A bit about better understanding of science - Irish Times
Science is an oft-misunderstood beast; there are many who consider it like a forceful authority, something akin to a religion where scientists decree something to be and that's the orthodoxy all must accept. But nothing could be further from the truth; science is a method for discerning the world around us - it is constantly changing in the light of new evidence. This is why the all too frequently bandied about comparison of scientists to priests is not just wrong, but showcases a blithering misunderstanding of the entire process. The only "god" in science is evidence. In this piece, I attempted to explain this, and more importantly why understanding what does and does not constitute science is vital.
"If we cannot do this, we will continue to believe absurdities, with detrimental and even disastrous consequences. As we face the reality of global warming and denialists try to cast doubt on the facts, one must hope that we have learned something from history."
This is not simple poetic license, or hyperbole - climate change is very real, and the consequences of denying it are too unpleasant to behold - but it is hard to address a problem when so many brush away the science behind it as nothing more than a subjective opinion. This is a topic that matters, and despite the abuse science writers tend to get for this (myself included) and I will return to it.
On the plus side, at least I'm not getting chewed out by religious conservatives over this one!
|Giant's causeway - Not actually built by giants..|
6 persistent Cancer Myths - The Guardian
Precisely what it says on the tin - Cancer is a subject rife with misconceptions and conspiracy theories, and in this bit I attempt to address just a handful of them; as it's such an emotive subject there was a chance it would come off as cold and uncaring but I am assured it reads well - it is also the first piece I've written that has been syndicated so that's a first on the plus side - on the downside, it did attract the ire of some slightly unhinged individuals who think it's ok to write demanding opus-length accusatory letters to your place of work when you've already blocked them on multiple social networking sites but the positive feedback and kind words I received have more than made up for the one or two angry people. Sadly, the ubiquity of cancer means that 6 myths barely scratches the surface, but it's a start.
Fluoride conspiracy theories - Irish Times
Many of my Irish readers have asked me to cover this topic for the last year or so - initially I resisted, as I was afraid they were so fringe and deeply conspiratorial that giving them air time would only encourage them. Sadly, Irish music magazine Hotpress has been giving profoundly unscientific scare stories free reign and there are a significant amount of people who have been scare mongered by bogus health fears over something that has done precious little harm and lots of good. Another reason for my initial reluctance to cover it was because it has long been the reserve of conspiracy theorists.
|That's actually a stipulation in my contract!|
|WAKE UP SHEEPLE! FLUORIDE DID 9/11!!|
|Toxic waster pushers extraordinaire...|
|If the Rockefellers WERE bank rolling me, I'd want a pay rise and hazard pay for this nonsense. Plus possibly a jetpack|
So folks, that's the round-up for now; I will try to do a stand-alone blog in the near future if I get a second to myself but for now, enjoy! Thanks for reading - Comments are always welcome, and as usual you'll find me on Twitter @drg1985
*"Abusing a medium" always conjures up an image of repeatedly tasering Derek Acorah...