Students claim they are being denied vote in by-election by government

first_img Twitter Main Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Tuesday May 25th Pinterest Facebook Twitter By News Highland – November 10, 2010 Newsx Adverts 365 additional cases of Covid-19 in Republic Facebook WhatsApp RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Students have claimed that the government has deliberately attempted to exclude them from the Donegal South West election.There have been complaints that thousands of students from the constituency may be without a ballot.Students are claiming the government deliberately fixed a Thursday for the by-election so they couldn’t leave their studies and get home to vote and they wouldn’t have time to apply for postal votes.Under law, those entitled to a postal vote have to complete their forms within 48 hours.Donegal County Council said as the 48 hours would have ended on a Saturday when there was no post they accepted applications until Monday.A spokesperson said students and others entitled to vote by post could have downloaded their application forms, completed them and posted them by land as they had to have the original college verification confirmation that they couldn’t get away from their studies.Independent candidate Thomas Pringle said it was a deliberate plan by the government to leave so little time because they know the student vote will go against them.He wondered why wasn’t the bye-election fixed for a Friday when students away at college could return home in time to vote.Union of Students in Ireland President Gary Redmond said his organisation had been trying for a long time to get voting on Saturdays when most students could return to their constituencies to vote. He added that with feared increases in fees, as well as other educational issues, most students were likely to vote against the government.One student without his first-time vote for a Dail seat will be 19-year-old Alan Cunningham, from St John’s Point, Dunkineely.He is a bio-medical science student at DIT in Kevin Street, Dublin. He said he will be unable to travel home for the Thursday vote because he has two compulsory laboratory sessions that day in college.He said he phoned Donegal council on Monday and was told that unless he could get his application in on that day he would be without a vote. He couldn’t get it in as he didn’t even have time to travel from Dublin with it.center_img Students claim they are being denied vote in by-election by government Pinterest Previous articleYoung driver who’s partner and daughter were killed in crash spared jailNext articleReplica firearm was found in car stopped by Gardai in Letterkenny News Highland Further drop in people receiving PUP in Donegal Man arrested on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences in Derry WhatsApp Google+ Google+ 75 positive cases of Covid confirmed in North Gardai continue to investigate Kilmacrennan firelast_img read more

Nadal will not defend US Open amid Covid-19 concerns

first_imgReigning champion, Rafael Nadal, slammed the “barbaric” tennis schedule as he decided not to defend his US Open title due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Nadal’s involvement at Flushing Meadows was already in doubt over his fears surrounding his safety and he has now confirmed he will not take part in New York. He took to Twitter on Tuesday evening to make the bombshell announcement. Spaniard Nadal, 34, wrote: “After many thoughts, I have decided not to play this year’s US Open. “The situation is very complicated worldwide, the Covid-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it. “We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after four months stopped with no play, I understand and thank for the efforts they are putting in to make it happen. “We have just seen the announcement of Madrid not being played this year. “All my respects to the USTA, the US Open organisers and the ATP for trying to put the event together for the players and the fans around the world through TV. “This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.” After many thoughts, I have decided not to play this year’s US Open. The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it. The US Open is scheduled to take place between August 31 and September 13. Loading… Promoted Content5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme ParksA Runner Uses Strava App To Create Amazing Pieces Of Running Art8 Things About Ancient Egypt That We Don’t Yet KnowThe World’s 7 Most Spectacular Railway Stations10 Risky Jobs Some Women DoIs This The Most Delicious Food In The World?17 Mind-Blowing Makeovers By Makeup Artist Vanessa DavisBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made7 Black Hole Facts That Will Change Your View Of The UniverseA Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic Bombs7 Universities In The World With The Highest Market Value5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parkscenter_img But Nadal follows the likes of world No1 Ash Barty and Nick Kyrgios in skipping the first Grand Slam back after the tennis season was suspended due to the global pandemic. read also:Inside Nadal’s new £4.5m luxury yacht with waterfall-fed spa pool That is despite the fact glory at the US Open would have tied him level with Roger Federer on a record 20 singles majors. World’s  No2 is a four-time champion in the Big Apple, winning the title in 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019 – beating Daniil Medvedev in last year’s final. However, he missed the chance to defend his crown in 2014 due to injury. Nadal is the first male champion to choose not to defend the singles title at Flushing Meadows since American Pete Sampras, who retired the year after winning in 2002. In June, Nadal expressed his concerns about flying to the US unless it is safe to do so. And it is clear he still feels his safety cannot be guaranteed if he travels because the virus continues to claim hundreds of lives in the country every day. Hours earlier, the ATP and WTA confirmed the Madrid Open had been scrapped due to a localised spike in Covid-19 cases. Nadal had planned to play in Masters 1000 event in the Spanish capital, which starts the day after the US Open final. That would have made ideal preparation for the rearranged French Open, which he is looking to win for a record-extending 13th time. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 last_img read more

Fighting finish takes England into European semi

first_img Yorkshire’s Stephen East took England into the semi-finals of the European senior men’s team championship with a real fighting finish to beat Sweden 3-2.East was one down playing the 18th at the Diamond Club in Austria, but he managed to birdie the hole to get all square and take the game into extra time. He finally prevailed with another birdie on the 21st to send the team through to the next round.The match was intensely close throughout. Only Richard Latham had a comfortable 4/2 winning score. In the other games Ian Attoe and Richard Partridge won the foursomes by one hole, Trevor Foster was beaten on the 20th and Rupert Kellock lost one down.Tomorrow, England play Germany who beat France today by 3.5-1.5.In the European senior women’s team championship in Belgium, England suffered contrasting fortunes. They too played Sweden, but they lost 3-2. The team had two big wins, with Aileen Greenfield and Helen Lowe taking the foursomes point 5/4 and Julie Brown winning her singles 8/6. But Cath Rawthore and Sue Spencer both lost 3/2 and the team’s hopes were dashed when Jackie Foster lost a marathon on the 20th.The team is out of the medal race and will now play for place. Tomorrow they meet the Netherlands. Tags: Mens Team, Senior, Sweden 6 Sep 2018 Fighting finish takes England into European semi last_img read more

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

first_imgFacebook1Tweet0Pin0 Published for Friday, November 15Those holiday bazaars are starting to pop up with some frequency now.  I’m feeling that shift is focus as we move further away from Halloween.  I’m excited to share some outstanding holiday stories with you over the next few weeks.  In the meantime, here is what is going on around Olympia this weekend.  Check out our full event calendar for even more activities.Get ready for the Hunger Games release with teen activities at the Olympia Timberland Library on Friday night.“American Roulette” continues its production throughout the weekend.  Read a review by one of our teen writers here.Enjoy a film through the Olympia Film Festival at the historic Capitol Theater.  Showtimes can be found here.Walk in nature at the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail or the McLane Nature Trail.  See salmon spawning just a few minutes from downtown Olympia.Dig clams along Washington beaches.  Razor clam tide information can be found here.Tap your foot to some live music.  A complete live music listing for this weekend can be found here.Catch a performance of Olympia High School’s “Midsummer Jersey.”Grab an authentic Mexican meal through Mijas and support domestic violence survivors.Pick up a rare find at the Olympia Record Show on Saturday from 3 – 7 p.m.Chuckle along with comedians at the Lucky Eagle Casino on Saturday night.  The comedy festival is sure to cure any rainy day doldrums.Submit an event for our calendar here.ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia.  If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at [email protected]  For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.last_img read more


first_imgZENYATTA IS ONE OF FIVE GRADE I BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ CHALLENGE RACES ON 11-RACE OPENING DAY CARD AT SANTA ANITA “Then I thought if I scratch her something else could come up, then everything would be messed up,” he said, “so I stuck with it and I’m glad I did.” “She knows what her job is and she enjoys it,” Stevens said. “That big brain between her ears is what makes her different and special.” In her previous start, Beholder won the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar, beating colts by 8 1/4 lengths. She has won 15 of 20 career starts, including 11 of 12 at Santa Anita. The victory, worth $180,000, increased her earnings to $4,436,600. In other Grade 1 races:_Smooth Roller overtook pacesetter Bayern to win the $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes by 5 ½ lengths. Ridden by Tyler Baze, Smooth Roller ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.08 and paid $13 to win. Land Over Sea was second and Right There third. The other seven fillies and mares in the Zenyatta were running for second-place money, and all of them went off at double-digit odds. The Zenyatta was one of five Grade 1 races on the card, with winners earning automatic berths in various Breeders’ Cup races. “That stretch run was probably a treadmill test for the cardiologist,” O’Neill said. “That was truly so exciting.” “I hate to say easy, but it really did look easy,” Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella said. “She’s good. She’s really, really good.” “I’d like to see what happens when that takes place,” said B. Wayne Hughes, who owns Beholder and lives in Lexington, Kentucky. “He’s a very good horse. He’s one of a kind. But he’s a colt, that’s his disadvantage.” The Ireland-bred filly ran 1 1/4 miles on turf in 2:00.76 and paid $19.40, $10.80 and $7.60 at 8-1 odds for trainer Graham Motion. Photo Call earned a berth in the BC Filly & Mare Turf. ARCADIA, Calif. _ Bring on American Pharoah. American Pharoah was expected to work out at Santa Anita on Sunday. He hasn’t run since finishing second in the Travers last month. My Sweet Addiction returned $5.40 and $3.40, while Savings Account was another 5 1/2 lengths back in third and paid $5.60 to show. “To run second to that mare is really a good thing,” said Mike Smith, who rode My Sweet Addiction. “She just did everything right, but we ran against Beholder.” _Photo Call scored a 2 ¼-length upset in the $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes under Drayden Van Dyke.center_img She ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.79 and paid $2.40 to win as the 1-5 favorite for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Songbird earned a berth in the BC Juvenile Fillies. _Nyquist outlasted Swipe in a stretch duel to win the $300,000 FrontRunner Stakes by three-quarters of a length. Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Nyquist ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.89 and paid $3 to win as the 1-2 favorite. By BETH HARRISAP Racing Writer Elektrum, another Ireland-bred, was second. Stormy Lucy was third. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert went 2-3, with Hoppertunity and Bayern, whose loss likely sent him into retirement. The 93-degree heat was a concern to Mandella, who briefly considered scratching Beholder. There was a stewards’ inquiry into the stretch run, when Nyquist came over on rail-hugging Swipe twice and appeared to brush him, but no changes were made.Swipe was second and Hollywood Don third. “I’m not going to make any predictions, but I can’t wait to get to Keeneland,” said Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who rides Beholder. “I just hope everybody shows up like they did today. I’ll probably feel less pressure going into the Classic than what I felt today. I knew we had to get through this one as easy as possible and it was.” The 5-year-old mare and the Triple Crown winner are headed for a highly anticipated match-up in the $5 million Classic at Keeneland in Kentucky. _Songbird won the $300,000 Chandelier Stakes for 2-year-old fillies by 4 1/2 lengths under Smith to improve to 3-0. Trained by Doug O’Neill, Nyquist earned an automatic berth into the BC Juvenile. The 2-year-old colt improved to 4-0. Beholder beat up on the competition again, winning the $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes for the third consecutive year at Santa Anita on Saturday in her final prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic next month. Beholder earned her sixth straight victory, this time by 3 1/4 lengths. She ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.83 and paid $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10 as the 1-9 favorite. Beholder broke on the far outside in the No. 9 post and settled just off the pace. She overtook leader My Sweet Addiction near the quarter-pole and pulled away through the stretch, with Stevens not needing his whip. He patted her mane as she crossed the finish line. Bayern won last year’s BC Classic, but he is 0-5 this year, finishing last twice. His third-place result equaled his best showing this season. Hard Not to Like, the 8-5 favorite, finished eighth.last_img read more


first_img            FLAVIEN PRAT, ILLUMINANT, WINNER: “Yes, I expected to be that close to the pace. Fanticola was the only speed in the race so I knew I needed to be right there. My filly has speed too, so I knew it would be ok.“I think she improved off her Jenny Wiley (Grade I, 1 1/16 at Keeneland April 16) third place finish in her last out. The turf is a bit softer here and that’s maybe better for her, especially going a mile and an eighth. And here at Santa Anita I feel it’s better if you’re closer to the lead. At Keeneland, it’s a bigger turf course and when you come from off the pace there, it’s easier.“We work every day to win a race like this so I’ll really enjoy it and have to thank Michael McCarthy and all the connections.” ARON WELLMAN, ECLIPSE THOROUGHBRED PARTNERS, ILLUMINANT, WINNER: “First of all, all the credit has to go to this man, Michael McCarthy. This filly is high maintenance and he’s done a great job. She ran her heart out last time at Keeneland (when third, behind winner, Tepin and runner-up, Weekela). Winning big races like this at Santa Anita and other tracks around the country is what it’s all about. Without our partners we wouldn’t be able to do this.“We’re a Todd Pletcher organization, he’s our main man. As a disciple of Todd’s it just made all the sense in the world for us to support Michael when he hung up his shingle to go out on his own and I couldn’t be happier for him and his family. He’s got about five or six for us now.“Gary (Young) and I are a two man team at the two year old sales and we found her at the sale down in Ocala, FL together.”             MICHAEL MCCARTHY, ILLUMINANT, WINNER: “It’s pretty exciting to win a race like this. I thought she would run well today. She’s a very honest filly, tries hard and I thought the mile and an eighth would be right up her alley.“Fanticola is a very tough mare and I was just kinda hoping we would have enough to get to her. Luckily today, we did.”“I didn’t give Flavien a whole of instructions before the race. I didn’t think he needed it.” TRAINER QUOTES NOTES: Winning Owners, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and west coast representative, Aron Wellman operate out of Del Mar, CA.center_img JOCKEY QUOTES JAVIER CASTELLANO, WEKEELA, SECOND: “We had a perfect trip and we were in a good position the whole way. The pace was slow, but we were right behind the winner turning for home and that filly never stopped.” -30-last_img read more

Macklin vows to get into better shape after Magnolia loses in debut

first_imgScientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flames Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew PBA IMAGESIt has been five years since Vernon Macklin played in the Philippines, and for him, a lot has changed.“I would say that the locals developed pretty well. It’s more spread out now,” he said, observing that the level of play in the league has gone up.ADVERTISEMENT Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments Truck driver killed in Davao del Sur road accident Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding P16.5-M worth of aid provided for Taal Volcano eruption victims — NDRRMC MOST READ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Alvarez, Tacloban quickly put PVL debut loss behind Green group flags ‘overkill’ use of plastic banderitas in Manila Sto. Niño feast ‘Stop romanticizing Pinoy resilience’ Jo Koy draws ire for cutting through Cebu City traffic with ‘wang-wang’ Despite the disappointing loss, Macklin remains optimistic.“I’m very upbeat. These guys went straight to the Finals and this is our first game. We just gave up a lot of rebounds and second chance points. But we’re still upbeat and we will only get better. We got to watch film and pick each other up,” he said.Magnolia tries to bounce back on Saturday against GlobalPort in Angeles City.ADVERTISEMENT “There’s a lot of good players in each team. The effort is still the same, they play all-out. I could say that the locals are more advanced skills-wise.”With that being said, Macklin challenges himself to be better after Magnolia’s tough 87-89 defeat to Phoenix in its 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup opener.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown“I think I need to get into better shape,” he said. “Playing in the KBL, I played a certain amount of minutes. Going here, [imports] play 48 minutes, so I gotta get back in shape to help my team down the stretch.”The 31-year-old collected his usual statline of 25 points and 17 rebounds, but the Hotshots still lost after Matthew Wright won it for the Fuel Masters in the waning seconds. In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’last_img read more

Amb. Brown Raps on Int’l Peace and Security

first_imgLiberia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Lewis Garseedah Brown II, says the attainment of peace and the maintenance of security cannot become a reality unless the forces responsible for raising the levels of weapon-related anxiety are brought under some reasonable form of effective international control.“Liberia believes the real fear posed by either the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons are best addressed through multilateral approaches and actions,” he said, noting that together, we can all become victims so we must stand together to remove this threat.According to dispatch from New York, the Liberian diplomat made the statement when, for the first time, he addressed the First Committee General Debate on Disarmament and International Security during the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters.He indicated that because of the consequences of the threat of nuclear weapons, Liberia was proud to join other countries in signing the Humanitarian Pledge against its use. “We hope the realization remains strong that the use, or threat of the use of nuclear weapons, presents our human family with its most serious existential threat just as our collective will to act against that threat must be equally unwavering,” Ambassador Brown stressed, citing Liberia’s recent condemnation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.Ambassador Brown stressed that the world does not need more nuclear tests; rather, it needs more elimination of nuclear weapons.He reaffirmed Liberia’s commitment to the peaceful use of nuclear energy; but indicated that the country’s support for the total elimination of nuclear weapons reflects an urgent and reasonable priority in the search for universal peace and security. “We will not ignore at our peril, the increasingly chilling and frightening consequences of the use of nuclear weapons,” he emphasized.Ambassador Brown also specified that Liberia shares the view that nuclear weapons-free zones are indispensable to strengthening the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to promoting nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and reaffirmed the value of the Treaty of Pelindaba, which cements Africa’s status as a nuclear-weapons free zone.He also associated Liberia’s concurrence with the statements of the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement during the Committee’s General Debate.The Permanent Representative to the United Nations noted Liberia’s recognition of the efforts of State Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), indicating that scrupulous implementation of the ATT will assist states in their efforts to curb the illicit acquisition of small arms, light weapons, and other conventional weapons. Touching on the efforts Liberia is making on the home front, Ambassador Brown said, “With a goal of preventing persons from trafficking in or gaining unauthorized access to weapons, working in partnership with ECOWAS, the Liberian government is strengthening the capacity of security personnel tasked with patrolling our borders especially in the wake of the assumption of full security responsibilities by Liberia securities from UNMIL on June 30.” He added: “To further curb the proliferation of conventional weapons, the Government of Liberia declared full amnesty for all persons who surrender small arms and light weapons under the ECOWAS – EU Weapons Collection Program.He also stressed Liberia’s support to the full implementation of the UN Program of Action on small arms and light weapons.“We do not have to live with the threat of nuclear weapons,” Ambassador Brown cautioned, emphasizing that it is possible to do so for ourselves and for our children.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgSomhairle O’Braoinain with judges including writer Roddy Doyle and editor of Hot Press Niall Stokes.A Co Donegal student has won a major writing competition – and that’s news hot off the press!Somhairle O’Braoinain, a fifth year student at Colasite Ailigh in Letterkenny, was named Overall Winner of the National Creative Writing Competition “Write Here Write Now” run by Hot Press.The awards ceremony took place yesterday in the Mansion House Dublin. Somhairle won the overall prize for the Secondary School National category.He is a student of Mrs Maria Rushe at Coláiste Ailigh and has shown extraordinary talent in his personal writing since first year.He is also a keen actor and musician and we are very proud that his talent is being recognised on a national level.Somhairle is from Ramelton, son of local storyteller and writer Joe Brennan. His prizes include an internship during 2015 with Hot Press, the country’s leading music and lifestyle magazine, as well as a €250 cash prize, a Toshiba Click Mini and a Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Mouse.He will also receive an e-Reader, courtesy of Eason and will have his winning entry published in a special issue of Hot Press.HOT OFF THE PRESS! DONEGAL STUDENT ROCKS AS HE WINS MAJOR WRITING AWARD was last modified: May 1st, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Colasite AilighdonegalHot PressletterkennyRameltonwriting awardlast_img read more

Physicists Bow to Darwin

first_imgWhat’s Darwin got to do with physics?  Presumably, if you dropped his statue off the leaning tower of Pisa, it would fall at 32 feet per second squared, but the man is remembered for his speculations about biology, not physics.  Why, then, did Nature Physics devote a special issue to Darwin?  Here’s what it presented.Editorial:  The editors explained why they were honoring Darwin.1  In “What’s the big idea?” they wrote, “It is not obviously the business of a physics journal to mark the anniversary of a major development in biology.  But the repercussions of Darwin’s theory of evolution are relevant to all.”  They believe the story of Darwin has something for everyone – including physicists.  They encouraged subscribers to read The Origin of Species in recognition of a “bold scientist” who, according to Mark Buchanan, was one of few “leaving the comfortable confines of the accepted theoretical framework of their day and launching themselves out into territory unknown.”    The editors compared evolution to gravity.  Neither is something to be believed; it just is.  Something else just is: science. That is something to be understood from this year’s anniversary celebrations, perhaps – that science has a unique place in human culture, and is not counter, or equal and opposite, to anything else.  Science just is.  After all, isn’t it appreciation of that purity, that integrity, that ultimately motivates us as scientists?George Berkeley might have asked, if there were no scientist performing a measurement, would there be a science?  (For thoughts on evolution and integrity, see the 03/12/2009.)  The Editorial recommended that its physicist readers review the 15 “Darwin’s Gems” published in Nature in January (see 01/02/2009).Michael Shermer:  The well-known skeptic (of religion) Michael Shermer wrote a piece in the issue entitled, “A noble conception.”2  He’s not a physicist, but he wanted to share thoughts on why evolution is still controversial when physical theories are not.  His thesis relied heavily on the “god of the gaps” argument.  He quoted Sir Isaac Newton who had said, “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being,” and asked why creationists and intelligent design proponents do not quote this line more often.  His answer: scientists have filled in the gap in our knowledge with theories of the formation of planets.  “That is the fate of all such ‘god of the gaps’ arguments – the gaps are filled by science, and religion moves on to other problems.”  He parried this line of thinking to Darwin, whom Shermer said was moving in the same direction.    This raises the question whether religion will retreat entirely from saying anything about nature.  Shermer feels it should.  “Why did religion not fall into disuse with the rise of science?  The reason is that it is no longer the job of religion to explain the natural world.  That is what science does, and it does so spectacularly.”  Yet Shermer knows that a controversy still revolves around Darwin’s ideas, but not Newton’s.  He offered six reasons for this: (1) The fear that evolution degrades our humanity by making us another animal species; (2) Belief that science is in conflict with religion, which tends to polarize “believers” against scientists “If scientific discoveries do not seem to support religious tenets”; (3) Belief that evolution is a threat to specific religious tenets, like a recent Genesis creation vs a 4.5-billion-year-old earth; (4) Misunderstanding of evolutionary theory, because teachers are afraid to teach it; (5) The fear that evolutionary theory implies we have a fixed human nature (surprisingly, a fear from the political left, who don’t like the implications of a mind that evolved from animal nature, he claimed); and (6) the equating of evolution with nihilism and moral degeneration.    On point 6, Shermer quoted Irving Kristol and Nancy Pearcey both arguing that society cannot survive if individuals believe they have meaningless lives in a meaningless universe.  He argued, though, that “It need not be so.”  First, “Evolution is science, as solidly supported as any in the human pantheon of knowledge.”  And then he said “if one is a theist,” it shouldn’t matter how or when God created: “whether it was through a miraculous spoken word or through the natural forces of the Universe that He created: the grandeur of the work commands awe regardless of the processes used.”  It’s a stretch to imagine what this article has to do with physics.  The famous agnostic ended with theological arguments:Theists and theologians should embrace science, especially evolutionary theory, for what it has done to reveal the magnificence of the divinity in a depth never dreamed by our Bronze Age ancestors who first penned the origin myths to which some still cling today.  We have learned a lot in 4,000 years, and that knowledge should never be dreaded or denied.  Instead, science should be embraced by all who cherish human understanding and wisdom, and that is ultimately what Darwin’s noble conception implies, and why Darwin matters today more than ever.Quantum weirdness:  Seth Lloyd, a specialist in extreme quantum information processing at MIT, offered his speculations about deep connections between biological natural selection and quantum physics.3  After a touch of history about the parallel development of quantum mechanics (QM) and the neo-Darwinian synthesis, Lloyd wrote, “Which brings us to the central question that I wish to consider here: what, if anything, does quantum mechanics have to do with natural selection?”  His answer: “quite a lot.”  QM is like Mendelian genetics: it is based on discreet states, not fluid, continuous variations predicted by classical physics.  The discreet nature of quantum interactions, he explained, “gives a package of digital ‘gifts’ to nature, which in turn uses these gifts crucially in the development of life.”  Here is his list of five gifts bequeathed by QM: (1) stability, because the quantum atom is stable, whereas the classical atom would have imploded; (2) countability, because QM only allows for a limited number of stable atomic arrangements; (3) information, because QM states are like bits; (4) information processing, because bits can be combined into ever more complex ways at higher scales; (5) randomness.  Why is randomness a gift?  Bring in Darwin:The fifth and last gift that quantum mechanics gives to nature might not always be considered a gift: it is randomness.  Unlike classical mechanics, quantum mechanics contains intrinsic uncertainty, which translates, under the proper circumstances, into irreducibly random behaviour.  It was this intrinsic randomness to which Albert Einstein was objecting when he declared “God does not play dice”.  In fact, Einstein was wrong: God does play dice and, luckily, is very good at it.  Randomness is indeed the enemy of order – this is the quality to which Einstein objected.  But randomness is also the source of variation.  And as Darwin taught us, life without variation is not life.    Nature took these quantum gifts of stability, countability, information, information processing and randomness, and ran with them.  The Universe began with a bang, and immediately started processing information.Lloyd proceeded to portray the evolution of nature as the outworking of a cosmic creative process:Each reaction transformed its input molecules and their attendant bits of information into a particular mix of output molecules and bits, which in turn became the inputs to further chemical reactions and so on.  Eventually, in a sequence of events that scientists would desperately like to uncover, the more sophisticated methods of processing information that underlie life came into being.  Once proto-life had attained the ability to reproduce with variation, the genie was out of the bottle.  Darwinian natural selection kicked in.  Bacteria, multicellular organisms, plants, animals, primates and humans all came onto the scene in due course.This argument seems to beg the question of the nature of information.  What is information, if not informed by a mind?  And how does life and humanity evolving “in due course” square with what he just said about randomness?  The quantum weirdness of Lloyd’s thesis gets weirder when he tries to incorporate human intelligent design into the category of natural:When I give talks about quantum computers, every now and then a member of the audience will object that quantum computers are not possible to build, because if they were, “nature would have already discovered them”.  This is a silly argument, not least because we can already build simple quantum computers.  The same argument could also be made about lasers: natural selection did not cause pre-human life on Earth to evolve the laser, yet we still have lasers.  Nor is the laser somehow unnatural.  Natural selection evolved human beings, who then, naturally, invented the laser.To support the idea that nature randomly selected humans able to build computational machines, Lloyd claimed that the 99% efficiency of the antenna of photosynthesis is a case of quantum computation achieved by bacteria.  He claims bacteria used a quantum search algorithm to achieve this remarkable efficiency of converting sunlight to chemical energy.  The efficiency of the quantum search in spite of noise and temperature fluctuations, he said, arose by accident: “we conclude that, on the one hand, nature is an excellent quantum mechanic, and, on the other hand, trillions of bacteria did not give their lives in vain.”    It’s apparent that Seth Lloyd just personified nature as if it were some communist dictator willing to sacrifice countless individuals in a five-year plan to build a factory for the revolution.  But Lloyd is not done Darwinizing reality yet.  Next, he extended it into hyper-reality.  “Let’s close with some speculation,” he said, as if he had not already been engaging in it.  He leaped into the multiverse and made natural selection the law to rule all laws:The power of natural selection extends beyond mere biological systems.  The laws of physics as we know them may themselves have been the outcome of a process of natural selection.  Lee Smolin has suggested that the Universe is constantly sprouting baby universes, whose physical laws are similar to, but not quite the same as their mother’s.  As they mature, these baby universes in turn sprout further universes, and so on (see Fig. 2).  Our Universe could be ‘naturally selected’, in the sense that its physical laws support life, where the laws of its cousins do not.  A similar notion arises in Leonard Susskind’s string theory ‘landscape’ in which some 10500 different sets of physical laws, each equally likely a priori, vie to construct the Universe we see today.  Finally, Max Tegmark and I (ref. 16) have speculated that the Universe is generating all possible self-consistent information-processing structures.  If this is so, quantum mechanics itself, with all its weirdness, might have been naturally selected out of other potential bases for physical law for the simple reason that, as we have seen, quantum mechanics has much to offer to life.Historical science:  Mark Buchanan wrote a thesis in the special issue about Darwin’s use of history in science.4  It began with Lyell, he said, who brought in the notion of gradual change over long periods of time.  “But if Lyell brought history into science, Darwin pushed it further, introducing the notion that everything in biology that exists does so, in some sense, by chance, as a result of accidents that left ineradicable marks on the future.”  Contingency, he acknowledged, seems the opposite of laws that science describes.  Yet much of what science works with is contingency.  “Darwin gave science a way to proceed in this setting by identifying underlying historical processes – algorithms, if you will – which may be simple in outline, yet lead to consequences of surprising complexity.”  His next paragraph admitted that Darwin, despite the title of his famous book, never provided evidence for the origin of species:There is, indeed, little simplicity in biology.  To take one example, Darwin never managed to explain the creation of new species, focusing rather on the gradual phenotypic change of existing species – the lengthening of beaks, or the changing of colours.  Today, it’s increasingly clear that speciation probably takes place through a variety of mechanisms, such as so-called allopatric speciation, driven by the division of populations into geographically isolated sub-populations, which may then evolve divergently with time.  But experiments and theory over the past two decades suggest that speciation may also take place without geographical isolation, through the ordinary dynamics of evolution.Buchanan did not explain the apparent circularity of this last statement: can one invoke “ordinary dynamics of evolution” to prove evolution?  Next, he mentioned a recent hypothesis that speciation acts like a phase transition (here’s a tie-in with physics).  As with a phase transition (like liquid water freezing into ice), small change in circumstances of a bird population can cause a rapid change in optimality that produces a big result in the population.  Yet that seems an argument by analogy.  “Even so, it seems to me fair to place with Darwin – although Lyell and whoever inspired him deserve credit as well � the very beginnings of the appreciation that complex phenomena can emerge from relatively simple dynamical origins, a notion that resonates strongly with much of modern physics.”  This, he indicated, resembles chaos theory:Today we are all influenced by this thinking and find it hard to see how revolutionary it was initially.  In physics we’re used to models in which accidents count and accumulate and end up driving outcomes – models of self-organized criticality, applied in contexts ranging from earthquake dynamics to mass extinctions, models for fracture dynamics, erosion or deposition, crystallization and so on.  If the timeless laws of classical physics and quantum mechanics attempt to wipe history away, or at least demote it to secondary status, processes based on evolution – in a general sense – focus on the accidental and how it gets locked into place.  This is part of the broad legacy of Charles Darwin, even if it has little to do with biology.As a metaphor for what Darwin accomplished, he invoked Sewall Wright’s notion of the “fitness landscape” (Buchanan likes the word “notion” – he used it four times in his short essay; see 10/14/2008 commentary).  According to Wright’s metaphor, populations can be pushed by natural selection onto local fitness peaks and get stuck there – unable to cross the lower-fitness basins to a higher peak.  Similarly, Darwin pushed humanity off its comfortable “fitness peak” because he saw a distant, higher peak far away.  “This inevitably means traversing a valley of low ‘fitness’ in between, which includes the usual ridicule and opposition facing all those with disruptive ideas which inevitably start out ill- and incompletely formed,” he ended.  “We owe the greatest scientific discoveries to those who shoulder such risks, of whom Darwin himself may be the greatest example.”    Buchanan did not clarify whether he thinks mankind ever reached said higher peak.  One can only wonder what he would think if intelligent design proponents were to apply the same metaphor to themselves: suffering ridicule and opposition from the Darwinist majority while traveling toward their “vision of another, higher peak far away.”  Whose measurement criteria should prevail: those of the majority, or of the brave minority or individual?  Darwin was in a minority when he struck out across the landscape, but now the scientific institutions strongly oppose the minority of intelligent design scientists who would wish to follow their vision.  He seems right about one thing: we need a “sense of history.”Cause for celebration:  Dan Csontos reviewed the Darwin celebrations taking place around the world.5  Down House, Cambridge, London – these all received glowing descriptions.  The “tree of life” sketch from the Origin, “perhaps the perfect encapsulation of Darwin’s big idea,” adorned the short article, but precious little was said about physics.  (For the scientific status of Darwin’s “tree of life,” see the 01/22/2009, 01/28/2009, and 01/23/2009 entries.)Origin reviewed:  Patrick Goymer, 150 years after the publication of Darwin’s Origin, decided to review the venerated book.6    “It’s probably the most famous scientific book ever written, but is On the Origin of Species worth reading if you are not an evolutionary biologist or a historian of science?,” he asked.  Indeed it is, he argued.  He surveyed the major themes in the book – none of which have to do with physics – as useful to the educated lay reader, even if built on the science of his time (Malthus and Lyell providing “essential foundations”).  Darwin’s handling of possible objections to his theory (“this is falsifiable science,” Goymer said), including the evolution of the eye and gaps in the fossil record, “are handy reference for any scientist who might encounter creationism.”  He ended by recommending two physics-informed books on evolution – What Is Life? by Erwin Schroedinger, and Quantum Aspects of Life by Paul Davies.  That’s about the only tie-in he provided with physics.Quantum Darwin:  The most detailed tie-in of Darwin with physics was a “Progress Article” by Wojciech Hubert Zurek entitled, “Quantum Darwin.”7    Here a physicist can feel at home: the article is adorned with the equations of mathematical physics and quantum mechanics.  Zurek applied natural selection to the outcomes of quantum states.  The discussion, though, is as much philosophical as mathematical.  Sparing the reader the math, here’s a sample:Selection of the set of outcomes by the proliferation of information essential for quantum Darwinism parallels Bohr’s insistence that a ‘classical apparatus’ should determine the outcomes.  However, it follows from the purely quantum equation, and is caused by a unitary evolution responsible for the information transfer.  Nevertheless, as classical apparatus would, preferred pointer states designate possible future outcomes.  This precludes measurements of complementary observables and makes it impossible to find out the pre-existing state of the system.  Thus, information acquisition—a copying process—results in preferred states.….    There was nothing non-unitary above– unitarity was the crux of our argument, and orthogonality of branch seeds our main result.  The relative states of Everett come to mind.  One could speculate about the reality of branches with other outcomes.  We abstain from this—our discussion is interpretation free, and this is a virtue.  Indeed, the ‘reality’ or ‘existence’ of a universal state vector seems problematic.  Quantum states acquire objective existence when reproduced in many copies.  Individual states—one might say with Bohr—are mostly information, too fragile for objective existence.  And there is only one copy of the Universe.  Treating its state as if it really existed seems unwarranted and ‘classical’.If this seems to beg questions about knowledge of information and existence, it does.  Nevertheless, Zurek invoked all the Darwinian ideas – struggle for existence, contingency, variation, favoured races and natural selection in his discussion of “quantum Darwinism.”  This was the longest article in the series.  It had the most mathematical rigor.  Yet, in the end, it ended with questions.  Zurek raised possibilities that could render his entire discussion self-refuting.  What is information, if its history can be overwritten?  Could that mean that there is no way to know Zurek’s treatise itself contains reliable information?We have seen how quantum Darwinism accounts for the transition from quantum fragility (of information) to the effectively classical robustness.  One can think of this transition as ‘the it from bit’ of John Wheeler.    In the end, one might ask: how Darwinian is quantum Darwinism?  Clearly, there is survival of the fittest, and fitness is defined as in natural selection—through the ability to procreate.  The no-cloning theorem implies competition for resources…so that only pointer states can multiply (at the expense of their complementary competition).  There is also another aspect of this competition: the huge memory available in the Universe as a whole is nevertheless limited.  So, the question arises: what systems get to be ‘of interest’, and imprint their state on their obliging environments, and what are the environments?  Moreover, as the Universe has a finite memory, old events will eventually be ‘overwritten’ by new ones, so that some of the past will gradually cease to be reflected in the present record.  And if there is no record of an event, has it really happened?  These questions seem far more interesting than deciding the closeness of the analogy with natural selection.  They suggest one more question: is quantum Darwinism (a process of multiplication of information about certain favoured states that seems to be a ‘fact of quantum life’) in some way behind the familiar natural selection?  I cannot answer this question, but neither can I resist raising it. 1.  Editorial, “What’s the big idea,” Nature Physics 5, 161 (2009) doi:10.1038/nphys1206.2.  Michael Shermer, “A noble conception,” Nature Physics 5, 162 – 163 (2009) doi:10.1038/nphys1207.3.  Seth Lloyd, “A quantum of natural selection,” Nature Physics 5, 164 – 166 (2009) doi:10.1038/nphys1208.4.  Mark Buchanan, “A sense of history,” Nature Physics 5, 167 (2009) doi:10.1038/nphys1209.5.  Dan Csontos, “Anniversary: Cause for celebration,” Nature Physics 5, 170 (2009) doi:10.1038/nphys1211.6.  Patrick Goymer, “Modern classic,” Nature Physics 5, 169 – 170 (2009) doi:10.1038/nphys1210.7.  Wojciech Hubert Zurek, “Quantum Darwin,” Nature Physics 5, 181 – 188 (2009) Published online: 2 March 2009 | doi:10.1038/nphys1202.Making Darwin the god of physics demonstrates once for all that the Darwiniacs have turned evolutionism into a religion.  You need no more proof than to read these articles.  Darwin’s theory of natural selection has been turned into a meta-law exalted above all meta-laws, such that it governs the fictional multiverse and steers the formation of universes toward evolving fools who will believe such things.    There’s a logical fallacy to which mortals often succumb, called “begging the question.”  It’s a form of circular reasoning that fails to deliver on a promised explanation.  Usually, the responder distracts attention from the main question by answering some other question, leaving the original question sitting there, begging for an answer.  For example, let’s say Joe asks Moe how he knows the future will be like the past.  Moe responds cheerfully that it has always been so.  He proudly thinks he has provided empirical evidence that the future will be like the past, till Joe points out that he didn’t ask how the past turned out to be like the past; he wants to know how the future will be like the past.  A little reflection reveals the fallacious nature of Moe’s logic.  One cannot appeal to past evidence to explain the future.    Nor does it help if Moe hedges his explanation with probability, claiming that “very probably” the future will be like the past.  Joe asks why.  Moe says, “Well, because it has always worked out that way.”  Once again he has appealed to past explanations as evidence for the future, leaving the original question begging.  Lest one think this is silly semantic quibbling, it is part of a major philosophical problem – the problem of induction – that David Hume and others have used to challenge the pretensions of the self-proclaimed wise among us.  Bertrand Russell used a humorous illustration to point out the flaw of assuming the future will be like the past.  Imagine a chicken that learns to associate the appearance of the farmer at 6:00 in the morning with feed on the ground.  Every morning, day after day, the chicken experiences the sight of the farmer with feed.  6:00 a.m.: farmer, feed.  Next morning: farmer, feed.  This continues for years.  It becomes like a law of nature to the chicken.  The chicken has every reason to assume the future will be like the past, till one morning, the farmer shows up with an axe.  Similarly, we humans sing with Little Orphan Annie that the sun will come up tomorrow, and bet our bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun, but we cannot know whether the Rapture will occur or a meteor will wipe out the planet or the sun will go supernova, or any other of a number of unknown eventualities will spoil the pattern to which our experience has made us accustomed.  Scientists cannot even prove the laws of nature will be the same tomorrow.  Yet science relies on assuming they will.  Bible believers have a solution to the riddle of induction.  They believe the word of God (as in Genesis 8:22) that because the Creator is orderly and truthful, we can trust His word that the future will be like the past (subject to His promises), because He is the Lawgiver who set up the laws.  This “precondition for intelligibility,” as philosopher Greg Bahnsen called it, allows us to do science.  The materialist, however, has no such foundation for induction.  Scientists are supposed to demonstrate things, not assume them.  But without assuming the validity of induction and the reliability of the laws of logic, they have no grounds for making sense of the world.  Moe responds, “well, they are doing science without worrying about this.”  True, Joe says; they are “helping themselves” to assumptions from the Christian worldview, assumptions they cannot justify from their own premises.  If Joe were really merciless, he could explain that they make good use of these assumptions because, as rational creatures made in the image of God, they have the law of God written on their consciences (Romans 2:14-15).  In a sense, they are using God’s BiOS (Bible input-output system) to boot up a faulty operating system and run junk programs.    Look at the papers from Nature Physics above and go hunting for begged questions.  The hunting field is rich with game.  One example is the presumption that natural selection has creative power.  The authors all simply assumed that Darwin’s Supreme Law of Nature could generate eyes, livers, lungs, wings and minds from matter, simply because Darwin seemed to demonstrate variation among pigeons, mockingbirds, sheep and plants.  The Darwinians extrapolate horizontal motion into vertical motion.  Another is Lloyd’s silly analogy between baby animals and baby universes on which natural selection can act.  Another is assuming that laws of nature can emerge by natural selection.  Another is assuming similarities prove ancestry.  And another is assuming natural selection conveys any meaning at all.  Zurek repeated the tautology that “fitness is defined as in natural selection—through the ability to procreate.”  Once defined by its outcome, natural selection reduces to “survivors survive.”  How do you know they are fit?  Because they had the ability to procreate; i.e., their progeny survived.  Why did their progeny survive?  Obviously, because they were the fittest.  Without an independent measure of fitness, the statement conveys no information.  It’s simply a restatement of the obvious: one equals one, boys will be boys, a rose is a rose, and survivors survive.    In fact, the question-begging goes further.  By appealing to an undirected, purposeless process, they reduced natural selection to the Stuff Happens Law.  The mutation component of neo-Darwinism clearly has no direction or goal – it is all chance.  The natural selection part, similarly, cannot be personified into an intelligent Selector.  Natural selection is incapable of foresight – indeed of any sight at all.  Contrary to Darwin’s characterization of his law as something that is “daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good,” natural selection is not a person.  It can only react to the immediate circumstances.  It cannot foresee that an eye or a wing or brain would be beneficial, and even if it did, it would convey no sense of value on it since, as we just explained, fitness is a meaningless metric.  No part of the theory, therefore, is anchored in any factor that is necessary or normative.  It wobbles like a dust particle undergoing Brownian motion.  In short, Stuff Happens.  How explanatory is that?  One might try to boast that the Stuff Happens Law is scientific because it makes predictions (stuff will happen) and is falsifiable (if nothing happens, the law is disproved) and produces corollaries (e.g., Murphy’s Law; see 09/15/2008 commentary), but its explanatory power is nil.  Since it can accommodate contradictory outcomes (i.e., some planets produce life but others don’t, or some bacteria produce humans but others undergo no change at all for 2.6 billion years) it explains nothing.  Opposite stuff happens as probably as ordinary stuff.  Buchanan calls this an algorithm.  If this is an algorithm, then earthquakes are architects.    Re-read the papers above with this in mind.  Is it not true that they are wallowing in a fantasyland of their own making, begging questions left and right?  They attribute the beauty, order and design of the universe and life to Stuff Happens.  They help themselves to concepts like law, information, and virtue from the Christian smorgasbord – items that cannot be derived from their materialistic presuppositions.  They exalt the imagination of their own hearts (01/17/2007), extending the speculations of a biologist into speculations about physics and cosmology and imaginary worlds beyond observation.  Having assumed the supremacy of the Law of Natural Selection (aka the Stuff Happens Law), they fall into religious ecstasy, worshipping its founder, celebrating his apotheosis, and glorying in his sacred scripture.  They spread Savior Charlie’s Gospel of Stuff Happens to every realm, from the behavior of quantum particles to the operation of a mythical multiverse.    Their rhetoric consists primarily of bald assertions of dogmatism (b.a.d.).  They’re b.a.d., and like Michael Jackson, they brag about it.  Michael Shermer boasts that it is no longer the job of religion to explain the natural world.  “That is what science does, and it does so spectacularly.”  Remember that the word spectacular can apply to failures (see 91 times, 1 visits 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