A Skeptical Raptor’s native environment is the jungles of the internet, where junk science, pseudoscience, myths, logical fallacies, and outright lies survive unchecked. The Raptor has evolved over several million years to hunt down these anti-science prey, scaring them away from the average reader. Remember, a Raptor is missing some table manners, so the prey may not be treated very nicely.
OK, let me set aside the metaphors. As you can see in my about me page, my background has been in the sciences, medicine and business. But the great thing about a strong science background is it teaches you critical thinking skills and the scientific method. The scientific method isn’t mixing oxygen and hydrogen to make water, but it is the logical progression from observation to hypothesis to data to analysis to publication to review. But science is not static, it is self critical, constantly reviewing itself, improving, discarding, or just supporting its theories. What you’ll find is that the anti-science thinking is not self critical, because it considers improvement some sort of weakness.
I’m going to get this out of the way upfront. I am a supporter of Big Pharma and the medical products industry in general. Do I think they do no wrong? No I don’t, I think that too often decisions are made based on business realities rather than medical ones. However, despite some of the appeals to conspiracy about which I constantly read, most individuals in the industry are devoted to making human life better. It is their only goal. And despite some of the claims of the anti-science crowd, Big Pharma has saved many many many more lives than it has harmed. Vaccines would be the #1 piece of evidence of that. Polio, pertussis, measles, rubella, and many other diseases are no longer (well, not until recently, thanks to another anti-science group) a part of our cultural memory because of Big Pharma.
But I’ll talk about these issues over time. I like writing for humor and critique, not for tremendous scientific analysis worthy of a Nobel Prize. There are lots of bloggers, all of whom I respect beyond anything, who write about these topics in depth. I will link to them, in case my skin-deep analysis annoys you.
So here goes. Let’s see if I can do this.