The uncanniness of Darwin

Scientists make an otter-like fossil discovery.

They named the creature Puijila darwini (“pew-YEE-lah dar-WIN-eye”). That combines an Inuit word for “young sea mammal,” often a seal, with an homage to Charles Darwin. The famed naturalist had written that a land animal “by occasionally hunting for food in shallow water, then in streams or lakes, might at last be converted into an animal so thoroughly aquatic as to brave the open ocean.”

Good call

Another anti-science Bush position falls.

The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it would accept, not appeal, a federal judge’s order that lifts Bush administration restrictions limiting over-the-counter sales of “Plan B” to women 18 and older. U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ruled last month in a lawsuit filed in New York that President George W. Bush’s appointees let politics, not science, drive their decision to restrict over-the-counter access.

This is good news. Bush’s wholly wrong politics were harming what should have been yet another good result of good science.

Plan B is emergency contraception that contains a high dose of birth control drugs and will not interfere with an established pregnancy. It works by preventing ovulation or fertilization. In medical terms, pregnancy begins when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the uterus.

If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, it can reduce a woman’s chances of pregnancy by as much as 89 percent.

Critics of the contraceptive say Plan B is the equivalent of an abortion pill because it can prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Recent research suggests that’s possible but not likely.

Plan B prevents fertilization. Abortion is defined as acting after fertilization. For instance, God should be known as the number 1 abortionists by those who believe he exists.

Conservatives, as usual, get this wrong. They suggest that this is about parental rights while, again, asserting an exalted state of reverence for a grouping of a few differeniated cells. I personally think the walking, breathing, thinking, highly conscious women should have rights, not a couple cells, but hey, I’m just reasonable. I know that isn’t the conservative motif.

In reality, parents should have no place in making these decisions with their children who are of age to have sex. The state says they’re responsible enough to do that, then they must be responsible enough to deal with all the surrounding factors that come with it. Of course, going beyond that, this medicine is approved for over-the-counter use. As long as parents have no say in their children’s ability to buy Tylenol, they should have no say in their ability to buy Plan B.

Opponents, including prominent conservatives, counter that it would encourage promiscuity and might even become a tool for criminals running prostitution rings, as well as for sexual predators.

These people are eminently stupid. Let’s ban condoms, the pill, and the pull-out method, too. Clearly, the pimp business should dictate science.