Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hypocrisy

Chris DiCarlo talked about fallacies in our class today. We're trying to teach students how to recognize the most important logical fallacies that they are likely to encounter in debates and discussions. He also talked about the importance of consistency and how being caught out as a hypocrite can be devastating to your cause.

Speaking of hypocrisy, the Popular Science website has just banned comments. Apparently they were getting overwhelmed with crackpots and kooks [Why We're Shutting Off Our Comments].
A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to "debate" on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.

There are plenty of other ways to talk back to us, and to each other: through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, livechats, email, and more.
That's not hypocritical. The hypocrisy comes from Uncommon Descent where someone names "nullasalus" blogged about the Popular Science decisions [Popular Science shuts down comments, citing the presence of dissent from the scientific consensus]. Here's what he/she/it said
Science is not what’s being championed at Popsci.com, nor is ‘bedrock scientific doctrine’ challenged by dissent. Consensus is. Orthodoxy is. Likewise, being ‘politically motivated’ with regards to science is not a problem – it is having political, social and even religious views that PopSci has decided are unacceptable. Dialogue and discussion is welcomed by the self-appointed champions of science – if and only if it results in an outcome they favor. If they suspect it doesn’t, then the dialogue and discussion is over.

Why, it’s almost as if science was never really the concern to begin with.
I was going to make a comment but I can't because I've been banned. Apparently the people at Uncommon Descent have decided that my views are unacceptable. I also can't make any comments over on Evolution News & Views because they don't allow comments.

That's what hypocrisy looks like.


18 comments :

  1. Dialogue and discussion is welcomed by the self-appointed champions of science – if and only if it results in an outcome they favor.

    That's what science is all about, dialog and discussion by a bunch of ignoramuses.

    Well it is at UD. That's why people interjecting nuisances like "standards" and "evidence" are unwelcome at UD.

    Glen Davidson

    ReplyDelete
  2. I used to do a lot of denier battling of all sorts in comment sections back in the days when I had more time and still naively thought it makes a difference, But ultimately it is a completely futile exercise because it is a highly asymmetric warfare - the amount of lies and falsehoods someone can spew out in a given unit of time is vastly larger than the amount of lies and falsehoods one can debunk. Add to that the fact that we are generally holding ourselves to higher standards of intellectual discourse (i.e. you do have to frequently check whether what you are saying is actually true) while the deniers are free to say whatever they want. Also add the fact that the number of ignorant illiterate people in the world is vastly larger than the number of those who know what they're talking about. And it becomes really really hopeless.

    On top of that one has to do research.

    Still, that's a truly sad moment because it tells you have is winning the war on the internet.

    The only viable solution would have been for science on a fairly high level to feature highly prominently in the mainstream media. Unfortunately, even ignoring the practical impossibility of that happening, that ship has already sailed - media market are highly fragmented and younger people don't really get their information from TV or newspapers anyway, they do so on the internet. And while the internet can free people from the ideological propaganda that usually dominates the mainstream media, people only benefit from that if they know what to look for and have some critical thinking skills. That's usually not the case and then it actually does more damage than good.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Speaking of hypocrisy at evolutionnews, a heads up.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/09/teamwork_new_yo077071.html

    Evolutionnews interprets Zimmer's writeup of a new paper on causes of the Cambrian Explosion as an indirect attack on Meyer (as he fails to cite how Darwin's Doubt challenges the current scientific views). They also complain that they are ignored by Mike Lee et al. in the mid September issue "Current Biology", despite the fact that at the end of the paper you can see that the paper was "received May 14th, 2013", a good month before the publication of Darwin's Doubt (assuming, of course that they would have though it worthwhile to dispute). Frankly, I very much doubt that Mike Lee and authors have even heard of this book by this point in time.

    They say

    "There's something odd about Zimmer's article. Despite the vigorous media dialogue over Darwin's Doubt, reflected in print, online, and over 300 Amazon reviews, Zimmer declines to mention the book or its author. But then the article in Science that claims to reveal the causes of the Cambrian explosion never acknowledges the controversy either. ENV noted a similar reticence in last week's Current Biology paper, which makes reference to "opponents of evolution," and critiques a very Meyer-esque argument, but likewise refuses to cite Meyer or Darwin's Doubt by name. "

    Those poor little guys at the DI -- the ramblings of folks at Amazon is now hailed as serious discussion by the media.

    I can see what is coming --- any future paper on the Cambrian that fails to cite Meyer will be seen as a direct affront, and a deliberate ignoring, of the Discovery Institute. Thus, the continual ignoring of the book by scientists will be seen as a triumph for the DI, as they will promote it as deliberately ignoring their arguments.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heh! AiG will be on the job soon too:

      It took a global flood to tap that capacity, Dr. Smith and Dr. Harper propose. They base their proposal on a study published last year by Shanan Peters of the University of Wisconsin and Robert Gaines of Pomona College. They offered evidence that the Cambrian Explosion was preceded by a rise in sea level that submerged vast swaths of land, eroding the drowned rocks.

      Delete
    2. P.S.

      I can see what is coming --- any future paper on the Cambrian that fails to cite Meyer will be seen as a direct affront, and a deliberate ignoring, of the Discovery Institute.

      Aren't they cute when they ball up their fists, screw their eyes tight shut and stomp their feet?

      Delete
    3. OK, that settles it. I shall do some work on the Cambrian explosion to get the satisfaction of writing an article that they will see as another affront because it ignores their bullshit.

      Delete
    4. Everything about that book leaves me scratching my head (I haven't read it and I don't intend to but I listened to a couple of interviews):

      1) Stephen Meyer strikes me as someone who is so ignorant of basic biology that he should never have been allowed to write books on the subject. Yet he's on TV and radio as some sort of credible authority.

      2) The book is dedicated to a non-issue for evolutionary biology

      3) Nobody in their camp ever showed any intention to debate the implications. So let's assume evolution cannot "explain" the Cambrian explosion. Then what follows from that? Lots of questions nobody ever tries to answer. God sat on his fingers for 3.5+ billion years and only in the Cambrian he decided to steer the course of evolution? Or he intervened repeatedly before or after? If he did, why did he wait so long if he's omnipotent? Doesn't a young earth make more sense from a theological point of view? And isn't that what these guys probably truly believe in secret...

      So despite all the above, we're supposed to cite his book every time the Cambrian is discussed????

      Delete
    5. ""...despite the fact that at the end of the paper you can see that the paper was "received May 14th, 2013", a good month before the publication of Darwin's Doubt.""

      That by itself shows how much experience those idiots have with publishing articles (not to mention reading them).

      Delete
    6. Georgi Marinov

      3) Nobody in their camp ever showed any intention to debate the implications. So let's assume evolution cannot "explain" the Cambrian explosion. Then what follows from that? Lots of questions nobody ever tries to answer. God sat on his fingers for 3.5+ billion years and only in the Cambrian he decided to steer the course of evolution? Or he intervened repeatedly before or after? If he did, why did he wait so long if he's omnipotent? Doesn't a young earth make more sense from a theological point of view? And isn't that what these guys probably truly believe in secret...


      I've been asking this same thing to every ID-Creationist on every board I can since Meyer's latest stupidity was published. How do his Cambrian claims fit in with the 3+ billion years of life before the Cambrian, including 80-100 MY of multicellular life? How do they fit in with 500 MY of life after the Cambrian with the Great Ordovician Diversification, the five major mass extinction events and subsequent re-radiations?

      Needless to say I haven't gotten a single peep of a response.

      Delete
  4. P.P.S. Zimmer's article is all of 906 words ... so, naturally, he is required to take on Meyer's 400+ pages of logorrhea.

    If ego was cash, the DI wouldn't need Ahmanson.

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  5. From what this article says its incredible they are censoring conversations about subjects in science.
    Is it that bad for global warmingolics and evolutionists THAT THEY must shut down comments!!
    Its laughable. I'm laughing (so evidence to me its laughable).
    They should be the most articulate and devastating defenders of their ideas!
    They can select their best defences and select the worst critics comments.
    One shouldn't but before burning the books.
    It shows lawyers can make a good case out of a bad one but not scientists or those defending wrong ideas in science.
    They can't take folks!
    15 years for evolution and less then ten for the jazz about warming planet earth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One shouldn't but before burning the books. They can't take folks!

      Well I hope you don't shut down comments or ban Robert Byers or it will become as sterile as Uncommon Descent.

      Delete
    2. Do I need to dig out creationists writings from 50 years ago saying that evolution will be forgotten as a viable idea within 15 years, i.e. 3-4 decades ago???

      BTW, earlier today I had to unearth some of the early references on junk DNA and mutational load from Muller, Kimura and Ohno. I had not seen what is written in the actual papers before. I was almost shocked to actually see it with my eyes even though I knew about that already - based on pure population genetics and the few facts they knew about the genome in the 60s, they were able to estimate the number of genes in the genome, and the fraction of functional DNA with accuracy that someone who has been exposed to all the years of boastful press releases on how everything in biology has been overturned by the latest paper and has paid too much attention to them would never think possible. So much for a theory in crisis.

      This has in fact been repeatedly pointed out - there was indeed the 60-70 years period between Darwin and the time evolutionary theory was put on truly solid theoretical foundations, but after that all observations have been in line with theory and greatly illuminated by it.

      Delete
    3. ""From what this article says its incredible they are censoring conversations about subjects in science.""

      That's funny, Byers. I never saw you saying the same about Evolution News & Views' no comments policy. Are you an hypocrite? Seems so.

      Delete
    4. I don't know why they don't have comments. Maybe no time to referee , a big problem, or no interest for it.
      Different motivations.

      Delete
    5. ""Different motivations.""

      Precisely. Now guess what those are.

      Delete
    6. More Robert Byers, Beat Poet.

      "15 Years for Evolution"
      By Robert Byers

      what this article says
      its incredible
      they are censoring conversations
      about subjects in science.

      Is it that bad
      for global warmingolics
      and evolutionists
      THAT THEY must shut down comments!!

      Its laughable. I'm laughing
      (so evidence to me its laughable).

      They should be the most articulate
      and devastating defenders
      of their ideas!

      They can select their best defences
      and select the worst
      critics comments.

      One shouldn't but before burning the books.

      It shows lawyers can make
      a good case out of a bad one
      but not scientists or those
      defending wrong
      ideas in science.

      They can't take folks!

      15 years for evolution
      and less then ten
      for the jazz
      about warming planet earth.

      Delete