scientific method

Investigating numerical misinformation, Daniel Levitin shows how mishandled statistics and graphs can give a grossly distorted perspective and lead us to terrible decisions. Wordy arguments on the other hand can easily be persuasive as they drift away from the facts in an appealing yet misguided way.

Ultimately, Levitin turns to what underlies our ability to determine if something is true or false: the scientific method. He grapples with the limits of what we can and cannot know. Case studies are offered to demonstrate the applications of logical thinking to quite varied settings, spanning courtroom testimony, medical decision making, magic, modern physics, and conspiracy theories.

Levitin is the James McGill Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Music at McGill University, Montreal, where he also holds appointments in the Program in Behavioral Neuroscience. His new book is: Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in the Post-Truth Era. 

  Science popularizer, Chad Orzel received his BA in physics from Williams College, his Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Maryland, and his postdoctorate from Yale University. He maintains the blog Uncertain Principles and is the author of How to Teach Physics to Your Dog and How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog. He is a professor at Union College in Schenectady, New York.

In his new book, Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist, Orzel argues that even the people who are most forthright about hating science are doing science, often without even knowing it.

Wikimedia Commons / Dominique Toussaint (DemonDeLuxe)

Back from a long sabbatical, today we convene the science forum as we have gathered our panel of science experts to respond to your questions and comments.

Dr. Barbara Brabetz is associate professor of biochemistry in the department of natural sciences at the State University of New York at Cobleskill.

Dr. Nancy Slack is emeritus professor of biology and history of science of the Sage Colleges.

Science is the topic this Wednesday as we host professors Ed Stander (geology), Andrea Worthington (biology), and Nancy Slack (biology), and Ken Welles (physics) to provide conclusions to your hypotheses. It's the Vox Pop Science Forum, hosted by Alan Chartock.