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Gosh, the grapes sure are sour over here

Benjamin Radford, a regular at The Amazing Meeting, has decided he doesn’t like blogs, and never has, no sir. This is a fact which he has chosen to announce in a blog by citing his first blog entry.

As I write my first entry for the sparkly new “Free Thinking” blog, I’m skeptical of its utility. While I have spent much of my career promoting critical thinking and skepticism, I’m concerned about joining the noise, the glut of words inundating the Web and indeed the world.

By most estimates there are over 120 million blogs out there on the World Wide Intertubes. It seems everyone has a blog; teens are blogging, grandmothers are blogging, almost anyone with access to a computer, an opinion, and some spare time has a blog. The Web has democratized the dissemination of information, but not necessarily improved the content quality. There’s incredibly good, useful info on the Web, but the signal to noise ratio is higher than ever.

Of course, some blogs are better than others, but according to a statistic I just made up (so you can’t check), 98.3 percent of blogs are irrelevant, self-indulgent musings and journaling, read by the blogger and one or two friends.

Blogs are inherently personal; they rarely include references; they are short, thus allowing for little or no detailed, critical analysis. In this age of blogging and Twitter, communication comes in smaller and smaller bites, conveying less and less information. For people to accurately understand the world around them, they need more information and context, not less.

So he makes up a statistic and doesn’t bother to cite anything, so blogging is all noise and doesn’t include references (hint, Mr Radford: it’s called a “link”, some of us use them heavily.) And nobody reads them, except a few of the bloggers’ friends. He could make a case for that, I suppose; I sure don’t read Radford’s attempts at blogging, and only ran across this one because DJ Grothe praised it on twitter. (Oh, I so want to see Radford’s critique of twitter — I’m sure it will be as perspicacious as his complaints about blogs.)

Then he concludes by announcing that blogs still suck.

The same problems and issues I identified are still around, if anything magnified by the exponentially growing World Wide Web. Since that first blog I have been witness to (and occasional victim of) flame wars, troll attacks, misrepresentation of others’ positions (both obvious and subtle), and so on. We’ve all seen bloggers resort to feigned outrage, insults, and invective in their efforts to stir up controversy and increase page hits. This sensational, shock-jock sleaze is nothing new, and has been immensely successful for Jerry Springer, Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, and their countless blogging ilk. It’s not helpful or productive, but it gets attention.

Still, media has always had the inherent problem of separating out the wheat from the chaff, the insightful from the banal, the incisive from the divisive. Such is the price for the democratization of speech that the Internet brings: anyone with a computer has equal access. It’s probably true that most of everything is crap-but it’s a shame that we must work so hard to find the non-crap.

There’s a grain of truth to what he says, and I’m trying to think of some productive suggestion that would help improve the web, and I’ve come up with one: Ben Radford could stop blogging, and stop adding to the noise.

But he’s also deeply wrong. You could make the same arguments about books, or magazines, or newspapers: they’re mostly junk. The only solution, obviously, is for everyone to stop writing. Everyone, but especially Mr Radford, who can then go back to talking about chupacabras. And then he can ignore every criticism made of his work by telling himself they’re just trying to stir up controversy and increase page hits.

This claim that blogging is all about stirring up controversy to get page hits is also nonsense, but nonsense that gets regurgitated regularly by every old school pundit who objects to getting criticized. It’s wrong. I can tell you what gets you traffic: reliable, sustained writing on subjects of interest to an audience. Just controversy is never enough; it’s the people who can write well about controversy who win the audience. If you can’t do that — and Radford certainly can’t — you lose, and you have to resort to whining that all your competitors for eyeballs are all hacks and cheaters who don’t have the skill at communicating that you do.

But actually, his second to the last paragraph does get to the source of his unhappiness: he has been the victim of blogging. The poor man last got on our radar when he wrote a most ludicrous and appalling piece of pseudo-skeptical, evo-psych bullshit to justify sexism. It was piece that ignored reason and evidence, what few scientific articles he used to support his claims he understood poorly and mangled misleadingly. Rebecca Watson spanked him hard; I took him to school on his abuse of the science; Stephanie Zvan showed that his rationale made no sense; the blogosphere, that wretched hive of irrelevant, self-indulgent musings, lit up with pointed criticisms of Radford’s ghastly abuse of skeptical thinking. His response? Throw up more banal, divisive crap. And get slammed again.

This was a case where blogs were actually extremely good at separating the wheat from the chaff. It’s just that we’ve determined that Ben Radford is the chaff.

And now the chaff is complaining, on a blog.

(Also, I have to add: DJ, your proxies aren’t helping.)

Comments

  1. Penny says

    “…the signal to noise ratio is higher than ever.”

    Surely that’s a good thing?

  2. Erista (aka Eris) says

    DJ, just . . . stop digging.

    Stop digging. You’re deep enough in the hole. You don’t need to be deeper.

  3. grumpyoldfart says

    Radford says:

    98.3 percent of blogs are irrelevant, self-indulgent musings and journaling, read by the blogger and one or two friends.

    They’re doing better than me. I’ve got 69 entries in my four month old blog and so far zero comments, and only 319 visits (all of them from web crawlers).

  4. CT says

    I don’t know this person but it seems to me that they have no knowledge of BBS or Usenet. Or the whole forum culture that came before blogs even existed. Blogs vastly improved the internet by about a thousand percent and great commenting systems by another thousand percent. This person should probably crawl back under their prehistoric rock or alternatively, go visit usenet. :: evil laugh ::

    quick someone send him a news link!!

  5. Beatrice says

    There is too much noise (that is, crappy irrelevant blogs), but most of the crappy irrelevant blogs are only ever read by the authors of said blogs… Well, what’s he complaining about then?

    If a crappy blog post is written and there is no one there to read it, did it make a noise?

  6. Brownian says

    I don’t know this person but it seems to me that they have no knowledge of BBS or Usenet. Or the whole forum culture that came before blogs even existed. Blogs vastly improved the internet by about a thousand percent and great commenting systems by another thousand percent. This person should probably crawl back under their prehistoric rock or alternatively, go visit usenet. :: evil laugh ::

    quick someone send him a news link!!

    Really. Redford would do well to consider that chaff or not, blogs have given traditional media outlets a run for their money.

    And as for Sturgeon’s Law, what doesn’t that apply to?

  7. CT says

    I have to say, even the link to that blog post is amusing

    /blogs/entry/still_skeptical_of_blogs/

    like some sort of SNL joke or something.

  8. says

    …grandmothers are blogging….

    And we all know elderly women have nothing important to say whatsoever, right?

    Also, does anyone else think that Radford’s reference to “Free Thinking Blogs” was deliberate?

    DJ Grothe praised it on twitter.

    Of course he did.

    I can tell you what gets you traffic: reliable, sustained writing on subjects of interest to an audience.

    It depends on the audience, really. Many big-name blogs, including those of the old-school media, depend on controversy to pull in eyeballs for advertisers. Of course, the comments sections are sewers, and repeat visitors are largely either assholes or trainwreck enthusiasts.

    Ing:

    Skepticism is a brand to them.

    This.

  9. says

    For people to accurately understand the world around them, they need more information and context, not less.

    Why does he assume that what most people are even looking for is information? Most people spend a great deal of time, both on and off line, chatting about inconsequential stuff; family gossip how the dog’s coping with the anti-scratch collar, what they saw on telly last night… and so on, and on. It’s normal, human and healthy.

    No one said the interweb could only be used as a giant reference-book. It’s a communication tool, and folks will communicate with it just like they’ve done with all other communication tools.

  10. says

    Radford could have reduced the “glut of words” by recognizing that his complaint is just an instance of Sturgeon’s Law: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.” Instead, he decided to give us an example.

  11. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Christ but Radford is a tool.

    Know what else is a tell? The World Wide Web. Only a self-important obsolescent pedant uses the term complete with caps.

  12. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Oh lord, how could I have overlooked this? His blog is called A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper.

    No, I’m not trying to sound all, “we’re young and hip and anything old is like, totes stupid.” It’s just that his terminology betrays an ingrained deference and clinging to increasingly less relevant. . .everything.

  13. says

    Only a self-important obsolescent pedant uses the term complete with caps.

    :-(

    But I do that, too! (I also capitalize Internet.)

  14. Emrysmyrddin says

    New Headline for his Blog

    “Old Man Yells At Cloud”

    Ing, I’d like to keep you, if that’s OK.

  15. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    But I do that, too! (I also capitalize Internet.)

    Oh, I’m not unsympathetic to pedantry and precision, Zeno! I used it until several years ago, too. But there comes a point where the language moves on and clinging to The One True Descriptive Term starts to feel silly. And starts to look more like a deliberate get-off-my-lawn flag to everyone else.

  16. ibbica says

    @7: I hope not! As the author of a crappy, irrelevant-to-everyone-but-me blog, I’m perfectly happy to keep it that way :)

    As for the OP’s, er, ‘concern’ that most blogs are useless… In addition to the whole ‘so is most writing in every medium everywhere’ thing: My own ‘blog’ is mainly a space for fiddling with webpage design and learning/practicing basic HTML. Well, alright, and some quick ranting when needed. It’s not really *meant* for public consumption, but the “this could be read by anyone” aspect is helpful to keep things in perspective when ranting. It let me get feedback on design from friends all over the world using different computer systems, browsers, filters/blocks/plugins, etc. I certainly don’t begrudge anyone else for having their own diary- and/or playground-type online space; in fact, I’m happy to be able to ‘hide’ among the mess!

    Other than that… yeah, what PZ said ;)

  17. Akira MacKenzie says

    Ing,

    “Skepiticism is a brand to them.”

    Yeah, but what’s the product? It seems to me that “skepticism” is doing it’s damnedest to avoid any controversy or taking any stands on anything besides alt med snake oil peddlers and wannabe psychics. However, when confronted with the oppertunity to train those critical thinking skills toward politics and the “Big Questions,” we are treated to a lecture about “untestable claims” and the limits of skepticism.

    What the fuck do these people stand for?

  18. smhll says

    I only read the large portions that PJ excerpted. However, I agree with his overall interpretation.

    This:

    I’m concerned about joining the noise, the glut of words inundating the Web and indeed the world.

    reads like he’s implying that the Web would be better with more listeners and fewer bloggers. (‘Cuz that way more people would listen to him.) {Ooh, or all the readers could just accept what they read uncritically and silently without commenting.)

    Also, a bit later he takes a swipe at teenagers and grandmothers having blogs. This may be stretching, but teenagers usually get dissed for youth and inexperience, etc. Grandmas clearly have experience, so their blogs are evidently crap because they are female? I know it may seem like I’m straining at gnats, but he does seem, by omission, to be showing a preference for the blogs of adult males.

  19. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’m with Penny — if this guy can’t figure out the difference between a high signal to noise ratio and a low one, there’s little hope for him.

    In fact, since he explicitly says that a high s2n ratio is the accurate representation of this “The WorldWideWeb” thing he so despises, is it so surprising that he has created a blog with a **low** s2n?

    I’m also w/ Ing – curled up about the ankles waiting for the next witticism to fall. Your posts on this thread have been full of win. i would award you one internet, but apparently they are valueless. Instead I offer you this quite valuable 80 page broadsheet that is much, much more valuable. One presumes this is so because of the department store ads for cheap televisions.

  20. gussnarp says

    @Penny:

    “…the signal to noise ratio is higher than ever.”

    Surely that’s a good thing?

    My first thought exactly. Sure, we’re being pedants, but if your target audience is people who are interested in science, perhaps kind of nerdy, you ought not to drop scientific terms in a way that shows you don’t actually understand what they mean.

    Also, he’s obviously never read any blog posts by Steve Novella or Orac. Admittedly they’re exceptional, but every decent blogger knows that you include reference links, and they, as well as many other bloggers, write things that are plenty long enough to allow detailed critical analysis. That’s also why there are comments.

    If

    98.3 percent of blogs are irrelevant, self-indulgent musings and journaling, read by the blogger and one or two friends.

    then why is he arguing that the quality of those blogs is the metric for the general quality of blogging? Sure, there are a lot of those blogs out there, but if they’re not being read, they don’t matter. A more pertinent question is what the blogs that ARE being read by lots of people are like.

    Oh, and about linking your posts here to your blog: in my last attempt at blogging I picked up a few readers that way, but didn’t keep up my content and lost them again. I’ve been fiddling around with blogging again, but I can’t seem to log in to Pharyngula with my WordPress account so I can’t link it up. Anyone know why that’s not working?

  21. Brownian says

    His blog is called A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper.

    See, that could actually be funny, if all his posts went like:

    June 21, 2012, The Daytona Beach News-Journal:

    No way.

    Didn’t happen.

    I’ll have to see that to believe it.

    Your comments?

    June 22, 2012, Cedar City Review:

    Say what?

    Nuh-uh.

    <Snort!>

    Your comments?

  22. Brownian says

    New Headline for his Blog

    “Old Man Yells At Cloud”

    Win.

    reads like he’s implying that the Web would be better with more listeners and fewer bloggers. (‘Cuz that way more people would listen to him.) {Ooh, or all the readers could just accept what they read uncritically and silently without commenting.)

    That’s probably why DJ Grothe is promoting it.

    Also, a bit later he takes a swipe at teenagers and grandmothers having blogs. This may be stretching, but teenagers usually get dissed for youth and inexperience, etc. Grandmas clearly have experience, so their blogs are evidently crap because they are female? I know it may seem like I’m straining at gnats, but he does seem, by omission, to be showing a preference for the blogs of adult male

    Others noticed that too. Not straining at gnats at all.

  23. ChasCPeterson says

    I think Radford has a point.
    And similarly: have you ever noticed how much crap gets posted in the Comments of World-Wide-Web WeBlogs? People type sentences that convey no information other than the fact that sentences are being typed by people. I understand that some of them allow middle-aged housewives and saggy-pantsed skateboard boys on there even. Not like my trusty daily newspaper*! They sometimes publish my letters, you know. Skeptical ones.

    *(The Akron Courier-Vulcanizer-Tribune)

  24. garnetstar says

    Who fucking cares what you think, Radford?

    Back in the ’30s, George Orwell noticed that the overwhelming majority of books published are crap. So, let’s get rid of them and lessen the noise of the world.

  25. says

    I’ve noticed, as I walk down the street, that many people talk about things which I’m completely uninterested in. The solution? Cut the vocal cords of anyone not talking about what I want to talk about.

  26. Brownian says

    And similarly: have you ever noticed how much crap gets posted in the Comments of World-Wide-Web WeBlogs?

    June 21, 2012, The Akron Courier-Vulcanizer-Tribune:

    Hogwash!

    Like, get real.

    Hmm, could’ve happened.

    Your comments?

  27. chigau (違う) says

    Radford is 42 years old.
    That is way too young to be worrying about his lawn.

  28. says

    Is he fucking kidding? As the saying goes, 90% of everything is crap. But the idea that everyone blogs, even people who suck at everything about writing? I think that’s something to celebrate. If everyone were blogging every day, everyone would be getting better at writing every day.

    The more people who write, via whatever format (blogging just happens to be an easy medium), the better our society will be for it. It’s not about people producing sucky writing, it’s about people *writing*, and through that, slowly producing writing that is less and less sucky than before. Through that, we all, over time, get better at communicating with each other.

    The world is better for shitty bloggers. Easily, in my opinion.

  29. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ OP

    Blogs are inherently personal; they rarely include references; they are short, thus allowing for little or no detailed, critical analysis. In this age of blogging and Twitter, communication comes in smaller and smaller bites, conveying less and less information.

    Books –> magazines –> blogs –> Twitter –> twitter (uncapitalised) –> what next?

    .

  30. Louis says

    What I want to know is why all you motherfuckers are writing on MY INTERNET?

    Louis

  31. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @TerranRich:

    Just like: Government is inherently bad and screws everything up whenever it tries to do things and, btw, corrupts the people who work within it.

    That’s why I want you to elect me, someone with years of experience in government, to a position of great power, where I will use that power to make government do things. Of course, this will not screw anything up and there’s no possibility that government will corrupt *me*.

    ……..

    If only there was a name for this tendency to plead for different application of logic and argument to oneslef because one is special.

  32. rr says

    While I have spent much of my career promoting critical thinking and skepticism, I’m concerned about joining the noise, the glut of words inundating the Web and indeed the world.

    Have you considered putting interesting and informative content on your blog? Do you have any interesting and informative content that you could use?

  33. rr says

    If only there was a name for this tendency to plead for different application of logic and argument to oneself because one is special.

    JREFing?

  34. Emrysmyrddin says

    *knock knock*

    rr? Hi, if you could just sign here, I’ll leave the Internet on the doormat for you.

  35. says

    What I want to know is why all you motherfuckers are writing on MY INTERNET?

    Sorry. Y’know how it is; you can’t find a piece of paper, and there’s this handy internet thing lying there…

  36. Brownian says

    “Romanes eunt dom—”

    What I want to know is why all you motherfuckers are writing on MY INTERNET?

    Oh fuck!

    [Drops spray can and books it.]

  37. says

    Milk
    Teabags
    Olive oil
    Opinion
    Rat food
    Tinned tomatoes

    Is this one of those “It’s 2 a.m. and that’s all that’s in the fridge” recipes that sound so good after a few beers?

  38. says

    The only thing that would make it funnier is if he, after all of the hits following this, were to do a “Welcome, new readers!” post – “Well, PZ Meyer’s complaining has brought some new people here. Here’s what this blog’s about and here are my strict groundrules….” So often someone posts some anti-feminist or anti-gnu screed, gets an influx of poeple trying to explain the problem with what they’ve written and of pitizens and others looking for a new place to camp out and spew their bile, and then seems to think they’ve tapped some rich vein of engaged readers. No, sorry.

    Books –> magazines –> blogs –> Twitter –> twitter (uncapitalised) –> what next?

    twi (pronounced “twee”). You’re limited to 7 characters, and you must write in an Akan dialect, while drunk, or both.

  39. Akira MacKenzie says

    @Ing,

    So for Radford and JREF, the term “skepic” is sort of like “Nike” or “MTV,” yes?

    Greaaaaat…

  40. says

    98.3 percent of blogs are irrelevant, self-indulgent musings and journaling, read by the blogger and one or two friends.

    98.3% of meals are just basic nutrition (and sometimes barely even that) created on the whim of an amateur cook, and will be consumed within 30 minutes by the cook and one or two family members/roomies/friends.

    Therefore cooking is an irrelevant waste of time and no one should ever aspire to be a gourmet chef.

  41. says

    This might actually be worse than twitter. IT’s glorious, I’m bookmarking it for the next time I hear some punk bemoan the modern era.

  42. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ SC

    twi (pronounced “twee”). You’re limited to 7 characters, and you must write in an Akan dialect, while drunk, or both.

    Interesting, … but I think you missed the point.

  43. Brownian says

    I’ve got dibs on Bleater™.

    Some years ago, when both Facebook and MySpace were things people did, in a conversation with a friend, I uttered this partial Spoonerism:

    “So, are you on MyFace?”

    [Beat, while we both realised what I’d just said.]

    “Uh, would you like to be?”

  44. Louis says

    Emrysmyrddin,

    Tastes good though. He can rustle up a bit of dinner can our Heston.

    Louis

  45. says

    Blogs are inherently personal; they rarely include references; they are short, thus allowing for little or no detailed, critical analysis. In this age of blogging and Twitter, communication comes in smaller and smaller bites, conveying less and less information. For people to accurately understand the world around them, they need more information and context, not less

    so that is why I spent weeks researching my multi-part series on pit bull denialism eh? I got the idea from other bloggers who had multi-part series for big subjects and lots of links for references.

    This asshat has issues with blogs because all the uppity people who usually don’t have a voice at all are getting heard, and popular, online. I suppose he likes the traditional set up where everyone spends years kissing the asses of privileged wankers until they are *allowed* to be speakers or leaders.

    Feminist blogging is extremely fucking important, it introduces information to women who are just browsing the web who would otherwise never be exposed to ideas like “you don’t exist to please men”. Not important? Then why do we end up reposting links like shroedingers rapist? These things become more relevant as time goes on, not less.

  46. 'Tis Himself says

    according to a statistic I just made up (so you can’t check), 98.3 percent of blogs are irrelevant

    It’s a proven* fact that 31.84% of all statistics are made up.

    *The proof is left as an exercise for the student>

  47. Emrysmyrddin says

    I wonder how it feels to single handedly destroy the Skeptic movement.

    Self-righteous?

    (An unfortunate side-thought: I am now imagining Ben Radford turning green, bursting through most of his clothes, and going on a smash rampage…”Youuuuuu make Ben look baaaad!”)

  48. Emrysmyrddin says

    Louis,

    It’s the slug sprinkles that get me. Why slugs? Nothing but vagrant snails. Probably had 1,000,000,000 kids for the benefits too. Slime.

  49. says

    If blogs are noise, so are libraries. If one thinks that publishing companies are good chaff/wheat separators, they’ve never heard of Bethany House.

  50. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    If Turing were alive he would be 4 today. (Well, if he was in china, where it is 23rd today.You will all be seeing a really cool Google widget today tomorrow.)

  51. joed says

    can anyone help me find the email address for James Randi. I would like to drop him a line to see if he has any thoughts on the DJgrothe
    problem.

  52. says

    Clearly, Ben Radford is reading MY blog, which is nothing but whining, pictures of my cats, and pictures/talk about my guitars. I’d wondered why I suddenly shot up from 4 to 5 regular readers. Thanks Ben!

  53. plutosdad says

    Can anyone prove the “signal to noise” ratio goes UP as more communication methods are created?

    Many people are fond of saying “80% of x is crap” but it always seems to hover around there.
    80% of blogs may be crap. but before that, 80% of magazine articles were crap. Before that 80% of books were crap. Maybe it’s just that the majority of what we say and do is crap and not worth remembering.
    More people talking just means we see more. But the ratio hasn’t changed.

  54. nickcharles says

    Heh…he should have just created a Murray Chass-style not-a-blog blog: “This here is a collection of skeptical COLUMNS, not a darn skeptical BLOG! Now git offa my lawn, ya foul mouthed whippersnappers!”

  55. violet says

    This sentiment is nothing new. I used to keep a food blog and there was this elitism from people who were professional food writers about blogs, even when the professionals became professional after starting with a blog. The thing is, sometimes you don’t CARE because you get benefits from your blog you wouldn’t get from keeping a private journal.

    I started my blog when I was learning to cook and appreciate food and wine as a hobby as a personal scrapbook of the things I learned, and the food I made and ate for memories. I did it in a public fashion because it sparked new appreciation in my social/family circle and gave us new ways to interact. I met new friends through putting it out there where strangers who shared similar interests could see it, and gained access to events I never would have as member of the general public. I even got to be part of an article in the LA Times. It may be the only time I appear in a major newspaper.

    Even now when I no longer keep it up, due to joining the ranks of people-paid-for-writing myself, I leave it because I continue to get Google search hits from people who are finding and using the information on my page.

    In my experience, blogs bring together communities and aid in networking and exposing new talent. They also add something beyond the professional media – they show you how real people relate to the topic and speak to you about in an informal, everyday voice, which is a valuable addition to information presented in different ways. If a blog is not worth notice, then it won’t get much.

  56. dogeared, spotted and foxed says

    Please excuse a moment of sentimentality but he said “grandmothers.”

    When my grandmother was a tiny girl of nine, she was walking back from Sunday school and decided that religion was “a bunch of hooey.” She marched home, informed her mother that she wasn’t going back because she didn’t believe in god and the stories were all ridiculous. and “Oh, mother was shocked blue!” They tried to force her, but her questions were pointed and uncomfortable and she was eventually asked to stay home. She didn’t. She climbed out a window and went to the beach.

    My darling ditzy great-aunt once said to her “I don’t understand how you can live without the comfort of our lord.” and grandma smiled, gave her a friendly pat on the knee and said “That’s because you’re an idiot, dear.

    She’s was almost 5 feet tall, sarcastic, and terrifying. I still have some of her letters to various newspapers and they’re a thousand times better than anything Mr. Radford has ever written.

  57. oolon says

    I had no idea who Ben Radford was before this – but looking at PZs links he has a good point that the post was rubbish but then for some reason misses out his apology… http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/rileygate_lessons_learned/
    Ben makes some good points there including that his original post was poorly thought out and written – he clings to his circular argument but that is his right. Now he has written another poor post – although its merely uninteresting to me given it says nothing already stated a hundred times.

    So why the assertion that Ben ‘is the chaff’ after two and a bit strikes. Even the apology does not count for him… Sometimes the polarisation and vitriol on here and skepchick does surprise me — not when applied to creationists et al but then a similar treatment is applied to a fellow sceptic and for posting one poorly thought out blog post and one unoriginal one.

    Or is there an agenda to continue the war with the evil misogynist DJ Grothe by attacking his apparatchiks? I have no idea what else the cryptic proxies statement is about otherwise?

  58. Stacy says

    @oolon

    So why the assertion that Ben ‘is the chaff’ after two and a bit strikes.

    oolon, “the chaff” refers to his blogging, not him. Can you read that prolix notpology you linked to, and the current post PZ’s talking about, and not see that, in a world full of options, Ben’s blogging efforts just ain’t all that?

  59. adamgordon says

    Sometimes the polarisation and vitriol on here and skepchick does surprise me — not when applied to creationists et al but then a similar treatment is applied to a fellow sceptic and for posting one poorly thought out blog post and one unoriginal on

    Oh jesus fucking christ. Are you saying we should treat ‘fellow skeptics’ differently from ‘creationists et al’ when they’re equally as wrong?

  60. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Or is there an agenda to continue the war with the evil misogynist DJ Grothe by attacking his apparatchiks? I have no idea what else the cryptic proxies statement is about otherwise?

    Okay, who the fuck blew our Top Sekkrit Plan of Sekkritness and Planniness?

  61. says

    You want me to bother explaining basic shit to someone who is clearly either an idiot or a shit stirrer? Fuck that noise. DJ your cheerleaders are not helping your image problem. They make skeptics look like oblivious antisocial psuedointellectual idiots

  62. says

    oolon

    May I suggest you look up the meaning of the word ‘sceptic’? I do not think it means what you think it means.

  63. oolon says

    @adamgordon, equally as wrong… Wow I’m glad you are here with your wrong-o-meter or we’d be stuffed. Now do you think Ben would appreciate being said to be ‘equally’ as wrong as a creationist when it appears from my 30 mins of research that he has dedicated a large part of his life to debunking in the Randi fashion. Now maybe in your black and white world ‘wrong is wrong’ and no equivocating over degrees of grey is allowed – execute all the buggers.

    @Stacy The chaff statement is based on two poorly written blog posts. I’ve just read some more of his off the site and definitely readable. Why write off someone based on two blog posts – I see he has books – articles – all sorts of material. I’ve no idea if any of it is very good – unlike you I will take PZs opinion as it is probably meant to be taken… As opinion. I just disagree with the amount of evidence he used to come to that opinion.

  64. oolon says

    I’m think Ing I’ll carry on ignoring that one, too low a signal to noise ratio there… Or is it high I forget.

  65. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Or is there an agenda to continue the war with the evil misogynist DJ Grothe by attacking his apparatchiks?

    Who, apart from you, called him that again?

    Oh right – you’re just a tone troll, trolling around.

    And yes, self-proclaimed skeptics who AREN’T SKEPTICAL will be treated just like their buddies in the creationist movement. They aren’t skeptical either.

  66. adamgordon says

    Oolon, I find it hilarious that you accuse me of doing THE EXACT SAME THING YOU’RE DOING.

    I’m glad you are here with your wrong-o-meter or we’d be stuffed

    Why do you get to determine how wrong Radford is? That’s what you’re doing when you come in with your magic Tone Wand and decide that too much vitriol is being sent his direction.

  67. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Ben would appreciate being said to be ‘equally’ as wrong as a creationist when it appears from my 30 mins of research that he has dedicated a large part of his life to debunking in the Randi fashion.

    So, what you’re saying is, if a dude is a good enough skeptic – in your opinion, of course – about one subject, he’s allowed to be a complete moron on other subjects and no one’s allowed to cirticize his being a complete moron?

    That about right?

  68. Stacy says

    As I write my comment for this sparkly contentious “Freethought” blog, I’m skeptical of its utility. While I have spent much of my online life promoting critical thinking and skepticism, I’m concerned about joining the noise, the glut of words inundating comment threads and indeed the world. A glut of words, that is to say an awful lot of words, can be difficult and downright annoying to wade through, especially when too many of them are used to convey a simple, or not complex point, so please bear with me as I attempt to explain the problem with how many words there are.

    By most estimates there are over eleventy billion comments out there on the World Wide Intertubes. It seems everyone has made a comment on a blog; teens are commenting, grandmothers are commenting, almost anyone with access to a computer, an opinion, and some spare time has a comment. The Web has democratized the dissemination of opinion, but not necessarily improved the content quality. There’s incredibly good, useful info on the comment threads, but the signal to noise ratio is higher than ever.

    Of course, some comments are better than others, but according to a statistic I just made up 98.314159265 percent of comments are irrelevant, self-indulgent musings, read by the commenter and one or two insomniacs.

    Comments are inherently personal; they rarely include references; they are short, thus allowing for little or no detailed, critical analysis. In this age of commenting and random shouting out windows from passing cars, communication comes in smaller and smaller bites, conveying less and less information. For people to accurately understand the opinions of those around them, they need more information and context, not less.

    The same problems and issues I identify above are if anything magnified by the exponentially growing World Wide Web. Since my first evar comment on a blog I have been witness to (and occasional victim of) flame wars, troll attacks, misrepresentation of others’ positions (both obvious and subtle), and so on. We’ve all seen commenters resort to feigned outrage, insults, and invective in their efforts to stir up controversy. This sensational, shock-jock trolling is nothing new, and has been immensely successful for commenters on 4chan, CafeMom, and Veggie Gardening Tips. It’s not helpful or productive, but it gets attention.

    Still, media has always had the inherent problem of separating out the wheat from the chaff, the insightful from the banal, the incisive from the divisive, the cliched from the fresh, the just get on with saying it from the so monotonously droning it makes you want to bang your head against a rock until you collapse in a bloody heap upon the sands of the prolix and the wordy. Such is the price for the democratization of speech that the Internet brings: anyone with a computer has equal access. It’s probably true that most of everything is crap-but it’s a shame that we–and by we I mean me–must work so hard to make my point.

    Thank you for reading my totes insightful and not at all banal comment and I hope you will all continue to read my comments in the future, now that you know how wheaty my comments are.

  69. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    wheaty

    is this like “meaty”, but for vegetarians?

  70. oolon says

    Illuminate me O’ eponymously named one in what way Ben is not sceptical! I was hoping Daz would provide me with a lovely explanation but I had to look it up to make sure I’d not got confused with american spelling and sceptic/skeptic/septic or something. He does not appear to write in Korzybski’s e-prime so in that sense he and everyone on this blog makes assertions without adding they may be incorrect. But he works as a living writing for a sceptic website and is a self-proclaimed skeptic…

    But then like Adam with his wrong-o-meter you have no appreciation of shades of grey. Even if his two blog posts were dangerously un-sceptical how can you assert he is not a sceptic! He calls himself one, he obviously in a small amount of research on my side genuinely believes in the sceptic movement… But somehow you ‘know’ he is not a sceptic. I think you need a link to the Wikipedia article on what a sceptic is that I had to glance over to make sure I was not going nuts.

  71. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    in what way Ben is not sceptical!

    Mommy’s busy right now, diddums. But, there’s this new fangled thingamagig called GOOGLE that can find things you ask it to find.

    Try it out sometime!

    And, yes, I did notice that you completely dodged the question.

  72. says

    @Daz where did I define sceptic? I’d love it if you mansplained it to me?

    You appear to define ‘sceptic’ as someone who should give fellow ‘sceptics’ more slack purely because they’re ‘sceptics’. This is not scepticism. It is cronyism.

    “Mansplained”? WTF?

  73. adamgordon says

    how can you assert he is not a sceptic!

    Wow, um…at first I thought you were just a troll, now I see you’re just an idiot. Nobody has said this. Nowhere. Being a skeptic does not make you immune to being wrong. Radford admits this in the very article you linked!

    You’re out of your depth, cupcake. I suggest you leave.

  74. Stacy says

    Seriously, Ben’s a nice guy, but he should probably stick to what he’s good at: old school skepticism. Or get a clue-by-four in a hurry.

  75. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    You’re out of your depth, cupcake. I suggest you leave

    So THIS is why all my banner ads on this page are for “Connie’s Cupcakes!”

    LOL

    You have to admit the humor in ooloon not having any idea what they’re talking about, no knowledge of the history of radford’s “skepticism”, yet we’re wrong because Dunning the Kruger is way more fun for ooloon than reading and thinking. That’s hard

  76. Emrysmyrddin says

    #99 Stacy, I read that in my head as in Chris Morris’ voice; it’s the highest form of praise for satirical writing I can think of.

  77. Stacy says

    Aw, thanks, Emrysmyrddin. But Radford did all the work; I just had to do some minor tweaking.

    Off to acquaint myself with Chris Morris.

  78. Momo Elektra says

    @ Gen, Uppity Ingrate.

    Okay, who the fuck blew our Top Sekkrit Plan of Sekkritness and Planniness?

    You know, people like you are the reason my English is so fuckede uppe… SNH SNH…

    Thanks for the laugh.

  79. 'Tis Himself says

    adamgordon #104

    Wow, um…at first I thought you were just a troll, now I see you’re just an idiot.

    These choices are not mutually exclusive.

  80. oolon says

    @adamgordon — glad I made you laugh, I’m happy my stupidity is a source of amusement. If you can learn to laugh at your own stupidity then you’d be challenging the Dalai Lama as happiest man on earth. Bear with me – I’m trying the quote markup for the first time…

    Oolon, I find it hilarious that you accuse me of doing THE EXACT SAME THING YOU’RE DOING.
    Great logic there – I cannot criticise you because I made the same mistake therefore making everything I said void.

    Why do you get to determine how wrong Radford is? That’s what you’re doing when you come in with your magic Tone Wand and decide that too much vitriol is being sent his direction.
    My language was unclear so I apologise – IMO I thought his post was poor (I did not say it *is* wrong).
    Tone wand is not needed (I’m sure there is a new type of trolling where accusing people of all types of trolling to derail the thread must exist) — again IMO I felt that taking say 3-4 posts of his to determine his worth was poor reasoning. In his apology post he points out he has written a 1000 items in the past decade. So well done on writing him off when I’m fairly sure (No assertion) that the majority on here will have read those few (IMO) poor posts.
    Maybe you need to review your statement that I did not agree with ->
    … we should treat ‘fellow skeptics’ differently from ‘creationists et al’ when they’re equally as wrong
    Even if you added an IMO that is a daft assertion – how can they be equally as wrong? Do you really think someone who thinks the world is 6000 years old is as daft as someone who (In yours and my opinion) wrote a badly thought out post on why dolls are pink!

  81. says

    oolon:

    equally as wrong

    My, my. If you’re the ‘oolon colluphid’ from RnR/TalkRats/Secular Cafe, you’d know all about being wrong. You’re a dyed-in-the-wool idiot, and I see you still take pride in being an idiot.

    You’re out of your depth here, Cupcake.

  82. oolon says

    @adamgordon Please read the thread before commenting …

    me: how can you assert he is not a sceptic!
    Wow, um…at first I thought you were just a troll, now I see you’re just an idiot. Nobody has said this. Nowhere. Being a skeptic does not make you immune to being wrong. Radford admits this in the very article you linked!

    and… I will Illuminate you with the comment I was responding to -> @Illuminata

    self-proclaimed skeptics who AREN’T SKEPTICAL will be treated just like their buddies in the creationist movement

    So you are plainly wrong… So now I’m justified in ignoring all your statements in perpetuity as you have been proven to be absolutely wrong on this one occasion.

    You’re out of your depth, cupcake. I suggest you leave.

    Hmm condescension from @adamgordon I’m truly honoured to be looked down on by one on such a lofty pinnacle of self regard.

  83. adamgordon says

    ooloon, if you are unable see the difference between “Person A’s argument was as wrong as Person B’s” and “Person A is as stupid as Person B” then you are indeed out of your depth by many, many orders of magnitude.

  84. adamgordon says

    and… I will Illuminate you with the comment I was responding to -> @Illuminata
    self-proclaimed skeptics who AREN’T SKEPTICAL will be treated just like their buddies in the creationist movement

    ooloon, is it possible for skeptics to sometimes act in ways that aren’t skeptical?

  85. oolon says

    @Caine not that oolon – we are legion and probably many of us, myself included, are fans of Douglas Adams and have no imagination when it comes to handles on blogs. I’ll look up the other one and decide if he/she really is a dyed in the wool idiot.

    You’re out of your depth, cupcake. I suggest you leave.

    Please take more pride in your condescension and don’t plagiarise @adamgordon you might inflate his ego too far.

  86. Tethys says

    oolon

    you have no appreciation of shades of grey.

    Hey, the cupcake did manage to get one thing right.

    —–

    Caine!

    *tackle hugs*

    I am happy to see you here.

  87. says

    Because someone has to interrupt all the fun to answer a rhetorical question-slash-joke with a literal answer…

    wheaty

    is this like “meaty”, but for vegetarians?

    “Wheaty” as in “Chaffy.” Wheat vs. chaff, et cetera.

  88. Tethys says

    BTW oolon, I am fairly sure that Caine invented the cupcake signal on pharyngula.

  89. oolon says

    @adamgordon, we have consensus! Sort of…

    ooloon, if you are unable see the difference between “Person A’s argument was as wrong as Person B’s” and “Person A is as stupid as Person B” then you are indeed out of your depth by many, many orders of magnitude.

    You are person A and I am person B – we are both stupid. You made a daft assertion and I note you don’t bother to defend it. I omitted IMO and with it your point about my same mistake dissolves away. I apologised for my omission – you are seemingly incapable of believing you could be wrong about anything.

    and… I will Illuminate you with the comment I was responding to -> @Illuminata
    self-proclaimed skeptics who AREN’T SKEPTICAL will be treated just like their buddies in the creationist movement

    ooloon, is it possible for skeptics to sometimes act in ways that aren’t skeptical?

    That was why I called Illuminata out on that statement above. I’m glad you think Illuminata is running on a low wattage with that statement as well. To make it clear – That was my point – I agree with you. In fact its the whole point of why I posted – Ben seems to me to be a sceptic and the ‘fact’ (disclaimer on IMO) that he wrote an article(s) lacking in due dilligence expected of a sceptic does not (Unlike Illuminata’s opinion) make him for time immemorial an excommunicated sceptic in the bin with the creationists and general woo merchants.

  90. adamgordon says

    is it possible for skeptics to sometimes act in ways that aren’t skeptical?

    Here’s an example of such an instance from ooloon’s own link. In reference to his reliance on a poor-quality study on color preference in girls, Radford admits

    In hindsight I should have looked for more research, and/or more clearly qualified the conclusions as tentative.

    There is another way to say this.
    HE WASN’T SKEPTICAL.

    That doesn’t mean he’s a not a skeptic.
    That doesn’t mean he’s as stupid as a creationist.
    It just means HE GOT SOMETHING WRONG.

  91. adamgordon says

    (Unlike Illuminata’s opinion) make him for time immemorial an excommunicated sceptic in the bin with the creationists and general woo merchants.

    I have no idea where the fuck you are getting this idea. All Illuminata said was that HE WASN’T SKEPTICAL.

  92. Tethys says

    oolon

    You are missing the point cupcake. Nobody is plagiarizing, they are using a common pharyngula meme.

    SIWOTI (someone is wrong on the internet) is also a very common affliction among the horde.

  93. oolon says

    @adamgordon Oh dear I made the mistake of assuming that when Illuminata said Ben is a sceptic who lacks the property of being sceptical and that he is buddies with creationists that is was somehow being implied that he is not a sceptic! I now see that having the property of scepticism is not necessary to be considered a sceptic. And being buddies with creationists is not meant as a denigration of his sceptic credentials of a ridiculous level. How silly of me…

    Anyway on a serious note we are picking apart a comment by Illuminata and you seem to agree with me that equating Ben with creationists is daft hyperbole – so call it quits?

  94. says

    oolon

    Still waiting on an explanation of your little ‘mansplain’ crack, @96. Especially in light of the fact that I seriously doubt you even know what my gender is.

  95. Emrysmyrddin says

    (srsly. I was up late (for me) on here last night, so it carried over into a dream where London was bombed by Russia, PZ was holding a conference/speaking convention in the Tower, it was at 4am so that some sort of astronomy could be done, and there weren’t enough parking spaces for everyone who had flown over. And PZ signed a paper teabag packet for me. This is what comes of SIWOTI unfinished Pharyngula-type business just before bed. Get out while you canOne of us.)

  96. adamgordon says

    you seem to agree with me

    If you still think all the ‘vitriol’ aimed at Radford was undeserved and that only creationists should be subject to such rhetoric then fuck no we don’t agree.

  97. Sili says

    according to a statistic I just made up (so you can’t check)

    Holy fuck! I’ve been doing this science thing wrong all this time!

    Boy, is my face red!

  98. oolon says

    @adamgordon I sent Radford some vitriol of my own – comments such as ‘poorly thought out blog post’ might have given you a clue. It was IMO deserved – this post which misses his apology for the first few crap posts – and then pronounces him ‘chaff’ in totality (Or implied/ read into by me) seem an over-reaction… TO ME – IMO – etc etc. But would you when making a decision about the worth of something (I would never make an ultimate decision about the worth of some*one* so I won’t use that in my example) take a sample of 0.4% (Very generous as 1000 items written – some books vs 4 blog posts of dubious quality) of the output of that ‘thing’ and take that as representative enough to deem it ‘chaff’ or worthless (IMO again – I’m reading between the lines)

    So again (IMO) I think the post was mis-leading in missing the apology to the original debacle and over-blown in its conclusion that Radford *is* chaff as a result.

  99. Sili says

    Oh jesus fucking christ. Are you saying we should treat ‘fellow skeptics’ differently from ‘creationists et al’ when they’re equally as wrong?

    Of course!

    Didn’t you get the memo? We’re supposed to be all tribal.

    Try paying more attention to Laurence Krauss when he defends his paedophile friend by invoking SCIENCE™ *genuflects*.

  100. says

    @ing 78

    @skeptifem

    People deny that pitbulls exist???

    well sorta, when the dog is licking a baby its a pit, when it eats a baby it was “misidentified”.

    Its more about denialism that fighting dogs are more dangerous than other dogs. I hope I am not totally derailing the thread with this link, but the photo of the baby and the dog is an all too common phenomenon in the pit bull community, used to “prove” that the dogs are good family pets. they call them “nanny dogs” and say how they are less likely to attack children than other breeds.

    http://blog.dogsbite.org/2012/06/2012-dog-bite-fatality-pit-bulls-kill.html

    there is a link in the article to some good skeptic work debunking the “nanny dog” idea. It is on a blog however, so be careful…

  101. says

    Tethys:

    Nobody is plagiarizing, they are using a common pharyngula meme.

    Heh. I was using cupcake waaaay back when, during my usenet days. Gosh, I’m terrible.

  102. oolon says

    @Tethys plagiarising comment was meant to be a joke – obviously poor if you missed the sarcasm.

    @Caine comment 122

    *hugs back* Just driving by today, I must work. Let’s see if these will help Oolon the Stupid out:

    +…links to proof of Caines god-like status as commentard extraordinaire

    I’m glad it was just a drive by with no shooting, I got off lucky to miss out on this celebrity Pharyngulite’s sparkling wit and vicious line in bakery related put-downs.

    >>Apologies if this is a multiple post – Pharyngula wouldn’t accept the post the last three times I tried it! Is it cos I’m being insulting and I’m not enough of a fuck Ing knob? I hope its not a multiple post as I’ll look even more of a cock :-)<<

  103. says

    Ophelia:

    (But then why did you invite me in the first place?)

    Hmmm…perhaps to shut up all those other pesky women? I think you were a bone being tossed, Ophelia.

  104. oolon says

    @Sili

    Oh jesus fucking christ. Are you saying we should treat ‘fellow skeptics’ differently from ‘creationists et al’ when they’re equally as wrong?

    That was directed at me by @adamgordon so I’m replying… I was pointing out that IMO they are not ‘equally as wrong’. Someone who cited a daft paper on why girls like pink and built a dubious blog post on the back of it is *not* (IMO ;-)) *Equally* as wrong as someone who believes the world is 6000 years old and lots of other crazy stuff. I called that daft hyperbole on Illuminatas part who made the original analogy.

    Now in terms of how *we* should treat them I am no arbiter of how anyone should treat creationists or writers of bad sceptic articles on pink dolls. I can only say I’d treat both with respect (Unless its on an internet comment board!) and point out where I disagree with them – I would probably make a mental note to not waste time reading said creationists brain-farts on their blog and give the sceptic who wrote the bad article the benefit of the doubt. But then I’m more on the Dawkins softly-softly side than the PZ kick them in the nuts approach.

  105. Emrysmyrddin says

    It’s strange how time and time again honesty and accuracy are mistaken for ruseness.

  106. says

    Someone who cited a daft paper on why girls like pink and built a dubious blog post on the back of it is *not* (IMO ;-)) *Equally* as wrong as someone who believes the world is 6000 years old and lots of other crazy stuff.

    You haven’t explained how the error is different at all, and that is because they both made the same error. They found something that supported a belief they already had and failed to skeptically examine the content at all, and stupidly repeated it out loud to others. It is absolutely the mark of creationist reasoning- they pass around lists of “gotcha” questions that don’t make any sense for this reason. Groups like the discovery institute have “resources” for making objections to evolution seem scientific.

    The difference is that the creationist has made the same error several more times in order to go from “why aren’t there still monkeys then! checkmate!” to “the earth is 6000 years old!”. It doesn’t make the monkey statement less stupid than the “pink is for girls because science” shit that was referenced here.

    You know, the ability to admit error was something that initially attracted me to skepticism as a movement. So many people act like being wrong is the worst thing in the world.

  107. says

    I can tell you what gets you traffic: reliable, sustained writing on subjects of interest to an audience.

    That, and stupid jokes/memes, and, sorry to say and I know you’ll probably ban me for saying this, but also … kittens.

    But yes, the “hits” generated by “generating” controversy are a myth, unless one has a blog that is normally not read. Then, maybe.

  108. says

    No, kittens and memes don’t get you long-lasting traffic (unless you’re CuteOverload). They get you little blips; they get you an occasional bigger blip if Reddit picks up on it.

    But if you want people to come by every day, you need to actually do stuff.

    Go ahead and try it. Do a kitten every day for a year, and nothing else — your traffic will end up in the dumpster. Kitten posts are nothing but fillips on the architecture of your blog.

  109. Muz says

    I think the bloggers present are sounding a wee bit precious about this one. Sure it sounds like a curmudgeonly op-ed from 2005 but… well, it sounds like a curmudgeonly op-ed from 2005! Hardly worth a second thought, let alone any serious ire.

    Skeptics aren’t perfect. Radford falls for the pink thing and doesn’t like blogging (while doing it). But Monster Talk is cool. That’s got to count for something. Heck I think I like him better for having a bit of an off the cuff moan, same with any blogger (ha ha Ben’s blogger! *points*)
    Blogging’s not a cause to defend. Chill out, I say.

  110. oolon says

    @skepifem… Maybe you missed my link to the missing apology from Radford? It should have been linked to by PZ in the post (IMO) – Radford could come across as more of a idiot than he should without it imo — here is is again:
    http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/rileygate_lessons_learned/

    I recognize that my blog was flawed in several ways and deserved much of the criticism it got

    Seems rather sceptical and not at all dogmatic to me (Not seen a creationist make a back down like that ever!) – although did he spoil it by holding onto some of his flawed (In PZs and RWs opinions, and I also think so as mentioned above) opinions? Well he does give this hint of scepticism –

    Watson says that’s “ridiculous,” but I think reasonable people can disagree

    Not I *am* absolutely right on this one… I *think* reasonable people *can* disagree.

    Seems on cursory reading to be a person who acknowledges his original article was poor – and by implication the first post trying to shore it up in response to PZ and RW. He has backed down and admitted he was wrong, but not given an abject apology so maybe not perfect in some eyes. Seems like the sort of thing a sceptic would do and he seems to be willing to backdown on the bits he still holds to if so convinced. Just because he holds a different view to PZ and RW on the details does not by any measure make him less of a sceptic. As much as I admire PZ and RW they are not the arbiters of ‘The Truth’ in the sceptic/atheist realm which seems to be the tone here sometimes (IMO again)

    Finally I’m in danger of sounding like a Radfordian but I’d much rather measure someone on what they do rather than what they say. Radford has at the bottom of that link a number of admirable contributions to the sceptical feminist cause which I’d personally count for him.

    I agree with you on the being wrong thing – the thing I dislike most about the new atheist movement is the way it is portrayed as arrogant scientists saying you are wrong we are right. No it bloody well is not – its humble scientists saying we are all wrong lets spend eternity trying (And failing) to be right. (I feel the need to add an IMO for fear of the mark of Caine)

  111. oolon says

    @Muz +1 from me and far better put than any of my rambling posts. Off to bed on that note so cheers.

  112. says

    Oolon: I know you’re not very bright or thorough, but if you looked at the last link in my post, it takes you to an article I wrote directly addressing his ‘apology’, at length.

    Do try to keep up.

  113. says

    That is cool that he backed off instead of digging in his heels.

    however

    Finally I’m in danger of sounding like a Radfordian but I’d much rather measure someone on what they do rather than what they say. Radford has at the bottom of that link a number of admirable contributions to the sceptical feminist cause which I’d personally count for him

    I am getting mighty tired of hearing this. DJG seemed to bring up his work for women every time someone pointed out that he said something sexist, too. Men helping feminists seems like the baseline of decent behavior, considering how much they gain from sexism.

    It sets off suspicion in some feminists I know. There are lots of women I know who found predatory men infiltrating their groups and screwing with vulnerable women, and they hid behind their feminist work. Some have resorted to banning men totally after incidents where trust was betrayed… Ted Bundy worked at a rape crisis center, after all.

    I am not saying that radford is a rapist or predator, just that I am not totally impressed when a dude decides to do his share because the worst misogynists pull the same trick. I used to gush but I’ve grown tired of men who are quick to tell me how much they have done for me, they usually want me to shut up or give them a cookie. I also think that men being well versed in feminist arguments does a lot to further feminism within groups of men- they will know what to say when their friends are doing something sexist, and it can be hard to pin down without a lot of thought ahead of time. What men say about feminism should be seen as a very valuable source of change.

    Robert Jensen talks about this a lot, because his work is primarily with men. He also discusses the need for men to back off and not try to take over feminism, to run it on behalf of women. It is something that he has struggled with when getting involved in feminism, the programming to Be The Boss is very strong.

  114. says

    Personally, I’m sick to death of people rushing to defend “old school skepticism, oh hey, bigfoot!” and so on. Someone who claims to be a serious skeptic, like Radford, should be capable of turning that skepticism (and critical thinking) on themselves and at least be capable of seeing where they are wrong.

    The skeptical community is not an old boy’s club anymore. Women are an active and vocal part of the skeptic/humanist/atheist/freethought community these days and aren’t going to be content to shut up and sit in the back while the men natter on about what’s important. Unfortunately, sexism and misogyny have shown up all over in the skeptic/humanist/atheist/freethought community and it is something which needs to be talked about and dealt with – those who are in denial and want to maintain the status quo are not helping and attempting to rest on past laurels tends to make their contributions worse than irrelevant to much of the community.

  115. Tethys says

    I clicked on oolons link #150 to see what ze was going on about. It is Radford’s Rileygate: Lessons Learned post.

    It contains this little gem.

    Skepticism is a big tent, and there’s room for all styles and personalities, from philosophers to investigators, from Penn & Teller to The Amazing Randi. Diversity (in race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, point of view, etc.) is a strength, and I’ll continue to fight for it.

    I find it weapons grade stupid telling that he thinks Penn&Teller —> James Randi represents diversity.

  116. says

    Tethys:

    I find it weapons grade stupid telling that he thinks Penn&Teller —> James Randi represents diversity.

    This jumped out immediately to me as well. Gosh, two privileged white males, one of whom is quite the misogynistic asshole. That’s diversity, alright.

  117. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I’m tellin’ ya, Caine. These doods want to live in a state of perpetual suspended animation right in the middle of an episode of In Search Of, brought to you by the vocal talents of Mr. Leonard Nimoy.

  118. says

    Josh:

    I’m tellin’ ya, Caine. These doods want to live in a state of perpetual suspended animation right in the middle of an episode of In Search Of, brought to you by the vocal talents of Mr. Leonard Nimoy.

    Word. Although, in fairness, I could listen to Leonard Nimoy recite the phone book. ;p

  119. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Although, in fairness, I could listen to Leonard Nimoy recite the phone book. ;p

    True, true. From a jar maybe?

  120. Tethys says

    OT

    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I have been meaning to ask you what brand of e-cig you recommend?

    /OT

  121. Brownian says

    from Penn & Teller to The Amazing Randi

    Everyone from illusionists to illusionist duos?

  122. says

    from Penn & Teller to The Amazing Randi

    We have Country AND Western!

    This jumped out immediately to me as well. Gosh, two privileged white males, one of whom is quite the misogynistic asshole. That’s diversity, alright.

    Two? i must have missed the news. Did Penn finally absorb Teller?

  123. says

    It’s easy to apply skepticism to the things one is comfortable being skeptical of–bigfoot, crop circles. The things that are closer to home? Well, frankly, if you can’t do that then you’re worse than useless. Someone who doesn’t identify as a skeptic and isn’t familiar with the principles and philosophy, well, they have an excuse. Someone, like Radford, who knows what’s up but refuses to put his knowledge to some USEFUL end (like deconstructing and pushing back against sexism) has no excuse at all. Radford has no excuse at all. He does not deserve to be defended. So I’m glad oolon got his simpering, simple-minded ass handed to him by the Horde. Thanks y’all.

  124. says

    The last episode of MonsterTalk, a podcast that Radford does, was about 1/2 commercial for TAM, and had next to nothing about the crisis that the JREF is in the middle of. Seems like there is a lot of ignoring the elephant in the living room being done.

    As for the name of his blog, he is a journalist, by training.

  125. says

    Josh:

    True, true. From a jar maybe?

    Mmmm, that would work. :D

    Ing:

    Two? i must have missed the news. Did Penn finally absorb Teller?

    Augh, three. Obviously, I cannot count today. I was focusing on Penn Jillette, who is adored and put on a pedestal by the JREF crowd, in spite of his obvious and vocal sexism.

  126. says

    SallyStrange:

    It’s easy to apply skepticism to the things one is comfortable being skeptical of–bigfoot, crop circles.

    Exactly. This was pointed out ad infinitum in the pink thread. Radford may be a skeptic when it comes to bigfoot, chupacabra, the loch ness monster and so on, however, he is not a skeptic. He handily proved that by being willing to drink shit by the sewer-full when it comes to something like sexism and declaring it good.

  127. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Tethys!—I’m going to respond to your e-cig question on TET. Remember you can always email me at spokesgay at gmail.

  128. rg57 says

    While a link may be a reference in computer terms, it is certainly not a reference in citation terms. Unless we’re now following the Hak-Shing William Tam school of research.

  129. says

    rg57:

    While a link may be a reference in computer terms, it is certainly not a reference in citation terms.

    Is that so? So, everything on google scholar is what? So, every link to a published, peer review paper is what? So, every link to sources which verify a story are what?

    What exactly is your point, outside of useless nitpicking? This is the ‘net. When one provides a citation, it is generally in the form of a handy dandy link. Golly, this newfangled technology is just so hard to grok, eh?

  130. says

    Josh:

    an episode of In Search Of, brought to you by the vocal talents of Mr. Leonard Nimoy.

    Going back to this for a moment, the In Search Of days were very fun, there were so many subjects to engage with, to furiously argue over, to have discussions deep into the night over.

    Do houseplants respond to music? What music is most preferred by the average houseplant? Erich Von Daniken, Chariots of the Gods, Easter Island, aliens, aliens, aliens, yada, yada, yada.

    All that stuff and more was really fun to talk about, research and debunk. It was great. It was also a long fucking time ago. Things have changed, hot subjects have changed and there are much more serious things to aim our skepticism at these days.

  131. ewanmacdonald says

    I think that everything you need to know about Benjamin Radford’s style of skepticism can be found in his latest not-retraction over dollgate:

    I got comments from people who said they appreciated my work and investigation skills but expressed disappointment that I didn’t appear to apply those same skills when it came to gender issues. Julia Lavarnway and others helped me recognize that the same set of investigation skills I’ve employed for years don’t necessarily translate well into other areas. I don’t have the space to get into a full discussion here, but it’s important to realize that examining people’s exact words is a fundamental part of investigation; the exact words and specific details a person uses can be critically important to solving a mystery. When a lake monster eyewitness describes its skin as looking like “bark,” that can crack a case. Or, for example, see Richard Wiseman’s research into psychic séances where a person swears “the psychic knew my mother’s name was Ann, and that she died of a heart attack,” while a recording of the exact words reveals the psychic asking if her mother’s name began with an “A” and died of a problem in the “chest area.” I’ve solved many mysteries with what may appear to be pedantic attention to detail and insistence on verbatim quotes.

    I recognize that a four-year-old is not the same as a Bigfoot eyewitness, but the basic analysis is the same, and I don’t think a close analysis of what she literally said was unfair or inappropriate. My mistake, I believe, was not in abandoning the critical analysis that serves me so well in other areas, but instead adhering too closely to it.

    Hasn’t. Learned. A. Thing.

  132. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Caine:

    Yes, those were fun days! It was a little different for me, though, since I was just a kid when all that shit was in vogue. I devoured tales of the paranormal, alien stuff, nessie, Erich von Daniken, the moving coffins of Barbados Slim, the Bermuda tetrahedron triangle. I wanted all of it to be true, true, true!

    Took several years (and some attempts at astral projection. . .yeah) for me to get my head screwed on right.

  133. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Hasn’t. Learned. A. Thing.

    You’re not kidding, Ewan. I mean, look at what he writes—he’s still on about Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster as if those were things-very-much-in-need-of-attention. It’s embarrassing self-parody.

    Next thing you know they’ll be Skeptically Questioning Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound.

  134. says

    Oh hell, Josh, even though I was older than you in those days (I was 16 in ’73 when the whole Chariots of the Gods stuff was big), I loved all that stuff too – it was exciting, it fired up the imagination!

    I wanted to believe a lot of that stuff, too.

  135. says

    Ewan:

    Hasn’t. Learned. A. Thing.

    That’s a fact. He still maunders on about bigfoot and other monsters as if those things were in any way relevant now. Stuck firmly in the past, playing the same groove over and over again. Sad.

  136. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    And what about those Edison bulbs? Do they really work? Or are they just one small part of a cunning conspiracy to put alternating current out of business. . . ?

    Skeptically white men skeptically stroking skeptically trimmed skeptical goatees would like to know.

    Skeptically.

    With glasses.

  137. CT says

    has he said anything about mermaids cuz if he hasn’t he’s totally missing the boat

  138. says

    Josh:

    Skeptically white men skeptically stroking skeptically trimmed skeptical goatees would like to know.

    Skeptically.

    With glasses.

    :falls over laughing, scaring several rats in the process:

  139. says

    Now wait a minute, I think it’s perfectly reasonable and valid to address claims of bigfoot & UFOs & chupacabras & chemtrails. There are still gullible people who believe in that shit. Also, we do have a real problem that some people are willing to say they don’t believe in god…but then they go on to believe in fairies & the Secret & acupuncture. We need skepticism on all fronts.

    What I object to is these skeptics who claim only their bugaboo of interest is relevant. Or the ones who say they’re True Skeptics™ while peddling Evo-psych nonsense.

    And yeah, if you’re saying it’s a waste of time to debate UFOs, you’re putting yourself in the same position of trying to dictate what True Skepticism™ is. Let’s not.

  140. says

    PZ:

    Now wait a minute, I think it’s perfectly reasonable and valid to address claims of bigfoot & UFOs & chupacabras & chemtrails.

    Sure it is. However, I take issue with anyone who calls themselves a skeptic and are only willing to address specific subjects with skepticism, while swallowing bullshit whole on other subjects.

    I also have a problem with those who consider certain subjects (such as bigfoot, Nessie, UFOs, etc.) to be the only subjects which are worthy of skepticism.

    My objection to bigfoot when it comes to Radford is that he is seriously *stuck* on that particular subject and tends to always bring everything back to bigfoot and bigfoot claims. It’s absurd.

  141. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    PZ, sure, but it’s just that the emphasis on those things is so misplaced in 2012. Surely you’ve noticed that the purists among the Skeptics™ wear their allegiance to “traditional” skeptic topics as a badge of pride?

    Sorry. Lots of people believe in Uri Geller, Nessie, and Erich von Daniken in the 70s and 80s. Yep, lots still do. But more people these days are being fleeced (often with gov’t support, see NCCAM) by “alternative” medicine, homeopathy, and bugfuck nuts ideas about gluten, vaccines, and the rest of the contemporary Toxicoepia.

    I’m not merely criticizing the Radfords of the world on grounds of fashion; their focus is disproportionately aimed at dated and irrelevant problems at the expense of very real modern scams.

  142. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    And also, as you pointed out, their bullshit gunshy attitude about criticizing religion (faith being the very foundational turn of mind that underpins their whole debunking enterprise) is helping them become even more rapidly obsolete than their own clumsy fixations with 1970s paranormality.

  143. says

    Notwithstanding the fact that Radford the Paranormal Investigator seems to be one of those compartment skeptics, those who declare that 90% of the stuff written on blogs is crap, are making the fundamental mistake of assuming that what they read was written for them, or with them in mind.

  144. says

    So many people have pointed out the obvious application of Sturgeon’s Law to Radford’s own writing, so I’ll only point out that even good writers occasionally produce bad writing: the craft requires practice and technique, which tend to gradually improve the more time you attend to it. So Radford is upset that so many million people have blogs: he is upset that so many people want to write? Perhaps it’s because he is a journalist by training, and so has a snooty, elitist view that only the meritorious people who are generally published in newspapers and journals deserve to be read – and even there you will find poor writers who are more often than not, a chore to read. However, the quality of a blog generally attracts readers based on its content. For me a blog brimming with interesting ideas stands out far more than the writing style, and it’s of no concern to me whether the author is a teen, or a grandmother, or anyone else with an opinion.

    Radford’s also dismayed about the general irrelevance, self-indulgence, or size of readership of blogs. Or that some people air their opinions without giving suitable research citations. What’s wrong with a bit of self-indulgence (in moderation)? The blog I started earlier this year is purely of interest to myself, since I’m going through what others might ascribe to a ‘mid-life crisis’, and so I wanted to have something in journal or diary format that I can critically examine to see if my thoughts and ideas have gradually changed over a period of time. I couldn’t care less if a hundred people read the blog, or half a dozen – in fact, there are five regulars who are responsible for half of the blog’s comments. I generally haven’t tried to advertise it and it requires at least two clicks for people to get to it from comments I leave on other blogs.

    Is my blog irrelevant and self-indulgent? It’s highly relevant to me – and as that’s its primary purpose, all other criticisms are more or less missing the point. I could care less that some of my writing is innocuous or banal – I’m not forcing people to read it, if they don’t want to. The remark that some bloggers are engaging in ‘shock-jock sleaze’ sounds suspiciously similar to the DJ Grothe accusation earlier in the year, which like several other pronouncements from both these sources was similarly unevidenced, and rightly deserved the sparkly [citation needed] response. If Radford truly wants to winnow the wheat from the chaff then if he’s honest he’ll probably find himself eliminating a lot of his own logorrhea in the process.

  145. says

    Rorschach:

    Notwithstanding the fact that Radford the Paranormal Investigator seems to be one of those compartment skeptics, those who declare that 90% of the stuff written on blogs is crap, are making the fundamental mistake of assuming that what they read was written for them, or with them in mind.

    Excellent point. My blogs, one about a particular art piece and the other basically about my needlework are primarily for *myself*. They help keep me motivated and keep me in contact with others doing similar things. I have no idea why I should feel under any pressure to blog in some sort of “Radford approved” manner. He really needs to understand that the internet is not all about him. Or bigfoot.

  146. julian says

    You could make the same arguments about books, or magazines, or newspapers: they’re mostly junk.

    This really bears repeating. I often wonder if the people who so despise blogs ever visit bookstores. There are literally tons of poorly written, researched and argued drivel to be found at any Barnes and Noble. Especially in history/politics and lifestyle sections (but is certainly not limited to those. ID and the like keep cropping up in science sections too) where almost anyone can say anything they like.

  147. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ plutosdad #80

    Maybe it’s just that the majority of what we say and do is crap and not worth remembering.

    It does however have an important social function. And will carry over into all forms of human conversation. Phatic language just keeps the channels of communication open. That the (blog) comment or twit is low in communicative value is to miss the point. We have, and likely have always had, an urge to keep the lines of communication open wether or not we really have anything to say. (If the above is not new to you, treat it as a case in point ;)

    @ Caine

    You’re back! Cool!

    @ julian

    ID and the like keep cropping up in science sections too

    Eeeuw… Not to mention all the vacuous drivel on “Science” and “History” channels.

  148. oolon says

    @PZ Err no I’m afraid my poor befuddled un-thorough mind cannot see where you link to Radfords apology either in the post or in the last link you mentioned on the post.

    Oolon: I know you’re not very bright or thorough, but if you looked at the last link in my post, it takes you to an article I wrote directly addressing his ‘apology’, at length.

    Do try to keep up.

    But I will apologise as I did intimate that not posting the apology was somehow disingenuous of you whereas its obvious you just missed it. He did post a quick rebuttal to yours and RWs justified criticism of his original post which was not much better and THAT is what you linked to in the last link of the post above — then after some time I see he posted this: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/rileygate_lessons_learned/

    Which you have *not* linked to in your blog and although he does not back down completely he does admit he made mistakes and wrote a poor original article.

    So coming at this not realising you had missed the final post of his it seemed a bit shitty to be slamming him again for the original debacle sans apology. And slamming him over what? As Muz said above a pretty bog standard 2005 op-ed style article moaning about blogging! If that is all you can find from his 1000+ articles over the last ten years then I’ll still give him the benefit of the doubt and not label him ‘chaff’ in my ‘what pointless blog shall I peruse today’ circuit in my limited brain.

  149. michaelpowers says

    He misses the point, I think. In my own case, there are a number of reasons (some, admittedly silly) why I have a blog. It’s a way of practicing my ability to communicate using the written word. A cathartic way of keeping my head from exploding when faced with hatred, or stupidity, or injustice (I’m from Arizona, so there’s…that). A way of celebrating life’s milestones, of grieving for lost friends, of gaining the perspective of others, sometimes from halfway across the world. Perhaps even a way of adding to the historical record.

    I’m sure some future historian could make use of all these words from all these people. She may have to wade through a bit of the ridiculous, the sublime, even the disturbing to get to the good stuff, but if nothing else, these are the things make the journey interesting.

    He is right about one thing. Blogs are generally personal in nature. But, hey, why not? I am a person, after all.

  150. John Morales says

    oolon retorts to PZ:

    If that is all you can find from his 1000+ articles over the last ten years then I’ll still give him the benefit of the doubt and not label him ‘chaff’ in my ‘what pointless blog shall I peruse today’ circuit in my limited brain.

    You imagine PZ somehow searched?

    What part of “I sure don’t read Radford’s attempts at blogging, and only ran across this one because DJ Grothe praised it on twitter” was unclear to your admittedly limited brain?

  151. ewanmacdonald says

    Now wait a minute, I think it’s perfectly reasonable and valid to address claims of bigfoot & UFOs & chupacabras & chemtrails. There are still gullible people who believe in that shit. Also, we do have a real problem that some people are willing to say they don’t believe in god…but then they go on to believe in fairies & the Secret & acupuncture. We need skepticism on all fronts.

    Absolutely, but the method of analysis between teasing information out of a bigfoot spotter and watching and listening to a video of a young child speaking is different. It is an entirely different situation and one that requires a different kind of analysis. But because this guy knows how to falsify claims about dowsing rods he thinks he’s got it all figured out. Skepticism on all fronts is 100% vital but I don’t think that’s what this guy is really proposing. He’s proposing, instead, that the falsification techniques used in one example are valid for all, and that his problem was that his close analysis wasn’t close enough.

    In any case, quite how a close analysis would lead to “dolls are pink! Berries are awesome!” is beyond me.

  152. oolon says

    @John Morales, I think you are too late, PZ has gone so he will miss your well thought out arselikhan comment. As you well know my ‘retort’ was that PZ was wrong when he said he did link to the apology – and ironically accused me of being stupid and ‘not thorough’ when he hadn’t even bothered to check his facts. Then you go on to say I should not have expected him to have any idea of Radfords output as ‘he only read it because DJ Grothe tweeted it’… Err the whole fricken point was that he has been reading his posts in the past as he picked up the poorly written pick doll one! So double fail on your part – no brown nose points and your whole point is specious due to your lack of thorough reading of the facts.

    Might be hard to stomach but maybe you share my affliction of a limited brain?

  153. John Morales says

    [meta]

    oolon, your ego deceives you; the comment was to you, not PZ.

    And no, PZ didn’t post on that particular apologetic to which you linked, but to the initial doubling-down.

    Then you go on to say I should not have expected him to have any idea of Radfords output as ‘he only read it because DJ Grothe tweeted it’

    You are imagining this.

    Err the whole fricken point was that he has been reading his posts in the past as he picked up the poorly written pick doll one!

    You imagine that if PZ posts about someone else’s posting, that PZ therefore reads that someone else regularly?

    Might be hard to stomach but maybe you share my affliction of a limited brain?

    Not in comparison to you.

  154. oolon says

    John, Oh dear you sort of missed the subtext of me saying your post was not to me but as a kak-handed attempt to stand up for PZ (Which he doesn’t need from you I’m sure). I’ll explain it to you clearly with simple words – you quote mined my ‘retort’, as you put it, for a bit you felt you could attack. Ignoring the actual retort to PZ that was pointing out he was wrong, and ironically so – which I see you agree with. The reason I implied you were an arselikhan PZ cheerleader was because of this, I did not think you were replying to PZ in your post but it was for his benefit – how hard is that to understand? Bot-like you see someone on the comment board who has been called stupid by PZ so rather than bother to see he was wrong in the specifics of that statement you try and join in and fail in the attempt.

    So getting past that bit of mis-understanding we are left with your belief that PZ should not have bothered to search.

    You imagine PZ somehow searched?

    My whole point was that I felt it was unfair to decry someone as a poor sceptic as they held onto dogmatic beliefs in ‘evo-psych nonsense’ and had not backed down while conveniently missing a link to his apology for the original crap article. That is very good sceptic behaviour – we all have limited brains as you admit even though you think yourself superior to me (Fair enuff) — so we are all allowed to be stupid. As others in this thread made analogies to Radford as a creationist I pointed out they never back down – dogmatic stupidity should be criticised vigorously.

    Finally irony and keep a look out for the sarcasm coming –

    You imagine PZ somehow searched?

    Well no obviously when writing a hatchet job on a fellow sceptic there is no requirement for PZ to have done any due dilligence and its perfectly ok that he was not *thorough* and completely missed Radford apology to the original pink doll debacle. Why would I expect him to bother to do any homework after all he is like you and me and stupid at times.

  155. Tethys says

    oolon

    Radford’s Lesson Learned post is yet another notpology in which Radford proves that he has a severe case of white male privilege.

    See if you can spot the tell-tale clue in this paragraph:

    Skepticism is a big tent, and there’s room for all styles and personalities, from philosophers to investigators, from Penn & Teller to The Amazing Randi. Diversity (in race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, point of view, etc.) is a strength, and I’ll continue to fight for it.

  156. oolon says

    Tethys – yeah I said it was not a good apology. The thing is though you cannot deny he admitted he was wrong about the core of the article. That is a sceptical trait and admirable given the flame war that ensued from PZs and RWs criticism of the post (Rightly so criticised but human nature is to fight back not back down).

    So by picking on an aspect of his apology and attacking based on your own favourite agenda you are missing the point. To paraphrase, he is a privileged sexist therefore you can dismiss his apology and admission of a mistake, ad-hom much? Are you really saying Radford=sexist therefore Radford!=sceptic? Please explain to me how being a sexist means its correct to dismiss him? (I’m assuming you are right that he is an inveterate sexist from your analysis of that one quote, obviously not being able to frame his example with a more diverse set of real people makes him a sexist and being friends with sexists makes you one)

  157. John Morales says

    oolon:

    John, Oh dear you sort of missed the subtext of me saying your post was not to me but as a kak-handed attempt to stand up for PZ (Which he doesn’t need from you I’m sure).

    You really are dim; again, it was to you, not to PZ.

    (Your clumsy conception of what constitutes subtext is rather quaint, though)

    I’ll explain it to you clearly with simple words – you quote mined my ‘retort’, as you put it, for a bit you felt you could attack.

    Since I purportedly quote-mined you, you should have no difficulty filling the context where your claim that “Then you go on to say I should not have expected him to have any idea of Radfords output as ‘he only read it because DJ Grothe tweeted it’” is in any sense true.

    The reason I implied you were an arselikhan PZ cheerleader was because of this, I did not think you were replying to PZ in your post but it was for his benefit – how hard is that to understand?

    You didn’t imply it, you stated it outright: “your well thought out arselikhan comment“.

    (This tack you take that I somehow misunderstood you is mildly amusing, if self-defeating)

    Well no obviously when writing a hatchet job on a fellow sceptic there is no requirement for PZ to have done any due dilligence and its perfectly ok that he was not *thorough* and completely missed Radford apology to the original pink doll debacle.

    So that’s a no, you didn’t imagine that he searched; so, whence your quip “If that is all you can find from his 1000+ articles over the last ten years“? :)

  158. oolon says

    John, FFS I’m not sure if you are misunderstanding on purpose – its pretty tiresome though.

    You really are dim; again, it was to you, not to PZ.
    My point was that while I knew the post *was directed to me not PZ* it was clearly an attempt to jump on a bandwagon and the subtext I was criticising you for was that I felt this was *For PZs benefit* — i.e. Standing up for him — i.e. Being his cheerleader…. Not that it was directed to PZ. How many times do I need to make that clear!

    The rest of your post is just as littered with misconception so I cannot be arsed to address it — Bizarre that in the same language two people could fail to communicate so effectively :-)

    How about simple questions –

    * What did you think of Radfords apology?
    * Do you think PZ should have put it in the original post?

  159. ewanmacdonald says

    Radford loves all kinds of music from country right through to western.

  160. John Morales says

    oolon:

    FFS I’m not sure if you are misunderstanding on purpose – its pretty tiresome though.

    There is no misunderstanding; you are imagining things and guessing wrongly at my motive.

    The rest of your post is just as littered with misconception so I cannot be arsed to address it — Bizarre that in the same language two people could fail to communicate so effectively :-)

    The failure is only in one direction.

    How about simple questions –

    * What did you think of Radfords apology?
    * Do you think PZ should have put it in the original post?

    No worries:

    * I think nothing of it; I didn’t bother to read it.

    * Whatever PZ wanted to put there, since it’s his personal soapbox.

  161. oolon says

    John Morales – I’ve obviously been wasting my time – your statements make that totally clear. ‘Failure is only in one direction’ – I appear not be talking to an open minded sceptic and my joke that you thought yourself superior to me and to have an unlimited brain is obviously not satire but you truly believe that if you are incapable of seeing you may have mis-interpreted my statements.

    Your ‘answers’ are very revealing – if you didn’t read the apology then you are not in any position to criticise me as that was the core of my argument. But at least it is clear now why you ignored the core of my comments and limited yourself to nit-picking around the edges so thanks for that, I understand you better now.

    I asked for your opinion – if you cannot have any opinion of your own but defer to PZ on all matters then my initial reaction that you are a cheerleader whose only agenda is to *prove* those who annoy your masters *wrong* with endless nit-picking then I appear to be correct. I will studiously ignore you until you start to make some sense… Might be a long wait :-)

  162. John Morales says

    oolon:

    ‘Failure is only in one direction’ – I appear not be talking to an open minded sceptic and my joke that you thought yourself superior to me and to have an unlimited brain is obviously not satire but you truly believe that if you are incapable of seeing you may have mis-interpreted my statements.

    Be precise: it appears so to you.

    Your ‘answers’ are very revealing – if you didn’t read the apology then you are not in any position to criticise me as that was the core of my argument.

    They were answers, not ‘answers’.

    The criticism had nothing to do with your link, it was to your imputation that PZ had bothered to seek such feeble efforts to deride.

    But at least it is clear now why you ignored the core of my comments and limited yourself to nit-picking around the edges so thanks for that, I understand you better now.

    Your omphalos was this gem: I had no idea who Ben Radford was before this – but looking at PZs links he has a good point that the post was rubbish but then for some reason misses out his apology…, and my retort “What part of “I sure don’t read Radford’s attempts at blogging, and only ran across this one because DJ Grothe praised it on twitter” was unclear to your admittedly limited brain?” provides a reason for why PZ didn’t blog about said apology.

    I asked for your opinion – if you cannot have any opinion of your own but defer to PZ on all matters then my initial reaction that you are a cheerleader whose only agenda is to *prove* those who annoy your masters *wrong* with endless nit-picking then I appear to be correct.

    You asked me for my opinion about something I hadn’t read and which was irrelevant to your querulous question.

    I will studiously ignore you until you start to make some sense… Might be a long wait :-)

    <snicker>

    Quite possibly; you have form.