Category Archives: science journalism

The media bollocksed up a science story

I think people have seen on this site the way that the media has distorted the scientific data on epigenetics, with newspapers and popular books implying that adaptive environmental modification of an organism can be inherited, which constitutes a revolution in the way we think about evolution. Well, were that true it would be a […]

Octopuses as aliens from another planet?

Reader Tim sent me a link to this article from the Daily Express, which I don’t read but suppose, from this one article, is about as credible as The Sun or other British tabloids purveying fake stories. Click on screenshot to see the article.  I’ll make this into an exercise in which readers can tell […]

Claire Lehmann and Debra Soh dismantle John Horgan’s indictment of sexism in science

The mandatory disclaimer first: I’m not claiming that science is free of sexism. No area in which men labor is, since there are always some sexist men. I would argue, though, that we’re doing our best to free the discipline of sexism (most hiring committees, for example,  have a keen look-out for women candidates, and […]

SciBabe, paid by Splenda, touts its product

Yvette d’Entremont writes about popular science, especially consumer scams and misconceptions, on her website SciBabe. Her site’s bio notes that she has bachelor’s degrees in theater and chemistry from Emanuel College in Boston, a masters degree in forensic science with a concentration in biological criminalistics from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, and worked eight years as […]

Duhhh. . . . Guardian touts a “new” finding that thylacines are more closely related to kangaroos than to dingos

Below is the headline of a new science piece in the Guardian (click on screenshot to read it), reporting on a paper that was just published in Nature. I haven’t read that paper, so I won’t comment on it; rather, I’ll comment on the science writing, which in this case is abysmal. It’s sensationalistic, misleading, […]

The BBC gets evolution wrong again when describing a new discovery of early eutherian mammals

Well, after uncritically publishing a piece on the new “species” of orangutan (and not even seeking out any dissenting voices, unlike the BBC’s Discover Wildlife site), the BBC news site once again engages in a misleading piece of science reporting. The misguided piece has the headline below (click on screenshot to go there); I’ll get to […]

I’m the token dissenter on orangutans for the BBC

A woman at the Beeb contacted me this morning asking me about the description of the new “species” of orangutan from Sumatra. As I wrote at the link, calling this isolated population a new “species” is a purely subjective decision, as is separating the Bornean from the Sumatran orangutan (the new species, the Tapanuli orang, is […]

The Daily Beast distorts epigenetics with bogus claims that children can “inherit memories of the Holocaust”

I’ve written extensively on this site about recent claims that environmental modifications of DNA, through either methylation (sticking a -CH3 group onto DNA bases or by changing the histone scaffolding that supports the DNA, can constitute a basis for evolutionary change. This claim is simply wrong. To date, while we can show that environmental “shocks” given […]

BBC’s Today program honors 60 years of science reporting

Reader Dom called my attention to two BBC pieces on science that were broadcast yesterday, the 60th anniversary of The Today “programme”. The two bits have been concatenated into one 19-minute broadcast, which you can access by clicking on the screenshot below and then clicking the right arrow when you get to the BBC site: […]

Deceptive science reporting by Newsweek

Look at this tweet from Newsweek: Are you sitting down? NASA has found signs of life on a Saturnian moon https://t.co/06M6EwIDl3 pic.twitter.com/K4UcBtlILV — Newsweek (@Newsweek) May 7, 2017 Now read the damn article: it doesn’t say that they found ANY “signs of life” on the moon Enceladus, It is possible that life could evolve or […]