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Science versus the Humanities

Uncertain Principle's Chad Orzel takes on an article in Harper's' on the roles of science and the humanities in education to task. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, the article says that the "sciences are unlikely to produce 'the kinds of citizens necessary to the survival of a democratic society.'" Orzel says this attitude is common and describes it as: "the Humanities are responsible for all that is good about human culture, while Science is an alien invention that is cold and aloof and brings as much ill as good." Instead, he argues that science is what makes us human. "Art and poetry is nice and all, but without science, we'd be hairless apes shivering in caves, hoping the lions don't get us," he writes.

PZ Myers at Pharyngula points out an article in Evolution: Education and Outreach that assess the scientific curricula across US states. In it, researchers from the National Center for Science Education base their evaluation on biological evolution, geological evolution, cosmology, and how the life, earth, and space sciences are connected. A's were handed out to nine states and DC.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.