Category Archives: Science

Shermer on consciousness, free will, and God

The latest Scentific American has a short column by Michael Shermer on why he thinks consciousness, free will, and God are “insoluble mysteries”. Click on the screenshot to read the piece.   When I read it, I jotted down some thoughts that took issue with Shermer’s notion that all three are “insoluble”, and sent a […]

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 […]

Americans want science done, but can’t name any scientists or places where science is done

A poll conducted last year and just now released by Research!America and Zogby Analytics (full results here; Zogby summary here) shows how abysmally ignorant Americans are about science, even though they trust scientists and think scientific research is important.  Here, for example, are some statistics and graphs: Fewer than 1 in 5 Americans can name […]

Trump has yet to name a science advisor

It’s nearly a year since the election, and Trump hasn’t yet appointed a science advisor. Here’s a comparative graph from the Washington Post:   There could be many reasons the appointment is taking so long, said Zuoyue Wang, a historian of science at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. “I believe that several factors are at […]

Two geographers say that academics should stop citing so much work by straight white men

My spirits continue to sink as I see both the Washington Post and the New York Times move toward the Authoritarian wing of Leftism. The latest—and this really hurts—is a piece in the “Speaking of Science” column called “Why these professors are warning against promoting the work of straight, white men“, written by general assignment reporter […]

The anti-science views of third-wave feminists

Because of its connections with postmodernism, third-wave feminism has sometimes shown a disturbing trend of doing down science. That, of course, is because postmodernism rejects objective truth, valuing feelings and “lived experience” over science, which it sees as not only un-objective, but as a tool and embodiment of the patriarchy. This attitude was, of course, […]

Science mnemonics

xkcd has presented some science mnemonics. I haven’t used mnemonics for any of these (I know the planets in order) but I did have my own for taxonomy, “King Put Cats On Fat Granny’s Stoop”.  Some of the ones in the cartoon are unwieldy, but I do like the Katy Perry one, which I might […]

Trump’s budget cuts in science

This is from an email that research administrators at my University sent to our faculty, academic appointees, and staff a short while ago; I offer it to show you what the Trump administration is doing to research in this country (emphasis is mine): On May 23, the Trump Administration released its detailed budget proposal for […]

Can science prove things to be false?

We hear this all the time: “Science can’t prove anything to be true, as there’s always a possibility that we’ve made a mistake or that there are other data that we don’t yet know, so all things that science says are “true” are provisional. But science can prove things to be false!” When thinking about […]

A successful cat experiment—and a failure

Last Caturday, I put up an item about some cats having a propensity to enter and sit in squares of tape on the floor. I also urged readers to try it. What do you have to lose besides a bit of tape? Anyway, three readers tried it: one failed utterly, one succeeded, but only when […]