Adventures in Ethics and Science

A regular reader of the blog emailed me the following:

Have you ever considered setting up a section for laymen in your blog where posts related to the philosophy of science, how research is conducted, how scientists think etc. are archived? An example of what I think might be a good article to include would be your post on Marcus Ross.

Part of why I like reading your blog is because you analyze these fundamental issues in science, and I believe that this will help any laymen who stumble upon your blog for the first time quite a bit. It certainly helped me! I had to trawl through tons of posts to get to posts related to these fundamental issues though (not that the other posts are not interesting!).

I think this is a really good idea … but I need your help to find the right posts. Part of this is that I’m swamped with beginning of the semester meetings and tasks, but part of it is that you readers are probably better judges than I am of which posts are really illuminating to readers.

So, which posts on this blog have helped you understand scientific methodology and patterns of thought the best? Which would you recommend to a friend who didn’t understand much about science but wanted to? Some of my basic concepts posts might be worth flagging here, but there are likely posts lurking in other parts of the archives that should be flagged, too.

Thanks in advance for your help with this!


  1. #1 Liz
    August 22, 2007

    Your post about studying the effects of ubiquitous chemical exposure is a great lesson on experimental design.

  2. #2 Eva
    August 22, 2007

    I don’t have time to look for specifics now, but I think there might be some sprog blogs with good examples about basic methodology (asking the right questions, using controls etc. I’m pretty sure that has come up)

  3. #3 Kevin
    August 22, 2007

    “I had to trawl through tons of posts to get to posts related to these fundamental issues though”

    I am a layman with a longstanding interest in science. While I am not a scientist, I do possess two of the qualities that I think are essential to science: curiosity and persistence. For me, it is the trawling through tons of posts that makes scienceblogs interesting.

  4. #4 Nat
    August 23, 2007

    I’m pretty sure you had a post about falsification somewhere a while back.

    That’s clearly a very important concept that laypeople would largely be unaware of.

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