Bad Science

Pharyngula

Category archives for Bad Science

There was a conference sponsored by the Royal Society last month, titled New trends in evolutionary biology: biological, philosophical and social science perspectives. There have been a number of news stories about this event, some good, some bad. Here’s one: can you tell what’s wrong with it? For example, speaking at the Royal Society was…

The crackpots are bustin’ out all over — not just in politics, but also in science. Remember Stuart Pivar? The septic tank tycoon who invented a whole new theory of evolution and development that he called Lifecode, built entirely around imaginary drawings of how embryos formed by folding and stretching themselves like balloon animals? It…

Does the London Times routinely publish crackpot pseudoscience with no fact checking at all? I’ve just read their latest piece on the notorious Bryan Sykes, Bigfoot Hunter, and it’s the kind of gullible tosh I’d expect from a Murdoch tabloid. It’s got one paragraph that mentions that other scientists doubt his findings, but otherwise it’s…

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…