Photo by Lucas Clara

Keeping an Eye on Evolution: Richard Dawkins, a Relentless Darwinian Spear Carrier, Trips Over Mount Improbable.

The theory of evolution is the great white elephant of contemporary thought. It is large, almost entirely useless, and the object of superstitious awe. Richard Dawkins is widely known as the theory’s uncompromising champion. Having made his case in The Blind Watchmaker and River out of Eden, Dawkins proposes to make it yet again in Climbing Mount Improbable. He is Read More ›

Norm Rice is ill-suited for nasty atmosphere of other Washington

He wouldn’t fit in, and maybe he shouldn’t wish to. I was going to tell him that earlier, but didn’t want to seem a killjoy. If Norm Rice had ambitions to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, who was I to argue against it? But after some gossip in the White House tried to throw cold water on Read More ›

Photo by Yassine Khalfalli

Darwin Under the Microscope

In his statement, the Pope was careful to point out that it is better to talk about "theories of evolution" rather than a single theory. The distinction is crucial. Indeed, until I completed my doctoral studies in biochemistry, I believed that Darwin's mechanism — random mutation paired with natural selection — was the correct explanation for the diversity of life. Yet I now find that theory incomplete. Read More ›

The Controversial Test of What Constitutes a True Charter School

The historically significant Washington State campaign on school reform is continuing to develop in curious ways. There is an old political adage, “If you can’t win an argument on an issue, argue about something else,” and that is just what opponents of the two school reform initiatives are doing. In the past week, with the election fast approaching, proponents of Read More ›

Who Says “Visionary” is a Bad Word?

He was a restless young attorney who was also a frustrated architect and planner. On Sunday afternoons in the late 60’s he used to recruit his wife and a friend (me, on some occasions) to drive around Seattle looking at any new buildings going up. He would complain about the lack of good planning in town and sketch in the Read More ›

Materialism’s Slipping Hold on Science and Culture. (Part 2 of 3)

Most Christians and Jews try to find ways to show that faith and science are compatible. They may be compatible, indeed, but on what terms? About 40% of scientists cited in a Nature magazine survey believe in a personal God who takes part in human history, yet the other 60% emphatically do not. Even many of the believers have compartmentalized Read More ›

The Reality of Drugs Belies a Cartoon-style Answer

Garry B. Trudeau, creator of the comic-strip Doonesbury, is one of your star Boomer celebrities, a self-appointed guru of perpetual ’60s cool. It was Trudeau who invented the jaunty Mr. Butts character that mocks the tobacco companies and the politicians who take their contributions. Today Mr. Butts figures haunt only Republican rallies, despite the annoying fact from the National Library Read More ›

Academic Freedom at Risk in Science Debate. (Part 3 of 3)

If an established academic truth is challenged by new scientific insights, should authorities allow classroom discussion of such challenges? That was the question many people believe was placed on the national stage by the famous Scopes Trial on evolution in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925. Three-quarters of a century later, the questions are the same, only now the issue is whether Read More ›

Whitewater: Prosecute It or Drop It

Ted Van Dyk is a former Washington State resident and a Democrat of national pedigree, who once served as an aide to Vice President Hubert Humphrey, later ran a Democratic policy center and advised Sen. Paul Tsongas in his 1992 presidential bid. These days he gazes balefully over developments in the Whitewater scandal as described in the newspapers that arrive Read More ›

Slighting Shakespeare

A London music hall ditty of some years past goes, Shakespeare Sidebar — “Shakespeare dead? Poor old Will! Why, I never knew the old fellow was ill!” But he is ill, at least in a majority of the universities of America, where a new report shows that even English majors no longer are required to take a course on one Read More ›