantly with their iPads and iPhones if a poorly educated generation increasingly has little to say?

The latest fad of near-insolvent universities is to offer free iPads to students so that they can access information more easily. But what if most undergraduates still have not been taught to read well or think inductively, or to have some notion of history? Speeding up their ignorance is not the same as imparting wisdom. Requiring a freshman Latin course would be a far cheaper and wiser investment in mastering language, composition, and inductive reasoning than handing out free electronics. Read more →

The Anti-Empirical Left

Science is ignored when it doesn’t support politically correct policy.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

President Obama entered office promising to restore the sanctity of science. Instead, a fresh war against science, statistics, and reason is being waged on behalf of politically correct politics.

After the Sandy Hook tragedy, the president attempted to convert national outrage into new gun-control legislation. Specifically, he focused on curtailing semi-automatic “assault” rifles. But there is no statistical evidence that such guns — semi-automatic rifles that have mostly cosmetic changes to appear similar to banned military-style fully automatic assault weapons — lead to increased gun-related crimes.

The promiscuous availability of illegal handguns does. Handguns are used in the vast majority of all gun related violent crime — and in such cases they are often obtained illegally. Yet the day-to-day enforcement of existing handgun statutes is far more difficult than the widely publicized passing of new laws.

Late-term abortions used to be justified in part by an argument dating back to the 1970s that fetuses were not yet “human.” But emerging science has allowed premature babies five months old or younger to survive outside the womb. Brain waves of fetuses can be monitored at just six weeks after conception. Such facts may be unwelcome to many, given the political controversy over Read more →

Obama’s Pseudo-Scientism

Too hot? Too cold? Regardless, it must be global warming.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

President Obama came to California. He saw a drought. He announced the cause to be global warming and left. How accurate was the president’s diagnosis of harmful, man-made climate change in stopping rain and snow? First, a bit of a reminder about what the president has called “settled science.”

Until 1982 “settled science” decreed that stomach ulcers were a result of bad diet, too much gastric acid, or undue stress. Then Australian scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren shocked the medical community with an unlikely thesis: The real culprit for peptic ulcers more often was infection by the Gram-negative bacterium H. pylori, a common but sometimes dangerous agent in the gut that could be treated with antibiotics. The practice of gastroenterology was turned upside down. Read more →

Book Review: Intelligent Design or Unintelligent Design?

by Terry Scambray // New Oxford Review, October 2013 

Darwin‘s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, Stephen C. Meyer. Harper One, 2013. 412 pp.

 Stephen Meyer has followed his highly acclaimed, Signature in the Cell, with a worthy sequel.   The sequel, Darwin’s Doubt, blends the findings from molecular biology found in his first book with discoveries in paleontology, anatomy and other 9780062071477_p0_v3_s260x420disciplines in order to make the case for intelligent design as the best scientific explanation for life’s origin and development.  And Meyer does this in his usual clear and composed voice while explaining some complicated material without the distracting emotion that often distorts the study of origins.

 ”Darwin’s Doubt” refers to Charles Darwin’s admission in his consequential book, On the Origin of the Species, that the fossil record contradicted his theory that life began with simple organisms and it then progressed through endless transitions on up to the present.  As he admitted: “The abrupt manner in which whole groups of species suddenly appear in certain formations has been urged by several paleontologists – for instance Agassiz, Pictet, Sedgwick – as a fatal objection to the belief in the transmutation of species.  If numerous species belonging to the same genera or families have really started into life all at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of descent with slow modification through natural selection.” Read more →

A Eulogy for “Selective Death”

by Terry Scambray

New Oxford Review

A review of What Darwin Got Wrong by Jerry Fodor and  Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 179 pp.) Read more →