Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is Intellectual Rape a High Tech Lynching?

James Delingpole is unhappy at being taken apart by Paul Nurse. Poor baby

Joe Romm is not so unhappy at all this. The lace hanky crowd will have to speak for itself.

Climate Crock has S. Fred and the rest of the program


Pinko Punko said...

Given the fact that PN is an ultra-sharp completely nice guy, I watch the first few seconds in dread because I feel I am about to watch the nicest bear in the world gorge himself politely on helpless salmon.

I will continue to play now, feeling the same dread I would feel with the journalist as a George Costanza-level screw up about to make a horrible ass of himself. I will feel a twinge of empathy as he is destroyed.

Brian Schmidt said...

I hope the analogy to treating cancer can help people draw the distinction between science and science used in policy - the latter is all about consensus.

amoeba said...

It's perfect the perfect demonstration of the D-K effect.
In a blind test, I bet that the over modest PN would in all honesty rate his abilities and knowledge as below that of his colleagues, while D would rate his abilities and knowledge as considerably superior to that of his colleagues, he probably thinks himself as the greatest journalist of all time.
But in this hypothetical test, when their colleagues rate them it seems most likely that PN would be rated very highly indeed, while D is rated as a dunce who's been lucky.

Anonymous said...

I liked how when he got uncomfortable with what he could not grasp,he would try to change the subject to something else he could not grasp. There is even less to James than I expected.


Anonymous said...

Paul brings up the consensus aspect of cancer diagnosis, James says it's totally inappropriate (no reason given) and puts on a huff of being typecast and insulted. Of course he's not at all like those people who seek quack treatments instead of listening to the legit experts, how dare Paul even suggest it! This came right after he described climate consensus as all the scientists totally failing to be scientists, insinuating that they're incompetent puppets dancing to the tune of a government plot to control people's personal lives.

Paul asks if James reads peer reviewed papers. He glibly replies that they're unreliable because the emails show the process to be compromised. What he doesn't mention is that the compromise incident in the emails was actually on the part of climate "skeptics" pushing a terrible paper through because it concluded that AGW is wrong. This compromise of peer review was so distasteful that half the editorial board resigned in the aftermath, when it was clear that the problems weren't going to be fixed. But James imagines that the real problem was strong reaction from Phil Jones and company to the paper's publication and their discussion of the editorial issues that let it through.
Instead of traditional, expert peer review James speakings glowingly of the vanity website approach where anybody can put out anything, ignore criticisms in the commentary, and spread their ideas around to anybody who'll run with it. The problem with this is that irresponsible site owners let informed criticism be shouted down and never acknowledge it, as anybody who visits WUWT can see. It's the echo chamber issue.

For one who supposedly favors an unfiltered approach to science publication, the admission that he relies entirely on third parties to read and transmit the ideas to him is contradictory. He doesn't trust panels of experts and professional bull-detectors to find problems before they go to press with a paper, but his chosen font of knowledge is to have all the science fed through the potential bias of any given hack with a keyboard?
Apparently James doesn't think that his job as a journalist includes fact-checking those admittedly second-hand sources, merely "interpreting the interpreters." Even Jon Stewart fact-checks, and he's upfront about being a professional clown impersonating a newsman.


Anonymous said...

WheelsOC - very astute comment

William T

Martin Vermeer said...

Hmmm, I used to think that Delingpole, while not the sharpest pencil in the box, was driven by something, anything -- call it ideology, call it his wage packet, call it "evil" if you like -- on a level somewhat above being just a cult victim. I was wrong.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

James Delingpole...there's less there than meets the eye. His website is a scream. I'm wondering how the Brits came up with the word "prat" before James came on the scene. It seems tailor-made for him.

severn said...

There are many people who do believe that the choice of a medical procedure is (or should be) the result of assessing all the different opinions in the blogosphere. I realised that while listening to a recording of a London radio talk-show host called Jeni Barnett who was railing against vaccination. That is exactly what she was urging people to do.

Even worse than that, she considered that she was better qualified to make decisions on such things than doctors or nurses are, because she was not constrained by their limited point of view.

I think it is hard for people who are science-educated to realise how widely and deeply this post-modernist thinking has spread. Especially amongst graduates in English (like Delingpole) and media studes and similar subjects.

We may think that Paul Nurse demolished Delingpole, but this mind-set will rationalise it away and see it as oppression by one intolerant world view of another, equally or more valid, one.

Sou said...

Going by some of the comments on Delingpole's execrable blog (in which he compounds his foolishness by writing about how a mere Nobel prize-winning scientist who is leading the arguably most prestigious scientific organisation in the world, sneaked one by him), there are quite a few people in the world who value ignorance above expertise.

Based on the comments, there are some people who are fearful of knowledge and are suspicious of anyone who has it, let alone those who create it. Hence the reaction. Similar to people who despise anyone who is successful in any endeavour - relating more to those who don't even try.

The show was great and will give ordinary people who might have doubted global warming something to think about. But it won't change the real deniers one iota.

Sir Paul sees one of the solutions as scientists making a greater effort to communicate science. I'm not convinced that the actions of scientists in regard to communication is the problem, although every bit helps. The onus should be on policy makers (governments) and information brokers (the media) - it's always been their job to inform the public about important matters and they are falling down badly.

BTW - Delingpole can talk. It's a pity he is so lacking in grey matter. (How did he ever get accepted as an undergrad at a university? I thought there would have been normal selection criteria in place. Is it a matter of who you know not what you know?)

EliRabett said...

Mom Rabett was the last of the first grade dragons, and she always used to shake her head about parents' choices in educating their children. To hear the average discourse, parents should be totally free to make all choices for their kids, but in reality many, maybe even most do not have the information they need to do so, nor the tools that they need to make the best choices, nor do they all know this, nor do they know how to seek out the information and help they need. Which, of course, is not a modern dilemma.

Delingpole and his mates are merely spreading this gospel.

Horatio Algeranon said...

The Interpreter of Interpretations

crf said...

If Paul Nurse interviews another right-wing know-nothing columnist, he should keep a lollipop in his pocket. When his subject begins whining about being intellectually jabbed, and threatens to hold his breath unless the interviewer stops being so mean, he can bring out the lollipop. Sugar has a soothing effect.

Anonymous said...

@WheelsOC - ass to his specific choioce of outlet the nugget in this program, he states that he hasn't actually even read any of the scientific literature that he denigrates.

"interpreting the interpreters" Haven't been so entertained by such an example of intellectual seppuku in a long time.

@Sou - you make some important points, but how do we solve the dilemma in the internet fast-food media age? If not better communication, how about better education? It's almost as if, to get by, the average person is going to need training in basic critical thinking and fact-checking (alongside reading, writing and arithmetic) so the do not spend their lives gullibly being taken in by random guff they read on the Web.


J Bowers said...

"Interpreter of the interpretations"

Look up 'prophet' in a dictionary.

guthrie said...

Martin Vermeer - Delingpole, by his own words, is thirled to an ideology, a pernicious one divorved from reality. A quote from him:

But mainly I see myself as a combatant in an ideological war in which I’m fighting against the tyranny of Big Government and fighting for free markets, small government, openness, honesty and personal liberty. One way I can do this, I believe, is by exposing the lies and inconsistencies of those who claim the case for AGW (and related eco-perils) is stronger than it actually is. And also by relaying such new pieces of scientific research in this field that sound interesting. None of this involves scientific research, for I am not a scientist and have never claimed to be.

Or in other words, he's just a mouthpiece parroting whatever propaganda he thinks is right. So yes, I suppose you could say he is a cult victim, but he makes a good living out of it.

J Bowers said...


Jakerman said...

Re Gutheries citation of Delingpole:

"One way I can do this, I believe, is by exposing the lies and inconsistencies of those who claim the case for AGW (and related eco-perils) is stronger than it actually is."

How does Delingpole know which claims for the case for AGW are "stronger than it actually is"? Where is his reality check if he's excluded peer reviewed science?

He's removed any possibility of achieving his implied goal. He selected procedure comes down to picking his favoured ideological framework and attacking the science that contradicts that point of view.

Anonymous said...

I also try to interpret the interpreters as the science is over my head, but who are the interpreters and how do I interpret them? In other words, who do I trust?

It is always good, especially at the beginning, to check the sources of the interpreters to see if what they say is correct, to check what other interpreters are saying about your interpreter's interpretation, and how your interpreter reacts to that.

Take for instance Anthony Watts. It often happens that on his blog facts get mangled and misrepresented leading to accusations of fraud. Not once have I seen those misrepresentations and allegations been retracted, with apologies offered, even when they were conclusively pointed out to be untrue. After a few times I decided that this interpreter could not be trusted. The same goes for most of the other professional skeptics.

But for the likes of Delingpole things do not work the same way. Their interpreters can lie and distort, again and again, and even when this is pointed out to the likes of Delingpole they keep on trusting their interpreters. That's the problem.

There's not much wrong with interpreting the interpreters, but do it in an open-minded and most of all consistent way.

Bryson said...

W.V.O. Quine pointed out long ago that, if you're willing to make adjustments elsewhere in the 'web of belief', any claim can be defended come what may. Delingpole illustrates the practical implications of that principle. The result is an internally 'rational' state of mind-- that is, the full system of beliefs fits together nicely. But the practice that gets you there and keeps you there requires continuous cherry-picking of claims, accepting only those new claims that fit with the pre-established certainty without any principled basis for distinguishing what you hold so certain from other claims you would reject as crazy. PN did a wonderful job of illustrating that-- and all Delinpole has as an answer is, 'but it's different when I do it'. Complete, delightful fail-- and it seems even Delingpole recognized how much of a fail (hence the howls of protest).

Anonymous said...

J Bowers,


Excellent, a keeper; as is "denialist chum" (SheWonk's wondeful creation).

Regarding Delingpole, more please BBC. It was a beautiful sight to behold watching him implode.


Anonymous said...

"Peer to peer review" - is that like the "big society" for "alarm clock Britain"? The scary thing is that his allies in government are just like him.

He's been thoroughly media-trained, I think. Note how he, ah, "pauses to emphasise" the, ah, "bits he wants quoting" and all the studied open-hand gestures. Although they somehow failed to drill the incredibly annoying "quote marks in the air" gesture out of him.

Nick Dearth said...

A more appropriate use of air quotes http://www.hulu.com/watch/19049/saturday-night-live-bennett-brauer

guthrie said...

Yorkshire ranter - I'm going to continue using air quotes because I have read and found useful one of the origins of the modern popularity of them.

Marion Diabolito said...

I'm simply going to speak my mind, plainly. If the Viscount Lord Monckton wishes to send his manservant Delingpole to stand for the master, he should instruct him so as not to embarass that worthy gentleman with unmanly and declasse lamentations. If this is the best help Christopher Monckton can afford, no wonder he's of such a querulous, choleric temperament!

For the love of God, Lord Monckton, give the man the sack before he's found wandering the streets with nothing but a threadbare overcoat and a flask of rough spirits!

EliRabett said...

It is revealed. Scrotum, the faithful manservant is Delingpole. Must tell Gareth.

Horatio Algeranon said...

Delingpole's idea of "peer to peer review"?

J Bowers said...

Perhaps a note to the Beeb from those who give a thumbs up to the programme, to commend it, wouldn't go amiss? No doubt many notes of complaint have been sent already.


Opening hours:
Mon-Sat: 0900-2300
Sun: 1000-2300

Gareth said...

Scrotum assures me that he has more bottom than De Ling Pole could ever dream of.

John Mashey said...

Rape or lynching seem inapplicable to someone's act of:
a) Voluntarily throwing oneself under a bus
b) on national TV
c) that would quickly find its way to YouTube.

I've had some personal contact with senior folks in British scientific community and unsurprisingly, they are pretty smart folks and in anything like a neutral venue, Delingpole would be toast against the others I've met.

J Bowers said...

Storyville follows Monckton on tour in 'Meet the Climate Sceptics', BBC Four, 10pm, Monday 31st January.

Anonymous said...

The report of Delingpole blackballing Scrotum from the Junior Ganymede Club was somewhat exaggerated.

It was the Dejeuner Ganymede.

J Bowers said...

So Delingpole turned up in the other documentary tonight, Lindzen reckons he can deal with five degrees no problem, and Monckton's on record saying "we" have people keeping an eye on John Abraham. In the end the filmmaker concludes, after challenging Monckton about some of the things claimed in the doc, that given a choice of who to trust, he sides with the scientists. Hopefully it'll be Youtubed soon. Oh, and Monckton went to the High Court to try and stop it from being aired and failed. Shame.