Thursday, December 30, 2004

Science Teaching & Methodology and Christian Fundamentalist Right

Darwinists top the censorship food chain

In the article Darwinists top the censorship food chain by Phyllis Schlafly on 27th Dec 2004, we read an article about the current attempt to install ID in US Secondary Science Classes by various school boards through out the country. To an outsider like me, it all sounds a bit "Through the Looking Glass" for a great Science Nation like the United States going through such nonsense. I can't imagine an Australian Secondary School going through such an exercise, although what happens in science class in the new Christian Schools I don't know.

She implies that, buy opposing a non scientific theory in the classroom like "Intelligent Design" anyone that does this are "The worst censors are those who prohibit classroom criticism of the theory of evolution."

Now, the opposition to this particular assertion being taught is in Science, not any other subject, and the opponents do in fact say it belongs in religion class, as such a subject would.

The students of Science must learn the first principles of science methodology. One of those principles is "in order for a theory to be scientific, it must be testable, or more correctly, it must be disprovable. In other words, there must be certain points in a theory that it resides on that if disproven, will disprove the theory. ID does not have any points in it's principle inference that can be disproved, or even proven. It is basically an opinion on complex biological systems that are difficult to follow or establish causality. It is an opinion that belongs in Religion, even if God is not directly mentioned. It certainly a good try, but doesn't make the grade. Science teachers and parents in these school districts have enlisted the help of The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) which is leftist according to Schlafly, from her other battles on civil liberties issues. Personally I can't see what is Leftist in standing up for clear standards in science education.

Then she says quite dramatically:

The Darwinists have propped up their classroom dominance by the persistent use of frauds and flacks. The fraudulent pro-evolution embryo drawings of Ernst Haeckel littered schoolbooks for 100 years, and it took specific action by the Texas Board of Education to keep them out of current textbooks even after the New York Times exposed Haeckel's deception.

This is related with a incorrect theory by Ernst Haeckel, being "Ontology Recapitulates Phylogeny". This idea did gain some currency, however it could not be proven, and his claims for vestiginous gills in human embryo's turned out to be something entirely different to most biologists. Then, some years ago, it was reported he falsified his data. Now that is a sin in science, so that basic theory of his has been discarded. It hasn't had an effect on the edifice that is Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, and the modern synthesis has taken the blow in it's stride. Why is it such an issue with modern creationists.

I did a google search for "Ernst Haeckle" and all I got was a flood of Creationist sites claiming it showed how corrupt Evolution is as a theory (serves me right :-[ ), and it does no such thing. There are plenty other explanations for development of the species, which are provable and have not been falsified, The main ones concern genetics, which Haeckle and his fellow German Evolutionists had only speculation about. It is a pity, that in their efforts to debunk the theory of evolution, they fail to understand how it is constructed.

Then she says:

Many textbooks feature pictures of giraffes stretching their necks to feed high off of trees, but genetics and observed feeding habits disprove that as a basis for evolution of their long necks. Moreover, the striking beauty of the colored pattern on the giraffes illustrates that design, not merely usefulness, is what animates our world.

It seems that the inadequate development of science textbooks in Secondary Schools is responsible for the teaching of false science, and of course it is, any evolutionary biologist would have come to the same thing, that it is false, but their so their coloured pattern illustrates design. Again, she doesn't understand evolution of species, and of course, the same process "Natural Selection" that produced the long neck, also produced their pattern. To top it off, wasn't an intermediate form of Giraffe discovered, with a shorter neck?

What are these text books, I'm beginning to wander how old they are, or how old the articles are in the books. I understand textbooks run to their own market and are often made to a price. One discovers this when one goes to Uni, and discovers the exponential growth in the price of textbooks.

Again we read:

Continued censorship of criticism invites additional fraud, so evolution has suffered more embarrassments than any other scientific theory. The Piltdown man was a lie taught to schoolchildren for decades, even featured in the John Scopes Monkey Trial textbook, and only five years ago a dinosaur-bird fossil hoax was presented as true on the glossy pages of National Geographic.

Criticism of school boards attempting to place a religious idea into the science curriculum is not censorship, it's responsible parenting, and how would that encourage fraud, isn't presenting ID as a verified scientific theory a fraud? Then we go on about Piltdown man, that fraud is ancient history, and it's exposure was by scientists, and the evidence surrounding the evolution of homo sapien is even more persuasive today than it was a century ago (which it appears these creationist live), so the collapse of Piltdown as evidence hasn't even dented the established theory.

If Darwinists want to teach that whales, which are mammals, evolved from black bears swimming with their mouths open, we should surely be entitled to criticize that. Yet school libraries have refused to accept books critical of evolution, even when written by college professors.

Darwinists do not teach that, Darwin did, however, he was wrong, but it seemed reasonable at the time. That was a straw man argument that any self respecting reader would understand, but will creationists?

We need to understand that William Dembski is a college professor and his ID theory needs work to be considered a scientifically testable thesis. Being a college professor means nothing when the science is bad, and could be considered an appeal to authority, and therefore irrational. I don't know the details of what Schlafly is talking about but it does sound familiar.

Later on, we are assaulted with:

There is a strong correlation between belief in natural selection and liberal views on government control, pornography, prayer in schools, abortion, gun control, economic freedom, and even animal rights. For the most part, the schools in the blue states carried in the 2004 presidential election by U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., are strongly pro-evolution, while the red states carried by President George W. Bush allow debate and dissent.

I rest my case, what utter rot. What next, you have to demonstrate allegiance to creationism to be a member of the Republican Party? That I am in favour of Pornography and abortion because I accept The Evolution Synthesis or Darwinism. At least Schlafly is should get on well with the current President as she did with Reagan.

I would argue debate on this subject is large and well covered so how is it that she says it is not?

Clifford M Dubery Frankston, Victoria, Australia

Monday, December 27, 2004

Secret [Black] Aircraft Projects

I have recently been reading some posts that came out on an email list I subscribe to , this group discusses aliens and UFO's as a rule, moderated by a Dr. Richard Boylan. It interests me for a number of reasons, but not the Secret Government Aircraft, so this post peaked my interest.

Secret Air Force Mach-50 Plane, Other Exotic Classified Aerospacecraft, And the U.S. Antigravity Fighter Discs Deployed With Star Wars Weapons To Fight In the Gulf War

(Or, Everything you wanted to know about anti-gravity, but is classified)

by Richard Boylan, Ph.D.
Let me start this report with a word from UFO investigator Doug Parrish, who states: "On very good authority I have been told in the last year from someone who knows but obviously must remain unidentified) that the United States Air Force currently has in its hanger(s) (an) aircraft which (is) (are) capable of Mach 50. That's 50 times the speed of sound. If we regard the speed of sound as somewhere around 770 mph, then Mach 50 becomes 38,500 mph. That's three times around the world in two hours. As far as I know, this is an intra-atmospheric aircraft that takes off from a large base in the Far West." - Doug Parrish
Dr. Boylan states: Now I am going to present some information I have obtained elsewhere. Some of the unacknowledged “exotic” aerospacecraft in the military inventory are:
  1. the Aurora,
  2. the TR3-A, (“Pumpkinseed”), and
  3. the military X-33A spaceplane "prototype" of Lockheed-Martin's X-33, a single-stage-to-orbit aerospace vehicle, as well as
  4. the Lockheed X-22A two-man antigravity disc fighter. A fifth, about which almost nothing has been revealed, is:
  5. the Nautilus, a secret military spacecraft which operates by magnetic pulsing. It operates out of the unacknowledged new headquarters of the U.S. Space Command, deep under a mountain in Utah. It makes twice-a-week trips up to the secret military-intelligence space station which has been in deep space for the past thirty years. The Nautilus also is used for superfast surveillance operations, utilizing its ability to penetrate target country airspace from above from deep space, a direction not usually expected.

    Arguing for the craft being described as being the Aurora would be its speed, which would make it capable of achieving, (I believe the German rocket scientists' term is brenschluss), escape velocity, i.e., ability to leave the pull of Earth's gravity. National Security Council scientist Dr. Michael Wolf, (of NSC's unacknowledged SSG ("MJ-12") subcommittee,) has stated that the Aurora can operate on both conventional fuel and antigravity field propulsion systems. He further stated that the Aurora "can travel to the Moon", a statement I doubt he would make unless it has already made the trip. The TR3-A, which has also been identified as the Pumpkinseed, a reference to its thin oval airframe, has been reported to be a superfast plane. Whether the TR3-A is the plane which Doug Parrish’s informant mentioned, which can do Mach 50, I can't say. But it is reported to be quick.

    My ex-NSA informant, "Z", also confirmed what black-projects defense industry-insider Edgar Rothschild Fouche wrote about in his recent book, Alien Rapture : the existence of

  6. the TR3-B, a large triangular anti-gravity craft within the U.S. antigravity fleet. This fleet also includes:
  7. the B-2 Stealth bomber, made by Northrop, the Lockheed X-22A two-man antigravity disc, the large space- faring Nautilus, manufactured by Boeing and EU's Airbus Industries,
  8. Northrop's disc craft, (designation unknown, which I have dubbed the “Great Pumpkin” from its brilliant golden-orange glow), and the
  9. XH-75D or XH Shark antigravity helicopter, made by Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical Corporation of San Diego. Here is what "Z" had to say about the TR3-B triangular antigravity craft.

"Z" says: "TR3-B. This is the code name for what everyone on Earth has seen. It is a very large triangular-shaped re-entry vehicle with anti-gravity. It is what the November issue of Popular Mechanics identified as the Lenticular Reentry Vehicle, a nuclear-powered flying saucer, the first version of which went operational in 1962, [the version Popular Mechanics illustrated.] It was used in Gulf War's early hours with electromagnetic-pulse/laser cannons. It literally sat mid-air, firing long-, medium-, short-range to take out antennas, towers, communications, air traffic control towers, TV dishes and centers, etc. For three hours, these three triangles [TR3-Bs] just sat there blowing up everything in sight. Then the Stealth fighters had fun for the rest of the day into the early evening next night. Then [followed] carpet bombings from high altitude B-52 Strato-Fortresses. They dumped all the old, aged Vietnam-era crap [munitions]; a third blew up and the rest [were] duds.

Anyways, the TR3B has been in testing since the '60s. BUT it has only been perfected for the last 8 years [1992]. It is a good remake of what Truman first saw, [the Roswell semi- circular craft]. It is compartmentalized, built by the Skunk Works {Lockheed-Martin's classified plant at Palmdale, CA) and Boeing.

It is housed in Utah. "Remember Utah?" ("Z" was reminding me of his earlier revelation that the U.S. Space Command has located its prime headquarters and antigravity space-launch fleet facility beneath the tallest mountain in the Wasatch Range east of Salt Lake City, Utah.[Ed.: King Mountain] .)

Lockheed-Martin does not say too much about its winged, delta-shape X-33 VentureStar, the single-stage-to-orbit, reusable National Spaceplane, except to say that "we are building it." To be at that stage of development for its public-program Spaceplane, clearly Lockheed-Martin has already long since built prototypes, as well as an unacknowledged military version, which I have dubbed the X-33A. The A suffix stands for antigravity. Colonel Donald Ware, USAF (ret.) told me that he recently learned from a three-star General that the X-33 has electrogravitics (antigravity) system on board, [as the unacknowledged military version I estimate exists must surely also have.]

This antigravity electrogravitics system has already been operationally proven on the B-2 Stealth bomber, which Colonel Ware has revealed also has electrogravitics system on board. As for the "large base in the West" which your Mach 50 airplane operates from, that leaves several possibilities.

If the mystery Mach 50 craft is the Aurora, NSC's Dr. Wolf says that the Aurora operates out of Area 51, (Groom Dry Lake Air Force Station), at the northeast corner of the Nellis AFB Range, north of Las Vegas, Nevada.

The late Colonel Steve Wilson, USAF (ret.), Skywatch's founder, stated that military astronauts trained at a secret aerospace academy separate from the regular Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Co. These military astronauts operate out of Beale and Vandenberg Air Force Bases, Northern California From those bases, these military astronauts regularly fly trans-atmospherically and out into space.

One of the aerospace craft they use, Colonel Wilson reported, is the X-22A, a two-man antigravity discoid ship. Whether they also fly the Aurora and the military version of the X-33A spaceplane has not been confirmed, but likely. During my recent travel to Washington state, I had a conversation with a former Boeing executive who worked in their Phantom Works, Boeing's black projects division, (roughly the equivalent of Lockheed's Skunk Works). The executive confirmed what I had earlier learned from an intelligence insider: that Boeing had teamed up with Europe's Airbus Industrie to manufacture the Nautilus, (one of America's most advancd antigravity craft, which regularly travels into near space, and services the secret undeclared international military space station in orbit for over 30 years, and manned by U.S. and USSR military astronauts.)

Recently I also heard from an Army engineer, formerly TDY'ed to NASA, who confirmed that Lockheed had made the X-22A, the two-man antigravity fighter disc, which I had seen test-flown in a canyon adjacent to the main Area 51 operations zone. He explained why I had seen the X-22A so nervously flown during that test flight. He said that the original X-22A had had a standard altimeter hard-wired into it, but that such an instrument would give faulty readings in the antigravity field which bends space-time. He had recommended that they instead use a gradiometer, which would function better. Apparently his suggestion was finally taken up, since in more recent years I have seen the X-22As flying more smoothly and confidently at high altitude over and near Area 51.

This business of assigning anti-gravity to all these aircraft/spacecraft is irrational from an aeronautical point of view and a physical one. To start with, the B2, TR3-B and the Aurora aircraft all have huge wings, which give them, without any aother augmentation, substantial lifting capacity, they don't really need any ant-gravity devices. These anti-gravity devices can only be found on UFO related web sites, there is no scientific or engineering literature about them, and what literature there is, indicates ant-gravity is far from building a device that can lift tonnes, only a gram or two, I understand.

It is interesting the response one gets to a query from these people. I sent an e-mail to Dr Boylan about this e-mail to his list and the response I got was instructive.

Here's my e-mail:

Just a friendly set of questions, please don't take offence. 1. The anti-gravity devices on the B-2, Why do they need them? That huge wing should be more than enough to lift anything, bombs or ?, to a very high altitude, remembering this is strictly a subsonic machine. 2. I know the B-1 had problems, but it doesn't seem to hav eroom for any substantial additional lift compensation devises. 3. The X-22A was built by Bell Aerospace, first flight 17 March 1966, so the designation of this Lockheed aircraft with anti-gravity has me confused as to what you are talking about. Just a friendly comment, the X-33 and X-34 are exciting aerospace vehicles aren't they. They certainly make the spaceshuttle look antiquated!

Here is his response:
>Just a friendly set of questions, please don't take
>> 1.  The anti-gravity devices on the B-2, Why do they need
>> them?  That huge wing should be more
>>than enough to lift anything, bombs or ?, to a very high
>>altitude, remembering this is strictly a subsonic machine.  Clifford,   

Anti-gravity has many tactical advantages: increased  range, maneuverability,
invisibility cloaking,  imperveousness/deflection to weapons fire. It is rumored
that the B-2 Stealth Bomber in anti-gravity mode can fly  around the world without
needing refueling.

>> 2.  I know the B-1 had problems, but it doesn't seem to
>> have room for any substantial additional
>> lift compensation devises.    

The B-2 is not an upgrade of the B-1.
It is an entirely  different aircraft, costing US$2 billion dollars a copy.
Now  you know why.

>>3.   The X-22A was built by Bell Aerospace, first flight
>>17 March 1966, so the designation of this Lockheed
>>aircraft with anti-gravity has me confused as to what you
>>are talking about.   

It is common in the black projects world to give an  undeclared project
the same or similar name as a  conventional declared program, in order
to disguise the  black project.
>>Just a friendly comment, the X-33 and X-34 are exciting
>>aerospace vehicles aren't they.  They certainly make
>>the spaceshuttle look antiquated!
>>Clifford M Dubery   

The U.S. antigravity fleet make the "experimental  aircraft" NASA gingerly
showcases look like Icarus's  wax-and-feather wings.
Notice how dramatic the assertions are, and how unreferenced these are. I tried hard to find bona fide references from aeronautical libraries in London (Imperial College) Australia (RMIT) and US (MIT) without success. Why would NASA be building new single stage to orbit vehicles using chemical propulsion, when another government agency is allegedly building anti-gravity machines. Black aircraft projects like Aurora and others have in the past been conventional in their lift methods (they have wings). Which now prompts me to ask, why big wings when you can levitate against gravity standing still? Further to that, although not a US citizen, I do admire the work NASA has done during my lifetime, and do take offense at the characterization given in his last paragraph. Such commentary only indicates a high level of ignorance when it comes to physics and aeronautics. Should these people (UFO antigravity) ever produce real evidence (a scientific paper perhaps) then possibly I will believe them, in the mean time, antigravity is an interesting subject, and I observe it with interest. One day they may solve some of the equations that are required to describe the effect and then better understand what is going on. Live long and prosper Clifford M Dubery References:

Friday, January 09, 2004

Even with the problems announced today with "Spirit" (see AP news: Problems delay rover's trek, January 9, 2004) I find it rational and intelligent to continue the program and advance to a manned program in the near future. Neh sayers are harking back to the luddites of the past, who felt any progress was evil, indeed, to some, it meant participating in an evil Babylon. Today in The Melbourne Age an op/ed piece by Ann Applebaum of The Washington Post entitled Mars: meaninglessstep for man, giant waste for mankind and in The Australian today is another op/ed with a contrary view by Set Shostak of the SETI Institute entitled "Life on Mars is a siren song in the human drive to know". With President Bush making an announcement on the 9th US time, it appears the debate about manned space exploration is on the way

For years I have watched as the US put up a mighty effort to get a man on the moon, and then, after a few flights, nothing. It came to an end and the bean counters began to cut costs and re prioritise programs out of existence. The only nation that can do such a thing is the USA. I would rather see its economy being driven by an advanced space program than by the military industrial complex that appears to be running things now. The cost in lives is often put up as a reason we are unprepared or shouldn't go forward, Whereas many like me, see the sacrifice of such gallant men and women as a spur to achieve what they had achieved, step beyond our world. This gravity well should not keep us here, we can, have and shall move beyond it, not as a select few, but as a major expedition and migration sometime in the future. Mars is the next step after the Moon, a logical step and one we can learn a lot from as we move ever closer (metaphorically speaking) to it. Other nations should take part on agreat co-operative venture, that will unite our world more than any battle in the middle-east.

Secondly the great technical advancements required wil flow through to the ordinary citiznes over a short period of time like the efficient insulation developed for the space program became the thin walls of our refrigerators that sit in our kitchens. I'm sure there are many others that escape my memory at this time. Further, learning to build reliable space transportation systems and manage them safely will benefit a wide range of technically advanced production programs. One thing that comes to my mind right now, is the Columbia and Challenger disasters. NASA has probably learnt many things from the reviews, but one that I believe is essential is, "listen to the engineers", they know the machine and what it can and can't do. So, if an engineer is not comfortable with a launch or de-orbit burn, listen guys!!!

Some reading:

Mars: meaningless step for man, giant waste for mankind

January 9, 2004 Only robots, not humans, should explore space - if it has to be explored at all, writes Anne Applebaum. The first colour pictures from the NASA space probe expedition to Mars have now been published. They look like - well, they look like pictures of a lifeless, distant planet. They show blank, empty landscapes. They show craters and boulders; red sand. Death Valley, the most desolate of American deserts, at least contains strange cacti, vicious scorpions, the odd oasis. Mars has far less than that. Not only does the planet have no life, it has no air, no water, no warmth. The temperature on the Martian surface hardly rises much above minus 18 degrees, and can drop more than 100 degrees below that. Mars, as a certain pop star once put it, is not the kind of place to raise your kids. Nor is it the kind of place anybody is ever going to visit, as some of the NASA scientists know perfectly well. Even leaving aside the cold, the lack of atmosphere and the absence of water, there is the deadly radiation. If the average person on Earth absorbs about 350 millirems of radiation every year, an astronaut travelling to Mars would absorb about 130,000 millirems of a particularly virulent form of radiation that would probably destroy every cell in his body. "Space is not Star Trek, " said one NASA scientist, "but the public certainly doesn't understand that." No, the public does not understand that. And no, not all scientists, or all politicians, are trying terribly hard to explain it either. Too often, rational descriptions of the inhuman, even anti-human living conditions in space give way to public hints that more manned space travel is just around the corner; that a manned Mars mission is next; that there is some grand philosophical reason to keep sending human beings away from the only planet where human life is possible. One actual Star Trek actor, Robert Picardo, the ship's holographic doctor, enthused this week that "we really should have a timetable to send a man to Mars . . . Mars should be part of our travel plans." Naive, perhaps, but fundamentally not much different from President George Bush's grandiloquent words after the Columbia disaster: "Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on." Mars, as a certain pop star once put it, is not the kind of place to raise your kids. But why should it go on? Or, at least, why should the human travel part of it go on? Crowded out of the news this week was the small fact that the troubled international space station, which is itself accessible only by the troubled space shuttle, has sprung a leak. Also somehow played down is the fact that the search for "life" on Mars - proof, as the enthusiasts have it, that we are "not alone" in the universe - is not a search for sentient beings but rather a search for evidence that billions of years ago there might possibly have been a few microbes. It is hard to see how that sort of information is going to heal our cosmic loneliness, let alone lead to the construction of condo units on Mars. None of which is to say that it is not interesting or important for NASA to send robotic probes to other planets. It is interesting in the way that the exploration of the bottom of the Pacific Ocean is interesting, or important in the way that the study of obscure dead languages is important. Like space exploration, these are inspiring human pursuits. Like space exploration, they nevertheless have very few practical applications. But space exploration is not treated the way other purely academic pursuits are treated. For one, the scientists doing it have perverse incentives. Their most dangerous missions - the ones involving human beings - produce the fewest research results, yet receive the most attention, applause and funding. Their most productive missions - the ones involving robots - inspire interest largely because the public illogically believes they will lead to more manned space travel. Worse, there is always the risk that yet another politician will seize on the idea of "sending a man to Mars," or "building a permanent manned station on the moon" as a way of sounding far-sighted or futuristic or even patriotic. President Bush is allegedly considering a new expansion of manned space travel. The Chinese are embarking on their own manned space program, since sending a man to the moon is de rigueur for would-be superpowers. The result, inevitably, will be billions of misspent dollars, more lethal crashes - and a lot more misguided rhetoric about the "inspiration of discovery," as if discoveries can only be made with human hands. - Washington Post This story was found at:

Seth Shostak: Life on Mars is a siren song in the human drive to know

09 Jan 04 The Australian (op/ed) One hundred and seventy million kilometres away, the mechanical innards of NASA's Spirit rover have begun to hum in the brittle cold of the Martian air. The rover is a synthetic geologist on wheels, small enough to fit in your kitchen, and the entire world is relieved to learn that it has managed to elude the silent death that has claimed so many of our envoys to the Red Planet. For Americans, the boost to NASA's confidence, badly eroded by the loss of shuttle Columbia, is surely a good thing. If Spirit and its sister rover, Opportunity, perform well, the Bush administration may support a major new space initiative, perhaps a return to the moon or a human expedition to Mars. In my opinion, those would also be good things. But such judgments, coming from a scientist, may seem obvious and self-serving. The American taxpayers will rightfully ask why it's important to shell out $US800 million ($1.043 billion) to send a pair of cybernetic skateboards to another world. One answer is to cite the widespread interest in, and global value of, science. For two centuries, Mars has beguiled us with its Earth-like appearance. Venus is closer, but Mars is charismatic; it is sufficiently similar to our own planet to warrant the hope that it once spawned life. And the possibility of discovering life beyond Earth is a siren song to anyone with curiosity, even if, as is surely the case for Mars, that life is no more sophisticated than bread yeast. NASA's approach to learning whether microbes ever populated the Red Planet is to look for signs of ancient lakes, rivers, or oceans. Spirit will explore a flat-bottomed crater that may once have held a body of water nearly the size of Spencer Gulf. Its mission is to find evidence for this erstwhile lake by examining the rocks littering the crater floor. If Spirit discovers that water once ebbed and flowed on Mars, the next question is: how long did it do so? Long enough to germinate life? NASA will send a string of robot explorers to address this question and to ultimately seek out microscopic Martians. The carrot that hangs before us is deliciously seductive: if another world -- the next world out from the Sun -- is proved to have supported life, that would imply that the cosmos is drenched with living things. We could conclude that planets with life are as common as phone poles. That's the science, and it's exciting. But science is no more than curiosity imbued with logic. Surely, in a world awash in political upheaval, epidemics, and poverty, curiosity is a dispensable luxury. It's not. Curiosity is hard-wired into our behaviour because it has survival value. For 300 millennia, it has driven us to exploration and understanding. The former has encouraged the discovery of new resources, and the latter allows us a comfortable life in a pitiless world. Humans display many behaviours that separate us from the beasts. Art, music, poetry -- the list is easily formulated. Curiosity, neither incidental nor trivial, is on that list. In simpler times, it drove our ancestors to wander across the mountains and, on occasion, to find a valley that was better than where they started. Today, scientific curiosity turns up answers to questions that previous generations could barely ask. The Spirit rover is a small actor in a long play with a large cast. It is aptly named, for it represents not only the best of our enterprises, but an essential quality of our being. Spirit is mechanical in construction only. It is quintessentially human. Seth Shostak is senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, in Mountain View, California

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Still No Weapons of Mass Destruction

In todays (8 January 2004) Melbourne Age a front page article Detailed plans, but no smoking gun, Barton Gellma, of the Washington Post reports from Baghdad about the true state of the Weapons of Mass Destruction, a state that is far from what our leaders in the Coalition of the Willing told us. All this from the US's own Arms Inspectors Report. Gellma says in part

"But investigators have found no support for the two main fears expressed in Washington and London before the war: that Iraq had a hidden arsenal of old weapons and had built advanced programs for new ones. In public statements and unauthorised interviews, investigators said they had discovered no work on old germ war agents such as anthrax and no work on a new pathogen - combining pox virus and snake venom - that led US scientists on a highly classified hunt for several months."
"A review of evidence, including some not known to coalition investigators and some not made public, portrays a nonconventional arms establishment less capable than US analysts judged before the war."

So what are we lesser mortals supposed to think of the whole episode that is "Weapons of Mass Destruction"?

A Reuters report today (8 January 2004) says:

Weapons Report Sound: Tabassum Zakaria A prewar United States intelligence report that said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was based on 15 years of information, and the hunt should continue, a senior US intelligence official has said. Stuart Cohen, vice-chairman of the National Intelligence Council, which produced the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate report on Iraq's banned weapons, said he was not surprised that stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons had not been found. "He's (Saddam Hussein) had 15 years to hone his ability to hide this stuff. The footprints of these weapons are very small," Mr Cohen said. "I believe that our work was well-grounded. We know he (Saddam) had it, he used it, you don't unlearn that." Critics have said the National Intelligence report was produced under pressure for a Bush Administration that wanted to go to war against Iraq. Mr Cohen dismissed this. The report said that Iraq would not have nuclear weapons until "very late" in the decade, Mr Cohen said.
So we are lead to believe that the Richard Butlers UNMOVIC were totally hoodwinked by Saddam and his weaponeers (as the Washington Post article refres to them) hiding everything from them., to the extent they still have. Perhaps the example of the plans for a longer range missile being hidden is enough to keep looking, or the fact that chemical and biological weapons have a "small footprint". But what of the Nuclear Weapons. It's clear that Saddam intended to build a weapon in his glory days and did prepare for such, but he was a long way from manufacturing the parts and the UN Inspectors made it impossible to hide such an activity, not to mention the US and others satellite surveillance. So how do we explain the absence of the Nuclear Weapons?

There is no doubt in my mind that Saddan intended to build Nuclear Weapons and, failing that, chemical and biological agents of various kinds. That much is clear. What is also clear, the US and UK kept such a tight eye on Iraq that any such activity would have been subject to a bombing run or two. They ran such activities ever since the earlier Gulf War, and with impunity. So the Iraqi Army and Air Force were inadeguate to the task. Ground Troops still had to deal with loyalists, but were generally swift in wiping up the resistance. I can't see Saddm using such weapons against the US. It certainly used them against Iran and the Kurds, and the Sunni in the south. The US, remeber, made a threat against any nation that thought it could use chemeical or biological weapons against them, a nuclear strike!

I think the propaganda campaign has gained a life of its own, and now more rational analysis is being applied without fear of retribution from the over zealous, and we are seeing something approaching the truth. Maybe it is not "The OIl Stupid", but it certainly isn't WMD's either. Regime change is definite, and I fro one support that, even when Saddam was a friend to Rumsford and Cheney, do you remember those days?