So Let’s Write the Book

It drives me crazy the media trying to teach us to not think, but only respond to their hype like a bunch of Pavlov’s dogs (Wikipedia should have that). We are not so dumb as that. So let’s get started. A book that explains the real facts about biology. Tentative title, “Biology for Voters and Activists and Politicians and Fundamentalists and other Normal People” Facts will be separated from opinions and fairy tales. (Fairy tales includes metaphors.)

Anyone who wants to participate is welcome. You will be credited if your questions or comments (or pictures or videos or drawings) are used in the book. For the videos we will have an online version or a DVD.

We will start the book with a question: What is The Creation (That is, strictly what it is now.)

My definition, which I swiped from Huston Smith (one of our prominent philosophers and scholar of comparative religion) in “Why Religion Matters.”: “Everything, as it is.” I checked with a religious site on the web and it agreed with that definition. So if anyone can provide a better definition and explain why it is a better definition with which to begin a book about the science of biology, please do so.

Bio-Milk, Bio-Ethics

“We had a professor at Stanford who thought milk was manufactured.” Dr. Paul Ehrlich.

(For all you city folks, our commercial milk comes out of cows, and cows eat grass or hay to get the energy they need to stay alive and make milk, and the grass or hay gets its energy from the sun. The important point here is that we can not eat sunlight — all animal life on earth gets the energy it requires to live – that is food – from plants. The number of plants is limited.)

BUT THAT IS NOT THE SUBJECT OF THIS BLURB.

The subject of this blurb is ethics, the ethics of scientists who have not been telling people these important facts, and I want to quote Dr. Ehrlich because I agree with him:

” . . . I prefer to think of ethics simply as shared values, and one of our ethical tasks should be to try to speed the evolution of the values of biologists. I think the vast majority of my fellow scientists already share the value that we should give our fellow citizens the benefit of our best counsel on issues at the interface between science and society. That already fits under one dictionary definition of ethics—“the principles of conduct governing a profession.”

(Some references are omitted here that appear to no longer be available on the web, see modern versions below. LL)

“I’d like to see bioethics evolve further, toward all biologists considering it their duty to report to the public (which supports them) the essential findings of their research—and toward training their graduate students accordingly.”

Additional references:

You can get the entire letter above, in pdf format from Dr. Ehrlich’s web site:
Ehrlich, P. R. 2004. Values and bioethics (letter). BioScience 54: 484. [pdf]

The letter was written to and published by American Institute of Biological Scientists (AIBS)

It was a response to a discussion of “Scientific Integrity in Policy-Making” on the web site of Union of Concerned Scientists. UCS