"Compromised science" news/opines (includes retractions, declining academic standards, pred-J, etc)

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by C C, Apr 28, 2023.

  1. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Evidence-based medicine is broken but science-based medicine can fix it

    Evidence-based medicine specifically seeks evidence for treatments, recommendations, and practice guidelines. However, while the spirit of evidence-based medicine is to be based on ethical and scientifically rigorous research, in practice, it is often simply shortened to “Is there any evidence at all?”

    INTRO: America’s Frontline Doctors continue to recommend treatments that have been studied and determined not to work. These anti-vaccine activists threaten public health by continuing to spread misinformation. But, they claim that they are practicing evidence-based medicine. How can they claim that they are practicing within the current paradigm of evidence-based medicine if they are peddling misinformation? (MORE - details)

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    Back to School: The Quest to Eliminate Vaccine Mandates

    INTRO: In the wake of angry battles against Covid-19 vaccine mandates, resistance to school mandates has grown. According to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 35 percent of parents now oppose school mandates for all vaccines. The pushback against mandates appears to be less about vaccine safety—80 percent of parents believe vaccines are safe and effective—and more about a parent’s right to choose. Because measles is the most contagious of the vaccine-preventable diseases, it will be the first to come back should vaccine rates erode.

    The measles vaccine first became available in 1963. At the time, every year in the United States, 3-4 million people would be infected with measles, 48,000 would be hospitalized, and 500 would die. Deaths were primarily caused by pneumonia, severe dehydration, or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). By the late 1960s, measles vaccination led to a 95 percent drop in the incidence of the disease... (MORE - details)
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  3. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Scientific American is trying to discredit my rapid-onset gender dysphoria study

    EXCERPTS (J. Michael Bailey): The Scientific American article provides a brief synopsis of the recent retraction of my article with several quotes by “experts” denying any support for ROGD. These “experts” are notable primarily because they are committed to promoting gender transition for persons who claim to have gender dysphoria. None have conducted research relevant to ROGD, and no research was reviewed in the article.

    [...] I was not surprised by the low quality of the Scientific American piece. That is because the publication has become a purveyor of progressive ideology under the thin guise of science. Indeed, over the last few years it has published pieces such as “Modern mathematics confronts its white patriarchal past”, “Denial of evolution is a form of white supremacy”, and “The idea of two sexes is overly simplistic”. Based on these pieces, how does it expect to be considered a serious magazine anymore? (MORE - missing details)

    Last edited: Aug 30, 2023
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  5. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    A sensational theory about a civilization-ending comet in ancient Ohio has been retracted

    The Hopewell Culture of the Midwestern U.S. developed a sprawling trade network and built monumental ceremonial earthworks between roughly 100 and 500 AD. Last year, a team of researchers from the University of Cincinnati presented evidence that a comet airburst, triggering a shock wave and fires, contributed to the demise of the Hopewell. More recently, a dissenting team of scientists refuted those claims, insisting instead that the Hopewell Culture simply fizzled out over time as politics, economics, and settlement patterns changed.

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    Withdrawn AI-written preprint on millipedes resurfaces, causing alarm

    A preprint about millipedes that was written using OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT is back online after being withdrawn for including made-up references...

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    Stanford president retracts two Science papers following investigation

    Marc Tessier-Lavigne, whose resignation as president of Stanford University becomes effective today, is retracting two papers from "Science[" following an institutional investigation that found data manipulation in multiple figures.

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    Researcher sues U.S. government following debarment, misconduct finding

    A former researcher at the University of Utah has filed for a temporary restraining order against the U.S. government agency that last week barred her from receiving federal funds. Ivana Frech – formerly Ivana De Domenico – “engaged in research misconduct by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly falsifying and/or fabricating” images in three different papers whose work was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, according to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI)...

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    ‘Unethical and misleading’: Researcher finds his name on editorial boards of journals he’s never heard of

    ... although Woollins was listed on the journal’s website as a member of its editorial board, he had never even heard of the publication. Woollins, a professor of synthetic chemistry at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, later learned that he is also listed on the editorial board of other journals from the same publisher – Scholars Research Library – again, with no involvement in any of them.

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    Former Alabama chemistry prof faked data in grant applications: Federal watchdog

    A former chemistry professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville admitted to reusing data in grant applications to the National Institutes of Health while claiming that it came from different experiments, according to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity.
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  7. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    ChatGPT is debunking myths on social media around vaccine safety, say experts

    INTRO: ChatGPT could help to increase vaccine uptake by debunking myths around jab safety, say the authors of a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics.

    The researchers asked the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot the top 50 most frequently-asked Covid-19 vaccine questions. They included queries based on myths and fake stories such as the vaccine causing Long Covid.

    Results show that ChatGPT scored nine out of 10 on average for accuracy. The rest of the time it was correct but left some gaps in the information provided, according to the study.

    Based on these findings, experts who led the study from the GenPoB research group based at the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria (IDIS) – Hospital Clinico Universitario of Santiago de Compostela, say the AI tool is a “reliable source of non-technical information to the public”, especially for people without specialist scientific knowledge.

    However, the findings do highlight some concerns about the technology such as ChatGPT changing its answers in certain situations... (MORE - details)
  8. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Building a rocket with indigenous knowledge

    INTRO (Jerry Coyne): It might seem churlish of me to discuss a federally-funded program for young people to integrate “indigenous values” into space exploration, but I discussed a similar aim before with respect to New Zealand, and the article below, from Nature, applies the same aims to an American program. And both programs wound up convincing me of the same three points:
    • “Indigenous values” and “indigenous knowledge” don’t really add much of scientific value to a modern program such as space exploration,
    • The truly “indigenous” aspects of this supposedly salubrious combination of indigenous and non-indigenous knowledge are often superstitious-add ons
    • Dividing up knowledge and researchers in this way serves only to validate race and indigeneity as the defining traits of one’s persona, and makes science, supposedly a worldwide unifying endeavor, divisive.
    The gist of the article is that a Native American (Oglala Lakota) student at MIT, Nicole McGaa, entered a NASA-sponsored contest that was limited to Native Americans, who were tasked with designing a rocket that not only “incorporated indigenous values” into the design, but also flew went to the highest altitude. Already you can sense that the “indigenous values” won’t be of much value in overcoming gravity, but here’s the task... (MORE - details)

    RELATED: Decolonization of knowledge
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    The Stanford one made headlines in the mainstream press and is very shocking, involving, as it does, the head of department at a prestigious university.

    The St. Andrew’s chemistry one involves yet another of these predatory journals that appears on Beall’s list. As is often the case, it seems to emanate from the Far East, though ostensibly based in the UK. It reminds me of SCIRP, which is run from China though pretending to be based in California, and which employs bots to pump its credentials on various science forums.

    As of today, Woollins’s name still appears as an editor on the Der Pharma Chemica website - I’ve just checked. The UK address given for Scholars Research Library is Boundary House, Cricketfield Road Uxbridge, in the outer London suburbs. It seems to be run by companies offering flexible office rentals - ideal as an address for a bogus company whose real base is elsewhere.

    There really is an epidemic of these scammy journals these days.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2023
    C C likes this.
  10. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Who started calling residential school burial sites mass graves?

    EXCERPT: In the spring of 2021, a series of ground-penetrating radar surveys near the sites of former Indian Residential Schools uncovered anomalies that appeared to be consistent with children’s graves. In the nationwide protests that followed, more than 60 Canadian churches were vandalized or destroyed, and statues were pulled down in virtually every major city.

    [...] But there’s just one problem with claims that this was all an engineered hoax: The preliminary claims of First Nations performing the surveys did not state that these were “mass graves,” that they were deliberately concealed or that they were the result of homicide. At least in the beginning, the claims of “mass graves” or mass murder would stem mostly from foreign outlets..... (MORE - missing details)
  11. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    The “crisis in cosmology” is pure exaggeration

    INTRO (Ethan Siegel): One of the most exciting things that can happen to a scientist is the discovery of evidence that appears to contradict the predictions of the leading theories of your field. In some cases that you can imagine, the evidence would immediately be revolutionary.

    For particle physics, that would be like seeing strong, direct evidence of a new fundamental particle that was not predicted by the Standard Model. For astronomy, it would be like discovering a massive, evolved galaxy whose stars were twice the known age of the Universe. And for biology, it would be like watching a creature give birth to an organism that was an entirely different species than its parent.

    But in most cases — particularly in a mature field of science that’s accumulated and successfully accounted for an enormous suite of facts and knowledge — these apparent contradictions will turn out to have a mundane explanation behind them, not a revolutionary one. In recent years, many have been claiming that there’s a crisis in cosmology, and that in particular a series of observations, including:

    all point to a coming, and necessary, scientific revolution. Despite what you might have read recently, however, this is a minority opinion — even a fringe opinion — in the field of cosmology. Here’s the truth about where our current understanding is... (MORE - details)
  12. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Frontiers retracts nearly 40 papers linked to ‘authorship-for-sale’

    The publisher Frontiers has retracted nearly 40 papers across multiple journals linked to “the unethical practice of buying or selling authorship on research papers,” according to a press release posted to a company website Monday.

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    Weill Cornell cancer researchers committed research misconduct, feds say

    Two cancer researchers who formerly worked at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City published 12 papers with fake data that amounts to research misconduct, according to findings from the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

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    Former Stanford president retracts 1999 Cell paper

    Marc Tessier-Lavigne, the former president of Stanford University who resigned following scrutiny of his published papers and an institutional research misconduct investigation, has retracted a third paper, this one from Cell.

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    Eight papers retracted after author found to be fictional

    Elsevier journals are retracting eight studies after learning that one of the authors on the papers was “fictitious” – as in a similar case we reported on recently.
  13. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Putin daughter's publications in US science journal draw backlash

    INTRO: Articles allegedly written by the daughter of Vladimir Putin have been published in scientific journals in the West, despite her facing tough sanctions, it has been reported, prompting criticism on social media. While her identity is virtually a Russian state secret that has never been publicly confirmed, the Russian president's eldest daughter is widely considered to be Maria Vorontsova, a pediatric endocrinologist who is 38... (MORE - details)
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    COMMENT: There doesn't "seem" to be anything direct offered about Maria Vorontsova being a dabbler in bogus or suspect papers.

    Wikipedia mentions that "Vorontsova is credited to be Putin's advisor in genetic engineering, especially in the usage of CRISPR to create genetically-engineered babies." So there's arguably an ethical alarm bell associated with her, in addition to potential for her peddling some of Putin's other aspirations.

    Even if alternatively she was an "innocent" victim of political subjectivity (purely a matter of sanctions being respected, fears generated by propaganda)... Jerry Coyne and others have pointed out in the past where legit work has gotten rejected or retracted because it rubbed against the various social justice theories subsumed by broader critical theory, and sometimes advocated policy-wise by the administrators of institutions as well as publishers. And evolution books and so-forth being taken off shelves by conservatives.

    So being suppressed, censored, or cancelled due to whichever side of politics is still an aspect of the turmoil transpiring today. In addition to the less clouded issues of fraud, replication crisis, corrupting influence via research funders and industry employers, publish or perish pressure, predatory publishing, publication bias, insufficient or deprecated peer review, statistical errors and fallacies, eroding academic standards, etc.

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2023
  14. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Scientist says he 'left out the full truth' to get climate change wildfire study published in journal

    PAPER: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-023-06444-3
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    video link --> Climate scientist boasts about fudging his own paper (Sabine Hossenfelder)

    VIDEO EXCERPT (2:35 mark): The most depressing story of the week is a climate scientist who single-handedly damaged the reputation of his entire discipline. Here’s what happened. The climate scientist Patrick Brown recently published a paper about extreme wildfires and their link to climate change in the journal Nature. Now that the paper’s live, he explained on X-formerly-known-as-twitter, that while his paper considered climate change as one driver of wildfire risk, it did not properly account for other factors, such as changes in land use, vegetation, and human behaviour.

    And he did this deliberately because he believed it would improve his chances to get published. He claims that there is a “formula” to getting published in high impact journals that require focusing on the impact of only one variable. It’s not like he falsified any data, but he left out relevant context that he full well knew about.

    Brown defended his action by saying that while considering other factors would have made for a more realistic and useful analysis, he didn’t want to “muddy the waters of an otherwise clean story.”

    However, the peer review file for Brown’s paper is public, and even the reviewers argued against him. Editors from Nature have denied that leaving out relevant variables reduces the chances of getting published. The episode is fuel to the fire of climate change deniers. Who needs enemies with friends like this?

    Climate scientist boasts about fudging his own paper
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2023
  15. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Turmoil at Sage journal as retractions mount

    In the midst of a tumultuous year, the journal "Concurrent Engineering: Research and Applications", a Sage title, is retracting 21 papers after an investigation identified signs of “compromised” peer review.

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    Overturning a dubious retraction proves difficult for education professor

    For the past eight years, an education researcher in Spain has been waging an unsuccessful battle – including legal action – to quash a retraction she argues should never have happened.

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    The "Retraction Watch" Database becomes completely open – and RW becomes far more sustainable

    Today is a very big day for Retraction Watch and The Center For Scientific Integrity, our parent non-profit. Bear with me while I explain, starting with some history.
  16. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    AI destroys principles of authorship. A scary case from educational technology publishing.

    This is a really scary approach to scientific publishing and the potential future of authorship and publishing in the age of AI and a breach of publication principles. The publisher is currently still working on an erratum focusing on the part where our text has been reused, but I feel responsible to share this case with other researchers...
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2023
  17. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    The Big Bang Theory is true. Deal with it.

    EXCERPTS: ... In my 1996 book The End of Science, I call the big bang one of the greatest discoveries ever. The theory will surely be tweaked and extended, but it will never be overturned, because it is true, just as heliocentrism and evolution by natural selection are true. So I claim.

    But wait. What about a recent New York Times essay, “The Story of Our Universe May Be Starting to Unravel,” by astrophysicists Adam Frank and Marcelo Gleiser? The James Webb Telescope, they report, reveals that galaxies formed “far earlier than should have been possible according to the so-called standard model of cosmology.” This standard model is a souped-up version of the big bang.

    [...] Pardon my eye-rolling, but Frank and Gleiser are reprising, pretty much exactly, arguments I heard at a cosmology symposium in 1990. Thirty-three years ago! Attendees included Stephen Hawking, Frank Wilczek, James Peebles, Martin Rees, Michael Turner, Alan Guth, Sidney Coleman and Andrei Linde... (MORE - missing details)

    RELATED: The "crisis in cosmology" is pure exaggeration
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2023
  18. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Trigger warnings are pointless & anxiety-inducing (Harvard study)

    EXCERPTS: Trigger warnings on college campuses have been controversial since they became more common and attracted public attention in the mid-2010s. Proponents argue that these statements, intended to help individuals prepare for or avoid potentially traumatizing content, make classrooms safe for students. Critics contend that they stifle free speech, coddle students, and backfire by exacerbating negative reactions.

    Students are also divided on them. [...] Last month, a trio of psychologists affiliated with Flinders University and Harvard University published a meta-analysis aggregating all the recent scientific papers on the topic to answer four questions:

    When the studies’ results were pooled together, the researchers found that trigger warnings had no effect on subjects’ emotional responses to the material, did not make them likelier to avoid it, and had little to no effect on participants’ comprehension. They did, however, slightly increase subjects’ anxiety prior to being exposed to the material.

    [...] Despite their apparent ineffectiveness, trigger warnings appear to be here to stay in higher education... (MORE - details)
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    TRIGGER WARNING: The paragraphs below contains a disquieting 4-letter word.

    EDIT NOTICE: The unnecessary "Woke" adjective has been removed due to that requiring a trigger-warning itself. Perhaps the whole excerpt about the article and the featured study should have been placed under a spoiler BBcode tag, with an external admonition. The very idea of trigger-warnings being impotent safeguards could be immensely distressing and an outrageous possibility to the sensibilities of delicate mindsets.

    Given the prudish advisories, restrictions, fines, and censorship of the 19th-century and the first 60 or so years of the 20th, there were apparently fragile population groups in the past that also had to be cautioned about as well as protected from potentially offensive words, content, and material. So it's not like "adult daycare" is really something new. More along the line that "it has returned" or maybe never went away -- simply underwent a facelift or was expanded, refined into new levels of micromanagement.

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2023
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

    ?? I never saw those warnings as "preparing people for offensive material." I see them as "here's what we are presenting so you know if you want to come or not."

    Nothing wrong with presenting material that is arbitrarily scary/triggering/offensive AS LONG AS everyone going knows what is being presented.
    C C likes this.
  20. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Guest post: Genomics has a spreadsheet problem

    Surveys show spreadsheets are the most widely used analytical tool in academic research. But they are prone to errors.

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    Nature pulls study that found climate fears were overblown

    Writing in the retraction notice, van der Werf and his colleagues acknowledged that their “statistical approach needs to be corrected and therefore accept a retraction as requested by the editor.”

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    Exclusive: Probe suggests new retraction awaiting embattled Korean heart doctor

    A prominent physician-scientist in South Korea may soon be facing his fourth retraction. Last month, Hui-Nam Pak of Yonsei University was found guilty of duplicate publication, a form of academic misconduct, according to a report from the school’s committee on research integrity Retraction Watch has obtained.

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    Swedish beauty study that sparked ‘storm of criticism’ is cleared

    The economist behind a controversial study showing attractive female students got lower grades after classes moved online during the pandemic has been acquitted of research misconduct, according to a report from his former institution.
  21. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    The band of debunkers busting bad scientists

    INTRO: An award-winning Harvard Business School professor and researcher spent years exploring the reasons people lie and cheat. A trio of behavioral scientists examining a handful of her academic papers concluded her own findings were drawn from falsified data.

    It was a routine takedown for the three scientists—Joe Simmons, Leif Nelson and Uri Simonsohn—who have gained academic renown for debunking published studies built on faulty or fraudulent data. They use tips, number crunching and gut instincts to uncover deception. Over the past decade, they have come to their own finding: Numbers don’t lie but people do.

    “Once you see the pattern across many different papers, it becomes like a one in quadrillion chance that there’s some benign explanation,” said Simmons, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the trio who report their work on a blog called Data Colada.

    Simmons and his two colleagues are among a growing number of scientists in various fields around the world who moonlight as data detectives, sifting through studies published in scholarly journals for evidence of fraud.

    At least 5,500 faulty papers were retracted in 2022, compared with 119 in 2002, according to Retraction Watch, a website that keeps a tally. The jump largely reflects the investigative work of the Data Colada scientists and many other academic volunteers, said Dr. Ivan Oransky, the site’s co-founder. Their discoveries have led to embarrassing retractions, upended careers and retaliatory lawsuits... (MORE - details)

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    Homeopathy: An Ongoing Public Health Failure

    EXCERPT: ... this new FDA guidance fails to adequately address the public health threat posed by the agency’s decades-long permissive approach to these illegal drug products.

    Under FDA regulations, prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) homeopathic products are considered drugs and are supposed to be subject to the same review and approval requirements as all other prescription and OTC medications. However, under a flawed enforcement policy issued in 1988, the FDA has allowed these drug products to be marketed in the U.S. without agency review or approval. Thus, all products labeled as homeopathic are being marketed without the FDA having evaluated their safety, effectiveness or quality…

    … there is no plausible physiologic or medical basis to support the theory underlying homeopathy, nor is there evidence from well-designed, rigorous clinical trials showing that homeopathic drugs are safe and effective... (MORE - missing details)
  22. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Flawed body of research indicates true ‘long COVID’ risk likely exaggerated

    EXCERPT: ... During the early stages of the pandemic, when SARS-CoV-2 testing wasn’t widely available, studies were more likely to include a non-representative sample of SARS-CoV-2-positive patients by including fewer patients with mild or no symptoms.

    This is known as sampling bias, which occurs when certain members of a population have a higher probability of being included in a study sample than others, potentially limiting the generalisability of a study’s findings, explain the researchers.

    “Our analysis indicates that, in addition to including appropriately matched controls, there is a need for better case definitions and more stringent [‘long COVID’] criteria, which should include continuous symptoms after confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and take into consideration baseline characteristics, including physical and mental health, which may contribute to an individual’s post COVID experience, “ they write, adding that the umbrella term ‘long COVID’ should be jettisoned in favour of different terms for specific after effects.

    While the results of high quality population studies on ‘long COVID’ in adults and children have been reassuring, they point out, the body of research “is replete with studies with critical biases” they add, setting out common pitfalls... (MORE - missing details, no ads)

    PAPER: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjebm-2023-112338
  23. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    No current theory of consciousness is scientific

    A letter by distinguished scientists sought to discredit a leading theory (Integrated Information Theory) of consciousness as pseudoscience. That was a mistake. No theory of consciousness is currently empirically testable, so strictly speaking, no such theory is scientific, argues Erik Hoel.


    Consciousness theory slammed as ‘pseudoscience’ — sparking uproar

    The brouhaha over consciousness and pseudoscience
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