Advanced agnotology

by Michael Bérubé on June 7, 2010

(Following on John’s installments, part <a href=https://crookedtimber.org/2010/05/03/the-oregon-petition-a-case-study-in-agnotology/> one</a>, part <a href=https://crookedtimber.org/2010/05/05/agnotology-followup/>two</a>, and part <a href=https://crookedtimber.org/2010/05/08/ignorance-is-strength/>three</a>.)

I’m not sure how I missed this — I think I was lost in the archives at the time.  But last month, right around the time everyone on CT was discussing <a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnotology>agnotology</a>, Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, came out “cautiously” in favor of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s demand that the University of Virginia turn over (as the <i>Washington Post</i> <a href=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/03/AR2010050304139.html>put it</a>) “all data and materials presented by former professor Michael Mann when he applied for five research grants from the university.” (That includes “all correspondence or e-mails between Mann and 39 other scientists since 1999” until Mann left Virginia for Penn State in 2005.) Wood <a href=http://www.nas.org/polArticles.cfm?Doc_Id=1315>writes</a>, citing renowned scientist and powerful logic machine operator John Hinderaker:

<blockquote>John Hinderaker’s point is well taken. No one has the right to take public funds just to make stuff up and pass it along as science. And “academic freedom” could well suffer a greater crisis of legitimacy from that kind of abuse than from the interference of meddling politicians.</blockquote>

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The idiot wall

by John Quiggin on June 7, 2010

Perhaps, despite the sample of one and the obvious irrelevance of the opening anecdote (didn’t people miss important letters amid the junk mail back in the old days?), there is something to this NYT story about how the Internet is killing our attention span. But I can’t help imagining some grouchy old-timer saying something like “Damn cave paintings. In my day, we told stories about the sacred mammoth hunt, and you really had to use your imagination. Kids these days just want to stare at a wall all night. No wonder they can’t throw a spear straight”.

Liberals in the Mist, Part III

by John Holbo on June 7, 2010

Andrew McCarthy’s book is apparently selling well! We’ll get to that.

But first: a couple weeks ago Jonah Goldberg did one of those diavlog thingies with David Frum. The occasion was Frum making accusations of ‘epistemic closure’ and Goldberg protesting that it’s all nonsense. The Jim Manzi/Mark Levin thing. The section we will be concerned with is this one. Only 9 minutes long, so you can watch it yourself. I’ve transcribed some highlights. (If anyone listens and notices I’ve mistranscribed or misleadingly paraphrased, please say so in comments.) [click to continue…]