Our microbiome: Separating hype from health

This is a blog post by Nicholas Staropoli, originally posted at the Epigenetics Literacy Project on April 18, 2017. It’s reposted here with permission. The post deals with the issue of hype, which we have discussed a lot on this blog; in this post the focus is on the microbiome. *** The details of science — how to …

Epigenetics, hype and woo

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a new twitter account: @EpigeneticsBs (short for ‘epigenetics bullshit’). Its mission is to make epigenetic ‘bullshit’ public, or as it says: “There’s a lot of #epigenetics pseudoscience & quackery out there. We RT some of it for your edification and entertainment.” These (re)tweets are produced by people working …

Epigenetics, hype and harm

I first became interested in epigenetics in around 2010/2011. I know this because I trawled my emails and found a link that I had sent myself on 11 February 2011 to an article in Mother Jones entitled “The illustrated guide to epigenetics”. The first paragraph of this guide is rather prophetic: “This month marks the …

Science, hype and fun

In one of my early posts for this blog I talked about hype and about how hype can be used honestly and fraudulently. In one of my later posts I talked about CRISPR and how scientists are trying to deal with this gene editing technology responsibly. So I should have known better! Following the fun …

Science, sensationalism and the dangers of over-selling research

This is a GUEST POST by FREYA HARRISON. Freya works in Steve Diggle’s group in the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Nottingham, where she researches the ecology and evolution of cooperation. She spends most of her time exploring how communication and cooperation help bacteria to cause chronic infections, but she is also …

Families of climate scepticism I: faulty science?

At last week’s British Sociological Association conference, I presented some initial observations from my research on climate change scepticism. My starting point was that climate change scepticism – or as it is often inaccurately described, denial – is not monolithic. Those people typically labelled as sceptics vary in their arguments. Sometimes may employ many different arguments, some may focus on …

Not God but Goldilocks? The Higgs Boson and science communication

Being on a rain-washed holiday in the depth of Dorset, what else is there to do but watch some news, read some newspapers and getting a long lecture on the Higg’s from one’s offspring. I still don’t understand exactly what’s going on with the Higgs, but the whole thing ties in nicely with various topics …

Making science policy public: Exploring the pitfalls of public protest

I have recently published two blogs, one on impact and one on hype. Protests against EPSRC funding policies provide an opportunity to reflect on both these and other issues related to making science public. Science for the Future – the protest On 15 May, 2012 members of a campaign group “Science for the Future” delivered …

Making neuroscience public: Neurohype, neuroscepticism and neuroblogging

There has been a lot of debate recently about climate scepticism and climate sceptics. To define what climate sceptics are is actually quite difficult, but some may be described as (anthropogenic) climate (change) deniers, some as climate change doubters, some as critical observers of climate science, some as just sitting on the fence. There are …

Hype, honesty and trust

This week I am participating in a workshop on ‘Sociologies of Moderation: Problems of democracy, expertise and the media’* organised by Dr Alexander Smith at the University of Huddersfield. Alex starts working as a researcher on the ‘Making science public’ project next week from the University of Warwick. This week’s workshop will scrutinise the meaning …