Science and the Media- Zombies and Ebola

Zombies and Ebola are quite prevalent in popular media. Yet how do you know if the information you see, read, or hear is scientifically valid? Possibly the most important skill to take away from any introduction to science course is to be able to evaluate the source of information and determine if it is scientifically valid. Here we use media examples of zombies and Ebola and ask what you think about their validity.

In your response or this topic:

  • Choose either Zombies or Ebola.
  • Read/ watch the associated links below.
  • Provide your analysis of what you think is scientifically valid or in valid and why.


Human Zombies in science fiction often arise because of a widespread infection. Some people have described certain animal behavior as “zombie” specifically caterpillars and snails. What do you think?

Suggested Links:

(Note: some of these may not be scientifically valid- your job is to sort out what is from what isn’t.)

  • The Science of Zombism
  • How a Zombie Outbreak Could Happen in Real Life
  • Video: Snail Zombie (transcript)
  • Video: Zombie Caterpillar (transcript)


The outbreak of Ebola in Africa is receiving a lot of media attention. Of all the ideas and media reports, what seems scientifically valid to you and what seems exaggerated? Why? (Give specific links and examples of both scientifically valid information and exaggerated or even incorrect information from links below and those you find on your own.)

Suggested Links:

(Note: some of these may not be scientifically valid- your job is to sort out what is from what isn’t.)

  • Ebola: What you need to know
  • Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
  • Bitter Kola will Cure Ebola and AIDS
  • UK raises fear of Ebola “dirty bomb”…


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