About this site:
What’s with the name “Depleted Cranium”?
There is a page which answers that here
What’s the purpose of this website?
To help weed out the bad science and misinformation out there and generally to encourage critical thinking. There are a lot of myths in the world and sometimes a little knowledge can be dangerous when parts are left out. Pointing out common misunderstandings and sensationalism is important to allow for a clear understanding of science and the world around us all. More here.
Why is bad science so bad?
Misinformation and sensationalized claims really hurt everyone by perpetuating inaccurate information within the general public. It can effect individuals on a personal level, such as those who might make medical decisions based on inaccurate information and it can also effect everyone when the public demands products or services based on misconceptions. For example, a hospital may have to forgo a new MRI machine because so many patients demand touch therapy or homeopathic. Furthermore, when junk science influences public policy and government decisions, the results can be very dangerous.
In general, myths, misconceptions and fraudulent claims muddy the waters of knowledge and obscure the beautiful and fascinating incites that science has brought us. It serves to hold humanity back as we try to progress to a more enlightened and empowered future.
Isn’t science for scientists?
Absolutely not! At least not in the sense that it should be limited to the profession. Science is not only the means by which we can better understand the world around us, it can also be a lot of fun! Having a basic knowledge of science can help in weeding out scams and misinformation as well as making informed decisions about a variety of things. Consider the following analogy: You may not be a mechanic but if you have a basic knowledge of cars, you’ll be less likely to be scammed by a dishonest repair shop. You may also even be able to do a few things yourself, like change your wiper blades or give your car a jumpstart. Similarly, a basic knowledge of science and an interest in the principals behind it can come in very handy in everyday life.
Can the average person be expected to recognize bad science?
Short answer: yes. Long answer: The vast majority of bad science claims are easily recognized even by those who may not be very knowledgeable in the subject material. This is because such claims usually are very sensational, have little or no supporting evidence, are illogical or just seem too good or too strange to be true. These signs should raise a red flag right away.
Isn’t it important to respect the opinions of others?
Yes, it is. However, not everything is a matter of opinion. There are many principals and observations which are so well established, so well tested and so thoroughly investigated that there really is no conjecture: They are fact. If for example, someone wants to go around saying the world is flat, there’s no reason why that has to be treated as a respectable matter of opinion. It’s a factual matter, it’s silly and it’s just plain wrong.
Why does this website write off certain claims or even people as “stupid”? Isn’t that a rather juvenile way of addressing things?
In some cases, the claims are so outlandish or obviously bogus that it is almost impossible to address all the things wrong with them. Given the amount of junk science and scams out there, some times the most efficient way of dismissing them and simultaneously undercutting their creditability is to just point out how stupid they are.
As far as those who go around making such claims or trying to get bogus information into the educational system or the public mind, this blog sees no reason to treat them with kid gloves and every reason to take out the boxing gloves. Also, there is some tongue-in-cheek humor here from time to time.
What is with all the pictures in posts?
In addition to helping to illustrate the posts, providing inline images can help a lot in providing some visual breaks for long text entries. A web browser is a much different reading experience than a book or magazine and it can be easy for your eyes to loose their place with the scrolling. Images help provide an implicit spacial context to your brain which makes the reading easier. More here.