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More Unscience

Scientific discovery and discussion
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More Unscience

#191840

Postby XFool » January 8th, 2019, 12:55 am

India scientists dismiss Einstein theories

BBC News

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Re: More Unscience

#191887

Postby ReformedCharacter » January 8th, 2019, 9:57 am

XFool wrote:India scientists dismiss Einstein theories

BBC News


There's some funny stuff there, my favourite -

In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told medical staff at a Mumbai hospital that the story of the Hindu god Ganesha - whose elephant head is attached to a human body - showed cosmetic surgery existed in ancient India


Which makes a complete nonsense of both Hinduism and science in a single statement :)


RC

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Re: More Unscience

#203345

Postby XFool » February 23rd, 2019, 12:28 am

BBC article fails to explain principle behind heat pumps:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47320673

According to the Committee on Climate Change heat pumps produce efficient electric heating by operating "like a fridge in reverse".

Where a fridge's temperature is kept low by the evaporation and cooling of a liquid, heat pumps can be used to take thermal energy from the air outside, where it is compressed. Heat is then transferred into the home using a series of coils.

The Renewable Energy Hub says heat pumps are efficient because they don't depend on the burning of fuel to create the heat.

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Re: More Unscience

#204929

Postby XFool » March 1st, 2019, 10:35 pm

Vaccination deniers gaining traction, NHS boss warns

BBC News

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Re: More Unscience

#204942

Postby EssDeeAitch » March 2nd, 2019, 6:00 am

XFool wrote:Vaccination deniers gaining traction, NHS boss warns

BBC News


Matt Ridley refers to this in his excellent article on the proliferation of psuedoscience in this weeks Spectator

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/03/lyi ... debunking/

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Re: More Unscience

#204993

Postby XFool » March 2nd, 2019, 10:56 am

EssDeeAitch wrote:Matt Ridley refers to this in his excellent article on the proliferation of psuedoscience in this weeks Spectator

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/03/lyi ... debunking/

The trouble with Matt Ridley for me is that, while riding his political hobby horse, he doesn't make a clear enough distinction between bad science, bad journalism and genuine pseudo science. He likes to lump everything together in one big pot.

‘The whole aim of practical politics,’ wrote H.L. Mencken, ‘is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.’ Newspapers, politicians and pressure groups have been moving smoothly for decades from one forecast apocalypse to another (nuclear power, acid rain, the ozone layer, mad cow disease, nanotechnology, genetically modified crops, the millennium bug…) without waiting to be proved right or wrong.

Did he forget HIV/AIDS? And what about climate change? ;)

None of those mentioned are pseudo science and, AFAICS, are or were real issues. How the media deals with such issues is another matter.

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Re: More Unscience

#205017

Postby EssDeeAitch » March 2nd, 2019, 12:13 pm

XFool wrote:The trouble with Matt Ridley for me is that, while riding his political hobby horse, he doesn't make a clear enough distinction between bad science, bad journalism and genuine pseudo science. He likes to lump everything together in one big pot.


Well I have to say that I don't quite see it that way and maybe because I am not scientifically educated enough or his political leaning is similar to mine or perhaps a bit of both. I do enjoy his books and articles but I shall look our for bias when next reading what he puts out.

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Re: More Unscience

#205052

Postby XFool » March 2nd, 2019, 1:40 pm

EssDeeAitch wrote:Well I have to say that I don't quite see it that way and maybe because I am not scientifically educated enough or his political leaning is similar to mine or perhaps a bit of both. I do enjoy his books and articles but I shall look our for bias when next reading what he puts out.

I'm not sure it's a matter of "bias" exactly. More a matter of overall (political?) outlook.

I can easily see where Ridley is coming from and could, up to a point agree with him, vis a vis media reporting of science. I don't need to be convinced that such reporting by some of the mass media is often crude and misleading. Goodness knows, for some mass media outlets, sensationalism is their business model! ;)

But some of what Ridley says seems to makes little sense to me. "without waiting to be proved right or wrong"? Well, you can always wait to see what will happen. But imagine the outcome if that was the default taken by the authorities.

A virus epidemic breaks out somewhere - let's wait and see if it is serious, it might not be. Spreads to a global pandemic, kills 25% of the world's population. The PM appears before parliament to make a statement on the deaths of 17 million of the UK population: "Well, that's the way the cookie crumbles." I'm sure that would go down very well...

Think of all those people suffering from haemophilia who relied on Factor F extracted from human blood in the US given for payment from people who were drug addicts and had HIV. Bet they wish now that more fuss had been kicked up earlier on. When it comes to the future you can only make predictions and act accordingly. Wait until you know what will definitely happen and, by the time it has happened - it's happened.

Ridley's rag bag of 'examples' are all very different things. The millennium bug? Mad cow disease? I don't think so! How can you even compare these two things (beyond human involvement)? Global warming deniers not infrequently draw comparisons with the millennium bug. Again, it would be difficult to imagine two things more dissimilar.

Again, it's not just the reporting in the media it's also the personal reaction to the reporting, IMO. GW deniers often seem to me to be reacting sceptically or even cynically to what they have seen reported in the mass media, rather than the scientific sources themselves. They seem to be possessed of an antipathy to that very media (possibly understandably in some cases?). Also, as they claim to be 'libertarians' this can extend to an even more general anti-authority, anti-establishment outlook. IMO this means seeing through a political prism things that really are not political. At least, not in their reality. Though how they should be tackled likely is a political matter.

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Re: More Unscience

#220159

Postby XFool » May 8th, 2019, 11:35 am

I like this:

The Crackpot Index

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html

Though I personally feel:
30 points for claiming that your theories were developed by an extraterrestrial civilization (without good evidence).

deserves at least 40 points, if not 50... :)


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