Political Correctness: How Much Is Too Much?

Before you judge this post for being some radical rightist propaganda, let me point out that I am a progressive whose personal ideologies sufficiently leans toward the liberal. As a member of the liberal ideology, I understand the importance of being politically correct – expressing ourselves with respect to the notion of what is right – of which is established as something that least offends the majority in a political system – like say a democratic institution like the United States. But as of late, I have been noticing a spike in debates on political correctness, it feels like they were reinstated by the 2016 election campaigns and the very election of the 45th president.

radicals emerge from their past insecurities about something they hold dear

But for those of you following me on Facebook don’t need a briefing on my stance on the same when talking matters of scientific origin. Unlike expressing myself in a non-formal, casual setting among friends or family or acquaintances where my liberal tendencies are predominantly visible, a more academic or scientific or philosophical debate that requires the apex of my intellectual faculties and the lesser of my emotional causes the liberal in me to all but completely fade away – like say debating the ethical conundrum of self-driving cars killing a handful of careless pedestrians or a lone occupant in the car or equal pay for both sexes and matters of such nature.

Continue reading “Political Correctness: How Much Is Too Much?”

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Is Science Just Subjective?

Before I begin, please don’t hate me – I am a scientist myself. I am not outright stating science is always subjective, instead I’m just trying to think and dissect further into certain areas of science that is only vaguely understood and then how people tend to force their subjectivism on others exploiting this lack of consensus.

poorly backed opinions get life when others don’t equally understand it, or lack the evidence to easily refute it

First we must try and answer when and why does science get subjective? Science is one of those things that simply cannot become subjective, it is in its very nature not to be. Practitioners of science simply do not buy into such premises, and we are trained not to because that’s simply not science anymore, its like one of those awful things called tarot cards or palm readings. A scientific consensus is reached only after the majority of scientists can agree upon something and say well this agrees with everything we have hypothesized so there is a very good chance our premise is valid. Continue reading “Is Science Just Subjective?”

Fourth Tangent

Four nasty tangents and here we are, you and me – we aren’t normal. So, I believe I was talking good sleep. I cannot speak for everybody when it comes to a bodily function such as sleep. It is one that is heavily dependent on the person’s lifestyle. I will however, talk about how I manage to get some happy, sound and satisfying sleep. Continue reading “Fourth Tangent”

Media and Science

Today I will talk about scientific studies and the way media interprets and conveys them to the public. The media here plays the crucial role of a mediator, and I’ve noticed sometimes this mediating layer through which scientific developments reach the public doesn’t do a good job at maintaining transparency and accuracy of information.

P-hacking??
P-hacking??

Okay, now that’s just plain funny. Vegetables cause cancer? Surprisingly – yes! Anything you eat that aids cell division i.e., lets your body grow and repair itself might possibly cause cancer. Cancer cells come about as a result of bad genetic mutations during this repair or growth process. So theoretically, one might as well say vegetables cause cancer – but that’s the media’s perspective! Let’s bring the scientific method into the equation and tackle this rather bold statement, shall we?

Let’s start off with the source i.e., where the media gets their information from. Typically, findings from studies are published as papers in journals. These papers then get interpreted by the media in a multitude of ways. Why? Because the person tasked with penning the report is usually not an expert in the field while the paper he is reading from is written by experts. Here arises our problem,

The person interpreting this information should be one who is familiar with the scientific method and/or have some background in the sciences.

His misinterpretation and the added corporate pressure to attract attention (audience) paves way for sensationalism and inaccurate information being published.

What are the implications one might ask, and I’d say many! For starters, like I’d previously mentioned media as a mediating layer for information to reach out to the public hence, their every statement is read time and again, modified and shared across multiple social media platforms where a bulk of the masses end up getting their information. Any minor lapse in the process of publishing information can have disastrous implications on how that particular story/incident/finding gets distributed and interpreted among the public.

Data dredging: This is something some media outlets use to get your attention on something that’s statistically so insignificant that it’s practically unworthy of consideration and yet they make it convincing to the audience by sensationalizing a very insignificant find concluded as a result of the study.

End of the day, what really matters is where you get your news from – reputed sources like Reuters and AFP who hire specialists to gather news for them responsibly or sources like Geek.com who are hard players in the juvenile game of attention on social media.