Check out the four video clips here. Plus ça change and all that. Clinton is especially interesting, though no one later accused him of lying.
How to Spot Bad Science
Unclear on the Concept of "Nothing"
|The slit experiment: not just for|
electrons any more!
In any case, whatever the merits of standing waves over quantum weirdness, it is clear that they are still unclear on what is meant by "nothing."
What Naturalism sounds like to natural theologiansCourtesy of James Chastek:
Assume you’re an intellectual living in Alexandria around 350 AD. Euclideanism is a runaway favorite for the most effective scientific system of all time. It’s successfully determined the size of the earth, it’s been used to make a system of astronomy so precise that no one has improved on its accuracy for centuries, it’s built devices that can measure the distance of ships or allow for perspective in architecture, it’s showed the governing ratios for art, painting, sculpture, and the proportions of natural bodies. Plato has insisted that everyone learn it before they attend his ancient academy, some neo-Platonists mimic Euclid’s framework, and Aristotle’s whole theory of science takes it as a point of departure. The science has lead to many conclusions that seem shocking to common sense (like asymptotes, irrational numbers, angles less than any given angle…), while at the same time being based on principles that seem irrefutable and self evident.Another Blow Struck for the Stagirite
You, however, work in a comparatively small backwater of inquiry: the nature of mathematicals.
It looks like electrons are not atoms, after all. The atoms, recall, were featureless, indivisible point-particles. But now it seems some folks have successfully divided the electron. "The electron's wave function," our friend Figulus tells us, "is governed by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, just like everything else in quantum mechanics, and so its wave function extends over space, which means it is not a point particle in the relevant sense."
alloys unknown to nature. By turning up the pressure we can cause atoms to combine in ways the conventional laws say are impossible.
In spite of salt being one of the most thoroughly studied chemical compounds out there, the researchers predicted the formation of compounds forbidden by classical chemistry, such as Na3Cl and NaCl3. Their predictions were proven by subsequent experiments.Who knows what lurks on the high pressure surface of Venus?
The Oddities of Life
Participants in an innovative Washington State University study of deadly force were more likely to feel threatened in scenarios involving black people. But when it came time to shoot, participants were biased in favor of black suspects, taking longer to pull the trigger against them than against armed white or Hispanic suspects...Of course, "taking longer" meant "240 milliseconds." But it was "more than chance" and had wee p-values to prove it. Anything with "social science" and "statistics" involved should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, it was contrary to expectations and that is generally less suspicious than confirming pre-conceived notions. But....
The BadScience List
Simcha Fisher lists several pitfalls that a person should avoid when trying to evaluate the reliability of a report in a field in which one is not well-versed.
- Mistrusting a knowledgeable person because he expresses his ideas in an unpleasant way.
- Mistrusting a knowledgeable person simply because he said something that makes you mad or upset or scared.
- Trusting a knowledgeable person simply because he said something that makes you feel happy or peaceful or contented.
- Trusting a knowledgeable person simply because he has a degree or went to a certain school.
- Mistrusting a knowledgeable person because you disagree with him about unrelated things. (E.g., just because Dawkins doesn't know jack about theology doesn't make him untrustworthy in biology.)
- Trusting a knowledgeable person simply because he agrees with you about other things. (E.g., just because Dawkins knows biology doesn't make him trustworthy in theological matters.)
- Trusting a knowledgeable person because it would be uncharitable to question his findings, or because his personal life is difficult at the moment.
- Trusting a knowledgeable person because he has published a study in a scientific journal.
- Trusting a knowledgeable person who says things that you don’t understand at all.
"For the usual thing among men is that when they want something they will, without any reflection, leave that to hope, while they will employ the full force of reason in rejecting what they find unpalatable."
-- Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War, Book IV, 108