Letters from the December 8, 2007, issue of Science News

Errors of biblical proportions

“Lazarus taxa” is an appropriate name for species that seem to have been resurrected (“Back from the Dead?” SN: 11/17/07, p. 312). However, the Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead was a householder who lived with his sisters, Mary and Martha, in Bethany (John 11). The beggar named Lazarus appeared in a parable that Jesus told to his followers (Luke 16).

Linda Wicklund
Longmont, Colo.

“Let There Be Aluminum-42: Experiment creates surprise isotope” (SN: 10/27/07, p. 260) indicates that Adam appeared on the fifth day. The actual day of Adam’s appearance, according to Genesis, chapter 1, is the sixth day.

Nathan S. Clemons
Etchison, Md.

I found your reference to the Christian creation myth offensive. I’ll bet it brought the same feeling to anyone else who, like me, has worked to prevent the teaching of “intelligent design” as science. Please stick to the facts.

Lee Helms
Hazel Park, Mich.

The influence of drugs

Two recent articles hit on the same theme. “Bipolar Express: Mental ailment expands rapidly among youth” (SN: 9/8/07, p. 150) discussed the recent sharp increase in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The summary of the new book Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness (SN: 11/17/07, p. 319) hit much closer to the mark. If you want to know why these diagnoses have increased so markedly, forget medicine. Follow the money. There is a tremendous amount of money to be made prescribing, manufacturing, and distributing drugs.

Tom DuBois
Glens Falls, N.Y.

Win by losing?

“If You Can Stomach It: Obesity surgery extends life span” (SN: 8/25/07, p. 115) states that “those who get the [bariatric] surgery live longer than those who don’t.” That raises the question whether liposuction to reduce a disproportionately large waistline in a nonobese person would yield medical benefits such as a reduced risk for coronary heart disease.

Angela Lamberth
Indian Island, Maine

Big yawn

It’s not surprising that a study shows that “Too little sleep may fatten kids” (SN: 11/17/07, p. 318). Less sleep leads to more snacking leads to weight gain.

Irwin Tyler
Spring Valley, N.Y.

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