Yesterday a number of news sites posted a summary related to this article about a bacteria that consumes nickel and produces methane.

Headlines touted that a cause for the greatest mass extinction was found, but at least in one case added a question mark to indicate it was just speculation. Yeah, the average US news consumer is going to grok that nuance,

So I find myself wondering, what was this guy doing the day before his great discovery? Do you suppose he was:

a) investigating the digestive properties of a prehistoric microbe,

b) examining the dispersion of nickel deposits from active volcanos, or

c) trying to find a way to blame greenhouse gasses for a mass extinction?

I’m guessing the answer is ‘c’, and that isn’t science. It is starting with a conclusion, rather than ending there. It would be like the police pursuing a murder investigation looking for a .38 caliber weapon that produces particular rifling marks…before the autopsy even confirms the victim was shot.

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