Tags: bullshit detector

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.)