Science

The Power Line Show, Ep. 138: The Crisis in Darwinism?

Featured image Readers of Thomas Kuhn’s famous book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions will know his central thesis that when anomalies and contradictions arise in a reigning scientific theory it creates a crisis out of which new theories emerge to replace the old. We may be seeing the beginnings of such a crisis for modern Darwinism, which appears to have gaps and contradictions that can’t be explained or explained away. The rumbles about »

Steve and John Make the Climate Blacklist!

Featured image Nature Communications, a former science publication, disgraced itself this week with an article that goes to absurd lengths to indict the media for giving equal time to “climate change contrarians” (though the “denier” epithet turns up for duty soon enough) over “expert climate change scientists,” among whom they include, for example, the deranged Michael Mann. You can take in the whole article here: “Juxtaposition of Climate Change Contrarians and Scientists »

The Specter of Deep Fakes?

Featured image I have heard about the arrival of “deep fake” videos, but hadn’t paid much attention to it. But then I saw the video below, which is pretty amazing. Worth watching closely, a couple times. The transitions and likenesses are stunning. I have wondered for a while when we might get to the point where digital Hollywood tech might replace live actors in films—or even be used to being back long »

It’s Official: Guitar Players Really Do Get More Chicks

Featured image From the continuing annals of social science: this time the journal Psychology of Music proves the obvious once again (which is what social science is best at when it “proves” anything). Men’s music ability and attractiveness to women in a real-life courtship context Nicolas Guéguen, Université de Bretagne-Sud, France; Sébastien Meineri, Université de Bretagne-Sud, France; Jacques Fischer-Lokou, Université de Paris-Sud, France Abstract This experiment tested the assumption that music plays a »

The Moon @ 50

Featured image Lots of deserved recollections on the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing over the last few weeks and months. There’s not much need to repeat the main themes of the scientific marvel or adventurous spirit of that glorious enterprise. Some political aspects of Apollo, however, have not received sufficient attention. Specifically, the liberal attitude toward the moon landing is emblematic of how American liberalism had lost confidence in itself »

Found: The Stupidest Political Science Study Ever

Featured image You know how the left is obsessed with proving that Trump’s election is entirely owing to Russian Kallusion. Now we have empirical social science to prove it! At last! From the “peer-reviewed” internet journal First Monday (I’ve never heard of it either) comes this new study from several academics at the University of Tennessee: “Internet Research Agency Twitter Activity Predicted 2016 Election Polls.” The Internet Research Agency (IRA) is the »

CRB: Giving up Darwin

Featured image We conclude our week-long preview of the new (Spring) issue of the Claremont Review of Books (subscribe here) this morning. I stretched our preview to from three days to five in part because of my indecision, in part because of my desire to give readers a glimpse of the many highlights on display in this issue. I think we have a good thing going. We conclude with a highlight of »

Dinosaurs and Liberal Fossils

Featured image Lots of interest right now in a New Yorker article, “The Day the Dinosaurs Died,” about a paleontological find in North Dakota that purports to encapsulate the moments and hours after the dinosaur-killing meteor struck 66 million years ago. It’s a fun read, though some scientists have been expressing skepticism—perhaps borne of jealousy? The research hasn’t been published yet in a peer-reviewed journal! What—do we need to replicate an asteroid »

You Think What You Eat?

Featured image Back in December I brought you the latest social science findings about the ideological meaning of . . . coffee choices. Sure enough, liberals do drink more lattes than conservatives, in part, the authors of the study speculated, because a preference for latte could somehow be connected to a more cosmopolitan, internationalist outlook, whereas the xenophobia of conservatives inclined them against liking Eurotrash beverages. Whatever. But the joke was on »

Liberal Social Darwinism In Action

Featured image I think it was our pal Charles Kesler who once remarked that “Social Darwinism” was the only kind of Darwinism that liberals oppose, though to be sure it is actually the progressive left that the label “Social Darwinism” fits most accurately. In any case, the liberals of Seattle seem determined to give Darwinian survival of the fittest a good workout. From NPR this week: Washington State Officials Declare State Of »

Why Scientists Are Distrusted

Featured image The latest issue of Nature magazine has a fascinating article that goes some of the way in vindicating Ronald Reagan’s infamous “gaffe” about how trees cause air pollution (because they do), but offers much much more about the problems of politicized and supposedly “settled” climate science. The article is called “How Much Can Forests Fight Climate Change?“, and it walks through just how unsettled this question is. The subhed to »

Nathan Glazer, RIP

Featured image Sad news today of the passing of the sociologist Nathan Glazer at the age of 95. Glazer was among those liberal social scientists who, starting in the late 1960s, began having serious second thoughts about the liberal policy paradigm. As the New York Times puts it in its obituary notice: Mr. Glazer’s turn to neoconservatism followed an almost paradigmatic path. Throughout the 1950s, and even after he went to work »

The Great Issue of Our Time…

Featured image …is whether, as a people, we are too dumb to sustain a democracy. This question arises often; for me, most recently, upon seeing this Daily Mail headline: “Twitter user stuns the internet with math that proves one 18-inch pizza has more in it than TWO 12-inch helpings.” The theory was posted by U.S.-based Twitter user @fermatslibrary. Theory. Supported by a graphic, the theory proves that one 18 inch pizza is »

Settled Science: There Really Are ‘Latte Liberals’

Featured image I’m sure most readers took note of the hoax identity politics academic journal articles recently, but I have found a real article that you could easily suppose to be a hoax. The article is “The Real Reason Liberals Drink Lattes,” and it appears in PS, which is a secondary journal of the American Political Science Association (APSA). (That’s PS, not BS, you wiseacres out there!) This relevant bit of social »

When Did NASA Go to Pot?

Featured image If you study the history of NASA’s Apollo program in the 1960s, one thing you come to realize is that the tight timetable to reach the moon by the end of the decade meant that NASA didn’t have time to ossify into a bureaucracy, and they did things (i.e., took risks) in those days that would never be permitted today. But you knew NASA had slipped into the maw of »

“Ban the Box” Gets Boxed in Again

Featured image We reported here last year about research showing that a favorite Obama policy initiative known as “Ban the Box” (that is, prohibit employers from inquiring about a person’s criminal history on employment applications) was having the opposite effect, and was increasing discrimination against blacks. Two women economists writing in the Quarterly Journal of Economics concluded: Our results support the concern that BTB policies encourage racial discrimination: the black-white gap in »

Science: The Cultural Politics of Gluten

Featured image And now for something completely different. . . Sometimes science can be positively hilarious, except when it sets up another screen for detecting bigotry and sexism. That’s the case for a brand new study just out from the National Institutes of Health entitled “Too picky for my taste? The effect of the gluten-free dietary restriction on impressions of romantic partners.” Summary: turns out that being gluten-free is just fine if »