Never Mind About that Paper…

A few scientific papers are retracted after they’re published, such as this analysis of nuclear energy that appears to have been nixed for poor methodology and bad numbers on Stoat. William M. Connolley adds that because of the politics surrounding nuclear power in Europe, “this crude level of analysis would be unlikely to be useful.” But on Respectful Insolence, Orac looks at an anti-vaccine abstract that was so awful the publisher decided to take it down before the paper could be published. Orac writes, “basically, this paper is crap, so much so that even a predatory open access publisher pulled it, at least temporarily.” And on Pharyngula, PZ Myers has fun deconstructing the “balloon animal biology” of Stuart Pivar et. al. which despite being well-illustrated “is all entirely fanciful, not based on observations of real animals at all.” PZ, who knows how a fetus actually develops, says: “I just…I just…I don’t know what to say. This is madness.” As published by Elsevier.


Denialists are Doomed

It’s been a frigid winter in much of the United States, but Greg Laden notes that the country covers only 1.5% of the Earth’s surface, and overall the planet just experienced the fourth-warmest January on record.  Meanwhile global warming denialists are resorting to every rhetorical trick in the book, such as comparing their increasingly outnumbered position to that of Galileo.  While it’s tempting to recount the history of science as that of a few brilliant mavericks overthrowing established consensus, Greg writes “Science hardly ever gets Galileoed, and even Galileo did not Galileo science; he Galileoed religion.”  Meanwhile, on Stoat, William M. Connolley offers some explanations for denialist behavior.  For many, denialism is a political position amenable to any scientific veneer.  But the consequences of denying global warming are more than political: they could make life harder for generations to come.  And denialists, far from being vindicated, can only look forward to being reviled, ridiculed, and forgotten.