Tags: Bad Science

24 Jun 2007, Comments Off on More Intelligent than Britney Spears

More Intelligent than Britney Spears

Author: Helen

Congratulations to John Quiggin on his five-year blogiversary. Five years is a long time for a blog– I only discovered it in 2003, and it’s still a must-read. Here’s a repost of something I wrote in 2005 about why academic blogs like JQ’s are so valuable for the rest of us non-academics.

Someone like me — two kids, fulltime job, busy life– reads an article quoting fearfully respectable pundits from fearfully brainy-sounding think tanks, universities and consultancies. I probably read it during my half hour lunch, or on the weekend in between chauffeuring and sprog manintenance duties. I do not have time to put my busy life on hold to acquire a degree in science and to thoroughly research everyone’s background and work (although once you get into the habit, a google is always good.) What a normal working stiff like me needs is a bearded professor ™ in the room to tell us when people are trying to gaslight us on one topic or another.

Quiggin and Immanuel Rant unpick the disengenuities for us. [Unfortunately, Rant is no longer with us.] Tim Lambert, who is on the Professor’s blogroll, is also great for these Bad Science moments, although I don’t know if he has a beard or not.

Now that I’ve pulled up that old post, I’ve noticed the similarity between what I’ve said and what Hilzoy has said recently (see previous post). I think it’s a concern for a lot of people.

I’m not sure quite how bearded John is since the World’s Greatest Shave – he’s also a great donater and raiser of funds for good causes – but he is still a great bullshit detector and explainer of complex issues. Long may he blog.

(The title of this post was an endorsement from Jason Soon of Catallaxy, which is proudly published on John’s sidebar.)

10 Apr 2005, Comments (0)

Bloggers, wheat, chaff, etc

Author: Helen

Cover of IPA review issue 57

Quiggers has a post up here which makes a big point about what’s wrong with the mainstream media.

Someone like me — two kids, fulltime job, busy life– reads an article quoting fearfully respectable pundits from fearfully brainy-sounding think tanks, universities and consultancies. I probably read it during my half hour lunch, or on the weekend in between chauffeuring and sprog manintenance duties. I do not have time to put my busy life on hold to acquire a degree in science and to thoroughly research everyone’s background and work (although once you get into the habit, a google is always good.) What a normal working stiff like me needs is a bearded professor ™ in the room to tell us when people are trying to gaslight us on one topic or another.

Quiggin and Immanuel Rant unpick the disengenuities for us. Tim Lambert, who is on the Professor’s blogroll, is also great for these Bad Science moments, although I don’t know if he has a beard or not.

Blogs are supposed to be so unreliable and biased ‘n all, but when I put mainstream columnists or pundits like Duffy, Devine and Albrechtsen up against bloggers like Quiggin, Drum or the Crooked Timber gang, I can’t help but think this argument is all a lot of self serving dingoes’ kidneys.

Mmmmm, dingoes kidneys. Oh, where was I?

Gregory Hywood, some time ago, posited that rise of NGOs poses a challenge to our democracy. Which NGOs? Why, left-leaning NGOs, of course! Your Wilderness societies, your Brotherhood of St Laurences. They publish stuff with biases in it, you see, so we, the great majority of working stiffs, are bamboozled and blinded by their seductive rhetoric. (No matter that articles like Duffy’s, above, purport to be redressing some kind of balance while NGOs are out, loud and proud about what they’re advocating for.)

But it’s funny that it’s not a problem when Duffy or Hywood or others publish articles quoting the fabulously unbiased organisations like the Lavoisier group, IPA, CIS and others. (the IPA has proposed standards of transparency for NGOs advising governments which they’re not prepared to live up to themselves, but that’s a post for another day.)

So it’s good to have people like Quiggin, Lambert and Mr or Ms IRant batting for us.