2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

Bring on the nitpicking!

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else below.

Moderators: Calilasseia, ADParker

Vote for your favourite article here:

Evolution : Is it “Only a Theory” ? - by Durro
6
9%
DEBUNKING EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY - by Mr. Samsa
10
14%
“Hopeful Monsters” and “Living Fossils” - by Darwinsbulldog
4
6%
Not in my Genes! - A common misconception in human genetics - by MedGen
9
13%
DEBUNKING ASTROLOGY - by Darkchilde
4
6%
Order, Order! - by hackenslash
5
7%
Canon in S(cience) - by natselrox
5
7%
»The purest Sillian is spoken in the region of Dunts.« - by katja z
7
10%
Winging it - by twistor59
9
13%
"All Prehistoric Beasts were Dinosaurs, and They Were All Huge" - by theropod
3
4%
"See, I was right" - by palindnilap
8
11%
 
Total votes : 70

2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#1  Postby Mazille » Dec 03, 2010 10:18 am

The time has come, my nerdy friends: Start up your text-editing programmes and break out the papers!


!
MODNOTE
Let the voting begin! Everyone has three votes and votes can be changed. Voting will be up until the 31th of December.
May the best articles win.

Thank you, everyone, for your contributions. Merry Christmas! :cheers:


This month's topic is: Debunk a popular misconception.
Do we really only use ten percent of our brain? Are humans a "Blank Slate" at birth or not? Is homoeopathy a science? I'm sure that there are scores of scientific misconceptions of varying popularity you people can think of: Go on and explain to us why they're wrong.

The competition starts as of now. Participants can post their entries in the "Submissions" thread here, while everyone else is cordially invited to comment on the relative merit of the entries in this "Discussion" thread.

Submissions can be entered until Friday, the 24th of December, which is when the voting will start. Voting will end on Friday, the 31st of December, so that all is done and dusted this year.

Articles have to meet all the criteria laid down in the rules here:

The Monthly RatSkep Science Writing Award

We have a lot of professional scientists and very well-versed laymen on the forum and so we decided to make use of those formidable intellectual resources. We challenge you to write an article about a specific topic - which will be revealed later on - and enter it into a competition for "The Monthly RatSkep Science Writing Award"!

Now, to give you an idea of how this competition is going to work:
Every month we will give you the opportunity to take part in this competition. The goal is to write the best article covering a scientific topic of your choice - although with certain restraints. For each round of the competition we will set a general topic (e.g. "Our Solar System", or "The Subatomic World"), from which you can choose any field of interest to write about. After we have announced the general topic of a new round, competitors will have three weeks time to write their articles and enter them in the competition (see below for formal criteria) and after those three weeks users will have another week to vote for the best scientific article.

How is entering the competition and voting going to work?
    1. We will have one thread where people can post their articles and enter them in the competition. This thread will be moved from public view after each round of the competition and a new one will be opened for the next round. Only competitors may post there, and the articles will have to be approved by the staff, just like in the Formal Discussion forum.
    2. We will have another thread, where users can argue about the merits of each article that entered the competition and where they will be able to vote for their favourite article in the last week of the round via a poll. Every member will have the ability to cast three votes.
    3. There will be a third thread, where we collect all the articles that ever entered the competition. This way you will have access to a whole thread full of scientific goodness.
    4. After the general topic of a round has been announced, participants will be given three weeks to write and submit their works. Within this time the commentary-thread will be open for relevant discussions, but voting will still be disabled. After these three weeks users will be given one week to submit their votes. At the end of this period the winners will be announced and the submitted articles will enter the "Hall of Fame"-thread. Shortly after that a new round of the competition with an entirely different general topic will start.
    5. Each participant may only enter one article per round into the competition.


What are the formal criteria for the articles?

    1. Every article you enter into the competition has to be your own original work. Here on RatSkep we do not look kindly on plagiarism. It is, however, allowed to enter the competition with an article you have already posted earlier here on RatSkep, provided it meets the rest of the following criteria.
    2. Articles have to be at least 500 words long and mustn't exceed a limit of 3000 words. The maximum number of pictures and graphics is one picture per 500 words of text.
    3. Articles have to include an index of their sources, if you used any, and direct quotes have to be credited to the original author. We don't want to impose a specific quotation system on the competitors, but keep it clear, easily readable and stick to one system per article.
    4. Articles must cover either the general topic, or an appropriate sub-topic to ensure comparability of your efforts.
    5. Of course, the articles will have to be in the limits of the FUA, as usual.


Any article that does not meet all of the above criteria will be disqualified and cannot be entered in the competition.

Why should I enter the competition?

First of all, this is the perfect opportunity to boast with your superior knowledge. Furthermore the winners will get some shiny stuff:

    1. The authors of the Top 3 articles will get a nice banner for their signatures, in gold, silver and bronze respectively. The authors of those three articles can keep these banners as long as they want since there are going to be new banners for each new round of the competition.
    2. The best entries will also be featured in a prominent spot on our shiny new front-page as soon as LIFE manages to get it up and running.
    3. And last, but not least, we might have a few surprises in store for you...



Good luck and have fun! May the best articles win. :cheers: We are looking forward to your contributions.
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#2  Postby Durro » Dec 09, 2010 4:14 am

OK, someone had to go first to test the water...

[splash]

COME ON IN, THE WATER'S FINE !

:beer:

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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#3  Postby natselrox » Dec 09, 2010 5:58 am

Good one, Durro! So much for the 'just a theory' canard! :cheers:
When in perplexity, read on.

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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#4  Postby Mazille » Dec 09, 2010 10:24 am

Well done, old man! :cheers:
Thanks for being the first to jump in there. :thumbup:
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#5  Postby Mr.Samsa » Dec 09, 2010 10:30 am

Following orders from the boss, I've moved this over here from the other thread:

katja z wrote:Not at all, go ahead! Can you make the Chomsky/Skinner thing fit into common misconceptions, though? :think: I suppose it depends on how you define "common" ...


Yeah, it's probably not common in the sense that astrology myths are common, but in science it's quite a big myth.. I suppose I could debunk the myth that Chomsky was the person (or one of) who started the cognitive revolution, and instead I'll demonstrate that a big player in that movement was Skinner... :grin:

katja z wrote:
I'm still trying to think of other psychology related myths that would be fun to write on. :think:

What about the subconsciousTM? :lol:


:lol: That'd be a massive topic, I think, with numerous caveats that would take me a while to expand on. It certainly would be interesting though.

natselrox wrote:Option 2: Debunking Evopsych.


Now that would be fun! :awesome:

katja z wrote:"Why women talk more than men."


I created a topic on that and only about 3 people replied.. :(

And to Durro, good work on the essay. It explains it all very well! :nod:
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#6  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Dec 09, 2010 10:44 am

I want to write on evo-devo-specifically, an argument of why "hopeful monsters work". In other words, how a very small genetic change can lead to a large change in morphology. Is that OK?
PS Great work Durro! :clap: :clap:
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#7  Postby Mazille » Dec 09, 2010 10:55 am

Darwinsbulldog wrote:I want to write on evo-devo-specifically, an argument of why "hopeful monsters work". In other words, how a very small genetic change can lead to a large change in morphology. Is that OK?
PS Great work Durro! :clap: :clap:

:think:



Go for it, I say! :thumbup:
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#8  Postby Durro » Dec 09, 2010 11:52 am

Thanks guys.

I would like to thank Mr.Samsa, who kindly proof-read an earlier draft of my essay and set me straight on a couple of critical points - particularly on the issues of facts, proof & evidence. He also helped me spell some of the big words. :dopey:

Thank you my wise friend. :cheers:
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#9  Postby MedGen » Dec 09, 2010 7:43 pm

Good stuff there Durro, clear, concise and well laid out.
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#10  Postby hackenslash » Dec 09, 2010 8:02 pm

Excellent article, Durro. I'm adding that one straight to the boilerplate, as it constitutes one of the best deconstructions of that particular canard I've come across. Really brilliant work, and this is precisely what I had in mind when I suggested the topic.
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#11  Postby katja z » Dec 09, 2010 9:20 pm

Good work, Durro! Very quotable. :nod:

And I haven't even started yet :waah:

Mr.Samsa wrote:
katja z wrote:"Why women talk more than men."


I created a topic on that and only about 3 people replied.. :(

I've just ressuscitated it :grin:
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#12  Postby Durro » Dec 10, 2010 6:31 am

Guys ?

The water's fine, really. I haven't peed in it or anything...

Come on in !

:cheers:

p.s. I edited my submission a little to correct a couple of typos, grammatical snafu's and to insert a couple of gratuitous fart jokes.
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#13  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Dec 10, 2010 8:26 am

Durro wrote:Guys ?

The water's fine, really. I haven't peed in it or anything...

Come on in !

:cheers:

p.s. I edited my submission a little to correct a couple of typos, grammatical snafu's and to insert a couple of gratuitous fart jokes.


Oh, I forgot. U need to link your reference list to in-text citations. ;)
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#14  Postby Mazille » Dec 10, 2010 9:27 am

Nah, you don't have to unless they're direct quotes. It certainly is appreciated though.
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#15  Postby Durro » Dec 10, 2010 10:39 am

Don't think I directly quoted anything. It was all paraphrasing after reading the background material.
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#16  Postby Darkchilde » Dec 10, 2010 11:00 am

Well, I am not going to read the submissions as yet. I want to submit my own first, and after it is done, and dusted, I will read the other entries and vote. [I will vote for myself of course :lol: :P :P :grin: :mrgreen: :whistle: ]
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#17  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Dec 10, 2010 10:58 pm

Mazille wrote:Nah, you don't have to unless they're direct quotes. It certainly is appreciated though.

Well, if you want an academic standard paper then you do have to acknowledge paraphrased information from a source. Just saying.
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#18  Postby hackenslash » Dec 11, 2010 12:49 am

Incidentally, I'm happy to proofread anybody's contribution should they require it.

My own entry, if I find the time to write the damn thing, will be pretty uncontroversial, and stock stuff, although my intent is to tackle a particular topic with more completeness than I have come across for the particular subject at hand, which I think will be a mammoth task in only 3,000 words. I don't think it's likely to be a contender this time, but it's a topic I've been meaning to address for a very long time, and will form the skeleton of one of the major chapters in the tome I'm compiling. In any event, it's one of my pet niggles, being a topic that even the very best minds have struggled to deliver with complete rigour. DB and Cali already know what the topic is, as it was the subject of a RL discussion while drinking beer under the stars while cataloguing lepidoptera one evening in the summer.
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#19  Postby MedGen » Dec 11, 2010 1:01 am

Darwinsbulldog wrote:
Mazille wrote:Nah, you don't have to unless they're direct quotes. It certainly is appreciated though.

Well, if you want an academic standard paper then you do have to acknowledge paraphrased information from a source. Just saying.


Except that this isn't an academic standard writing competition. It is scientific writing aimed at promoting the public understanding of science. One has the option of employing particular reference standards in their essay, but it is not an absolute requirement, nor should it detract from the quality of the written piece. This is an exercise is writing quality and the ability to rectify scientific misconceptions to a largely lay-audience, not one in intellectual and academic masturbation.
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Re: 2nd Monthly Science writing Competition - Discussion

#20  Postby Durro » Dec 11, 2010 1:33 am

:this:

The tone of my entry is deliberately light hearted and aimed at a specific audience...and it's not Nobel Prize winners.

If I were to ever attempt to write for a scientific journal (and I'm not qualified to, so don't hold your breath), it would have a much different tone and format and your point is taken on that issue DB. But as Medgen said, the purpose of this competition is to produce works to help educate non-scientific types and therefore, the writing is aimed squarely at that target.
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