This article was originally published on RealClearScience.
One of the best things about science is that, out of all human endeavors, it is the one most concerned with establishing demonstrable facts. Unlike in say, politics or law, opinion only matters inasmuch as it is supported by data. Science, therefore, is a world where truth trumps ideology.
In a way, that means science writers have the easiest job in journalism. There is no need to report a “balanced” perspective on matters in which there is little divergence in expert opinion. Conflicting viewpoints are noted if and only if sufficient evidence exists to the contrary. Put succinctly, science journalists report the best science available, and unsubstantiated speculations are thrown into the dustbin.
This doesn’t make everybody happy. From alternative medicine to creationism, all too many people hold on to ideas that are rejected by science. Pointing this out is something of an occupational hazard for science writers, since overturning the apple cart tends to make some people really, really mad.
So, with that in mind, we present the most controversial articles that RealClearScience writers produced in 2013:
On General Science
On Science and Politics
On Science Policy
Climate Change Isn’t World’s Biggest Problem
The Arrogance of a Well-Fed Society
We Should Approve ‘Three-Parent’ Embryos
A Science-Based Abortion Policy Is Impossible
Creationism in Schools: Wisdom from Star Trek
The Correlation Between Guns and Homicide Rate
Guns Neither Increase nor Decrease Crime Rate
Massive Review Reveals Consensus on GMO Safety
The Biggest Junk Science Stories of 2013
Science Says, ‘Good Riddance, Sen. Tom Harkin’
Bill O’Reilly Embraces Gluten-Free Pseudoscience
Acupuncture: 3,000 Studies & More Research Not Needed
5 Easy Tips for Denying Scientific Consensus
On Common Sense
On Unconventional Wisdom
On Science and Religion