Category Archives: science journalism

Superfluous article of the month

Do we really need another article that telling us that evolution isn’t always “progressive”, going in a straight line towards traits that we consider “advanced”? (These are nearly always traits that humans have, like intelligence, high consciousness, and big brains.) This form of evolution, often represented by the “straight line” diagram of human evolution shown […]

“Climate change” redacted from U.S. Geological Survey press releases

I’m rereading Orwell’s novel 1984, and so this new report from Science reminded me of the Party’s attempt to change language into “Newspeak” and, by purging old words, creating a new language with a new ideological slant. (That, of course, derived from Orwell’s earlier but superb essay Politics and the English Language.) The Science article relates, […]

Alligator in viral photograph is stuffed

by Greg Mayer A photograph of an alligator on the back of an inflatable alligator is making the rounds of a variety of news media. This is a stuffed alligator. The splayed legs, open mouth, and curled tail are typical of the poses used for souvenir stuffed alligators, and atypical of the way a live […]

Railing about rails again: No, Science, it’s NOT THE SAME SPECIES!

UPDATE: Science has now corrected its post by issuing the addendum below.  As you’ll see in the comments below, author Alex Fox credits this post for the correction, which is gentlemanly of him. Thanks to reader Barry for the spot. *************** It is a truth universally acknowledged that the two most prestigious science journals in […]

National Review: Conservatives should accept evolution

Both the Left and Right have their issues with evolution. On the Right, many are evangelical Christians and reject evolution on religious grounds. Even Orthodox Jews like Ben Shapiro have found themselves flirting with Intelligent Design, and when I saw Shapiro implicitly attacking modern evolutionary biology I gave up all hope for him. The voting […]

Railing about rails: new paper on flightless birds is grossly misreported and distorted by the popular media

Note: If you can’t access the paper, judicious inquiry might yield you a copy. __________ Many readers called my attention to new paper in the Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society (click on the title screenshot below, and see the pdf here), reporting on a case of convergent evolution— two independent cases of evolution producing […]

New Twitter account flags article on research conducted in mice but implied to be in humans

We all know how bad popular science reporting has become, and here’s yet more evidence. This new Twitter account, justsaysinmice, is useful as it indicts not scientific studies but journalists who report scientific studies in mice as if their results were in humans. It’s not just that they say “this could apply to humans”, but […]

The BBC unwisely jumps on the epigenetics bandwagon

About two weeks ago,  the BBC’s “Future” website published a long science article touting the importance of epigenetic effects in humans: the idea that various behaviors, traumas, and psychological propensities produced by the environment on parents can be transmitted to their offspring. This is supposed to act in a “Lamarckian” way: the environment modifies the […]

Five Books: Adam Hart-Davis’s choice of the best books on popular science

Adam Hart-Davis is an English writer, photographer, and broadcaster, known for being the presenter of several popular BBC series. In a Five Books piece (click on screenshot below), Hart-Davis lists and discusses what he sees as the five best popular-science books. According to the site, “Adam Hart-Davis says clear simple writing is the key to […]

Science magazine conflates social movements with scientific breakthroughs

Reader Bryan called my attention to Science magazine’s contest in which readers can vote for the scientific breakthroughs of the year. As the site says (click on screenshot below): It’s that time of the year again: Science’s reporters and editors are homing in on the Breakthrough of the Year, our choice of the most significant scientific […]