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THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Liberal Supreme Court justices vote in lockstep, not the conservative justices.

Ever since Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement last year, commentators have prophesied that President Donald Trump’s replacement of that moderate jurist would lead to a conservative majority running roughshod over core liberal concerns. That’s why opposition to the milquetoast establishmentarian Brett Kavanaugh was so fierce, even before the 11th-hour sexual-assault allegations.

Justice Kavanaugh was supposed to have single-handedly overturned Roe v. Wade, but a funny thing happened on the road to apocalypse. Particularly in petition rejections and other procedural votes, Kavanaugh has demonstrated a pragmatic approach. And a term with few big controversies showed the liberals voting together much more than the conservatives.

There were 67 decisions after argument in the term that ended in June. In those cases, the four justices appointed by Democratic presidents voted the same way 51 times, while the five Republican appointees held tight 37 times. And of the 20 cases where the court split 5-4, only seven had the “expected” ideological divide of conservatives over liberals. By the end of the term, each conservative justice had joined the liberals as the deciding vote at least once.

That dynamic isn’t something that sprang up in the Trump era or with the court’s newest personnel. In the 2014-15 term, with Kennedy at the height of his “swing vote” power —the last full term before Justice Antonin Scalia’s death and resulting year-long vacancy — the four liberals stuck together in 55 of 66 cases, while the four conservatives (not counting Kennedy) voted as a unit in 39.

Well, there are no press plaudits for liberals who break right. Plus: “In sum, if lockstep voting and a results-driven court concern us, it isn’t the conservatives we should be worried about. While senators, journalists and academics love decrying the Roberts Five, it’s the (Ruth Bader) Ginsburg Four that represent a bloc geared toward progressive policy outcomes. To be sure, a reinvigorated conservative grouping may yet come to dominate the court — especially if Trump fills another seat — but it hasn’t happened yet.”

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Study Says People Who Drink Alcohol and Coffee Live Longer.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN A NEW ORGAN? I THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED:  Scientists discover new pain-sensing organ.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.

Leah Libresco is a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site. She is the author of “Arriving at Amen.”

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.

When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gunowner walks into the store to buy an “assault weapon.” It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, arocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.

As for silencers — they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer. Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless.

The thing to understand is that gun control isn’t about saving lives. It’s about humiliating the deplorables and keeping them in their place. It’s culture war of the crassest kind.

THE SCIENCE IS UNSETTLED: The link between pot and mass shootings may be closer than we think.

Earlier: Second Thoughts On Pot.

SCIENCE, UNSETTLED: Physicists Overturn a 100-Year-Old Assumption on How Brain Cells Work.

QUESTIONS NOBODY IS ASKING: “Are period products too gendered?”

IS THERE NOTHING IT CAN’T DO? Dark chocolate lowers risk of depression, study suggests.

To coin an Instaphrase, the science isn’t settled, but why take chances?

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Don’t let vegetarian environmentalists shame you for eating meat. Science is on your side.

THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Millions should stop taking aspirin every day to prevent heart attacks, study says.

THE SCIENCE IS NOT SETTLED: “The benefits of aspirin therapy for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease clearly outweigh the risks of bleeding, and low-dose aspirin is uniformly recommended in this setting. However, no clear consensus exists about whether, and if so in whom, aspirin therapy is appropriate for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.”

SCIENCE, UNSETTLED: Scientists declare nearly 400 medical practices ‘ineffective.’

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED, DAMMIT: We Tried to Publish a Replication of a Science Paper in Science. The Journal Refused. “Our research suggests that the theory that conservatives and liberals respond differently to threats isn’t actually true.”

I HAD BEEN ASSURED THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: That Story About Kids Growing Horns Because of Smartphones Is Fake News.


In the United States, the public panic about the dangers of genetically modified foods is fading fast. This is an amazing—and rare—triumph of reason and science over public hysteria and political posturing.

On Monday, for example, the New York Times published an article by Knuvul Sheikh detailing recent advances in genetically modified crops without offering a single word about potential health dangers or environmental concerns. In fact, it seems there’s a rebranding effort on the left to hype GMO foods as a vital response to climate change.

After describing the benefits of growing plants under artificial light conditions, Sheikh writes: “Researchers have also adopted new genetic techniques to optimize flowering times and make plants more resistant to the rigors of a warming planet.” What types of techniques? None other than Crispr-style gene editing: “Unlike older crossbreeding and crop modification techniques, newer tools like Crispr allow scientists to snip out portions of the plant’s own DNA that may make it vulnerable to disease. [Plant geneticist] Dr. [Lee] Hickey and his team are working on adding Crispr machinery directly into barley and sorghum saplings, in order to modify the plants’ genes while simultaneously speed breeding them.”

Scientists are going full Frankenplant and the New York Times thinks it’s just great: “With cheaper, more powerful technology, opportunities are opening up to improve crops around the world.”

Faster, please.

I HAD BEEN ASSURED THIS HAD ALL BEEN SETTLED: Great Lakes Reveal a Fatal Flaw in Climate Change ‘Science.’

THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Poultry may raise bad cholesterol the same as red meat.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: 102-Year-Old Woman Says Drinking Beer Is the Secret to Long Life.

BUT I THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Discovery of billion-year-old fungi changes our understanding of life on Earth.

THE SCIENCE ISN’T SETTLED, BUT WHY TAKE CHANCES? Drinking champagne every day ‘could help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.’


“John Lukacs is well known not so much for speaking truth to power as speaking truth to audiences he senses have settled into safe and unexamined opinions,” John Willson wrote in The American Conservative in 2013. “This has earned him, among friends and critics alike, a somewhat curmudgeonly reputation.”

Lukacs completed more than 30 books, on everything from his native country to 20th century American history to the meaning of history itself. His books include “Five Days in London,” the memoir “Confessions of an Original Sinner,” and “Historical Consciousness,” in which he contended that the best way to study any subject, whether science or politics, was through its history.

He considered himself a “reactionary,” a mourner for the “civilization and culture of the past 500 years, European and Western.” He saw decline in the worship of technological progress, the elevation of science to religion, and the rise of materialism. Drawing openly upon Alexis de Tocqueville’s warnings about a “tyranny of the majority,” Lukacs was especially wary of populism and was quoted by other historians as Donald Trump rose to the presidency. Lukacs feared that the public was too easily manipulated into committing terrible crimes.

“The kind of populist nationalism that Hitler incarnated has been and continues to be the most deadly of modern plagues,” he once wrote.

Read the whole thing. A decade before Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, Lukacs’ self-described “biography of biographies,” The Hitler of History correctly positioned Hitler as a revolutionary leftist, and warned, “We are all national socialists now:”

Of course the proportions of the compound of nationalism and socialism vary from country to country; but the compound is there, and even where social democracy prevails, it is the national feeling of the people that ultimately matters. What was defeated in 1945, together with Hitler, was German National Socialism: a cruel and extreme version of national socialism. Elsewhere nationalism and socialism were brought together, reconciled and then compounded, without violence and hatred and war.

Without violence and hatred? Well, the 1990s were more innocent times.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Beer, Wine, and Chocolate Are Key to Living a Long Life, Study Say.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: The Ohio Guy Who Only Drank Beer For All Of Lent Is … Healthier Than Ever? “‘I feel like I’m in my 20s,’ the 43-year-old Army veteran said.”

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED WHEN WE SAY IT’S SETTLED: States Sue Over School Lunch Changes, Say They’re Not Scientific Like the Obama Rules Based on Retracted Nutrition Studies.

BUT I WAS ASSURED THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED!  Melting Greenland glacier appears to be growing again.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Research Shows Gun Control Laws Do Not Reduce Violent Crime or Suicides.

“California’s comprehensive background check and misdemeanor violence prohibition policies and firearm mortality” by Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, Garen Wintemute, MD, MPH, et al, in February’s Annals of Epidemiology.

We love this one, because it is one of the few from either the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (Webster) or UC-Davis (Wintemute) that is reasonably well designed, following changes in the same location over time (trend analysis) rather than comparing different locations at the same time (cross-sectional analysis).

They found that neither California’s comprehensive background checks (UBCs) nor it’s prohibition of misdemeanor violence conviction status for firearm purchases made any difference in the incidence of firearm homicides or suicides—i.e., in “gun violence”. They were left advocating for “permit to purchase”, naturally, an escalation of infringement rather than admitting that their “gun violence” solutions are not.

You don’t want to be a science denier, do you?

SCIENCE, UNSETTLED: Doctors reverse their recommendation on taking aspirin a day to prevent heart attacks, strokes.

I HAD BEEN RELIABLY INFORMED THAT THE SCIENCE ON PLATE TECTONICS IS SETTLED:   Scientists make ‘impossible’ discovery off coast of Africa.

I THOUGHT THE CLIMATE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Have We Really Entered The Anthropocene? This Researcher Says It Doesn’t Exist.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t crazy: “Alternative terms like Capitalocene (which attempts to highlight the detrimental forces of capitalism), and Plantationocene (which emphasises the role of colonialism, the plantation system and slave labour) have been offered as a way of doubling down on the elements of human history responsible for environmental crises, rather than lumping all humans, and their responsibility, together.”

APPARENTLY THIS SCIENCE ALSO ISN’T SETTLED:  Your genes may reduce the effectiveness of contraception: study.

THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED, UNTIL IT WASN’T: Study claiming hate cuts 12 years off gay lives retracted. “After years of back and forth, a highly cited paper that appeared to show that gay people who live in areas where people were highly prejudiced against them had a significantly shorter life expectancy has been retracted. . . . Although the retraction notice lacks a date — like many published by Elsevier in the past year or so — we understand that it went online on February 7 of this year. Neither of the journal’s editors in chief responded to a request for comment. [See update at end of post.] More than three dozen of the citations to the paper came after its December 2017 correction.”

SO MUCH FOR SETTLED SCIENCE: We Have Been Wrong About a Key Feature of Neanderthals’ Appearance.

After more than a century of alternative views, a new study has reconfirmed that Neanderthals once walked fully upright with a posture not unlike our own. They weren’t hunched after all.

The reanalysis is based on an elderly male Neanderthal that was found in La Chapelle-aux-Saints, France in 1911. Creating a virtual reconstruction of the ancient skeleton’s pelvis and spine, the authors say that both the stress on the hip and the position of the pelvis are not so different from modern humans.

When the research was extended to other Neanderthal skeletons, the vertebrae and pelvic bones also matched this model. Once thought to be a hallmark of modern humans, this suggests that the curve of your lower back is not so unique after all.

“On the whole, there is hardly any evidence that would point to Neanderthals having a fundamentally different anatomy,” explains Martin Haeusler, a specialist in evolutionary medicine at the University of Zurich.

If Neanderthals really had a posture similar to humans, they would have needed a double s-shaped spine like our own. These curves exist to take on the majority of weight and shock that is conferred when walking.

But some recent studies using isolated vertebrae had argued that Neanderthals actually had straighter spines than we thought – backing up the idea that Neanderthals were hunched.

The new research, however, suggests this conclusion is a mistake.

Well, given all the evidence that they interbred with modern humans, they’re basically just a slight variant of the same species.

MEET THE CLIMATE RESISTANCE: On December 30th, NBC Meet the Press host Chuck Todd devoted an entire episode to promoting the views of climate change alarmists. He said, “the science is settled, even if political opinion is not.” Todd expressly banned dissenting views, which are rooted in real-world scientific data.

My group CEI is pushing back with an ad campaign centered on a TV spot and a full page ad in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. You can view the ads and help CEI push back here. [Updated with fixed link]

FROM HOLLY LISLE (I’M ALMOST DONE READING THIS, AND ENJOYING IT IMMENSELY):  The Longview Chronicles: The Complete Saga [BOXED SET – BOOKS 1-6] (Tales from the Longview).


When the trusted are monsters… one monster becomes a hero.

In the vast reaches of Settled Space, everything is legal, or at least obtainable privately… for a price.

Science has created near immortality, and the wealthy and powerful are buying it to make themselves gods. But these gods require — and create — an endless procession of slaves and sacrifices for their amusement.

Until one twisted creature born to be a sacrifice discovers the truth. This escaped slave declares a secret war against corruption, enslavement , and the wealthy, powerful men and women woh have declared themselves gods, and made their whims law.


Born From Fire
The Selling of Suzee Delight
The Philosopher Gambit
Gunslinger Moon
Vipers’ Nest
The Owner’s Tale.

In one volume with all the original afterwords and one new afterword specifically for this collection.

MEET THE LONGVIEW – An Ancient Spaceship Resurrected To Transport Conspiracy

Inhabited by a crew of misfits fleeing nightmare pasts, with a cargo of Condemned slated to die at the hands of the highest bidders, and with a passenger roster made up exclusively of people NOT who they claim to be, The Longview serves the hidden agenda of an eccentric recluse bent on playing puppetmaster to all of Settled Space.

SCIENCE, UNSETTLED: Climate warming experiment finds unexpected results.


● Shot: ‘Climate grief’: The growing emotional toll of climate change — Extreme weather and dire climate reports are intensifying the mental health effects of global warming: depression and resignation about the future.

—Headline and subhead, NBC News, Christmas Eve.

● Chaser: Chuck Todd Bans ‘Climate Deniers’ from Climate Change Special:

Chuck Todd gave a stunning example of the phenomenon this morning in his introduction of a Meet the Press special edition on climate change. Todd quite literally announced that dissent would not be tolerated. Here was Todd:

“Just as important as what we are going to do this hour is what we’re not going to do. We’re not going to debate climate change, the existence of it. The Earth is getting hotter, and human activity is a major cause. Period. We’re not going to give time to climate deniers. The science is settled, even if political opinion is not.”

* * * * * * * *

Note segundo: As Oren Cass has written at National Review: “The epithet ‘climate denier,’ intended to invoke Holocaust denial, has always been tasteless and inapt . . . But climate activists delighted in defining their opposition this way.” Chuck Todd should know better than to engage in this kind of ugly name-calling.

NewsBusters, today.

Just think of Todd as a former and current Democratic party activist, now with a byline, and it all makes sense.

AND YOU THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Mathematicians Disprove Conjecture Made to Save Black Holes.

AND YOU THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: “Despite a number of studies questioning the usefulness of very low-salt diets in the last few years, most major medical organizations continue to recommend them. We would assume that they do so from a strong base of evidence. But with respect to heart failure, there is a shockingly small amount of evidence.”

I’m constantly astounded at how many apparently settled items in medicine turn out to be based on weak evidence — or supposition — mindlessly repeated for many years.

AGGRESSIVENESS MUST RUN IN THE FAMILY: Nathan Bedford Forrest’s descendants file suit against Memphis.

H. Edward Phillips and attorneys representing descendants of Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest filed suit today in a Memphis Court seeking the return of the Charles Niehaus statue removed December 2017 from Health Sciences Park in the city. They are also wanting all historical signs, including the one removed commemorating U.S. Army Air Corps General N.B. Forrest III killed in World War II, the monument base, copper caskets, earthly remains under it, and the expenses to move the monument to a location of their choosing.

It’s believed to be the first time living descendants of a national historical figure have filed such a suit to protect their ancestor’s grave site and remains.

Attorneys are also seeking compensatory damages alleging in the filing they have a paper trail showing the city knowingly violated its own charter, conspired to violate state law; desecrated a grave, trespassed to a grave, desecrated a venerated object, and conspired to violate the Civil Rights of the Forrest Family, when they removed the monument December 20, 2017.

Two of the actions were reportedly in violation of Tennessee statutes 39-17-311 and 46-1-313 making it a Class E felony to deface or disturb grave sites. District Attorney General for Shelby County Amy Weirich’s office has, to date, not brought charges against any of those reportedly responsible for the actions.

According to the suit filed in 30th District Chancery Court, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and the city council illegally sold and transferred Health Sciences and Memphis Park on December 15, 2017 – five days before changing the city’s charter that permitted them to legally do so. Health Science and Memphis Park were sold to Memphis GreenSpace, Inc. – statues and all – for the sum of $2,000. The properties were valued at around $1 million each.

Stay tuned. This should be some exciting litigation, unless — as I expect — it’s settled.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: There Really Are ‘Latte Liberals.’

AND YOU THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Normal Body Temperature Is Surprisingly Less Than 98.6. “There is no baseline for humans, and even if there was, it would be closer to 97.7 °F. Temperature also varies across the day, peaking in late afternoon and bottoming out in early morning. It is slightly higher for women than for men as well. For two decades research has debunked the benchmark, set way back in 1868, yet it persists.”

AND HERE YOU THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Turns Out Mitochondria Don’t Work Like We Thought They Did.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: This Flu Season, Consider Whiskey over Modern Medicine.

SCIENCE, UNSETTLED: Climate contrarian uncovers scientific error, upends major ocean warming study. “The findings of the … paper were peer reviewed and published in the world’s premier scientific journal and were given wide coverage in the English-speaking media. Despite this, a quick review of the first page of the paper was sufficient to raise doubts as to the accuracy of its results.”

THE SCIENCE — STOMP, STOMP, STOMP — WAS SETTLED!  Remember when climate alarmists told us global warming was going to kill the U.S. corn crop? Never mind.

BUT BUT BUT BUT… THE SCIENCE IS — STOMPY FOOT — SETTLED!  UN says the Earth’s ozone layer is healing.

THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Confused by Nutrition Research? Sloppy Science May Be to Blame. It’s becoming clear that a lot of people who claimed to speak with the authority of science didn’t.

THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: He Promised to Restore Damaged Hearts. Harvard Says His Lab Fabricated Research.

YOU THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: We’ve Been Misled About Exercise’s Role in Weight Loss, a Doctor Explains. “Exercise remains the most common practice among nationally tracked persons who are able to maintain weight loss over time. In fact, 90 percent of people who lose significant weight and keep it off exercise at least one hour a day, on average.”

THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED, BUT NOT ANYMORE: Harvard Calls for Retraction of Dozens of Studies by Noted Cardiologist.


You’d think if the climate science were settled, they’d get at least one prediction right.

SCIENCE, UNSETTLED: New Research Confirms We Got Cholesterol All Wrong: The U.S. government has pushed a lot of bad nutrition advice over the years. Maybe it should stop advising us on what to eat.

What I love is how the science changes, but the moralizing certainty never goes away.


I THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: The Great Barrier Reef was never dead.

I THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Cave features suggest stable sea levels during last interglacial period.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: New Research Says Wine Before Bed Makes You Lose Weight.

HMM: Infectious Theory of Alzheimer’s Disease Draws Fresh Interest.

It’s an idea that just a few years ago would’ve seemed to many an easy way to drain your research budget on bunk science. Money has poured into Alzheimer’s research for years, but until very recently not much of it went toward investigating infection in causing dementia.

But this “germ theory” of Alzheimer’s, as Norins calls it, has been fermenting in the literature for decades. Even early 20th century Czech physician Oskar Fischer — who, along with his German contemporary Dr. Alois Alzheimer, was integral in first describing the condition –noted a possible connection between the newly identified dementia and tuberculosis.

If the germ theory gets traction, even in some Alzheimer’s patients, it could trigger a seismic shift in how doctors and understand and treat the disease.

For instance, would we see a day when dementia is prevented with a vaccine, or treated with antibiotics and antiviral medications? Norins thinks it’s worth looking into.

Norins received his medical degree from Duke in the early 1960s, and after a stint at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention he fell into a lucrative career in medical publishing. He eventually settled in an admittedly aged community in Naples, Florida, where he took an interest in dementia and began reading up on the condition.

After scouring the medical literature he noticed a pattern.

“It appeared that many of the reported characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease were compatible with an infectious process,” Norins tells NPR. “I thought for sure this must have already been investigated, because millions and millions of dollars have been spent on Alzheimer’s research.”

But aside from scattered interest through the decades, this wasn’t the case.

Very interesting.

AND YOU THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: America doesn’t actually lead the world in mass shootings.

THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED — UNTIL SOMEBODY CHECKED: Researchers replicate just 13 of 21 social science experiments published in top journals.

The “reproducibility crisis” in science is erupting again. A research project attempted to replicate 21 social science experiments published between 2010 and 2015 in the prestigious journals Science and Nature. Only 13 replication attempts succeeded. The other eight were duds, with no observed effects consistent with the original findings.

The failures do not necessarily mean the original results were erroneous, as the authors of this latest replication effort note. There could have been gremlins of some type in the second try. But the authors also noted that even in the replications that succeeded, the observed effect was on average only about 75 percent as large as the first time around.

The researchers conclude that there is a systematic bias in published findings, “partly due to false positives and partly due to the overestimated effect sizes of true positives.”

The two-year replication project, published Monday in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, is likely to roil research institutions and scientific journals that in recent years have grappled with reproducibility issues. The ability to replicate a finding is fundamental to experimental science. This latest project provides a reminder that the publication of a finding in a peer-reviewed journal does not make it true.

Scientists are under attack from ideologues, special interests and conspiracy theorists who reject the evidence-based consensus in such areas as evolution, climate change, the safety of vaccines and cancer treatment. The replication crisis is different; it is largely an in-house problem with experimental design and statistical analysis.

Oh, I think the two are related.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: ATF Data Undercuts Claim Gun-Controlled Cities Get Guns from Surrounding States.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Engineers refute allegations of gender bias in licensing exam. “A recent academic journal article speculated that ‘biases in the exam itself’ may be the reason that women pass the field’s licensing exam at a lower rate than men, but professional engineers find the allegation ‘hard to believe.’ The organization that administers the exam, in fact, pointed out that it has conducted annual reviews for well over a decade designed specifically to identify and excise gender bias from the test.”

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Research: Phone presence can hurt experience of dining out.

I THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: “Definitive evidence that cockroaches are vectors for human disease is still lacking.”


THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Not drinking alcohol in middle age increases dementia risk, says report.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Forcing staff to start work before 10 a.m. is tantamount to torture.

Also at the PJM Live Blog: Coca-Cola set to raise prices due to metal tariffs.

THE SCIENCE IS UNSETTLED: ‘Good’ Cholesterol May Be Bad for Some People.

HOW MUCH OF THE “SETTLED SCIENCE” WILL TURN OUT TO BE A PACK OF POLITICIZED LIES? Psychology Itself Is Under Scrutiny. Many famous studies of human behavior cannot be reproduced: Even so, they revealed aspects of our inner lives that feel true.

As this New York Times headline suggests, enough that they’re already retreating to the “fake but accurate” defense.

I THOUGHT THE (SOCIAL) SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: How Social Science Might Be Misunderstanding Conservatives

THE SCIENCE TURNS OUT NOT TO BE SETTLED: “Researchers have found flaws in some of the data that track and field officials used to formulate regulations for the complicated cases of Caster Semenya of South Africa, the two-time Olympic champion at 800 meters, and other female athletes with naturally elevated testosterone levels. Three independent researchers said they believed the mistakes called into question the validity of a 2017 study commissioned by track and field’s world governing body, the International Federation of Athletics Associations, or I.A.A.F., according to interviews and a paper written by the researchers and provided to The New York Times.”

Part of being a world-class athlete is having genetic gifts. Higher testosterone, especially in a female athlete, is one of those gifts.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: More People Use a Gun in Self-Defense Each Year Than Die in Car Accidents.

WAIT, THEY TOLD ME THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: This Anti-Salt Narrative Needs a Shakeup: First of all: It’s not even clear that the average American consumes too much sodium.

THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Major “Mediterranean diet” study retracted.

I HAD BEEN ASSURED THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Errors Trigger Retraction Of Study On Mediterranean Diet’s Heart Benefits.


The academic Left thinks big when it comes to #TheResistance. It thinks big in mounting symbolic protests such as the 2018 March for Science, the 2017 Women’s March, or the 2014 People’s Climate March. Grandiosity is never too grand. But when it comes to the substance of teaching and learning, the academic left prefers to think small. Small courses on small topics are the trend. These are followed by small academic requirements for small intellectual goals.

The Left’s taste for intellectual smallness is a relatively new thing. No one would accuse Marx or his 20th-century followers of harboring small intellectual designs. What has happened to turn the revolutionary class to a preoccupation with paper bags and plastic water bottles? What turned the rightful heirs of the Great Terror into the apostles of microaggressions? Why has the vanguard of world history and multiculturalism suddenly settled into a fascination with the equivalent of collecting intellectual lint?

It’s worth a read, but “The Left’s taste for intellectual smallness” isn’t that relatively new. Chastened by the ineffectiveness of Lyndon Johnson’s bloated Great Society, angered that the suave metropolitan JFK had been replaced by the cornpone Johnson, Democrats first turned against the Vietnam War, and then turned increasingly insular and cynical. By 1968, Robert F. Kennedy had rejected his brother’s forward-looking pro-American “New Frontier” worldview for the nascent doomsday environmentalism that would obsesses the left to this day. As I wrote in 2011 in a post titled, “Welcome Back My Friends, to the Malaise that Never Ends,” “Compare RFK’s rhetoric as he tells a classroom of young kids that they were doomed to spend their adult lives trapped in a Soylent Green-style eco-apocalypse, with the optimism of his brother, and it was clear that the end of the New Frontier was well in sight:”

I HAD BEEN ASSURED THAT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: The Great Egg Debate: Are They Healthy or Not?

PALEONTOLOGY: Scientists discover ‘Mother of All Lizards’ in the Alps.

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine what the Earth was like when massive beasts like the Tyrannosaurus rex freely roamed the land, but it can be even harder to go all the way to a time before dinosaurs were so fantastically dominant. There was planet Earth, ripe for habitation, with animal life still figuring out what evolutionary path it wanted to take. Now, researchers studying fossils from the Italian Alps have uncovered a true relic from that time, a tiny creature that is now the oldest known lizard to ever walk on this big blue marble.

This ‘Mother of All Lizards,” as it is being called, was a Megachirella. It was only about the size of a chameleon, but it was the precursor to the planet-spanning group of reptiles called squamates, which includes modern lizards and snakes.

The new discovery, which was detailed in a research paper published in Nature, was actually made using a 240-year-old fossil that had been discovered decades earlier. The tiny lizard was originally classified by scientists as an offshoot of the lizard family tree, but new scanning technology allowed the scientists to examine the fossil in an entirely new way.

So the science had not been settled.

PALEONTOLOGY: Fossilized Skull Of Half Mammal, Half Reptile May Rewrite History.

The discovery of the fossilized skull of a half-mammal and half-reptile creature may rewrite ancient history, specifically regarding the timeline for the breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea.

The important find follows a similar one earlier this year of a dinosaur fossil in Egypt, which also provided scientists with more clues regarding the Pangaea split.

The fossilized skull of the reptile-like mammal was unearthed in a rock from the Cretaceous period, from about 145 million to 65 million years ago. The skull itself was 130 million years old, a finding that goes against previous theories on when the supercontinent Pangaea broke up.

The discovery of the fossil likely means that the Pangaea split likely happened more recently than scientists thought. The finding also suggests that a group of reptile-like mammals bridging the transition between reptiles and mammals saw a “burst of evolution” in several continents.

The science is never settled, but it is often fascinating.

AND YOU THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Science still isn’t clear if yawns really are contagious.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: FBI Report Highlights Effectiveness of Concealed Carry.

The FBI’s recently released “Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2016 and 2017” report [PDF] indicates 16 percent of crimes that qualify for inclusion in the paper were stopped by a law-abiding citizen with a gun. The figure represents more than a five-fold increase from the agency’s 2000-2013 study [PDF], when the figure was 3.1 percent.

The 2014 and 2015 report, the first biennial study on the topic released by the agency, adds statistical weight to the long-term trend. During those years, 5 percent of the attacks were stopped by armed citizens.

More armed citizens means more crimes stopped by armed citizens.

BUT I THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED3.5 Billion-Year-Old Fossils Challenge Ideas About Earth’s Start.

SETTLED SCIENCE: Every Cell in Your Body Has the Same DNA. Except It Doesn’t.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: The Study You Won’t Be Hearing About: No Impact On Groundwater From Fracking.

SCIENCE: Two spaces after period are better than one, except maybe they aren’t, study finds.

I’m glad we’ve settled that.

I NEVER DOUBTED IT: Yes, Pluto is a planet.

The process for redefining planet was deeply flawed and widely criticized even by those who accepted the outcome. At the 2006 IAU conference, which was held in Prague, the few scientists remaining at the very end of the week-long meeting (less than 4 percent of the world’s astronomers and even a smaller percentage of the world’s planetary scientists) ratified a hastily drawn definition that contains obvious flaws. For one thing, it defines a planet as an object orbiting around our sun — thereby disqualifying the planets around other stars, ignoring the exoplanet revolution, and decreeing that essentially all the planets in the universe are not, in fact, planets.

Even within our solar system, the IAU scientists defined “planet” in a strange way, declaring that if an orbiting world has “cleared its zone,” or thrown its weight around enough to eject all other nearby objects, it is a planet. Otherwise it is not. This criterion is imprecise and leaves many borderline cases, but what’s worse is that they chose a definition that discounts the actual physical properties of a potential planet, electing instead to define “planet” in terms of the other objects that are — or are not — orbiting nearby. This leads to many bizarre and absurd conclusions. For example, it would mean that Earth was not a planet for its first 500 million years of history, because it orbited among a swarm of debris until that time, and also that if you took Earth today and moved it somewhere else, say out to the asteroid belt, it would cease being a planet.

To add insult to injury, they amended their convoluted definition with the vindictive and linguistically paradoxical statement that “a dwarf planet is not a planet.” This seemingly served no purpose but to satisfy those motivated by a desire — for whatever reason — to ensure that Pluto was “demoted” by the new definition.

The science is at last settled.

THE SCIENCE WASN’T SETTLED, THOUGH THEY CLAIMED IT WAS: How Big Government Backed Bad Science and Made Americans Fat.

THE SCIENCE IS NEVER SETTLED: Massive Cosmic Collision Challenges Theories of the Early Universe. “Astronomers report witnessing the formation of a galaxy cluster — the largest type of gravity-bound structure in the universe. And it’s not what they expected.”

BUT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED, DAMMIT! Climate change is ‘not as bad as we thought’ say scientists.

THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED, AND SECRET: CDC, in Surveys It Never Bothered Making Public, Provides More Evidence that Plenty of Americans Innocently Defend Themselves with Guns. (Bumped.)

YOU PROBABLY THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: How Bad Is the Government’s Science? Policy makers often cite research to justify their rules, but many of those studies wouldn’t replicate.

Half the results published in peer-reviewed scientific journals are probably wrong. John Ioannidis, now a professor of medicine at Stanford, made headlines with that claim in 2005. Since then, researchers have confirmed his skepticism by trying—and often failing—to reproduce many influential journal articles. Slowly, scientists are internalizing the lessons of this irreproducibility crisis. But what about government, which has been making policy for generations without confirming that the science behind it is valid?

The biggest newsmakers in the crisis have involved psychology. Consider three findings: Striking a “power pose” can improve a person’s hormone balance and increase tolerance for risk. Invoking a negative stereotype, such as by telling black test-takers that an exam measures intelligence, can measurably degrade performance. Playing a sorting game that involves quickly pairing faces (black or white) with bad and good words (“happy” or “death”) can reveal “implicit bias” and predict discrimination.

All three of these results received massive media attention, but independent researchers haven’t been able to reproduce any of them properly. It seems as if there’s no end of “scientific truths” that just aren’t so. For a 2015 article in Science, independent researchers tried to replicate 100 prominent psychology studies and succeeded with only 39% of them.

Further from the spotlight is a lot of equally flawed research that is often more consequential. In 2012 the biotechnology firm Amgen tried to reproduce 53 “landmark” studies in hematology and oncology. The company could only replicate six. Are doctors basing serious decisions about medical treatment on the rest? Consider the financial costs, too. A 2015 study estimated that American researchers spend $28 billion a year on irreproducible preclinical research.

The chief cause of irreproducibility may be that scientists, whether wittingly or not, are fishing fake statistical significance out of noisy data. If a researcher looks long enough, he can turn any fluke correlation into a seemingly positive result. But other factors compound the problem: Scientists can make arbitrary decisions about research techniques, even changing procedures partway through an experiment. They are susceptible to groupthink and aren’t as skeptical of results that fit their biases. Negative results typically go into the file drawer. Exciting new findings are a route to tenure and fame, and there’s little reward for replication studies. . . .

A deeper issue is that the irreproducibility crisis has remained largely invisible to the general public and policy makers. That’s a problem given how often the government relies on supposed scientific findings to inform its decisions. Every year the U.S. adds more laws and regulations that could be based on nothing more than statistical manipulations.

All government agencies should review the scientific justifications for their policies and regulations to ensure they meet strict reproducibility standards. The economics research that steers decisions at the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department needs to be rechecked. The social psychology that informs education policy could be entirely irreproducible. The whole discipline of climate science is a farrago of unreliable statistics, arbitrary research techniques and politicized groupthink.

The process of policy-making also needs to be overhauled. Federal agencies that give out research grants should immediately adopt the NIH’s new standards for funding reproducible research. Congress should pass a law—call it the Reproducible Science Reform Act—to ensure that all future regulations are based on similar high standards.

Each scientific discipline needs to accept responsibility for its share of the irreproducibility crisis and incorporate strict standards into its procedures.

There won’t be changes in behavior unless there are changes in incentives.

AND YOU THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Immune Cells We Thought Were ‘Useless’ Are Actually a Weapon Against Infections Like HIV.

I HAD BEEN ASSURED THAT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: The horrifying maternal mortality rate in Texas turned out to be wrong, but that’s not the biggest issue.

Though we only now realize how flawed the data were, this isn’t entirely a recent revelation. Experts suspected that something was wrong with the data, they just weren’t sure what. The authors of that original study noted that “in the absence of war, natural disaster, or severe economic upheaval, the doubling of a mortality rate within a 2-year period in a state with almost 400,000 annual births seems unlikely.” Their suspicions turned out to be right. Instead of roughly 36 deaths per 100,000 births, the mortality rate was more like 14.6 deaths per 100,000 births.

Texas is, in fact, a cautionary tale, just not in the way we all thought. It’s been collecting data poorly for years now, and they’re not alone—maternal mortality rates could be wrong all over the U.S. Ever since some states introduced a checkbox to their death certificates asking about pregnancy back in 2003, the stats on maternal mortality have been skewed. A 2017 study concluded that this addition “appears to be the main driver of the increases in [maternal mortality rates] during the last decade.” States with and without the checkbox differ so much in reported data that we haven’t published an official national maternal mortality rate since 2007. The data just haven’t been good enough.

It makes you wonder what other data aren’t being collected, or are being improperly or incompletely collected.

THE SCIENCE IS PRETTY DAMN SETTLED: Science proves communism makes nations poorer and less healthy.

Researchers testing historical connections between cultures found that whether a country had been under communism was the biggest factor for those with lower health, income and educational levels.

In the first undertaking of its kind, they analyzed the fortunes of 44 countries across Europe and Asia and looked at geography, religion, systems of government and a more intangible quality called “deep cultural ancestry.”

Writing in the journal Royal Society Open Science, they matched these factors against where they ranked on the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures per-capita income, life expectancy at birth and the number of years its citizens spend in education.

Most of the issues they looked at appeared to have little or no effect on the disparities between the countries, except for Islamic countries scoring a little worse on education.

Instead, the single strongest predictor for a country’s health, and the second-strongest for its wealth, turned out to be whether its rulers had embraced communism.

The study said that after World War II, economic growth in Communist Eastern Europe was slower than in the West, but despite the Soviet Union’s collapse almost 30 years ago, the effects are still being felt.

Communism destroys social trust — communist governments do this by design — and that does longterm damage.

I THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Scientists Just Identified a Brand-New Human Organ. Here’s What It Means.