"Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth."

Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth (via whats-out-there)

(via mommapolitico)


Science has been severely misrepresented by authors. If you want to write about scientific worldviews accurately, here are some tips.

  • If a scientist saw something supernatural and could be assured it existed, they wouldn’t scream “that’s impossible!” or try to destroy it…

"Since the publication of Time’s cover story "The Transgender Tipping Point," there has been a spate of conservative op-eds in retort. The attacks follow a predictable set of talking points that rely on the reader having no scientific knowle…"

"I’ve never been female. But I have been black my whole life. And so, let me perhaps offer some insight from that perspective, because there are many similar social issues related to access, to equal opportunity that we find in the black community and the community of women in a male dominated — white male dominated — society. And I’ll be brief because I wanna get to more questions. When I look at, throughout my life, I’ve known that I wanted to do astrophysics since I was 9 years old, my first visit to the Hayden Planetarium. I was a little younger than Victor at the time, although he did it before I did. So I got to see how the world around me reacted to my expression of these ambitions. And all I can say is, the fact that I wanted to be a scientist, an astrophysicist, was hands down the path of most resistance through the forces of society. Anytime I expressed this interest teachers would say “Don’t you want to be an athlete?” I wanted to become something that was outside the paradigms of expectation of the people in power. And so fortunately my depth of interest in the universe was so deep and so fuel-enriched that every one of these curveballs thrown at me and fences built in front of me and hills that I had to climb, I just reached for more fuel and I kept going. Now here I am, one, I think, one of the most visible scientists in the land, and I want to look behind me say, well, where are the others who might have been this and they’re not there? And I wonder. what is the blood on the tracks that I happened to survive that others did not? Simply because of the forces of society that prevent it at every turn. At every turn. To the point that I have security guards following me as I go through department stores presuming that I am a thief…I walked out of a store one time and the alarm went off, so they came running to me. I walked through the gate at the same time a white male walked through the gate. And that guy just walked off with the stolen goods, knowing that they would stop me, and not him. That’s an interesting sort of exploitation, what a scam that was…I think people should do that more often! [laughs] So my life experience tells me that when you don’t find blacks in the sciences, when you don’t find women in the sciences, I know that these forces are real, and I had to survive them to get where I am today. So before we start talking about genetic differences, you’ve got to come up with a system where there’s equal opportunity. Then we can have that conversation."

Neil deGrasse Tyson (via yayfeminism)

You can watch him deliver this lovely response here.

The question he was answering btw was, “What’s up with chicks in science?” Disgusting.

(via morecoffee)

I read this before I realized who it was, and I am amazed that anyone would treat Neil DeGrasse Tyson this way. I realize that being famous doesn’t protect anyone from racism, but it just seems more bizarre when it’s someone who is noted for being awesome. (Like how LeVar Burton has to have a method of not getting killed or arrested by white cops.)

(via greenwickpress)

Tags: Science Nerd



Overly Honest Methods in science.

ooh this version has some ones i haven’t seen before, priceless

(via lettersfromtitan)

I’ve been seeing a lot of this in the news lately, so I just wanted to remind people that:

1. Correlation does not prove causation.  Sure, there is a chance A causes B,but B could also be causing A, or C could be causing both A and B, or C could be causing A while Dis is causing B, or C and D could be causing A and B, etc..  Seriously, there are a whole lot of things that could be happening, but people who are ignorant or have an agenda often report a correlation as if it proves anything other than two particular things turn up together more than one would expect to happen at random. 

2. In social sciences, it’s usually impossible to remove all the variables so studies are by nature flawed.  You can’t do pure science because ethics and because people are complicated things.  How flawed depends a whole lot on experimental design.  It is a good idea to bring skepticism to findings that can’t possibly eliminate large numbers of variables.  You can’t ethically toss live humans into a skinner box.  You can’t absolutely be sure what is happening when they are at home or out in the world.  If a whole lot of studies with solid experimental design from a whole lot of people with different backgrounds over a long period of time point to a particular result, it is more likely to be true than a single study funded by an institution with a particular axe to grind is. 

3. Humans are flawed and they all make biases and assumptions. Sometimes it takes decades or even generations for people to spot assumptions and biases.  Everybody (including me) has a hard time spotting unexamined biases and assumptions without outside help.  Again, those biases can completely screw up studies bot only in fields like education and sociology, but has and likely always will, ruin studies in fields like biology in experiments involving observation.  (What colour is that fish?  How big is the interior of that skull?)  Buyer beware, folks.  Read the experimental design.  (Did they match populations for things like income?  Is the sample really random?  What is the sample size?  How exactly are they measuring whatever they are measuring?)  Find out who paid for the study.  Find out if the scientist(s) have a strong ideological axe to grind. (I’m looking at you white supremacist bell jar guy).

"If creationists want equal time in science spaces, they need to provide equal time in religious spaces."


"Why I Left, How I Left, and What It Would Have Taken to Keep Me in STEM."

I had a friend who switched from Engineering to Biochemistry as a Grad student because the relentless misogyny exhausted her.  This sounds awefully familiar.  The scary thing?  This represents improvement.