Forbes Discovers Science

Forbes Discovers Science

Forbes, the business magazine, posted a pretty good article on discerning science from pseudo-science. The article “10 Questions To Distinguish Real From Fake Science” by Emily Willingham focuses on health and medical claims. It is a good primer, though, on general skeptical thinking.

Among its many gems:

What kind of language does it use?

Does it involve testimonials?

Given that one of the major American political parties and its gigantic propaganda arm is having to pick itself up after running up against the reality of mathematics and breaking their noses on actual numbers, this article seems particularly timely.

I would like to propose an idea, dovetailing off of the idea of ‘evidence-based medicine’ an ‘evidence-based politics’. When some pol gets up and says that, for instance, when a woman gets raped that ‘the female body has ways of shutting that thole thing down‘ there should be a political cost to pay for this. Now, to be fair, none of the group of crazy anti-abortion fanatics that I affectionately call the ‘Rape-Thing Posse’ won on Tuesday night so that’s a good thing. Yet, we still have climate change denial and evolution denial as perfectly respectable positions to take in American politics.

On that note, mad, mad, crazy mad, props must go out to Nate Silver of the 538 blog for calling all 50 states correctly and for standing tall when conservative bloggers slammed him for, well, using mathematics.

The last decade of American politics hasn’t been particularly good for those of us who are proud members of the reality-based community. Let’s hope that on Tuesday that began to change.

(image from bigcityal)

Adrienne Davis is a 40-something grandmother of two beautiful children. Mother of a wonderful son and his girlfriend. Wife of an amazing woman A former soldier and freelance reporter, she now works in the software industry while trying to decide what she wants her third act to be. She lives in Portland, OR, where she and the missus live with a bearded collie, three cats and a bearded dragon named after one of the witches from Discworld. "All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others. " Douglas Adams

3 Comments

  1. Maybe it’s just me, but I see the phrase “evidence based” and I cringe and tend to dismiss whatever it’s attached to. Maybe that’s unfair to the topics mentioned in this article, but I’ve often seen it attached to public education, yet I’ve seen little or no, uh, evidence that such education really is “evidence based.”

    • I certainly understand why you feel that way and I do wish there were a better phrasing. Unfortunately, evidence based seems to be the least bad phrasing.

  2. For the record, many people believe that rape victims can’t get pregnant. When Akin said doctors told him that, he was telling the truth. If you want to find them, try finding an abortion clinic that isn’t Planned Parenthood and ask them for an abortion. You’ll find yourself getting all sorts of medical advice that seems to have come from a doctor in an alternate universe where basic facts of biology are different. A person pretending to be a doctor will tell you not to use birth control or condoms and for some medical reason you can’t get an abortion. They might even come right out and start talking about Jesus.

    If you think these guys are losing, just look at crisis pregnancy centers. Tax money goes to those things.

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