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Science writing: Fascist Central kicks on the ol’ jack boots

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Well, that didn’t take long. They’re not stunned any more, they’re mad. Mad as stink. From Phillip Williamson at New Scientist:

Ocean acidification is an inevitable consequence of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That’s a matter of fact. We don’t know exactly what will happen to complex marine ecosystems when faced with the additional stress of falling pH, but we do know those changes are happening and that they won’t be good news.

UK journalist James Delingpole disagrees. In an article for The Spectator in April 2016, he took the sceptical position that all concerns over ocean acidification are unjustified “alarmism” and that the scientific study of this non-problem is a waste of money. He concluded that the only reason that the study of ocean acidification was ever funded at all was because there was insufficient (and decreasing) evidence for global warming and it acted as a “fallback position”.

As a boffin, Williamson decided to shut the guy down.

Having first gone to The Spectator with my concerns, in late August I submitted a formal complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). The key issues were whether or not due care had been taken to avoid publication of inaccurate information, and whether comment and conjecture had been clearly distinguished from fact.

At the end of a long and frustrating process IPSO’s final ruling was published on 5 January and it doesn’t seem we are much further forward. My complaint was rejected on the basis that the article was “clearly a comment piece” and that it was not IPSO’s role to resolve conflicting evidence for contentious issues. More.

In the United States, that would be called the First Amendment to the Constitution. And there is a reason why it was the first amendment. Can anyone guess the reason, just from reading this story?

To the extent that Western media can repair their dignity after certain recent forays into misleading people for a cause, they won’t be institutions that zealous snitches and bullies can just run to, demanding that people be fixed good.

Delingpole may be mistaken but the public has the right to hear him. If media don’t want to carry him but a lot of people think that what he has to say is important, that could become part of a pattern as to why those media are just not so mainstream anymore.

Is there a law of information theory that underlies this pattern?

See also: Nature: Scientists stunned by Trump victory Really? What does that say about the scientific method? What good did it do those scientists to listen to “correct” media who misled them about the U.S. election – doubtless, for the very best of politically correct reasons?

Part I: What is fake news? Do we believe it?

Does fake news make a difference  in politics?


Part III: What can we do about fake news that would not diminish real news?  Critics of ‘fake news’ should go to China — only the government has the right to post fake news there.

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rvb8 - why would the US fifth amendment be relevant here? Aren't IPSO's Code of Practice the relevant standard? Bob O'H
In general the idea that someone can write anything and have that right protected by the US's First Ammendment, is not sustainable. 'Hate speech' is barred, and rightly so. Now, this article is far from hate speech and the right of the writer to publish it should be protected. The best response of course is to publish a refutation of the ignorant poorly researched information, and simply put forward the studies by NASA, Universities, Inter-governmental Organisations, and independent NGOs. If this is not enough for the public and they still wish to get their science from poor reporting, and crank web sites, then there really is no hope for humanity; perhaps we deserve our current cataclism. rvb8
PS: My straight vs spin framework. kairosfocus
BO'H: There has been entirely too much use of this phrase from its sudden rise to prominence as a propagandistic weapon of projecting hatefulness, primarily to those of conservative bent; too often with little or no good warrant. It is secondarily that some have taken it up to return the favour. I find this pattern is utterly dangerous, especially when we have on the table things like the Canadian tribunals with was it a 98% conviction rate and a want of proper procedure. Moreover, this tactic serves to polarise and is a provocation. I warn, there are enough people out there who will take strong and even aggressive exception and will go after false accusers and those who pile on with a ferocity that will have to be seen to be believed; do we really want to go back to the days of feuds, vendettas and worse? Meanwhile, with erosion of standards in public discourse civil society is visibly breaking down. As for the media . . . KF kairosfocus
kf -
Do you appreciate that “FAKE news” is directly, instantly an accusation of fraud? One, that as a rule is not backed up, other than by the presumed superiority and credibility of the accusers and those who pile on?
Indeed (I'm not sure it happens "as a rule", but certainly it does happen). This is why an organisation like IPSO is a good idea, as it provides a mechanism to investigate accusations like this. Bob O'H
BO'H: Do you appreciate that "FAKE news" is directly, instantly an accusation of fraud? One, that as a rule is not backed up, other than by the presumed superiority and credibility of the accusers and those who pile on? Thus, that it can become used to polarise even before censoring? (And, do you realise what happens when there is increasingly the stance that if you disagree with the establishment or favoured institutions and voices, you are and must be ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked? If the words, smug bigotry and hate do not come to mind, they should. It is time to pause and stand back from the brink.) Now, if Delingpole was spectacularly and patently wrong, it would have been child's play to shred his claims in a suitable article in the Spectator under right of reply, or in another similar forum, with the additional remark that Spectator did not accept the below. Then, after the matter had been suitably settled, there could be a call for Mr Delingpole to explain himself. If he failed or refused to, that would have been telling. After all, the evolutionary materialistic establishment holds the high cards in the media message dominance and spin game. Delingpole's credibility and that of the Spectator would have been dead in the water. All this is obvious. That this was not the resort but instead, try to get Delingpole "fixed," speaks volumes and not in Mr Williamson's favour. I trust you further realise that there are some people who are people of principle who if falsely accused and smeared may take it as not just a game at all, and will act with escalated force on their sense of unfairly besmirched honour. If you are lucky, such people will only sue. Only a fool makes enemies he does not need to have, especially out of people whose only crime is to disagree. I suggest that good sense will back away from trotting out loaded accusations (as the "Fake News" phrase was form its inception, meant to skewer those who do not toe the line of the progressivist establishment . . .), for the sake of responsible community. If you do have real evidence of malicious intent to defraud the public of truth, I would expect that such can be brought out and laid on the table, card by card. In the meanwhile, let us address the actual facts on the merits. KF kairosfocus
Hm, are you arguing that it's OK for the press to mislead the public? Williamson is clearly concerned about the factual content of Delingpole's piece, and he complained to IPSO on this basis. IPSO is one way to try to avoid fake news, by providing a mechanism for complaints to be heard. Publications don't have to sign up to it (several national newspapers haven't, for a variety of reasons), but if it's working well then it will provide some level of assurance that the publications signed up to IPSO are reliable. Bob O'H
5 Royal Problems with Macro-Evolution
- 11:30 minute mark - 1. Fossil Record 2. Origin of Information 3. Necessity for Early Mutations (in embryological development) 4. Epigenetic or Structural Information 5. Universal Design Intuition we all have = – Stephen Meyer & Doug Axe – 5 Royal Problems with Macro-Evolution – January 7, 2017 http://player.subsplash.com/xfn4kbl
- Stephen Meyer & Doug Axe - 5 Royal Problems with Macro-Evolution - January 7, 2017 http://player.subsplash.com/xfn4kbl Frank Turek interviews Stephen Meyer & Doug Axe - The Royal Society called for a meeting to revise the standard theory of evolution because of the many issues with such theory. Our two guests who are experts in the field went there and are here to talk about the top 5 problems with the Neo-Darwinian, Macro-Evolution, theory.
asauber at 2, maybe so. But as an old newsie, I take my stand on his right to be heard, free of harassment by 'crats. I took the same attitude years ago when a similar sort of person attempted to shut down Lomborg in front of hundreds of journalists from around the world (Montreal, 2004). News
Delingpole may be mistaken
He's not. Ocean Acidification is just a scare story. Andrew asauber

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