Question of the Week – 04/10/2018

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What’s one of the most egregious examples of the false equivalency of science and misinformation in the media that you’ve seen? It might be about climate change or evolution or something else entirely. Have you seen meaningful examples of pushback against this phenomenon?

Our favorite answer will win a copy of Brief Candle in the Dark by Richard Dawkins.


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2 COMMENTS

  1. @OP – What’s one of the most egregious examples of the false equivalency of science and misinformation in the media that you’ve seen?

    I think a Trump false-news example is about to appear here!

    Republican countermeasures include a website, lyincomey.com, online advertising, television surrogates and a quick-reaction team.

    and here:-

    US President Donald Trump’s allies are mounting an online campaign to discredit a forthcoming memoir by former FBI director James Comey.

    According to excerpts of the book obtained by the Washington Post, Mr Comey writes that interactions with Mr Trump gave him “flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the Mob. The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organisation above morality and above the truth”.

    The result was “the forest fire that is the Trump presidency”, he says.

    An interview with ABC News will be aired on Sunday, kicking off the book tour.

  2. I think one of the worst examples of false equivalences is the extreme feminist or politically correct ideological dogma, that all humans and both sexes have equal aptitudes, or potential aptitudes and abilities , in all subject areas!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43826143

    Closing gender gap in physics ‘will take generations’
    By Helen Briggs

    Closing the gender gap in physics will take hundreds of years, given the current rate of progress.

    That’s the finding of research analysing the names of authors listed on millions of scientific papers.

    Physics, computer science, maths and chemistry had the fewest women, while nursing and midwifery had the most.

    Without further interventions, the gender gap is likely to persist for generations, said scientists from the University of Melbourne.

    That would be SOCIAL SCIENTISTS not BIOLOGISTS OR MEDICAL RESEACHERS. . . and with quota-based interventions by the biologically illiterate politically-correct ideologists, assorted less able, and less psychologically suited people, could be manipulated into jobs ahead of those with more aptitude, and higher levels of skill! – to the detriment of the people AND the job!

    “Of the gender-biased disciplines, almost all are moving towards parity, though some are predicted to take decades or even centuries to reach it,” said Dr Cindy Hauser.

    As she was clearly indulging in wish-thinking from preconceptions!

    So with marginal effects from political manipulation and some minor cultural changes, being used for projections, events which are never going to happen (50:50 parity in all subjects), are predicted to “take centuries”!

    Number crunching

    The researchers used computer methods to analyse the genders of authors listed in databases (PubMed and ArXiv) containing thousands of scientific papers published over the past 15 years.

    They found that 87 of the 115 subjects examined had fewer than 45% women authors.

    Women are increasingly working in male-biased fields such as physics (17% women), while men are increasingly working in female-biased fields such as nursing (75% women).

    However, forecasts suggest it will take a very long time to close the gender gap in some fields, with predictions of 320 years for nursing, 280 years for computer science, 258 years for physics and 60 years for mathematics.

    Perhaps this could have been looked at on a more scientific basis, if the study had started with developmental sex differences in embryology and early childhood, rather than the preconception of interchangeable uni-persons who all have equal aptitudes!

    Equal opportunities to apply or develop actual aptitudes in individuals, is NOT equivalent to 50:50 sex quotas in all careers in all subjects!

    Differences in hormone levels, personalities, and mental development, mean that there are distinctly different sex-related aptitudes in the brains and the physical bodily capabilities of humans! – Particularly in areas such language skills, and the ability to handle spacial concepts.

    +++++++++++++++++++

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187892931300008X

    Sex differences and structural brain maturation from childhood to early adulthood

    Recent advances in structural brain imaging have demonstrated that brain development continues through childhood and adolescence. In the present cross-sectional study, structural MRI data from 442 typically developing individuals (range 8–30) were analyzed to examine and replicate the relationship between age, sex, brain volumes, cortical thickness and surface area. Our findings show differential patterns for subcortical and cortical areas. Analysis of subcortical volumes showed that putamen volume decreased with age and thalamus volume increased with age.
    Independent of age, males demonstrated larger amygdala and thalamus volumes compared to females. Cerebral white matter increased linearly with age, at a faster pace for females than males.
    Gray matter showed nonlinear decreases with age. Sex-by-age interactions were primarily found in lobar surface area measurements, with males demonstrating a larger cortical surface up to age 15, while cortical surface in females remained relatively stable with increasing age.
    The current findings replicate some, but not all prior reports on structural brain development, which calls for more studies with large samples, replications, and specific tests for brain structural changes.
    In addition, the results point toward an important role for sex differences in brain development, specifically during the heterogeneous developmental phase of puberty.

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