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Truth-Driven Thinking

I'm listening to the audiobook of Stephen L. Gibson's Truth-Driven Thinking. While the author has a fine premise, and he interviews James Randi and Dr. Barry Glassner in the book and these conversations are interesting. But, apparently in an effort to "present the other side", he also interviews Stephen Moore. The author listed his credits as appearing a lot on Faux Noise, and I knew he was an idiot... okay, to be nice, I was highly skeptical of his line of reasoning. (One might call this emotional, and I recognize this, and tried to listen to the facts of what he said.) And frankly, since among his credits is the book Bullish On Bush: How George Bush's Ownership Society Will Make America Stronger, and Paul Krugman, a Bush critic, just won the Nobel Prize in Economics... I have to think he's not a very good economist either. And he totally disses climate change, and reveals very clearly that he has zero knowledge of the subject. He makes several specious (and even religious) arguments about several of the topics they discuss. For instance, he reasons for not fighting climate change has to do with our ability to "change the weather" which is not what battling climate change is about. And the numbers both the author and Moore toss around are clearly designed to say what they want them to say. For instance, the discussion of how much the rich pay in taxes and whether they pay their "fair share was clearly designed to make it appear as though the rich were being hosed. He didn't even provide an alternate form of comparison. And Moore made a similar faulty comparison about the cost of commodities relative to personal income.

So, while the guy has the right idea, he still has a long way to go. I would sound terrible if I blamed it on a lack of intelligence, so instead, I will be kind, and blame it on a lack of information. I will be generous, and assume that if Moore (or Gibson) were sat down in a room with a real climatologist and given the chance to spout off some of the ridiculous claims I heard in this book, then maybe one of them would learn something. (I will be reading another book influenced by the same person that influence Moore; I bought it last week for "the other side" to talk about a climate change colloquium I'll be going to in February and a meeting I'll be hosting here in March.)

Oh, geez, and now he's going off on some weird religion-related complexity argument about nature... not to mention a dig at evolution.

"Animal souls are as cosmically as valuable as ours in many ways..." I can't believe he just said that! :(

There is a problem with constantly "taking the other side" of everything. The closer we get to "Truth", the more often you will be wrong.

And now, DDT isn't dangerous. Damn, this guy is so susceptible to junk science! He really needs to work harder on his "truth-driven thinking".

The problem here is that while he makes good points on avoiding confirmation bias, and statistical errors, etc., but then he goes on to make exactly those same errors in many of his examples. And it gets worse as it goes on.

Okay, so now he talks sense about vaccines,... but he does so with an apology to anyone who might be offended, but offered no such apology before talking about climate change.

So, the book is a bit hit and miss, but the author's heart is in the right place. But if you are really looking for good examples of "truth-driven thinking", pick another book.

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