Dealing with Misinformation about COVID-19

Disease is one of those stresses on our systems that prompts and promotes the spread of misinformation. All of us are hungry for information about how to respond to this disease, but with that desire comes a certain level of credulousness that lets in misinformation. Check out the latest podcast from the Center for Inquiry… Continue reading Dealing with Misinformation about COVID-19

Science Policy Under Trump: Vaccine Policy . . . or maybe not.

Since the election, while I have paid attention to the developments of the Trump administration, I have withheld on commenting about any of the news so far because nothing has actually happened. On the science front, the most salient decisions related to science policy that Mr. Trump has made so far have been the nomination… Continue reading Science Policy Under Trump: Vaccine Policy . . . or maybe not.

Bad Science Writing: College Paper Edition

Writers are born young. Good writers learn their craft through practice, trial, and error. Failure is the best teacher. Given my view of writing, there is much my own University’s weekly campus paper, the SMU Campus Weekly, can learn from this recent article that claims to assess the “Paleo diet.” [ARTICLE] I got so upset… Continue reading Bad Science Writing: College Paper Edition

Microcosm: when science and the public meet

Science is a process by which reliable information is obtained by repeated use and assessment. In science, all claims are up for revision; however, absent better information when there is enough reliable information to make a decision it is usually considered wise to do so, even if future revisions (which one cannot predict) might cause… Continue reading Microcosm: when science and the public meet

Trick or Treat or Pseudoscience?

Every year, Jodi and I run a local Halloween-themed 5K race together. Recently, the race became a charity for an organization that tries to help children and their families deal with particular cancers. It’s nice that the race goes to support a good cause; to be honest, I don’t run it for the cause, but… Continue reading Trick or Treat or Pseudoscience?

General Mills, Cheerios, Food Labeling, and Science-Based Policy Making

General Mills announces Cheerios will no longer contain genetically modified ingredients. So . . . will they be individually hand-carved from rocks? A look at the science and values issues in the General Mills food labelling policy.

General Mills (in a blog post written by Tom Forsythe) announces that Cheerios, a flagship cereal for the company, will no longer be made with genetically modified ingredients [1]. What’s wrong with this announcement? General Mills is adding labels to its food products, like Cheerios, that read “not made with genetically modified ingredients.” However, this… Continue reading General Mills, Cheerios, Food Labeling, and Science-Based Policy Making

SciFi: Bad reporting on the “acupuncture and breast cancer patients” study

I keep a special feed on Google News called “Nonsenseville” [1]. It’s an rss stream that results from a search for keywords that typically appear in pseudoscience articles. Normally, I scan the headlines to get a sense of how credulous is the science reporting on a topic. Today, I saw this headline from the Canadian… Continue reading SciFi: Bad reporting on the “acupuncture and breast cancer patients” study

They are dangerous

“[The creationists and the Discovery Institute]  are not interested in science, and they are not interested in education. They are interested in political power. They are dangerous.” (Vincent Cassone, chair of the University of Kentucky Biology Department). [1] In an interesting interview with Vincent Cassone, chair of the University of Kentuck Biology Department, we learn… Continue reading They are dangerous

A good example of a bad argument

Recently, a two new studies of multivitamins and their efficacy for purposes other than vitamin deficiency were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine [1][2]. One study looks at using multivitamins to improve outcomes after myocardial infarction, and finds no evidence of a benefit. The second study looks at measurable outcomes of cognitive function in… Continue reading A good example of a bad argument

Wedge Salad

In their famous policy paper, “The Wedge,” [1] the founders of the modern Intelligent Design Creationism movement stated their political and social action plan for the United States: In Phase 1, entitled “Research, Writing, and Publication,” the authors state that “… [they] are supporting vital writing and research at the sites most likely to crack… Continue reading Wedge Salad