A false union in science journalism

Credit: Conol Samuel/Unsplash

At what point does a journalist become a stenographer? Most people would say it’s when the journalist stops questioning claims and reprints them uncritically, as if they were simply a machine. So at what point does a science journalist become a stenographer? You’ll probably say at the same point – when they become uncritical of…… Continue reading A false union in science journalism

Cat stripes and folk tales

The New York Times published an article on September 7, 2021, entitled ‘How the Cat Gets Its Stripes: It’s Genetic, Not a Folk Tale’. The article, written by James Gorman, explains how a team of scientists found that a simple genetic mechanism, involving a protein that affects embryonic tissue and a gene that inhibits the…… Continue reading Cat stripes and folk tales

SSC: Addendum

It’s wonderful how the mind has a way of cultivating clarity in the background, away from the gaze of the mind’s eye and as the mind itself is preoccupied with other thoughts, on matters considered only a few days ago to be too complicated to synthesise into a unified whole. Recap: On February 14, the New…… Continue reading SSC: Addendum

Slate Star Codex: No time for malice

This post benefited from valuable input and feedback from Thomas Manuel. To the uninitiated: Scott Alexander Siskind is a noted member of the international community of rationalists and wrote the once-celebrated blog Slate Star Codex. I use the past tense because Siskind used to write this blog from the relative obscurity afforded by using only his…… Continue reading Slate Star Codex: No time for malice

The costs of correction

I was slightly disappointed to read a report in the New York Times this morning. Entitled ‘Two Huge COVID-19 Studies Are Retracted After Scientists Sound Alarms’, it discussed the implications of two large studies of COVID-19 recently being retracted by two leading medical journals they were published in, the New England Journal of Medicine and…… Continue reading The costs of correction