Trump, Behind Closed Doors, Insists Earth is Flat (a lesson)

A story hit the press today – behind closed doors last night, while meeting with both Democrats and Republicans, Trump advanced the idea that the world is flat and not round. In a story tonight on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” excerpts from a press briefing today with Press Secretary Sean┬áSpicer suggested things got pretty heated… Continue reading Trump, Behind Closed Doors, Insists Earth is Flat (a lesson)

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

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?

The science, not ethics, of unverified Ebola drugs

I haven’t posted in a while. The current global Ebola panic, spread mostly by social media and the media and not so much by the actual global threat of Ebola, has spurred me from complacency. Specifically, a WHO ethics panel today unanimously authorized the use of unproven, untested, experimental Ebola drugs in the field. But… Continue reading The science, not ethics, of unverified Ebola drugs

I am not a psychic

For the first day of class yesterday, I tried a new trick. We usually poll the class about issues that have a real science component, like vaccination or alternative medicine. It helps us to understand what they think they know. We added a new component yesterday, something we’ve talked about doing to a few years… Continue reading I am not a psychic

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

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

The Princesses of Pseudoscience

Author’s Update (12/19/13): I re-wrote the paragraph on GMO foods, their availability, and health benefits based on a reader comment to make the paragraph more accurate to the possible benefits vs. the actual availability of such foods in the market. NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday ran a story this morning about a new breed of children’s… Continue reading The Princesses of Pseudoscience