Bad science

Pharyngula

Category archives for Bad science

My arrival in Seattle

First thing when I landed at SeaTac: it started raining, as I’d hoped. Second thing at the airport: we were taking a shuttle bus, and this guy started talking at his friend. I learned many things. It’s obvious that cell phones cause cancer. They radiate energy. Energy causes cancer. QED. The only reason we don’t…

I repeat: Octopuses are NOT aliens

Jebus. The stupidity of the media is maddening. Here are two articles now out there: Don’t freak out, but scientists think octopuses ‘might be aliens’ after DNA study and Octopuses ‘are aliens’, scientists decide after DNA study. These reporters are embarrassing. Not to freak you out or anything, but scientists have just revealed that octopuses…

I used a cruel headline, but this is actually a useful list: Fifty psychological and psychiatric terms to avoid: a list of inaccurate, misleading, misused, ambiguous, and logically confused words and phrases. It’s not just the popular media that mangle scientific language, but also more technical works sometimes slip into misleading shorthand. For instance, #1…

Oh, joy. Deepak Chopra is mad about being called an evolution denialist, and to disprove the accusation, he fires back with a whole long letter full of misconceptions about evolution. As usual, he relies on painting himself as the brave pioneer at the very edge of science, with a hooting mob of regressive scientific dogmatists…

This is an amazing “discovery”! Someone named JA Tetro has been selling interviews and articles to women’s magazines and other credulous sources, claiming that your microbiome is the key to compatibility. Tetro says that when you kiss your date, his or her germs make their way into your mouth’s ecosystem. And if it’s a match,…

Egnor babbles some more

Michael Egnor has replied to my dismissal of his claims that memories can’t be stored in the brain with a curiously titled post, Understanding Memories: Lovely Metaphors Belong in Songs, Not Science. I was a bit confused, at first…I don’t recall using any song lyrics or poetic metaphors in my post on the subject, but…

He keeps saying the same ol’ debunked crap over and over again, and nowadays when a paper comes out that shows he was completely wrong about something, he spins it into a triumphant vindication for his sycophantic fans, who are all, apparently, abysmally innumerate. The hobby horse he’s been riding for the past few years…

Why, oh why, do EP’s defenders rely on throwing up armies of straw men to slaughter? It’s silly. Here’s how he starts: There are some science-friendly folk (including atheists) who simply dismiss the entire field of evolutionary psychology in humans, saying that its theoretical foundations are weak or nonexistent. I’ve always replied that that claim…

The Lancet done screwed up

Chelsea Polis and Kathryn Curtis wrote a paper that asked whether hormonal contraceptives affected your likelihood of being infected with HIV, Use of hormonal contraceptives and HIV acquisition in women: a systematic review of the epidemiological evidence. Here’s the abstract: Whether or not the use of hormonal contraception affects risk of HIV acquisition is an…

The two faces of JE Brandenburg

Brandenburg is a physicist who submitted a paper to the 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference a few years ago. It’s way outside my area of expertise, but it postulated an interesting scenario from the ratios of rare isotopes in the atmosphere of Mars: that there was evidence of a natural nuclear reactor, like Oklo…