Clarification: These are all stories—or, more precisely, posts—that I’ve written for this blog, because I’m trying to boost my end-of-year traffic stats. If you want a list of the biggest science stories of 2015, look elsewhere. My headline says “amazing” because, as I reported recently, scientific hype is surging, and I must keep pace. “Science(ish)” acknowledges that some of my obsessions, as readers often point out, are only tangentially scientific. Finally, these are my favorite posts, not necessarily readers’. In fact, many readers overlooked or loathed these posts, which is precisely why I’m reposting them here. Happy New Year!
What a Science Writer Thinks about on His Morning Commute. A science writer commuting to work ponders brain implants, schizophrenia, Penrose tiles and God.
Can Integrated Information Theory Explain Consciousness? A radical new solution to the mind–body problem poses problems of its own.
Science, History and Truth at the Faculty Club. A mathematician, historian, physicist and journalist yammer about scientific truth in this lightly fictionalized account.
Meta-Meditation: A Skeptic Meditates on Meditation. The media are touting meditation’s potential for treating everything from anxiety to AIDS, but strong, objective evidence is lacking.
Climate Change: Facts Versus Opinions. When it comes to climate change, can "facts" be distinguished from "opinions"?
Everyone, Even Jenny McCarthy, Has the Right to Challenge “Scientific Experts.” Non-scientists should never simply accept the prevailing scientific consensus, because scientists can be wrong.
Hype of “Feel-Good Gene” Makes Me Feel Bad. A prominent psychiatrist touts a dubious genetic claim in The New York Times.
Return of Electro-Cures: Symptom of Psychiatry's Crisis? TMS and other "electro-cures" for depression are becoming popular in spite of limited demonstrated effectiveness.
The Gould Effect: When a Science Journalist Dislikes a Scientist. If a journalist finds a scientist annnoying, that can complicate his assessment of the scientist's work.
Where Is Outcry Over Children Killed by U.S.-Led Forces? There can be no justification for the killing of children by U.S.-led forces in Syria, Iraq and other war zones since 9/11.