Bioethics and history & philosophy of science.
The scientific study of the relation between brain states and states of consciousness has come alive in the past several decades. Researchers, such as Christof Koch, are confident they will soon be able to track the entire set of links which lead from brain states to states of consciousness and derive theories to account for the relation. However, several critics are convinced that this project can never succeed because states of consciousness seem radically different from physical states. They present a number of arguments to support their contention. I will examine and evaluate these arguments. I will conclude that these arguments fail to demonstrate that the scientific project must fail and that the scientific study of consciousness has not as yet progressed to the stage where these matters can be settled.
SOCIAL GOALS OF SCIENCE LITERACY: ETHICS AND CITIZENSHIP IN PROJECT 2061. Michelle Sidler and Natasha Jones, Auburn University, Dept. of English, 9030 Haley Center, Auburn Univ., AL 36849.
In the mid-1980's, in reaction to growing concerns about the decline of American science education, Project 2061, sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) began with the aim of promoting science literacy in primary and secondary schools. Project 2061's organizers advocate and endorse "science literacy" and "science for all Americans," by recognizing the changing needs of American citizens, both those who pursue scientific careers and general citizens. The mission of Project 2061, in fact, ties science education directly to citizenry in a responsible, ethical society. Although Project 2061 has made some strides towards better scientific education, the gap between the scientifically literate and citizens suffering from "scientific deprivation" continues to widen. Many Americans, largely due to race and socioeconomic class, do not have access to the basic science knowledge that is necessary for them to successfully function in society. As our world becomes saturated with science, these disadvantaged groups will be limited politically, socially, and economically, ultimately becoming entrapped in an unending cycle of dependence and vulnerability.
BENEFITS OF GIS IN CULTURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT. Jacob Kohute, Archaeological Resource Laboratory, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL 36205
A GIS, or Geographic Information System, can provide a wide range of services in a diverse collection of disciplines. The complex and time extensive tasks involved in surveying and data compilation within the field of Cultural Resource Management can be greatly aided by the proper use of a Geographic Information System. Before field tasks are implemented, topographic and situational data can be compiled to prepare for upcoming projects. With the use of spatial and statistical information a GIS can provide an assessment of the area as it relates to historical site encounter probability and general location dynamics. Data complied during field analysis then can be managed within the Relational Database Management System, the analytical powerhouse behind a GIS. Subsequently, this data can be analyzed statistically and spatially to better understand a particular site's attributes and to discover underlying trends and relations within the site and among other areas. This analysis can lead to improved reports, along with reduced time required for mapping and sharing survey information among concerned parties.
EVOLUTION, INTELLIGENT DESIGN, AND THE DEMARCATION PROBLEM. Keith Gibson, Dept. of English, Auburn University, AL 36849.
The current debate over intelligent design in school curricula around the country is important for the education of America's children; it is also very interesting rhetorically. One of the tactics employed by both sides has been to define science in a particular way: biologists want to restrict science to exclude intelligent design; ID proponents want to expand science to include much broader applications of "theory." In my talk, I will examine three aspects of the demarcation problem as it relates to the evolution-intelligent design debate. First, I will apply Aristotle's work on arguments from probability to biologists' attempts to engage students who have been taught to be hostile to their subject. Next, I will address the misplaced focus on the "origins of life" as an appropriate topic for biology. Finally, I will analyze the walling-off biologists are attempting as they claim that anything not strictly biological has no place in a science classroom. My analysis leads me to believe that there is less conflict than is commonly portrayed, and I believe a close rhetorical examination can help combat those who insist that this is a fight worthy of a Supreme Court case.
EVIDENCE OF PREHISTORIC HOMICIDE: MURDER OR EUTHANASIA? M. Cassandra Hill, Ph.D., Archaeological Resource Laboratory, Jacksonville State University McClellan Center, Anniston, AL 36205. As a consequence of the widening of Highway 463 in Arkansas, four sites required archaeological Phase III mitigation. Two of the four sites, 3CT340 and 3CT341, had prehistoric human burials. Feature 1 from site 3CT340 is the topic of this presentation. In the field, this burial appeared to be typical for the transitional Woodland/early Mississippian period. However, during the laboratory analysis it became clear that this young woman had evidence of perimortem cranial trauma. Information provided by the other specialists on the project suggests that there may have been reasons for this sudden end to her life.
DENYING DARWIN: A RISKY "TRAINED INCAPACITY." James T. Bradley, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Auburn University, AL 36849.
Early 20th C economic and higher education theorist, Thorstein Veblen, is credited with coining the uncommonly heard term "trained incapacity" to refer to education at American business schools that produces a "widening in the candidate's field of ignorance while it intensifies his effectiveness within his specialty." Sociologist Troy Duster recently applied Veblen's term to modern bioethicists' apparent incapacity to see the hidden eugenic potential in germ-line interventions (In: Designing Our Descentdants, A.R. Chapman and M.S. Frankel, eds., 2003). "Trained incapacity" also aptly describes America's ignorance about the principles of Darwinian evolution and their relevance in 21st C science and society in areas including medicine, environmental quality, the future of religion, and the future of human nature itself. Denying the reality of Darwinian evolution, either actively or passively, risks great harm to ourselves and our descendants.
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|Publication:||Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2006|
|Next Article:||Alabama Academy of Science Symposium, 2006 "Southeastern Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry" Annual Meeting, Troy University.|