Bad science

Pharyngula

Category archives for Bad science

In science, there’s data, and there’s interpretation. It’s really easy to collect data (usually), but interpretation is the hard part — it requires an understanding of context and theory, and an appreciation of the real complexity of the problem. It’s tempting to simplify all your models — the spherical cow problem — but you also…

Scientology’s views on evolution

I had a conversation with Tony Ortega about L. Ron Hubbard’s book, A History of Man: Antediluvian Technology. He is the author of a blog, Tony Ortega on Scientology, and he had cruelly sent me a copy Hubbard’s book specifically to inflame my already enlarged outrage gland. The post there emphasizes everything Hubbard got wrong…

ENCODE has its defenders!

You know I was really pissed off at the crap ENCODE was promoting, that the genome was at least 80% functional and that there was no such thing as junk DNA. And there have been a number of better qualified scientists (like W. Ford Doolittle and Dan Graur and many others) who have stood up…

For shame, Discovery Channel

It’s shark week. I’m not going to watch a bit of it; I’m actually boycotting the Discovery Channel for the indefinite future. The reason: An appalling violation of media ethics and outright scientific dishonesty. They opened the week with a special “documentary” on Megalodon, the awesome 60 foot long shark that went extinct a few…

I previously addressed the criticisms of my criticisms of evolutionary psychology by Jerry Coyne; Now I turn to the criticisms of my criticisms he solicited from Steven Pinker. This is getting a bit convoluted, so let me first state the basics. I dislike evolutionary psychology. Pinker is an advocate for evolutionary psychology. What brought on…

I have disturbed and distressed Jerry Coyne, because I have dissed the entire field of evolutionary psychology. I find this very peculiar, because in my field, Jerry Coyne has a reputation for dissing all of evo devo, so it can’t possibly be that we’re supposed to automatically respect every broad scientific endeavor. There has to…

I know you’re thinking we’ve had more than enough discussion of one simplistic umbrella hypothesis for the origin of unique human traits — the aquatic ape hypothesis — and it’s cruel of me to introduce another, but who knows, maybe the proponents of each will collide and mutually annihilate each other, and then we’ll all…

Cystic Fibrosis is all your fault

Cystic Fibrosis is a serious genetic disorder caused by the inheritance of a defective transporter protein. It leads to an accumulation of mucus and fluids in the lungs that can cause progressive scarring and damage to the tissue, and eventually loss of so much lung function that respiration is inadequate, and the victim dies. It’s…

This is not science

We may have the answer to all of the big problems in physics! Or not. My money is on “not”. Marcus du Sautoy, a very smart mathematician and the fellow who occupies the chair for the public understanding of science at Oxford formerly held by Richard Dawkins, made a stunning announcement. Two years ago, a…

Will Smith must be stopped

He has a new movie coming out this summer, After Earth. It looks awful, but then, that’s what I’ve come to expect from Will Smith’s Sci-Fi outings. Jebus. Anyone remember that abomination, I, Robot? How about I Am Legend? I steer clear of these movies with a high concept and a big name star, because…