Howard Markel Says Mummies Have Privacy Rights

“I remain of mixed mind about the growing enterprise of exhuming bodies for research,” Howard Markel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan, tells Wired blogger David Dobbs.

“To start with, digging up bodies automatically gets you into murky territory. Unless they’ve willed their bodies to science, most people expect their bodies to be left alone. And we know the mummies especially expected that. They made those tombs difficult to get into for a reason: They did not want to be disturbed as they went on to the River of the Dead and the afterlife. But we found them, and we have disturbed them repeatedly.”

José Funes: Religion Doesn’t Affect What I Study

“I had a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 and he never said you have to study this or that,” José Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, tells New Scientist.
“We have complete freedom for research, and the topics we study are the topics that the astronomers are interested in: planetary science, clusters of galaxies, cosmology, and the big bang. I study nearby galaxies. A Jesuit joining us in September will study extrasolar planets.”

Michio Kaku Isn’t Ashamed to Use the Word “God”

“I work in something called String Theory which makes the statement that we are reading the mind of God. … We physicists are the only scientists who can say the word “God” and not blush,” Michio Kaku writes on his Big Think blog.
“The fact of the matter is that we are dealing with the cosmic questions of existence and meaning. Thomas Huxley, the great biologist of the last century, said that the question of all questions for science and religion is to determine our true place and our true role in the Universe. For both science and religion it is the same question. However, there has essentially been a divorce in the last century or so between that of science and the Humanists and I think that it’s very sad that we don’t speak the same language anymore.”

Why the World Science Festival Has an S&R Panel

“The bottom line is that we’re resolute in our belief that an honest discussion about faith and science is an important one, and that it should take place in an open, editorially independent manner. And where else to have such a conversation than at a function dedicated to the celebration of rationality and the power of science? We recognize and respect that there are differing views on this. And for that reason, we will continue to invite thinkers from all points of the spectrum—even those who disagree that the conversation should happen in the first place,” says Greg Boustead, the festival‘s editorial producer.
“As for this year’s Faith and Science panel—featuring Francisco Ayala, Paul Davies, Elaine Pagels, and Thupten Jinpa—see Kristopher Hite’s comprehensive coverage of the discussion on his blog, Tom Paine’s Ghost. Kristopher Hite is a biochemistry Ph.D. candidate from Colorado State University who volunteered at this year’s Festival and was on the scene to cover Faith and Science at his own request.”

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