August 1999 Notebook Entries

Notebook entry, August 22, 1999 

On Tuesday, August 17, 1999, Turkey was hit with a large, and devastating earthquake.  The toll in human lives is staggering.  As of today, the death toll stands at 12,000 with 30,000 missing.  Many deaths have occurred because of shoddy workmanship done to apartment buildings being built directly over a dangerous fault line and killing many in their beds at 3:00 o'clock in the morning, Turkey time.

There has been much finger pointing to say where the guilt should be placed.  Some building contractors have been arrested, and there are some reports that some have fled the country to Germany to avoid arrest. 

The bottom line is this: Wherever unbridled greed is allowed to reign without strongly enforced regulations by a central government, there will be those that exploit the situation for short-term financial gain. 

On National Public Radio on August 21, 1999, Daniel Schorr, Senior News Analyst, said. "The function of Governments is to protect us from greed." So much for the argument for eliminating a central government and giving the States to dictate policies.  Greed of those who control resources within those territories do not want you to hear the whole story of what could happen.  The Turkey earthquake gives us a hole into which we could peek at the future.

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to what gender of our species built the shoddy apartments, and what gender took bribes to look the other way regarding enforcing building codes?

Notebook entry, August 19, 1999

Time magazine cover story this week: "How Man Evolved: Amazing new discoveries reveal the secrets of our past.  Plus: Stephen Jay Gould on the creationism wave."  I think that Time magazine rushed this cover story to print, as I believe that it really did not have anything new to add to the fossil news that they covered just a month or two ago.   What I think is going on is that the magazine is getting fed up with the creationist's influence on our nation's curriculum.  The rush to hire Top Gun Steven Jay Gould paraphrasing much of his new book, Rocks of Ages, in which he slams the far-right creationists yet preserves relations with mainstream religions, seems to put the nail in the coffin concerning the magazine's stand on the subject.  It could be gearing up for the 2000 year elections as evidenced by two of the  Iowa Straw Poll participants, Steve Forbes, and Elizabeth Dole both dodging questions of the Kansas School Board decision on evolution by saying basically the same thing: "Leave it up to the States to decide." In other words, leave it up to the 31 Republican controlled Governorships and the strong beliefs of male dominated fiefdoms.  The question of evolution is important because we are entering an era where humans will be able to control her or his own destiny.  We need to resolve this question once and for all before we proceed with ethical questions   concerning genetic engineering.  This could be a very important election issue as education is high in the polls concerning national political direction.  Perhaps we need another Scopes trial???

Notebook entry, August 17, 1999

Last week was an interesting one here at Evolution's Voyage.   We had a visit from a one Edward Petruso from Indiana.  Eddie told us that he was diagnosed with infantile autism at age 3.  With persistent care from his parents, and caring educators, by the time he was 13, the diagnosis was considered to be mild autism.  In any case, Eddie has managed to survive and adapt in our complex world.  Autism is the complete separation of reality and the inability to relate to other humans.  But, Eddie is not a severe case.  In fact, by reading his work that he submitted, I concur that the diagnosis is correct.  It is about a 3 or 4 on the scale of 1-10, with 10 begin the most severe.  He has written that evolutionary psychology has "cured" him as it allowed him to understand others around him. 

I have decided to give him his own separate web section  so that he can journal his thoughts, musing, frustrations, wishes, dreams, and realities -- or any subject that comes to his mind.  We agreed that he would give me a minimum of six entries per month, and that I would "pay" him a salary of one book per month from any section of my web site.  I invite you all to join in reading with me the journal of this interesting mind.  I think that he will teach all of us something.   You can  get to One Autistic's View, by clicking here. View, by clicking here.

Notebook entry, August 14, 1999

A New York Times article dated August 12, 1999 written by Pam Belluck tells us of the story of the Kansas Board of Education voting on August 11, 1999 to delete any mention of evolution from the state's science curriculum.  While it does not prevent the teaching of evolution, it will not be included in the state assessment tests that evaluate students' performances in various grades. 

The move is perhaps the most influential and far-reaching actions that creationists have accomplished the past several years.  Reaction has been swift and furious in the electronic backwaters of the Human Behavior and Evolution's Society's web discussion group.  News of the event has been the national news via radio and the talking heads on this Sunday's political talk shows, and one computer software company, Broadcast Software International of Eugene, Oregon  has eliminated Kansas as a possible site for a new service center because "it was doubted that they could find any well-educated workers in Kansas."

I think that if you visit our web site you know that we believe in both God and evolution.  (Pope John Paul II, head of the Roman Catholic Church also takes this same position)  We must begin to look for reasons other than political and religious reasons why creationists do not want the truth to be taught.  I know the answer, and it lies in evolutionary psychology, but its only a "theory" and I won't air it here in this notebook entry. 

The creationists largest argument is that evolution is just a theory and can't be observed in action.  That is not true.  Please read The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time by Jonathan Weiner.  This Pulitzer Prize-winning book journals the observations of two Princeton University evolutionary biologists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, as they watch, record, and journal evolution as it occurs amongst the Finch's of the Galapagos Islands.  You may purchase the book from my Recommended Reading List and by clicking here, it will take you to the list.

Notebook entry, August 6, 1999

I finished the third in a series of politically slanted essays to give readers of The Nation something new to talk about.  It will be the last for some time as I must devote attention to writing THE BOOK.

Last month I noticed that MS. Magazine had placed an classified advertising page in their magazine, but the publisher signed a letter stated that it was for women-owned or -run businesses.  What the heck....I wrote a letter to the publisher of Ms., Ms. Fayne Erickson inviting her to visit the web site and requested permission to place an ad; thinking that it was the proper thing to do.   On August 2,  she left a message on my cell phone messaging service saying that it would be OK.   I did not talk with her, but I could tell by the sound of voice that she was curious as to who I was.   She left her number in NYC in case I had anything to ask her.  No, I had nothing to ask.  The ad should run for a year starting with the Oct/Nov 99 issue.

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