Steven Pinker has an important op-ed in today’s New York Times. “An important place to start might be in working to apply a scientific mindset to education itself that is, to determine as best we can whether various beliefs about educational effectiveness are true. Classroom practice is often guided by romantic theories, slick packages and political crusades. Few practices have been evaluated using the paraphernalia of social science, such as data collection and control groups.”
My respect for Texas Tech, or at least for one of its faculty, has just soared. Biology professor Michael Dini refuses to recommend students for graduate programmes in biomedical sciences unless they confirm their belief in evolutionary theory. According to the Houston Chronicle, Dini “doesn’t believe anyone should practice in a biology-related field without accepting ‘the most important theory in biology’. He argues that physicians who ‘ignore or neglect’ the Darwinian aspects of medicine or the evolutionary origin of humans can make bad clinical decisions. A scientist who denies the ‘fact’ of human evolution, Dini writes, is in effect committing ‘malpractice regarding the method of science’.” Absolutely.
The only puzzle for me is why the Houston Chronicle feels it needs to put fact in quote marks.
Doc Searls is absolutely spot on in his analysis of AOL Time Warner. “The real kicker here, the the eleven-zero irony, is that this merged company was counting on AOL, of all things, to provide understanding of the very platform on which all this inter-divisional ‘synergy’ was going to take place. They actually thought AOL understood the Net. Amazing.”
Bloggus Caesari seems eerily relevant: “Some of you have questioned why we intervene in Gaul at all.”