Unexpectedly Intriguing!
October 6, 2015
We live in a cynical world - Source: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1355848/000101968715000196/genius_8k-ex9901.htm

Not long ago, John Whitehead reviewed one of our posts on the topic of junk science and opened a can of mild umbrage at one of the sites we linked to through a much older post as a resource for debunking bad science in the media.

Since that post was so six years ago, we thought it was long past time to update and expand that original list of resources, which we did both in our original post and now here for greater visibility.

  • Snopes.com - The Internet's premier reference for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors and misinformation. Update 31 July 2015: Over time, the quality of Snopes' debunkings has proven to be mixed.
  • Quackwatch - If it's medical or health-related and not for real, you'll likely find it here.
  • Climate Skeptic - Like Quackwatch, but aimed at the poorly supported aspects of global climate change science.
  • JunkScience.com - Steven Milloy's site surveying a number of highly questionable scientific claims made in today's media reporting. Update 19 September 2015: Over time, we find that the site's quality in critiquing a number of science reports is mixed overall, combining a number of valid analyses with others that fall somewhat short. For an example of the latter, see John Whitehead's recent discussion of the site's coverage on the topic of contingent valuation, where negative conclusions about particular studies would appear to have been reached without necessarily being backed by sound evidence, or without consideration that the scientists behind the studies being criticized had addressed their points of criticism.
  • Junkfood Science - Sandy Szwarc's blog covering ongoing issues with media reporting of nutrition-based junk science.
  • Mythbusters - did you think we'd create a list like this and forget the Mythbusters?
  • John Stossel - the media's leading questioner of questionable claims, from consumer issues through politics, who also blogs.
  • Biggest Junk Science Stories of 2014 - Added 19 September 2015: Hopefully an annual tradition. RealClearScience offers a summary of the biggest junk science stories of 2014. (Here's 2013's edition.)
  • Bad Science - Added 19 September 2015: UK science columnist's Ben Goldacre's site on the topic of science that doesn't measure up.
  • Retraction Watch - Added 19 September 2015: An invaluable site that didn't exist when we first began assembling our list of resources. Retraction Watch focuses on the mistakes made by scientists who published erroneous results that subsequently required them to alert their peers and to withdraw their findings by retracting them. That, in itself, is the process of science working as it should, but the reasons for a number of retractions will periodically overlap into junk science territory (for example, conclusions based upon overly small sample sizes for statistical studies is a common theme). Of course, the difference between a real scientist and a junk scientist is that the real scientist has the honesty and integrity to own up to their errors in the interest of advancing understanding and progress within their fields of study. By contrast, the junk scientist will seek to sustain their flawed findings, even when confronted by directly contradictory evidence.
  • Wrongful Convictions (Junk Science Category) - Added 19 September 2015 - The negative effects of junk science don't just show up in scientific papers - they also show up in civil and criminal courtrooms. The lawyers behind the Wrongful Convictions blog discuss its impact and how to mitigate against it when it can affect real world judgments of innocence, guilt and liabilities.
  • Metabunk.org - Added 19 September 2015: A discussion forum "dedicated to the art and pastime of honest, polite, scientific investigating and debunking". If you've just seen it in the media, it is likely being discussed here!
  • Improbable Research - Added 19 September 2015: The home of the Ig Nobel Prize! This site is not about junk science at all, but is instead about recognizing valid scientific studies that would appear to offer precious little value in meeting any of humanity's needs.


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