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2 August, 2008

Too famous

Today's 'Bad Science' is particularly worth reading.

No, don't give up after a paragraph or so, thinking you see where it's going. Yes, Ben G. predictably demolishes a predictably bogus 'silly season' story from the mass media which purports to present a scientific equation for 'fame'. Keep reading to the end, though.

That's the most important point about these pseudo-science articles. Anyone who devotes a moment's thought to such topics as 'statistical determination of the happiest day of the year' understands they're just a bit of fun; no-one's seriously mislead, right?
Maybe, but such rubbish over-cultivates people's healthy scepticism, and a potential belief that genuine science is like that too: self-important boffins in white coats inventing spurious equations from arbitrary assumptions; mere conjecture imperfectly dressed-up in jargon. If that promotes the idea that evolution or global warming is a matter of opinion, and that anyone's opinion is a valuable as anyone else's, then yes, pseudo-science is actively harmful, and must be challenged.

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