Skepticism

Skepchick Quickies, 5.25

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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6 Comments

  1. I understand the desperation of parents to want to cure their children’s disabilities, I really do.

    But castrating your child? “Fixing” him by physically and emotionally disfiguring him is beyond desperation… it’s abuse. At some point you need to accept that this is the child you have… and love that kid, every part of him, with all your might. You know, instead of destroying his adult health for a shot at fixing his behavior now.

    I can’t even begin to explain how angry this Lupron thing makes me.

  2. “Game theory, the branch of mathematics best known for exploring economics, has for the first time successfully predicted animal behavior in nature.”

    Read that, and you’d never guess that the Evolutionary Stable Strategy, a biological analogue of the Nash Equilibrium, is a well-established concept in evolutionary theory. You’d never guess that the paper itself is full of footnotes to earlier work. And you’d certainly never guess that whole comic strips had been written about game theory as applied to bird behaviour.

    It’s just on the sketchy side of overselling.

  3. @Blake Stacey: Sure, but has it predicted unknown behaviour before? As I read the bower bird example, it’s to do with explaining how already known behaviour makes mathematical sense. With the ravens they did that, then suggested another behaviour that should also pay off, and _then_ discovered that behaviour in the wild.

    Are there previous examples of that?

  4. @Bjornar:

    Offhand, I don’t know — perhaps not with macroscopic organisms, though if my secondhand knowledge of bacterial ecology isn’t completely mistaken, that may have happened with microbes. I don’t want to imply that there’s nothing new here; it’s just that I’ve learned never to trust a press release to make clear what is new and what isn’t.

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