Science Process

Category archives for Science Process

Can you be skeptical about GM but believe in climate change? So asks Alice Bell in The Guardian. The answer is of course, “Yes,” but you can also be a fundamentalist Christian while believing in evolution and being a great scientist, so being able to hold two things in your brain at the same time is not…

On Thursday, I had a post published on Scientific American’s guest Blog about claims that genetically modified food crops could contain allergens. In it, I am critical of the Union of Concerned Scientists (a science advocacy and policy organization), for what I read as misplaced opposition to genetic engineering: The UCS’s concern about the dire state of…

Two weeks ago, the Heritage Foundation (a conservative think-tank) released a position paper based largely on the academic research of one Jason Richwine. The conclusion (roughly paraphrased): Hispanic people have lower IQ’s than white people, so an overly permissive immigration policy will drag down the US economy. Ethically, this conclusion is a deep affront to…

I spend a lot of time thinking about the scientific method. I don’t mean that thing you learned in high school, where you make an observation, form a hypothesis, design an experiment etc etc. That’s certainly part of the scientific method, but the linear formula that freshmen are typically forced to memorize sucks the life…

While going back through blog archives and reviewing incoming links, I stumbled on this post from about a year ago from Zen Faulkes at Neuro Dojo: There are many reasons to argue for open access of scientific research. But this is not the best one: It’s your taxes that fund the research, you should have…

The vast majority of funding for biological research in the US comes from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and as a result, most of our grants are written in a way that plays up the clinical importance of our work. Some variant of the phrase, This research has implications in the treatment/prevention of [insert…

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the launch of a new initiative from the Union of Concerned Scientists – The Center for Science and Democracy. The UCS itself was founded in the late 1960’s in response to the Cold War nuclear arms race. Graduate students and faculty at MIT decided that someone needed to advocate for “greater…

Technology and Intent

No technology is inherently good or evil, it’s the use of that technology that determines its value. A blade can be used in surgery to save a life, or as a weapon to take one. The ballistics that enable missiles to destroy enemies also enables the launch of communication satellites and exploration of other worlds.…

A few months ago, I wrote about the problems with academic publishing: These days, there’s an entire industry of academic publishers that have become so fully integrated into the research system that many scientists don’t realize that there’s any distinction between doing science and publishing in journals. However, these journals cost an enormous amount of…

I know something’s amiss when my google news alert returns headlines like these: Why women who lust after Brad Pitt may just fancy his immune system It’s His Immune System That You Actually Want to Sleep With The key to male sexiness: A powerful immune system? and my personal favorite Antibodies, Not Hard Bodies: The…