HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 1 No. 1 Feb. 28, 1996
MORTIMER FACES FACULTY TODAY AT 2:30President Mortimer will address the Manoa Faculty Congresstoday at 2:30 pm in Architecture 205. The Congress consistsof all faculty members. A Faculty Senate meeting follows. At that meeting, the Committee on Administration and Budgetwill present a proposal for a priority system to be used invertical cuts.NOVA AND FRONTLINE PRESENT DISTURBING TRENDSWatching KHET last night was as disturbing as listening to aMortimer speech or reading "Who Runs the University?" NOVApresented a program on UFO abductions, showing howtherapists lead their patients into inventing memories of themost bizarre stories and then become convinced they are real. John Mack of Harvard, who has managed to escape censure ofhis colleagues on the basis of "academic freedom," was shownat work. Fortunately, more psychologists are beginning torecognize "False Memory Syndrome" and are speaking outagainst those who misuse it.NOVA was followed by a FRONTLINE story on silicone breastimplants that was even more disturbing because, unlike FMS,science is not getting the last word. The strongestpossible evidence exists that silcone breast implants aresafe. This conclusion is supported by many studies at themost prestigious medical research laboratories and publishedin the most prestigious medical journals. Yet, juriescontinue to award huge sums to women who claim theirillnesses are silcone-induced. Like OJ's jurors, theysimply ignore the science.The women were shown being egged on my their unscrupulous,millionaire lawyers, who dismissed the science by implyingthat all these great institutions and journals were boughtout by Dow and other companies. The anti-scientificattitudes of the women support groups was disheartening. The result is that breast implants are essentially off themarket, and the companies are thinking twice about developing any new products and materials for devices suchas pacemakers that are implanted in human bodies.Are we witnessing the last days of science?


HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 1 No. 2 Feb. 29, 1996
This and earlier isses are archived at MORTIMER MEETS THE EYEPresident Mortimer's address yesterday to the Manoa FacultyCongress was notable more for what he didn't say than forwhat he said. He talked a lot about the tuition increaseand the time he has spent on it, implying that this has notleft him much time to work on other problems. He saidthings would be getting better soon, but did not say whatdecisions on vertical curts he has made, if any, to causethis to happen. He asked us to await the BOR meetings inMarch and April, when his plans will presumably be revealed.The president refused to discuss the particulars of contractnegotiations, saying that was for the bargaining table. Heagain asked us to wait, this time for the Fact Finder'sreport, which he has seen but is not yet public. Laterduring the questioning he was pressed hard to explain the"regressive" proposals that UHPA has accused him of making. He kept saying "I hear you," but would not discuss them,again referring to the Fact Finder's report. When someoneasked if the faculty could expect support from him hereplied with a smile, "Yes, they can expect support." Thiswas greeted with laughter.FACULTY SENATE PREFERS REACTION TO ACTIONIn the meeting that followed, the Manoa Senate showed littleenthusiasm for the proposal by its Committee onAdministration and Budget to set three broad prioritycategories that the administration would be asked to apply inmaking vertical cuts. Several senators objected to the firstpriority being core undergraduate education, arguing that theuniqueness of Manoa is its graduate programs, researchinstitutes and professional schools. Many seem to be unawarethat Manoa's international standing as a research institutionwas much higher 25 years ago, when practically all theresearch was in the core College of Arts and Sciences.In any case, the Senate seems undisposed toward participatingin the decision process, preferring to react toadministration decisions rather than actively proposingalternatives. I doubt that Newton's Third Law apples here,however, and fear that the reaction will be unequal to theaction. UHPA EMBRACES QUACKOPRACTICIn their recent bulletin on health care options, UHPA saysthat they are "pleased to announce" that chiropracticservices will be included in their new plan. What can weexpect next year? Therapeutic Touch, Acupuncture,Homeopathy, Past Life Therapy?


HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 1 No. 3 Mar. 8, 1996
This and earlier isses are archived at http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo remove yourself from the distribution list, reply withthe message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to say PLEASE.FACT FINDERS FIND FEW FACTSThe report of the HLRB Fact Finding Board can be found athttp://www.hawaii.edu/admin/exec.staff.html. Generally thereport agrees with the State's position that the financialcrisis is so severe that faculty salaries should not beincreased--even of that means the loss of key faculty. Thepotential downgrading of the State's credit rating isregarded as far more serious than the potential downgradingof the University of Hawaii. I suppose the loss of Manoa'sstatus as a Class I Research University is not viewed asalarming, or not believed to be likely.UHPA suggested a six-year agreement with no increase for twoyears, provided adjustments for the last four years be basedon some financial index or a negotiated rate. The panelseemed to think this was a good idea.Generally the panel suggested that most other contentiousitems be postponed. They did agree that "Instructional andresearch faculty should be able to utilize their specialskills and receive limited fees" and that agreement besought on intellectual property rights that "balance theneeds of the employer with that of the faculty."The fact finders saw no reason for faculty to have different benefits, per diem rates, etc. from other Stateemployees. They recommended that benefits remain the samefor now.TENNESSEE LEGISLATURE DECLARES EARTH IS FLATWell, not quite. But they are working on a bill to make itillegal for a teacher to teach evolution as "fact" ratherthan simply a "theory." What next? Gravity? That's "justa theory" too.A couple of recent letters to Ka Leo O'Haunani also arguedthat evolution is "just a theory." Maybe we have to do abetter job explaining to our students that theory is notsynonymous with "speculation," and that scientific theoriesare based on facts.


HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 1 No. 4 Mar. 13, 1996
This and earlier isses are archived at http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send amessage to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. To remove yourselffrom the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. Youdon't even have to say PLEASE.FURLOUGH BEING FOUGHT, DEEMED UNLIKELYInquirer roving reporter John Radcliffe reports: Some have been asking if the union has a position on theadministration's idea to steal 12 days of pay from everypublic employee thus creating a 5% paycut for those whowork 12 months and an even bigger pay cut for those whowork 11, 10 or 9 months but who have their pay stretchedout over 12 months. "Haven't heard anything from on theunion on this, what's the deal?"The deal is that your lobbyist has testified against itevery time it has come up. Told the Guv to shove or shelvethis one, been quoted that way in the newspapers and on TVand on the radio too. Ka Leo never covered any of itthough, so its no wonder that some still don't know.This bill will not pass or if it does, it will do so overour bleeding, dead bodies and even then we'll challenge itin court.Its not likely to come to that though, because the Senateain't going for it. What may pass are a passel ofbills which guarantee and protect workers rights andbenefits in the event that the Gov tries to whack publicemployees unilaterally.CARL SAGAN GRAVELY ILLOne of the greatest voices for reason may soon be stilled. Carl Sagan is apparently dying from a brain tumor.Sagan wrote an eloquent essay about death in last Sunday'sParade Magazine. Unfortunately, our Gannettthought-controllers give us the putrid U. S. A. Todaymagazine in the place of Parade, which has the highestcirculation of any magazine in the world. So, we areforced to read about fire-walking, self-help guru AnthonyRobbins instead of Sagan.Here are some quotes from Sagan's latest book, _TheDemon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark_."Whose interest does ignorance serve? If we humans bear,say, hereditary propensities toward the hatred ofstrangers, isn't self-knowledge the only antidote? If welong to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that weare the reason there _is_ a Universe_, does science do us adisservice in deflating our conceits?""In _The Genealogy of Morals_, Friedrich Nietzsche, as somany before and after, decries the 'unbroken progress inthe self-belittling of man' brought about by the scientificrevolution. For me, it is far better to grasp the Universeas it really is than to persist in delusion, howeversatisfying and reassuring. Which attitude is better forour long-term survival? Which gives more leverage for thefuture? And if our naive self-confidence is a littleundermined by the process, is that altogether such aloss? Is there not cause to welcome it as a maturing andcharacter-building experience?"Let's hope he recovers. We need his voice.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 1 No. 5 Mar. 21, 1996
This and earlier isses are archived at http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send amessage to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. To remove yourselffrom the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. Youdon't even have to say PLEASE.MORTIMER BACKING DOWN?There are some signs that this may be the case. Atyesterday's Manoa Faculty Senate meeting, the presidentannounced several actions that suggest a softening of hisprevious positions. He is releasing $0.5M to the libraryand permitted recruiting to begin on 60 positions. Whilehe claims this resulted from now having a better handle ontuition income, he nevertheless seems to be reacting to thepressures from faculty and students.For example, Mortimer now claims that he never had anyintention of tampering with traditional intellectualproperty rights but is simply concerned about issues raisedby new technologies such as rights to software. If so, whydidn't he say that in the first place?The questions raised about the logic of developing WestOahu while Manoa sinks into oblivion seem to also have hadan effect. Now it turns out that construction at theCampbell site does not have to begin until 2011.UH DOWNSIZING TAKING SHAPEAnd the shape seems to make sense. No doubt UH will beleaner and meaner in the near future. Of the 1,000 systemfaculty and staff positions that have been lost during thecurrent freeze, perhaps 800 will be permanent.Based on Mortimer's remarks and the reports to the Senateby faculty members who are serving on various task forces,the following tentative picture is beginning to emerge:The tuition for the Law School will be raised considerablyso that it is 80 per cent self-supporting by 2000. Onequestion: will they then give almost everybody a tuitionwaiver?Other units such as The School of Public Health and theSchool of Library and Information Science, which werealways far too small and weak to be exalted as "schools,"will be downsized further and subsumed in existing units. The Social Science Research Institute has already been cutback 50 per cent with the elimination of most non-tenuredpositions.The panel for the College of Education has just startedwork and had nothing to report.The Dean of SOEST has announced that he has asked for theDepartment of Ocean engineering to be retrenched.Most interesting was the situation with the Medical School.When the School was first formed, six "basic science"departments, such as Genetics and Biochemistry, decidedthey wanted to be part of Medicine. This offered a greatdeal for their faculty, who could then have eleven monthappointments at high salaries, with light course loads andno pressure to do much research, since they did not have togo out and earn their summer salaries. These departmentshad graduate programs that were separate from the MDprogram.When the Med School went over to Problem BasedInstruction, the BS departments evolved to an even smallerrole in MD education.Now with the budget cutbacks, the Med School has proposedto downsize the basic science departments and combine theminto one single interdisciplinary department. This wouldwreak havoc with the graduate programs, and the servicesthat the departments provide to Natural Science programssuch as Microbiology. No one seems to have suggested whatis logical, to put the basic science departments were theyshould have remained all along, in Natural Sciences. Obviously, the Dean of Medicine will resist any transferfunds to Natural Sciences, although we can be sure he willbe happy to let it have the six departments if he can keepthe money.See what happens when you get greedy? There is a certainjustice to all of this. As long as they don't cut physics....THE LATEST LITERARY GENRE: QUANTUM FICTIONThose of you who are intrigued by notions such as DeepakChopra's "Quantum Healing," in which disease and aging areall reversible because the act of human consciousnesscauses all physical reality to come into being, will beinterested in this new book:FLIGHT: A Quantum Fiction Novel, Vanna Bonta$14.95 400p. ISBN 0-912339-17-9SUMMER 1996
The author defines the new genre for which she coined theterm "Quantum Fiction" as "the evolution of literaturewhich reflects today's age where science has caught up tofiction and meets spirit."As described on the internet, character Mendle Orionembodies another common human condition, biological impulsevs. intelligence. Mendle's inner conflicts about drives forsensation (sex and substance) and his search forunderstanding and true love are played out in a romanticadventure that runs the gamut of "the perfect body" toUFO's. A poetic, reflective beginning builds intoaction-packed, riveting mystery of true-identities wovenwith amazing coincidences, unfolding into discoveries ofincredible secrets about humanity which had been too closefor anyone to see, an ending that is astounding butsupported and made plausible by the latest quantum science.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 1 No. 6 March 29, 1996
This and earlier isses are archived at http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send amessage to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. To remove yourselffrom the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. Youdon't even have to say PLEASE.REGENT HOAG SAYS UNIVERSITY MORALS DEPRAVEDThe following letter from UH Regent John A. Hoag appearedin the March 22 issue of _The Chronicle of HigherEducation_:'To the Editor: If it weren't such a sad commentary on the depraved stateof university morals, I would find the juxtaposition ofthe articles "The Politics of Images of Gay Students" and"Devout Athletes" in the February 9 issue most amusing.The American Civil Liberties Union and its proponents whosupport the freedom of expression demonstrated by theBisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Association of Vassar Collegemust have real problems with hypocrisy when they denouncea silent, brief, prayerful expression by an athlete.I never cease to be puzzled by the purveyors of "academicfreedom" who are willing to give license to some of themost licentious material, yet recoil at any expression ofreligious faith. We live in a strange world these days!John A. HoagRegentUniversity of HawaiiHonolulu'Thank Ben that we have stalwart Regents to protect usagainst the purveyors of pornography, freedom ofexpression, and academic freedom.PENIS ELECTED U.S. PRESIDENTOr, as they say in Japan, erected. This is what headlinesin Iran will say next November if Bob Dole becomesPresident. Apparently "dole" in Farsi refers to the malemiddle member.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 1 No. 7 April 1, 1996
This and earlier isses are archived at http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send amessage to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. To remove yourselffrom the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. Youdon't even have to say PLEASE.REGENTS BACK UNIVERSITYUH Regents Chair Joseph F. Blanco announced today thatthe BOR backs the University one-hundred percent. "Thejob of the Regents is to act as a buffer between thepoliticians downtown and the University," Blanco said. "We will always look out for UH first no matter what thepolitical pressures might be."Regent John Hoag added that the faculty is what defines auniversity and he will do everything in his power to seethat they get what they deserve in the current contractnegotiations.LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR SAYS FACULTY ARE OVERWORKEDThe Legislative Auditor has been investigating facultyworkload and has determined that the current workloads aretoo heavy. She will be recommending that they be cut byfifty percent.CAMPUSES TO BE SHUT DOWNAccording to reliable sources, the West Oahu and WindwardCommunity College campuses will be eliminated in there-structuring of the University. The faculty at thesecampuses will be offered the opportunity to work ascustodians at the remaining campuses.GOVERNMENT CONCEALING EVIDENCE OF LIFE ON JUPITERFrom the Internet:Washington DC -- A government source claims that therecent Galileo mission to Jupiter detected evidence oflife in the planet's atmosphere. Data transmitted back toEarth 60 days ago has led scientists to conclude thatthere is significant organic activity in "warm pockets" ofthe lower atmosphere. Once this information was disclosedamong internal government agencies, the Galileo missionwas immediately "Classified" and all further release ofpublic information was halted.The source says they brought the story directly to AmericaOnline "because the government was likely to clamp downand prevent any major media from publishing the facts,"according to the source.Experts have long speculated that the government has beenwithholding evidence that extraterrestrial life exists. President Clinton promised during the 1992 presidentialcampaign to release any information concerning evidence ofextra terrestrials if elected. However, the issue hasbeen mysteriously absent from this administration's agenda.DANGEROUS IMPURITIES FOUND IN HOLY WATERAlso from the Net:British researchers, writing in the Journal of HospitalInfection and reported in the Medical Journal ofAustralia, have found that of nine samples of holy waterfrom Lourdes, two from the River Jordan and two fromWalsingham, 10 were heavily contaminated with infectiousorganisms, including E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, andcandida, which causes thrush. The investigation wassparked the detection of Acinetobacter baumanii bacterialinfection in a patient with burns through the fullthickness of the skin who had been sprinkled with holywater by relatives.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 1 No. 8 Apr. 9, 1996
This and earlier isses are archived at http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send amessage to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. To remove yourselffrom the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. Youdon't even have to say PLEASE.UHPA TALKING STRIKEAre the UH faculty ready to strike? UHPA is laying thefoundation, but a strike seems hardly likely. Needless tosay, a faculty strike would have little public support. Why has the union rejected most of the Fact Finder's report(see HRI March 8)? Perhaps we'll hear why at the AnnualMembership Meeting: Friday April 12, 3PM, UHM, CC 306-7-8.MORE QUACKOPRACTICSpeaking of UHPA, recall the earlier HRI item about theirhealth plan now including chiropractic. Apparently, one ofthe major reasons workman's compensation costs are so farout of line in Hawaii, a major cause of businessesleaving the islands, is the high costs of worthlesschiropractic care. A recent study showed that chiropractic is the most costlytreatment for most back problems, even more costly thanseeing a physician. The cheapest treatment is simple rest,and just as effective as the others!COLD FUSION DECLARED SCIENTIFIC FRAUDWell, nonsense and nonsensibility aren't winning all thebattles. Inquirer Geneva correspondent Doug Morrisonreports that the lawsuit brought by Stanley Pons and MartinFleischmann against the Italian newspaper La Republicca hasbeen decided in favor of the newspaper. La Republicca hadcalled cold fusion a "scientific fraud" and the court wasapparently satisfied that it is indeed.REVISED HISTORY TEACHING STANDARDS DISCOVER SCIENCE. From the American Physical Society's Robert Park: The only mention of "science" in the version issued 18months ago was in a list of professions from which womenwere systematically excluded. The Senate condemned thepolitically-correct document by a vote of 99-1,jeopardizing the whole concept of national teachingstandards. But a revision is vastly improved. In Standard8, "Major Discoveries in Science and Technology," studentsare expected to "understand how postwar science augmentedAmerica's economic strength, transformed daily life andinfluenced the world economy," and "explain the advances inmedical science and assess how they improved the standardof living." Name searches for famous American scientiststurned up only Benjamin Franklin, but even Ben was left outof the earlier version. The Wright brothers were the onlyinventors to make the cut.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 1 No. 9 Apr. 15, 1996
This and earlier isses are archived at http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send amessage to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. To remove yourselffrom the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. Youdon't even have to say PLEASE.LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME STILL UNCERTAINAs the 1996
session wears down, its impact on theUniversity and faculty remains uncertain. The recision oflast year's Act 161 is still a possibility. This, yourecall, guaranteed a budget floor for UH of $352.8M so thatthe State could not decrease the allocation by the amountof any tuition increase. The UH Administration is takingrecision for granted, but UHPA is lobbying hard to hang onto the original. The bill to reduce the amount 85% failedon Friday, so keep up your hopes and contact thelegislature.Similarly, HB 3843, the State employee furlough bill couldstill pass. UHPA is not as sanguine about its likely defeatas it was a few weeks ago and is urging faculty to contactlegislators. While defeat is still likely, legislatorsneed to be reminded that State employees vote and that theywill be keeping a list of those who voted for the bill. Furlough of 12 days a year will amount to a 7% salary cutfor 9 month UH faculty.NEGOTIATIONS REMAIN STALLEDAt the UHPA Annual Meeting on Friday, J.N. Musto gave alengthy report on the negotiations impasse. UHPA hadproposed many contract changes that would clarify andenhance the current wording. However, the Administrationis opposed to virtually all of them, in the name of"administrative flexibility." Musto made a good case forthe changes, but one has to question whether this is theright year to attempt to push them through. Certainly thepublic perception of the current impasse is that thefaculty are asking for more money, not simply trying toclarify the contract. Furthermore, the faculty is notgoing to walk out because the Administration refuses toeliminate the "2 in 7" rule or extend vacation accrual toall 11-month faculty.Information on legislative and negotiations issues isconstantly updated on the UHPA web page,http://www.uhpa.org/uhpa/ENGLISH PROFESSORS DECONSTRUCT CLASSROOM DISRUPTIONIn a letter to Ka Leo printed April 10, UH EnglishDepartment Assistant Professors Cynthia Franklin and LauraLyons have found a new application for the Deconstructionmovement in modern literature. They argue that whatconstitutes classroom disruption depends on factors such assize, gender, age, and language. These newly-arrivedmainlanders seem to be saying that classroom instructorsshould be patient with the uncivilized natives. Ah, thewhite woman's burden. . .RANDI PRIZE TOPS $600,000Magician James ("The Amazing") Randi has offered a prize,now exceeding $600,000, for anyone who can demonstrate thereality of psychic phenomena, such as ESP, under controlledexperimental conditions. Many tried and failed hisprevious $20,000 challenge. A recent test was supposed tobe televised in Japan, but the psychic refused to allowRandi to set the experimental protocols. Even under herown conditions, the camera caught her cheating. Of course,the Tokyo Broadcasting Company did not show the clip,preferring not to disappoint its audience.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 1 No. 10 Apr. 25, 1996
This and earlier isses are archived at http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send amessage to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. To remove yourselffrom the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. Youdon't even have to say PLEASE.PAYROLL LAG APPROVEDThe Payroll Lag Bill has been approved by the House-SenateConference Committee. It amounts to a 4% paycut, but youget it back when you leave State employ. In other words,the sooner the better. FURLOUGH NEXTThe conferees also gave the governor the power to imposemonthly furlough that equates to another 5% pay cut, 7% for9-month faculty, if the "need" arises. Let's hope that thegovernor perceives the need for re-election to be greater.You can bet the State employee unions will be keeping tabson the legislators who supported these measures and willprovide a list we can take with us into the voting boothcome November.LETTING UHPA HANG OUTPerhaps UHPA leaders are not so paranoid after all when theycry that everybody's out to get them. From Honolulu Diaryin last week's Honolulu Weekly: "People are talking about . . . the apparent campaign of the UH administration and itslegislative bosses: attacking the power of the ProfessionalUnion, letting it hang out to shrink and dry in this era ofdownsizing."A CANDLE IN THE DARKWonderful letter to the Tuesday, April 11 Ka Leo by UHMstudent Melelani Tam. "Hawaiian is the the heart, not in the veins," she remarks sagely. On the Geography classdisruption controversy, Melelani says: "I personally have noknowledge of the situation or the people involved so Icannot say that either side was right or wrong." That's arational position all of us on this campus could usefullyadopt.THE DEODORANT-FREE CLASSROOMRussell Jacoby has an excellent article, "America'sProfessoriate: Politicized, Yet Apolitical," in the April 12Chronicle of Higher Education. The thrust is that politicsnow encompasses everything that is uttered or implied inuniversity halls and classrooms. The traditional arena ofpolitics, government and affairs of state, has grown toinclude all of life and culture. But when everything ispolitical, nothing is.Jacoby tells this story: "I met a latino student whotransferred out of the University of California at SantaCruz after a string of what he considered off-the-wall'political' stands by people there. The last straw was whenan instructor informed him that the class the student wasattending would be deodorant- and perfume-free, because thesubstances polluted the atmosphere and affected theinstructor's health. "Hey,' the student told me, 'I'm fromLos Angeles. I have more important things to worry aboutthan deodorant. These people are living in la-la land."JUNK FOOD IS GOOD FOR YOUAccording to researchers Lillian M. Ingster and Manning Feinleib of the National Center for Health Statistics, junkfood may be a major contributing factor to the 30-yeardecline in the percentage of deaths attributed to heartproblems. The reason, they say, is that many artificialflavors contain salicyates - chemicals related to aspirin -and aspirin is known to reduce heart attacks.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 1 No. 11 May 7, 1996
This and earlier isses are archived at http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send amessage to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. To remove yourselffrom the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. Youdon't even have to say PLEASE.LEGISLATURE (HAPPILY) ACCOMPLISHES LITTLEThe public is bemoaning the little that was accomplishedby this year's Legislature. But sometimes, a little isbetter than a lot. They did not pass the furlough bill. That's better. They did not repeal last year's Act 161,which set a UH budget floor of $352.8M. That's better.They did, however, pass the payroll lag. That's worse,but the unions will fight it in the courts.RELIGIOUS REICH FINALLY MATERIALIZES IN HAWAIIFew have commented on what may in fact be the mostsignificant development in this year's session. Afterlying dormant in Hawaii for several years, the religiousright was incarnated this year and proved itself apowerful force. Led by UH Regent Jack Hoag, they wereable to deflect the attention of everyone away from theserious problem of the State Budget by makingsame-sex marriage the focus of the session.As with their counterparts on the mainland, HawaiiRepublicans showed no courage to resist the onslaught ofChristian activists determined to force their religiousbeliefs on the rest of us. It was disappointing tosee so many State Democrats cave in as well.STRIKE THIS SUMMER?That's how the papers mis-read the UHPA press release oflast week, which talked about preparing for a strike votethis summer. A strike in the summer, when most of thefaculty are off duty, would of course make no sense. Astrike this fall? Hardly more likely, unless theadministration does something really nasty like abolishtenure or cut salaries by ten percent.CENSURE MORTIMER?UHPA (that is, the Board of Directors acting on the adviceof the Faculty Representative Forum) have passed buttabled a resolution calling for the censuring of PresidentMortimer for his lack of leadership in the budget crisis. The resolution would be submitted to the faculty for avote. Apparently it was decided to hold off and see whathappens.LOCAL PSYCHIC PREDICTED UH VOLLEYBALL WINWell, too bad the psychic was wrong on this one. Actually, Nostradamus had predicted the correct outcome. A recent translation of his works included this prophecy:"Two volleyball teams shall play and one shall win."ENJOY YOUR SUMMERThis will be the last Inquirer for a month or two. Volume2 will start up sometime in July or August.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 1 July 1, 1996
This and earlier isses are archived at http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send amessage to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. To remove yourselffrom the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. Youdon't even have to say PLEASE.SKEPTICS MEET IN BUFFALO Your editor attended the _First World's Skeptics Congress_in Buffalo in June. The theme of the meeting was "Sciencein the Age of (Mis)Information." Speakers includedpaleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, Nobel laureate physicistLeon Lederman, magician James Randi, _Nature_ EditorEmeritus Sir John Maddox, and _X-Files_ creator ChrisCarter. Steve Allen (yes, he's still alive) entertained. Someone asked Allen about his long career as song-writer,jazz pianist, TV comedian, and author of 46 books. "Whatdoes it all mean?" Allen's answer: "Other than about 40million bucks, not much."X-FILES APOLOGETICS Carter defended the fact that _X-Files_ often seems topromote paranormal beliefs. He said the show started outwith equal doses of credulity and skepticism, but the moreskeptical programs got poor ratings. After all, that'sShow Biz. Carter still thinks the program fosters aninterest in science and argued that people need to believein something, even if it's nonsense. What ever happened tothe old adage, "The truth shall set you free"?HIGHER SUPERSTITION There was considerable discussion at the Congress on theanti-science that is being created, not only in the mediabut on university campuses as well. Your editorparticipated in a panel with philosopher Susan Haak and theinfamous team of Paul Gross and Norm Levitt, authors of_Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and its Quarrelswith Science_. They told how academia is being split downthe middle as the post-modernists, deconstructionists, andrelativists in the humanities and social sciences rail awayat the natural sciences as nothing more than another socialactivity designed by European males to oppress the rest ofhumanity.DELICIOUS HOAXScientists may be finally waking up to the threat. Afterall, it could affect their funding! In what has to be themost delicious hoax in years, New York University physicistAlan Sokal wrote an article filled with meaningless post-modern gibberish and got it published in one of theirjournals, _Social Text_. He said it was easy, because hedidn't have to worry about being consistent.KICK 'EM IN THE BUTT, DR. JOHNSONStephen Gould did not think much of Sokal's hoax. He saidthe post-modernists are actually friends of science andonly trying to elucidate how it works. If that was all itwas to it, there would be no problem. Sure science is asocial endeavor. Developing a consensus is a socialprocess. However, many post-modernists assert that sciencehas nothing to say about objective reality. Some even saythat there is no such thing as objective reality.MILLENNIUM MADNESS With Evangelical Christians and pre-modernists pushing fromthe right, and New Agers and post-modernists pushing fromthe left, are you beginning to feel squeezed out? We havehad two First Ladies now who have dabbled in both camps. Perhaps we are witnessing the birth of a new ecumenicalmovement. We can look forward to psychic fairs in churchhalls with all kinds of new goodies for sale: crystalcrosses, books on Biblical Astrology, and tee shirts thatproclaim, "Jesus is My Mantra." Let's hope this is onlymillennium madness that will die off in another decade.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 2 Jul, 15 1996
This and earlier isses are archived at http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send a message tovjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. To remove yourself from the list, reply withthe message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to say PLEASE.Correction: The previous issue distributed, Vol. 2 No. 1, was mis-dated. Itshould have been dated July 1, 1996
. This has been corrected on thearchived copy.IRRATIONALITY A GOLD MINE FOR PUBLISHERSIn the Books section of July's _The Atlantic Monthly_, Wendy Kaminer tellsof the gold mine publishers have found in a whole range of books on popularspirituality. _The Celestine Prophecy_ has passed its hundredth week on theNew York Times_ best-seller list; books on angels, near-death experiences,and UFO abductions have sold millions of copies. These join with theequally-successful genre of self-help books and pop psychology that evenbright people like the President and First Lady find alluring. As Kaminerexplains it: "The appeal of these books is clear. They promise us bliss--aworld of no evil (only spiritual retardation), fear, loneliness, pain, ordeath."She continues: "It's easy to sell good news like this, and the authorsconfidently rely on classical fallacious arguments. They argue bydeclaration, which is what makes the books so amusing. In matter-of- fact,authoritative tones, the authors tell us how plant and human beings exchangeenergy--or they describe what angels look like, whether or how they'resexed, how they communicate with human beings, and how they differ fromghosts. Readers might be expected to wonder, How do they know?"And, "What makes fantastic declarations believable is, in part, thevehemence with which they're proffered. Again, in the world of spiritualityas well as of pop psychology, intensity of personal belief is evidence oftruth. It is considered very bad form--even abuse--to challenge theveracity of any personal testimony that might be offered in a twelve-stepgroup or on a talk show, unless the testimony itself is equivocal."We seem to have reached a new definition of truth these days: Truth isanything you feel is true.SCIENCE AND CARPENTRYThe war between Science and Science Studies continues in full force. In aletter to the July _Physics Today_, Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch discussthe views expressed in their book _The Golem: What Everyone Should Knowabout Science_ (Cambridge U. P., 1993): "In _The Golem_ we argue thatscience should be thought of like carpentry--as a body of expertise. We saythat if science is to maintain the enormous standing it has in publicestimation, it should stop promising to be more than a craft and a body ofcultural achievements." Collins and Pinch lambaste "scientificfundamentalists" who think of science as "the royal route to all knowledge.. . a complete world view or quasi religion."In a following letter, physicist N. David Mermin responds: "A table willwobble on a flat floor unless the end of each leg lies in the planedetermined by the ends of the other three. Told that this was a mostbeautiful proposition--a pinnacle of woodworking culture--a carpenter mightwell protest that it was also a fact. A sociological analysis of furnituremaking that ignored the factual character of this proposition would bedeficient. So why should fact be irrelevant to the sociological study ofthe practice of science? Scientists might get upset where carpenters wouldonly be amused because for many scientists, the facts are not just a meansto an end but the end itself. The construction of facts is a subtle mixtureof the social and the objective. Sociologists won't get it right byignoring the latter dimension, any more than scientists can understand thecharacter of their professional activities by ignoring the former."SOCIOLOGIST SUPPORTS SOKALIn a letter to the July 5 _Chronicle of High Education_, DartmouthSociologist Toby E. Huff writes the following on Alan Sokal's hoaxing of thecultural studies journal _Social Text_:"The amazing thing is that if you read Sokal's paper first (knowing thatit's a spoof) and then go back to the first article in the issue, you havethe overwhelming experience of entering into a totally bizarre world of'cultural studies-speak' that is hermetically sealed off from anythingapproaching serious scholarly inquiry. Professor Sokal has done us thegreat service of showing how misguided this whole line of 'discourse' is,and how scholars are taken in by their own publicity, above all, byfashioning a specialized in-group language filled with code words."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 3 Jul, 19 1996
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii academiccommunity. This and earlier isses are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send a message tovjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. To remove yourself from the list, reply withthe message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to say PLEASE.IRONIC SCIENCEIn an article in the July 16 _New York Times_, John Horgan expresses strongsupport for the postmodern view of science. Horgan is a senior writer for_Scientific American_ and author of _The End of Science: Facing the Limitsof Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age_. He argues that much ofmodern science has the "ironic" quality that characterizes postmodernthought.Horgan refers to the papers on superstring theory by Edward Witten ofPrinceton that have made him "far and away the most cited physicist in theworld." Alan Sokal used superstring theory in his hoax of _Social Text_,suggesting that it might liberate science from "dependence on the conceptof objective truth." Horgan says this was no hoax, that superstring theoryhas precisely this character since to probe its realm directly "wouldrequire a particle accelerator 1,000 light-years around." He calls thisironic because "we will never know if superstring theory is true."It's sad to see that the postmodern viewpoint has even invaded the hallowoffices of _Scientific American_. While no scientific question can ever beproven "true," neither Witten nor any other particle physicist believes thatsuperstring theory will survive indefinitely without some empirical testthat does not require an accelerator circling the galaxy. Indirect ways ofprobing high energy scales, though not yet as high as that of superstrings,have been used in the past. In fact, University of Hawaii physicistscontinue to be involved in such studies.NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING SCIENCE AND REASONRecent cover stories in _Time_ and Newsweek_ have told about the increasedirrational beliefs among Americans as we approach the millennium. (Goodgrief, we have to put up with this stuff for another four years!) A numberof national organizations are at work to combat this trend. They provideclearinghouses for information and often can supply help at the local levelwhenever some issue arises there. Generally a fee of about $25 per yearswill get you on the mailing list for the organization's newsletter or payfor a subscription to their main publication.Here's information on several of these groups:Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP)Publishes _Skeptical Inquirer_ and newsletter.Box 703, Amherst, NY 14228-2743. Tel: (716)636-1425. FAX: (716)636-1733http://www.csicop.orgThe Skeptics SocietyPublishes _Skeptic_ magazine. Monthly meetings at Cal Tech.P.O. Box 338, Altadena, CA 91001. Tel: (818)794-3119. FAX: (818)794-1301http://www.skeptic.com/National Center for Science Education (NCSE)Fights attempts to prevent the teaching of Evolution in schools.Publishes journal _Creation/Evolution. Newsletter.P.O. Box 9477, Berkeley, CA 94709-0477. Tel: (510)526-1674. (800)290-6006http://NatCenSciEd.orgNational Council Against Health FraudCombats quackery. Newsletter, bulletin board, publications.P.O. Box 1276, Loma Linda CA 92354. Tel: (909)824-4690. FAX: (909)824-4838http://www.primenet/~ncahf/National Association of ScholarsFights campus PC. A bit on the political right, but usually close to themark. Publishes journal _Academic Questions_. Email newsletter.575 Ewing Street, Princeton, NJ 08540. Tel: (609)683-7878. FAX: (609)683-0316. http://www.nas.org/home.html

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 4 Jul. 29 1996
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii academiccommunity. This and earlier isses are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send a message tovjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. Please give your name and location. To removeyourself from the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don'teven have to say PLEASE.PENTAGON FUNDS RESEARCH ON THERAPEUTIC TOUCHWhile research projects in conventional science are being canceled orseverely cut back, your government seems to have enough money forpseudoscience. The Pentagon has granted $317,725 to the University ofAlabama at Birmingham to conduct single-blind studies on the efficacy of Therapeutic Touch in relieving the pain of burn victims.TT is a form of laying-on-of-the-hands in which a nurse passes her handsover the body of a patient. (Actual touching of the skin is not done, whichthe burn victims undoubtedly appreciate.) As the investigator explains inher proposal: "The technique . . . is based on the assumption of a humanenergy field which extends beyond the skin." The environment is said to befilled with this "life energy." Furthermore, "Quantum theory states thatall of reality is made up of energy fields and that over 99% of the universeis simply space." As a measure of the success of the technique, patientswill be asked if they feel better. (See Skeptical Inquirer, July/August1996
, p. 15.)Perhaps this is the influence of Hillary's guru, although Republicans havedone their share in subverting the strict application of reason and science.Senator Orin Hatch has seen to it that dietary supplements are not subjectto FDA regulation and that alternative medical promoters need not be held tothe same accountability and provability standards as conventional medicine. (See NCAHF Newsletter, July/August 1996
). Scientists should not object to the study of alternative medicine. Butpurveyors of folk remedies and herbal cures should not expect scientists tolie quietly when those purveyors argue that their methods should not bejudged by scientific standards. Furthermore, the public should be madeaware that, without careful studies that prove safety and effectiveness,they may be ripped off at best while at worse may be ingesting dangeroussubstances or submitting their bodies to harmful manipulations.ASHEVILLE, NC VORTEX OF "NATURAL ENERGY"According to Associated Press, Asheville, North Carolina is overtakingSedona, Arizona as the major New Age center. The Blue Ridge Mountaincommunity now contains psychospiritual counselors, spiritualist mediums,massage therapists, aura readers, Indian medicine men, health/natural foodpromoters, dream readers, radical environmentalists, herbalists, homeopaths,hypnotherapists, crystal peddlers, kinesiologists, and designers of solarhomes, geodesic domes, yurts, and tepees. A Halloween gathering of 300 fromthe Church of Wicca was confronted by a group of local Baptists. (From NCAHFBulletin Board, July/August 1996
).CURSE OF THE SHROUDA team from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonioclaims that the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin, which placedit in the fourteenth century, was wrong because of bacterial and funguscontamination. By a simple calculation, which you would think the Texanscould have done, University of Southern Indiana physicist Thomas J. Picketthas shown that for contamination to cause 2,000 year old material appearonly 600 years old, two out of three carbon atoms in the shroud would haveto be from the contaminant. (See Skeptical Briefs, June 1996
, p. 3).However, as author Joe Nickell points out, the Shroud seems to have a curse. Thousands of people who have viewed it are now dead.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 5 Aug. 5 1996
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii academiccommunity. This and earlier isses are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send a message tovjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. Please give your name and location. To removeyourself from the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don'teven have to say PLEASE.OAHU HIGHWAY CURSED DESPITE HEAVY BLESSINGSupernatural forces are being blamed for the recent collapse of a section ofthe H-3 freeway, now nearing completion on Oahu. The accident injured fourworkers. The H-3 passes through a claimed archaeologically-rich area in the Koolaumountains. In 1990, H-3 was paved around an ancient Hawaiian temple. Atthe time, University of Hawaii-Manoa Professor of Hawaiian Studies LillikalaKame'elihiwa chanted at the site and placed a curse on the workers. According to a report in Sunday's Honolulu Advertiser, when Kame'elihiwa wasasked about the latest incident she said: "I get so angry when I see thedesecration of our sacred grounds. "Every time I hear about someone dyingin connection with it, I am happy."Other "unexplained phenomena" have frightened workers at the site. The Rev.Abraham Akaka, pastor emeritus of Kawaiahao Church and brother of U. S.Senator Daniel Akaka was called in to re-bless the highway, waving his175-year-old calabash over the construction and performing his uniquecombined Christian and ancient Hawaiian religious ceremony. Theconstruction union has asked for monthly blessings. It will be interestingto see whose magic is stronger.BIOPHOTONS, BUTTERFLIES, AND HEALINGThe director of the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine, Wayne Jones, iscoauthor of a new book called "Healing with Homeopathy." Most homeopathicremedies are so highly diluted that not a single molecule of the assumedactive ingredient remains. So something beyond normal physics and chemistrymust be invoked in order to explain homeopathic healing, assuming it isnot simply the placebo effect.Jones says that healing is mediated by an elusive "biophoton," the quantumof the "bioelectromagnetic field," that triggers the familiar "butterflyeffect" in chaos theory. "Quantum potentials" are "collapsed" by thethoughts of the healer, according to Jones, creating the healing biophotons.(From item in the Aug.2 "What's New," electronic newsletter of the AmericanPhysical Society.)THE SCIENCE WARS (CONTINUED)Some comments by Dorothy Nelkin, a professor at NYU who teaches in thedepartment of sociology and School of Law, from a fullpage opinion piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 26 1996
:". . .I believe that the moral outrage of scientists stems from changesoccurring in the field of science itself and in its relationship tosources of financial support. Many scientists seem to believe thattheir status in society is at risk -- and they are looking for someoneto blame. . . .""Who, in fact, is to blame? Scientists want to make sure that it is not themselves. Hoping to shape public attitudes toward science, they attackthose who write about social and cultural influences on research. The ideathat social forces influence the questions that scientists pursue, theirinterpretations of data, and the technological applications of their workhardly seems revolutionary. But current theories about science do seem tocall into question the image of selfless scientific objectivity and toundermine scientific authority, at a time when scientists want to reclaimtheir lost innocence, to be perceived as pure, unsullied seekers aftertruth. That is what the science wars are about." (From the electronicnewsletter of National Association of Scholars, July 31, 1996
).

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 6 Aug. 12,1996
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii and wideracademic communities. This and earlier isses are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send a message tovjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. Please give your name and location. To removeyourself from the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don'teven have to say PLEASE.LIFE ON MARS. GOOD SCIENCE OR BAD? The media went wild last week with the announcement that NASA-fundedscientists have found evidence for life on Mars. Of course this isstupendous, if true. A few spoil-sports muttered about "science by pressrelease," and made comparisons with the 1989 cold fusion fiasco. However,the press announcement in the Mars case was not made until the scientificpaper had passed peer-review and was about to be published in a scientificjournal. The result may still turn out to be wrong, but the NASA pressrelease was exemplary of how science should be reported. The followingexcerpt has generally been ignored in the media:"For two years, we have applied state-of-the-art technology to perform theseanalyses, and we believe we have found quite reasonable evidence of past lifeon Mars," Gibson added. "We don't claim that we have conclusively proven it.We are putting this evidence out to the scientific community for otherinvestigators to verify, enhance, attack -- disprove if they can -- as partof the scientific process. Then, within a year or two, we hope to resolve thequestion one way or the other.What we have found to be the most reasonable interpretation is of suchradical nature that it will only be accepted or rejected after other groupseither confirm our findings or overturn them, McKay added." -NASA Press ReleaseBob Park of the American Physical Society issued this caution aboutdashing off to Mars in his weekly electronic newsletter, _What's New_:"Dan Goldin's final words at the NASA news conference Wednesday were: 'Wewill do whatever we have to do [to validate the claim] but we will be drivensolely by scientific considerations.' Not everyone seemed to understand thefull significance of Goldin's statement. Taxpayers for Common Sense, forexample, warned the public to 'Calm down and watch your wallet.' In fact,the Mars priority has the potential to save the taxpayers billions. Theprimary scientific consideration is to avoid contaminating Mars with Earthorganisms. As one prominent biologist put it, 'NASA must either figure out away to autoclave astronauts, or explore Mars with robots.' Roboticexploration is at least ten times cheaper than doing it with people. Moreover, robotic exploration eliminates the rationale for building a $90Bspace station."SOME COMMENTS BY READERS ON ITEMS FROM LAST WEEKOn the claimed supernatural cause for the Oahu H-3 Freeway collapse, PhillipB. Olsen <TFEK17A@prodigy.com> writes:"The girders collapsed because a wooden bracing broke when a piece of heavyequipment accidentally dislodged it during an unsupervised weekend overtimejob. I doubt anyone will tell the media these facts. Ghosts make bettercopy, especially when a faculty curse accompanies the event."The faculty member in question has received no visible support, within orwithout the Hawaiian community, for her curses.On the quotation from Dorothy Nelkin's commentary on the "Science Wars" inthe July 26 _Chronicle of Higher Education_, Norman F. Stanley<nfs@midcoast.com> says: "Dorothy Nelkin's points are well taken. Scientists do not serve sciencewell by dismissing their critics impatiently as ignorant of what they arecriticizing. Admittedly the temptation to do so is great when the choice isbetween getting on with productive work vs. swatting gnats. Regrettably,much of the postmodern criticism of scientific methodology seems to be, toput it bluntly, shoddy scholarship. I think this needs to be dealt withpainstakingly and in detail. Perhaps more scientists should publish suchcritiques."NELKIN ON FRAUDMaybe Nelkin makes some good points. But in the same article she also says:"In a climate of intense competition for patents and research funds,incidents of fraud, falsification of scientific evidence, and misconduct haveproliferated." This is a good example of the "shoddy scholarship" to which Olsen refers. While there have been a few celebrated cases of charges of scientificmisconduct, notably the one involving Nobelist David Baltimore that wasrecently thrown out in court, proven examples are few and far between andhardly can be said to have "proliferated." Tens of thousands of papers are published every year with at most one or twobeing called back for being fraudulent. And, almost all of these are inmedical areas where publication standards are lower than in the basicsciences--for a good reason. Medical researchers feel intense pressure topublish uncertain results that may, if they are correct, save lives. For thebulk of science, however, nothing is gained and everything can be lost byfaking data. Since anything important is independently checked many timesover, you are bound to get caught if you cheat.As for Nelkin, how ironic that a science critic makes up data aboutscientists making up data. And how ironic that we are asked by socialcritics to take as absolute truth their theory that scientific truth isrelative, nothing more than the product of cultural prejudices. Maybe somecultural prejudices against science are also in operation.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 7 Aug. 23,1996
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii and widerinternational academic communities. This and earlier isses are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send a message tovjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. Please give your name and location. To removeyourself from the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don'teven have to say PLEASE.LATE BREAKING ITEM: LAMB WINS IN COURTA jury in Hawaii has just ruled completely in favor of Professor Ramdas Lambof the department of Religion, University of Hawaii at Manoa, in a lawsuitbrought against him by a female student who accused him of sexual harassmentand rape. They awarded him $130,000 and found her guilty of defamation ofcharacter in her charges. She can pay, since UHM had previously given her$150,000 to settle the suit she had brought against it. Lamb believes he wasthe victim of a vendetta by radical feminists who objected to his includinganti-feminist, as well as feminist, readings in a course on religion andsociety. He still has a suit against UHM pending.UH FACULTY STANDS ON PRINCIPLEThe faculty of the University of Hawaii was one of the first in the US tobe unionized. Its union, the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly hasone of the richest Political Action Committees in a corrupt one-party statethat is run by money and politics. No state university in the country isinterfered with more by local politicians, so a strong union with a rich PACis deemed essential for survival.UHPA's PAC makes regular endorsements in local elections. These are doneafter detailed interviews with the candidates. Those faculty members who"voluntarily" contribute to the PAC (an automatic payroll deduction is madeunless you take specific action to stop it) get to vote on the PACselections. Usually they go along, but this time they balked in the case ofone candidate: State Sen. Milton Holt, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanorcharge of spousal abuse in 1991. Holt is also an employee of the Bishop Estate, the richest landowner inHawaii, so this may also have had something to do with his unpopularity. Asupposedly non-profit trust for the Kamehameha schools, the Estate's mainfunction seems to be to make millions for its trustees, who include a formerState Supreme Court Chief Justice and Senate president. In fact, the HawaiiSupreme Court, in blatant disregard for the US Constitution, selects thetrustees, who are required to be Protestants. Having an on-paper endowment greater than Harvard, Kamehameha schools doeslittle to raise the educational and living standards of most Hawaiians. Needless to say, Holt watches out for the Estate's interests in the Senate,which many regard as a conflict of interest.The UHPA PAC endorsement was made because Holt consistently voted "for theuniversity and faculty" on bills involving their interests. This seems to bethe main PAC requirement, and with contract negotiations at impasse for overa year now, they apparently feel the faculty needs all the friends it canget. Probably, but sometimes standing up for principle gives you a warmerfeeling than the few extra bucks you carry in your wallet after a pay raise.CALTECH BEST BUYMoney Magazine reports that CalTech is the best overall value in US collegesand universities today. Although tuition and fees come to $18,000 a year,CalTech spends nine times the national average, or $46,613 per student. Thisis because of its $693M endowment (far less than Kamehameha Schools) and$150M per year in extramural research funds. The student-to-faculty ratio isthree-to-one. It all pays off. The average starting salary of a CalTechB.S. graduate is $38,000, with seven receiving over $48,000 this year.But before rushing in your kids' applications, start helping with that mathhomework. Thirty-nine percent of incoming CalTech freshman scored a perfect800 on the math SAT.MARS SKEPTIC CHASTISED BY MOTHER FOR HAVING CLOSED MINDOne of the experts asked by NASA to review the recent results on life on Marsis J. William Schopf of UCLA, the discoverer of the oldest evidence for lifeon Earth. He called the Mars evidence "interesting, exciting, butinconclusive." During a program break when he appeared on CNN, a woman in theaudience asked: "Why can't we be more positive about this new find? This isgood news, great news! Those skeptics ought to leave us alone." Later,Schopf's mother, after chastising him for not calling sooner, said: "There maywell be life on Mars. Son, keep an open mind."This reminds me of the plea in the Psychic Hot Line commercials: "All youneed is an open mind." That's so the callers have their brains fallout before dialing. Those who believe in any questionable claim without adequate evidence are theones with the closed minds. They seem unable to accept a mundaneexplanation, so deep is their need to believe that there is "something outthere."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 8 Aug. 26,1996
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii and widerinternational academic communities. This and earlier isses are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send a message tovjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. Please give your name and location. To removeyourself from the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don'teven have to say PLEASE.FACULTY REPS ASK FOR ACTIONThe UHPA Faculty Representative Forum met on Saturday and asked the Board ofDirectors to recommend action strategies in the current contractnegotiations impasse. A straw vote indicated that the representatives, atleast, were ready to consider a work stoppage--if it were to be coordinatedwith HSTA. While a UH strike would hardly be noticed, such would not bethe case if 300,000 kids are on the streets when the State Baby SittingAgency shuts down.REGENTS THE PROBLEM, ACCORDING TO HAYASAKAOutgoing UHPA president, Sinikka Hayasaka said that the Governor does notseem to think that UHPA's proposals, which do not include a pay raise fortwo years but which make substantial improvements in contract protections,are all that unreasonable. However, the Regents' and Governor'srepresentatives on the negotiating team can't seem to agree, and Cayetanohas so far been unwilling to do what his predecessors have always done inthis situation, namely say: "OK boys and girls, make an agreement." Cayetano apparently sees no reason to open himself up to criticism by theRegents for "interfering with the University." The Regent bargaining teamhas been changed, so hopefully we will see some movement.Sinikka referred to her negotiations with "Ben and Ken." She says theydon't talk to each other, so she carries messages back and forth in a kindof shuttle diplomacy. She calls the Governor "Ben," but always says"President Mortimer" when talking with the president. "Even Mrs. Mortimercalls him President Mortimer," Sinikka said.WHY THE FACULTY HAS NO PULLUHPA Associate Director John Radcliffe says that "the first thing apolitician thinks is: Can these people hurt me?" He gave the followingfigures to illustrate why politicians have good reason to feel that UHPAmembers can't hurt them:"98% of the HSTA membership is registered to vote. 95% tend to vote in everyelection and 85% will vote 'the union line.' Their budget was not cut.93% of the HGEA membership is registered, 80% vote in all or almost allelections and 70% vote 'the union line.' They were cut a little.58% of the UHPA membership is registered to vote. 65% of that number willvote in all or nearly all elections and the only ones who vote the unionline were going in that direction in spite of the union leadershiprecommendation. Their budget has been cut by approximately one third."MORE ON LAMB CASETalk about voting the "union line" doesn't win Radcliffe many friends on thefaculty, but Friday's victory in court in the Ramdas Lamb sexual harassmentcase should demonstrate to all of us why we need street fighters likeRadcliffe on our side. Lamb gave a brief speech at Saturday's Forum,thanking UHPA for its support. His words were greeted with only politeapplause. David Miller of Hilo pointed out that it could have been any oneof us up there, but apparently many faculty are still willing to buy theidea that "a women never lies on charges of rape" regardless of the evidence.UHPA's attorney, Tony Gill, who defended Lamb, remarked to me that you onlyhear that argument in the academy. The public has too much common sense tofall for such strange reasoning. As he told the Forum, eight jurorsrepresenting a cross section of the community, four men and four women,heard all the evidence for two weeks and had no trouble reaching theunanimous conclusion that Michelle Gretzinger had lied, defamed lamb, andabused the justice system.Lamb won $132,000. He still has a suit against the University and couldwind up with one or two million. Gretzinger claims that the $175,000previously given to her by UH (erroneously reported as $150,000 in the lastissue) is all gone in legal expenses. However, UHPA still expects to getits costs back. It recently received $300,000 from UH, by court order, tocover its expenses in the earlier Lamb arbitration procedure. When all issaid and done, Gretzinger and her supporters will have cost the taxpayers ofHawaii enough money to pay, according to Radcliffe's guess, $500 to eachfaculty member.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 9 Sep. 3,1996
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii and widerinternational academic communities. This and earlier isses are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send a message tovjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. Please give your name and location. To removeyourself from the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don'teven have to say PLEASE.NATURE CAN BE BAD FOR YOUEphedrine, a naturally occurring drug that Chinese practitioners have usedfor centuries to treat colds, has been blamed for causing illness in morethan 800 people. The FDA reports there have been at least 17 deathsresulting from the herbal concoctions sold in natural food outlets,convenience stores and exercise parlors as "health food" preparations thatsupposedly will reduce weight, build muscle and stamina, or, in a few cases,produce an "herbal high" that makers say will rival illegal drugs.Preparations loaded with ephedrine have been peddled as "dietarysupplements" that can be sold without the rigid control that the FDA hasover pharmaceuticals. "What we are concerned about is the safety of theseproducts," said FDA chief David Kessler. Right now, he said, people seelabels that claim products are "all natural" or "herbal" and believe theyare safe. That is a risky assumption, said Kessler.RUSSIA PLAGUED BY CHARLATANSA plague of astrologers, UFOlogists, soothsayers, parapsychologists, bogusdoctors and other charlatans is threatening Russia, according to an articlein the July/August _ Skeptical Inquirer_. Boris Shmakin, a science teacherat the Vinogradov Institute of Geochemistry in Irkutsk, reports that theRussian Parliament hired a "soothsayer" to tell them who in the Governmentis "constantly erring." One of the main tasks of a senior official in thePresidential Security Service is to study astrology and prepare horoscopesof the leaders of the country. Shmakin tells of regular TV programs inwhich"specialists" in astrology are respectfully interviewed whilelegitimate scientists are denigrated as "oppressors" and "fighters againstnew ideas."Oh, by the way. Hillary's guru, Jean Houston, was in Hawaii last week for aworkshop. Admission was only $125 a head (empty, of course).THE REMEDIAL SWAMPSome figures from an article by Brunno V. Manno, "The Swamp of CollegeRemedial Education," in the Summer 1996
issue of _Academic Questions_:75% of US colleges (91% of public, 58% of private) offer remedial courses inreading, writing, and mathematics. 30% of entering students (55% atminority colleges) enroll in at least one course. Does it work? Is it worth the huge expense? The evidence says not. Only10% of remedial minority students earn a two-year associate degree incommunity colleges, much less graduate from a four-year institution. College is simply too late to be learning reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic.In most cases, remedial students are allowed into regular courses,contributing to the dumbing down that the whole college system hasexperienced over the last decade or two and the easing up of graduationrequirements. In 1992, 26% of bachelor degree recipients had not earned ahistory credit, 31% no math credit. A 1993 survey showed that 56% ofAmerican-born four-year college graduates cannot consistently perform simplequantitative tasks, such as calculating the change from $3.00 after spending60 cents on a bowl of soup and $1.95 for a sandwich.No wonder college graduates have trouble finding jobs. As happened with thehigh school diploma, employers now cannot rely on the bachelors degree tocertify that at applicant will be able to function on the job. High selfesteem is not sufficient.WHAT IS POSTMODERNISM?Some readers have asked what this deconstructionism, postmodernism,relativism, or poststructualism is all about. To get an idea, here's whatone of its inventors, Michel Foucault, says about the reality of the sun:"Each time that there is a metaphor, there is doubtless a sun somewhere; buteach time that there is a sun, metaphor has begun. If the sun ismetaphorical always, already, it is no longer completely natural. It isalways, already a luster, a chandelier, one might say an _artificial_construction, if one could still give credence to this signification whennature has disappeared. For if the sun is no longer completely natural,what in nature does remains natural?" (From "Nietzche, Freud, Marx") Does that help?

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 10 Sep.9,1996
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii and widerinternational academic communities. This and earlier isses are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send a message tovjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. Please give your name and location. To removeyourself from the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don'teven have to say PLEASE.HOW TO BE A PHYSICIAN OF THE SOUL (IN ONE EASY LESSON)As we have noted in previous issues, Congress and insurance companies arebeing increasingly receptive to demands for insurance coverage oftraditional and alternative medicine. Alternative providers are notrequired to produce scientific evidence for the safety and efficacy oftheir methods, arguing that such tests are simply part of the conspiracyof Western science to continue its oppressive dominance of society. As aresult, alternative medicine is largely uncontrolled.Still, practitioners need a professional degree to inspire their patients'confidence and fill in the space provided on the insurance form. As aresult, non-accredited diploma mills that provide an appropriate sheepskinto hang in the office are sprouting up in great numbers. Here are some ofthe bogus degrees now available: D. Hyp (hypnotism), Graph.D.(Graphoanalysis), H. M. D. (homeopathy), Ac. Phys., L.Ac., C. Ac., R.Ac.(acupuncture), D.O.M. (oriental medicine), N.M.D., N.D. (naturopathy),C.C.N., C.N., N.M.D. (nutrition), C.C.T., R.C.T. (colon therapy), C.M.T.(massage therapy), M.L.D. (manual lymph drainage), H.H.D., Hst.D. (holistichealth), D.N. (naturology, also nutripathy), M.H. (herbology), (M.T.P.(transpersonal psychology), Msc.D. (metaphysical science).Typical is a program at the National Academy of Wisdom in New York City. By viewing a video tape course and spending one day at an "intensiveretreat" learning about spiritual approaches to healing, you can earncertification as a "Physician of the Soul." Your certified expertise willinclude: creative visualization, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, Kabbalistichealing, quantum healing, rebirthing, reiki, shamanic healing, shiatsu, andtherapeutic touch.(From an article by Jack Rasso in the July/August 1996
_SkepticalInquirer_).NEW VOTERS SIGNED UPJohn Radcliffe of UHPA writes: "Your readers will be happy and proud toknow that after finding that only 58% of the faculty was registered tovote, UHPA did an all unit mailing to all 3168 members and 219 new votersbecame registered to participate in democracy. We are now at 63.5% oftotal capacity (which our large non-citizen component would keep us fromever realizing). Still, 219 new voters is 219 new voters."UH MOVES FROM BEEF TO PORKWhen John Burns was governor of Hawaii and Tom Hamilton was UH president,the university grew rapidly from a cow college to a major internationalresearch organization. As measured in terms of federal dollars forresearch, UH rose to the top 50 nationwide.When George Ariyoshi took over as governor and Fudge Matsuda becamepresident, the emphasis changed to providing access to higher educationthroughout the islands and the community colleges were built. Much of thisdevelopment occurred out of the hide of the Manoa College of Arts andSciences and research suffered. The result was a slippage for UHM inresearch standing to the vicinity of the top 75. President Simon calledfor a return to the top 50, but UHM stayed in place during his era.Now, with Governor Cayetano and President Mortimer slashing budgets andseverely damaging the fragile infrastructure on which UHM's researchposition was precariously balanced, cow college seems once again around thecorner. The latest figures from the National Science Foundation barelyplaces UHM in the top 100 (96th). Famous institutions that now get morefederal dollars for research than UHM include the University of Dayton,Utah State, and Thomas Jefferson University.Actually, "pork college" is more accurate designation for UHM. Hawaii isfifth in the nation in pork barrel research funds (so-called "earmarked"projects), thanks to our master Senator of Pork, Dan Inouye. Some morecynical faculty and union leaders will take this as the good news. Butperhaps the better news is the fact that even being fifth in pork isinsufficient to make a significant contribution to total research income.This implies that very little research funding in the US is obtained byslopping around at the trough. Merit may have something to do with it.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 11 Sep.19,1996
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii and widerinternational academic communities. This and earlier isses are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.htmlTo add yourself to the distribution list, simply send a message tovjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu. Please give your name and location. To removeyourself from the list, reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don'teven have to say PLEASE.Please feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full, as long as it isnot being done for profit.Here are some items from the UHM Faculty Senate meeting of Sept. 18:MORTIMER PUNTS FOOTBALLThe cameras were set up to record what President Mortimer had to say aboutthe athletic program, so he covered this first. When he finished, they packed up and left. The media are uninterested in academic matters, ofcourse.Mortimer declared his intention to stick to the plan of gradually phasingout direct UH funding of the athletic program, which is scheduled to reachzero in 1998
. He said that the Governor was not interfering and if he canhelp in reducing the cost of renting the stadium or using his influence toarrange charter flights with Aloha or Hawaiian, then that's fine. ThePresident promised not to restore the athletic funds cut this year.HAAK POURS COOLING WATER ON LIBRARY FLAREUPManoa scientists were stunned a few days ago to discover that HamiltonLibrary would not be renewing some 44 of the most important journals on itsshelves. Library chief John Haak responded to a query by your editor fromthe floor that this was a temporary expedient resulting from a $200K budgetshortfall. The decision was made to delay re-ordering the most expensivejournals, with the expectation that they would be back-ordered when new fundsbecame available. This turned out to be science journals; 300 humanitiesjournals would have had to be delayed to achieve the same figure. Journalprices have increased an average of 18% this year.As Mortimer explained earlier, now that the UH gets tuition money, theadministration cannot complete the budget as early as it used to, but mustwait until it knows what the tuition income will be. As it has turned out,lower enrollments have resulted in $4M less than expected. Although anadditional income of $10M has been obtained from the increase, it remainsuncertain whether the library will get sufficient funds to re-order all thejournals. An inquirer reader who claims to have a "deep-throat" connectionreports that the intention is in fact to cancel these expensive journals.The governor has not yet called Haak into his office to see how he mighthelp with library problems.MEDICAL SCHOOL RE-ORGANIZATION PROCEEDING MALEVOLENTLYBudget cuts and other considerations have led to a process forreorganizing the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). The processis proceeding far from smoothly, with much bitter infighting, according toseveral medical school faculty.Some 30 faculty have opted to move from basic science to clinicaldepartments. One basic science department has stopped admitting students toits graduate program. JABSOM now has its own, active faculty senate and maynot appreciate interference from the UHM Senate. However, it seems an issueof interest to all Manoa faculty if instruction in the fundamentaldisciplines is to be sacrificed at the altar of professional training.COULD YOU SPEND ANOTHER $42 MILLION?Last issue we reported that, over the last twenty years or so, UHM hasslipped from 50th to 96th among universities receiving federal researchfunds. In 1994, the last year reported, Utah was in the 50th spot, with$81M awarded. UHM received $39M. Thus, if the State of Hawaii had made acontinued investment sufficient to maintain the original position, UHM wouldhave taken in $42M more. This would pay for a lot of journalsubscriptions. Seems like the academic equivalent of a 66-0 loss.IN OTHER NEWS . . . MINNESOTA REGENTS TO ABOLISH TENUREFrom an email message distributed by Elizabeth Belfiore of the University ofMinnesota <esb@maroon.tc.umn.edu>:On Sept. 5, the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota rejected acompromise proposed by the Faculty Senate on revisions of the tenure codeand unilaterally proposed a revision that would effectively eliminatetenure. They will vote on this proposal, which has been vigorously opposedby the faculty, on Oct. 10. Some key provisions of the Regents' proposalallow for:(1) Firing faculty in case of program change. (2) Reductions in base pay.(3) Rigorous post tenure reviews for all faculty. (4) Discipline, including dismissal, of faculty for such offenses asfailure to "maintain a proper attitude of industry and cooperation withothers." within and without the University community."(5) Elimination of current grievance rights.NEW ACADEMIC FIELD: "UNSCIENTIFIC† PSYCHOLOGY"Taner Edis, moderator of the Skeptic list, writes:"From the postmodern vantage point, the current crisis in psychology andthe related fields of psychotherapy and education is rooted in misguidedefforts to emulate the natural sciences: Human-social phenomena simplycannot be understood with the tools and conceptions that are used to studynature."He illustrates this with the following conference announcement:Unscientific Psychology: Conversations With Other Voices. A two dayconference on progress and possibilities in creating a cultural, relationaland performatory approach to understanding human life." June 14-15, 1997
,Edith Macy Conference Center Briarcliff Manor, New York.From the announcement:"Creating a new epistology -- an unscientific psychology -- is theactivity of making new meaning. It is an emergent conversationcreated by and out of diverse voices who speak more poetically,culturally and historically than analytically and taxonomically. Itis a conversation about persons (not minds), about relationships andrelationality (not environmental influences on self-containedindividuals), about human activity (not behavior), about narrativesand stories (not Truth), about creating new forms of life (notadapting to forms of alienation). What is emerging is an approach tounderstanding human life as emergent, activisitic, relational andperformatory."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 12 Oct. 10,1996
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.NEEDED: OCTOBER HOLIDAYIt's nice that we celebrate Martin Luther King Day, but we really needa holiday in October. This long stretch from Labor Day to Election Dayis excruciating. How about affirming Church-State separation, droppingGood Friday and restoring Discovers' Day? PORK IN THE NEW BUDGETBob Park of the American Physical Society reports in his weeklynewsletter What's New that tons of pork were slipped into the 3000-pagefederal budget bill signed recently by President Clinton. Included wasanother $15M for an Alaska supercomputer "used to extract money fromthe aurora borealis." By Park's count, Senator Stevens (R-AK)hasearmarked over $115M for the University of Alaska since 1990(WN 29 Jul94). Senator Harkin (D-IA), whose legislation created the NIH Officeof Alternative Medicine, earmarked $1M for chiropractic schools. Nomention was made of Hawaii's share this year. Falling down on the job,Senator Dan? UH SCIENTISTS SKEPTICAL OF MARS LIFEA colloquium on Martians was held at the University of Hawaii on Sept.26. A panel of experts from planetary geosciences, astronomy,microbiology, and marine biology were mostly pretty skeptical. Thedata appear very flimsy, with ordinary explanations easily found toreplace the extraordinary one of life on Mars.Except for one possibility: that biological molecules exist widelythroughout the universe. The Mars meteorite was unexceptional amongmeteorites. Many teem with organic molecules. An astronomerremarked that the reason we think carbon is so special is that theinner solar system is a region that is abnormally depleted in carbon.Now organic molecules are not necessarily biological. How can we tellthe difference? One possible smoking gun test might be found in thehandedness that characterizes biological matter. Atomic processesprobably cannot explain the excess of left-handedness over right inbiological molecules. This handedness probably resulted by a flip of acoin when life first formed, and then became frozen in. So, if theorganic molecules in the Martian or any other meteorites show an excesshandedness, it seems that this is a sure sign of earth-like life frombeyond earth.HMO'S OFFERING ALTERNATIVE OPTIONSWe have previously reported how alternative medicine is taking a strongfoothold in the US. Now HMO's are beginning to provide these options,usually for an added fee. They claim that they are reacting to theircustomers' wishes, but they are making money too. In an Associated Press item, William Jarvis, president of the NationalCouncil Against Health Fraud is quoted as saying that one HMO franklyadmitted they were referring AIDS patients to a quack clinic where theywere giving them dietary supplements. He added: "They said it'scheaper than AZT and the patient won't be around as long to collect." THIS YEAR'S IG NOBEL PRIZESFrom the October Mini-Annals of Improbable Research ("mini-AIR",http://www.improb.com/):The 1996
Ig Nobel Prizes were presented in the sixth annual ceremony atHarvard University on Thursday evening, October 3, 1996
. The Prizeshonor people whose achievements "cannot or should not be reproduced."This year's ceremony was embroiled in controversy -- Sir Robert May,the science advisor to the British government, had asked the organizers to stop giving Ig Nobel Prizes to scientists, even when thescientists want to receive them. Nevertheless, this year's Ig Nobelroster included yet another prizewinner from England.Here are the 1996
Ig Nobel Prize winners:BIOLOGY Anders Baerheim and Hogne Sandvik of the University of Bergen, Norway, for their tasty and tasteful report, "Effect of Ale,Garlic, and Soured Cream on the Appetite of Leeches." [The report waspublished in "British Medical Journal," vol. 309, Dec 24-31, 1994, p.1689.] Drs. Baerheim and Sandvik sent a videotaped acceptance speech,and watched the ceremony live on the Internet.MEDICINE James Johnston of R.J. Reynolds, Joseph Taddeo of U.S. Tobacco, Andrew Tisch of Lorillard, William Campbell of Philip Morris, and the late Thomas E. Sandefur, Jr., chairman of Brown andWilliamson Tobacco Co. for their unshakable discovery, as testifiedbefore the US Congress, that nicotine is not addictive.PHYSICS Robert Matthews of Aston University, England, for his studiesof Murphy's Law, and especially for demonstrating that toast alwaysfalls on the buttered side. [The report, "Tumbling toast, Murphy's Lawand the fundamental constants" was published in "European Journal ofPhysics," vol.16, no.4, July 18, 1995, p. 172-6.] Professor Matthewssent an audiotaped acceptance speech.PEACE Jacques Chirac, President of France, for commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Hiroshima with atomic bomb tests in the Pacific.PUBLIC HEALTH Ellen Kleist of Nuuk, Greenland and Harald Moi of Oslo,Norway, for their cautionary medical report "Transmission of GonorrheaThrough an Inflatable Doll." [The report was published in"Genitourinary Medicine," vol. 69, no. 4, Aug. 1993, p. 322.] Dr. Moitraveled from Oslo to Cambridge -- at his own expense -- to accept thePrize. During the trip, Dr. Moi also delivered a lecture at HarvardMedical School about his achievement.CHEMISTRY George Goble of Purdue University, for his blistering, world record time for igniting a barbeque grill -- three seconds, using charcoal and liquid oxygen. Professor Goble's colleague Joe Cychosz traveled to Cambridge to accept the Prize.BIODIVERSITY Chonosuke Okamura of the Okamura Fossil Laboratory inNagoya, Japan, for discovering the fossils of dinosaurs, horses,dragons, princesses, and more than 1000 other extinct "mini-species,"each of which is less than 1/100 of an inch in length. [For detailssee the series "Reports of the Okamura Fossil Laboratory," publishedby the Okamura Fossil Laboratory in Nagoya, Japan during the 1970s and1980s.]LITERATURE The editors of the journal "Social Text," for eagerly publishing research that they could not understand, that the authorsaid was meaningless, and which claimed that reality does not exist.[The paper was "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity," Alan Sokal, "Social Text," Spring/Summer 1996
, pp. 217-252.]ECONOMICS Dr. Robert J. Genco of the University of Buffalo for hisdiscovery that "financial strain is a risk indicator for destructiveperiodontal disease."ART Don Featherstone of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, for his ornamentally evolutionary invention, the plastic pink flamingo. Mr.Featherstone traveled to Cambridge to accept the Prize.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 13 Oct. 23,1996
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.HAPPY BIRTHDAY UNIVERSEIt was on October 23, 4004 BC that the universe was created, accordingto seventeenth century bishop James Ussher. Ussher's estimate wasbased on detailed study of the Old Testament, adding up the life spansof the Patriarchs and the ages at which they "begat" their successors.So today is being celebrated as the 6000th birthday of the universe.Actually, since there was no year zero, it is only the 5999th birthday.BIG BANG GLUED BACK TOGETHERA public school superintendent in rural Kentucky was shocked in seeingthe Big Bang theory discussed in his schools' textbooks. So he tookscience into his own hands and ordered the offending pages gluedtogether.According to polls, 20% of Americans believe the earth is less than10,000 years old. A recent study by the People for the American Wayshowed that Republicans in a quarter of the 22 states they examined hadcreationist planks in their state platforms.A SPLINTERED VISIONThe results of the Third International Math and Science Study werereleased last week. The study found US standards unfocused and aimedat the lowest common denominator. "A Splintered Vision: AnInvestigation of U.S. Science and Math Education" concludes that thepoor performance of American students is to be expected, in light ofour fragmented curriculum. Moreover, U.S. textbooks, which cover farmore topics than is typical in other countries, emphasize the lessdemanding. They are, according to the report, "a mile wide and an inchdeep." (From "What's New" of the American Physical Society).CLINTON LOOKING INTO RELIGIOUS OPPRESSIONThe Clinton administration is forming a 20-member advisory committee ofprominent religious leaders and scholars to advise on problems ofreligious oppression and intolerance. No non-believers are included. UHPA ON THE MOVEUHPA leaders are taking a series of action to raise public awareness onthe condition of the University of Hawaii and the stalled facultycontract negotiations. Media advertising and a series of teach-ins anddemonstrations are planned starting next week.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 14 Oct. 30,1996
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.WHITHER THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII?UHPA is organizing a demonstration tomorrow (Halloween) at noon on theBachman lawn. This should not conflict with an important colloquium on"The Unconscious Quantum: Mysticism in Modern Physics" at 3:30 in WAT112. The purpose of the demonstration and teach-ins that are currently inprogress is to stir up the troops to fight off further assaults on theUniversity. If these assaults continue, much of what has beenpainfully constructed over the last forty years and longer will bedestroyed.No doubt the future of UH is in question. The drastic budget cutsof the last few years have not nearly been balanced by extraincome from tuition increases and some welcome, but insufficient,increases in private funding. Decreased enrollment is being blamed onthe tuition hikes, but one wonders how much of the decline can beattributed to students opting elsewhere. Certainly the bad publicity,especially with regard to the library, is bound to scare people away.Even before the recent troubles, UH Manoa was slipping dramatically asa research institution. Once in the top fifty nationally in terms offederal funding, Manoa barely made the first hundred in 1994 and is nowprobably out of that select sample. The community has to ask itselfwhether it wants a major university in Hawaii, or simply a place tokeep young people occupied.The decline of UH is not unique. Many campuses across the nation havesimilar problems, although the top universities probably have theresources to survive. As the elite universities garner even more ofthe available resources, we can expect to see a sharper divisionbetween them and the rest. UH seems headed into the second group, andwe wonder if this is what the politicians have in mind.We can use America's public high schools as an example from which toattempt a prediction of the future of public universities. Withminimal skills, most public high school graduates have few jobopportunities. So they go to college to get the needed skills. However, as the colleges decline in standards, and the vast assemblageof unprepared students avoid the tough academic disciplines thatprovide the skills needed in our high-tech society, college degreeswill become as useless as high school diplomas. The taxpayers willcontinue to support these public institutions, however, because they keepthe kids off the streets. Colleges are still cheaper than prisons.HOW ABOUT POLYNESIAN DISCOVERERS' DAY?We have suggested that the State do away with the clearly sectarianGood Friday holiday and restore a much needed October day off. Onepossibility that comes to mind is to celebrate "Polynesian Discovers'Day." This would recognize what must be greatest achievement ofPolynesian society.POPE SAYS EVOLUTION OKIt took the Catholic Church 400 years to rehabilitate Galileo, but onlya little over a century to do the same for Darwin. Pope John Paul IIrecently told the Pontifical Academy of Sciences that "fresh knowledgeleads to recognition of the theory of evolution as more than just ahypothesis." Il Giornale greeted the announcement with the headline"The Pope Says We May Descend From Monkeys." Actually, evolution hasbeen taught in Catholic schools and colleges for many years. The newpapal pronouncement seems designed to counter the common fundamentalistargument that "evolution is just a theory." It also underscores theCatholic position that the Church, not the Bible, is the finalauthority.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 15 Nov. 19,1996
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.HAWAII PHYSICS 24TH IN CITATIONSAccording to a study by Tulane physicists J. P. Perdew and F. J.Tipler, University of Hawaii physicists are 24th in the nation interms of citations per paper. Perdew and Tipler were attempting toshow that a recent National Research Council ranking by reputationstrongly favored large departments. Tulane, with 12 faculty memberswas ranked 115.5 by the NRC but was third in citations per paper, justbehind Princeton and Harvard. Hawaii, with 19 faculty members, was ranked 82 by reputation but ahead of such stellar institutions such asTexas (Austin), UC San Diego, Rochester, Columbia, Brown, Maryland,UCLA, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan, ad Johns Hopkins, among others,in citations per paper. These figures are from an extended version ofthe table presented on _Physics Today_, October, 1996
.BUT WE STILL DON'T HAVE A CONTRACTThe UHPA Board of Directors continues to agonize over when, and if, togo to the faculty for a strike authorization vote. The faculty isclearly divided on the issue. But it seems highly unlikely that amajority will walk for a 4% pay raise. The non-cost items, especiallyintellectual property rights, are probably more important to mostfaculty, but the Administration has not yet acted to take away theserights--simply refused to bargain them with UHPA. Let them take awayintellectual property rights, or some others such as tenure, and thenthis faculty might get stirred up.UHPA has little it can do to get the State back to the bargainingtable other than threaten a strike. But it's not likely that theGovernor and his cohorts will lose any sleep over the prospect.Did you notice that in this morning's Advertiser Cayetano is reportedas saying that LOWER education remains his first priority?GOT CANCER? STAY AWAY FROM LOURDES"The spontaneous remission rate of all cancers, lumped together, isestimated to be something between one in ten thousand and one in ahundred thousand. If no more than 5 percent of those who come toLourdes were there to treat their cancers, there should have beensomething between 50 and 500 'miraculous' cures of cancer alone. Since only three of the attested 65 cures [accepted by the R C Churchas miraculous cures] are of cancer, the rate of spontaneous remissiona Lourdes seems to be lower than if the victims had just stayed athome." From Carl Sagan, _The Demon-Haunted World_ p. 232.STUDENTS STUDYING LESS, SAYS STUDYHenry H. Bauer, Professor of Chemistry & Science Studies at theVirginia Polytechnic Institute & State University <hhbauer@vt.edu>, hasdata that indicates a dramatic shift in the way students study. Thetable below shows the test scores of his freshman chemistry classesat Virginia Tech from 1986 to 1993.
_____________________________________________________________________
Fall Term 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993_____________________________________________________________________
Higher Scoreon Final 75% 60% 65% 60% 45% 30% 35% 30%_____________________________________________________________________
Average Grade 2.3 2.3 1.6 1.7 1.6 1.7 1.6 1.4_____________________________________________________________________
At Least C 80% 80% 50% 50% 50% 40% 45% 40%_____________________________________________________________________

Bauer concludes that students are becoming less and less willing, orable, to learn from their mistakes during the semester. Most studentsnow perform worse on the final than in earlier quizzes on the samematerial. From "The New Generations: Students Who Don't Study."AUSTRALIA URGED TO REGULATE CHINESE MEDICINEAn investigation into Chinese herbal medicine in Australia reports evidence of eight deaths in three states linked with abuse of Chinesemedical treatments in the past eight years. The authors estimatedthere was one patient injury per 230 consultations of traditionalChinese medicine, which includes acupuncture and herbal prescriptions.The report recommends that statutory occupation regulations beintroduced that restrict the titles of acupuncturist and Chinesemedical practitioner to those who are registered and have betweenthree to five years' training. It also recommends improved labelingof medicines and tighter controls of imports. Herbal medicines canoccasionally lead to liver toxicity and skin reactions, whileacupuncture can sometimes cause trauma and infections. But Chinesemedicine's popularity is increasing. This year it is estimated therewill be 2.8 million consultations nationally, amounting to an $84million turnover. The amount of Chinese medicines imported hasincreased four fold since 1992. From an article by Steve Dow in_Melbourne Age, Nov. 19, 1996
.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 16 Dec. 5,1996
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.NEGOTIATIONS RESUMEContract negotiations between UHPA and the State resumed last night,and will continue on Friday night. No progress has yet been reportedand UHPA is straw-polling the faculty prior to a BOD meeting onSaturday that may decide on date for a strike authorization vote. Watch http://www.uhpa.org/ for the latest news.At the Manoa Senate meeting yesterday, J. N. Musto clarified UHPA'ssalary proposal. The union has offered to settle immediately for aretroactive salary increase for '95-96 that is the average of theyet-to-be-determined awards for those bargaining units that havebinding arbitration. If the State wishes a 4-year contract, UHPA willagree at 4% per year, or one salary step, for '97 and '98.Musto also had some interesting things to say about the Hawaii economy.Our main "industries" are, in order: tourism, government, military,agriculture, and university research. The last two are very close, andwith more effort research could easily exceed agriculture in economicimportance. As reported previously in this newsletter, federal researchmoney would now be $50 million per year greater if Manoa had maintainedthe relative position it once had as a research institution.Also, the State of Hawaii is not the bloated bureaucracy it is oftenportrayed, with per capita State employees about at the nationalaverage. UH LIBRARY DECLINE DOCUMENTEDFrom the "Library Fact Sheet" compiled with the knowledge of theLibrary Senate Executive Board:In 1994/95 the library purchased over 36,000 books; in 1995/96 only11,000 books were purchased. Effective January 1996
, 1,100 journalsubscriptions were canceled. Effective January 1997
, a further 200+journal subscriptions must be canceled.MATHEMATICS GOING RELATIVEThe following is from a recent editorial in PHILOSOPHY OF MATHEMATICSEDUCATION NEWSLETTER 9, "Teaching and the nature of mathematics" byDennis Almeida and Paul Ernest of the University of Exeter, UK. Thefull text can be found at http://www.ex.ac.uk/~pernest/.". . . [There is] a new wave of 'fallibilist' philosophies ofmathematics . . . gaining ground [that] propose a conception ofmathematics as human, corrigible, historical, value-laden and changing.The suggestion that mathematics itself is not neutral but laden withthe values of the people and culture in which it was created is notonly controversial, but of far-reaching and fundamental significancefor the teaching of mathematics. In the area of gender and mathematics,for example, it is regarded as possibly the key issue (Walkerdine,1988). The adoption of a value free, neutral, absolutist stance towardsmathematics is to embrace the "separated" values associated withstereotypical masculinity, whereas accepting a fallibilist view is morecongenial with a gender- and culture-fair approach to mathematicsteaching.A cultural view of mathematics suggests opening up the classroom to theoutside world. The consequent multicultural approach incorporatesmathematics from European and non-European sources such as fingercounting techniques in Roman times, an investigation of number wordsused by Lincolnshire shepherds, board games from Ghana and Nigeria,probability activities from Brazil, Rangoli patterns, mathematics fromthe ancient Indian Vedas, geometry in Islamic art."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 17 Jan. 2,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.UH FACULTY POISED TO STRIKEThe UH faculty has given its union authorization to call a strike. WhileUHPA claims money is not the issue, that is clearly the way it isperceived in the community . UHPA has asked for 4% per year, retroactiveto the point 18 months ago that a new contract would have gone intoeffect. Some are suggesting that the union offer to forego thatretroactive increase to demonstrate to the public that the faculty iswilling to make sacrifices. If that offer is not accepted and a strikehappens, then at least the faculty will have seized the high ground andpeople will have little sympathy for the State’s position.From today’s UHPA Web Page: “While no new talks have been scheduled, wehave received correspondence from the Governor's Chief Negotiatorindicating some signs of progress. Meanwhile, for those who have beencalling with questions regarding ERS, the Health Fund and so on, please beassured that we have carefully researched our legal and practicalsituation and have those issues in hand.” COURT RECOGNIZES JUNK SCIENCE WHEN IT SEES ITA federal judge in Oregon ruled last month that lawyers can't presentevidence that silicone breast implants cause disease because theirevidence is "junk science." Judge Robert E. Jones said "The Supreme Courtcharged district courts with the duty to act as `gatekeepers' to ensurethat any and all scientific testimony or evidence admitted is not onlyrelevant but reliable." Among the junk scientists singled out by thejudge was Eric Gershwin of UC Davis. Last year, Gershwin was awarded a$1M grant by the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine.HOMEOPATHETIC PATENTIn other alternative medicine news, Biomed Comm Inc., Seattle has becomethe first company to patent homeopathic growth factors for use againstAIDS. While the Patent Office still disallows perpetual motion machines,it does not seem to place the atomic theory of matter on the same footingas the second law of thermodynamics. Homeopathic nostrums are so dilutedthat they cannot have a single atom of the original ingredient that issupposed to provide the benefit. NOT-SO-INTELLIGENT DESIGNHaving little success insinuating their particular belief system intopublic school curricula by the back door of Creation “Science,”fundamentalists have hit upon a new euphemism “intelligent design.”Authors such as Michael Behe in "Darwin's Black Box: The BiochemicalChallenge to Evolution" claim that nature has an "irreducible complexity"that can only have come from an"intelligent designer." Interviewed forthe Chronicle of Higher Education, Richard Dawkins dismissed intelligentdesign as "a pathetic cop-out" and Behe as simply too lazy to figure outhow things work. Bob Park comments that “any intelligent designer whowould wrap the prostate gland around the ureter must have a wicked senseof humor.” Another Internet wag adds that no competent engineer woulddesign a waste disposal system like that of the human body, with itsoutlet in a recreation area.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 27 April 29,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.PROSTITUTES POINT THE WAY This morning's _Honolulu Advertiser estimates that 120 prostitutes walkthe streets of Waikiki, each capable of taking in $1,000 per night. Alittle calculation shows that this amounts to a $40 million a yearbusiness. The same front page reported that the State of Hawaii hasthe lowest rate of income growth in the nation. Perhaps a littlelegalized sin is all Hawaii needs to break out of its economic doldrums.U. S. HOUSE ENDORSES TEN COMMANDMENTSNo legalized sin for Congress. Only the illegal variety. By a vote of295- 125, the U.S. House of Representatives on March 5 adopted anon-binding resolution endorsing the display of the Ten Commandments incourtrooms and other public buildings. Hawaii's two representativesvoted nay. Supporter John Hostettler (R-Ind.) said that "thehistorical fact of the matter is that the absolutes upon which most ofthe law of this country is derived . . . are rooted in the Bible." Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation ofChurch and State called it "the worst politicization of religion I haveseen in Congress in the 25 years I have worked in Washington."GENESIS PARK DEFEATEDA request for a zoning variance to build a "creation science" museum inFlorence, Kentucky four miles from a famous paleontological site in BigBone Lick State Park has been denied by Boone county authorities. Themuseum, which was to be called "Genesis Park," was opposed by membersof the local religious community and University of Kentuckyanthropologists.UK FORTUNE TELLERS DISAGREE ON ELECTIONAccording to Reuters, astrologers in Britain agree with the polls inpredicting a Labor victory in Thursday's general election. Tarot cardreaders, I-Ching oracles, psychics other clairvoyants disagree. CraigHamilton-Parker, resident psychic on a British breakfast televisionprogram, says Prime Minister John Major will snatch a surprisevictory. "Myself and many other psychics who I meet -- because I meeta lot -- are all saying the Conservatives are going to win," he said."If we're wrong I'll eat my hat. In fact, I'll eat my crystal ball."NEW PRAYER LIST CLAIMS QUANTUM PROOFA new Internet discussion group has been formed to help answer theprayers of its members. From the announcement: "The PRAYER list is aforum for anyone who understands the power of prayer and wishes touse this power for themselves and others. Whether you are Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Moslem, etc. or agnostic does notmatter...as long as you understand that 'prayer' or positive thoughtenergy produces results--this has been documented at the quantumlevel in physics."PENROSE ON A ROLLRoger Penrose is a famous Oxford mathematician, physicist, andcosmologist and author of the best-selling _The Emperor's New Mind_. His claim that human consciousness implies new physics, perhapsquantum gravity, has been severely criticized by experts but hasgone down well with the public. He is back in the news. TheAmerican Physical Society's newsletter _What's New_ mailing of April25 reports: "In 1974, physicist Roger Penrose invented his arrowedrhombic tiles that fill up space aperiodically. Now, according to_The Economist_, Sir Roger is suing Kimberly Clark, maker of Kleenextoilet paper, for embossing its rolls with Penrose tiles."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 19 Jan. 23,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.92% VOTE FOR CONTRACTThe votes to ratify the UH Faculty contract are in. Of 1617 votesreturned, 1474 or 92% voted yes. There were only 131 "no" votes, and12 "unidentified."Efforts are already underway now to reform UHPA and make it more"democratic." That're college professors for you. They have somethingthat works, so they have to fix it. The Manoa Faculty Senate willserve as the model.FINNISH STUDY FINDS NO LINK BETWEEN MAGNETIC FIELDS AND CANCERBob Park of the American Physical Society reports that a Finnish studyhas not confirmed previous claims of a connection between 50 Hzresidential magnetic fields and cancer. A total of 383,700 householdsformed part of the study. The energy carried by a 50 Hz photon is0.00000000000008 of that of a photon from the sun.UCSF TO CASH IN ON ALTERNATIVE MEDICINEThe December 12 San Francisco Chronicle reported that the University ofCalifornia at San Francisco is starting a new "Program in IntegrativeMedicine" that will teach medical students a combination of Eastern andWestern medicine. For example, the "integrated approach" to breastcancer treatment will mix conventional treatments such as surgery,chemotherapy and radiation with meditation, yoga, dance and arttherapies.William Jarvis, Director of the National Council Against Health Fraudat the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, commented: "Science is open-minded, and always willing to look at new ideas, butit is not empty-minded." (Ed: Besides, these are not new ideas). Jarvissaid he would be concerned if UCSF is placing its imprimatur onalternative medical techniques purely for marketing advantage. "I havea little bit of suspicion they are getting on the bandwagon," he said. "It may be as much public relations and marketing as it is scientificcuriousity."Cardiovascular diet guru Dr. Dean Ornish, who is plotting the UCSFprogram, gave credibility to this concern, remarking that thatinsurance companies have become increasingly interested in alternativemedicine and that the shift toward managed care has created incentivesfor health plan and medical clinics to keep their patients healthy. (Ed: Or at least, to die quicker).SCIENTOLOGISTS CLAIM RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN GERMANYThe US State Department, and more important, an array of Hollywoodstars, has protested plans by the German government to crack down onthe Church of Scientology. A resolution passed at a convention of theruling Christian Democratic party said that Scientology "places massivepsychic, economic and legal pressures" on people wishing to join.Scientology is a religion founded 41 years ago by science-fictionwriter L. Ron Hubbard. The rumor is that he had boasted how easy itwould be for him to start a new religion; he was dared to do it, so hedid. The Church requires initiates to undergo counseling that can costthousands of dollars. This has helped it accumulate enormous wealth,which it does not hesitate to use to combat criticism with SLAPPs(Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).For example, Scientology filed 45 lawsuits against the twenty-year oldCult Awareness Network, finally forcing it out of business. Furthermore, it has reportedly bought CAN's assets at auction and hasits eyes on 600 feet of files that it could use to identify enemies andgather dirt on rival cults.See http://www.primenet.com/~lippard/skeptical.html for a hugesection on Scientology, including links to their secret doctrines,FBI-seized documents, several critical books on the web, currentlawsuits and much more.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 20 Feb. 11,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.CRITICAL THINKING AT THE COREThe University of Hawaii, Manoa is in the process of revamping its corerequirements. Included in the skills that likely will be required forgraduation is critical thinking. One proposal for implementing this isto reduce the number of required courses in arts, humanities, andsciences an add more courses in cultural studies.One question that has not yet been tackled is where to find instructorsin cultural studies to teach critical thinking. Most arepostmodernists who do not regard critical thinking as a "legitimatemeta-narrative," to use their own jargon. PHYSICISTS' ELVIS SIGHTING DEBUNKEDWell, they did not actually claim to see Elvis but something moreexotic--the extraction of antimatter from the vacuum. An article byGary Taubes in the January 10 issue of _Science_ tells how competentscientists, especially in this day of fast computers, can unconsciouslymake even the most careful measurements look the way the scientistswant them to look.In the 1980s, two separate experiments at the same lab in Germanyreported seeing peaks in the energy spectra produced in heavy ioncollisions. The gigantic electric field that was momentarily producedduring the collision was thought to be pulling positrons(anti-electrons) out of the vacuum, which according to quantummechanics is not really empty. The discovery, if confirmed, was ofNobel quality. Many of the peaks seemed to be statisticallysignificant, several as high as six standard deviations. Theprobability of just one such observation being a statistical fluke istwo parts in ten million. The problem was that the peaks came and wentat different places and were very difficult to reproduce.Now after a decade of fruitless effort to confirm the results inimproved experiments, the conclusion has been drawn that the originalpeaks were artifacts inadvertently introduced by the physiciststhemselves. This apparently occurred during data analysis, as theexperimenters massaged the data over and over again on fast computersin an attempt to make the elusive"signal" stand out better againstbackground noise. The recent experiments, with better statistics,show no evidence for the peaks. Furthermore, physicist Rudi Ganz, nowat the University of Illinois, has demonstrated how the artifactsprobably were produced.Ganz divided a large data sample from one of the later experiments intotwo randomly-distributed halves. He massaged the data from one set,using a similar procedure to that used in the earlier experiments, andgenerated an enormous peak. He then applied the identical sequence ofmanipulations to the other set and no peak was seen.Jack Greenberg, the Yale physicist who had pushed hardest to explorethe alleged phenomenon over the years, refuses to concede. He hasreceived support from several of his Yale colleagues, including aformer President's Science Advisor now president-elect of the AmericanPhysical Society, a former head of the High Energy Physics Advisorypanel, and the current chair of the APS Division of Particles andFields. But their pleas are falling on deaf ears as the experimentsare being shut down.Taubes, who wrote _Bad Science_, a book about the cold fusion fiascodoes not draw the obvious parallel. Also suggested is another parallelwith the 150 years of attempts to confirm psychic phenomena. Today westill hear of "statistically significant" effects purportedlydemonstrating paranormal powers of the mind to violate the laws ofphysics. A look at the procedures in all these cases reveals that theyexhibit the symptoms that Nobel laureate chemist Irving Langmuir listedin the 1950s as characteristic of what he termed "pathologicalscience." There is great danger in wanting to believe too badly. Scientists are just as capable of self delusion as other human beings.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 21 Feb. 21,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.POSTMODERNISM HITS INDIAIn the U.S. we generally find postmodernism among what is called "TheAcademic Left," ageing ex-hippies from the Viet Nam protest era whomiss the power they once had in society and would like to get it back. Postmodernists can be found in other countries too, but an interestingtwist in India is their support for religious fundamentalism.In an article entitled "Science Wars in India" in the Winter 1997
issueof _Dissent_, Meera Nanda provides two examples of the "Hinduization"of science and politics in India---Vedic mathematics and "Vastushastra" (ancient Indian material science). These have been promotedby the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), sort of a Hindu "Moral Majority."The BJP has acquired enough political power to to push so-calledtraditional Hindu knowledge into the public school curriculum. Itshould be noted that much of this "traditional" knowledge has beendebunked by Hindu scholars. The academics who promote these changes,like many of the their counterparts in the U.S., send their own kids toprivate schools where they get a more conventional education. (Thanksto Michael Sofka, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, for thisinformation).MACHINE SHOWS MATHEMATICAL CREATIVITYOne of the arguments made by opponents of the idea that machines willsomeday be able to "think" is the creative ability of mathematicians todiscover mathematical truths non-algorithmically. This is the mainmessage of cosmologist Roger Penrose's two best-selling books _TheEmperor's New Mind_ and _Shadows of the Mind_. Penrose admits he is aPlatonist and believes the human mind can access eternal truths thatlie beyond experience. Philosophers have been arguing about this for2500 years.Now, as John Casti reports in the January 30 _Nature_, a strong blowhas been struck for what is called the "strong AI hypothesis." WilliamMcCune of Argonne National Lab has written a general proposelogic-prover program that has found several proofs of a 60 year-oldconjecture in Boolean algebra. The program differs from previouslogic-provers, such as the one that proved the "four-color" conjecture,in that no tentative proofs were outlined. It was not even assumedthat a proof was possible. The results have been checked both by handand independent programs.QUOTE OF THE DAY"We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a milliontypewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare.Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true." -- Robert Wilensky

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 22 March 6,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.UH RESEARCHERS TO ORGANIZE Prompted by a recent directive, now postponed, to require all UHtravelers to get quotations from two selected travel firms and acceptthe lowest bid, and other rules which they feel are simply designed tomake less work for the bureaucrats or more for them, researchers at UHManoa are forming a University of Hawaii Association of ResearchInvestigators. They hope this will provide them with strong, unifiedvoice so that their interests, not always coinciding with those of theadministration and other faculty, will be acknowledged. The smallgroup spearheading the move alone brings in $50M per year in extramuralfunds.WISCONSIN COURT LIMITS USE OF STUDENT FEESLike most universities, UH collects student fees and hands them back tothe student governing body to dole out for student activities as theypretty much see fit. Now a Wisconsin judge has ruled that UW Madisonstudents cannot be required to financially support groups with whoseideology they disagree. A suit was brought by conservative studentswho objected to support for UW Greens, the Lesbian, Gay and BisexualCampus Center, and the AIDs Support Network. They did not object toChristian groups receiving support. (From February _Church & State_).TEMPEST IN A TEST TUBEThe uproar over the cloning of a sheep in Scotland is a tempest in atest tube. Every ethicist and theologian has felt the need tocomment. President Clinton, in the knee-jerk decision-making processthat seems to be characterizing his second term, has banned federallyfunded research on human cloning. We already have cloned humans. Wecall them twins. Genetic twins raised in the same womb are verydifferent. They even have different fingerprints. We can expect widedifferences between twins raised in different wombs and differentgenerations. Still it's fun to think about. Would Hitler's cloneraised in a jewish woman's womb be a jew? He might even become primeminister of Israel someday!PREDICTION STUDY YIELDS PREDICTABLE RESULTSEinstein said that prediction is very difficult, especially about thefuture. In an article in the March/April issue of _SkepticalInquirer_, Alan M. Tuerkheimer and Stuart A. Vyse take a look at the1981 _Book of Predictions_ by best-selling novelist Irving Wallace andhis children, David Walechinsky and Amy Wallace. Tuerkheimer and Vysecompare the predictions printed in the book from seven psychics andseven "experts." The experts included hors Isaac Asimov and AndrewGreeley, and Nobel chemist Willard Libby. While the nature ofpredictions of the two groups was different, neither performed verywell. The psychics were correct 6% of time, with 13% "partial" hits. The experts were marginally better, with 16% correct and 18% partialhits.CHIROQUACTIC FAILS CLINICAL TRIALS The January/February newsletter of the National Council Against HealthFraud reports that randomized clinical trials of chiropractictreatments show "no convincing evidence of the effectiveness ofchiropractic for acute or chronic low back pain." (Assendelft et al.,_J. Manip. & Physiolog. Therapeut_, 1996
;19:499-507).NEVADA PROMOTES "EXTRATERRESTRIAL HIGHWAY"The state of Nevada has renamed Highway 375, about 100 miles north ofLas Vegas, _Extraterrestrial Highway_. The highway is near Area 51,featured in the film _Independence Day_, where the U. S. Government hassupposedly been hiding alien bodies from a UFO that supposedly crashedthere in 1945. UFO buffs have staked out the highway for years andreported many strange lights and noises. ("Look up the road there! See those twin lights? Hear that rumble?") The Nevada Commission onTourism is promoting the highway in national ads as "the talk of thegalaxy." However, since UFO encounters are unpredictable (what, nophone hookup to the psychic 900 lines?) they have created their own "ETExperience" that you can purchase when you visit. (From _Skeptic_magazine, V. 4, #4.)WHY PEOPLE BELIEVE PSEUDOSCIENCESuch reports persist and proliferate because they sell. And they sell,I think, because there are so many of us who want so badly to be joltedout of our humdrum lives, to rekindle that sense of wonder we rememberfrom childhood, and also, for a few of the stories, to be able, reallyand truly, to believe--in Someone older, smarter, and wiser who islooking out for us. Faith is clearly not enough for many people. Theycrave hard evidence, scientific proof. They long for the scientificseal of approval, but are unwilling to put up with the rigorousstandards of evidence that impart credibility to that seal." --Carl Sagan (1934-1996
)

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 23 March 14,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.MANOA FACULTY CONGRESS TO DISCUSS COREThe Manoa Faculty Congress (all faculty are members, few faculty everattend) will be meeting Wednesday, March 19. On the agenda is adiscussion of recommendations from an ad hoc facultygroup for changes to the Manoa core. These include: o that all students be required to satisfy the entry-levelwriting and mathematics/logic requirements before they register fortheir 31st credit at UHM and that registration in 100- and 200-levelcourses fulfilling core requirements be available to students with 60or more credits only after students with 59 or fewer credits havecompleted registration;o that prerequisites for all UHM undergraduate courses bereviewed, revamped if necessary, and strictly enforced at the time ofstudent registration;o that an all-campus committee be formed to recommend how UHMofferings can be enhanced to meet students' needs in the areas ofcritical thinking, quantitative reasoning, writing, and oralcommunication;and others.NEWS FROM THE CALIFORNIA FRONTJohn Radcliffe of UHPA reports:Just returned from San Diego after attending an NEA Higer Educationconference. Of interest were three stories in the local paper: (1) aconsortium of business and technology leaders had graded the Cal publiccolleges and univerities and gave then a "D-." They complained that Calgrads can't read, write or compute--and they cannot hire 'em that way.(2) San Diego's latest school bond referendum failed to get the 2/3rdsvote necessary--again. Prop 13 has made super-majority votes necessary.(3) The Cal State Senate has just agreed NOT to fund a class sizemandate of not more than 20 students in a classes 1,2,3,4 saying thatthere is insufficient evidence to support the notion that smaller isbetter. Ya think there's a pattern here?AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY RE-AFIRMS STATEMENT ON CREATIONISM.Concerned with recent attempts to have the biblical story of creationtaught in public schools as science, the Executive Board of theAmerican Physical Society voted unanimously to reaffirm the positionadopted by the society 16 years ago. The statement strongly opposesthe teaching of "creationism" in science class: "Scientific inquiry andreligious beliefs are two distinct elements of the human experience. Attempts to present them in the same context can only lead tomisunderstandings of both." (From Feb 28 _What's New_ 7).THE FIRST SHEEP LASER?From the mini-Annals of Improbable Research 13 Mar 1997
:A team under the direction of MIT researcher Jim Propp <propp@math.mit.edu> is combining the latest in cloning research with recent advances in physics: b. As the world knows, Scottish scientists have figured out how to create large numbers (well, at least one) of identical sheep; a. Not long ago, some of Propp's colleagues figured out how to create coherent beams of matter-particles (rather than just photons).Propp is combining these ideas to produce the sheep-laser. As yet, he has not settled on a proper name for the technique ("Livestock Amplification through ..." is as far as he has gotten). In a second project, Propp is working to create a Bose condensate of identical sheep.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 24 March 25,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.UHM FACULTY CONGRESS RECOMMENDS CORE CHANGESJim Tiles reports that the UHM Faculty Congress has recommendedthat all students be required to satisfy the entry-level writingand mathematical or logic thinking requirements before theyregister for their 31st credit at UHM. A proposal that registration in 100- and 200-level coursesfulfilling core requirements be available to students with 60 ormore credits only after students with 59 or fewer credits havecompleted registration was defeated. This proposal ran intointense opposition led by the Chemistry Department and supportedby several other science departments and professional programs. It appears that students who come in minded to major in theseprograms are locked into a tight schedule which is front loaded inthe sense that a great deal of time is taken up in the first threeyears with courses that function as prerequisites courses forhigher level courses in the programs. ASTRONOMER HALE SPEAKS OUT ABOUT POOR PROSPECTS FOR SCIENCE CAREERSAstronomer Alan Hale, co-discoverer of Comet Hale-Bopp, is usinghis "15 minutes of fame" to try to draw media and governmentattention to the plight of young scientists. Following are some excepts from an open email message: "Like I'm sure is true for many of you, I was inspired by thescientific discoveries and events taking place during my childhoodto pursue a career in science only to find, after completing therigors of undergraduate and graduate school, that theopportunities for us to have a career in science are limited atbest and are which I usually describe as 'abysmal.' Based upon myown experiences, and those of you with whom I have discussed thisissue, my personal feeling is that, unless there are some prettydrastic changes in the way that our society approaches science andtreats those of us who have devoted our lives to making some ofour own contributions, there is no way that I can, with a clearconscience, encourage present-day students to pursue a career inscience. "I am trying to use the media attention that is currently beingfocused upon me to raise awareness of this state of affairs, andperhaps start to effect those changes that will allow me to conveya more positive message to the next generation. "I know that I'm not alone in being frustrated about the currentprospects for pursuing any kind of decent career within science,and I'm quite sure that many of you have "horror stories" aboutyour searches for decent employment that are quite similar to myown. I'd like to hear them." ARKOLOGIST BEING SUED IN AUSTRALIAProfessor Ian Plimer, a senior lecturer in the School of EarthSciences at Melbourne University, is suing Dr. Allen Roberts andhis company, Ark Search for using questionable scientific evidenceto support their claim of the existence of the remains of Noah'sArk near Mount Ararat in Turkey. Professor Plimer's solicitor says he will argue that Dr. Robertsand Ark Search contravene Section 52 of the Trade Practices Actwhereby a corporation shall not trade or engage in misleading ordeceptive conduct. (From the March 24 issue of _Melbourne Age_.)THANK GOD FOR SLAVERYHugo Gurdon writes in the March 22 Electronic Telegraph:"An American writer has triggered rage and consternation among hisfellow black intellectuals by repudiating his African roots andthanking God his ancestor was enslaved. Keith Richburg has beenshunned and insulted for daring to reject the afrocentric idealismwhich is an article of faith in black America. In _Out OfAmerica_, published this month after he spent three yearsreporting from Africa for the Washington Post, Mr Richburg hurlsdown a challenge to black American leaders to stop deceivingthemselves and the 35 million descendants of slaves that Africa isEden on earth. "_Out Of America_ is a gruesomely detailed account of barbarismand corruption across the continent, particularly in Somalia andRwanda. The author pulls no punches in condemning it, and noAmerican myth is spared. When sketching how his ancestor wasenslaved, he says it was first "probably by a local chieftain".The suggestion that African blacks were slave owners is anathemain America, where truth is often less important than ideologicalpurity on race issues." QUOTE OF THE DAYFrom Swami Beyondananda's Guidelines for Enlightenment:"There's no need to change the world. All we have to do is toilettrain the world, and we'll never have to change it again."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 25 April 3,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.NO APRIL FOOL'S ISSUE THIS YEAR No April Fool's Day issue of _The Rational Inquirer_ was put out thisyear. As the Millennium approaches, every day is April Fool's Day.NIKE TO CHANGE SLOGAN?After seeing the logo on 39 pairs of sneakers, Jim Giglio predicts thatNike will soon be changing that little slogan they use in their TVcommercials; you know, the one that says "Just Do It.""UFO" PICS ON UH IFA WEB PAGEA good place to find links to Hale-Bopp images and see what the UFOclaims were all about is: http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/images/hale-bopp/hb_ufo.html See in particular the photo taken by UH astronomer David Tholen thatwas misrepresented by talk show host Art Bell and author WhitleyStreiber on their web pages. Streiber wrote the best seller of a fewyears ago called _Communion_ that he claimed was a "true story" of hisown abduction by UFOs.STUDENT EXONERATED IN DEATH OF 35 RESEARCH ANIMALS The 15-year old California high school student had been ejectedfrom a science fair competition for cruelty to animals after itwas revealed that during studies of radiation effects 35 of his200 research subjects had, as they say in California, "shed theircontainers." He was reinstated after autopsies revealed that the35 dead fruit flies had succumbed to a bacterial infection.(From May 28 WHAT'S NEW by Robert L. Park).MOST AMERICAN SCIENTISTS REMAIN GODLESSAccording to a survey being published in today's _Nature_, 40% ofscientists in the U.S. believe in God. This ratio has not changed inthe 80 years since a similar survey was conducted in 1916.Biologists were the biggest doubters in 1916; physicists andastronomers are now the leading disbelievers, with 77.9% denying theexistence of God. Mathematicians, who create their own universes, arethe most inclined to believe in God with a total of 44.6%WRITING ON THE INTERNETIn order to saving typing time, many who communicate over the Internetuse shorthand notation. Perhaps we might wish to consider thefollowing suggestion by Mark Twain for a gradual transition insimplifying written English: For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be droppedto be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longerbe part of the alphabet. The only kase in which "c" would be retainedwould be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2might reform "w" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take thesame konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with"i" and Iear 4 might fiks the "g/j" anomali wonse and for all. Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iearwith Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants.Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thiridandant letez "c", "y" and "x" -- bai now jast a memori in the maindzov ould doderez -- tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivli. Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wudhev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 26 April 15,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.THE STATE OF PORKAccording to an article in the March 28 _Chronicle of HigherEducation_, the University of Hawaii will receive more "earmarked"funds this year than any other university in the US, $68M. Most ofthis, $45M is for a much-needed new oceanographic ship. We can thankSenator Inouye, as usual, for this. But we can also wonder what willhappen to UH when he is gone from the Washington scene.Indeed, what is going to happen to Hawaii? The State economycontinues to slide and no one seem to have any new ideas on how toreverse it. Tourism is down. Your editor's recent UAL flights toOsaka and back were empty. Nice and comfortable, but how long beforeUnited discontinues the flight? The military wants to cut back inHawaii too, but Inouye has managed to limit that so far. A Marineofficer in Japan said that units stationed in Hawaii measurablydecline in readiness because of the unavailability of training land.No doubt huge new markets are opening up in Asia. But how will Hawaiiparticipate in this boom, with mainland jets flying non-stop? Eventhe internet connection through Hawaii is considered a bottleneck,with much mainland-Asia traffic now being re-routed through Europe.Ah well, there's always gambling and prostitution.THE THIRD CULTUREJohn Brockman is a highly successful New York literary agent whosestable of academic writers includes such notables as Richard Dawkins,Daniel Dennett, and Frank Tipler. In a 1995 book called _The ThirdCulture_, Brockman asserted that scientists and other expositorywriters are taking the place of the traditional intellectual indefining the culture of our times.The modern ("pre-postmodern") intellectual ignores science. Thepostmodern intellectual misrepresents it. Both write only for theircolleagues, as do most scientists, while the public pays littleattention to any of them. Recently, however, a handful of scientistsand philosophers are learning to write clearly and succinctly in termsthat the public can understand. The phenomenal success of severalrecent books by scientists, most notably Stephen Hawking's _BriefHistory of Time_, testifies, according to Brockman, to a greatintellectual hunger for new and important ideas among a reading publicwilling to make the effort to educate themselves. "The third-culturethinkers are the new public intellectuals." They discuss matters offundamental interest to all humans: Who are we? What is the nature ofreality?HOW TO WRITE POSTMODERNStill, if you want a job in some academic departments today, you mustlearn to write and speak postmodern for your prospective colleagues.Stephen Katz has written a guide. He gives the following example:Imagine you want to say something like: "We should listen the views ofpeople outside of Western society in order to learn about the culturalbiases that affect us." Translated to pomospeak, you would write: "Weshould listen to the intertextual multivocalities of postcolonialothers outside of Western culture in order to learn about thephallocentric biases that mediate our identities."You might ask, why worry if no one pays the postmodernists anyattention? The problem is--they are the ones who will be teaching thenext generation of students how to write and think.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 27 April 29,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.PROSTITUTES POINT THE WAY This morning's _Honolulu Advertiser estimates that 120 prostitutes walkthe streets of Waikiki, each capable of taking in $1,000 per night. Alittle calculation shows that this amounts to a $40 million a yearbusiness. The same front page reported that the State of Hawaii hasthe lowest rate of income growth in the nation. Perhaps a littlelegalized sin is all Hawaii needs to break out of its economic doldrums.U. S. HOUSE ENDORSES TEN COMMANDMENTSNo legalized sin for Congress. Only the illegal variety. By a vote of295- 125, the U.S. House of Representatives on March 5 adopted anon-binding resolution endorsing the display of the Ten Commandments incourtrooms and other public buildings. Hawaii's two representativesvoted nay. Supporter John Hostettler (R-Ind.) said that "thehistorical fact of the matter is that the absolutes upon which most ofthe law of this country is derived . . . are rooted in the Bible." Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation ofChurch and State called it "the worst politicization of religion I haveseen in Congress in the 25 years I have worked in Washington."GENESIS PARK DEFEATEDA request for a zoning variance to build a "creation science" museum inFlorence, Kentucky four miles from a famous paleontological site in BigBone Lick State Park has been denied by Boone county authorities. Themuseum, which was to be called "Genesis Park," was opposed by membersof the local religious community and University of Kentuckyanthropologists.UK FORTUNE TELLERS DISAGREE ON ELECTIONAccording to Reuters, astrologers in Britain agree with the polls inpredicting a Labor victory in Thursday's general election. Tarot cardreaders, I-Ching oracles, psychics other clairvoyants disagree. CraigHamilton-Parker, resident psychic on a British breakfast televisionprogram, says Prime Minister John Major will snatch a surprisevictory. "Myself and many other psychics who I meet -- because I meeta lot -- are all saying the Conservatives are going to win," he said."If we're wrong I'll eat my hat. In fact, I'll eat my crystal ball."NEW PRAYER LIST CLAIMS QUANTUM PROOFA new Internet discussion group has been formed to help answer theprayers of its members. From the announcement: "The PRAYER list is aforum for anyone who understands the power of prayer and wishes touse this power for themselves and others. Whether you are Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Moslem, etc. or agnostic does notmatter...as long as you understand that 'prayer' or positive thoughtenergy produces results--this has been documented at the quantumlevel in physics."PENROSE ON A ROLLRoger Penrose is a famous Oxford mathematician, physicist, andcosmologist and author of the best-selling _The Emperor's New Mind_. His claim that human consciousness implies new physics, perhapsquantum gravity, has been severely criticized by experts but hasgone down well with the public. He is back in the news. TheAmerican Physical Society's newsletter _What's New_ mailing of April25 reports: "In 1974, physicist Roger Penrose invented his arrowedrhombic tiles that fill up space aperiodically. Now, according to_The Economist_, Sir Roger is suing Kimberly Clark, maker of Kleenextoilet paper, for embossing its rolls with Penrose tiles."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 2 No. 28 May 8, 1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.BENSON'S DATA QUESTIONEDHerbert Benson is the founder of Harvard's Mind/Body Institute whosebook _The Relaxation Response_ sold over 4 million copies. In the bookBenson claimed scientific evidence for the beneficial effects ofmeditation or prayer. Nearly 3,000 attended his recent workshop on"Spirituality & Healing in Medicine and Benson's ideas are even findingtheir way into conventional medicine.However, an article in the April 18 issue of _Science_ reports thateven some of Benson's supporters think he may have gone off the deepend with his recent forays into religion. Reviewers of Benson's 1996
book _Timeless Healing: The Power and Biology of Belief_ haveuncovered shoddy scholarship behind Benson's claims. They point outthat mind-body research is a "fertile field for exaggerated claims,uncontrolled studies, flawed statistics, mind-boggling illusions, andanecdotal reports." They also note that Congress increased the budgetof the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine from $7.4 million to $12million. In the past Benson has offered courses to congressmen on"how to pray."Benson received his MD from Harvard, also the home of John Mack, thefamous UFO abduction therapist. You sure you want your kid to goto Harvard? WEIL DOING WELLPerhaps, if you only care about them getting rich. A story aboutanother Harvard MD, Andrew Weil, appears in this week's _Time_ (May12). Weil's latest book _8 Weeks to Optimum Health_ is in its eighthweek on the best-seller list. His earlier book _Spontaneous Healing_has been on 65 weeks. According to _Time_, "Nationwide, health-careconsumers spend nearly $14 billion a year for medical treatments rarelyoffered by the family doctor. Deepak Chopra, the India-bornendocrinologist, spiritualist and publishing juggernaut, has enjoyedperennial best-seller status since the 1993 publication of _AgelessBody, Timeless Mind_. Other author-healers, from Dr. Bernie Siegel toMarianne Williamson, have enriched themselves and their publishers byoffering a buffet of alternative approaches that range from meditationand visualization to the curative powers of love and positive thinking."Weil says little that has not been said by others. How then does heexplain his success? "I think people are fed up," he says. "They wantto be more in charge. Throughout the world there's a growing suspicionof non-natural things and a growing belief that Western medicinedoesn't have all the answers. Perhaps I speak to that belief."But in cashing in on this trend, Weil is not doing much for thenation's intellectual health. According to _Time_: ". . . he repeatsunsubstantiated claims about the hazards of electromagnetic'pollution,' the danger of pesticide-laced apples or the connectionbetween toxins and degenerative ailments like Parkinson's disease. Atbest, scientists say, these are unproven suspicions. At worst, Weil isspreading scientific misinformation, as when he touts the herb milkthistle as a tonic for ailing livers or asserts that conventionalmedicine can't treat viral infections-- ignoring the encouragingresults of protease inhibitors in containing HIV."THIS WEEK'S BUMPER STICKER:"So many stupid people. So few comets."END OF VOLUME 2This will be the last issue of the academic year. Your editor will beoff on Tuesday for six weeks in Florence. He also has trips to Japanand Australia on his summer schedule. All in the line of duty, ofcourse. Look out for the first issue of Volume 3 sometime before theend of summer.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 1 July 3, 1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.RENAISSANCE OVERLOADWell, your editor is back from six weeks in Florence and suffering froma bad case of Renaissance Overload. After viewing one beautifulmasterpiece after another, it becomes even harder to understandcultural relativism. On what basis can you equate a crude figurinefound on some remote island with Michelangelo's David?UH PROF GETS UNDESERVED SECOND PLACEBig news locally and nationally last month was UH English Professor RobWilson's second place finish in a bad writing contest. Scandalous. Reading what he and the winner wrote, Rob was robbed. He fullydeserved first prize.EM FIELDS GET CLEAN BILL OF HEALTHThis morning's paper reports that a $4.5 million dollar study hasdemonstrated no link between power line electromagnetic fields andchildren's leukemia. While that's nice to know, it was $4.5 millionthat could have been better spent on more likely health hazards. Sometimes you can simply believe basic science. There was never anycredible way that these low frequency fields could cause biologicaldamage. It was like spending $4.5 million to see if the gravitationalfield fluctuations caused by earthquakes in China result in excessbirth defects in New York City.RANDI PRIZE AVAILABLE TO TOUCH THERAPISTSMagician James Randi has challenged "touch therapists" to prove theycan detect the human energy field. He has offered to pay anyone whodoes $1.1 million. Some 30,000 touch therapists practice in the US,many in leading hospitals. Actually, they do not touch their patientsbut redistribute their "qi" by moving their hands near the patient'sbody.THIS IS ROSWELL WEEKErich von Daniken is the featured speaker at this week's big fiftiethanniversary celebration of the "UFO crash" in Roswell NM. Once againthe US military has claimed that the scraps of scotch tape and aluminumfoil found in a field in 1947 were from a secret balloon instrumentthat was being used to monitor possible radioactivity in the air fromRussian nuclear tests. Yeah, who's going to believe that? Didn't yousee Independence Day? Don't you watch The X-Files?DILBERT GOES OFF THE DEEP ENDEverybody enjoys the Dilbert comic strip and you would think itscreator, Scott Adams, is one of the brightest people around. However,in the last chapter of his latest book "The Dilbert Future (Thriving onStupidity in the 21st Century)," Adams indulges in some wild newagespeculation about ESP and quantum mechanics. "It can't be proved,"Adams says, "but it can't be disproved either." So it must be right,heh?DECODING THE BIBLEBig seller this summer is "The Bible Code" by journalist MichaelDrosnin. Drosnin used computer skip-pattern generation of Genesis to"show" that the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabinwas "predicted." Don't you love these after-the-fact predictions? Hackers all over the world are now busy at work to see what they cancome up with that may be hidden in other books such as "War and Peace"and "The Dilbert Future." QUOTE OF THE DAYFrom Ann Druyan, Cal Sagan's widow, when asked to comment about Sagan'slack of religion: "Carl did not want to believe. He wanted to know."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 2 July 10, 1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.CORRECTIONLast week we reported that the scraps of scotch tape and aluminum foilfound in the field near Roswell NM in 1947 were from a secret ballooninstrument that was being used to monitor possible radioactivity in theair from Russian nuclear tests. Army research scientist Dr. JonathanP. Dowling informs us that the balloon did not detect radioactivity,but rather rapid atmospheric pressure changes generated by the shockwave of an above-ground test.ROB WILSON DEFENDEDLast week we also reported on UH English professor Rob Wilson's secondplace finish in a national bad writing contest. This was the thirdannual contest sponsored by the scholarly journal Philosophy andLiterature (published by the Johns Hopkins University Press) and itsinternet discussion group, PHIL-LIT. The contest "attempts to locatethe ugliest, most stylistically awful passage found in a scholarlybook or article published in the last few years. Ordinary journalism,fiction, etc. are not eligible, nor are parodies: entries must benon-ironic, from actual serious academic journals or books."It is only fair that we present Professor Wilson's offering for thereader to judge for herself:"If such a sublime cyborg would insinuate the future as post-Fordist subject, his palpably masochistic locations as ecstatic agent of the sublime superstate need to be decoded as the 'now-all-but-unreadableDNA' of a fast deindustrializing Detroit, just as his Robocop-likestrategy of carceral negotiation and street control remains thetirelessly American one of inflicting regeneration through violenceupon the racially heteroglossic wilds and others of the inner city."Christopher Hitchens, a columnist for Vanity Fair and the Nation, doesnot think this is all that bad. ". . . what's so tough about theRobocop extract? It's not grammatically foul, and it makes anexhausting effort to keep up with new techno-speak. Remember whenacademics were accused of dwelling only in "ivory towers" and taking noaccount of the new or common culture?"He adds: "Need, or should, the academy have a language of its own, moreconvoluted and obscure than the everyday? No and yes. No, becausecertain kinds of intellectual pretension and insecurity can only cloakthemselves in mumbo-jumbo. (It is the task of other intellectuals toseek out, hunt and kill this sort of thing.) Yes, because theuniversity must always be experimenting, and experimenting outside thecustomary "parameters," which include language. And yes, because itwill be a sad day when the whole society decides to speak in thegruesome "business English," a compound of opinion polls, psychobabbleand stock salesmanship, by which the national conversation is beingswiftly and utterly overwhelmed.DECONSTRUCTION UNDEFINEDSomeone asked the Derrida list for a definition of deconstruction. Here are a few selected anonymous responses:"You can't define deconstruction; it defies definition. To define theterm would be to view the world from a positivist epistemology andassume you can delineate clearly 'signifiers' in the 'grand play ofsignifiers.' Your discourse of definition conflates 'rationality',engages in the grand metaphysical procedure of 'logocentrism', and'reifies' Derrida's text by placing in it a hierarchy between one textand (an)other. To define is to draw a box around a limitless and hence'unverifiable'/'undefinable'/'uncritiqueable' entity known as'deconstruction'.""Simple" language, the language of simplicity, is simply one languageamong others, perceived as simple not because it is neutral and bringsus closer to a possible judgement of truth or falsity, but simplybecause it uses the most familiar vocabulary. But for this reason it isthe language of power - "simple" language is always the language thatserves capitalism or totalitarianism, since both of these demand totalrepresentability, total quantifiability. The demand for simplicity isthus a tool of power - this can be seen often enough in history, forexample in Stalinism and in the Third Reich. It would obliterate thedifferend that exists in any encounter between two "points of view" byforcing the less powerful to speak the language of the more powerful."For example, we are very close to the situation in which the discourseof capitalism is equated with simple language - and this is a discoursein which the legitimation of any practice must take place in terms ofits return or profitability. The demand for simple language is the mostdangerous form of charlatanism, because it passes itself off asneutrality, as the language that all languages must be reduced to inorder to achieve legitimacy."And finally, what Jacques Derrida himself said: "What deconstruction isnot? Everything of course! "What is deconstruction? Nothing of course!"RETURN TO MARSIn case you thought the above was written by martians, life still hasnot been found on Mars. Still, NASA was able to place Sojourner on thesurface for a cost of only $117 million, compared to the $3 billion(current dollars) price tag for Viking. Surely this is progress. Parents around the country are reporting how excited their kids havebeen seeing the pictures beamed down from the spacecraft. Maybe theywill show an interest in science as a career.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 3 August 4, 1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.BIOLOGISTS CALL FOR ELIMINATION OF OFFICE OF ALTERNATIVE MEDICINELeading biologists have called for elimination of the NIH Office ofAlternative Medicine, charging that it has promoted practices "whichclearly violate basic laws of physics and more nearly resemblewitchcraft than medicine." OAM Director Wayne Jonas responded in theAugust issue of Nature: Medicine, justifying research in homeopathy:"Even though this concept is implausible, the potential implications itholds for understanding basic biological and cellular communication areenormous. Can we not afford to invest a small amount in pursuit of thisquestion?" American Physical Society's Bob Park comments: "I can thinkof a thousand implausible concepts that would hold enormousimplications -- if true. In Germany, a randomized, placebo controlled,double-blind clinical trial of a standard homeopathic remedy found 'nosignificant difference in any parameter between homeopathy andplacebo.' In five years, it has never occurred to OAM to support sucha study."BIBLE PREDICTED THAT BILL GATES WOULD RULE WORLD_The Bible Code_, by Michael Drosnin, is fighting for first place onthe best-seller list with _Letters From God, Books I and II_ and _TheDilbert Future_. Now Australian math professor Brendon McKay using thesame techniques as Drosnin has discovered remarkable predictions aboutBill Gates in _The Book of Revelations_.After extracting "William Gates, agitator, leader," McKay found in itsvicinity: "MSDOS," "him that sitteth on the throne," "virtual reality,""software," "horror," and "netscarp" (God's not a good speller). Formore details, see http://www3.zdnet.com/yil/content/mag/9708/biblecode.htmlMORE ATHEISTS IN FOX HOLES THAN PRISONSSome statistics from _The New Criminology_ by Max D. Schlapp andEdward E. Smith and sources referenced therein: During 10 years in Sing-Sing, of those executed for murder 65% wereCatholics, 26% Protestants, 6% Hebrew, 2% Pagan, and less than 1/3 of1% non-religious. In Joliet Prison, there were 2,888 Catholics, 1,020Baptists, 617 Methodists and no prisoners identified as non-religious.Michigan had 82,000 Baptists and 83,000 Jews in the state population;but in the prisons, there were 22 times as many Baptists as Jews, and18 times as many Methodists as Jews. In Sing-Sing, there were 1,553inmates, 855 of them (over half) Catholics, 518 Protestants, 117 Jews,and 8 non-religious. The US adult Catholic population of 6%supplys 50% of the prison population.Of course, correlation does not imply causation. Still it's hard tosustain the oft-heard claim that lack of religion is behind the highcrime rate in the US.CROSS OK, CRAB KO IN EDMOND OKFrom the Samizdat OnLine News Service: The Edmond, Oklahoma CityCouncil has granted a zoning variance to Metro Church allowing them toerect a 137-foot cross on the east side of Interstate 35, while denyinga similar request by the owners of Sellers Crab and Steak House toerect a 137-pole supporting a 405-square foot crab on the west side.University of Central Oklahoma Philosophy Professor Theophrastus B.Paraclesus has studied the language implications of this controversy:"There is some convergence which should be acknowledged, and somedivergence which must be dealt with. Being cross is very much likebeing crabby - that's the convergence part. But a crosswalk is quite adifferent thing than a crabwalk - that's the divergence."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 4 August 26, 1997
We are still having mailing problems. The last issue was Aug. 4. Letme know if you did not get it.A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.DOES RESEARCH DRIVE UP TUITION COSTS?In a January, 1996
front page article in the Chicago Tribune, RonGrossman cited a University of Rhode island study indicating thattuition increases at research universities were partially being used tosubsidize research. Now a new study by the National Science Foundationshows that increases in tuition and fees in the period 1980-1994 werevirtually identical for all types of public and private institutionsindependent of their levels of research. See NSF 97-313, July 18, 1997
.META-ANALYSIS DOES NOT WORK, ACCORDING TO META-ANALYSISA common technique in health sciences to to combine several smallstudies and use "meta-analysis" to draw conclusions not justified bythe studies individually. According to Associated Press, the August 22New England Journal of Medicine reports a study conducted at theUniversity of Montreal that compares 19 meta-analyses with later, largerindividual studies. The conclusion: "According to our analysis, ifthere had been no subsequent randomized, controlled trial, themeta-analysis would have led to the adoption of an ineffectivetreatment in 32 percent of cases and to the rejection of a usefultreatment in 33 percent of cases."Commenting in an editorial in the journal, Dr. John C. Bailar III ofthe University of Chicago says "Such disagreement argues powerfullyagainst any notion that meta-analysis offers an assured way to distillthe 'truth' from a collection of research reports." Meta-analysis isoften used by parapsychologists to claim evidence for ESP.THANK GOODNESS THEY DON'T LIKE THEM MASHEDAP also reports that The words "Allah" and "Mohammed" miraculouslyappeared on potato sliced for lunch in a home in India's remotenortheast. The local imam confirmed the Arabic characters. Since then,more than 10,000 pilgrims have flocked to the house to view the spud,preserved in a jar of formaldehyde.PSYCHIC PHONE SERVICES PAY OFF HANDSOMELYJames McNair of the Miami Herald reports that the cash generated bypay-as-you-go 1-900 psychic services is estimated to reach $1.4 billiona year by 2000. Steven L. Feder, a 47-year-old New Jersey native whoowns Psychic Readers Network has struck it rich. He lives in a $3.5million house, surrounded by lush landscaping, a fleet of exotic carsand a docked 40-foot luxury powerboat. Most of Feder's fortune hasbeen gained from selling the phone numbers and names of callers. Telemarketers figure that anyone who calls a psychic number is apromising mark for their own scams.JAPAN DROPS COLD FUSIONNot all the news on scam front is bad. The Japanese have finally givenup on cold fusion. Andrew Pollack, writing in today's New York Times,reports that the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, whichhas spent 2.3 billion yen, or about $20 million, on cold fusion overthe last five years, will not provide any new financing in the nextfiscal year. A cold fusion laboratory set up by the ministry in Sapporois expected to be shut.In addition to the Government program, about 20 major Japanesecompanies have been pooling money to provide $1 million or more a yearfor university cold fusion research. That financing is also likely toend, said Dr. Akito Takahashi, a professor of nuclear engineering atOsaka University.With their complete dependence on imported oil, the Japanese hadfigured that a few billion yen would be a small gamble on somethingwith such a potential payoff. They finally realized that eveninvesting one yen on something with zero chance of paying off is stillone yen thrown away.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 5 September 5,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.The last issue was August 26. Please let us know if you did not getit. Also let us know if you get multiple copies. Our mailing systemhas been unreliable.SEERS FAIL TO PREDICT WEEK'S COSMIC EVENTSWith the deaths of two saints within six days of one another, you wouldthink that the minds of every psychic and astrologer in the world wouldhave been zapped by the rent in the cosmos. But not one, even PrincessDi's own personal astrologer who was consulted a few days before theaccident, predicted the awesome events of the past week.Here are some of the predictions psychic Maureen Conway wrote in theMay 19 London Sunday Mirror: "Diana will marry twice more. The firsttime to a fairly well-off Englishman, who will give her one more child. . . . Eventually this man will walk out on her, and she will marryagain -- this time to a less well-off foreigner, possibly an Americanwho will sponge off her. They too will split up."And the August 14 Mirror contained this prediction: "I can see them (Diand Dodi) getting married at the end of October in a secret ceremonyoverseas. There will be two more babies. A baby girl will be born verysoon after the marriage - Diana may already be pregnant or she soonwill be.However the tarot cards were right on the mark, predicting that "thiswould be an important time for Diana."(From James Randi and Mike Hutchinson).THE DANGERS OF DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDEA freshman at Eagle Rock Junior High won first prize at the GreaterIdaho Falls Science Fair, April 26. In his project he urged people tosign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of thechemical "dihydrogen monoxide." He asked 50 people if they supported aban of the chemical, giving a list of harmful effects (ingredient ofacid rain, found in cancerous tumors, and do on). Forty-three said yes,it should be banned, six were undecided, and only one knew that thechemical was water. The project title was: "How Gullible Are We?".(From David Ross).UH COMMITTEE REJECTS CORE PROPOSALSThe Faculty Executive Committee of the University of Hawaii at ManoaCollege of Arts and Sciences (ASFEC) has unanimously rejected aproposal from the General Education Coordinating Committee (GECC) toapply certain system-wide standard for all core courses. They havecalled for a meeting of all A&S faculty on September 24.The GECC had recommended setting minimal standards in criticalthinking, information retrieval and technology, oral communication,quantitative reasoning, and written communication. The ASFEC objectedto the focus on these skills and to the suggestion that they be appliedacross disciplines and campuses. For example, one skill proposed was"writing clearly and concisely." The ASFEC seemed to argue that thisskill does not apply to those fields where the more obtusely youwrite, the more you are admired by your colleagues.In today's deconstructionist academic environment, any set of universalstandards is bound to be unacceptable to an increasingly influentialelement of faculty. The view is that every professor should be able toteach whatever she or he wants, applying their own standards, andallowing their students to count all courses toward their corerequirements.Sure, let's do it. And then let's require that when deconstructionistsneed brain surgery, it has to be performed by their former students.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 6 September 11,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.The last issue was September 5. Please let us know if you did not getit. Also let us know if you get multiple copies. Our mailing systemhas been unreliable.VATICAN MAY FAST-TRACK MOTHER'S SAINTHOODAfter witnessing last Saturday's great spectacle at Westminster Abbey,the Vatican may be planning an even greater one: the canonization ofMother Theresa even before her body gets cold. It used to take acentury or two to achieve sainthood, just a blink in time compared toeternity after all. But the Catholic Church is thinking about movingthings ahead faster for Mother Theresa, the Albanian nun who dedicatedher life to helping the dying into heaven by making sure they becameCatholics. Just imagine the canonization ceremony at St. Peters. The Pope willshow those Anglicans a thing or two about spectacle! The TV audiencewill dwarf the Diana funeral. Dan Rather will be beside himself as hedescribes for his audience the scene under the great dome ofMichaelangelo. DOES STRESS LEAD TO HEART DISEASE?Most people thinks so, but here's what the American Heart Associationsays in its latest policy statement:"The available data do not support specific recommendations for (stressreduction) as definitive therapy for cardiovascular disease at thistime,""I'm not aware of any studies that have been done that stronglycorrelate stress as a risk factor in heart disease in comparison to theother ones such as cholesterol and high blood pressure," saidSpringfield, IL Clinic heart specialist Dr. Don Yakel.LUNACY IN THE EMERGENCY ROOMAnother popular myth is that the full moon affects behavior. Thiscarries over to the emergency room in hospitals, where the perceptionis that the place is much busier during nights of the full moon. In asurvey reported in J Emerg Med 1987;5(2):91-95, eighty percent ofrespondent emergency department nurses and 64% of the emergencyphysicians believe that the moon affects patients. Of these nurses, 92%find lunar shifts more stressful and indicated lunar pay differentialsare warranted.What are the facts?† Several published studies have reported onemergency room data. With high statistical accuracy, none show anylunar correlations. For example, a Dutch study published in NedTijdschr Geneeskd 1991 Dec 21;135(51):2421-2424 analyzed data on all29,085 patients who were seen at the outpatient department in the years1981-1983 and on 930 severely injury patients admitted in the years1985-1989. At full moon even slightly fewer patients than expected (24percent vs 25 percent) were seen at the emergency department. Thenumber of severely injured patients was the same during the four moonphases. The 'critical' biorhythm days were not associated withincreased number of accidents, neither for the patients seen at theemergency department, nor for the severely injured patients. (Thanksto Bob Grimes).SUGGESTED DISCLAIMER FOR TV PROGRAM NOVAMike Sofka suggests that, to avoid lawsuits, NOVA should include thefollowing disclaimer at the end of each show:"While the preceding documentary is based on the scientific evidenceavailable at the time of filming, the viewer is warned that scienceonly makes tentative truth claims and its conclusions may change withnew evidence. The producers encourage the viewer to checkpeer-reviewed journals for discoveries pertinent to this program andits claims. WGBH Boston and NOVA are not responsible for any loss ordamages that result from accepting any scientific claim without firstchecking the quality of evidence or running your own controlledexperiments."BRAIN DROPPINGSThat's the title of George Carlin's latest book. Carlin disparages PCterms like African Americans and Native Americans, as well aseuphemisms like fat people being "heavy." Aircraft carriers are heavy,he says, fat people are fat. According to Carlin, the Native Americansshould be called "Indians" because when Columbus got here he declaredthey were the people of God, or the people "in dios," and that it hadabsolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Columbus thinking he was inIndia. (From Michael Shermer, whose own book _Why People Believe WeirdThings_ is a highly recommended best-seller).

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 7 September 30,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.The last issue was September 11. Please let us know if you did not getit. Also let us know if you get multiple copies. Our mailing systemhas been unreliable.THE NEW RELIGION OF THE BODYWashington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer tells us that liberalsare now doing what conservatives have always done, tell the of rest ushow to live our personal lives. Conservatives try to force on us amorality based in their religious beliefs. Liberals used to decrythis. Now, however, they too have found religion and are pressing itwith all the self-righteousness of a Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell.Krauthammer says that liberals preach a morality based on a newreligion in which your body is your temple. "We are going to teach yourkids safe sex, take Alar off their apples, feed them yogurt andbroccoli for lunch, and, for the ride home, lash them to their safetyseats in cars with mandatory air bags."Their motto: A healthy (multicultural) mind in a healthy body."On the mania for health foods: "It feeds a nutritional fanaticism and fastidiousness that makes Islamic and Jewish dietary prohibitions look positively, well, liberal. In elite society, thinness is not just attractive but virtuous, a sign of self-denial and strength ofcharacter. Fatness is not just unaesthetic; it is a moral failing.""This cult of the body is the perfect successor to the culture of narcissism of the Me Generation. Its genius is to take the stigma outof self-love and turn it into a virtue. Its beauty is to take healthand hygiene--perfectly good things, mind you--and make them areligion."DID NOSTRADAMUS PREDICT DI'S DEATH AND FUNERAL?Somebody on the web found the following in Nostradamus's writing: "La penultieme du surnom de prophete Prendra Diane pour son jour et repos Loing vaguera par frenetique teste En deliverant un grand peuple d'impos"and translated it as: "The last son of the man with the Prophet's name Will bring Diana to her day of rest. At a distance they wander in frenetic grief Delivering a great people from ruin"(Dodi's father is Mohammed al-Fayed). However, the translation isclearly inaccurate. It is a good illustration of how those who claimvarious prophecies for ancients texts bend their translations to fitafter-the-fact data. Here's another translation: "The penultimate of the surname of the Prophet Will take Diana for his day and rest: He will wander far because of a frantic head, And delivering a great people from subjection." PLUTONIUM MAY BE GOOD FOR YOUOne long-standing myth of the anti-nuke movement is that plutonium isthe most toxic substance known to humankind. In fact, as Aussie physicsprofessor Colin Keay points out, many far more dangerous substancesexist. Microgram-for-microgram, plutonium is less toxic than caffeine. There has never been a documented case of plutonium poisoning in humans.Plutonium ingestion is certainly not recommended, but a recent study ofpersonnel at the Rocky Flats nuclear plant showed that men withplutonium in their urine were healthier and had a lower deathrate thanthe overall US population, with fewer mortalities from lung and bonecancers. In fact, no bone cancers were detected, although this isalleged to be the greatest danger from plutonium. The air ducts atRockly Flats are reckoned to contain enough plutonium to make sevennuclear weapons. BIGFOOT PROJECT CANCELEDWe recently reported that Toyota and other Japanese organizations havefinally come to their senses and stopped funding cold fusion research.Now, as _Skeptic_ magazine reports in their latest issue, the BigfootResearch Project near Mt. Hood in Oregon has closed down because of thedecision by its major sponsor, the Academy of Applied Science, not torenew its $500,000 grant. Project director Peter Byrne says "We'veconfirmed to our satisfaction that these things do exist."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 8 October 7,1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.The last issue was September 30. Please let us know if you did not getit. Also let us know if you get multiple copies. Our mailing systemhas been unreliable.ABC-TV PUTS SCIENCE OVER THE EDGE Remember Good Morning America science editor Michael Guillen? We lastsaw him gushing over Patterson cells (WN 13 Jun 97), cold-fusiondevices that also "neutralize radioactivity." Well, this week Guillenwas back with a three-part series, gushing over precognition ("theseguys are not flakes," he concludes), astrology ("I think we're justgoing to have to suspend judgement") and psychokinesis ("you have totake it seriously...if it's right you can foresee a future ofmind-controlled wheel chairs, computers and jet fighters"). Guillen,a PhD physicist who is uniquely positioned to help millions ofviewers understand that they live in a rational universe, has choseninstead to tell them that their sad superstitions are open scientificquestions. It must be very good for ratings. (From the AmericanPhysical Society's _What's New_ aps.org/WN/index.html of October 3)And we worry about students' lack of critical thinking.MORE PLUTONIUMA reader objected to our statements about Plutonium in the lastissue, saying he was "dubious about claims that Plutonium isharmless. We did not make any such claim, simply pointed out thatthe oft-heard statement that Plutonium is the most toxic substanceknown to humankind is nonsense.The issue has arisen again with the launch of the NASA Cassinimission to Saturn. Activists are protesting the scheduled October 13launch, saying an accident could kill or maim thousands. However,worst-case scenario calculations in which all the plutonium isvaporized by an explosion and released into the atmosphere give aradiation dose equivalent to one mammogram in fifty years for someonein the fallout area.COLD FUSION CORRECTIONAnother reader informs us that our statement last time about Toyotaand other Japanese organizations dropping cold fusion research was"probably inaccurate." We had reported in the August 26 onlythat the Ministry of International Trade and Industry had not renewedits grant and that the financing by private companies was "likely" toend. We will let you know what happens to the private funding.MOBY DICK PREDICTED ASSASSINATIONSWe have commented several times on Michael Drosnin's best-seller,_The Bible Code_ which claims that the Bible contains a "prediction"of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. In theJune 9 issue of _Newsweek_, Drosnin issued this challenge to hiscritics: "When my critics find a message about the assassination of aprime minister encrypted in Moby Dick, I'll believe them.In our August 4 issue we reported that Australian math professorBrendon McKay, using Drosnin's method, found a "prediction" thatBill Gates would rule the world in the Book of Revelations. NowMcKay has taken up Drosnin's challenge and found the followingassassination "prophecies" in Moby Dick (seecs.anu.edu.au/~bdm/dilugim/moby.html):Indira Gandhi: - IGANDHI x THEBLOODYDEEDRene Moawad: - MOAWAD x BURSTOPENTHEDOOR - MOAWAD x ANEXPLODINGBOMB x CAR + RENE (Moawad was killed by a car bomb)Leon Trotsky: - TROTSKY x THESTEELHEADOFTHELANCE + ICE + HAMMER + EXECUTEDMartin Luther King: - MLKING x TOBEKILLEDBYTHEM x TENN + GUN(x2) + PREPAREFORDEATH + USAGENTDEED (MLK was killed in Tennessee, hence TENN)Engelbert Dollfuss: - DOLLFUSS x ASSASSINSOFASGOODAFELLOW x GUN x WIEN(x2) (Dollfuss was killed in Vienna, aka Wien)Sirhan Sirhan: - SSIRHAN x SHOT + SHARPSHOOTING - SSIRHAN + SHARPSHOOTING + GUN + SHOT - SSIRHAN x WOUNDINGANDMURDERING x CUN + BUTCHERY + MURDER + SHOT - SSIRHAN x RIFLEHOLDSTHEFATALPOWDER x SHOT(x2) + RFK(x2) (Sirhan shot Robert F. Kennedy)John F. Kennedy:- KENNEDY x REMAINEDINVISIBLYENSHRINEDWITHIN + COFFINS + RIFLE + HEAD + HADBEENSOKILLED + HESTOODVERYQUIETLY + SHOT - KENNEDY + HESHALLBEKILLED + THEGODSDECREEIT + SHOT(x4) + INCARS + DIED + GUN - KENNEDY + SHOT(x8) + BLOOD(x2) + TOBEKILLEDBYTHEM + SHOT(x4) + INCARS + DIED + GUN - KENNEDY + SHOT(x8) + BLOOD(x2) + TOBEKILLEDBYTHEM + TEXAS + DIES + USA + THECHIEF + DIEAbraham Lincoln:- LINCOLN + ABE + KILLED + CUT + DOWN + BANGPrincess Diana: - DIANA + WALES + ROAYL + DODI(x5) + HENRI + PAUL + LADYDIANA x POWERANDVELOCITY x FOOLISHLYWASTED + MORTALINTHESEJAWSOFDEATH + ROAD + SKID + TOLL +

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 9 October 14, 1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.IGNOBEL PRIZES AWARDEDFrom the Ig-Noble Web page:The Seventh First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony was held at 7:30Thursday evening, October 9, 1997
, at Harvard University's SandersTheater in Memorial Hall. The ceremony honors people whoseachievements "cannot or should not be reproduced."The event was presented by The Annals of Improbable Research (which hasbeen described as "the MAD Magazine of science"). It was co-sponsoredby the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association and the HarvardComputer Society.The Winners:BIOLOGY: T. Yagyu and his colleagues from the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland, from Kansai Medical University in Osaka, Japan, and from Neuroscience Technology Research in Prague, Czech Republic, for measuring people's brainwave patterns while they chewed different flavors of gum. [Published as "Chewing gum flavor affects measures of global complexity of multichannel EEG," T. Yagyu, et al., "Neuropsychobiology," vol. 35, 1997
, pp. 46-50.]ENTOMOLOGY: Mark Hostetler of the University of Florida, for his scholarly book, "That Gunk on Your Car," which identifies the insect splats that appear on automobile window. [The book is published by Ten Speed Press.] [Dr. Hostetler traveled to Harvard to accept his Prize.]ASTRONOMY: Richard Hoagland of New Jersey, for identifying artificial features on the moon and on Mars, including a human face on Mars and ten-mile high buildings on the far side of the moon. [For details, see "The Monuments of Mars : A City on the Edge of Forever" by Richard C. Hoagland, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA,1996
.]COMMUNICATIONS: Sanford Wallace, president of Cyber Promotions of Philadelphia-- neither rain nor sleet nor dark of night have stayed this self-appointed courier from delivering electronic junk mail to all the world. Those wishing to send congratulatory notes can address them to: Cyber Promotions, 1255 Passmore St Philadelphia, PA 19111 USA.PHYSICS: John Bockris of Texas A&M University, for his wide- ranging achievements in cold fusion, in the transmutation of base elements into gold, and in the electrochemical incineration of domestic rubbish.LITERATURE: Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg of Israel, and Michael Drosnin of the United States, for their hairsplitting statistical discovery that the bible contains a secret, hidden code. [Witztum, Rips and Rosenberg,'s original research was published as"Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis," "Statistical Science," Vol. 9, No. 3, 1994, pp. 429- 38. Drosnin's popular book, "The Bible Code," was published by Simon & Schuster.]MEDICINE: Carl J. Charnetski and Francis X. Brennan, Jr. of Wilkes University, and James F. Harrison of Muzak Ltd. in Seattle, Washington, for their discovery that listening to elevator Muzak stimulates immunoblobulin A (IgA) production, and thus may help prevent the common cold.ECONOMICS: Akihiro Yokoi of Wiz Company in Chiba, Japan and Aki Maita of Bandai Company in Tokyo, the father and mother of Tamagotchi, for diverting millions of person-hours of work into the husbandry of virtual pets.PEACE: Harold Hillman of the University of Surrey, England for his lovingly rendered and ultimately peaceful report "The Possible Pain Experienced During Execution by Different Methods." [Published in "Perception 1993," vol 22, pp. 745-53.]METEOROLOGY: Bernard Vonnegut of the State University of Albany, for his revealing report, "Chicken Plucking as Measure of Tornado Wind Speed." [Published in "Weatherwise," October 1975, p. 217.] [Bernard Vonnegut passed away in the spring of 1997
. His son Peter came to the ceremony to accept the prize. A note of interest: Bernard was the older brother of novelist Kurt Vonnegut.] GOSWAMI TO SPEAK AT UHAmit Goswami, Professor or Physics at the University of Oregon andauthor of _The Self-Aware Universe_ will be giving the first lecture ina series of Vedanta lectures on "The Real and the Virtual" at theUniversity of Hawaii, Manoa, Department of Philosophy. His lecture,entitled "Physics Within Nondual Consciousness," is 2:30 pm Friday,October 17, in Sakamaki C-308.Goswami joins Fritjof Capra and others in finding a role for humanconsciousness in determining the nature of reality, using quantummechanics to support their contention. _Hawaii Rational Inquirer_editor Vic Stenger, whose own book _The Unconscious Quantum_ arguedagainst this interpretation, will comment following Goswami's talk.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 10 October 22, 1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.QUANTUM HONEYBEESIn the November issue of _Discover_ you can read about a mathematicianwho has made a quantum leap from honeybees to quarks.Barbara Shipman of the University of Rochester has fit the dance ofhoneybees to a two-dimensional projection of the six-dimensional "flagmanifold." Data indicate that the dance is sensitive to magnetic fieldvariations and that honeybees have magnetite in their abdomens. Shipmanis quoted as saying: "Ultimately, magnetism is described by quantumfields. . . . I think the physics of the bees' bodies, theirphysiology, must be constructed such that they're sensitive to quantumfields." Shipman notes that the flag manifold also comes into the geometry ofquarks and the bees "are doing something with quarks." She admits thatshe is taking a risk with such a far out proposal. But it got herpicture in _Discover_, and as Mae West (was it?) said, "There's no suchthing as bad publicity."Perhaps Shipman can next explain the weird patterns of teenagers on adisco dance floor. Surely top and bottom quarks play a role here.AND QUANTUM CONSCIOUSNESS AGAINLast Friday's speaker in the UH Philosophy department did not mentionquantum honeybees, but they are sure to fit nicely into his cosmology. According to Oregon physicist Amit Goswami, humans form part of acollective cosmic consciousness that collapses quantum wave functionsand creates reality. Forget about Copernicus. "We are the center of theuniverse," he said.Goswami was visiting UH under the auspices of the Infinity Foundation,which is considering Hawaii has a possible site for an institute for"consciousness physics." Your editor responded to Goswami'spresentation with his usual good nature, gained during his youth on thegentle streets of Bayonne, New Jersey.HIGH ENERGY MEDICINE. MUST BE QUANTUM QUARKS HERE TOOHere are a few of the presentations planned for a conference, "ThePsychology of Health, Immunity & Disease," Dec. 8-14, at the NationalInstitute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (thanksto Tom Wheeler):Intelligence Qi Gong: Life Energy of the Universe (Part One) (MarthaHoward, MD, Master Zheng Hong Chen, Gene Arbetter): "...willdemonstrate methods of concentration and movement in which theelectrochemical and electromagnetic energy of the body and mind will beassisted in functioning more vitally and efficiently..." (Part Two)"Energy is brought into the body and circulated through pathways knownas the acupuncture meridians...participants wil learn steps three,four, and five of a five-part 'energy collection' set of movements todisperse old energetic blockages and enhance the strength andcirculation of new, healthier patterns."The Somatic Integrity(R) Method (Suzanne Torrenzano, EdD, LPC): "TheSomatic Integrity(R) method is grounded in three primary somanticbeliefs: the individual is organized as a unified field, integrated andwhole; the body is a source of infinite wisdom and infinite healing;and, in order to heal, the individual must tap into this organicbody-wisdom with the conscious mind and activate the body/mind dialog. Participants will experience a direct hands-on experience of sensingenergy, learn to discern two energetic frequencies and engage indialogue that directly facilitates the process of inner awareness."Prayer and Healing: A Universal Approach to Physical, Emotional andSpiritual Healing (Rosemary Ellen Guiley): "...Rosemary will discusshow prayer postures facilitate the flow of energy through the body andchakras..."Electromagnetic Dysthymia: Energy Depletion and Energetic Paradigms forthe Twenty-First Century (C. Norman Shealy, MD, PhD): "Clinical resultssuggest that particular energetic circuits have a powerful impact uponhuman physiology and human health. These particular combinations ofacupuncture points do not exist in traditional acupuncture. In thisworkshop, Dr. Shealy will present the basic foundations for anexpanding concept of electromagnetic therapy that will focus on 12specific points of each energetic circuit and their implications forclinical and personal application. The specific modality foractivating the circuits will also be discussed."The LuMarian Method: New Techniques in Energy Medicine (ElizabethLawrence, MA): "The LuMarian method brings participants to deeperawareness of the source of energy which guides and heals. Used torelease worries, fears, and blocks to loving personal relationships andcreativity, it alleviates concerns about the future or the past withemphasis upon flowing in Divine Energy with purpose and guidance. Byintegrating a laying on of hands technique with centering prayer and afocus on the here and now, participants will uncover a clear channel tointentional living."Therapeutic Touch: Healing for Everyone and Everyone a Healer (JanetQuinn, RN, PhD): "...is guided by an expanding body of scientificresearch..."Intentional Healing: The Integration of Imagery and Energetic HealingPractices (Karen Kramer, PhD): "This session explores the history ofenergetic healing practices from ancient Egypt, China and Tibet to theuse of Reiki and Healing Touch in hospital settings today. Intent, theinfluence of the mind and its effect on physical systems will beexamined in ancient and modern energetic healing applications..."What Happens When We Wake Up Dead? Four Stages of the After DeathJourney (Sukie Miller, PhD): "Many questions about what happens as wedie and when we die have been answered, but there is an equallyimportant question: What happens after we die? In this experientialworkshop, Dr. Miller will discuss her eight year, world wide researchthat has lead (sic) to an understanding of four distinct stages of theafter death journey. Participants will experience an after deathsystem that is both informative and fun and will move toward a languageof the after death to facilitate their work with clients, colleaguesand friends."Remote Viewing, Psychic Spying and Precognition: Getting in Touch WithYour Non-Local Mind (Russell Targ): "What do the healer, the mystic,the psychic and the spy all have in common? They are all in touch withthe non-local mind or our community of spirit. During the 70's and80's, an investigation into remote viewing was conducted at theStanford Research Institute and was supported by the CIA for theacquisition of information regarding Soviet activities thousands ofmiles away...Mr. Targ, one of the two principle (sic) investigators,will discuss the results and findings of this recently declassifiedresearch and the success of the program that was supported by thegovernment for 20 years. The cold war is over but remote viewing hascrucial implications for us today. It supports the concept ofnon-local mind and is a useful skill that you can develop."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 11 October 31, 1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as long asit is not being done for profit and due credit is given.CHRISTIANS REDESIGN HALLOWEEN HAUNTED HOUSESome Christians have voiced their objections to the Halloweentradition, saying it promotes pagan or satanic notions of witches,ghosts, and goblins. This year, according to an AP story by RonHarris, 231 churches across the country have ordered the "Hell House"kit from Arvada, Colorado-based Abundant Life Christian Center."For $150, churches receive a 270-page manual on how to scare visitorsstraight to heaven by frightening them with images of sin. . . .Visitors walk through a dark hallway and into a room where a casketsits on a stage surrounded by cardboard flames, red lights and eeriewisps from a smoke machine. It is a mock funeral for a gay man deadfrom AIDS.""The group is then led to the 'abortion room,' where a young woman liesscreaming on a hospital bed, surrounded by red towels and medicalinstruments. A small TV shows videotaped footage of a real fetus insidea womb, until the last moment when doll parts are discarded into ametal bowl and the screen goes black.""In another room, a teen-age boy sitting in a room full of empty beerbottles and 'grunge' music posters commits a mock suicide,despondent over a lost girlfriend and a lack of communication withhis father," according to the AP story."Everything they see here in Hell House is the work of Lucifer'shand," said Pastor Scott Brooks of Harvest Church.MILLION MICROBES TO MARCH IN MARYLANDFrom the October issue of the The mini-Annals of ImprobableResearch:"We are proud to announce the Million Microbe March. On December29, 1997
, a crowd of one million microbes will converge onBethesda, Maryland. They will meet there on the lawn of theNational Institutes of Health, and spend the entire day expressingsolidarity, atonement, and genes.""This is NOT going to be a celebration of diversity. While itis true that microbes have participated in the Million Man March,the Million Woman March, the Promisekeepers' March, and otheranthropocentric marches, the Million Microbe March is just formicrobes.""There is a large spiritual aspect to the March. Too longhave too many denied the spiritual nature of the microbialcommunity. Too often have microbes been tormented or killedbecause otherwise compassionate beings denied the simple fact thatmicrobes have souls."CASSINI LAUNCHED AS PROTESTERS STAY HOME TO AVOID CONTAMINATIONFrom the October 31 issue of _What's New_, newsletter of theAmerican Physical Society:An article "No Free Launch" in The New Republic by Stephen Glass"points out that although NASA had braced for a massive turn out at theCape to protest the Cassini launch, few showed up. Was the protest abust? Not at all, anti-Cassini activist Ryan Hogan explained,protesters stayed away to avoid being showered with plutonium. 'Weshowed them how dangerous it is. At times the place was as empty as agraveyard. The experts say tens of thousands protested -- I'd saycloser to a hundred thousand stayed home.'"IS RELAXING BETTER FOR YOU THAN EXERCISE?That seemed to be the conclusion of a study from Duke Universityreported last week in the papers. Psychologist James Blumenthal divideda sample of 107 mostly white male heart patients into three groups.Forty received conventional medical care. Thirty-four were additionallyassigned to an exercise group. The final thirty-three went tostress-management sessions. After two to five years, 12 from the firstgroup, 7 from the exercise group, and 3 from the stress-managementgroup had additional heart trouble. Blumenthal called the results "striking." But, if you add up thetotal who had heart trouble and divide by three you get anexpectation of about seven by chance for each group, give astandard deviation of 2.7 or thereabouts. The first group is thushigh by only 1.8 standard deviations, the second group is asexpected from chance, and the third group is low by only 1.5standard deviations.This serves to illustrate the rather low standard of statisticalsignificance used in reporting psychological and medical studies. Italso helps explain why the public get so confused, and distrustful ofscience, when they read about one study, and then, a few monthslater, about another that claims the opposite conclusion. Randomfluctuations will always produce such effects.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 12 November 7, 1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as long asit is not being done for profit and due credit is given.NIH STICKS IT TO THE PUBLICWidely and uncritically reported in this week's press has been aNational Institutes of Health statement in support of acupuncture. The full statement can be found at: http://odp.od.nih.gov/consensus/statements/cdc/107/107_stmt.html. Itclaims that the results of acupuncture studies are "promising." Stillthe report admits that "biological effects of acupuncture have beenobserved when 'sham' acupuncture points are stimulated" and that theresults of the many studies which have been done are "equivocal." Inother words, the claimed efficacy is so far indistinguishable from theplacebo effect.This latest outburst of pseudoscience is the product of the disreputable NIH Office of Alternative Medicine. Despite explicitlyclaiming that it was prepared by a "nonadvocate, non-Federal panel ofexperts," alternative medicine advocates with a direct interest wereincluded on the panel. On the other hand, activists who work againsthealth fraud and other alternative medicine critics were excluded.During the three-day invited conference that led up to the report, nopapers giving the skeptical view were presented. According to Bob Parkof the American Physical Society, "When panelists criticized theWestern medical practice of relying on randomized, controlled clinicaltrials, the audience burst into applause."Thus the way is now cleared for acupuncture to be covered by healthinsurance, opening one more hole in the wall of separation betweenscience and sorcery.NEW JOURNAL TO EVALUATE ALTERNATIVE MEDICINEMaybe this will help to balance things, now that we cannot count on theUS government to enforce scientific standards:Prometheus Books and the Council for Scientific Medicine have justlaunched the Journal for the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, the only peer-reviewed medical journal devoted exclusively toobjectively evaluating the claims of alternative medicine. The Reviewhas been endorsed by over 50 prominent physicians and scientists,including 5 Nobel laureates."The new journal will consider each claim on its merits," says ReviewEditor Wallace Sampson, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, StanfordUniversity. "It will reject no claim because it fits, or fails to fit,some paradigm. It will simply seek justified answers to two questions:'Is it true?' and 'Does this treatment work?'"Topics covered in the first issue include homeopathy, therapeutictouch, the alleged anticancer cure hydrazine sulfate, chelationtherapy, alternative medicine proponent Andrew Weil, and more. Youreditor is one of the contributors, with a paper on "quantum quackery."A SHORT HISTORY OF MEDICINETo complete this all-medical issue, Harry Allacher provides a shorthistory of medicine: I have an earache... 2000 B.C. - Here, eat this root. 1000 A.D. - That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer. 1850 A.D. - That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion. 1940 A.D. - That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill. 1985 A.D. - That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic. 2000 A.D. - That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 13 November 14, 1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.NIH "CONSENSUS" STATEMENT ACUPUNCTURE CONDEMNEDLast week we reported on an NIH "Consensus Statement" that wasfavorable to acupuncture despite itself admitting that the experimentswere "equivocal." Here's what a few quack busters had to say: "Acupuncture is an unproven treatment. The best studies of acupunctureshow that it is no more effective than placebos(inactive treatments.) The NIH panel was conceived in all likelihood with an agenda to promotethe acceptance of acupuncture by the public, press, insurance plans,HMOs and Federal and state medical plans. . . . The 'consensus' was aconsensus of proponents, not a consensus of valid scientific opinion.The presentation of acupuncture for the conditions suggested by theconference is classic pseudoscience. It showed the promoters asideologically motivated instead of scientifically objective." --Dr.Wallace Sampson, M.D., Editor of the Scientific Review of AlternativeMedicine and Clinical Professor of Medicine at Stanford University."It is outrageous to suggest that insurance premiums rise in order toprovide for acupuncture visits. These conclusions do not fit withscience, rather they reflect the bias of the NIH panelists who wereselected by a planning committee dominated by acupuncture proponents."Dr. Stephen Barrett,M.D., head of Quackwatch, Inc."It is easy to reach a consensus when dissenters are systematicallyexcluded from the discussion. At this point I would have to say thatthe consensus report is seriously flawed because contrary andcautionary voices were not heard." Barry Beyerstein, Ph.D., Professorof Psychology at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia.THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF TRUTHIn response to several recent items, one reader wrote: "I get the sensethat you are confident about what has been legitimated as "science,"and . . . that you happily ignore the fact that this is the result of asocial and political struggle and not merely a struggle about ideasand methods."We neither ignore nor deny the role of social forces in shaping science.But the social reconstruction of science does not imply the socialreconstruction of truth. We can't see how any human good can come outof the sort of distortions and misrepresentation of facts such as havecome out of the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine.COURTS HITTING HARD AT RECOVERED MEMORY THERAPISTSSome items from the Associated Press:o A woman has reached a $10.6 million settlement with a hospital inChicago and two psychiatrists who, she said, brainwashed her intobelieving she was a satanic high priestess.o A Redwood, Calif. man was sentenced to life in prison in January1990 for a 1969 slaying based on the recovered memory of his adultdaughter who witnessed the crime. But the case was later thrown out onappeal.o A church in Missouri agreed in 1996
to pay $1 million to a woman whosaid a church counselor persuaded her to believe she had an abortionafter her being raped by her father - when in fact she was a virgin.o That same year, a judge reversed a $750,000 jury award to a women whoclaimed she had recovered memories of being sexually abused 33 yearsearlier.The Recovered Memory technique became widely used in the 1980s as a wayto coax evidence from the minds of victims that supposedly had beenrepressed. People were being sentenced to jail based on the testimonyof witnesses that, later investigation showed, was planted in theirminds by the therapists' leading questions.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 14 November 25, 1997
A newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.This and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. To add yourself to thedistribution list, simply send a message to vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu.Please give your name and location. To remove yourself from the list,reply with the message PLEASE REMOVE. You don't even have to sayPLEASE.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.NOBELISTS' OFFER TO HELP SET SCIENCE STANDARDS IS REJECTEDThe November 17 Los Angeles Times reports that the offer by three Nobellaureates and a team of 30 scientists and teachers to write, for free,standards for what California students should know in science has beenrejected. Instead the state commission gave the job to a group based atCal State San Bernardino--for $178,000.Most of that group's principal members are educators, not scientists.They earlier helped write the standards already used in some schoolsthat the scientists view as "dumbed-down." The San Bernardino-basedInstitute for Science is at the forefront of efforts to reform scienceeducation by making it less abstract, less about H2O and more aboutwater. The scientists worry that children won't be taught such basicsas how all substances are made up of molecules, and that molecules aremade up of atoms. Instead, the reformers would teach children that "bigthings are made up of small things," said Stan Metzenberg, a biologistat Cal State Northridge, who brought together the scientists to counterthe influence of what he saw as well-meaning but misguided educators.The scientist group included Nobel chemist Glenn Seaborg, 87, a formerchancellor of UC Berkeley and co-chair of the panel that wrote thelandmark 1983 report "A Nation at Risk." Seaborg said that schools havegotten even worse since then, He put part of the blame on attempts tobroaden the appeal of science without retaining its rigor." Educationalcontent is continually diluted in a failed effort to produce palatablebits of information for progressively less skilled students," Seaborgwrote. The scientists are appealing the decision.(Thanks to Norm Levitt)SENATOR HARKIN SEES THAT OAM GETS A FAT INCREASE IN ITS BUDGETBob Park reports that the FY 98 NIH appropriation raised the budget ofthe Office of Alternative (Quack) Medicine from $12M to $20M. Itsprimary supporter, Senator Tom Harkin, is also seeking to elevate it toa national center.WHILE SENATOR HATCH PROPOSES TO LIMIT FDAA Bill from Senator Orin Hatch will prohibit the FDA from classifyingvitamins, minerals, herbs, or any other "nutritional substance" as adrug, no matter the dose and no matter the health claims made for themby promoters. S2835 would also downgrade the standard of truth inassessing promotional claims made for such products from that of ascientific consensus to "scientific evidence, whether published orunpublished." Manufacturers would also be able to seek immediate courtreview of any FDA warning letters.If the Hatch Bill becomes law, the health food industry will be free tocall anything it pleases a "nutritional supplement" and be therebyentitled to make false claims with impunity so long as it continues toengage in its sham reliance on "scientific evidence." The passage ofS2835 would put an effective end to the FDA's irksome (from theindustry's point of view) consumer protection efforts in thisprofitable area, since such attempts could be tied up in the courtswhile business went on as usual for the supplement entrepreneurs. (Fromthe November 1997
issue of _Healthy Skepticism_,http://www.hcrc.org/contrib/gorski/nov1992.html)BUSY TV WEEK FOR SKEPTICS AND RATIONALISTS Several TV programs of interest to skeptics and rationalists werebroadcast in the past week:PBS showed a Scientific American Frontiers program hosted by Alan Aldathat contained restrainedly skeptical stories on palm reading, dowsing,UFOs, graphology, zero point energy, and therapeutic touch. The lastwas particularly good, showing how a 12-year old girl was able to testtherapeutic touch as a science fair project. She had touch therapistspoke their hands through holes in a screen and try to detect her handby the "living energy field" it emitted. The results were consistentwith chance.On Fox, the normally morbid shows "X-files" and "Millennium" eachfeatured a character named Jose Chung who writes "non-fiction sciencefiction" just for the money. In the "X-files" episode, a rerun, "men inblack" (including female agent Scully, whose red hair is too obviouslyphony) try to convince a UFO witness that he just saw the planet Venus.Is it a government cover up?On "Millennium," Chung narrates the tale of one Onan Gupta (called"Goopy" in his HS yearbook) who tried neurology, then philosophy, thenpulp-mystery writing, until he hit upon the Secrets of the Universe andfounded the "Selfosophy" movement. Chung's article attacking theorganization in _Playpen_ magazine starts off a chain of events,involving the accidental electrocution of a cult member byquasi-E-meter. It's all a parody of Scientology. Here's some dialogue:"The Selfosophists? Geez, Frank, we can't get messed up with them.""But the Millennium Group's dealt with worse. Murderers. Evil. Forcesof Darkness.""Yeah, but the Forces of Darkness don't _sue_." (Thanks to Brian Siano)And this was not all from Fox. On "The Simpsons," Lisa discovers theremains of an angel in an archeological dig. She gives a piece toStephen Jay Gould for analysis. The events that follow lead to ananti-science riot by the townspeople, who trash the museum of naturalhistory. Lisa remains skeptical, even after a message appears saying"the end will come at sundown." Everyone assumes that it means the endof the world is at hand, and gather around waiting for the end. Lisasits there calmly reading Scientific American.At sundown, nothing happens. Lisa has just started lecturing the crowdabout jumping to conclusions when the fossil rises in the air in ablaze of light and begins to speak. It says "the end is at hand...theend of high prices." Then it begins to "fly" away, and heads right forthe new shopping mall. We find that the whole thing was just apublicity stunt to publicize the mall opening. Lisa is outraged thatthe mall developers would prey on people's religious beliefs and pullsuch a stunt, but everyone is entranced by the new temple ofmaterialism, and they all rush down to "worship." Stephen J. Gouldwanders by and remarks that he never got around to testing the sample,then goes off to join the shoppers.(Thanks to Dave Palmer).

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 15 December 5, 1997
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Note: As of this issue, we have a new delivery system. A list namedhri-l has been installed on the University of Hawaii central computingsystem list processor. Subscriptions are open, but list members cannotreply or send messages to the list. As a subscriber to the HawaiiRational Inquirer, you will not be inundated by email but just receivenewsletter mailings and rare, short announcements from this list. To subscribe send the following message, with subject blank,to listproc@hawaii.edusubscribe hri-l email_address first_name last_name.To unsubscribe send:unsubscribe hri-lDo not use reply, nor send requests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.To contact the editor, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.FUTURE SCIENCE TO BE DONE WITHOUT SCIENTISTSLast issue we reported on the rejection of the offer by three Nobellaureates and a team of 30 scientists and teachers to write, for free,science standards for California schools. On the December 1 Op-Ed pageof the New York Times, biologist Paul R. Gross, co-author of _HigherSuperstition_, has this to say:"You would think that the education establishment would not be sodismissive, given the well-known test results in science for Americanchildren compared with students in other countries."But many education professionals do not put much store in such tests,which assume that there are right and wrong answers. Instead, theybelieve that objectivity is impossible--that there is no 'knowledge.'only 'knowledges.' Knowledges, they argue, are cultural constructs. Soscientific knowledge is no better than any other belief system. Hencesocial forces and interactions, not 'correct answers,' matter the mostin education."AS THE HUMANITIES DESCEND INTO TRIVIALITYIf educators like those in California have their way, you can expectacademic science to soon follow the direction that has been taken inthe humanities. In _Literature Lost: Social Agenda and the Corruptionof the Humanities_ from Yale University Press, John Ellis writes thatthere has been "a startling decline in the intellectual quality of workin the humanities and a descent to triviality and irrelevance thatamounts to a betrayal of the university."AN ELVIS SCHOLAR TAKES OVER THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIESPunctuating this point, the new chair of the National Endowment for theHumanities is William R. Ferris, director for the Center for the Studyof Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. In 1995, thecenter sponsored the first of two international conferences on ElvisPresley that included Elvis impersonators on the program, along withscholars. Conference organizer Vernon Chadwick told the New York Timesthat by including "ordinary people" in a scholarly conference, we areserving the highest aim of academia, the search for truth." Ferris'snomination was approved by the Senate without a hearing. (Excerptedfrom _NAS...UPDATE, Fall 1997
).WHILE HIGH-TECH JOBS GOING BEGGINGIn the meantime, Newsweek reports that 190,000 high-tech (nerd) jobsin the U.S. are now vacant. The Department of Commerce estimates thatthe U.S. will need a million more information technology workers by2005. Software companies are even going to the high schools seeking outteenage hackers (mostly self-taught, of course). Yet the number ofgraduates in computer science and electrical engineering dropped from42,000 in 1986 to 24,000 in 1994. No reason was given for the fall-off,but either fewer students are enrolling in these programs, or† fewerare getting through them, or both. Maybe they are just too tough, toobinary (right or wrong) in their methods.AND BUDDHISM BECOMES THE TECHNOLOGY OF HAPPINESSAccording to the Skeptical Inquirer Electronic Digest, the May issueof "Self" magazine had this to say about Buddhism in the modern age:"Since Buddhism is viewed by many as an effective substitute forpsychotherapy, it has grown in popularity. Buddhism is also describedas more a science than a religion. 'Buddhism is being introduced inthe West as a technology for happiness, not a religion. As such, it'sperfect for seekers in a rational, skeptical age. The Dalai Lama haseven come out with a videotape entitled Secular Meditation.' No mentionwas made of the link to quantum consciousness.AND DILBERT CYNICISM IS CALLED FATALIn the December Dilbert Newsletter, Scott Adams responds to a charge hesays was made in a recent Chicago Tribune article that "Dilbert-likeattitudes" have been found to increase illness. He suggested acontrolled study using monkeys in which The Family Circus is used as aplacebo."I have this image in my mind of two groups of monkeys -- one groupreading Dilbert and the other group reading Family Circus. TheDilbert-reading monkeys clutch their chests and fall dead. The FamilyCircus monkeys show no change except an increased glucose reading."Now, why can't the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine think ofexperiments like this?

HAWAII R-A-T-I-O-N-A-L I-N-Q-U-I-R-E-R Vol. 3 No. 16 January 2, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.To subscribe send the following message, with subject blank,to listproc@hawaii.edusubscribe hri-l first_name last_name.To unsubscribe send:unsubscribe hri-lDo not use reply, nor send requests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.To contact the editor, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.INTELLIGENT DESIGN: THE NEW CREATIONISMDarwin's concept that life evolved naturally remains the greatestthreat to religion. Creationists have been largely unsuccessful intheir attempts to eliminate, or at least water down, the teaching ofevolution in schools by arguing that evolution is "just a theory" and"creation science" should have equal time. Now that have hit upon a newline of attack called "intelligent design." The new creationists arenot just limiting their efforts to biology, but are focussing onphysics and cosmology as well. The claim is that modern physics andcosmology are converging on the religious view of a created universe. Central to this claim are the so-called "anthropic coincidences" inwhich the constants of physics are said to be fine-tuned for theproduction of life. Your editor has written a simple program,MonkeyGod, Java executable at www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/monkey.html,that enables you to vary the most important constants all you want andsee what kind of universe develops. The universes thus "created" areweird by our standards, but most still contain stars that live longenough for some kind of life to evolve. The logical fallacy committed by the new creationists is that ourcarbon-based life is the only kind possible. As computer simulationsare now showing, life and mind are pretty much platform-independent.Millionaire Charles Templeton is heavily bankrolling college facultywho will promote intelligent design. These are not just faculty inBible colleges, but mainsteam secular campuses across the countryincluding the University of Hawaii. This is being done with the sanctionof the campus administrations. It's money, after all.The intelligent designers have won their first major victory. TheDecember 21 New York Times reported: "In a startling about-face, the National Association of BiologyTeachers, which had long stood firm against religious fundamentalistswho insisted that creationism be taught in public schools, recentlyexcised two key words from its platform on teaching evolution.'The diversity of life on earth,' the group's platform used toread, 'is the outcome of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal,unpredictable, and natural process.' Now the crucial words'unsupervised' and 'impersonal' have been dropped. The revision isclearly designed to allow for the possibility that a Master Handwas at the helm."HOW TO USE THE PLACEBO EFFECTThe success of many forms of alternative medicine, such as acupuncture,can be explained by the placebo effect. In the January ScientificAmerican, Walter A. Brown suggests how conventional medicine might makeuse of the effect, thus saving the patient an d insurance companies theexcessive charges made by alternative practitioners who really do nothingdifferent: "A doctor could explain the situation to a [high blood pressure] patient in the following manner: 'You have several options. One is totake a diuretic. It will probably bring your blood pressure down, butit does have some side effects. There are also other treatments thatare less expensive and are less likely to cause side effects and thathelp many people with your condition. Some find that herbal tea twicea day is helpful; others find that taking these pills twice a day ishelpful. These pills do not contain any drug. We do not know how theherbal tea or these pills work. They may trigger or stimulate yourbody's own healing process. We do know that about 20 percent of thepeople with your type of high blood pressure get their blood pressureinto the normal range using this approach. If you decide to try one ofthese treatments, I will check your progress every two weeks. If aftersix weeks your blood pressure is still high, we should consider thediuretic.'" THE TALE OF THE PSYCHIC DOGSteven Shaw has distributed the following story:An elderly English lady with several pets called the phone company tosay that her telephone failed to ring when her friends called; and thaton the few occasions when it did ring her dog always barked first. Therepairman proceeded to the scene, curious to see this psychic dog. Heclimbed a nearby telephone pole, hooked in his test set, and dialed thesubscriber's house. The phone didn't ring. He tried again. The dogbarked loudly, followed by a ringing telephone. Climbing down from thepole, the repair man found: a. A dog was tied to the telephone system's ground post via an ironchain and collar. b. The dog was receiving 90 volts. c. After several such jolts, the dog would start barking and urinatingon the ground. d. The wet ground now completed the circuit and the phone would ring.

HAWAII R-A-T-I-O-N-A-L I-N-Q-U-I-R-E-R Vol. 3 No. 17 January 15, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.To subscribe send the following message, with subject blank,to listproc@hawaii.edusubscribe hri-l first_name last_name.To unsubscribe send:unsubscribe hri-lDo not use reply, nor send requests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.To contact the editor, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.INTELLIGENT DECISION?Last issue we reported that the National Association of BiologyTeachers had changed its platform to exclude the adjectives"unsupervised" and "impersonal" in its statement about evolution. Wecalled this a victory for the religiously-motivated proponents of the"intelligent design" theory of creation.Reader M. Kim Johnson urges us to read the entire NABT statement, whichcan be found at www.nabt.org/Evolution.html. It is highly supportive ofevolution. Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center forScience Education, reports that the change was made to avoid teachersbeing faced with the choice between religion and evolution, which theprevious statement seemed to demand. Eugenie's report can be found atwww.natcenscied.org/nabtart.htm.PSYCHIC DOG AN URBAN LEGENDReader Tad Cook reacted to our story about the psychic dog. Apparentlyit is an urban legend very familiar to people who have worked for phonecompanies. It was once used as part of the training of linemen, toemphasize the importance of proper grounding.ST. PETERSBURG NEW PARANORMAL CENTERTad assures me that the following is a true urban legend in the making.In the January 13 Wall Street Journal, Neil King Jr, reports about St.Petersburg, Russia:"This city of poets and crackpots, of Pushkin and Rasputin, has waltzedon the mystic fringe since its earliest days.Stern-minded Soviets made the city a hothouse of science andlearning, but that's now fast on the ebb. Its academies havewithered, its scientists gone begging. The place is returning tothe ether of old.Mediums and psychics and holy crazies abound, just as they did inthe tumultuous finale to the Romanov age. It has a UfologySociety to chronicle alien sightings and a Scientific ResearchInstitute of Karma to soothe a person's aura. Classified sectionsbulge with every service for the soul and psyche under the moon."NASA APOLOGIZES TO NAVAJOSRon Ebert sent along an item from the January 13 Arizona Daily Star.NASA's Lunar Prospector spacecraft that is now orbiting the mooncontains an ounce of the cremated remains of renowned planetaryscientist Gene Shoemaker. Navajo President Albert Hale says he was"appalled and upset" when he found out. According to Navajo belief, themoon regulates life cycles and human remains would desecrate it. NASAhas apologized and promised to be more sensitive in the future.MARTIAN METEORITE MATERIAL MUNDANEDave Palmer sent this press release from Scripps, dated January 15:Organic material contained in a meteorite heralded as bearing signs ofprevious life on Mars is actually from Earth. Scientists at UCSD'sScripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Arizona inTucson report in two separate papers in the Jan. 16 issue of Sciencethat the potato-sized rock was contaminated by the surroundingAntarctic ice in which it was found. The scientists are the first topublish results of tests of organic material contained in themeteorite, named Allan Hills 84001 (ALH84001), since research teams atNASA's Johnson Space Center and Stanford University announced theirresults in August, 1996
.

HAWAII R-A-T-I-O-N-A-L I-N-Q-U-I-R-E-R Vol. 3 No. 18 January 22, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.To subscribe send the following message, with subject blank,to listproc@hawaii.edusubscribe hri-l first_name last_name.To unsubscribe send:unsubscribe hri-lDo not use reply, nor send requests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.To contact the editor, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.UPN "ALIEN ABDUCTION" FILM A PHONY In the January 21 Skeptic Mag Hotline <skeptic-admin@lyris.net>,Skeptics Society president Michael Shermer reports:"Many of you probably saw, or saw advertised, the "alien abduction"film aired on UPN (a rapidly-growing competitor for Fox) Tuesday night,January 20, that featured long-time UFOlogist Stan Friedman, UFOabduction hypnotist Yvonne Smith, some abductees, other "experts," andyours truly as the lone skeptic. The film was a fake, of course, andthe UPN folks knew this in advance. The give-away was the credits atthe end that listed the actors (if you can call them that) who"starred" in the video. I especially enjoyed the mother who ran outsideto see the aliens for herself, wine glass in hand! Most of the guestfilming was done at the producer's home in Studio City. We were to lookinto the camera instead of at her asking the questions, and theyintentionally had no host for the show. None of us were shown the videoin advance and, in fact, I was told that the film was just an excuse todo a show on alien abductions. None of the people I talked to whoworked on the production (the aired program, that is, not the video)believed the video was real. In fact, they told me it was really,really bad, and seemed amused about the whole thing."WASHINGTON LEGISLATORS WANT TEXTBOOK DISCLAIMER ON EVOLUTIONMolleen Matsumura, Network Project Director for the National Center forScience Education <molleen@natcenscied.org> has sent around a copy ofSENATE BILL 6394 submitted to the State of Washington 55th Legislature."A new section is added to chapter 28A.150 RCW to read as follows: Allscience textbooks purchased with state moneys must have the followingnotice placed prominently in them. A MESSAGE FROM THE WASHINGTON STATE LEGISLATURE This textbook discussesevolution, a controversial theory some scientists present as ascientific explanation for the origin of living things, such as plants,animals, and humans. No one was present when life first appeared onearth. Therefore, any statement about life's origins should beconsidered as theory, not fact. The word "evolution" may refer to manytypes of change. Evolution describes changes that occur within aspecies. (White moths, for example, may "evolve" into gray moths.) This process is microevolution, which can be observed and described asfact. Evolution may also refer to the change of one living thing toanother, such as reptiles into birds. This process, calledmacroevolution, has never been observed and should be considered atheory. Evolution also refers to the unproven belief that random,undirected forces produced a world of living things. There are manyunanswered questions about the origin of life which are not mentionedin your textbook, including: Why did the major groups of animalssuddenly appear in the fossil record (known as the "CambrianExplosion")? Why have no new major groups of living things appeared inthe fossil record for a long time? Why do major groups of plants andanimals have no transitional forms in the fossil record? How did youand all living things come to possess such a complete and complex setof "Instructions" for building a living body? Study hard and keep anopen mind. Someday, you may contribute to the theories of how livingthings appeared on earth."STEVE ALLEN STILL CAN THINK FASTAT 76, the old comedian and song writer hasn't lost his touch.According to an LA Times story by Josh Getlin, Allen appeared on arecent program of the TV show "Politically Incorrect." Host Bill Mahersaid: "I believe in ghosts, I believe in astronumerology. Does thatmake me stupid?" Steve's answer: "Yes."OXFORD RUMORThe latest White House sex scandal prompts even a comment from thisnewsletter. A Rational approach to the subject would focus on thephysical evidence. What could that evidence be? Well, we do not knowfor sure but can speculate on the type of evidence that could settlethe matter. For example, your editor happened to visit Oxford duringthe Viet Nam era and heard a rumor. Now this was only a rumor, mindyou, and it is mentioned only as a for-instance. Anyway, what he heardwas that a young student from Arkansas had the following words tattooedon his member: "Make Love Not War."

HAWAII R-A-T-I-O-N-A-L I-N-Q-U-I-R-E-R Vol. 3 No. 19 February 9, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.To subscribe send the following message, with subject blank,to listproc@hawaii.edusubscribe hri-l first_name last_name.To unsubscribe send:unsubscribe hri-lDo not use reply, nor send requests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.To contact the editor, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.THE SPECTER OF LEFT CONSERVATISMBen Avery found this item in the Egghead section at Slate magazine, atwww.slate.com:On Jan. 31, heavy-hitting literary theorists, including Judith Butler of the University of California at Berkeley and Jonathan Arac and PaulBovi of the University of Pittsburgh, convened to explore thepreviously unrecognized right-wing affinities of such thinkers asNation political columnist Katha Pollitt, feminist _Time_ columnistBarbara Ehrenreich, and New York University physicist Alan Sokal.(Sokal is the author of a parody of science-studies scholarship thatwas unwittingly published as serious scholarship by the postmodernistjournal _Social Text_)."A specter is haunting U.S. intellectual life: the specter of LeftConservatism," explains the flyer advertising the workshop, which washeld at the University of California at Santa Cruz. "We can see in thework of some of the writers listed above, ... claims for a certainkind of empiricism, for common sense, for linguistic transparency.""Left Conservatives" are also guilty of "an attempt atconsensus-building ... that is founded on notions of the real."How outrageous! Trying to build a consensus on empiricism, commonsense, linguistic transparency, and notions of the real.COLLUSION CORRUPTS SCIENTIFIC PROCESS, SAYS AUTHORSome quotations from _Science_ by S. Fuller 1997
, Buckingham: OpenUniversity Press"[p.10] "..I believe that most of what non-scientists need to know in order to make informed public judgements about science falls underthe rubric of history, philosophy, and sociology of science, ratherthan the technical content of scientific subjects."[p.16] "One explanation for this marked difference in the fates of biology and psychology is that 'real' scientists possess a special mental faculty, traditionally called intellectual intuition, that enables them to penetrate a deeper order beneath the surface chaos of empirical observations.... 'But an equally viable explanation for these mental achievements is that physicists are not as scrupulousas, say, psychologists in accounting for the data generated by a bodyof experimental work."[p.18] "Finally, we must ask whether collusion in the various branches of a science, such as physics, somehow corrupts the entire scientific enterprise. At the very least, scientists can be charged with hyperbole in the import that they assign to their agreements(which is no doubt useful in securing continued funding)... Muchdepends on whether one can draw a line between fruitful collaborationand sinister collusion, and whether scientists turn out to fall on theright side of the line."(Thanks to Norm Levitt and Ian Pitchford.)PSYCHIC FRIENDS FAIL TO FORESEE BANKRUPTCYAn AP post of Feb. 5 reports that Inphomation Communication Inc.,which operates the Psychic Friends Network, has filed for Chapter 11bankruptcy protection.Founded in 1990, Inphomation pioneered the use of "900" number phonelines, where customers pay by the minute, and backed them withinfomercials and a network of about 2,000 self-described psychics.The Psychic Friends Network has used singer Dionne Warwick asthe hostess on its 30-minute infomercials.Inphomation had estimated revenue of $100 million to $125 million inthe early 1990s.Steve Dworman, publisher of Infomercial Marketing Report in LosAngeles, estimated that Inphomation's revenue has plunged to between$25 million and $30 million in the last two years.UFO CANDIDATE EMERGES IN ARIZONAFrom SkeptInq@aol.com, Feb. 9: PHOENIX, AZ-- Former Phoenix city councilwoman Emma Barwood may bethe first UFO candidate in American political history. Barwood saysthat if elected Arizona secretary of state she will demand anexplanation for any UFOs sighted over Arizona. Barwood emerged on theUFO scene following a March 13 incident of strange lights in theArizona skies that prompted calls from across the state. She wasquoted in national news reports demanding an investigation from stateand federal officials. ELECTRONIC PIZZA GOES QUANTUM MYSTICAL"Electronic Pizza" was founded in 1984 to provide an informal monthlyforum for Hawaii engineers, computer programmers, networkadministrators, entrepreneurs, an others to learn about the latestelectronic technologies.The speaker on Feb. 10 is Ron Pacholec, a management consultant with aPh.D in Theoretical Physics from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford. Hewill describe recent developments in Quantum Physics, "explaining howtheories that human thought can influence the behavior ofmicroelectronic and macroscopic devices have been experimentallyverified and its implications on the way we manage business and lifesituations."When and Where:6:00 PM on Tuesday, February 102800 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822Second Floor Conference RoomAND UH PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENT CONTINUES ITS QUANTUM SERIESIt seems this is quantum mysticism week at the University of Hawaii.We previously reported on the Vedanta Series of lectures at the UHManoa Philosophy Department, sponsored by the Infinity Foundation.Lecture I was by quantum mystic physicist Amit Goswami. Lecture II isthis Friday the 13th at 2:30 PM in Sakamaki C-308. The speaker is awell-regarded philosopher, J. N. Mohanty of Emory University. His talkis entitled "Consciousness, Indian Philosophy, and ContemporaryPhysics: Prospects and Problems. From the abstract:"Does contemporary physics promote an idealistic world-view? We arecertainly led to reject a familiar realism and to revise our conceptof objectivity. We are, possibly, led to give up the traditionaldistinction between subject and object . . . The truth of physicsdoes not entail a non-dualistic theory like that of the Vedanta."PHYSICIST BUILDS LOVEMETERFinally, the UH student newspaper Ka Leo has asked your editor todefine love for Friday's Valentine's Day issue. Here's what hesubmitted:In physics, a concept is not meaningful unless it can be measured.Time is what you measure on a clock. Temperature is what you measureon a thermometer. How would we build a lovemeter that allows forreplicable measurements of love? How could we test whether a physicistreally loves his wife or girl friend? We would place the two inseparate, isolated chambers and provide just enough food and water foronly one to survive. When the physicist gives all his food and waterto his sweetheart, then that would be a true, measurable test of hislove.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 20 February 20, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.To subscribe send the following message, with subject blank,to listproc@hawaii.edusubscribe hri-l first_name last_name.To unsubscribe send:unsubscribe hri-lDo not use reply, nor send requests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.To contact the editor, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.CLINTON, THE ALPHA MALE, THE EXISTENCE OF GOD, AND WHY THE TESTES ARE OUTSIDE THE BODYThis is going to take some explaining. In the Feb. 9 _New Yorker_, MITpsychologist Steven Pinker provided an evolutionary explanation for whyfamous men gamble their reputations, their careers, and their marriageson reckless sexual encounters. He says "A prehistoric man who sleptwith fifty women could have sired fifty children, and would be morelikely to have descendants who inherited his tastes. A women who sleptwith fifty men would have no more descendants than a woman who sleptwith one. Thus men should seek quantity in sexual partners, womenquality." Pinker goes on to explain that your average Joe does not havethe opportunity for fifty different women a year, and so has tosuppress this drive. Powerful men, on the other hand, have theopportunity and can't resist it.In his short comment, Pinker does not carry his argument to its logicalconclusion. Human societies should eventually be dominated, as are manyanimal societies, by the "alpha" male, the biggest, strongest, andsmartest who passes on his DNA while the rest of the males slink offin the background.And this, believe it or not, brings us to the anthropic principle.This has become the latest argument by theologians for the existence ofGod. It seems the universe had to be exquisitely tuned to make itpossible for our form of life to evolve. Slight variations if the massof the proton, the strength of the electromagnetic force, and otherphysical parameters would have lead to a universe far different fromours and certainly no human life. Thus, the anthropic theologians say,there had to be a creator to choose the exact laws and parameters ofphysics to produce life. They do not say who created this finely-tunedcreator.Of course, the logical flaw in this argument is that we have no ideawhat other combinations of laws and constants would produce some formof life. Load http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/monkey.html from yourweb browser to create your own universe and see that life may not be asunlikely as it seems.Now, what does this have to do with Clinton and the alpha male? OneInternet wag who called himself "The Gus" has proposed an anthropicargument for why male testicles are outside the body. You would thinkthey would be much safer someplace inside, where they would be bettershielded from the swinging swords of the battlefield. This is somethingyour editor has been meaning to ask his urologist, but he doubts thatvery capable physician has given the matter much thought.The anthropic argument, in somewhat modified form, goes something likethis: In animal husbandry, it is necessary to castrate the majority ofmales so that the best DNA gets passed on succeeding generations.Similarly, sultans and kings always needed a large supply of eunuchs tocarry on the business of the palace without any danger of spreadingtheir inferior DNA around and producing illegitimate heirs. The processof castration would be far more dangerous, if not impossible, had thetesticles been inside the body. And so, in order for human societies tothrive, men have to expose them both. This also explains the "flasher"phenomenon too, don't you see?Someday, in the inevitable future when the females of the human speciesfinally take control of society, they will only need to keep a fewalpha males around, like Bill Clinton and your editor. As for the restof you guys, watch out for that lady with the knife! Actually, womenmay not need us alphas either, once they are able to scramble their ownDNA and re-implant it back into their eggs. Surely this is not muchbeyond current technology.POSTMODERN PSYCHIATRYIan Pitchford reports from the University of Sheffield thatpostmodernism is already firmly entrenched within medical research: "For example, my department is a branch of the department of psychiatryand therefore part of the University of Sheffield Medical School. Our'research methods' course outlines the research that one mightundertake in studying psychiatry: theoretical, qualitative,quantitative, and emancipatory. The theoretical approaches include:Jurgen Habermas and the colonization of the public sphere, discourseanalysis (rooted in the strong version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis),textual analysis (Lacan and Derrida), and the psychoanalytic casestudy. Needless to stay statistics, biomedicine and psychology arenot mentioned as viable approaches - these positivistic disciplinesare 'constituted by discourses of power', they 'privilege rationality'and form part of the state's apparatus for controlling and suppressingdissent and 'challenging behaviours'.He adds: "I would say that the majority of people in my department,including some of the medics, consider mental illness to be a social construction having nothing to do with the brain as such."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 21 February 26, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.To subscribe send the following message, with subject blank,to listproc@hawaii.edusubscribe hri-l first_name last_name.To unsubscribe send:unsubscribe hri-lDo not use reply, nor send requests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.To contact the editor, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.NURTURING FRESHMENThe University of Hawaii Manoa Faculty Senate Ad Hoc Committee on theUndergraduate Experience recently made recommendations that theuniversity adopt programs to "enhance the quality of academic life forfreshman and sophomores." They asserted that "Manoa does noteffectively and systematically mentor incoming first-timefreshman, nurturing their connection to our academic community."Eighteen year olds can vote and fight wars, but they have to be"nurtured" like children on a university campus? The committee wasconcerned "with the cultural gulf separating many Manoa faculty frommany first-time freshman from Hawaii." The Marine Corps has the sameproblem with the cultural gulf between its recruits and drillinstructors. College freshman could undoubtedly use some of that kindof nurturing, or the kind given on that first job in the real world.But this is not what the committee apparently had in mind.Mainland campuses already have considerable experience with freshmanorientation programs. In an article "College 101: A Dubious Remedy forDropouts" the Winter 1997
-98 issue of _Academic Questions_, Paul Marenowrites that "the idea of the freshman seminar, inflated into the"Freshman Year Experience," has fallen captive to the ideologies andmethods that promise further to undermine the academic mission ofhigher education."The perfunctory summer orientation weekends have been replaced bycourses with names like College 101, where students can get an A-Fgrade (most often A) for learning basic skills like time management andnote-taking. Mareno observes: "Rather than helping students make atransition from high school to college, the FYE instead extends highschool, using the same sort of content-free self-esteem boosting, gameplaying that renders so many American eighteen-year-olds unprepared forcollege."He adds: "The best thing for freshmen would be honest admissionsstandards, a genuine curriculum, and a return to the idea of auniversity as a place where intellectual excellence is pursued."The Freshman Year Experience programs are part of a more serious crisisin American Higher Education. The best qualified students are becomingincreasingly drawn to a small number of top-rank, prestige schools,leaving the remaining institutions to cope with huge masses of incomingstudents woefully underprepared for college work. Dropout rates are onethird to one half during the first two years in these institutions, andthey are having to answer for this to parents and politicians. Theresult is further lowering of standards to keep up enrollments andbudgets.Mareno concludes: American educators are loath to admit that they areadmitting too many students to college, as American democracy isreluctant to admit that education is not the answer to all humanproblems."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 23 March 14, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaiiand international academic communities.To subscribe send the following message, with subject blank, tolistproc@hawaii.edusubscribe hri-l first_name last_name.To unsubscribe send:unsubscribe hri-lDo not send requests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.NOTE: The following is a new policy:If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu. Yourmessage may be edited before re-transmittal, but content will not bechanged.To contact the editor privately, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as long asit is not being done for profit and due credit is given.THE SOFTNESS OF SOFTWARE EMPLOYMENTWe have joked about the poor job prospects for cultural studies majorscompared to those majoring in computer science. But hackers' long-termprospects are not so rosy either. According to UC Davis computer scientistNorman Matloff, as reported in the March 16 _US News_, the industry is onlyinterested in youngsters and foreigners who are willing to work long hoursrelatively cheaply. Mature, highly experienced programmers are having ahard time finding work. The industry does not want people who go home atfive o'clock to be with their families. The extremely high salaries onehears about are rare and apply to the few exceptionally talented peoplethat companies try to hire away from each other.Matloff's contention is disputed by Harris Miller, president of InformationTechnologies Associates which estimates that 360,000 "core" jobs are vacantwhile demand is increasing at the rate of 100,000 jobs a year. Still,computer science majors would do well to learn some other basic skills,like fixing hardware, so that they have something to fall back on when theyare older and unwanted.SCHOOLS BLAMED FOR POOR U.S. SHOWING IN MATH, SCIENCEUS students rank near the bottom in math skills and at the bottom inphysics, according to a recent survey of 21 nations that did not eveninclude Asian nations. In the March 19 _US News_, columnist John Leo gavehis take on why. He notes that it cannot be solely the a result ofdemocratization of education, since even students from the top of theeconomic ladder do relatively poorly. It has to be the fault of theschools themselves, where one third of math teachers and half of physicsteachers did not major in these subjects. Leo remarks: "Largely because of the culture of teachers' colleges, ourpublic eduction is pervaded by social attitudes that work againstachievement. One is the heavy emphasis on feelings, subjectivity, andself-esteem at the expense of actual learning and thinking."One popular textbook, _Secondary Math: an Integrated Approach_ "talks aboutthe rain forest, Maya Angelou's poetry, and student feelings about zoos butdoes not get around to solving its first linear equation until Page 218."THE SINISTER VOGUE OF SCIENTIFIC CORRECTNESSFrench intellectuals have been at the forefront of the postmodern movement.A recent book by American physicist Alan Sokal (the guy who hoaxed _SocialText_) and Belgian Jean Bricmont attempts to deconstruct thedeconstructionists. They dispute the assumption that these thinkers aredeep because their writings are so difficult. "If they seemincomprehensible, it is for the very good reason that they have nothing tosay," write Sokal and Bricmont. "They talk abundantly of scientifictheories of which they have, at best, a very vague understanding. Theydisplay a superficial erudition by throwing words at the reader in acontext where they have no relevance. They demonstrate a veritableintoxication with words, combined with a superb indifference to theirmeaning."As an example, they quote Jacques Lacan: "The erect male organ, not asitself, not even as image, but as the missing piece of the desired image,is thus equal to the square root of -1 of the highest produced meaning."The Left Bank has struck back at Sokal and Bricmont. Writer Roger-PolDroit sees the broadside as part of a sinister new vogue for "scientific,as opposed to political, correctness." Heaven forbid scientificcorrectness!(Original source: Jon Henley. _The Guardian_, London, Oct. 1, 1997
).IS HISTORY DEAD?A recent book by Australian historian Keith Windschuttle, _The Killing ofHistory: How a Discipline is Being Murdered by Literary Critics and SocialTheorists_ (New York: Free Press, 1997
) laments the demise of history as atruth-seeking intellectual discipline. Windschuttle writes that "there isno fundamental distinction any more between history and myth."One example he gives is Tzvetan Todorov's _Conquest of America_ (1982)which proclaims the European colonization of the Americas as "the greatestgenocide in human history." Windschuttle counters that most native deathswere caused by disease which cannot fairly be called "genocide" since thiscould not have been intentional in the days before the germ theory ofdisease.The new methodologies, Windschuttle says, do not require the painstakingeffort that once characterized historical scholarship. "Instead, all youneed do is take a small selection of the more prominent and familiarauthors, label them in terms used by the currently fashionable theoreticalguru, add some linguistic speculations about the textuality of everything,and then wait for the self-same guru or his acolytes to recognize yourgenius and lavish you with hyperbole."(From a review by Wilfred M. McClay in _Academic Questions, Winter 1997
-98).LEFT JOINS RIGHT TO BATTLE AGAINST DARWINISMEveryone knows that the religious right oppose Darwinism because they thinkit is atheistic. In a commentary in the March _Discover_, Dukeanthropologist Matt Cartmill tells us that the "academic left" also opposeDarwinism because it promotes capitalist oppression.According to Cartmill, the left view science as seeking totalitariancontrol over our lives and thoughts. Biochemistry is particularly suspect,promoting, according to philosopher Jean Baudrillard, "the ideal socialorder ruled by a sort of genetic code of macromolecular calculation . . .irradiating the social body with its operational circuits." Baudrillardadds: "Schemes of control have become fantastically perfected . . . to aneocapitalist order that aims now at total control. . . . It remains to beseen if this operationality is not itself a myth, if DNA is not also amyth."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 24 March 28, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaiiand international academic communities.To subscribe send the following message, with subject blank, tolistproc@hawaii.edusubscribe hri-l first_name last_name.To unsubscribe send:unsubscribe hri-lDo not send requests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.NOTE: The following is a new policy:If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu. The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the list and to edit them as appropriate before re-transmittal.To contact the editor privately, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as long asit is not being done for profit and due credit is given.THERAPEUTIC TOUCH FAILS TO DETECT "HUMAN ENERGY FIELDS"An 11-year old girl showed it in a Science Fair project: Therapeutic touchdoes not work. That fact is now confirmed by professional studies,reported in the April 1 (no fool) issue of The Journal of the AmericanMedical Association (JAMA). "TT" is yet another of the so-called alternative treatments, fromacupuncture to quantum healing, that are based on the ancient superstitionthat some vital force, some "bioenergetic field," permeates living things. Of course, no evidence for a vital force has ever been found. Still,quacks feed off ignorance, associating the well-understood electromagneticfields, which are present wherever there are electrical charges andcurrents, with magical, spirit-like fields that they will be only toohappy to adjust for you. Just get your HMO to cover it.Incredibly, therapeutic touch is taught in more than 100 colleges anduniversities in 75 countries and is used by nurses in at least 80hospitals in North America, including at least one in Honolulu. "The researchers found that experienced therapeutic touch practitionerswere unable to detect the investigator's 'energy field.' Their failure tosubstantiate therapeutic touch's most fundamental claim is unrefutedevidence that the claims of therapeutic touch are groundless and thatfurther professional use is unjustified," according to the JAMA article. HOMEOPATHY FOR HORSESOther examples of energy quackery, and physics ignorance, are not hard tofind. In a chapter on "bioenergetic medicine" in a book on veterinarymedicine, Joanne Stefanatos tells us how "Einstein's quantum modelreplaced the Newtonian mechanistic model of humankind and the universe."Never mind that Einstein did not invent quantum mechanics and alwaysopposed quantum indeterminism, saying "God does not play dice." Stefanatos says that "the physics of magnetoelectric energy, predicted byEinstein's equations, holds the key to deciphering the scientificprinciples behind the behavior of higher vibrational phenomena. By workingon both a physical and an energetic level, homeopathy offers a broad rangeof benefits in chronic degenerative conditions. Homeopathic remedieshave energetic EM fields capable of establishing a resonance with the vitalforce, which can rebalance the energy in the body."THE BADGE OF SCIENTIFIC ILLITERACYIn an essay in the March 13 issue of Science, N. Augustine of PrincetonUniversity and Lockheed Martin Corporation notes that indifference towardscientific understanding is almost considered a badge of honor in the U.S.A recent US National Science Foundation survey indicates that less thanhalf of American adults understand that the Earth orbits the Sun yearly; only 21% can define DNA; only 9% know what a molecule is. No wonderthe alternative medicine quacks are having a (bioenergetic) field day. The public attitude toward science and scientists is consistentlynegative, says Augustine. The great irony is that the American economyand standard of living are based on a foundation of rapid scientificadvances. Augustine suggests that modern scientists and engineers "mustbecome as adept in dealing with societal and political forces as they arewith gravitational and electromagnetic forces." (Thanks to Jack Kolb). NAMES CAN REALLY HURT YOUJanet McConnaughey writes, for the The Associated Press. "People withinitials such as ACE or GOD are likely to live longer than those whosenames spell out words like APE, DUD, RAT or PIG." This according to astudy by researchers from the University of California at San Diego wholooked at the death certificates of the 5 million or so people who died inCalifornia from 1969 through 1997
. (Good reason to stay out ofCalifornia!) "People with monograms such as JOY or WOW had a better chance of livinglonger - and were less likely to commit suicide or die in an accident -than those with neutral or meaningless initials such as JAY or WLW, orthose named, say, BUM or UGH," said psychologist Nicholas Christenfeld. "The argument is that there's some psychological symbolic factor that canexert its impact cumulatively over the years. You get teased at school, wonderwhat your parents thought of you - maybe fate is out to get you - but at everystage it's a little tiny depressant to be called PIG, or a little tiny boostto your esteem to be called ACE or WOW."Still, GOD is dead.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 25 April 3, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the followingmessage, with subject blank, to listproc@hawaii.edu subscribe hri-lfirst_name last_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l Do notsend requests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu. The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the list and to edit them as appropriate before re-transmittal.To contact the editor privately, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as long asit is not being done for profit and due credit is given. SKEPTIC EMILY MEDIA STAREmily Rosa, the 11-year old whose research on Therapeutic Touch waspublished in JAMA 279:1005-1010, April 1, was this week's big mediastar. The full text of the paper, coauthored with Linda Rosa, BSN, RN,MOM; Larry Sarner; and Stephen Barrett MD, can be found at:www.ama-assn.org/sci-pubs/journals/most/recent/issues/jama/joc71352.htm.The conclusions: "Twenty-one experienced TT practitioners were unableto detect the investigator's "energy field." Their failure tosubstantiate TT's most fundamental claim is unrefuted evidence that theclaims of TT are groundless and that further professional use isunjustified."TT proponents have cried foul. How could an 11-year old (actually9-years at the time of the Science Fair experiment) disprove a practiceused by 100,000 people worldwide, including at least 43,000 health careprofessionals? TT is the only treatment for the "energy fielddisturbance" diagnosis recognized b the North American NursingDiagnosis Association. Of course Emily did not prove Therapeutic Touch dies not work. Shealso did not prove that the Touth Fairy does not leave money underpillows, or that pigs can't fly.RANDI's PIGISSUS AWARDSSpeaking of flying pigs, here are the 1998
Pigissus Awards. Theseawards are given out every April 1 by the James Randi EducationalFoundation. This year's winners are:Category #1, to the scientist who said or did the silliest thingrelated to the supernatural, paranormal or occult, goes to Dr. MichaelGuillen of ABC-TV News. The science editor of ABC-TV's "Good MorningAmerica" since 1988, Dr. Guillen has supported all manner ofquestionable "New Age" notions, usually by featuring endorsements bycelebrities. Dr. Guillen holds Ph.D. degrees in physics, mathematics,and astronomy.Category #2, to the funding organization that supported the mostuseless study of a supernatural, paranormal or occult claim, goes tothe National Institutes of Health, whose budget for their Office ofAlternative Healing began as two million dollars, and now amounts totwenty million. This money, originally marked to do "basic research"on alternative healing claims such as homeopathy, acupuncture, andchiropractic, has been dribbled away on peripheral claims of individualquack advocates.Category #3, to the media outlet that reported as fact the mostoutrageous supernatural, paranormal or occult claim, the prize goes toABC-TV News, for their unquestioning and enthusiastic endorsement of"cold fusion," ESP, psychokinesis, astrology, "magnetic therapy," andall sorts of junk science and highly questionable "alternative healing"modalities.[Ed note: In this week's reporting on Therapeutic Touch, ABC was the mostcredulous, presenting useless anecdotal testimonies by people who wereconvinced it helped them.] Category #4, to the "psychic" performer who fooled the greatest numberof people with the least talent, is given this year to all thepsychics, astrologers, fortune tellers, spiritualists, and palm readerswho, though they were consulted a matter of hours before her death, all failed to see any danger for Princess Di. These were the best ofthe best, highly paid and respected by Di and her friends.THE RATIONAL WORD IS BEING HEARDEmily is not the only skeptic to whom the media are beginning to payattention. _Skeptic_ Magazine editor Michael Shermer is scheduled toappear on tonight's 20/20, which seems to occasionally buck ABC New'sparanormal tendencies. Shermer will try to explain the tricks thatbest-selling author James Van Praagh uses to convince people he is"talking to heaven." Meanwhile, _Skeptical Inquirer_ editors have beeninterviewed in recent days on over twenty radio broadcasts across theU.S and Canada. Topics included Therapeutic Touch, UFOs, spiritualism,and psychic networks among others. Well-known skeptic Joe Nickell wasrecently named special paranormal consultant to the BBC as hecollaborates on two upcoming documentaries involving the topics of theShroud of Turin and Levitation.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 26 April 17, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the followingmessage, with subject blank, to listproc@hawaii.edu subscribe hri-lfirst_name last_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l Do notsend requests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu. The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the list and to edit them as appropriate before re-transmittal.To contact the editor privately, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as long asit is not being done for profit and due credit is given. TONIGHT: "LIVELY CONVERSATION," NOT DEBATEThe Honolulu Star Bulletin called it a debate, but tonight's appearanceby your editor at a Hawaii Youth For Christ Forum is supposed to bemore of an informal conversation with Dr. Louw Alberts. Dr. Alberts isa physicist from South Africa who defends faith in his writings and onnational TV. HYFC Executive Director Keli'i Akina will moderate what isexpected to be a lively but friendly discussion, with plenty of timefor audience participation.The forum, called "Science And/Or God: Two Scientists Discuss TheirWorld Views" is 7 pm in Bilger 152, UH Manoa campus.MONDAY NIGHT SIR MARTIN REESOn a related subject, the renowned Cambridge cosmologist Sir MartinRees will be talking about his new book Monday night, April 20, at 6:30pm in the Art Auditorium, UH Manoa. The talk is entitled "Before theBeginning - Our Universe and Others."Items from today's American Physical Society Newsletter, by RobertPark, that bear further distribution:COLD FUSION-7: VANCOUVER MEETING REPORTS MORE THAN HEATThe preferred term among believers is now "chemically-assisted nuclearreactions." Nowadays it seems to transmute gold into base metals,neutralizes radioactivity and works fine with ordinary water. We notethat the probability of N miracles is equal to the probability of onemiracle to the Nth power.APS COUNCIL: CONCERN OVER GROWING INFLUENCE OF NONSENSEThis morning, the elected Council of the American Physical Society,meeting in Columbus, OH, asked the Panel on Public Affairs to prepare astatement, written in language that can be readily understood by thegeneral public, of what science is, and what distinguishes it fromother human activities. It is to be shared with other scientificorganizations developing a response to the alarming spread of nonsensecalling itself science. The Council discussion made it clear howdifficult it will be to agree on such a statement -- and how important.It is a debate that should involve everyone who loves science.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 27 April 24, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the followingmessage, with subject blank, to listproc@hawaii.edu subscribe hri-lfirst_name last_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l Do notsend requests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu. The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the list and to edit them as appropriate before re-transmittal.To contact the editor privately, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as long asit is not being done for profit and due credit is given. UNDERGRADUATES SHORTCHANGED?A report just released by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancementof Teaching claims that undergraduates are being shortchanged at USresearch universities. The study covered 125 institutions that awardalmost a third of the baccalaureate degrees. It said thatundergraduates are being poorly trained, often by teaching assistants,and rarely interact with the high-powered scholars touted in recruitingmaterials.However, we can ask the following question: Is it really an efficientuse of resources to have the highest paid scholars teaching studentshow to add fractions or write a complete sentence? Unfortunately, manyof the students admitted into the top campuses these days need thatkind of remedial work. Colleges and universities are being forced topay for the failure of the high schools. Remedial work should be put back in the high schools, and charged tohigh school budgets. And freshman who cannot handle the high levelcollege work that is expected at the top schools should be funneledinto the two year colleges--as indeed they used to be until theresearch universities were required to open up their enrollments. Twoyear schools contain many dedicated, underpaid full-time collegeteachers who do an excellent job, better than most research professorsor graduate students. Studies show that students are far more likely tograduate when they attend colleges where the work is commensurate withtheir levels of preparation.REPORT ON "LIVELY CONVERSATION" Here's a short report from your editor on his appearance last Fridayevening at the Hawaii Youth For Christ Forum "Science And/Or God: TwoScientists Discuss Their World Views." The forum was very well attended, overflowing the Chemistry lecturehall. I estimate that the audience was about 80% Christian and 20%other. The setting was informal, with HYFC Executive Director Keli'iAkina sitting between myself and Dr. Louw Alberts and moderating thediscussion. Alberts is a physicist from South Africa who defends faithin his writings and on national TV. Everyone was congenial and theaudience was friendly and animated. Here's just a few of the things wediscussed, just to give the flavor.Alberts referred to the updated "intelligent design" arguments thatoften hear today. Supposedly, the constants of physics are "fine-tuned"to allow life to evolve as it has, and this is regarded as veryunlikely to have happened by chance. I answered that many unlikelythings happen by chance, including everybody in the room. The issue isnot the probability for our kind of like happening by chance but anykind of life. I have shown that a wide variation in physical constantswill still lead to long-lived stars, the primary requirement for theemergence of complexity and life.I was somewhat surprised to hear Alberts argue against evolution. Iguess this remains a big bugbear for believers. He did not deny thegreat age of the earth, nor the operation of evolution for smallchanges, but seemed to say that God was needed to produce large scalechanges such as with punctuated equilibrium or changes at thebiochemical level. I responded that the overwhelming consensus amongbiologists was still that evolution can do the job withoutsupernatural help. I also pointed out that Albert's God was a God ofthe Gaps, simply a name assigned to those mysteries for which sciencestill does not have a full explanation. Historically, science has had away of filling the gaps in its knowledge.Alberts explained that ultimately his was a personal belief based onhis own inner needs and his observation of the good that is done byChristianity and other religions. We discussed morality, which I agreedwas not to be regarded as relative or "situational" but argued that itis not handed down from above but decided upon by our own free choiceas members of a global society.There were many questions from the audience for each of us and everyonefelt that this was the sort of intellectual event that we should havemore frequently on campus.SHROUD ON DISPLAYWhile still on the subject of religion, the Vatican has put theShroud of Turin on display and millions are expected to file by tocatch a glimpse. _Time_ did a cover story last week that was notcompletely honest about the conclusion of the scientific studies thathave been performed. They quoted someone as saying that blood was foundon the Shroud, which is certainly not consistent with the studies thathave been reported elsewhere.Still, it would be marvelous if the blood of Jesus could be extractedfrom the Shroud. Think of the implications! The DNA could be studied tosettle the question of Jesus's paternity. Joseph or the Holy Ghost?What would God's DNA look like anyway? And what if scientists couldthen clone Jesus? All these little Jesuses running around. It bogglesthe mind.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 28 April 28, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following message,with subject blank, to listproc@hawaii.edu subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l Do not send requeststo hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu. The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the list and to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal.To contact the editor privately, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.NEW AGE GURU KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT HAWAII GOVERNOR'S CONFERENCEBest-selling author and New Age guru Marianne Williamson is the keynotespeaker at the 1998
Hawaii Governor's Conference on Volunteerism beingheld today and tomorrow at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki.Williamson is the successful popularizer of a mystical work called "ACourse in Miracles" that was purportedly dictated by Jesus in 1967 inorder to clarify his true teachings. Far more in tune with Hinduism thantraditional Christianity, the course teaches that the world is illusion.We are all One in God, despite appearances. Miracles are possibleprecisely because the world is illusion. God is pure Love. Love and thecall for Love are the only reality for human needs, according to thisteaching.Of course, Willamson uses quantum mechanics as well as Eastern mysticismto provide authority for what has become the standard theme of modernspirituality: We are all part of some cosmic consciousness and all wehave to do is think the right thoughts and we can attain immortality andinfinite happiness. Unsurprisingly, Willamson's books and tapes thattell us how to do all this sell very well. No customers have returnedfrom the dead to complain.According to last week's _Honolulu Weekly_, _Forbes_ magazine in 1994described Williamson as part of a new wave of "wild womengurus"--self-proclaimed "goddesses" who make money by stimulatingspiritual/feminist discourse.THE PEOPLE ARE FALLING FOR IT, HOOK, LINE, AND SUCKERAs a Yankelovich survey reported in _USA Today_ recently indicated,belief in spiritualism (mediums, ghosts, etc.) is on the rise. It hassoared from 12% in 1976 to 52% of respondents today. Other paranormalnotions have also gained believers. In 1976 only 10% of Americans tookfaith healing seriously, a figure that has now climbed to 45%. Then, 9%believed in reincarnation; 25% do today. Belief in astrology rose from17% to 37%. However, apparently all the Roswell hoopla has not convincedmany more that we are begin visited by extraterrestrial UFOs. This groupof faithful has only increased from 24% to 30%.AND HARM IS BEING DONETo those who think irrational beliefs are harmless, consider the resultsfrom a recent study at UCSD, reported by Reuters a few weeks ago. Fourout of every five U.S. children who died from various causes after theirparents put their trust in faith healing would very likely have survivedif medical treatment had been sought.The report, which examined 172 U.S. child deaths in faith healingfamilies from 1975 to 1995, concluded that 140 of the deaths, or 81percent, were due to conditions that had a survival rate exceeding 90percent with treatment.SUPER RICH SKEW INCOME DISTRIBUTIONSThe non-Bell curve shape of the 1996
US income distribution shows along tail at the high end, terminating off scale with Bill Gates.Scripps Howard News Service reports that the mean income for workingage people is $24,466 while the median is only $17,587. Gates' $38million that year alone accounted for a few dollars difference.Thanks to James H.G. Redekop, Eva Durant, Fox T. FiZZ, and SamanthaAtkins for providing some of the information used in this issue.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 29 May 14, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following message,with subject blank, to listproc@hawaii.edu subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l Do not send requeststo hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu. The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the list and to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal.To contact the editor privately, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.SCIENCE AND CULT-URE FIGHT OVER CAPTAIN PICARDIn 1996
the skull and other bones of a man apparently 9300 years oldwas unearthed on the banks of the Columbia River in southern WashingtonState near Kennewick. Washington law requires determination of the"race" of any human unearthed. Anthropologist James Chatters was calledin and decided the fossil was "Caucasoid." The local Umatilla Indianclaimed the fossil as one of their own and wanted the remains properlyburied, while another group, the California-based pagan cult AsatruFolk Assembly, claimed the fossil is a white ancestor to modern-dayEuropeans and proof that white men came to America before the Indians.The result is that for the past 19 months there has been a 4-way legalbattle between the Indians, the pagan cult, a group of researchanthropologists, and the US Army over the remains, which have beenlocked up from the beginning and are unavailable for study byanthropologists. Recently a sculptured model of the face of theKennewick Man was presented by James Chatters to the public press, andapparently everyone, including Chatters, agrees the model looks likePatrick Stewart, the Star Trek actor. Chatters, in fact, says he hadthe actor in mind when he had the face prepared by a sculptor.(Excerpted from articles in the April 2 New York Times and April 12Science Week).ESSAY GRADING PROGRAM MATCHES HUMAN RESULTSIn an article in the April 16 Colorado Daily, Eileen Lambert reportsthat an essay grading program called Intelligent Essay Assessor testedon 500 psychology students at the University of Colorado had a "veryhigh" correlation with faculty member grading. The program works byartificial intelligence, learning from textbooks. It takes a computerwith about 20 times the power of a typical PC. A report by thedevelopers was presented at the annual meeting of the AmericanEducational Research Association in San Diego. (Thanks to Norm Levitt).GENETIC ALGORITHMS AND SOCIETYGenetic algorithms are computer programs that are not directly writtenby a programmer but develop by a process of Darwinian natural selection.They are studied by Artificial Life researchers. And the socialscientists are studying them too. Stefan Helmreich writes in SocialStudies of Science, 28,39-71:"I contend that the picture of 'nature' embedded in GAs [geneticalgorithms] is resonant with the values of secularized Judeo-Christianwhite middle-class US-American and European heterosexual culture. Ialso maintain that GA formulations are accented by the languagesinherited from sociobiology. I argue that examining GAs can help ustrack how dominant meanings of 'nature' are being stabilized andrefigured in an age in which exchanges of metaphor between biology andcomputer science are increasingly common." (From Ian Pitchford by wayof Norm Levitt).HOST OF NEW DRUGS FOR MENSafron Monsoon sent this along:With Viagra such a hit, Pfizer is bringing forth a whole line of drugsoriented towards improving the performance of men in today'ssociety....DIRECTRA - a dose of this drug given to men before leaving on car tripscaused 72 percent of them to stop and ask directions when they gotlost, compared to a control group of 0.2 percent.PROJECTRA - Men given this experimental new drug were far more likelyto actually finish a household repair project before starting a new one.CHILDAGRA - Men taking this drug reported a sudden, over-whelming urgeto perform more child-care tasks - especially cleaning up spills and"little accidents."COMPLIMENTRA - In clinical trials, 82 percent of middle-aged menadministered this drug noticed that their wives had a new hairstyle.Currently being tested to see if its effects extend to noticing newclothing.BUYAGRA - Married and otherwise attached men reported a sudden urge tobuy their sweeties expensive jewelry and gifts after talking this drugfor only two days. Still to be seen: whether the drug can be continuedfor a period longer than your favorites store's return limit.NEGA-VIAGRA - Has the exact opposite effect of Viagra. Currentlyundergoing clinical trials on sitting U.S. presidents.NEGA-SPORTAGRA - This drug had the strange effect of making men want toturn off televised sports and actually converse with other familymembers.FLATULAGRA - This complex drug converts men's noxious intestinal gasesback into food solids. Special bonus: Dosage can be doubled for longcar rides.FLYAGRA - This drug has been showing great promise in treating men withO.F.D. (Open Fly Disorder). Especially useful for men on Viagra.PRYAGRA - About to fail its clinical trial, this drug gave men in thetest group an irresistible urge to dig into the personal affairs ofother people. Note: Apparent over-dose turned three test subjects into"special prosecutors."LIAGRA - This drug causes men to be less than truthful when being askedabout their sexual affairs. Will be available Regular, Grand Jury andPresidential Strength versions.(author unknown)

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 30 July 16, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following message,with subject blank, to listproc@hawaii.edu subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l Do not send requeststo hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu. The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the list and to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal.To contact the editor privately, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.DAWKINS REVIEWS INTELLECTUAL IMPOSTURESExcerpts from a review by Richard Dawkins of Intellectual Impostures byAlan Sokal and Jean Bricmont, to be published in the USA by Picador asFashionable Nonsense in November 1998
:Suppose you are an intellectual impostor with nothing to say, but withstrong ambitions to succeed in academic life, collect a coterie ofreverent disciples and have students around the world anoint your pageswith respectful yellow highlighter. What kind of literary style wouldyou cultivate? Not a lucid one, surely, for clarity would expose yourlack of content. The chances are that you would produce something likethe following:"We can clearly see that there is no bi-univocal correspondence betweenlinear signifying links or archi-writing, depending on the author, andthis multireferential, multi-dimensional machinic catalysis. Thesymmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursivecharacter of their expansion: all these dimensions remove us from thelogic of the excluded middle and reinforce us in our dismissal of theontological binarism we criticised previously."This is a quotation from the psychoanalyst FÈlix Guattari, one of manyfashionable French "intellectuals" outed by Alan Sokal and JeanBricmont in their splendid book Intellectual Impostures, previouslypublished in French and now released in a completely rewritten andrevised English edition. Guattari goes on indefinitely in this veinand offers, in the opinion of Sokal and Bricmont, "the most brilliantmÈlange of scientific, pseudo-scientific and philosophical jargon thatwe have ever encountered". Guattari's close collaborator, the lateGilles Deleuze, had a similar talent for writing:"In the first place, singularities-events correspond to heterogeneousseries which are organized into a system which is neither stable norunstable, but rather 'metastable', endowed with a potential energywherein the differences between series are distributed... In thesecond place, singularities possess a process of auto-unification,always mobile and displaced to the extent that a paradoxical elementtraverses the series and makes them resonate, enveloping thecorresponding singular points in a single aleatory point and all theemissions, all dice throws, in a single cast."The feminist 'philosopher' Luce Irigaray is another who getswhole-chapter treatment from Sokal and Bricmont. In a passagereminiscent of a notorious feminist description of Newton's Principia(a "rape manual"), Irigaray argues that E=mc2 is a "sexed equation".Why? Because "it privileges the speed of light over other speeds thatare vitally necessary to us" (my emphasis of what I am rapidly comingto learn is an 'in' word). Just as typical of this school of thoughtis Irigaray's thesis on fluid mechanics. Fluids, you see, have beenunfairly neglected. "Masculine physics" privileges rigid, solidthings. Her American expositor Katherine Hayles made the mistake ofre-expressing Irigaray's thoughts in (comparatively) clear language.For once, we get a reasonably unobstructed look at the emperor and,yes, he has no clothes:The privileging of solid over fluid mechanics, and indeed theinability of science to deal with turbulent flow at all, sheattributes to the association of fluidity with femininity. Whereas menhave sex organs that protrude and become rigid, women have openingsthat leak menstrual blood and vaginal fluids... From this perspectiveit is no wonder that science has not been able to arrive at asuccessful model for turbulence. The problem of turbulent flow cannotbe solved because the conceptions of fluids (and of women) have beenformulated so as necessarily to leave unarticulated remainders.You do not have to be a physicist to smell out the daffy absurdity ofthis kind of argument (the tone of it has become all too familiar),but it helps to have Sokal and Bricmont on hand to tell us the realreason why turbulent flow is a hard problem: the Navier-Stokesequations are difficult to solve.In similar manner, Sokal and Bricmont expose Bruno Latour's confusionof relativity with relativism, Jean-FranÁois Lyotard's 'post-modernscience', and the widespread and predictable misuses of Gˆdel'sTheorem, quantum theory and chaos theory. The genesis of Intellectual Impostures was a brilliant hoax perpetratedby Sokal, and the stunning success of his coup was not greeted with thechuckles of delight that one might have hoped for after such a feat ofdeconstructive game playing. Apparently, when you've become theestablishment, it ceases to be funny when someone punctures theestablished bag of wind.As is now rather well known, in 1996
Sokal submitted to the US journalSocial Text a paper called "Transgressing the boundaries: towards atransformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity". From start to finishthe paper was nonsense. It was a carefully crafted parody ofpostmodern metatwaddle. Sokal's paper must have seemed a gift to the editors because this wasa physicist saying all the right-on things they wanted to hear,attacking the 'post-Enlightenment hegemony' and such uncool notions asthe existence of the real world. They didn't know that Sokal had alsocrammed his paper with egregious scientific howlers, of a kind thatany referee with an undergraduate degree in physics would instantlyhave detected. It was sent to no such referee. The editors, AndrewRoss and others, were satisfied that its ideology conformed to theirown, and were perhaps flattered by references to their own works. Thisignominious piece of editing rightly earned them the 1996
Ig Nobelprize for literature.Notwithstanding the egg all over their faces, and despite theirfeminist pretensions, these editors are dominant males in the academicestablishment. Ross has the boorish, tenured confidence to say thingslike, "I am glad to be rid of English departments. I hate literature,for one thing, and English departments tend to be full of people wholove literature"; and the yahooish complacency to begin a book on'science studies' with these words: "This book is dedicated to all ofthe science teachers I never had. It could only have been writtenwithout them."He and his fellow 'cultural studies' and 'science studies' barons arenot harmless eccentrics at third-rate state colleges. Many of themhave tenured professorships at some of the best universities in theUnited States. Men of this kind sit on appointment committees,wielding power over young academics who might secretly aspire to anhonest academic career in literary studies or, say, anthropology. Iknow -- because many of them have told me -- that there are sincerescholars out there who would speak out if they dared, but who areintimidated into silence. To them, Sokal will appear as a hero, andnobody with a sense of humour or a sense of justice will disagree. Ithelps, by the way, although it is strictly irrelevant, that his ownleft-wing credentials are impeccable.In a detailed post-mortem of his famous hoax, submitted to Social Textbut predictably rejected by them and published elsewhere, Sokal notesthat, in addition to numerous half-truths, falsehoods and nonsequiturs, his original article contained some "syntactically correctsentences that have no meaning whatsoever". He regrets that there werenot more of these: "I tried hard to produce them, but I found that,save for rare bursts of inspiration, I just didn't have the knack." Richard Dawkins is at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History,Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PW, UK.Thanks to Norm Levitt and Ian Pitchford for passing this on.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No.31 July 25, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following message,with subject blank, to listproc@hawaii.edu subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l Do not send requeststo hri l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu. Theeditor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the listand to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal.To contact the editor privately, send email to vstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.HAS SCIENCE FOUND GOD?The cover story of the July 20 Newsweek announced "Science Finds God."We have seen a spate of such media reports recently, inspired by a wholehost of meetings, magazines, books, and other activities bankrolled bythe financier John Templeton. Templeton, a devout Christian, is tryingto bring religion and science together.Nothing wrong with scientists having dialogues with theologians, but itis stretching things quite a bit to imply that science has somehow begunto find evidence for God. Most of the scientists who participate in theTempleton activities are already believers and their product is a mix ofgood old fashioned Christian apologetics, with some newly-fashionedapologetics tossed in.In fact, the great majority of scientists remain nonbelievers, in almostthe exact opposite proportion to the general public. A letter from E.J.Larson and L. Withamin the July 23 issue of Nature contains the resultsof a survey of members of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) showingthat 72% are outright atheists, 21% agnostic and only 7% admit to beliefin a personal God. Figures from an almost identical survey in 1914 and1933 show a steady decline in theism.The new apologetics exploits the latest version of the argument fromdesign. The so-called "anthropic coincidences" are used to assert thatthe constants of physics are so finely-tuned for the formation of lifethat they could never have happened by accident. It's William Paley'sold Blind Watchmaker argument applied to the cosmic stage.Of course, no one really knows what other forms of life might haveoccurred with other values of physical constants. It is notoriouslydifficult to calculate a probability based on a sample of one.An absolutely delicious explanation for the anthropic coincidences hasbeen suggested by physicist Lee Smolin in his recent book, "The Life ofthe Universe." Smolin, an expert on quantum gravity, argues that newuniverses are created inside black holes. The daughter universe gets its"genes" (i. e., the constants of physics) mutated, and so is slightlydifferent from its mother. (No sexual relations between universes arenecessary.) Darwinian natural selection of the constants then takesplace, with those universes having greater black hole production beingfavored in the cosmic struggle for survival.Believe it or not, Smolin's idea makes a testable prediction: aconnection should exist between black hole production and the formationof complexity that can lead to some form of life.Coincidentally, the cover story of U.S. News issue of the same day asthe Newsweek article was called "Is Ours the Only Universe?" It mentionsSmolin's notion, but does not carry it further. Instead, the story isaccompanied by a boxed article labeled "Cosmic Designs: Scientists andtheologians discover a common ground" that gives the fine-tuningargument once again.Wouldn't it be wonderful to see the battle between creationists andevolutionists move from biology to the cosmos?MORE DAWKINSAnd here's what one scientist, Richard Dawkins, had to say about scienceand religion in this Summers issue of Free Inquiry:"Much of what people do is done in the name of God. Irishmen blow eachother up in his name. Arabs blow themselves up in his name. Imams andayatollahs oppress women in his name. Celibate popes and priests mess uppeople's sex lives in his name. Jewish _shohets_ cut live animals'throats in his name. The achievements of religion in past history -bloody crusades, torturing inquisitions, mass-murdering conquistadors,culture-destroying missionaries, legally enforced resistance to each newpiece of scientific truth until the last possible moment - are even moreimpressive. And what has it all been in aid of? I believe it is becomingincreasingly clear that the answer is absolutely nothing at all. Thereis no reason for believing that any sort of gods exist and quite goodreason for believing they do not exist and never have. It has all been agigantic waste of life. It would be a joke of cosmic proportions if itweren't so tragic."At least the guy can write.JUNIOR SKEPTICSFans of the Simpsons will know that Lisa often is seen reading "JuniorSkeptic" magazine. Now, Skeptic Magazine has announced the foundation ofa real Junior Skeptic, geared to the younger set. The early issues willappear as inserts in the regular magazine. Tentative plans call forEmily Rosa, the schoolgirl who debunked Therapeutic Touch on the pagesof JAMA, to appear on the first cover.HEAVEN-O FROM KINGSVILLEA fellow named Canales in Kingsville, Texas, has launched a campaign toget people to adopt "heaven-o" instead of "hello," since the lattercontains the cuss word "hell". He actually got the Kleberg countycommissioners to designate "heaven-o" as the county's "officialgreeting." That's how employees at the courthouse now answer the phone.(Thanks to Lisa Williams. Or was it Lisa Simpson?).

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 32 August 1, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following messageto listproc@hawaii.edu, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not send requeststo hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu. Theeditor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the listand to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal. To contact the editor privately, send email tovstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.PHYSICIST RESPONDS TO DAWKINSThe following response to last issue's quotation from Richard Dawkinswas provided by Steve Olsen, Principle Investigator for High EnergyPhysics at the University of Hawaii, Manoa:"Dawkins may write well, but his critique of religion is pretty shallow;take what he writes, change religion to science, include references toHiroshima and you'd get something that the likes of Andrew Ross couldwrite about science (and get roundly criticized by Dawkins)."The fact is religion (like science) is an activity of humans, andsubject to human frailties: Some missionaries destroyed cultures, others(perhaps many more) improved living standards by introducing techniquesof agriculture, teaching people to read and write, helping with healthcare, etc. (In his retirement, my father spent some time in remotevillages in Africa. He felt his major accomplishment was to get peoplein some of these places to stop defecating near their drinking watersource---does this rank as "culture destruction?")"In addition to impeding advances in knowledge, religion is responsiblefor aiding them. Newton was supported as a Fellow in "Trinity" College,the reason for being of which was religious. Many clerics contributedimportant ideas to science: Fr. Lemaitre first proposed the big-bang."Many people are killed in the name of religion. There is no monopolyhere: Hitler, Mao and Stalin, the really big killers of our lifetime,were rather indifferent to religion. At least religion's record in thisarea has two sides. For example, in NYC (where I come from) most of thehospitals have religious origins: Methodist Hospital, St Lukes,Lutheran Medical Center, Mount Sinai, Mammomaides, etc etc. In mygrandparent's lifetime---before Medicaid and Medicare---these wereimportant suppliers of health care and saved many many lives."Most important, and the reason that inspired this agnostic's response,is the enormous enrichment of our lives that comes from the incrediblereligiously inspired art. Would St Matthew's Passion be so moving if itwere not for Bach's deep religious consciousness?"MORE ON SURVEY OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OF SCIENTISTSWayne Spencer, editor of _Skeptical Intelligencer_, sent this on:You may be interested to know about a paper that appeared in the 23 July1998
edition of Nature Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham. LeadingScientists Still Reject God. Nature, 1998
; 394:313). Larson andWitham present the results of a replication of 1913 and 1933 surveys byJames H. Leuba. In those surveys, Leuba mailed a questionnaire toleading scientists asking about their belief in "a God in intellectualand affective communication with humankind" and in "personalimmortality". Larson and Witham used the same wording, and sent theirquestionnaire to 517 members of the National Academy of Sciences fromthe biological and physical sciences (the latter includingmathematicians, physicists and astronomers). The return rate wasslightly over 50%.The results were as follows (figures in %):

BELIEF IN PERSONAL GOD 1914 1933 1998

Personal belief 27.7 15 7.0
Personal disbelief 52.7 68 72.2
Doubt or agnosticism 20.9 17 20.8
BELIEF IN IMMORTALITY 1914 1933 1998

Personal belief 35.2 18 7.9
Personal disbelief 25.4 53 76.7
Doubt or agnosticism 43.7 29 23.3

The authors elaborated on these figures:"Disbelief in God and immortality among NAS biological scientists was65.2% and 69.0%, respectively, and among NAS physical scientists it was79.0% and 76.3%. Most of the rest were agnostics on both issues, withfew believers. We found the highest percentage of belief among NASmathematicians (14.3% in God, 15.0% in immortality). Biologicalscientists had the lowest rate of belief (5.5% in God, 7.1% inimmortality), with physicists and astronomers slightly higher (7.5% inGod, 7.5% in immortality)."Larson and Witham close their report with the followingremarks:"As we compiled our findings, the NAS issued a booklet encouraging theteaching of evolution in public schools [...]. The booklet assuresreaders, 'Whether God exists or not is a question about which science isneutral'. NAS president Bruce Alberts said: 'There are many veryoutstanding members of this academy who are very religious people,people who believe in evolution, many of them biologists.' Our surveysuggests otherwise."SCIENCE AS HONESTY AND INTEGRITYExcerpts from an essay "Why bother with science?" by John Gribbon in theJuly 29 _Independent_: "Forget, for a moment, the exciting discoveries like black holes and thegenetic code of DNA. Ignore the computers and air-conditioned cars thatare the practical spin-offs from the scientific endeavor. What is themessage that science teaching ought to be getting across, even tonon-scientists? "The whole point about science and the scientific method is that it is away of distinguishing truth from fiction. In teaching science, we ought tobe teaching young people about how to question evidence, and how to decidewhat is good evidence and what is bad evidence. Not least, they should betaught that blind acceptance of authority is the very antithesis of realscience, and that even if the most eminent person tells you that somethingis true, but the evidence says that it is not, you have to accept theevidence, not the voice of authority. "Honesty, integrity and morality may well be things that ought to be inthe core curriculum, but are not usually associated with the teaching ofscience. They should be. The message that ought to be put across in schoolis that all these intriguing and practical ideas, from black holes todigital television, have resulted from the application of scientificintegrity and honesty to the study of the world, not from wishfulthinking, and certainly not from accepting what anybody tells you justbecause the are in authority or famous. "A generation raised on these principles of honesty and integrity,understanding the rules of evidence and how to question authority, mightbe less fooled by advertising, and more likely to be able to enjoy suchentertainments as The X-Files without confusing them with reality. But I'mnot sure that the new way of teaching science will ever be endorsed by thegovernment, since it would also equip people to see through the lies ofthe politicians." (Thanks to Jack Kolb). "Scientific" studies that claim to support alternative therapies and otherfringe beliefs are continually reporting in the media. What is sodisturbing about most of them is the poor quality of the science that isactually done. Either the investigators are incompetent or simplydishonest. Honest incompetence we can live with, but competent dishonestyis a much tougher nut to crack.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 33 August 4, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following messageto listproc@hawaii.edu, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not send requeststo hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu. Theeditor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the listand to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal. To contact the editor privately, send email tovstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.RANDI REPLIES TO OLSENWell, it looks like we have generated some heated letters to the editor.Last issue we distributed Steve Olsen's response to Richard Dawkins'comments on religion, which were distributed in the issue before that.James "The Amazing" Randi quickly sent on this response: "Steve Olsen confuses science with technology. Science solved atomicfission; technology exploded the bomb. Thus, his scenario of substitutingHiroshima for the Holy Inquisition is invalid. "Yes, while filling the minds of their subjects with religioussuperstition, many missionaries gave them improved living standards andeducation. But the education was to permit them to read the Bible. TheWesleyan missionaries in Peru, I know from personal experience, teach theIndians to read scripture and its interpretations, to the exclusion of ALLother literature. "Yes, many clerics contributed hugely to science. The only way they couldobtain a proper education was to follow the church, and play that game. Olsen might choose to point out that Mussolini made the trains run ontime, and the British conquerors taught the Sri Lankans to grow tea andrun post offices. "Yes, Mao, Hitler, Stalin, Pinochet, Pol Pot, all murdered hundreds ofthousands. But they did not do it in the name of a religion. The RomanCatholic Church did, and Cotton Mather hanged senile old women and otherimproper persons in Salem, according to the Bible rules. It's in thebook! "Hospitals with religious origins and names get funding from wealthypatrons who are buying their eternities. Who will attract more money, St.Jude's Hospital, or William Clinton's Hospital? Hospitals are in thebusiness of being in business, and their contributions-from-profits totheir churches are substantial; those affiliations don't come free. Yes,those with religious origins are, as Olsen says, "important suppliers ofhealth care and [save] many, many lives." But so do ALL hospitals, manyof them founded and supported by persons and groups with NO religiousaffiliations. I don't give damn whether or not the doctor laboring overmy body is religious. I just want him to be competent. "Steve Olsen rhapsodizes over the "enormous enrichment of our lives"provided by the artists (painters, sculptors, musicians, writers) who havebeen "religiously inspired." Well, Steve, those artists also had to eatand survive, and the church either had the money to support that nobleactivity (Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, is one example) or thewealthy commissioned works and contributed them to the glory of whateverdeity was popular. Again, they bought their eternal lives. "A quick look around the world shows that blood is flowing from theinnocent somewhere in the world, at this very moment, in answer toreligious differences and ethnic notions of superiority -- which are oftenbased upon religious intolerance. Hitler drummed up anti-Semitism and theHolocaust by invoking hatred among Christians. Bloody Mary roastedProtestants weekly, Matthew Hopkins and James I of England stoned"witches" and hanged them. Mother Theresa -- with multiple millions ofdollars available to her -- established hospices so that the poor couldlearn to die with dignity -- and turned children out onto the streets atage 12 if they hadn't found a two-generation Catholic family to adoptthem. "High Energy Physics, I hope, is immune to selective thinking."James Randi is a world-famous conjurer and paranormal debunker who hasover a million dollars to award to anyone who can scientificallydemonstrate the existence of paranormal or supernatural phenomena. The webpage of the James Randi Educational Foundation is at http://www.randi.org. GRIBBIN NOT SQUEAKY CLEAN EITHERLast issue's excerpts from remarks by astronomer and science writer JohnGribbin prompted this response from a reader who prefers that his/her name bewithheld: ". . . the John Gribbin you quote in your latest newsletter is the sameJohn Gribbin who wrote a scaremongering book called 'The Jupiter effect'15-20 years ago. He claimed that the upcoming 'Grand Alignment of planetson one side of the Sun would lead to disasters on the Earth. This book isa classic example of what Gribbin himself calls 'competent dishonesty'." Actually, "competent dishonesty" was your editor's phase, but your pointis well made. In fact, Gribbin got two books out of this one: oneproposing the effect and one debunking it. I understand he had to make hisliving from writing in those days, but now has an academic job for whichhe, hopefully, does not have to prostitute himself . ACETAMINOPHEN IS AS WORTHLESS AS HOMEOPATHY FOR ARTHRITIS PAINAn example of either competent dishonesty or honest incompetence can befound in a recent study published in Am. J. Pain Management 1998
, 8:89-91and reported by Reuters on July 28. Dr. C. Norman Shealy, of The ShealyInstitute for Comprehensive Health Care and Clinical Research,Springfield, Missouri, and collaborators performed a double-blind studyon 65 patients with osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis in which 43were given a homeopathic preparation and 22 were given acetaminophen. Theyreport that 55% of the homeopathy group and 38% of the acetaminophen grouprecorded pain relief of 40% or greater. The difference was notstatistically significant. The authors conclude: "homeopathic preparationshould be considered a reasonable first treatment recommendation inpatients with osteoarthritic pain who are open to alternative medicineapproaches to pain management." This article is already being touted by chiropractors and otheralternative therapists as "evidence" that homeopathy works. But, they haveonly shown that homeopathy works as well as acetaminophen. How well doesacetaminophen work? Most likely, neither work and the reported painimprovement is the placebo effect in action. The investigators could haveeasily had a third sample given only a placebo. Why didn't they do such anobvious thing? This is again an example of the poor science done in the promotion of alternative medicine that we have documented in the past.Since homeopathy violates the atomic theory of matter, it is almostcertainly worthless. We can safely conclude that acetaminophen is not ofmuch use for arthritis pain. (Thanks to Mahlon Wagner, David Bloomberg,and Dr. David Ramey for their inputs on this item).

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 34 August 7, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following messageto listproc@hawaii.edu, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not send requeststo hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu. Theeditor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the listand to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal. To contact the editor privately, send email tovstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.OLSEN GETS LAST WORDIf Randi had read my note with any care, he'd have realized that I don'tconfuse technology and science. I argued that Dawkins' arguments againstreligion are about as shallow as those that use Hiroshima to criticizescience. Randi's suggestions that ALL missionaries forced the exclusivereading of the scriptures and ALL clerics engaged in science feign aninterest in religion in order to get an education are absurd. (Who'sguilty of "selective thinking"?) And I thought inspiration had somethingto do with art. Silly me! -- Steve Olsen.CONGRESSMEN SHOWS WAY TO TOILETOn July 25 we commented on the _Newsweek_ cover story of that week thatshouted to the world: "SCIENCE FINDS GOD." Inside, the article spoke ofa "growing number of scientists" finding their "discoveries offersupport for spirituality."The facts seem to argue otherwise. On August 1 we reported on a surveypublished in the July 23 _Nature_ that indicated that on 7% of themembers of the National Academy of Science believe in a "personal God."This was down from 15% in 1933 and 28% in 1914.Here's what James A. Traficant, Jr. a Democrat from Ohio, said aboutthis survey on the floor of the House of Representatives, August 3:"Mr. Speaker, a new report says only 7 percent of scientists believe inGod. That is right. And the reason they gave was that the scientistsare ``super smart.'' Unbelievable. Most of these absent-mindedprofessors cannot find the toilet."Mr. Speaker, I have one question for these wise guys to constipateover: How can something come from nothing?"And while they digest that, Mr. Speaker, let us tell it like it is.Put these super-cerebral master debaters in some foxhole with bombsbursting all around them, and I guarantee they will not be praying toFrankenstein."Beam me up here. My colleagues, all the education in the world isworthless without God and a little bit of common sense. And I yield backwhatever we have left."The Congressman did not tell us how God came from nothing.NOTES ON ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE FROM THE WORLD SKEPTICS' CONGRESSThe World Skeptics Congress was held July 23-26, 1998
in Heidelberg,Germany. The Congress was sponsored by the Committee for the ScientificInvestigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and the Gessellschaftzur wissenschaftlichen Untersuchung von Parawissenschaften e.V. (GWUP).Here are a few comments on alternative medicine from the meeting:North American and European experts underscored a crisis in medicinecreated by a massive lack of evidence and lack of information availableto the public on alternative therapies. From poor or biased experimentaldesign to "absolute fakery," Wallace Sampson, M.D., clinical professor ofmedicine at Stanford University and editor of the Scientific Review ofAlternative Medicine, outlined reasons why many studies allegedly provingalternative therapies are flawed. "The best-quality papers and studieson such popular alternative therapies as homeopathy and acupuncture showlittle effectiveness, while the worst-quality papers and studies show themost effects."Sampson emphasized that promoters of AM and the media often misquote andmisreport the findings of the latest studies. As examples, Sampson notedthat, contrary to popular claims, alternative therapy has not increasedin popularity over the last two decades. He refuted the notion that manyalternative therapies are more cost-effective than proven scientifictreatments. Sampson pointed to insurance-industry studies that namechiropractic care -- often cited as the "most effective treatment forback pain" -- as America's second-most expensive category of careprovider, next to neurosurgery.Psychologist Barry Beyerstein reviewed the reasons why people believe inbogus therapies. Beyerstein says that AM's enduring popularity stemsfrom widespread public scientific illiteracy, aggressive AM-industrymarketing, New Age faddishness, inadequate media criticism, a growingdistrust of authority that includes the scientific and medicalestablishment, and an anti-doctor backlash. "Natural is considered safe.Though I like to remind people that tobacco is a naturally occurringsubstance," Beyerstein told the audience.Ways in which purveyors of alternative therapies fool themselves includethe human will to believe, the ubiquitous placebo effect, erroneousequations of correlation with causation, over-reliance on anecdotalevidence, naturally occurring self-healing, misdiagnosis, and the posthoc fallacy of automatically assuming that treatments or nostrumstriggered subsequent recovery. "Many of these are confounding effects,examples of the classic 'disease of the week' misdiagnosis, and thefailings of human logic."The medical experts emphasized that the evaluation and eventualacceptance of alternative therapies necessitate adequate sample size,random assignment of patients, placebo-controlled trials, properstatistical treatment of data, long-term follow-up, and multiplereplication of studies.From vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.eduFri Aug 21 13:00:37 1998
Date: Sun, 16 Aug 1998
12:59:19 -1000 (HST)From: Vic Stenger <vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu>To: Hawaii Rational Inquirer List <vjs@uhheph.phys.hawaii.edu>Subject: Hawaii Rational Inquirer Aug. 16, 1998


HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 35 August 16, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following messageto listproc@hawaii.edu, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not send requeststo hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu. Theeditor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the listand to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal. To contact the editor privately, send email tovstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.SKEPTICS SKEPTICAL OF SKEPTICAL JAMA ARTICLEOne of the charges often brought against skeptics by true believers(ìTBsî in NetSpeak) is that they are not skeptical of their own claims.Well the Rocky Mountain Skeptics have given us one example where that isnot true.We have reported on the paper published in JAMA on April 1 of this year,co-authored by 11-year Emily Rosa, that claimed to refute TherapeuticTouch, a widely used nursing practice by which a patientís ìbioenergeticfieldsî are re distributed. The paper reported on an experiment thatfailed to provide evidence that TT practitioners are unable to detectthe ìhuman energy field.îThe media loved it and Emily was all over the news. Now the RockyMountain Skeptics, who had previously spoken out forcefully against TT,have applied these same critical skills to the JAMA article. Theircritique, authored by Carla Selby, can be found athttp://bcn.boulder.co.us/community/rms/rms-jamacrit.html, which alsocontains links to the original article and other discussions of thesubject.From Selbyís conclusion: ìIt is . . . completely irresponsible, for JAMAeditors to give space to work that, at the very best, can be describedas competent for a 4th grade science project. As shown above, thequality of the research is exemplary of either very bad science oradequate school work. No matter how desperate we in the skepticalcommunity are for a win in our column, JAMA, as a respected member ofthis community, did us no service by either the publication of aschoolgirlís project or the subsequent over-promotion of the results andpronouncements about the worksí significance and policy implications. ìHOFSTADTER ON POPULAR ATTITUDES TOWARD SCIENCEIn an essay on current popular attitudes toward science and scientists,Douglas R. Hofstadter (Indiana University Bloomington, US) makes thefollowing points:ì1) Science is currently presented to children and teens combined withirrelevancies such as action-packed stories, rock music, amusingquipsters, sassy jokes, sexual innuendoes, or up-to-date teen slang --as if science is a "bitter pill" that needs sugar- coating.ì2) Society today seems to be pervaded by a deep, unconscious,anti-science bias. Scientists are represented in movies, television,and books as heartless, humorless nerds who would sooner kill thansmile, sooner write abstruse formulas than make love.ì3) There is a dismissive attitude toward science as an explanatoryframework for the world, and the welcoming of so- called ëmysteriesísuch as after-death experiences, alien abductions, crystal channeling,crop circles, telekinesis, clairvoyance, extrasensory perception, orremote viewing.ì4) Movie and television viewers and readers of serious literature aregiven the tacit message that the line between the natural andsupernatural is blurry, and perhaps even nonexistent.ì5) The general public no longer views science with a sense of awe andmystery, but instead considers it conservative and mundane, ëtrappedí inlogical thinking.ì6) The implicit message of popular culture is that science is boring,conservative, closed-minded, devoid of mystery, and a negative force insociety.îThe author concludes: "I have no quick fixes. I do not know how toquickly and easily repair decades of damage. I do not fully understandwhy the sands have shifted so radically. All I can do is look on insadness and worry about the future of rational inquiry, bemoaning theloss of awe toward genuine mysteries that our society was once luckyenough to possess." From Science Week, August 14. Thanks to Jack Kolb.CARLOS CASTANEDA AND DON JUAN.From the Skeptical Inquirer Electronic Digest August 11:Feeding on the New Age infatuation and drug culture of the 1970s,anthropologist Carlos Castaneda (1925-1998
) claimed to be America'sfirsthand chronicler of don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian sorcerer inMexico whose powers included dream transport and miraculous herbalhealing. Castaneda devoted his Ph.D. dissertation at UCLA and tenbest-selling books to the art, magic and life of don Juan. In theprocess, Castaneda's extraordinary stories helped inspire a closefollowing of devotees and the fad of spiritual shamanism.Allegedly based on field experience, observations, and interviews withthe sorcerer among the exotic flora and fauna of the Mexican desert,Castaneda's accounts are undermined by discrepancies in narrative timeflow and by peculiar inconsistencies in language. For example, don Juannever speaks Yaqui nor does he use Spanish. Few names of Mexican plantsare provided other than Jimson weed, mescal, and hallucinogenicmushrooms. As author Gordon Stein points out, although a "smoking gun"proving don Juan a hoax has not surfaced, strong circumstantialevidence shows Castaneda's books rely on information borrowed fromother published sources, and not on field observations of a Yaquisorcerer. (See Skeptical Inquirer, Spring/Summer 1977 and Spring/Summer1978.)ENGLISH PROFESSOR COMMENTS ON RANDI-OLSEN SQUABBLEFrom Jonathan Morse, UH English Department:Ah, it brings back memories of the good old days: James Randi bangingaway at Steve Olsen just like Sir Robert Peel banging away at JohnHenry Newman 160 years ago. Speaking specifically of science education,Sir Robert confidently asserted, "In becoming wiser a man will becomebetter." Since then, we've learned experimentally that that isn't quitetrue. Consider, for instance, the sad story of Fritz Haber, the Nobellaureate in chemistry who patriotically took himself out of the labduring World War I and created the technology of poison gas forGermany. He persevered even after guilt drove his wife to suicide, butwhen Hitler came to power and made it clear that he had no use for theJewish-born scientist, he died of a broken heart.Well, surprise: scientists, just like non-scientists, can sometimes bebad. But of course none of us, scientists or non-scientists, like to betold that truth, and we all have our alibis prepared in advance. If youfall into conversation with a religious person and mention some of thecharming things religious conviction has been responsible for, you'lltypically get a smile delivered with the lower teeth only, followed bythe explanation, "Oh well, Torquemada wasn't REALLY a Christian." AndRandi seems fully primed to change a word or two in that one-liner andsay, "Oh well, Fritz Haber wasn't REALLY a scientist."

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 3 No. 36 August 21, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following message tolistproc@hawaii.edu, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not send requests tohri-l@hawaii.edu. If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu. Theeditor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the list andto edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal. To contact the editor privately, send email tovstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html. Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as long asit is not being done for profit and due credit is given. RUSSELL ON EVOLUTION AND THE MIND OF GODThe following is a quotation from Bertrand Russell. Anyone know theexact reference?"We are told that 'evolution is the unfolding of an idea which has been inthe mind of God.' It appears that during these ages when animals weretorturing each other with ferocious horns and agonizing stings,omnipotence was quietly waiting for the ultimate emergence of man, withhis still more widely diffused cruelty. Why the Creator should havepreferred to reach his goal by a process, instead of going straight to it,these modern theologians do not tell us." SHOWERING IS BAD FOR YOUExcerpted from WHAT'S NEW by Robert L. Park, Friday, Aug. 21:"The Environmental Protection Agency will use the 1996
Safe Drinking WaterAct to set a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for radon in drinking water. It's not really the radon you drink that EPA is worried about, but theradon you inhale when it comes out in the shower. Alas, EPA has no SafeShowering Act. The MCL is meant to reduce the radon contributed to indoorair from water to the national average for outdoor air. But how muchindoor radon is from water? According to EPA estimates, the cost will beabout $270M per year and prevent 80 cancers. . . based on alinear-no-threshold extrapolation from data on uranium miners, which maynot even get the sign right." BOWLING GREEN REJECTS COURSE ON POLITICAL CORRECTNESSThe following was excerpted from August 20 Nando.nethttp://www.nandotimes.com. Thanks to Norm Levitt."After an opinion survey found that many Bowling Green State Universitystudents felt classes were highly politicized by faculty members from thefar left, a sociology professor, Richard Zeller, decided to launch acourse to examine the phenomenon. "The professor was turned down flat - first by his own sociologydepartment, then by the American studies, ethnic studies, and psychologydepartments. "The Zeller affair arrives in an era when it seems no sociology coursewould ever be turned down. In another department, Bowling Green onceoffered a course in the roller coaster - complete with field trips. ButZeller's antagonists argue that his proposed course has no sociologicalcontent, and that he intends to use it as a forum to express hisright-wing political philosophy. "However, nothing in Zeller's file - he's taught at Bowling Green since1976 - justifies such fears: No student or administrator has evercomplained about him rigging the political deck in classrooms. "Amid all the self-congratulatory talk about diversity one hears onAmerican campuses, it is not at all clear that intellectual diversity isalive and well. If the result of Zeller's pressing for a course that mightexpose students to controversial thinkers and books had been an honestdebate - rather than an exercise in character assassination - all of usmight well have been benefitted. As it stands, however, everyone atBowling Green has lost." QUACKERY THRIVING IN VET MEDICINEThe following was excerpted from the S.F. Chronicle Aug. 21. Thanks toBill Loughman. "Throughout the Bay Area, veterinarians are treating a range of animals,from thoroughbreds to Chihuahuas -- poking them with needles, dosing themwith homeopathic remedies and pouring herbal potions into their waterbowls. "These therapies are used to treat everything from arthritis and skinproblems to kidney failure, stomach ailments and emotional disorders. "Treatments are not cheap. It costs about $75 for a half-hour acupuncturesession, with several visits needed to correct a problem. "In 1996
, the American Veterinary Medical Association adopted a set ofguidelines for nontraditional practice. It was the first time theassociation acknowledged the demand for alternative therapies. ìThe guidelines, however, have been sharply criticized by a group ofskeptics who consider holistic animal medicine 'veterinary pseudoscience'and 'quackery.' In a letter published on the Internet, veterinarian Robert Imrie wrote:'Our mission is to promote animal health and welfare, to protect consumersfrom fraudulent, unsafe and unproven veterinary practices.'ìImrie said he is a member of the National Council Against Health Fraud,which is urging the veterinary association to retract the guidelines."

HAWAII R-A-T-I-O-N-A-L I-N-Q-U-I-R-E-R Vol. 4 No. 1 August 28, 1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following messageto listproc@hawaii.edu, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not sendrequests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu.The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to thelist and to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal. To contact the editor privately, send email tovstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.WELCOME TO A NEW ACADEMIC YEAR AND THE FOURTH YEAR OF THE HAWAII RATIONALINQUIRERSECRETS OF THE PSYCHICSFrom an article by noted psychologist Susan Blackmore in the Aug. 6_Independent_ (thanks to Harriet Moore):Did you see that Channel 4 programme last summer with Victorian mediumsfaking ectoplasm and magicians showing how they could duplicate the kindof psychic feats that Uri Geller is known for?If not you missed a treat, but not to worry, for now you may be able tosee 'Secrets of the Psychics' again. And why? Because Geller has hadhis complaint against the programme rejected.After the programme, Geller complained of unfair treatment to theBroadcasting Standards Commission and I, along with a team from Channel4, went to give evidence. It's been a long wait, but the commission hasjust announced its complete rejection of Geller's complaint. So itwasn't unfair to have magicians showing how they duplicate those'psychic feats', and experts saying there is no reliable scientificevidence for his psychic powers whatsoever.Although millions of people believe in extra-sensory perception, ghosts,UFOs, crystal powers and the tenets of astrology, the evidence for ESPis controversial (at best) and the claims of astrology demonstrablyfalse. However, people don't want to see endless meticulous experimentswith nothing but negative results. Viewers, and the producers who aretheir slaves, seem to prefer conspiracy theories, beings from outerspace, scientists who cover up the truth about our mental powers andRussians who can move trains with their teeth or bamboozle TV presenterswith children's party tricks.There was a classic, if mild, example of this genre last week. In 'TheSecrets of Sleep,' we saw an experiment from the Seventies in which USpsychologist Charlie Tart tested a young woman who had out-of-bodyexperiences during sleep. We were not told that the woman was a mentalpatient who disappeared right after the tests and could not bere-tested, nor that the EEG record showed possible mains interference atthe time of her success, nor that another claimant was tested by Tartand failed.The impression given was that this wonderful experiment has been ignoredfor decades by closed-minded scientists who want to suppress the truthabout the psychic powers of our sleeping minds. This is ridiculous.The truth (and how that word is abused when psychic issues are at stake)is that many other scientists tried to repeat Tart's finding and failed.I was one of them.Why should we scientists ignore such a potentially exciting discovery?If I had succeeded in repeating it I might [have] uncovered somethingabsolutely new and shocking about reality. But it just isn't so. AsRichard Dawkins said, if Geller' s powers could be proved to be realthey would open up a new field of physics, scientists would flock to beinvolved, and someone would get a Nobel prize. But they haven't been.PSYCHIC PET? NOT! Continuing to peruse the British papers for psychic stories, this isexcerpted from an article by Aisling Irwin in the Aug. 22 _DailyTelegraph_ (thanks to RN Butler):Claims by dog-owners that their pets have such psychic abilities gainedcredibility in 1994, when an Austrian television programme worked withDr Rupert Sheldrake, a former biochemist from Cambridge University, totest Jaytee, a terrier crossbreed and his owner Pam Smart.Ms Smart's parents had noticed that just at the time she began herjourney home, Jaytee would bound to the porch and wait for her. Theresults seemed vividly to back her claim.A group led by Dr Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshirereturned to Ms Smart's porch to try to eliminate the more boringexplanations of such devotion.With a video camera constantly filming Jaytee, Ms Smart left with DrSmith (another experimenter) in his car for a pub eight miles away --too far for Jaytee to detect her with his normal five senses.Jaytee visited the porch four minutes after Ms Smart was told toreturn home. However, she also visited the porch at 12 other timesduring the two hours.'As a result the experiment was considered unsuccessful,' said thepsychologists. A second experiment yielded the same result.DECONSTRUCTING INFINITYFrom an abstract submitted by Elaine Howes and Bill Rosenthal to the1996
(OK, so it's old) meeting of Canadian Society for the History andPhilosophy of Mathematics (thanks to Norm Levitt): There exists a plethoric panoply of conceptualizations of infinity -- Mathematical, poetic, and personal - neglected by the lion's share of philosophical and historical scholarship, as well as the popular accounts dependent on them. The roots of the mathematical infinite (a) grew in the same soil from which sprang the dichotomies that soon became the canonical basis for Western thought, particularly and especially the subordinations of the body to the mind and the feminine to the masculine; (b) are correlated with and possibly causally related to the suppression of paganism and the development of monotheistic male God worship. We submit that the discernable fear of the infinite running through mathematics maps onto the woman-hating and terror of women's 'uncontrollable' and 'omnivorous' sexuality so evident in the post-Socratic social order. Not another Sokal hoax, is it Norm?

HAWAII R-A-T-I-O-N-A-L I-N-Q-U-I-R-E-R Vol. 4 No. 2 September 3,1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following messageto listproc@hawaii.edu, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not sendrequests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu.The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to thelist and to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal. To contact the editor privately, send email tovstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.UPDATE ON EMILY'S EXPERIMENTWe previously reported on the April 1 JAMA paper that challengedTherapeutic Touch. Since the experiment was done by a Coloradoschoolgirl, Emily Rosa, it received intense media coverage and Emily hadher lifetime's allotted fifteen minutes of fame before she was 12.In a recent talk on alternative medicine, your editor expressedskepticism that Emily conceived and executed the experiment without thedirection of her three adult coauthors, who include her mother LindaRosa and stepfather Larry Sarner.Linda has sent us the following letter Emily wrote a year ago inresponse to similar doubts that had been aired after the originalpublication of their results in _Skeptic magazine_. From _Skeptic_,Vol. 5, No.2, 1997
, page 31:Regarding "The Rosas' Study" on Therapeutic Touch (V.4, #4), my mom didnot do the experiment. I did! My mom took me to places where I couldtest people. My mom and dad also taught me about probability. My momand dad don't do my schoolwork for me! I have to do my own schoolwork!The experiment was for a science fair. I did not need my mom's helpchoosing an experiment, or designing it. I think my project was veryworthwhile. It sort of proves that there is no such thing as a humanenergy field.-- Emily Rosa, age 10 Rivendell School, Ft. Collins, COA few weeks ago, we mentioned that the Rocky Mountain Skeptics hadexpressed their own skepticism of the results. They also questioned themotives of the authors and JAMA.An upcoming Skeptic will carry a detailed response from Larry Sarner.We cannot do it justice in a few screen bytes, but the followingquotation reported from a radio interview of Cynthia Hutchison, DNS, RN,research director for Healing Touch International, is worth a chuckle:"We have a subtle body which is, in part, electromagnetic. This has allbeen demonstrated through research projects in the area of medicine,physics and biology and other areas of scientific investigation. Youcould build upon Einstein's model of energy times the speed of light.William Tiller, who's a professor of [materials science and] engineeringat Stanford, built upon Einstein's theoretical model, said that subtleenergy -- which is energy we don't sense with our five senses -- is thatpart of us that moves faster than the speed of light, and what weexperience with our five senses-our material body -- our bones, ourskin, our muscles -- this is the densest part of our being that moves ata speed slower than the speed of light, but as the vibrational frequencyincreases in our being, then we lose that touch with the five senses,but you can actually train yourself to discern some of those subtlelayers, which is what TTPs are often able to do." (Native AmericaCalling_Wellness Edition. May 29, 1998
.)MEDICAL SCHOOLS ADDING COURSES IN QUACK MEDICINEAccording to a JAMA study published this week and reported by Reuters,well over half of U.S. medical schools are offering future doctorscourses in such alternative forms of treatments as acupuncture andherbal therapy.The Harvard Medical School study says: "Patients are increasinglyseeking to identify a physician who is solidly grounded in conventional,orthodox medicine and is also knowledgeable about the values andlimitations of alternative treatments.'"As a profession, physicians will increasingly be expected to advisepatients who use, seek or demand complementary and alternativetherapies. We believe the development of a more consistent educationalapproach to this provocative area is essential."PHYSICISTS FALL FOR IT TOOIt was a sad performance. Penn State Professor Rustum Roy was in Hawaiifor a talk on his specialty of material science (Sept. 1). Roy, whosecriticism of particle physics is well known in the community, also gavea lunchtime talk with the title "The End of Science and the Role ofWhole Body Medicine."About a dozen people heard Roy vigorously attack the conventionalscience community, of which he admitted he is a member with 700publications. Roy asserted that technology has nothing to do with basicscience, that the claimed connection is all a big fraud perpetrated onthe public by the high priests of the religion of science. He notedthat the invention of the transistor made use of "on the shelf science,"such as quantum mechanics. He did not provide an account of how quantummechanics got on the shelf in the first place. Roy was unmoved by theInquirer's suggestion that the electron, discovered exactly 100 yearsago, is an elementary particle crucial to modern technology, includingthe transistor.Roy argued that the peer-review process is also a fraud, and claimedthat many important discoveries are kept from the main journals by theprejudices of editors and referees. He referred to an article onacupuncture in this week's _Discover_ that reports on work that had beenrefused publication by both _Nature_ and _Science_. Roy failed tomention that the experiment was called "pseudoscience" by one of theexperts interviewed by _Discover_.Roy referred to another notable non-peer-reviewed scientific journal,_Parade_ magazine, that had published evidence for acupuncture. Here heseemed to be referring to the ancient reports made during Nixon's visitto China where the media witnessed surgeries claimed to have beenconducted with acupuncture as the sole pain control. Roy was not awarethat this demonstration has been long exposed as fakery. The patientshad secretly received conventional anesthesia. Mao arranged it all as ademonstration of the superiority of Chinese medicine. It was after thishoax that the use of acupuncture took off in the U.S.Roy's heros include Rupert Sheldrake, Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, andLarry Dossey. Sheldrake is the guy we mentioned last week who said hehad evidence for a psychic dog. He is famous for his theory of"morphogenetic fields," which he claims is the "new science of life." Chopra is the guy who writes all these best sellers on "quantum healing." Weil and Dossey are also best-selling authors who promote quackery.In Roy's view, these are the "new scientists" who go directly to thepeople in their search for truth, rather than rely on so-calledcontrolled experiments and fraudulent peer-reviewed journals. Roy asks:"What right do scientists have to tell us what is true?"THE (POLITICAL) SCIENCE OF SALTGood reasons for the loss of confidence in science can be found in along article by Gary Taubes in the Aug. 14 issue of _Science_ called"The Political Science of Salt." For years we have been told that"studies show" that too much salt in the diet leads to high bloodpressure. It turns out that this is yet another example of ourgovernment watchdog agencies, like the National Institutes for Healthand specialty groups like the National Heart, Lung, and Blood PressureInstitute, making pronouncements based on poor science.Here are some juicy quotes from the article:"You can say without a doubt that the [NHLIB] has made a commitment tosalt education that goes way beyond the scientific facts." (DrummondRenie)."The most slender piece of evidence in favor of [a salt-blood pressureconnection] is welcomed as further proof of the link, while failure tofind evidence is explained away." (Olaf Simpson).The salt controversy is the "number one perfect example of why scienceis a destabilizing force in public policy." (Sanford Miller).Gary Taubes is the author of _Bad Science_, an excellent book on thecold fusion fiasco.

HAWAII R-A-T-I-O-N-A-L I-N-Q-U-I-R-E-R Vol. 4 No. 3 September 18,1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following messageto listproc@hawaii.edu, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not sendrequests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu.The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to thelist and to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal. To contact the editor privately, send email tovstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.HAWAII NEW CENTER OF ENERGY MEDICINE?Two current items might lead one to think so. First, Thursday's OprahWinfrey show featured "medical intuitive" Caroline Myss who received adoctorate in "intuition and energy medicine" from Greenwich Universityin Hilo, Hawaii. Greenwich University is an unaccredited correspondenceschool with no association to the University of Hawaii or otheraccredited colleges in Hawaii.From the promotional material for the show: "Caroline Myss isnothing short of amazing. Time and again on today's show she pinpointedthe causes (and often, the cures) of our audience members' maladies.Caroline is not a gifted physician, but a medical intuitive who usesonly a patient's name and age -- and her own gifts -- to diagnose with93% accuracy. Her visionary powers extend far beyond the origins ofillness, however, illuminating the core of what it means to bephysically, mentally and emotionally 'healthy'."The second item concerns the University of Hawaii very directly. Everyyear the UH Foundation sponsors the "Presidents Club Lecture Series"which is designed to let private donors know about important doings atthe university. One of this year's three lectures is by Professor JaneStarn of the UH School of Nursing. The title: "Energy Healing: AComplementary Alternative Therapy."According to the abstract: "Energy healing is a complementary therapyfocused on the mind-body-spirit connection." Starn will present the"scientific/theoretical basis of energy healing" and the clinicalapplications of Therapeutic Touch.With quacks cleaning up these days, I guess President Mortimer feelslike this is a good chance for the UH to cash in on the trend.If you want to read Emily Rosa's own story about her science fairdebunking of Therapeutic Touch, see the first issue of _Jr. Skeptic_,enclosed in the lastest _Skeptic_ Magazine (Vol. 6 No. 2, 1998
).MEDICAL COMMUNITY TAKING ACTION AGAINST QUACKERYWe have seen how JAMA has finally begun to take a stand againstnon-scientific medicine. Now they have been joined by the New EnglandJournal of Medicine. The September 16 issue of NEJM contains aneditorial and other reports very critical of alternative practices.The editorial points out that some herbal remedies can be dangerous, butsince they are sold as "food supplements," do not come under FDAcontrol. An article in the same issue warns against use of the herbalmixture PC-SPES, a much-touted herbal treatment for prostate cancer.The California Department of Health Services has tested 260 traditionalChinese medicines and found one-third were contaminated with heavymetals, such as lead and arsenic, or pharmaceuticals not listed on thelabels.The editorial concludes: "It is time for the scientific community tostop giving alternative medicine a free ride. There cannot be two kindsof medicine -- conventional and alternative. There is only medicinethat has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine thatworks and medicine that may or may not work. Once a treatment has beentested rigorously, it no longer matters whether it was consideredalternative at the outset. If it is found to be reasonably safe andeffective, it will be accepted. But assertions, speculation, andtestimonials do not substitute for evidence. Alternative treatmentsshould be subjected to scientific testing no less rigorous than thatrequired for conventional treatments."MARTIN GARDNER SPEAKS OUT AGAINST FUZZY MATHIn this week's NY Review of books, Martin Gardner talks about the"newnew math" that is being promoted in a number of new textbooks. He saysthe National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) seems to havelearned nothing from the "new math" fiasco of the 1960s.The NCTM is "backing another reform movement that goes by such names asthe new new math, whole math, fuzzy math, standards math, and rainforest math. Like the old New Math, it is creating a ferment amongteachers and parents, especially in California, where it first caughton. It is estimated that about half of all pre-college mathematics inthe United States is now being taught by teachers trained in fuzzy math.The new fad is heavily influenced by multiculturalism, environmentalism,and feminism."The full essay can be found at:http://www.nybooks.com/nyrev/WWWfeatdisplay.cgi?1998
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HAWAII R-A-T-I-O-N-A-L I-N-Q-U-I-R-E-R Vol. 4 No. 4 September 24,1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following messageto listproc@hawaii.edu, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not sendrequests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu.The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to thelist and to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal. To contact the editor privately, send email tovstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.US GOVERNMENT ANTI-SCIENCE?From the Chronicle of Higher Education's listserv, via Bill Steele andJon Morse:A glance at the September/October issue of "The American Enterprise":The U.S. government's animus toward scienceGovernment policy and attitudes often attack scientific achievements,says Christina Hoff Sommers, a fellow at the American EnterpriseInstitute. She cites a Smithsonian Institution exhibit, "Science inAmerican Life," that presented an unfairly critical view of thecontributions made by science, highlighting catastrophes such as theexplosion of the space shuttle Challenger. Government officials oftendisplay a hostility to scientific findings and even the scientificmethod, she says, pointing to the National Institutes of Health'ssupport for alternative medicine. That animus, she writes, shows up infinancial support for anti-scientific educational projects such as"Women's Ways of Knowing," a book that criticizes a reliance on logicand hard data. Inadequate science education is especially alarminggiven the dangerous potential to use pseudo-scientific ideas forpolitical ends, Ms. Sommers says. "A scandalously inadequate system ofscience education and public disregard for clear thinking and objectivetruth are just the early casualties" of the government's anti-sciencepractices, she concludes. The magazine's World-Wide Web address ishttp://www.theamericanenterprise.org/index1.htm.SENATE BILL BOOSTS NIH TO $15.6B -- CREATES DILEMMAFrom the APS Newsletter _What's New_ of Sept. 4:The Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee marked up its FY 99funding bill this week. It calls for a pulse-quickening $2B increaseover last year. The bipartisan measure was crafted by the chairman,Arlen Specter (R-PA) and ranking member, Tom Harkin (D-IA), two of theSenate's leading advocates of quack medicine. The bill elevates theOffice of Alternative Medicine to a Center of Complementary andAlternative Medicine, while increasing its budget from $20M to $50M.None of this is in the House bill.CRITICISM OF DISCOVER ARTICLE ON QUACKUPUNCTUREIn our Sept. 3 issue we mentioned the article in the latest _Discover_magazine that credulously reported claims that acupuncture has beenverified by laboratory MRI studies. Tom Wheeler sent this on:The article refers to functional MRI (fMRI) studies published in Proc.Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95, 2670 (Z.H. Cho et al.). Wallace Sampsonrecently had some skeptical comments (post to healthfraud discussionlist, Aug. 17):"The paper...claims to show that stimulating the 'eye' points on thelateral aspect of the foot causes lighting up of the occipital (vision)cortex on functional MRI scan in the same way that direct lightstimulation of the eye does. But there were problems."I went over this with fMRI experts. The paper is baloney. I havewritten an analysis for the next issue of SRAM [Scientific Review ofAlternative Medicine]. The problem essentially is that thinking of alight lights up the occipital cortex on all functional scans - PET,SPECT, and fMRI."[For] One third of the subjects the activity went down instead of up. Easily explained by ceasing to thinking about light."The physicist (Korean) had a ready explanation for that unexpected andinverse results: The ones that went up were Yang and the ones that wentdown were Yin."KISSING HANK'S ASSFrom the Canadian Humanists via Eddie Tabash: This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door I found a well groomed, nicely dressed couple. The man spoke first: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary." Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us." Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss his ass?" John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, he'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, he'll kick the shit out of you." Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?" John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do what ever he wants, and what he wants is to give you a million dollars, but he can't until you kiss his ass." Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..." Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?" Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..." John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us." Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?" Mary: "Oh, yes, all the time..." Me: "And has he given you a million dollars?" John: "Well, no, you don't actually get the money until you leave town." Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?" Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and he kicks the shit out of you." Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?" John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money." Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?" John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it." Me: "So what makes you think he'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?" Mary: "Well, he gives you a little bit before you leave. Maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty dollar bill on the street." Me: "What's that got to do with Hank? John: "Hank has certain 'connections.'" Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game." John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass he'll kick the shit of you." Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to him, get the details straight from him..." Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank." Me: "Then how do you kiss his ass?" John: "Sometimes we just blow him a kiss, and think of his ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on." Me: "Who's Karl?" Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times." Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss his ass, and that Hank would reward you?" John: "Oh no! Karl's got a letter Hank sent him years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself." John handed me a photocopy of a handwritten memo on From the desk of Karl letterhead. There were eleven items listed: 1. Kiss Hank's ass and he'll give you a million dollars when you leave town. 2. Use alcohol in moderation. 3. Kick the shit out of people who aren't like you. 4. Eat right. 5. Hank dictated this list himself. 6. The moon is made of green cheese. 7. Everything Hank says is right. 8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom. 9. Don't drink. 10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments. 11. Kiss Hank's ass or he'll kick the shit out of you. Me: "This would appear to be written on Karl's letterhead." Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper." Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting." John: "Of course, Hank dictated it." Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?" Mary: "Not now, but years ago he would talk to some people." Me: "I thought you said he was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the shit out of people just because they're different?" Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right." Me: "How do you figure that?" Mary: "Item 7 says, 'Everything Hanks says is right.' That's good enough for me!" Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up." John: "No way! Item 5 says, 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says, 'Use alcohol in moderation,' item 4 says, 'Eat right,' and item 8 says, 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too." Me: "But 9 says, 'Don't Drink,' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says, 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong." John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure." Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock...." Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese." Me: "I'm not really an expert, but I think the theory that the moon came from the Earth has been discounted. Besides, not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it cheese." John: "Aha! You just admitted that scientists make mistakes, but we know Hank is always right!" Me: "We do?" Mary: "Of course we do, Item 5 says so." Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying, 'Hank's right because he says he's right.'" John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking." Me: "But.... oh, never mind. What's the deal with wieners?" Mary blushes. John says: "Wieners, in buns, no condiments. It's Hank's way. Anything else is wrong." Me: "What if I don't have a bun?" John: "No bun, no wiener. A wiener without a bun is wrong." Me: "No relish? No Mustard?" Mary looks positively stricken. John shouts: "There's no need for such language! Condiments of any kind are wrong!" Me: "So a big pile of sauerkraut with some wieners chopped up in it would be out of the question?" Mary sticks her fingers in her ears: "I am not listening to this. La la la, la la, la la la." John: "That's disgusting. Only some sort of evil deviant would eat that...." Me: "It's good! I eat it all the time." Mary faints. John catches her: "Well, if I'd known you were one of those I wouldn't have wasted my time. When Hank kicks the shit out of you I'll be there, counting my money and laughing. I'll kiss Hank's ass for you, you bunless cut-wienered kraut-eater." With this, John dragged Mary to their waiting car, and sped off.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 4 No. 5 October 1,1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following messageto listproc@hawaii.edu, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not sendrequests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu.The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to thelist and to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal. To contact the editor privately, send email tovstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.BALTIMORE VINDICATED IN NEW BOOKMichael Shermer writes in the Skeptic Mag Hotline <SkepticMag@aol.com>of Sept. 30:A Trial of Politics, Science, and Character (W.W.Norton, 1998
), byCaltech historian of science Dan Kevles, is the story of DavidBaltimore, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1975 at the age of 37(for his work on retroviruses), followed by the presidency ofRockefeller University and numerous other accolades that go with being asuccessful scientist in the world of Big Science.But in 1986, when at MIT, he collaborated on a paper with TherezaImanishi-Kari and several other co-authors, that was published in theprestigious journal CELL. There was nothing particularlyearth-shattering about the paper's conclusions, but it became the focusof controversy when Margot O'Toole, a postdoctoral fellow at MIT,complained about Imanishi-Kari's data, implying that it was faked.This eventually led to an formal Congressional investigation for whichO'Toole was portrayed as young honest scientist standing up for truthand fairness in a world of Big Science dominated by huge egos competingfor huge dollars and, the implication being, willing to do anything forthose dollars and rewards, including data fabrication. She won severalawards, including the Humanist of the Year Award from the EthicalSociety of Boston, and the Ethics Award of the American Institute ofChemists. By most early accounts it looked like she had stood upagainst the mighty David Baltimore (who was not himself accused offaking data but, as senior scientist on the paper, was held accountablenonetheless) and won.But as the affair played itself out in the early 1990s (these thingstake years) it appeared that instead of Big Science taking a fall fromgrace (eagerly embraced by those critical of science), it appeared moreand more that Baltimore and Imanishi-Kari were the victims ofbureaucratic witch-hunters. Congress gave an ethics committee thepower and the duty to root out and destroy scientific fraud and, likeall good witch-hunters, they found what they were looking for in theBaltimore case.Kevles chronicles in intricate detail all the personalities and eventsover the course of a decade, and follows Baltimore's rise to power, fallfrom grace, and phoenix-like comeback where he was acquitted and is nowthe President of Caltech. He shows how Imanishi-Kari had not had a fairtrial, she had been convicted in the court of public opinion and nowhereelse, and those who condemned Baltimore for defending Imanishi-Kari hadoverlooked important aspects of the case in their witch-hunting zeal andlack of understanding of how science works. Imanishi-Kari wasofficially exonerated on all counts in June of 1996
.I cannot recommend enough that everyone pick up a copy of this book andread it cover to cover. It is a gripping tale that shows how sciencereally works and how the misunderstanding of science leads todisastrous cases like this.ANOTHER NEW BOOK: THE SHADOW UNIVERSITYHere are some selected comments on The Shadow University: The Betrayalof Liberty on America's Campuses by Alan Charles Kors and Harvey A.Silverglate. Thanks to Norm Levitt. For more seehttp://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0684853213/darwinanddarwini/" . . . an eye-opening narrative about how the modern university'hands students a moral agenda upon arrival, subjects them to mandatorypolitical reeducation, sends them to sensitivity training, submergestheir individuality in official group identity, intrudes upon privateconscience, treats them with scandalous inequality, and, when itchooses, suspends or expels them'"--John J. Miller"The authors document in alarming detail the Orwellian techniquesuniversities now use to enforce conformity--vague and self-contradictoryspeech codes; secretive and arbitrary disciplinary proceedings;ideological indoctrination billed as sensitivity training; censorship ofconservative publications and speakers."--Booklist"Universities once believed themselves to be sacred enclaves, wherestudents and professors could debate the issues of the day and arrive ata better understanding of the human condition. Today, sadly, this idealof the university is being quietly betrayed from within. Universitiesstill set themselves apart from American society, but now they do so byenforcing their own politically correct worldview through censorship,double standards, and a judicial system without due process. Facultyand students who threaten the prevailing norms may be forced to undergo'thought reform.'"The Shadow University is a stinging indictment of the covert system ofjustice on college campuses, exposing the widespread reliance onkangaroo courts and arbitrary punishment to coerce students and facultyinto conformity."--Kirkus Associates, LP.And from the book itself:"Universities have become the enemy of a free society, and it is timefor the citizens of that society to recognize this scandal of enormousproportions and hold these institutions to account."DOES WEIL PROMOTE QUACKERY?In the Sept. 4 issue we reported a talk given in Hawaii by Penn Statephysics professor Rustum Roy. We said that he was an admirer of Dr.Andrew Weil, one of the "best-selling authors who promote quackery."One reader objected and asked what evidence there was for thisstatement.Here is a selection of observations provided by various correspondents:When _JAMA_ published the Rosa investigation into practitioners oftherapeutic touch, Weil immediately disseminated a wide-open endorsementof TT, including his explicit endorsement of the claim that TT-ers workwith invisible energy fields. On his web page, Weil wrote "Some callthis energy field an aura, others familiar with Asian healing arts knowthis energy as 'Chi.' It's the energy your body radiates by beingalive, flowing within you and without you.."Andrew Weil's first fame came through his 60's - '70s enthrallment withpsychedelics, displayed in his first book, "The Natural Mind" - a paean tothe benefits of mind alteration. . . . He next appeared in the pagesof Psychology Today, in the late '70s or so, after witnessing UriGeller, and attested to his unexplainable psychic powers.Weil has recommended toxic doses of vitamin A (especially toxic to thefetus in pregnancy), unnecessary and blanket taking of large doses ofanything called a vitamin - all based on flimsy evidence. Take hispersonal health inventory and get all sorts of incorrect diagnoses andrecommendations. Weil advises ingesting lots of supplements while at thesame time having an arrangement with Time-Warner that runs ads for itssupplement company on his web page, which is also part of the Time network.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 4 No. 6 October 8,1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following messageto listproc@hawaii.edu, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not sendrequests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu.The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to thelist and to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal. To contact the editor privately, send email tovstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.WEINBERG REREADS KUHNThomas Kuhn's _Structure of Scientific Revolutions_, first publishedin 1962, has been the best-selling academic book of the century. Nobook has had greater influence on the perception of science fromthe outside. Yet few practicing scientists reading this book willrecognize it as an accurate description of what they in fact practice.The current "science wars" are largely the consequence of "Structures"and the misunderstandings on the nature and practice of science it hasgenerated.Nobel laureate physicist Steven Weinberg was a colleague of Kuhn atBerkeley and MIT. He recently reread the book and has written a longarticle "The Revolution That Didn't Happen" that appears in the today'sNY Review of Books. Here are some choice excerpts:"What does bother me on rereading Structure and some of Kuhn's laterwritings is his radically skeptical conclusions about what isaccomplished in the work of science. . . . And it is just theseconclusions that have made Kuhn a hero to the philosophers,historians, sociologists, and cultural critics who question theobjective character of scientific knowledge, and who prefer todescribe scientific theories as social constructions, not so differentfrom democracy or baseball.""Nowhere have I seen any signs of Kuhn's incommensurability betweendifferent paradigms. . . . there have been no sudden changes inthe way we assess theories, no changes that would make it impossibleto compare the truth of theories before and after a revolution.""Kuhn overstated the degree to which we are hypnotized by ourparadigms, and in particular he exaggerated the extent to which thediscovery of anomalies during a period of normal science isinadvertent. He was quite wrong in saying that it is no part of thework of normal science to find new sorts of phenomena.""Revolutions in science seem to fit Kuhn's description only to theextent that they mark a shift in understanding some aspect of naturefrom pre-science to modern science. The birth of Newtonian physics wasa mega-paradigm shift, but nothing that has happened in ourunderstanding of motion since then. Not the transition from Newtonianto Einsteinian mechanics, or from classical to quantum physics fitsKuhn's description of a paradigm shift.""Certainly philosophers can do us a great service in their attempts toclarify what we mean by truth and reality. But for Kuhn to say thatas a philosopher he has trouble understanding what is meant by truthor reality proves nothing beyond the fact that he has troubleunderstanding what is meant by truth or reality.""We hope that in the next great step forward in physics we shall seethe theory of gravitation and all of the different branches ofelementary particle physics flow together into a single unifiedtheory. This is what we are working for and what we spend thetaxpayers' money for. And when we have discovered this theory, itwill be part of a true description of reality."QUACKOPRACTIC DEEMED INEFFECTIVE BY NEW STUDIESThe story has appeared in most media, so we will just mention that thetoday's NEJM reports two studies which show that chiropractic offersno significant benefit for childhood asthma and lower back pain,respectively. In the later case, physical therapy was also of littlebenefit. For the details, see the NEJM page athttp://www.nejm.org/content/current.asp.Most health insurance covers chiropractic care, a waste of hundreds ofmillions of dollars annually that comes out of your pocket and mine.ABC SPECIAL "POWER OF BELIEF" RECEIVES RAVE NOTICESFrom the Skeptical Inquirer electronic digest October 8, 1998
:Tuesday, October 6, ABC NEWS ran their much anticipated John Stosselspecial on belief in the paranormal. Featuring provocative visualsand snappy soundbites, the hour-long program was a critical review offirewalking, psychic sleuths, therapeutic touch, alternative therapynostrums, near-death experience, astrology and spiritual mediums.Unlike the majority of media presentations, which in the name of"balance" present most any claim in the wide realm of the paranormalas unsolved mysteries, John Stossel and his production team at theStossel Unit of ABC News provided responsible, critical informationand commentary for American audiences.The special featured investigator of unusual claims and CSICOPfounding fellow James Randi. One of the most illustrative segments ofthe program aired clips from Randi's now famous Carlos hoax from the1980's. With the aid of an Australian news program, Randi trained ayoung Miami artist to impersonate a medium. In the stage show andmulti-city tour, Carlos and his claims were unleashed on the rest ofthe Australian media. Sure enough, the media bought into Carlos' talewith little or no background investigation or criticism.Editor's note: The above report fails to mention that MichaelShermer, publisher of the rival _Skeptic_ Mag was also prominentlyfeatured. Shermer reports that his phone is ringing off the hook withrequests for subscriptions.Stossel has done other fine programs in the past, most notably one on"Junk Science."DR. WEIL AND URI GELLERLast issue we mentioned that Dr. Weil had "attested" to Uri Geller's"unexplainable psychic powers" in an interview in _Psychology Today_ inthe 1970's. As a reader pointed out, we failed to mention that Weil hadalso interviewed Geller's nemesis James Randi and so we may have leftthe impression that Weil was unaware of Randi's counterexplanation ofGeller's spoon-bending and other demonstrations. He was.sRandi confirms this and says Weil ended up writing that it wasn't atall important whether Geller was genuine or not, since he inspired usto think about other possibilities of the mind.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 4 No. 7 October 23,1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following messageto listproc@hawaii.edu, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not sendrequests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu.The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to thelist and to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal. To contact the editor privately, send email tovstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.WOULD THE U.S. BE BETTER OFF WITHOUT CHURCH-STATE SEPARATION?It seems that way, if you judge by Germany. Skeptic magaziner publisher Michael Shermer reports from recent trip there: "In Germany there is no separation of church and state, so thecountry's three largest organizations are given equal time (about twohours a week) to instruct public school students in their beliefs.These three organizations include the Catholic Church, the ProtestantChurch, and the Humanistischer Verband Deutschlands (Humanist Union ofGermany)! As shocking as this seems to Americans, humanists areactually given state money to present students every week with thedoctrines that best represent a secular philosophy of life, includingan ethical system that does not include God."In the meantime, in the U.S where church-state separation supposedlyexists, nonbelievers are routinely expected to swear to God,participate in public prayers and blessings, pledge alegiance to theflag in the name of God, and otherwise acknowledge a deity.Nonbelievers are forbidden to be Boy Scouts, an orginization for whichthe President of the U.S. is honorary Commander-in Chief. BSA collectsmoney from organizations such as the United Way. It's United Way timeagain, and time once again to boycott them for failing to live up totheir promises of non-discrimination.OAM GETS BIG INCREASEThe new Federal omnibus spening bill contains a250% increase in the NIHOffice of Alternative Medicine to $50M. Bob Park of the AmericanPhysical Society commented: "Created by a $2M earmark inserted by Sen.Tom Harkin (D-IA) in the 1992 NIH appropriation, OAM has yet to find,among the hundreds of unlikely-seeming alternative therapies, even onethat is not effective. It must take a lot to find out if things liketouch therapy work -- either that, or the taxpayer is getting hosed."THIS YEAR'S IGNOBLE PRIZESThe 1998
Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday, Oct. 8 at Harvard'sSanders Theater, before a paper-airplane throwing crowd of 1,200.The full list of 1998
winners follows:SAFETY ENGINEERING: Troy Hurtubise, of North Bay, Ontario, Canada, fordeveloping and personally testing a suit of armor that is impervious togrizzly bears.BIOLOGY: Peter Fong of Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania,for contributing to the happiness of clams by giving them Prozac.PEACE: Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India and PrimeMinister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan for their aggressively peacefulexplosions of atomic bombs.CHEMISTRY: Jacques Benveniste of France for his homeopathic discoverythat not only does water have memory, but that the information can betransmitted over telephone lines and the Internet. [Benveniste alsowon the 1991 Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize.]SCIENCE EDUCATION: Dolores Krieger, Professor Emerita, New YorkUniversity, for demonstrating the merits of therapeutic touch, a methodby which nurses manipulate the energy fields of ailing patients bycarefully avoiding contact with those patients.STATISTICS: Jerald Bain of Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto and KerrySiminoski of the University of Alberta for their carefully measuredreport, The Relationship Among Height, Penile Length, and Foot Size.PHYSICS: Deepak Chopra of The Chopra Center for Well Being, La Jolla,California, for his unique interpretation of quantum physics as itapplies to life, liberty, and the pursuit of economic happiness.ECONOMICS: Richard Seed of Chicago for his efforts to stoke up theworld economy by cloning himself and other human beings.MEDICINE: To Patient Y and to his doctors, Caroline Mills, MeirionLlewelyn, David Kelly, and Peter Holt, of Royal Gwent Hospital, inNewport, Wales, for the cautionary medical report, A Man Who PrickedHis Finger and Smelled Putrid for 5 Years.LITERATURE: Dr. Mara Sidoli of Washington, D.C., for her illuminatingreport, Farting as a Defence Against Unspeakable Dread.

HAWAII RATIONAL INQUIRER Vol. 4 No. 8 November 6 ,1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University ofHawaii and international academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following messageto listproc@hawaii.edu, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not sendrequests to hri-l@hawaii.edu.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to hri-l@hawaii.edu.The editor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to thelist and to edit them as appropriate (without changing content) beforere-transmittal. To contact the editor privately, send email tovstenger@hawaii.eduThis and earlier issues are archived at:http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as longas it is not being done for profit and due credit is given.MANICAS ON KUHNUH Sociologist Peter Manicas writes, in reference to our report onphysicist Steven Weinberg's recent re-assessment of Thomas Kuhn's_Structure of Scientific Revolutions_:Given the very one-sided picture of Kuhn (who surely was at leastambivalent about the how the world constrains theory--but this isanother story), it is worthwhile to remember that Kuhn was responding tothe nonsense that had captured the theory of science, beginning withMach and running through Carnap, Popper, Hempel, Nagel, etc.: variantforms of positivism in which the world or critical features of it atleast were "given" in experience and tied by reduction sentences,correspondence rules, etc. to deductively organized theories which thenentailed verifiable (or falsifiable, as in Popper) consequences, Quineundermined this in 1950, taking the first long step toward Kuhn.It is well also to remember that no less a scientist than Einstein wouldhave agreed with Kuhn's approach (which of course inspired strongprogramme sociology of science.) In his 1933 Herbert Spencer lectures,he said: "If you want to find out anything from theoretical physicistsabout the methods they use, I advise you to stick closely to oneprinciple: Don't listen to their words, fix your attention on theirdeeds."This is extremely sensible advice.Peter ManicasEd: Weinberg talks about how he was originally very impressed by Kuhn.They were colleagues at both Berkeley and MIT. I think he saw that Kuhnhad done some good, but now, in retrospect, with Kuhnianism evolved torelativism, more harm - as in the case the follows.THE TRIVIALIZATION OF THE CORECore requirements at universities are supposedly based on the notionthat a certain minimum training in the basic knowledge disciplines isnecessary for every educated person. But pressures have always existedto expand the core away from "fundamentals."Students demand flexibility, and faculty find they can't teach theirfavorite subjects unless their courses are required or on the core.This trend is compounded further these days by revenue-based budgeting.The result is a constant watering down of the core to the point wherethe original purposes are no longer being served. That is, if you takethe point of view that some kinds of knowledge are more important thanothers. Post-modern relativism denies this, and says that all ideas areequally arbitrary. Following this to its logical conclusion, all ideasare also equally worthless. But postmodernists deny logic as well.To give an example, the UH Manoa Core committee just approved for thesocial science core the following course from the Department of Textilesand Clothing: "Culture, Gender and Appearance_. The catalog will read"Social construction of gender within culture and its visual expressionthrough appearance. Analysis of role, identity, conformity, anddeviance in human appearance."Hawaii is not unique here. Apparently this course has been on the corefor years in many mainland institutions. It is very popular withstudents.Pretty soon a student will be able to fulfill all her (or his?) corerequirements by subjects relating to personal appearance. You can soonexpect "The Art of Hair Dressing" for the art requirement, "The Historyof Eye-Makeup" for humanities, and "The Chemistry of Nail Polish" fornatural sciences.THE SHADOW UNIVERSITYFrom _The Boston Phoenix_, October 1-8 (thanks to Norm Levitt):"The worst aspects of the turbulent 1960s thrive on our nation'scampuses, while the best aspects have been abandoned. That is thethesis of The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America'sCampuses (Free Press), a new book by attorney and Phoenix legalcolumnist Harvey Silvergate and Alan Charles Kors, a history professorat the University of Pennsylvania. They paint a portrait of campus lifewhere "free speech, equality of rights, [and] respect for privateconscience" are all in trouble. In place of those principles,Silvergate and Kors argue, is a new orthodoxy in which "self-appointed`progressives' " have taken it upon themselves to "set everyone else'smoral agenda." This is not "political correctness," the two argue. Itis a fundamental and disturbing change in the administration of ourinstitutions of higher learning."Silvergate was interviewed by the _Phoenix_. Here are a few of hiscomments:"The debate on political correctness came and went quickly because itdealt with the issue on a very superficial level. What was neverrecognized was that this was a symptom -- just a symptom -- of thedeeply embedded culture that has taken over the whole area of studentlife on the vast majority of campuses.""I believe that psychologically it's very harmful to women, blacks,gays, and so forth to be told that the only way they are going tosurvive and get an education is if other students are not allowed toexpress their views about them. It's very demeaning and verydestructive. It's a terribly patronizing view of the so-called victim-- that suddenly you're called a name and you fold up your tent and goback to the ghetto.""You have to have a very dim view of human nature, and you have to havereally no confidence in people -- no confidence in our socialinstitutions in this country -- to take the view that speech is toodangerous to allow it to be unfettered and free."RECENT 'RITINGSHere are some links to web pages where you can find some of your editorsrecent essays and articles on a range of subjects."The Anthropic Coincidences: A Natural Explanation" to appear in_Skeptical Intelligencer_ (UK).<http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/avoid/intel.html>"Has Science Found God? to appear in _Free Inquiry_ magazine.<http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/avoid/found-fi.html>"How to Make 6 Days Last 13 Billion Years" December _Skeptical Briefs_,regular column "Reality Check."<http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/briefs/genesis.html>"Bioenergetic Fields." To appear in _The Scientific Review ofAlternative Medicine_.<http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/alt/Biofield.html>Other good stuff can be found by starting at<http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/vjs.html>

HAWAII R-A-T-I-O-N-A-L I-N-Q-U-I-R-E-R Vol. 4 No. 9 November 24 ,1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following message to<listproc@hawaii.edu>, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_name last_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not send requests to<hri-l@hawaii.edu>.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to <hri-l@hawaii.edu>. Theeditor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the list and toedit them as appropriate (without changing content) before re-transmittal. Tocontact the editor privately, send email to <vstenger@hawaii.edu>.This and earlier issues are archived at:<http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html>.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as long as it isnot being done for profit and due credit is given.DUKE ENGLISH UPHEAVALExcerpts from article by Janny Scott in the Nov. 21 New York Times:DURHAM, N.C. -- If ever an academic department was hot, it was the Englishdepartment at Duke University in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when it wasfamously reinventing itself. Recruiting star professors, it bounded up thenational rankings and became for a time the capital of cutting-edge literarystudies as well as many a conservative's favorite example of academic excess.The department's biggest names included Stanley Fish, its flamboyant chairman;Frank Lentricchia, whom The Village Voice once called "the Dirty Harry ofcontemporary critical theory;" Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick, co-founder of the growingacademic field of "queer theory," and, fleetingly, Henry Louis Gates Jr., nowthe ubiquitous chairman of Afro-American studies at Harvard.But over the past year, the department has appeared to be self-destructing.Professors have been at war with each other. Many of the best-known have left.When an external review team paid a routine two-day visit last spring, itreported having found the department "without anything we would be disposed todescribe as an undergraduate or graduate curriculum.""In the postmodern world, some of those working within literature are usingliterature as an instrument to try to affect social change," said JamesApplewhite, a 63-year-old poet and English professor at Duke. "I think theproblem of our department was, in the new era, once literature becomespolitics, then politics is a matter of contention rather than consensus."MOXIBUSTION? JAMA GOES HEAD FIRST INTO ALTERNATIVE MEDICINEItem from WHAT'S NEW, Robert L. Park Friday, 13 Nov 98 Washington, DC:Americans visited AM practitioners more frequently than primary care physiciansin 1997
and paid $21B for the privilege. There is, however, a dearth ofscientific evidence of either safety or efficacy of AM therapies, prompting theJournal of the American Medical Association to put out a special issue on AMresearch. At a press briefing on five articles selected from that issue, theJAMA editor began by observing that the gold standard for medical research isthe randomized, double-blind study. WN's favorite was "Moxibustion forCorrection of Breech Presentation." Moxibustion is an ancient Chinese practicein which acupuncture points are stimulated by heat rather than needles. Notjust any heat -- it must be from burning the herb Artemesia vulgaris -- and notjust any acupuncture point -- it's the one beside the outer corner of thewoman's fifth toenail. OK, so the theory needs a little work. The study, donein China, concluded that more fetuses turned head first among the treatedwomen. But was the study blind? Sort of. The women were told which groupthey were in -- besides, its pretty easy to tell if you're getting a Chinesehot foot. The doctors were also told which women were treated, but thefetuses, by all accounts, were in the dark.QUANTUM CONSCIOUSNESS PHYSICIST SPEAKS AT UHThe sixth in the Vedanta Series of lectures sponsored by the Infinity Foundation of Princeton, NJ, was held November 20 on the University of Hawaii Manoa campus. The speaker was Henry P. Stapp, Professor of Physics at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. The title of the lecture was "Mental Force and Free Will in the Quantum Universe."Some readers may recall our report on the first lecture in this series, by Oregon physicist Amit Goswami (Vol. 3 No. 10 archived at <http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/hri/3-10>). Your editor and Goswami did not exactly hit it off.Stapp, like Goswami, thinks that quantum mechanics may offer a place for consciousness in the scientific scheme of things. However, Stapp is more willing than Goswami to admit that the connection is far from being demonstrated. Stapp uses as his starting point the Copenhagen interpretation in which the wave function represents our knowledge of a quantum system. This, Stapp says offers the prospect of being able to incorporate mind into the formalism of a physical theory. He made it clear that he was not talking about a dualistic universe of spirit and matter, but one where mind exists as some kind of special force. His motivation is to see if any basis can be found for humans to believe that they are more than just the bag of atoms that science seems to say they are. He mentioned possible empirical tests.You editor's own book, _The Unconscious Quantum_ (information at <http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/meta.html>) took the opposing view. But he behaved himself better this time.TWENTY YEARS OF GAIAFrom "Science-Week" <prismx@scienceweek.com> Nov. 23:The Gaia hypothesis first formulated by James E. Lovelock in 1979 has emergedas a possible conceptual framework for studying the interaction of theenvironment of the surface of the Earth and Earth's biota. The essentialaspect of the Gaia hypothesis is the consideration of feedback mechanisms whoseconsequence is self-regulation of the environment-biota global system with anemphasis on the importance of the biotic component in the physical history ofthe planet. The Gaia hypothesis has its severe critics, as evidenced in the following viewof Tjeerd H. Van Andel (_New Views on an Old Planet: A History of GlobalChange_, Cambridge University Press, 1994, p. 402.): "The conflict betweenaccepting what science teaches us and what the human heart would like tobelieve is well illustrated by James Lovelock's Gaia concept that places lifein charge of the functioning of our planet. It is a lovely thought, a temptingone too, because it is a form of religion and the human soul requires thecomfort of a guided universe; it needs religion. Alas, it is also unnecessary,because the world as it was, has evolved, and now exists, is not inexplicable.It is merely very complex, and life plays a role in it, but not the main one."SOME YOGI BERRA WISDOM"Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours.""Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical."When asked by a reporter why it's so tough to play left field in YankeeStadium, Yogi said: "Because it gets late early.""If the people don't want to come out to the park, nobody's gonna stop them.""It ain't over till it's over.""It's deja vu all over again.""No wonder nobody comes here; it's too crowded.""We have very deep depth!""We made too many wrong mistakes.""You can observe a lot by just watching."When the wife of the mayor of New York told Yogi that he looked cool, despitethe heat, he said: "You don't look so hot, either.""When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

HAWAII R-A-T-I-O-N-A-L I-N-Q-U-I-R-E-R Vol. 4 No. 10 December 4 ,1998
A free, open newsletter on issues of interest to the University of Hawaii andinternational academic communities.Subscriptions are open to all. To subscribe send the following message to<listproc@hawaii.edu>, with subject blank: subscribe hri-l first_namelast_name. To unsubscribe send: unsubscribe hri-l. Do not send requests to<hri-l@hawaii.edu>.If you would like to comment to the list, reply to <hri-l@hawaii.edu>. Theeditor reserves the right to decide which messages to post to the list and toedit them as appropriate (without changing content) before re-transmittal. Tocontact the editor privately, send email to <vstenger@hawaii.edu>.This and earlier issues are archived at:<http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/rati.html>.Feel free to re-distribute this newsletter in full or in part, as long as it isnot being done for profit and due credit is given.FUNCTIONALLY ILLITERATE COLLEGE GRADS TAKING LOW PAYING JOBS"American Outlook" <http://hudson.org/American_Outlook/index.htm> reports thefollowing comments by Edwin S. Rubenstein, director of research at the HudsonInstitute (thanks to Jim Tiles):After corrections for socioeconomic background are made, Rubenstein finds that acollege education adds only about 15 per cent to a person's income. 'Theproblem is that too many unqualified students attend college. He cites a studythat measured functional literacy -- essentially a gauge of basic reading andarithmetic ability -- and found that functionally illiterate college graduatesoften ended up taking low-paying jobs that should have gone to students withless education.'If they are "functionally illiterate" after graduating from college, how do youcharacterize those "students of less education," high school graduates who failto go to college? Maybe employers don't hire them because they can't tie theirshoes in the morning.THE STORY OF ST. NICKThe following are some edited excerpts from"The Origin of Santa Claus" by JamesStill. The complete article can be found at<http://www.infidels.org/infidels/newsletter/1998
/december.html>.The historical Saint Nicholas is supposedly a bishop of Myra who died in in 350CE. Imprisoned sometime during Emperor Diocletian's rule, he was later releasedwhen Constantine instituted the new pogrom of tolerance toward Christians.Bishop Nicholas participated in the Council of Nicaea (325 CE).'The Church eventually moved the pageant of Saint Nicholas to the wintersolstice (the final day of the ancient Roman Saturnalia festival, now December25th) to merge it with the celebration of Christ's birth. Before it becameattached to Christ's birth, December 25th was the Mithraic winter-solsticefestival called Dies Natalis Solis Invictus, Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.Mithras was known as the Light of the World, Sun of Righteousness, and Savior.The divine child symbology (as the sun) was celebrated on the winter solstice,the darkest days of winter where the sun's rebirth would lead to longer days andspring.'Nicholas's cult was gradually combined with German and Celtic pagan Yule ritesto produce a Christianized "Father Christmas," a somber figure closer to thetwinkling elf we know today. Father Christmas was traditionally old, bearded,wore a thick coat of furs, and rode a horse. Pagan celebrants lighted candlesin trees and decorated their homes with ivy, pine, and holly. Mummers dancedand small troupes traveled from house to house singing carols. The Yule rite ofdragging a log through the streets represented the phallus, and invokesfertility magic associated with the cult of Frey. When pagans wereChristianized by the Church, Frey would be changed to Kris Kringle, ("Christ ofthe Orb"), i.e., the reborn divine child of earlier Mithras cult.'To this day Saint Nicholas's cult competes alongside Christ on the same holidayin a strange mixture of commercialization, paganism, excess and holy reverence.This has led some Christians in recent years to proclaim the slogan, "Jesus isthe reason for the season." However, the prior enduring history of Santa Claus,Mithras, and the Yule, prove that this slogan is quite incorrect. Jesus hasbeen clumsily papered on top of deeper rituals and the fact that these ritualscannot be contained and often overshadow the Christian cult reveal thetremendous power that these older myths still possess.'THE STONED THINKING OF DR. WEILThe following are excerpts from "A Trip to Stonesville," an article on Dr.Andrew Weil by Arnold S. Relman in the Dec. 14 _New Republic_. The fullarticle is at<http://www.thenewrepublic.com/magazines/s/current/relman121498.html>.'Alternative practitioners either do not seem to care about science orexplicitly reject its premises. Their methods are often based on notionstotally at odds with science, common sense, and modern conceptions of thestructure and the function of the human body. In advancing their claims, theydo not appear to recognize the need for objective evidence, asserting that theintuitions and the personal beliefs of patients and healers are all that isneeded to validate their methods.....the scientific method is not, for Weil, the only way, or even the best way,to learn about nature and the human body. Many important truths are intuitivelyevident and do not need scientific support, even when they seem to contradictlogic. Conventional science-based medicine has its uses, but they are limited.Like so many of the other gurus of alternative medicine, Weil is not bothered bylogical contradictions in his argument, or encumbered by a need to search forobjective evidence.According to Weil, many of his basic insights about the causes of disease andthe nature of healing come from what he calls "stoned thinking," that is,thoughts experienced while under the influence of psychedelic agents or duringother states of "altered consciousness" induced by trances, ritual magic,hypnosis, meditation, and the like. He cites some of the characteristics of"stoned thinking" that give it advantages over "straight" thinking; theseinclude a greater reliance on "intuition" and an "acceptance of the ambivalentnature of things," by which he means a tolerance for "the coexistence ofopposites that appear to be mutually antagonistic." In Weil's view, intellect,logic, and inductive reasoning from observed fact are the limited instruments of"straight" thinking, and should be subservient to guidance by the intuitiveinsights that are gained during states of altered consciousness and "stoned"thinking.'Arnold S. Relman is editor-in-chief emeritus of The New England Journal ofMedicine and professor emeritus of medicine and social medicine at HarvardMedical School.