Ten tips for spotting a fake science news story

From Alex Berezow at American Council on Science and Health, including,

5) The article is sensationalized; i.e., it draws huge, sweeping conclusions from a single study. (This is particularly common in stories on scary chemicals and miracle vegetables.)

9) The article is about evolutionary psychology. More.

The “huge, sweeping conclusions” problem is especially scandalous in fields like nutrition, which is already a mess.

And, as noted elsewhere, evolutionary psychology does not explain puzzling human behavior. It offers Darwinian explanations for conventional behavior, with no insight that exceeds the results of applying common sense.

Evo psych is big in pop science media precisely because it’s so easy. Just call your town Bedrock, build a story about it on some recent evo fluff, and suddenly everyone understands the place just like it was home… Hmmmm?

See also: Darwin’s wastebasket: Time perception, evolutionary psychology, and Donald Trump

Berezow’s own story: A scientist shares his cyberbullying story


Science writing in an age when we ran out of pom poms to wave