three crazy things before breakfast: bad science and GOP politics

Posted on: Sun, 01/29/2012 - 12:29 By: Tom Swiss

Three crazy things I read before breakfast today:

  • a purported "theory of everything" from an assistant professor of molecular biology and microbiology at Case Western Reserve University. A breathless press release titled "Radical theory explains the origin, evolution, and nature of life, challenges conventional wisdom" has been making the rounds, and kicking up some excitement among people who don't read it thoroughly or don't know enough science to spot it as the gibberish it is:

    By fitting the gyromodel to facts accumulated over scientific history, Dr. Andrulis confirms the proposed existence of eight laws of nature. One of these, the natural law of unity, decrees that the living cell and any part of the visible universe are irreducible. This law formally establishes that there is one physical reality.

    Another natural law dictates that the atomic and cosmic realms abide by identical organizational constraints. Simply put, atoms in the human body and solar systems in the universe move and behave in the exact same manner.

    For thorough debunking, see Ars Technica, Retration Watch, and PZ Myers. My first guess was that we might have a Sokal here, but instead it looks like a smart guy having a breakdown. May his nervous system recover its equilibrium.

    But the product of Dr. Andrulis's unbalanced brain is not nearly as nutso as two proposals I read today from Republicans:

  • Let's allow direct corporate donations to federal political campaigns.

    In the wake of the Citizen's United decision, which allowed unlimited corporate donations to independent (at least, in theory) advocacy groups, the GOP has filed a
    brief in federal appeals court contending that a 1908 ban on direct donations from corporations to candidates violates the First Amendment. It's like the Republican's aren't even try to hide their "government for sale to the highest bidder" agenda anymore.

    And what sort of government would we get from the highest bidder? Well, given the unholy alliance between those who want to take all the fetters of of big business, and low IQ social conservatives, we could expect more proposals like this:

  • Let's turn back the clock on domestic violence laws. GOP legislators in New Hampshire are proposing to make it harder for cops to arrest abusers when the cop did not actually see the assault, and limit judges’ ability to order the arrest of someone who violates a restraining order. An editorial from the Concord Monitor notes that "New Hampshire has what could be the toughest law in the country when it comes to domestic violence...but two bills under consideration by this most unusual of legislatures, would undo that progress and put lives in danger. Both deserve a speedy defeat."