March 2000 Notebook Entries

Notebook entry, March 19, 2000

In today's Sunday Denver Post, the editorial page editor was nice enough to publish the letter both my wife and I sent  letter to the editor concerning the flagrant misleading headline on the top front page of the Denver Post March 11 edition.  It read: "79% back creationism in schools." We both have fears that Colorado is trying to transform itself into a  conservative paradise state whose views on religion and financial matters give us both chills.  We fear a state filled Only-we-are-the-religiously-perfect, tooling along with SUVs and endless mountaintop condos so expensive that no one but the top ten percent of the wealthy could afford to live here. The headline of the 11th only helps to support our arguments. Our letter, as is it is printed in the Post, is as follows:

"The headline on the front page of the March 11 paper (79% back creationism in schools") was flagrantly misleading.  It should have read: "83% believe evolution should be taught in the public schools." Or even: "68% believe both evolution and creation theory should be taught in the public schools."  Certainly all concepts about creation from around the world stimulate imagination and give insight into human nature. Our species has a great need to be at the center of all events that happen on this planet.

Unfortunately, all life on this planet is very fragile.  Unless both science and theology recognize this fact of life, the future of this planet and our species are in jeopardy.  Both concepts can work together to save us from ourselves.  Some suggestions: make Earth Day (April 22) a religious holiday as well as a national day, supporting people bringing children into the world that they can actually feed and educate.  It is time for responsible action from all parties and not empty debates."  Mr. and Mrs. WILLIAM SPRIGGS Lakewood

Notebook entry, March 11, 2000

A Hearst Newspapers wire report written by Mark Helm tells us of a new poll released on Friday, March 10th 2000 stating that "Evolution should be in most schools, most say." The survey, sponsored by People for the American Way Foundation finds that an overwhelming majority want evolution to be taught in schools.  The foundation president Ralph G. Neas said in a news conference that: "The majority of the public clearly does not buy the notion that you must choose between the Bible and evolution." This is exactly the position that Evolution's Voyage takes in presenting the material at this web site.

Among the poll's key findings:

Notebook entry, March 10, 2000

A New York Times story by Natalie Angier tells us the sad story of the death of William Hamiltion, 63, an Evolutionary Biologist.  Angier, herself no stranger to biology gives us a fond farewell  to "...one of the towering figures of modern biology and the man who helped to unify Darwin's principles of natural selection with a rigorous understanding of Medelian genetics..."  Dr. Hamiltion was widely known for his "inclusive fitness" theory, a genetic basis for altruism, and has been credited with aspiring the works of Richard Dawkin's The Selfish Gene, and E.O. Wilson's Sociobiology."  He died of malaria at Middlesex Hospital in London.

Notebook entry, March 6, 2000

I've very proud to introduce to you, Josh Mitteldorf, with his first (and hopefully more) guest essay. In this piece entitled: Death by Design, Josh questions the planned obsolescence of evolution's march and suggests that a calorie restricted diet may actually make us live longer.

Josh is a researcher in the Biology Dept of the University of Pennsylvania. He specializes in evolutionary theory and computer simulations that demonstrate how evolution can work on groups and whole populations. He has taught at Harvard, Berkeley and Bryn Mawr.

Originally an astrophysicist, Josh moved to evolutionary biology as a primary field in 1996.

In private life, Josh is a musician and environmentalist; an activist against Big Tobacco, and advocate for public health. He is married to Alice Ballard, a civil rights attorney, and their two daughters, Sarah and Madeline are among the first children adopted from China in the mid-1980s.

You can go to Josh's first essay by clicking here: Death by Design

Notebook entry, March 4, 2000

Not really much to tell you all.  I'm sort of relaxing in between another productive burst of self-imposed creativity. Having just finished my first book which is now in the hands of the editor, John Martin, before we go over it again, and some shit going down at work.  I really don't like to talk about work because it really does not exist in my mind.  My body has to go there, and I perform the functions of the organization within established standards required to receive a paycheck -- and that is all I want to say.

Received a nice package in the mail today: A book sent to me from The New York Book Review publishers. The book: It Ain't Necessarily So: The Dream of the Human Genome and Other Illusions, by Richard Lewontin.  No letter, no nothing -- just a plug pamphlet from the publisher.  Thanks, New York Book Review, who ever buy the book in the mail....I'll start on it on Monday morning.  

If there are any other publishers out there that would like to send me books based on evolution, biology, genomes, society, etc. Feel free to send them.