Friday, March 19, 2010

Statistically improbable phrases

"it is time for some humility, concludes Roger Pielke Jr."

Oh, he means *other people*. Almost fooled me there, Roger!


Anonymous said...

Note too the call for 'leadership' from the climate science community that involves 'opening up a space for discussion by science policy specialists'. i.e. scientists should shut up and let Pielke speak. Cute.

James Annan said...

Last time I looked he had a "space". Oh, look he's puffing up that waste of space Nisbet. Colour me surprised.

EliRabett said...

Frankly, and please don't tell him, it's the lack of self awareness that pisses Ethon off the most. Have you ever tried to wash that taste out of your beak?

Dirk said...

Is it just me or do the editors in Nurture seem to have a bias in publishing op-eds and reviews from Jr? Moe G had it right:

The piece is self-refuting, but the issue is that it was allowed to be published. We should hold the editors of Nature up to ridicule. If those editors wish that the issue is taken away from the facts of science and into the realm of political science and economics (as they must plainly feel), then print articles from publishing political scientists and economists. Instead of concern trolls without any stake in substantive argumentation.

Nice to see someone describe Jr. as bugf*** crazy too :-)

Dirk said...

Apologies for not including the hyperlink to Moe G for the above quote.

manuelg said...

That piece is clearly not a book review (too short and too shallow), and it is not a piece of higher criticism because advances no thesis (concern trolling is the opposite of advancing a thesis).

It is a piece of opinion placed in a corner of Nature where the editors don't have to take any responsibility for the opinion. And quite a shabby bit of opinion making.

And why this fringe voice chosen? (Bjorn was caught out misrepresenting sources, the Superfreakonomics chapter was a hash, so RPJr steps up to the plate... And RPJr's tack will run out quickly as well - it seems to be entirely based on the idea that facts can be "contaminated" by scientists who have a preferred policy outcome. Because politics is a human activity, and scientists must not be human.)

An disreputable opinion published predominately without risk to reputation. Shameful. If the self-described "reasonable voices" see the issue not as a matter of scientific fact but as a political or economic one, then commission a paper from a publishing political scientist or an economist. Instead of publishing potshots and bobbing and weaving and concern trolling.

Was this garbage technique used before against other science that pained industries? Is there a history of this technique used for tobacco or pharmacological marketing? Or is energy policy widely understood by "the people who matter" to be all encompassing?

Obviously, industry funds a lot of research. Is this garbage based on many industry voices among the circle of acquaintance of Nature's editors saying that the economic replacements for carbon fuels are just not ready yet, so the scientific question of human culpability in global warming has to simmer on the back burner for a while? (Sadly, the industry concerns are probably more cynical than this - an indirect demand from those who get paid today that they deserve to get paid tomorrow, oil rigs or not, refineries or not.)

John Mashey did a bang up job tracking the pitifully few scientists who promote obscurantism against climate science, but I don't recall the editorial boards of top journals being included in his analysis. And he didn't write about the techniques used in those journals to promote the Art of Controversy against uncomfortable scientific findings.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

I find it odd that Pielke seems unable to separate the message from science, "Houston, we've got a problem", from policy advocacy. The message has been clear since SAR and is getting clearer with each passing year. But communicating the message of the science is not "stealth advocacy", it is just telling the public -- and policy makers -- what the truth is.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Oh, I really, really wanted the next work verif: brusness.

Hank Roberts said...

humility = bow to the money?

Hey, after all, what's the worst that could happen?

.... oh ....

Ssssh. Don't want people to think about such things.

Unthinkable thoughts are attacks on all we hold most dear, our money.

Hank Roberts said...

PS, the irritating thing about PJr is, he's betting on the side most likely to win.

It reminds me of the time decades ago when a friend who was teaching me about computers (CP/M, 8" floppies) told me this guy had started a new company by taking CP/M, reversing the 'to' and 'from' on the Copy command and making a few other cosmetic changes, and sold it to IBM as the operating system for their new home computer, the "PC" -- and that guy was starting a company and selling stock.

We decided, well, that kind of behavior usually pays off in the world, but we didn't want to encourage it.


Pielke is betting on power and money and extractive economics and "profit in our time" winning.

We're betting on intelligence and foresight and conservation for the longterm future.

What are we, _stupid_?

Martin said...

Hank, the reward is in the company you find.

I've been there too, Linux, free software. User friendly, but picking its users with care ;-)

pough said...

Pielke puffs up Nisbet because they have the exact same message: "Everyone needs to shut up and listen to me! My message is the best! It's, 'Everyone needs to shut up and listen to me! My message is the best! It's ...'"

James Annan said...

Hey, but that's what I say and I don't puff up either of them!