Tag Archives | Science Fact

Headline News

The following letter appeared in today’s Opelika-Auburn News:

To the editor:

Today’s article on Homo floresiensis was given a very misleading headline, saying that the find “challenges the theory of evolution.” Such a claim is quite false, and is not supported by anything in the body of the article.

Pac-Man skeleton (not actually connected to this story)

The article does say that the find may alter “our understanding of human evolution,” i.e., may change the prevailing views about where and in what sequence human evolution occurred; but the basic theory of evolution itself is entirely unthreatened by anything connected with the discovery.

By analogy, if scientists were to discover that, say, the great pyramid of Giza is heavier than previously thought, would you run a headline saying that the find “challenges the law of gravity”?

Roderick T. Long

Time Capsule

Happy New Year to my readers east of the Central time zone! Greetings from back here in 2009.

A People’s History of Pandora, Part 2

Libertarians are divided on Avatar (which I haven’t seen yet); check out Peter Suderman, Stephan Kinsella, Peter Klein, David Kramer, and Lester Hunt.

Lester writes, inter alia:

What makes the business corporation in this movie so evil? Well, it engages in the following practices: using military force to invade and conquer foreign lands, slaughtering wholesale numbers of the inhabitants and burning their dwellings, all in order to steal their property. … Gee, I thought, I can’t think of a single business corporation that engages in those particular practices. Office Depot doesn’t, and I’m pretty sure Microsoft and Dell Inc don’t either.

So in the comments section I responded:

I can’t think of many businesses that engage in those particular practices all on their own. But I can think of plenty of businesses that have either gotten governments to engage in those practices on their behalf (examples range from the East India Company to the United Fruit/Brands Company) or have themselves engaged in those practices on some government’s behalf (e.g. Blackwater, DynCorp).

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