Regression to the mean, publication bias and confirmation bias

You’ve had a cold, and someone suggested drinking an extract from a new wonder plant. The cold got better. You’ve Googled it and lots of people have noticed the same thing, so you’re telling all your friends about it. Well, you’ve probably just experienced regression to the mean and publication bias. There … Continue reading

Wind farm sickness versus global warming – Abbott

Our Prime Minister Mr Abbott yesterday described wind farms as “visually awful”. He went on to say, “Up close, they’re ugly, they’re noisy and they may have all sorts of other impacts.” Referring to a current parliamentary inquiry, he added, “It’s right and proper that we’re having an inquiry into … Continue reading

Thomas Aquinas: Philosopher and a Holy Saint

For about a year I’ve been reading an online experiment in journalism called The Philosophers’ Mail. I always found it a sanctuary from traditional news outlets; it looked at the news of the day from a different, thoughtful perspective. Sadly the experiment has ended, but it’s been replaced by an online evolving book: … Continue reading

Show me the Science

When was the last time you read a book about science? Or listened to a science program or science podcast? Or watched a TV program about science? Science is perhaps the most important influence in shaping our world and our lives. It’s not just physics and chemistry either; it covers … Continue reading

Evidence for vitamin C supplements

Many people take vitamin C supplements in the belief they will: prevent or reduce the frequency of the common cold, or lessen the duration and severity of the common cold. But is there any evidence that vitamin C supplements work? In Jan 2013 the Cochrane Collaboration* published online the results … Continue reading

Science versus Religion

Discussions of science versus religion often devolve into this sort of standoff: Person 1: “I do not accept the Bible as an authoritative source”. Person 2: “But the Bible says you’re wrong”. From this point in a conversation, how can you have any meaningful discussion about science and religion? Well, I’ve just … Continue reading