chapter  10
19 Pages

Here’s the answer – what’s the question?

WithJack Cohen, Graham Medley, Ian Stewart

Reporter bias is an explanation for the media misreporting human sperm numbers. Competition between genetically identical mouse babies, or outbred ones with genetically different abilities and disabilities that balance out, can explain why inbred mice are more diverse than genetically varied ones. Israeli fighter pilots were described in several newspaper reports as having 85% daughters, and reproductive biologists were challenged to provide an explanation. There are in principle two kinds of explanation for this kind of observation. One is detailed, causal, and specific to each case and requires much experiment and research to verify and test. The other is to note that random does not mean uniform, or evenly distributed. Science is concerned with individual causes, and with the general point that clumps happen. There is a very easy way to distinguish between a causal and a clump explanation. Explanations of experimental results slide along a scale of believability depending on who reports, and to whom it is being reported.