Ketchikan Indian Community checking Ketchikan beaches and shellfish for toxins

first_imgFisheries | Food | Oceans | Outdoors | Public Safety | Science & Tech | Southeast | Subsistence | WildlifeKetchikan Indian Community checking Ketchikan beaches and shellfish for toxinsFebruary 11, 2017 by Maria Dudzak, KRBD Share:Esther Kennedy of the Resource Protection Department collects water samples every week from Starrigavan. Along with six other tribes in Southeast, the group is working to create an early warning system to protect shellfish diggers from PSP. (Photo by Emily Kwong/KCAW)Last summer, Ketchikan Indian Community began a phytoplankton and shellfish monitoring program in Ketchikan as part of the Southeast Alaska Tribal Toxins Program. KIC tests samples, and informs the public if dangerous levels of the toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning are found in local clams and mussels.Nicole Forbes is the environmental specialist at KIC in charge of collecting samples. She says it’s important for people to understand what paralytic shellfish poisoning is and how it is transmitted.“Basically there are tiny, microscopic plants in the ocean called phytoplankton. Most of them are not harmful. In fact, they produce 50 percent of our oxygen. But there are a few harmful species and one of those is Alexandrium and it produces something called saxitoxin. When the shellfish filter-feed, it gets collected in the shellfish, and when people eat it, that’s what causes paralytic shellfish poisoning.”PSP toxins cannot be cooked or cleaned out of shellfish, and freezing does not destroy the toxin. Consumption of the toxin can cause paralysis and death. Commercial shellfish is tested and considered safe. The Tribal Toxins Program targets recreational beaches.Forbes says KIC is testing samples at popular beaches in the Ketchikan area so people will know if clams, mussels, and cockles are safe to harvest. Currently, testing is being done at Settlers Cove and Whipple Creek. Forbes says they plan to add Seaport Beach in Saxman soon. She says the program is in the beginning stages and they are working to identify other sample sites.“We’re trying to figure out where most people harvest, so that we can get those results. The thing is you have to get results for each beach. Because you could go two or three miles down and it’s going to be completely different down there.”Forbes says there are three steps to the collection process, which starts with weekly phytoplankton samples.“Which involves me going out there with a phytoplankton net and wading in the water, and grabbing a sample. I bring that back to our local lab, and I put it under the microscope and look for those harmful phytoplankton species that I was talking about. If I see one, that’s the first warning sign that we need to get a shellfish sample out as soon as possible, because it’s possible that saxitoxin is in the shellfish.”Forbes says suspect samples are sent to the Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s lab in Sitka. She says the turnaround time for testing is fairly quick.“I send it out on Tuesday, gets there Wednesday, I get results Thursday or Friday.”She says the third step of the process is filtration, which involves taking a water sample, filtering it, and then sending the filter to the lab, where phytoplankton species and quantities are identified, along with concentration of toxins.Tony Gallegos, the cultural and natural resources director for KIC, says Alexandrium may be present, but not necessarily producing toxins.“The scientific literature hasn’t come to clear conclusion on how you know whether they’re going to produce the toxins or not, what triggers that. That’s still unclear. We can see the algae, but we need to actually do an analysis of those algae to see if they actually have toxins in them.”Forbes says phytoplankton aren’t as active in the winter because it is cold and dark, but she says no time of the year is safe to harvest without testing. She says they found high levels of toxins in butter clams at Whipple Creek this winter.“Actually butter clams hold onto the toxins longer, and then during the winter the shellfish slow down their filter feeding, so they can actually hold on to those toxins for the whole winter.”Forbes says she collects samples every two weeks, weather permitting, and if samples test positive, they are retested weekly. Results for all Southeast beaches being tested are posted in the data section of the Southeast Alaska Tribal Association Research website – www.seator.org. Information is also sent to local media.KIC is interested in identifying other local sites for sampling.If you have suggestions, you can contact Nicole Forbes at KIC. Forbes email is [email protected]  The phone number is 228-9365.Share this story:last_img read more

The Top 10 Literary Events in September

first_imgBooksThe Top 10 Literary Events in SeptemberFrom a live reading of a screenplay to a sex-themed book launch in a bar, here’s a list of the best lit events this monthBy Jackie Adams – September 2, 2014771ShareEmailFacebookTwitterPinterestReddItFrom a live readings of a screenplay to a sex-themed book launches in a bar, here’s a list of the best lit events this month.The Writer’s Room at DBA (September 3)Maybe you heard that the Oscar winning movie The Dallas Buyers Club was shot in only 25 days. Did you know it took decades for the screenplay to get to that point? Screenwriter Craig Borten will be discussing his struggles with Dustin Lance Black (Milk, J. Edgar) and host Reza Aslan at this month’s Writer’s Room event.More information, $30 Read @ Sunset Marquis (September 7)Another newcomer to the L.A. reading series game, Read @ Sunset Marquis debuts its lineup of authors on September 7 with a reading by Matthew Specktor, a founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. The event will be held the first Sunday of every month on the hotel’s main pool deck, a prime spot to do some stargazing.More information, Free Sex World Book Launch at The Federal Bar (September 14)When you’re celebrating the launch of a collection of flash fiction called Sex World, it has to take place in a bar. Two time PEN Award-winner Ron Koertge will be reading from his new book while musical guest The Sweet Potatoes provide the tunes at this Sunday night event.More information, $10 advance purchase, $15 at the door Junot Diaz @ Skylight Books (September 19)The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao will be reading and signing copies of his latest novel, This is How You Lose Her. The very next day he will receive the Los Angeles Public Library’s Literary Award for outstanding contribution to literature. Not too shabby.More information, Free Black List Live! at Ricardo Montalban Theatre (September 20)Every year Black List compiles a list of the best unproduced screenplays, and this new monthly event is your chance to get a peak at some of these gems. This month a still unannounced roster of actors will read The Seekers of Perpetual Love by Victoria Strouse live onstage at the historic Ricardo Montalban Theatre.More information, $35 David Mitchell at UCLA Freud Playhouse (September 23)The New York Times bestselling author of Cloud Atlas is already receiving praise for his latest book, The Bone Clocks. Mitchell will be reading from his 600+ page novel that weaves multiple stories together. Attendees will receive their own copy of the book.More information, $35 Gail Sheehy at Moss Theater (September 24)Longtime Vanity Fair contributing editor Gail Sheehy recounts what it was like to be a “girl” journalist in the 1960s in her latest book, Daring Passages: A Memoir. She tells tales of travelling to war zones and going undercover to her get stories, all while supporting herself as a divorced single mother.More information, $20Charles M. Blow and Jesmyn Ward @ Mark Taper Auditorium-Central Library (September 25)Jesmyn Ward’s novel Salvage the Bones, which takes place in Mississippi in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina, was mostly ignored until she won the National Book Award in 2011. She will join New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, who will be discussing his new memoir set in Louisiana, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, as part of the ALOUD series.More information, Free LAB•FESTat Traxx Bar in Union Station (September 27)Writ Large Press is nearing the end of its #90for90 project, which involves staging 90 different literary events on 90 consecutive days. The final event will occur on Friday the 26, and to celebrate the completion with an all day lit/arts/music festival in the Traxx courtyard. Last year over 1,000 people showed up.More information, Free Naomi Klein at Hammer UCLA (September 30)The award-winning author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine will read from her latest book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, which attempts to tackle the hefty topic of climate change.More information, Free TAGSCharles M. BlowCraig BortenDavid MitchellDustin Lance BlackGail SheehyJesmyn WardLiterary EventMatthew SpecktorNaomi KleinRon KoertgeThe Writer’s RoomPrevious articleVIDEO: Check Out Plans for Petersen Museum’s $125M MakeoverNext articleCouture Sneakers Are the Latest Trend in Fitness IndulgencesJackie Adams RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR7 Books You Need to Read This Septemberlast_img read more

Sunshine Policy Was Completely Abused

first_img RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] Sunshine Policy Was Completely Abused News Entire border patrol unit in North Hamgyong Province placed into quarantine following “paratyphoid” outbreak News News Facebook Twittercenter_img SHARE There are signs that North Korea is running into serious difficulties with its corn harvest North Korea tries to accelerate building of walls and fences along border with China By Daily NK – 2009.08.23 9:34pm [imText1]“The Sunshine Policy under the Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun administrations assisted Kim Jong Il and his followers in harassing their people and developing nuclear weapons and missiles,” according to a letter sent by President of the Committee for Democratization of North Korea Hwang Jang Yop to a seminar held in Seoul on the 21st. “Ten Years of the Sunshine Policy for the North Korean People” was held by the North Korea Strategy Center. The opening address was in the form of the letter from high-profile defector Hwang, in which he asserted, “From a theoretical perspective, the Sunshine Policy formulated by former President Kim Dae Jung was not completely wrong, but the problem was on whom the suns shone.” “In the past, the South Korean administration and its people provided the North with enormous quantities of cash and food, but didn’t see any North Korean people blessed by it. This aid was used for criminal acts by the North Korean regime and created pain for the people by reinforcing the power of the dictatorship,” he said. “The followers of the Sunshine Policy deceived the people, saying that helping Kim Jong Il and his dictatorship was the same as helping the North’s people while completely ignoring their human rights. Now, they have to honestly reflect on their conduct.” In conclusion, he emphasized, “It is time to overcome the Sunshine Policy and form a new policy, which can save the North Korean people and mutually help both North and South.” At the seminar, defector experts all agreed that the Sunshine Policy only increased the North Korean people’s pain. Jang Cheol Hyun, a senior researcher with the Institute for National Security Strategy stressed, “The more the South administration provided to the North Korean regime, the more pressure they put on the people.”He went on, “After the death of Kim Il Sung, North Korea faced a crisis after refusing to reform in the Chinese way and choosing to stick to the one-person dictatorship, but was able to adopt a new strategy to take advantage of the Sunshine Policy by accepting cash, food and other materials while completely blocking the winds of liberalism. By abusing the will of former President Kim Dae Jung, who considered the Sunshine Policy to be the greatest legacy of his administration, North Korea has resurrected its military and power, not to mention building nuclear weapons and missiles.” A representative of North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity (NKIS), Kim Heung Kwang concluded, “We have to analyze the influence of the Sunshine Policy separately for the general class and the elite class. It made Kim Jong Il and the privileged minority feel full while bequeathing cold, starvation, poverty and repression to the majority.” Newslast_img read more

Kang Fearful of Kim’s Hamheung Motivation

first_img By Chris Green – 2010.03.12 5:08pm News Kang Fearful of Kim’s Hamheung Motivation Kang Cheol Hwan, a prominent defector and the author of “Aquariums of Pyongyang,” says he believes that Kim Jong Il’s recent public appearance at a huge public rally in the east coast city of Hamheung is an indicator that Kim and his regime have no intention of letting recent negative developments in North Korea’s economic and social conditions threaten the regime.Kang made his comments in an opinion piece for Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean conservative daily, on Thursday, March 11th.First, Kang is concerned about the reason for Kim’s visit, which was to celebrate the reopening of the February 8th Vinalon Complex in the city. Vinalon, Kang claims, is a poor quality and no longer economically viable synthetic fiber of which North Korea has no need given the availability of cheaper Chinese fabric. Whereas, Kang points out, if Kim were serious about reviving North Korea’s moribund economy, he could have gone to the Hungnam fertilizer plant.Second, and more importantly, Kang notes that for Kim to make a public appearance of that scale anywhere outside Pyongyang is unprecedented. Previously he had, Kang claims, “never attended a mass rally in a provincial city.” In Kang’s opinion, these two facts represent a very bad portend indeed. “Kim evidently intended to demonstrate his pathetic determination that nothing will change in North Korea, ever,” he believes, “There will be no reform nor market opening, even if its economy collapses or is driven into chaos.”Furthermore, “It is a clear signal that Kim will go his own way against the current of history and regardless of what outsiders think.”In conclusion, Kang warns, “That (Kim) has chosen to throw caution to the wind and go to one of the most volatile cities in the country suggests he has declared open war against his people and their grievances… I feel this is a bad omen.” SHARE News AvatarChris Green Entire border patrol unit in North Hamgyong Province placed into quarantine following “paratyphoid” outbreak center_img Facebook Twitter News RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR News There are signs that North Korea is running into serious difficulties with its corn harvest North Korea tries to accelerate building of walls and fences along border with Chinalast_img read more

Harper cautiously optimistic over tentative euro debt deal

Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered some rare praise on the economic front to the European Union while prodding the United States and China by name Thursday at a Commonwealth business forum. Harper, less than fresh off a 30-hour flight from Ottawa, expressed “cautious optimism” at the tentative, debt-crisis package hammered out by European leaders during an intense, 11-hour bargaining session in Brussels. Bruce Cheadle Stagflation is U.S. economists’ biggest fear, SIFMA says OECD raises outlook for Canadian economic growth this year “What we have been waiting for is something big enough in scale and decisive enough in terms of sacrifice that markets will be convinced the problem is being tackled and the pain is being accepted,” the prime minister said in a speech to the well-heeled luncheon crowd. “Only then will fears subside and confidence be restored.” European leaders agreed early Thursday to boost a bailout fund to a trillion euros, about C$1.4 trillion, while private creditors will be asked to accept 50 cents on the dollar on the insolvent Greek bonds that helped spark the current crisis. Europe’s biggest banks will also be required to increase their reserves by $148 billion by next June to help them weather the Greek losses. Greek leaders vowed to bring the country’s debts down to 120% of gross domestic product by 2020. Under current conditions, it would have ballooned to 180%. Harper called the moves “steps in the right direction. Progress has genuinely been made.” But he added caveats, noting details must still be fleshed out and the program “successfully implemented.” Harper prefaced his comments by calling the European debt crisis “the most immediate and imminent threat to the global recovery.” He’s been an outspoken critic of Europe’s collective failure to act decisively to stem the economic hemorrhaging the past two years, a point Harper reiterated Thursday while simultaneously attempting to salve Europe’s bruised common market. “I know we are all frustrated with the situation that’s been taking place there and the time it’s taken to resolve,” said Harper, who nonetheless called the European Union a “remarkable achievement.” This weekend’s Commonwealth summit in Australia immediately precedes a crisis-atmosphere G20 leaders meeting scheduled for next week in France. The deal worked out in Brussels raises the prospect of a less rancorous G20, but Harper used his speech in Perth to maintain pressure on other economic leviathans who will be at the table in Cannes. The prime minister reiterated his now well-worn list of needed economic measures, including debt reduction, trade liberalization, global financial sector reform and “global imbalances.” Harper bluntly stated it will “not be indefinitely sustainable for an economy as large as China to run surpluses with inflexible exchange rates.” And as for debt reduction, he said, “for others, including the United States, credible mid-term strategies still remain necessary.” For a Canadian prime minister to be upbraiding the world’s two largest economies at in international forum speaks to Harper’s current economic self-assurance. “My intention is to be activist and not alarmist,” he told the Commonwealth summit business crowd. The prime minister’s Canadian bravado received the support of Tom Jenkins, the CEO of OpenText Corp., who told reporters he saw nothing amiss in Harper’s financial reform campaigning. Jenkins, whose Canadian software company has operations in Germany, Britain and China, said Canada has sailed through the economic downturn and earned global respect in the process. “In the last five years, the reputation of Canada is awesome,” said Jenkins. Amid the threat of a second global recession, the 54-country Commonwealth is facing its own crisis of relevancy. Leaders will use the three-day summit to debate demands for tougher, more enforceable rules regarding human rights, the rule of law and political freedoms among the Commonwealth countries. In his speech Thursday, Harper noted the common Commonwealth thread of Westminster-style governments and the liberty of the Magna Carta: “Principles, we believe, of universal application — yet sadly, in today’s troubled world, still not of universal acceptance.” He said it was his “strong hope” that the Commonwealth members would “reaffirm and reinvigorate” those principles this weekend — a line that drew the only sustained applause of Harper’s 15-minute address. Sixteen Commonwealth realms that have the Queen as head of state will also agree here to rewrite the rules of royal succession to eliminate gender discrimination for future heirs to the throne. Following his speech to the Commonwealth business forum, Harper sat down for a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The main leaders’ summit gets underway Friday morning and concludes Sunday. Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Keywords Economic forecasts,  Financial crisis Related news Economy lost 68,000 jobs in May Facebook LinkedIn Twitter read more

Desjardins buys Montreal boutique firm Hexavest

first_img Desjardins Group is acquiring fellow Montreal-based investment firm Hexavest, adding $5 billion in assets under management and expertise in global equities.Hexavest serves 50 mostly institutional clients in Canada, the U.S., Australia and Asia, with 30 employees specializing in global equity investment strategies, a release said. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close on Sept. 1, were not disclosed. Keywords Mergers and acquisitions,  Asset management companies Close up of businessman hands making handshake - greeting, dealing, merger and acquisition concepts kritchanut/123RF IE Staff iA Clarington aims for sleeker, cleaner product lineup Net redemptions slow as CI reports Q1 profit Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Related news “The acquisition of Hexavest’s assets is perfectly in line with our pan-Canadian growth plan, which sets a target of $100 billion in assets under management by 2024,” said Nicolas Richard, president and chief operating officer of Desjardins Global Asset Management, in the release.Desjardins Global Asset Management was managing $83 billion on March 31.Hexavest’s specialists will join Desjardins in September, strengthening the firm’s emerging markets investment offering, Richard added. CPPIB reports record return for latest fiscal year Facebook LinkedIn Twitterlast_img read more

Cabinet approves establishment Jamaica tertiary education commission

first_imgCabinet approves establishment Jamaica tertiary education commission ParliamentJanuary 21, 2011 RelatedCabinet approves establishment Jamaica tertiary education commission Issued by: The Office of the Prime Minister RelatedCabinet approves establishment Jamaica tertiary education commission FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail Cabinet has approved the issuing of drafting instruction to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel to develop legislation for the establishment of a Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission. This commission will be the national oversight body for the tertiary education system. Making the disclosure January 19 at the first post-Cabinet Press Briefing for 2011, Minister with responsibility for Information, Daryl Vaz said that the Commission will perform regulatory, developmental and planning functions for the sector. He said a major issue affecting the tertiary sector in Jamaica is the lack of any single regulatory authority to provide oversight and governance, which has led to unbridled and fragmented growth. The sector Mr. Vaz said is now badly in need of being rationalised and coordinated to be more in line with national priorities and developmental goals. RelatedCabinet approves establishment Jamaica tertiary education commission Advertisementslast_img read more

Shaw to Meet with IMF Mission Chief Wednesday

first_imgShaw to Meet with IMF Mission Chief Wednesday Finance & Public ServiceJuly 11, 2011 RelatedShaw to Meet with IMF Mission Chief Wednesday RelatedShaw to Meet with IMF Mission Chief Wednesday FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail KINGSTON — Minister of Finance, Hon. Audley Shaw, says he will meet with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) new Mission Chief, Luis Breuer on Wednesday July 13, 2011, to discuss all outstanding issues to be considered by the IMF Board for the December and March quarter reviews. He was speaking today at the official launch of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) operations in Jamaica, which will replace the RBTT brand, at the Bank’s Dominica Drive headquarters in Kingston. Mr. Breuer will be making his first visit to Jamaica in his capacity as Mission Chief. Minister Shaw noted that the IMF fourth and fifth quarter reviews had been delayed in part due to the now concluded salary negotiations with the public sector. Meanwhile, the Finance Minister pointed out that the economic stability now being experienced is as a result of the Government’s commitment to a new, higher level of fiscal responsibility, which include legislation, and new levels of transparency in Parliament. He noted also, the intense scrutiny of the budgets of public bodies, which in the past, often overran expenditure and became a liability to the Government. Mr. Shaw said the new phase of economic stability sets the foundation for growth to begin once again, noting some of the important signs that have emerged such as the Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) 30-day open market operations interest rates, which as of Friday (July 9), stands at 6.5 per cent, down from 6.75 per cent, representing a 30-year low. In addition, he said, inflation is “well under control” and the exchange rate is not only holding, but had seen a modest five per cent appreciation during the past year. Minister Shaw further pointed out that the Net International Reserve (NIR) is “healthy”, adding that part of the resources obtained from the IMF had been intended to serve as a “cushion” had there been any negative effects due to the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX). However, he pointed out that with a 99.2 per cent voluntary participation rate, “we have not had to use one penny out of the US$700 million that we had set aside…we are now contemplating, along with the Bank of Jamaica, whether we should send back some of the money to the IMF, because of the cost to keep that money at the Bank of Jamaica”. Mr. Shaw told the gathering of financial sector stakeholders that for the first time in 14 consecutive quarters, the country saw economic growth of 1.4 per cent for the quarter ending March. “We fully expect that there will be a commensurate, if not equal rate of economic growth for the June quarter… combined with a tempering of food prices on the global market as well as the moderation of oil prices, we can conclude that we are stable, and we are poised for economic takeoff,” he stated. By ALPHEA SAUNDERS, JIS Reporter Advertisements RelatedShaw to Meet with IMF Mission Chief Wednesdaylast_img read more

NWC to Spend $2 Billion on Improving Corporate Area Water Supply

first_imgRelatedJamaicans Urged to Plan for Mid-Year Dry Period FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail Story HighlightsNWC is to spend $2 billion (US$18.4 million) to implement the 26 Facilities Project as part of the Kingston Metropolitan Area Water Supply Improvement Programme.The project is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and seeks to provide improved water supply to residents.The project will positively impact on all constituencies in Kingston and St. Andrew. Photo: JIS PhotographerMinister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill making his contribution to the 2014/15 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 3. The National Water Commission (NWC) is to spend $2 billion (US$18.4 million) to implement the 26 Facilities Project as part of the Kingston Metropolitan Area Water Supply Improvement Programme.The project is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and seeks to provide improved water supply to residents, in keeping with the Commission’s targets and the nation’s Vision 2030 goals.“Essentially, this project involves the rehabilitation and improvement of 26 water supply facilities in the Corporate Area, which have, over the years, lost their efficiency or have become inadequate to meet the demands being placed on them by a growing population in the Kingston Metropolitan Area,” Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill said.He was making his contribution to the 2014/15 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 3.The Minister added that the project will positively impact on all constituencies in Kingston and St. Andrew.In the meantime, Mr. Pickersgill informed that the work currently being undertaken on the Upper Montrose/ Montrose/ Lady Musgrave Avenue Sanitary Sewer in South Eastern St. Andrew, is costing $80 million.He informed that work involves the construction of 1200 meters of sanitary sewers, adding that discussions are underway with the National Works Agency (NWA) with regard to the refurbishing of the roadways.The Minister also provided an update on work under way in the upgrading and rehabilitation of the Highland Meadows (May Pen) housing development sewerage facilities and its connection to the Mineral Heights sewage treatment plant.He informed that the capital cost on the project, which is scheduled for completion by the end of the month, is $15 million“This project benefits approximately 150 residents in Central Clarendon and involves the installation of 140 meter of sanitary sewers, together with the restoration of a pumping station complete with electro-mechanical equipment, Jamaica Public Service and standby power supply,” Mr. Pickersgill said. Advertisementscenter_img NWC to Spend $2 Billion on Improving Corporate Area Water SupplyJIS News | Presented by: PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQualityundefinedSpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreenPlay RelatedStakeholders Receive Climate Change Audio-Visual Tool Kits RelatedWater Minister Warns Against Misuse of Resources NWC to Spend $2 Billion on Improving Corporate Area Water Supply EnvironmentJune 3, 2014Written by: Latonya Lintonlast_img read more

What Becomes of Science When the Evidence Does Not Matter?

first_imgRequesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Intelligent Design Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Physics, Earth & Space What Becomes of Science When the Evidence Does Not Matter?Denyse O’LearyJune 14, 2017, 2:26 AM Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Fine-tuning of the universe is so unpleasant a subject for materialists that it cannot really become a controversy. The desired evidence favors a random universe, accidentally spilled. Differing points of view on the findings would, of course, be funded by the government. But the randomness would be agreed upon up front.On the other hand, if evidence matters, our universe appears fine-tuned.In the end it is not really an issue about the evidence. Help! we are drowning in evidence! The universe’s expansion speed is said to be just right for life, the Higgs boson seems to be fine-tuned, and Earth has a “unique” iron signature, just as a few examples.This from Natalie Wolchover at Quanta Magazine: “As things stand, the known elementary particles, codified in a 40-year-old set of equations called the ‘Standard Model,’ lack a sensible pattern and seem astonishingly fine-tuned for life.” Why does being fine-tuned for life “lack a sensible pattern”? What if that is the pattern?The alternative sounds like saying that the letters STOP on a sign do not form a sensible pattern.Cocktail napkin objections are always on offer, to be sure. For example, we are informed that evidence no longer counts the way it used to: We evolved to see patterns where there are none (the “staggering genius” of Charles Darwin). Indeed, the Principle of Mediocrity is now a guiding assertion. The Birthday Problem is often used in pop science to claim that we underestimate what sheer randomness can do: “In a room of just 23 people there’s a 50-50 chance of two people having the same birthday. In a room of 75 there’s a 99.9% chance of two people matching.” Yes, but that embarrasingly familiar social icebreaker speaks only to what we might randomly guess, not to facts about our universe.We are also told that the universe, apart from our planet, is hostile to life. But if ours is a dedicated environment, could it not be like the human womb during a pregnancy: Life outside is hostile? How does that come to mean that there is no design? Would the circumstances not suggest the opposite?Some ask, how could a designer know what to do, in order to create a universe and intelligent life? Well, it is hard to say, as we have never come close to that ourselves. Perhaps we should try it before offering criticism. Others ask, “Who designed the designer?” which feels somewhat like asking, “How did my old math teacher, who explained why one cannot divide by zero, come to exist?” Is there no point at which a given trail of enquiry legitimately ends?Some questions do require a more thoughtful response: Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel informs us at Forbes that the odds of our existence are not infinitely small, as we might have supposed, because our existence “already disproves that possibility!” But wait. We are not talking about the odds of an incidental unusual event but those of a long pattern of statistically abnormal events. Similarly, design is held in some quarters to be an argument from ignorance: “We also cannot rule out hitherto unknown naturalistic causation.” No, but we cannot rule out fairies at the bottom of the garden either. What’s realistic?Canadian teacher Tim Barnett offers, by way of illustration of the problem of what to rule out: A lucky poker player has been dealt five royal flushes, noting that the probability of getting a single royal flush is one in 649,739… “After the fifth royal flush, you insist that I’m cheating. That is, I’m designing the outcome. But what if I responded, “Yes, five consecutive royal flushes is highly unlikely, but unlikely things happen all the time. In fact, for you to exist your mom and dad had to meet, fall in love, and have sex…” Does anyone ever use such a standard in real life?Lawyer Barry Arrington plaintively asks, Why won’t these “improbable things happen all the time” people play poker with me?Barnett notes, “It’s not merely the high improbability of an event that leads to a design inference. It’s the high improbability combined with an independently specified outcome that leads to the conclusion of design.” Presumably, that is why the cocktail set won’t play poker with Arrington.And then religion looms: Christian evolutionists have begun to quarrel with fine-tuning, a development predicted by Wayne University biologist Wayne Rossiter in his Shadow of Oz: Theistic Evolution and the Absent God, (pp. 106, 153) At BioLogos, Casper Hesp argues, “I believe it is unwise to turn fine-tuning into an argument based on the gaps in our understanding, because the properties of the universe could become more amenable to scientific explanation in the future.” That is a curious approach: Has Hesp any reason to expect that more discoveries will lead to fewer perceptions of fine-tuning? The trend has been very much the opposite.Recently, atheist cosmologist Andreas Albrecht has also warned “deeply religious” people not to put their faith in “apparent” fine-tuning: “And when people do engage in these debates, they seem to find a reason to believe what they want to believe, regardless of how the science unfolds.”But in this case, the evidence favors the “deeply religious.” Why should they not put their faith in it? And the future of science may depend in part on how the tension between evidence and naturalism plays out in a basic issue like this.Image credit: NASA/SOFIA/Lynette Cook. Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis TagsBioLogosCharles Darwinfine tuningHiggs Bosoniron signatureNatalie WolchoverPrinciple of MediocrityStandard ModelWayne Rossiter,Trending “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Denyse O’LearyDenyse O’Leary is a freelance journalist based in Victoria, Canada. Specializing in faith and science issues, she has published two books on the topic: [email protected] and By Design or by Chance? She has written for publications such as The Toronto Star, The Globe & Mail, and Canadian Living. She is co-author, with neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’€™s Case for the Existence of the Soul. She received her degree in honors English language and literature.Follow DenyseTwitter Share Recommended Faith & Sciencelast_img read more