This isn't the science you're looking for June 15, 2015 12:32

In addition to our goal of purveying the occasional thought-provoking or humorous accoutrement, we like to see ourselves as fighting the good fight for science. We have a lot of fun poking holes in conspiracy theories (see here), and take a pretty dim view of snake oil products, food woo-woo or other such nonsense.

Today's victims are our friends in the (alleged) science press. This article should give you an appreciation of just how broken science journalism is, with a side dish of corruption in the scientific paper publishing space. Moral to the story? The grey stuff between your ears and a healthy dose of skepticism can be very good tools to keep handy. 

In honor of good science, we draw your attention to one William of Occam (c. 1287–1347). He gave us a problem-solving principle, dubbed 'Occam's Razor', that states that among competing hypotheses that predict equally well, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove to provide better predictions, but—in the absence of differences in predictive ability—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better.



For example, there could be a huge, bad-smelling ape-like species roaming the woods of practically every continent, that have for all of recorded history evaded every human interaction, and that carefully bury their dead so that no corpse or other remains have ever been found, but carelessly leave gigantic footprints in the mud. Or there could be some yahoos who have fun strapping big fake feet to their boots and tromping around in the woods, and then laughing their asses off at their ability to fool gullible scientists. William of Occam would probably lean toward the latter.

In his honor, your can now purchase our exclusive Occam's Razors mug, suitable for subtly notifying associates that you rank pretty low on the gullibility scale.