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Delaying Keystone XL Indefinitely Sets A Bad Precedent For Scientization Of Politics

A decade ago, science academic was worked into a holy war by the belief that President Bush hated...

Natural Schmatural, We Want To Know What Our Food Doesn't Have In It

Sid Salter, director of public affairs at Mississippi State University, writes in the Jackson Clarion...

This Earth Day, Thank A Chemist

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After The Blood Moon: Do Some Post-Apocalypse Science

Since the Blood Moon - whatever that is, it sounds Biblical - was last night, and it spells the...

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Hank CampbellRSS Feed of this column.

I'm the founder of Science 2.0® and co-author of "Science Left Behind".

A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes... Read More »

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In The Federalist Today, I have a piece titled Five Things Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Cosmos” Gets Wrong

Robin Thicke may have sung "Blurred Lines" and appeared in a teenage fantasy video with a lot of naked women, but when a photo was revealed of him in a suggestive situation with another woman, he found that the line was actually not all that blurry to his wife.(1)

What changed? She had been fine with his canoodling before. He has no idea and men meeting women across the nation are just as confused about where their blurred lines are. 


Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality - Carl Sagan

I missed the big Carl Sagan thing when it happened. I was in high school when Cosmos came out, we lived in the country and if you wanted to watch a different television network, you had to go up into the attic and turn a giant antenna with a pipe wrench. Sports and girls and D&D were more of a priority than television.

Yet even though I didn't watch it when it came out, shortly afterward I could still tell you who said "billions and billions" with that special emphasis.  That and riffs on "Who Shot J.R.?" were big that year.
Statisticians have a rule of thumb for calibrating claims made in humanities and science papers alike. Andrew Gelman, for example, talks about statistical significance filter - "If an estimate is statistically significant, it’s probably an overestimate."

A good thing to remember when you read weak observational studies, psychology surveys and, in modern times, a shocking number of epidemiology papers.

For health, you can use a different rule of thumb: Does Joe Mercola sell it?

If he does, it is probably suspect.

When I have done workshops for aspiring science journalists/writers, I have three pieces of advice. The first is: Don't defend science. It doesn't need defending.

But it's easier said then done. If you spend some time in science media culture, you will invariably find a person saying something pithy like "Science: It works, bitches" but then raging about some attack on science and defending it with shrill verbage and name-calling and conspiracy theories.

If science works, you don't need to defend it with claims that Big Oil is funding climate denial or that homeopaths and Big Organic fund vaccine and GMO denial.
Here's an intellectual puzzle; which is more real, the viability of wind power as anything more than a sustainable gimmick or Wind Turbine Syndrome?