Adventures in Ethics and Science


I should have known it would come to this.

A week into our ScienceBlogs/DonorsChoose drive to raise money for schools, the warm spirit of pan-science-harmony has started to erode.

An anonymous source has come into possession of the text of an attack ad targeting our biological brethren and sistern. I hate to even give a story like this oxygen, but in the interests of full disclosure, I reproduce the ad below the fold.

“If it’s green and wriggles, it’s biology.”

“Biology is just stamp-collecting.”

“Biology is the ‘science’ with the greatest preponderance of women.”

“If biology were a real science, wouldn’t there be a Nobel Prize in biology?”

Some science bloggers want your kids to learn biology.

Do you?

Stand up for real sciences.

Fund math and physics education.


  1. #1 afarensis
    June 23, 2006

    Yup, and us anthropology types (okay, so there is only one anthropology type) will sit back and watch you and the biologists whup each other. Then swoop in and get the spoils of war! Cause anthropology is the only real science! 😉

  2. #2 Janet D. Stemwedel
    June 23, 2006

    Hey Afarensis, you forgot to include a link to your challenge with your trash-talk!

    And I repeat, I’m shocked and heartbroken that such a negative ad even exists.

  3. #3 afarensis
    June 23, 2006

    Hey, I did not say one trashy thing about anyone. Just making a few simple observations is all. Really, I have nothing but respect and admiration for all the scientists (and their disciplines) here at SB…I come not to bury Caesar, but to praise him (to mangle Shakesphere). I’m shocked that the attack add exists too. Let peace and harmony prevail says I!

  4. #4 Monado
    June 23, 2006

    Sounds like the rules for housework:
    “If it’s alive, feed it.
    If it’s not alive, put it away.
    If it’s too big to put away, dust it.”
    I realize those are just the naval rules revisited. (“Salute it, move it, polish it.”)
    If anyone is disillusioned with DonorsChoose, they can send the money to me, cash, in small bills. Receipt by return turtle. (Harriet! Harriet!… oh, for gosh sakes…)

  5. #5 Roberta Millstein
    June 24, 2006

    “If it’s green or wriggles, it’s biology.”

    Yeah, but don’t you know what the rest of that quote is?

    “If it stinks, it’s chemistry. If it doesn’t work, it’s physics. ”

    Sorry, Dr. Free-Ride, I know you’re a chemistry-type. But of the three, I think “green or wriggling” comes out on top!

  6. #6 Bob
    June 24, 2006

    Hey, your kids are broken!

    I mean the link. Um, I guess that should be “Hey, your kids is broken!”. That sounds wrong. Hang on: “Hey, your ‘kids’ is broken!”?

    Gah, never mind.


  7. #7 Corkscrew
    June 24, 2006

    “Biology is the ‘science’ with the greatest preponderance of women.”

    Er… you say that like it’s a bad thing???

  8. #8 Janet D. Stemwedel
    June 24, 2006

    Bob: “kids” now properly linked.

    Corkscrew: This is found ad copy, and it doesn’t surprise me in the least that someone who would “go negative” — even to raise money to help kids — would quote Ann Coulter approvingly.

    Roberta: Physical chemistry was not especially stinky. (It was more likely not to work.)

  9. #9 Nick Barrowman
    June 24, 2006

    Stand up for real sciences. Fund math and physics education.

    Math, a science? The irony is delicious!

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