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Tag: Science “Journalism”

Transgendered Persons and Homicides: Co-opting Statistics To Peddle a Message

Transgendered Persons and Homicides: Co-opting Statistics To Peddle a Message

Doing background research related to yesterday’s blog post on bullying, I ran across this CBS News headline from last November: “Homicides of transgender women in U.S. reach alarming high.” The total at that point in 2015: 22 trans-women. How alarming is that? It depends on what kind of story you want to tell. You could tell the story that homicides in this category had almost doubled compared to the previous year. That would be true. Sort of. For you could also tell…

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Bill Nye, Deniable Guy: Promoting Science and Rationality, He Blunders On Both

Bill Nye, Deniable Guy: Promoting Science and Rationality, He Blunders On Both

Science Guy Bill Nye says he stands for excellence in thinking skills and scientific reasoning. Recently, however, he violated both of those values in the very act of promoting them. HuffPost reports him as saying, The biggest danger creationism plays… is that it is raising a generation of children who “can’t think” and who “will not be able to participate in the future in same way” as those who are taught evolution. Later the article adds, Speaking on MidPoint, Nye…

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I Just Wrote a Mathematics Journal Article!

I Just Wrote a Mathematics Journal Article!

I just wrote a math journal article, and it only took me thirty seconds. Here it is: Scalars and Monge’s Conjecture. Pretty good, considering I can’t read any of it. I did it with the just-for-fun random mathematics journalizer, MathGen. You can write one too! Okay, it’s idle fun that means nothing—except that the journal Advances in Pure Mathematics reportedly got Sokal-hoaxed with MathGen. The journal is reported to have accepted a random MathGen paper for publication, with just a few recommendations…

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“Earliest mammals sniffed their way to smarts – Yahoo! News”

“Earliest mammals sniffed their way to smarts – Yahoo! News”

What do you make of an opening line like this? The unusually large brains of mammals apparently didn’t evolve so that we could ponder philosophy — but so we could sniff our way to success. A new analysis of some of the earliest mammals and mammal-like creatures shows their complex brains evolved in stages, starting with the regions that handle the sense of smell. [From Earliest mammals sniffed their way to smarts – Yahoo! News] Compare also the way the…

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Melanie Phillips on “The Secular Inquisition”

Melanie Phillips on “The Secular Inquisition”

From Melanie Phillips today comes possibly the most intellectually aware statement I have seen from any journalist on the Intelligent Design controversy, including this: While materialist fundamentalists can deal with religious believers by scoffing they are in a separate domain altogether from the real ie scientific world, the suggestion that science might itself arrive at the conclusion that there are limits to what it can understand is a heresy that directly threatens the materialist fundamentalist closed thought-system — and therefore…

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Reality and “Religion’s Real Child Abuse”

Reality and “Religion’s Real Child Abuse”

Richard Dawkins wrote in The God Delusion that religion is a dangerous form of child abuse, a claim he reiterated in an online essay titled “Religion’s Real Child Abuse.” He explicitly says that while sexual abuse by priests may be bad, what’s worse is raising children to think of themselves as members of one religion or another, or saddling them with the fear of hell. In response to that I wrote an article for our local newspaper, republished at BreakPoint…

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“Worst Science Article Ever?”

“Worst Science Article Ever?”

This, from Discover Magazine, is just for fun: You don’t have to look to hard to find bad science writing. Here at Discoblog, we do our best to chronicle, analyze, and explain the worst of it, from the playing hockey with facts to the over-reliance on questionable studies to the always-popular “slapping pseudo-science on a stereotype and declaring bulletproof validation.” But sometimes an article comes along that’s so egregious, so sloppy, so far from anything resembling actual fact, that even…

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Spirituality protects against depression better than church attendance??

Spirituality protects against depression better than church attendance??

I saw this headline in my newsreader, and of course I was intrigued. Spirituality protects against depression better than church attendance Questions were clicking in my mind immediately, even as I clicked the link. How did they define spirituality for purposes of their research (the operational definition)? What religious groups were included, and did they differentiate among them in the results? Then I read the EurekAlert article, and a completely different question came to mind: Who writes these headlines? According…

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Warning to Canadians: Duck!

Warning to Canadians: Duck!

This news just in from EurekAlert (quoting the actual headline): New comet discovered in Canada To be more specific: [A] comet has been discovered at the University of Calgary’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, which is located about 35 kilometres southwest of Calgary. To my friends in Canada: I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving Day yesterday. I wonder if your day off there might explain why news of the disaster has been so slow to reach the rest of the world….

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