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Giving “Experts” a Red Card. January 10, 2006

Posted by procopius in Climate Change, Pseudoscience.

Today’s Australian contains an interesting article on proposals to sin-bin expert witnesses who are out of line with the scientific community.

From the article:

A SPORT-STYLE system of red and yellow cards is being considered to deal with rogue expert witnesses whose eccentric or irrational views are skewing medical negligence cases.

What interests me is could such a system be applied to scientists who lend their authority to “eccentric or irrational views” in the press.

For example, it wasn’t too long ago that Professor Ian Plimer dusted off and updated (must remove references to atmospheric temperature trends) his standard piece on global warming. While, Plimer has vastly improved over the years (as far as I know, he no longer uses 21st Century Science and Technology as a reference), his piece was a giant straw man which added a big fat zero to the already poor quality of debate on global warming.

So, would a score card for rouges be appropriate? Perhaps a good starting point would be Tim Lambert’s bingos on global warming and DDT. Another good starting point would be Talk Origins.

But, before everybody decides to wheel out the persecuting Galileo line, I should point out that I don’t actually support such a measure. Scientists (as with everybody else) should be free to spout whatever rubbish they so desire. However, non-experts should realise that not all experts know what they are talking about.* Many don’t. Many will, deliberately or not, deceive you.

* A general rule of thumb, is the more sweeping and general the claims, the less the person knows.


A quick quote to start off with… January 5, 2006

Posted by procopius in The Ancients.
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He was somewhat overnice in the care of his person, being not only carefully trimmed and shaved, but even having superfluous hair plucked out, as some have charged; while his baldness was a disfigurement would troubled him greatly, since he found that it was often the subject of the gibes of his detractors. Because of it he used to comb forward his scanty locks from the crown of his head, and of all the honours voted him by the senate and people there was none which he received or made use of more gladly than the privilege of wearing a laurel wreath at all times.

– Suetonius on Julius Caesar

Hello world! January 4, 2006

Posted by procopius in Uncategorized.
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Hi, just playing around. Come back later.