Author: J. Scott Turner

J Scott Turner is Emeritus Professor of Biology at SUNY ESF in Syracuse, New York. He is the author of The Extended Organism: the Physiology of Animal-Built Structures (2000, Harvard University Press), and Purpose and Desire. What Makes Something “Alive” and Why Modern Darwinism Has Failed to Explain It (2017, HarperOne). He is presently Director of Science Programs at the National Association of Scholars.

Fake It: The Surefire Way to Win at Science Fairs

Fraud was uncovered last week at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s biggest science fair, put on by the non-profit group Society for Science. The 17-year-old winner beat out nearly 1,700 competitors to take home a $50,000 cash prize, along with an additional $5,000 bonus, the hopeful start of an impressive science […]

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Animal Consciousness: The Latest ‘Science’ Magic Show

On April 19, the “New York Declaration on Animal Consciousness” was announced to some fanfare. Mark your calendars because the Declaration was hailed as a momentous change in our thinking about animals. Science says so! Forty scientists signed the Declaration! More scientists’ signatures are coming in! NBC News and MSN, among other media, are breathless […]

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The Plagiarism Witch Hunt Is On! And It’s Your Fault.

Claudine Gay’s recent spectacular flameout has sparked a smoldering brushfire over academic plagiarism. Suddenly, we are seeing plagiarism everywhere. Shortly after the exposure of Gay’s sins, Neri Oxman, who is a Harvard professor herself, and the wife of Bill Ackman—the hedge fund manager that led a donor’s backlash against Harvard’s tolerance of anti-Semitism—was accused of […]

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Minding the Sciences—Science’s Goose is Cooked: Seven Pillars of Folly

The era of Big Science began formally in 1950, when the National Science Foundation opened its doors. Its mission was to fulfill a hopeful promise: for government to fund the very best academic science, to explore science’s “endless frontier,” in the inspiring words of Vannevar Bush, President Roosevelt’s—and subsequently President Truman’s— science czar. There was […]

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The Sobering Lesson of the Claudine Gay Ouster

Much ink and many gigabytes have been spilled on the topic of Claudine Gay’s defenestration from the presidency of Harvard University. The commentary ranges from the tedious and predictable gnashing of liberal teeth that racism and sexism somehow were the cause, orchestrated—naturally—by Republicans, who have made plagiarism a “weapon” in their “war on education.” More […]

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Minding the Sciences — The Scientific Deep State: The National Institute of Standards and Technology

This is the second of a series of articles exploring the scientific deep state. Here, Dr. J Scott Turner will explore basic questions, including how many scientists are employed by the federal government, where they work, what they do, and what are their qualifications? Articles to come will present case studies of how the scientific […]

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Minding the Sciences — The Scientific Deep State: What Is It and How Big?

This is the first of a series of articles exploring the scientific deep state. Here, Dr. J Scott Turner will explore basic questions, including how many scientists are employed by the federal government, where they work, what they do, and what are their qualifications? Articles to come will present case studies of how the scientific […]

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Minding the Sciences — Smarter Than Your Average Bears

  Remember those pathetic photographs of polar bears standing on tiny ice floes, scanning the horizon for the tasty seals that were no longer there? Those viral photos of an emaciated polar bear, starving because its prey has disappeared along with the sea ice that has melted away due to climate change? The very same […]

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Minding the Sciences — Spinning Out of Control

When James Taranto edited the Best of the Web Today feature on the Wall Street Journal Opinion page, there was a recurring trope: “Everything seemingly is spinning out of control.” This featured hysterical reactions to ordinary things, such as a new Heinz ketchup recipe “shaking up” fans of the condiment. It seems now that we […]

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Minding the Sciences — What Is Science?

Why do we feel lied to when we are admonished to “Follow the Science”? Is it because “the Science” is herding us to energy suicide? For our own good, of course. Is it because “the Science” insists that the distinction between men and women is illusory, and enthusiastically backs up the delusion with stunning non […]

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Minding the Sciences — Greenwashing a Famine

Editor’s Note: This piece is part of a new Minding the Campus article series called Minding the Sciences, wherein we are renewing our focus on the sciences given the many threats it faces in modern academia. Click here to learn more. In April, David Muir of ABC News broadcast a special report from South Sudan, […]

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Minding the Sciences — The Not-So-Silent Spring

Editor’s Note: This piece is part of a new Minding the Campus article series called Minding the Sciences, wherein we are renewing our focus on the sciences given the many threats it faces in modern academia. Click here to learn more. Sixty years ago, Rachel Carson warned of a “silent spring” to come. Presently, here […]

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Minding the Sciences — Science Should Leave the University

Editor’s Note: This piece is part of a new Minding the Campus article series called Minding the Sciences, wherein we are renewing our focus on the sciences given the many threats it faces in modern academia. Click here to learn more. A dozen years ago, National Association of Scholars President Peter Wood posed the provocative […]

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Minding the Sciences — In Defense of Merit: Is it too Late?

Editor’s Note: This piece is part of a new Minding the Campus article series called Minding the Sciences, wherein we are renewing our focus on the sciences given the many threats it faces in modern academia. Click here to learn more. In late April 2023, twenty-nine scientists published a manifesto titled “In Defense of Merit […]

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(Almost) Holden and Me

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the nation’s premiere professional organization for the sciences. As part of our expanding outreach into the sciences, we at the National Association of Scholars (NAS) decided to set up a booth at the annual March meeting of the AAAS, so that we could get out […]

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Paranoia Strikes Deep

The atmosphere was akin to Hotel Rwanda—a beleaguered assemblage of innocents shivering behind thin walls, surrounded by a tempestuous sea where the dark forces of the anti-science movement lurked, ready to snuff out enlightenment at the first opportunity. Such was the recent annual meeting of America’s preeminent scientific body, the American Association for the Advancement […]

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The Pampered Pets of Big Science

A couple of weeks ago, the Washington Post reported on the shattered career of “renowned AIDS researcher” Jeffrey Parsons, a psychologist who spent most of his career at Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY). The Post’s story was about the settlement in a long-running civil case over Parsons’ use and abuse […]

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Science: Are we getting what we’re paying for?

The 1950s were the beginning of a massive expansion of federal funding for basic, curiosity-driven science in the universities. An initiative of the Roosevelt administration, the unprecedented intrusion was floated on high-sounding rhetoric that ultimately prevailed over the concerns of a skeptical Congress. Scientists, so the story went, were intrepid adventurers exploring science’s “endless frontier.” […]

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Barbara Ehrenreich, RIP (1941–2022)

Barbara Ehrenreich passed away on September 1, 2022, at the age of 81. She died in a hospice care facility. According to her daughter, Rosa Brooks, she was killed by a stroke. I had long dismissed Barbara Ehrenreich as a typical denizen of what I call NPR World. I want to be clear that I […]

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