Bad Science

Pharyngula

Category archives for Bad Science

Junk DNA must be…fractal ballast!

I’ve now read two novel attempts to explain the existence of junk DNA. To a lot of people, the very idea of junk DNA is offensive: whatever process built us, whether divine fiat or the razor-sharp honing of natural selection, must be powerful, omnipotent or nearly so, and incapable of tolerating any noise or sloppiness,…

Let’s slap ENCODE around some more

Since we still have someone arguing poorly for the virtues of the ENCODE project, I thought it might be worthwhile to go straight to the source and and cite an ENCODE project paper, Defining functional DNA elements in the human genome. It is a bizarre thing that actually makes the case for rejecting the idea…

Another cancer quack

That atavistic cancer hypothesis is actually fueling the work of quacks: Orac has been getting threats from a Frank Arguello, who runs a crank cancer mill called “Atavistic Chemotherapy”. It’s amazing stuff. It goes on and on about how cancer represents a reversion to the old cell types of single-celled organisms, and how modern chemotherapy…

Vox Day, Scientist

The anti-vaxxers are excited. A recent paper, Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young african american boys: a reanalysis of CDC data, claims that there is evidence that vaccinations cause autism. Only one problem: it’s a crappy paper. Orac has covered it to an Oracian level of detail, so let me give the short summary:…

The bad science of World War Z

World War Z was on the Netflix last night, so I made the mistake of watching it. It was terrible. Spoilers abound, so stop here if you care.

Two more meaty reviews of his li’l book of racism: One by Agustin Fuentes, an anthropologist who debated Wade, and the other by Jennifer Raff, yet another anthropologist with expertise in genetics. I’ve focused a lot of this review on numerous technical details because I think that it’s very important that non-geneticists understand the degree…

Mike Adams, blustering scoundrel

We all know about Mike Adams, notorious quack, conspiracy theorist, quantum dork, and raving nutball around here, right? If nothing else, you must have enjoyed Orac’s regular deconstruction of his nonsense. Jon Entine has published a profile of Mike Adams in Forbes magazine that distills all the lunacy down to a relatively concise summary. For…

Jonah Lehrer: he’s baaaaack

Lehrer has landed a new book deal. This has sparked justifiable disgust: Maria Konnikova explains why. Lehrer is not the writer who simply made up a few Bob Dylan quotes and self-plagiarized (the way he’s portrayed in recent accounts of his latest book deal). He is the writer who got the science wrong, repeatedly, who…

Musings from the mind of a mouse

Casey Luskin is such a great gift to the scientific community. The public spokesman for the Discovery Institute has a law degree and a Masters degree (in Science! Earth Science, that is) and thinks he is qualified to analyze papers in genetics and molecular biology, fields in which he hasn’t the slightest smattering of background,…

There’s another paper out debunking the ENCODE consortium’s absurd interpretation of their data. ENCODE, you may recall, published a rather controversial paper in which they claimed to have found that 80% of the human genome was ‘functional’ — for an extraordinarily loose definition of function — and further revealed that several of the project leaders…