The Atlantic Monthly fails Science 101, #FlatEarth ers rejoice

<em>The Atlantic Monthly</em> fails Science 101, #FlatEarth ers rejoice
GEORGE TOWN, PENANG, MALAYSIA — There is just so much wrong about a science writer equating “fringe science” with real science in a major magazine that I feel compelled to write a response. I know, I should be writing about my wonderful vacation trip instead of grousing about an essay praising science cranks for their creativity and inquisitive spirit, but Lizzie Wade’s essay in The Atlantic Monthly, “In Defense of Flat Earthers,” just irritates the crap out of me. It bothers me because Wade, whose background as a science writer seems pretty solid, gets all touchy-feely, New-Agey and says fringe scientists are just so adorable, trying to make sense of the world in their cockeyed ways. Why, they’re just like real scientists! No, they are not. I will explain why momentarily. Even more annoying is Wade’s response to criticism that she’s fundamentally missed the boat on what science is and does. She tweeted this rejoinder to one such complaint: It’s not my job to promote science or encourage people to become scientists. https://t.co/lepZqYmMH2 — Lizzie Wade (@lizzie_wade) January 28, 2016 What in blue blazes do you think your job is, Lizzie Wade? A science writer shuld be writing about science, ...

Paleo-hokum 3

“There’s a sucker born every minute.” — David Hannum, P.T. Barnum’s competitor at hoodwinking the public (1860) JISHOU, HUNAN — Eat like a caveman! Lose weight! Be healthy! Science proves it! The paleo-diet is the latest in a series of diet fads that seem to crop every decade or so. (Anyone remember the Atkins diet, the grapefruit diet, the protein diet, the low-carb diet?) A few of my relatives and friends are trying the paleo-diet out. Since this amazing new diet plan has not yet made headlines in China, I had to go look it up. My bullshit meter hit level 9. While the actual dietary recommendations of the paleo-diet are not so bad, the so-called “scientific basis” for the paleo-diet is mostly a crock of mastodon droppings. (See photo at right) It’s a gimmick. It’s one of those ideas that at first glance seems almost plausible, but on deeper inspection is just hucksterism dressed up in a white labcoat. So, I’m going to put on my science teacher hat and analyze the paleo-diet. I’m not saying you need to give it up, but you should at least understand a lot of it is hokum. The basis of the paleo-diet ...
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