So the fallen star of popular neuroscience, Jonah Lehrer, is back. Kind of. Lehrer’s made headlines for giving a talk apologizing for the plagiarism, fabrication of facts and quotes, etc. that ended his career when they were found out last year. His impressive portfolio of books, articles, blogs and lectures turned out to be a house of cards.
But many people are arguing that there was a deeper problem with Lehrer’s journalism than the fact that it was often made up or stolen. Lehrer’s work was, the critics say, just bad science writing, because it was based on telling ‘nice stories’ at best loosely based on the facts, nice stories which were more self-help than science. Some go even further and accuse all of popular neuroscience of doing this. We Are All Jonah! seems to be a common theme, as eloquently expressed by John Wilkins: