Dr. Pinker is an excellent writer and thinker. Perhaps his greatest contribution to our national dialogue is his insistence, backed up by considerable research, that life keeps getting better and better. However, he seems to miss the mark in a recent essay titled "Why We Are Not Living in a Post‑Truth Era."
Other Science News
Here's this week's lineup: A physician and leading researcher weighs in on how the media may be damaging science's credibility. ... A NY Times opinion piece chastises both sides of the political aisle. ... With Halloween a few days away, it's time to look at the history of scaring parents about poisoned candy and razor blades. ... And finally, car accidents are killing more pedestrians and fewer car occupants, so do we need safer cars or heightened awareness from pedestrians and cyclists?
All the tricks pulled by anti-science activists should be permanently relegated to the make-believe haunted house. Meanwhile, ACSH is here to provide a pro-science treat. Here's where we appeared in recent days.
The 1956 American classic musical tells the story of Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins, in which he tries to elevate her station in life by improving her speech. It may be worth re-examining the premise, in contemporary America, specifically: Does our speech give away our social status?
Paradoxically, for scientists, the more you express your uncertainty, the more likely you are to be trusted ... that is, to a point.
Here's what's on tap: Is tackle football the "New Smoking?" ... Private equity investment + healthcare = SURPRISE Billing. ... Is there an evolutionary role for parasites? ... And time: Is it subjective, fleeting or agonizingly long? A look at the underlying neurobiology.
The Navy has filed a patent that could allow for the creation of portable nuclear fusion reactors. The scientist behind this is thinking big. He's also responsible for dreaming up ways to propel aircraft, like UFOs.
What's more effective when it comes to debunking science? Turns out that ad hominem attacks work as well as disproving the "facts" of a given argument.
If you're a consumer of science news, or just a curious person looking for information on nutrition or medicine, you have to learn how to spot junk science. Especially from sources that are typically reliable. Here are a few guidelines that can help separate sound research from sneaky misinformation.
Four sips from the firehose that is Internet content: Spicy and bitter are ways plants tried to dissuade you from eating them; CRISPR, in service of animal welfare, hits a snag; a podcast contrasts Nathan's Hot-Dog Eating Contest to chemotherapy, and good news science is alive and beautifully well.
The use of self-reported behavior has been an Achilles heel of sorts, regarding the certainty of research outcomes. A new study shows not only that "self-reports" may be incorrect, but the degree of uncertainty introduced by them varies with the self-reporter's age, education and nationality.
The anti-nuclear crowd uses an assortment of scare tactics to turn public opinion against the use of nuclear power. One of them is highlighting the risk of a serious accident, that might occur when spent nuclear fuel is transported to a disposal site. Is there any validity to this? A visit to the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque, NM tells us there is not. (It's actually very safe.)