Academic freedom and hypocrisy


Shub Niggurath Climate


They always come in twos and threes. Today, Roger Pielke Jr has an article in the Guardian asking excited climate-activist Australians to be tolerant of Bjorn Lomborg. He advises them:

Don’t seek to shut down debate and discussion. This means not seeking to prevent individuals from publishing their views or holding a job where they publish those views. It also means working to create a safe space for the open exchange of ideas, especially when there are social media or other shout down campaigns under way. …

How delightfully ironic. Not many years ago, when I published a piece on critical of Pielke Jr’s ‘iron law’ hypothesis that is exactly what he did: ‘prevent individuals from publishing their views’. The article disappeared overnight: Pielke Jr had prevailed upon Anthony Watts to do the dirty deed.

Speaking of intolerance, everyone’s favourite troll ‘ATTP’ posted yet another diffusely worded tract about ‘the…

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Wild chimps look both ways before crossing roads

This caught my eye

Chimps are exceptionally cautious when they cross the road. Ninety-two per cent of them looked right, left, or both ways before or during crossing, and 57 per cent ran across – showing that they knew the value of reaching the other side as quickly as possible.

Alpha males led and organised 83 per cent of the road-crossing posses, compared with only 51 per cent of tree-climbing expeditions in the forest studied in parallel. This implies that they recognised the importance of extra vigilance during road crossings.

There was also evidence that healthy and dominant chimps often made sure that stragglers or more vulnerable members of the group crossed safely. Some 86 per cent of the healthy chimps looked back or stopped when at least one vulnerable individual, such as an infant or injured chimp, trailed behind.

Chimps behaved differently crossing a quiet road in an earlier study in Bossou, Guinea, led by Kimberley Hockingsof the Centre for Research in Anthropology in Lisbon, Portugal.

“At Sebitoli, chimpanzees tended to split into smaller subgroups when crossing, whereas chimpanzees at Bossou often, but not always, crossed in progression lines,” says Hockings. “This might be down to a higher intensity and speed of traffic at Sebitoli, forcing chimpanzees to split up.”

…And Then There’s Social Justice Warriors


Richard Dawkins with an interesting tweet


Personally I don’t blame Millennials (Generation Y). The rot, if you will, started far earlier. The influence of Marxist/Feminist thought has a long tradition from the pulpit of academia that off the top of my head I can date to circa Ginsberg – at least in popular culture but I know there are far earlier examples swirling around somewhere in the recesses of my mind. It was long established by the time my Generation X arse graced the walls and was seen as something of a rite of passage on the way to middle-aged conservatism (with a small c) rather than a full time vocation. More than one lecturer and student signposted a different pathway to explore, that whilst interesting at the time, is not one I subsequently myself wanting to retread or linger on. It was also too easy for me to make up the narrative to suit their agenda and my feminist lecturer gleefully gobbled the horseshit I made up about the patriarchy in advertising.

So whilst Millenials are in vogue the oppressive push from privileged totalitarian ‘left’ thought far predates them. Millennials just have a platform on social media with social media echo chambers such as YouTube, Twitter and Tumbler (and before that email flak) which unfortunately has afforded them far more influence than they are due. The angriest customer is usually the one with nothing to complain about, they just know if they keep it up they will get what they want. Anyone with genuine original thought and curiosity is more likely to be investigating, observing and communicating their discoveries than dictating or complaining. Screaming children need a time out not a platform. The last thing you should do is reward bad behaviour.

So I don’t have a problem with an analysis of the history, culture and influence of science. But as much as I may enjoy an analysis of a movie or play, I’d rather watch and listen myself to make my own impressions rather than having an opinion rammed down my throat. The skirmishes we may have are sideshows not the matinee.

… the continuation of the science wars has made analysts of science more inclined to defend each other in public. This is because attacks by science warriors often take on the characteristics of a `witch hunt’ instead of an academic debate. For example, `relativism’ – a subtle philosophical idea with a number of meanings – is sometimes treated as synonymous with `anti-science.’ An accusation of relativism is taken as sufficient in itself to render further argument unnecessary. And the arguments and political tactics adopted by the science warriors seem less designed to convince their academic opponents of their errors than to convince an outside audience; the science warriors can rely on the outside audience not reading the original sources and materially misleading descriptions of the original studies…The spokespersons for science often behave and argue as though the only salvation is for science to set itself up as such a pre-eminent form of knowledge as to leave no room for doubt; as a result they also find themselves attacking all other ways of having knowledge or describing science.

Scientists, despite the illusion they are rock stars are human with all the benefits and deficits that entails. But don’t take my word for it 😉

P.S. As for the quote, it’s just that…a quote.