Monthly Archives: March 2016

Silencing opinions vs. managing misinformation: Do skeptics suppress opposing viewpoints?

If you have spent any time debating those who deny the well established science of vaccines, climate change, global warming, evolution, etc., then you have likely encountered the accusation that scientists/skeptics try to silence and suppress opposing viewpoints. This claim … Continue reading

Posted in Nature of Science | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Understanding abstracts: Does the study say what you think it says?

I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about scientific studies and how to analyze them, but there is a very important topic that, until now, I have only mentioned briefly: abstracts. Abstracts are intended to be useful … Continue reading

Posted in Nature of Science | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Does Splenda cause cancer? A lesson in how to critically read scientific papers

Last week, researchers published a paper suggesting that sucralose (Splenda) causes cancer in male mice. This has re-sparked an old debate, and various media outlets have been quick to pounce on the results and flood the internet with articles like, … Continue reading

Posted in Nature of Science | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Understanding the reported risks of medicines, foods, toxic chemicals, etc.

We are constantly bombarded with news reports and claims like, “A new study found that chemical X increases your risk of disease Y by 100%” or “doing X makes you twice as likely to have Y,” but what do those … Continue reading

Posted in Nature of Science, Vaccines/Alternative Medicine | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Is the peer-review system broken? A look at the PLoS ONE paper on a hand designed by “the Creator”

The internet has recently gone nuts over a scientific paper published in PLoS ONE (a generally respectable journal) which contained several lines suggesting that the human hand was designed by “the Creator.” The paper was quickly retracted, but the brouhaha … Continue reading

Posted in Nature of Science | Tagged | 2 Comments