Duke Divinity School’s Race to the Bottom

The chickens have come home to roost at Duke’s Divinity School. Protesting students claim the school is insufficiently diverse. More needs to be done, they say, to combat racism, transphobia, homophobia, and associated evils. All this despite a campaign by the administration to achieve these very aims in the course of which a distinguished faculty … Continue reading “Duke Divinity School’s Race to the Bottom”


Science and Its Discontents: Too Few Jobs—or Too Many Scientists?

“The United States is producing more research scientists than academia can handle,” so begins a July 2016 article by respected New York Times science reporter Gina Kolata. It turns out that new PhDs in science have a hard time getting a job like their mentor’s: tenured faculty in a research university. Fifty years ago, in … Continue reading “Science and Its Discontents: Too Few Jobs—or Too Many Scientists?”


Peer Review: the Publication Game and “the Natural Selection of Bad Science”

Editor’s Note: This is part II; part I can be found here. Professor Brian Wansink is head of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University. The lab has had problems, some described in an article called “Spoiled Science” in the Chronicle of Higher Education early in 2017: Four papers on which he is a … Continue reading “Peer Review: the Publication Game and “the Natural Selection of Bad Science””


How Is Science Judged? How Useful Is Peer Review?

The British journal Nature, home in 1953 to Watson and Crick’s important DNA paper, was by 1966 rather in the doldrums, with a backlog of submitted manuscripts and losing ground to the general-science leader, the U.S. journal Science. That year, however, the publisher appointed as editor one John Maddox, a slightly eccentric theoretical physicist and … Continue reading “How Is Science Judged? How Useful Is Peer Review?”



Science and the senator: missing the point about government waste

About to retire, Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn, M.D., has just released his 107-page 2014 Wastebook, a tabloid-type listing of over a hundred wasteful government-funded projects. Coburn continues the tradition of the late William Proxmire, the Wisconsin senator who, more modestly, chose just one or two “Golden Fleeces” each year.