Creationism legislation–Alabama, the Constitution update

According to the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), in its article Credit-for-creationism scheme unconstitutional?, the new creationist legislation being introduced into the Alabama House is probably unconstitutional.  Incredibly scandalous news.

As discussed yesterday, Alabama is trying to pass legislation that would “authorize local boards of education to include released time religious instruction as an elective course for high school students.”  In the landmark Supreme Court 1948 ruling, McCollum v. Board of Education, the court struck down a Illinois release time program as unconstitutional because of the public school system’s involement in the administration, organization and support of religious instruction classes. Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Alabama, the Constitution update”

Creationism legislation–New Hampshire

Not all anti-evolution legislation has been introduced in the southern or midwestern areas of the USA.  Two bills were introduced in New Hampshire, one of the few Republican areas of the northeastern part of the country.  Today, it was reported that a New Hampshire House committee dismisses bills on evolution.

The first bill, House Bill 1148, would have forced the state board of education to “[r]equire evolution to be taught in the public schools of this state as a theory, including the theorists’ political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism.”  Of course, from a scientific point-of-view, a scientific theory is about as close to a “fact” as you will find in science.  Evolution is a fact.   Although most atheists accept evolution (I’m always shocked to find a few atheists who dispute the fact of evolution), not everyone who accepts evolution is an atheist.  Like the whole Catholic Church, whose doctrine accepts evolution. Continue reading “Creationism legislation–New Hampshire”

Mercury, autism and the anti-vaccination insanity

Not that it will matter to the anti-vaccination gang, but there’s more evidence that vaccines have nothing to do with autism.  PLoS ONE, an open-access, peer reviewed journal has published A Comparison of Urinary Mercury between Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Control Children by a group of UK and US researchers.  This article is significant because one of the moving hypotheses of the anti-vaccination lunatics is that all that mercury in vaccines (and no, there is no metallic mercury in vaccines) is causing autism in children.  There’s a lot more mercury exposure in all of us by eating too much fish, so this has been dismissed many times. Continue reading “Mercury, autism and the anti-vaccination insanity”

Creationism legislation–Alabama, shocking news

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is reporting that antievolution legislation has been introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives.  Alabama isn’t known for their progressive attitudes towards the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution given some past events like trying to put the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Supreme Court building and forcing prayer into schools.  The bill allows local school districts to give credits to students who attend religious courses. Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Alabama, shocking news”

Creationism legislation–Indiana update

The right wing push to subvert the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution has been put on hold in Indiana.  According to the Indianapolis Star, Indiana’s creation science bill is dead .  This is good news.  Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, an Indianapolis Republican, moved the bill to the rules committee, a procedural step that all but assures it will not make it to a vote this year.  According to Bosma, “I didn’t disagree with the concept of the bill, but I hesitate to micromanage local curricula. Secondarily, I didn’t think it was prudent to buy a lawsuit the state could ill afford at this point.”  A pragmatic Republican is rare these days, since it really should be up to the school district to teach science in the best way possible (which is completely ignoring the religion of creationism).  And there will be lawsuits which the state would lose. Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Indiana update”

Physicians fire anti-vaccine patients

The Wall Street today published an article, More Doctors ‘Fire’ Vaccine Refusers, by Shirley S. Wang, which discusses how physicians are beginning to refuse to see patients (mostly children) whose parents refuse to have them vaccinated.

❝Pediatricians fed up with parents who refuse to vaccinate their children out of concern it can cause autism or other problems increasingly are “firing” such families from their practices, raising questions about a doctor’s responsibility to these patients.❞ Continue reading “Physicians fire anti-vaccine patients”

Stem cell treatments for heart attacks

Acute myocardial infarctions (AMI), commonly known as heart attacks, are responsible for about 12.6% of deaths worldwide, according to The World Health Report 2004 – Changing History.  In the United States, about 16.6% of those who have heart attacks die within 30 days of the attack.  Outside of AIDS and a few infectious diseases, AMI is the biggest killer of adults.

An AMI is essentially caused by a blockage of the coronary arteries which leads to cellular damage of some of the heart muscle (myocardium).  This prognosis can be minor to deadly, depending on a lot of issues such as other cardiovascular risk profile (diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, smoking and others), quality of treatment, and severity of the tissue damage.  Over the past few years, treatments have improved the outlook for AMI sufferers, but the risk of a subsequent heart attacks and mortality rates are still high. Continue reading “Stem cell treatments for heart attacks”

The importance of Cochrane Reviews to evidence based medicine

Cochrane Collaboration Copyrighted from the Cochrane Collaboration

The Cochrane Collaboration is a critically important source in evidence-based medicine, and a useful tool in providing analytical evidence that can debunk pseudoscientific beliefs. Cochrane’s goal is to organize research data and publications in an logical way that helps physicians and researchers make appropriate decisions about a proposed new therapy, medication or clinical idea. Cochrane Reviews are:

…are systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy, and are internationally recognised as the highest standard in evidence-based health care. They investigate the effects of interventions for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. They also assess the accuracy of a diagnostic test for a given condition in a specific patient group and setting.

Each systematic review addresses a clearly formulated question; for example: Can antibiotics help in alleviating the symptoms of a sore throat? All the existing primary research on a topic that meets certain criteria is searched for and collated, and then assessed using stringent guidelines, to establish whether or not there is conclusive evidence about a specific treatment. The reviews are updated regularly, ensuring that treatment decisions can be based on the most up-to-date and reliable evidence. Continue reading “The importance of Cochrane Reviews to evidence based medicine”

Huffington Post and quote mining–one more reason to ignore them

The Huffington Post published an article recently entitled, Science and religion quotes: what the world’s greatest scientists say about God.  I rarely read HuffPo, despite my having a similar political point-of-view, because of what I perceive to be a high number of anti-science articles.  In this case, HuffPo tries to show how some of the great scientists were actually deeply spiritual if not religious.  Using quotes as evidence for a history or biography of an individual is pathetic and disingenuous, especially if taken out of context.  It would be as if we tried to describe Los Angeles based on a snapshot of one house in San Pedro. Continue reading “Huffington Post and quote mining–one more reason to ignore them”