Millennial classic edition: Science writer Michael Shermer makes Scientific American’s Top Ten stories list

Well, Shermer does write for them. Here’s the list, from Andrea Gawrylewski at Scientific American:

If you spent any part of 2017 trying to argue someone out of their deepest-held beliefs, this one’s for you. Our own Michael Shermer offers how to convince people who aren’t swayed by cold hard facts. More.

Yes, some of us remember that story and, as we said at the time, Pot. Kettle. Rusty.

Michael Shermer should have a look in his own rummage room. He might find more evidence there. As noted earlier elsewhere,

Fudging Truth for the Cause

One wonders why the “skeptic” Michael Shermer isn’t embarrassed by his praise of peer review in Scientific American, “The Believing Brain: Why Science Is the Only Way Out of Belief-Dependent Realism” (2011).27 He sounds so astonishingly naive. As is so often the case when a troubled currency’s value is diminishing, the underlying crisis is philosophical.

Why does he need to believe in this stuff? Recently, he got as far as realizing that the social sciences he relies on are in large part replication desert, fraud squad files, and party pep rally.

At any rate, if Shermer gets the time, he’ll find plenty of material there for his next column on what to do when facts fail. The only people who even pretend to take the discipline seriously now are those who intend using it to shove unpopular policies down voters’ throats. It doesn’t always work.

See also: Peer review “unscientific”: Tough words from editor of Nature  


In general, Scientific American is getting pretty self-absorbed when this is a top story.

Note: The SciAm article begins oddly, with

If you were overwhelmed by the news in 2017, you aren’t alone. Every day seemed to bring monumental developments in all spheres of current events, from international relations and gender inequality to health care and domestic energy policy.

Overwhelmed by 2017 events? Eh? Gawrylewski apparently isn’t old enough to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, the moon walks, the fall of the Soviet Union, mapping the human genome… to throw out just a few. She sounds so, well, “millennial,” fronting perennial and often petty gripes as if they were historic changes.

Of course, millennials could always grow up. The world out here is actually pretty interesting, provided they can stand it.

See also: A top anthropology finding of year show humans cognitively closer to dogs than chimps

and

American Council for Science and Health’s 10 biggest junk stories for 2017 include… Stephen Hawking

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