Tuesday, August 23, 2005

COM: Blogarithmic #17

I post a lot of material from The New York Times at least in part because it is the most thorough of the mainstream news media, will take some (if not all) difficult subjects, and occasionally comes down on the side of sanity. But occasionally they are terribly misinformed, and worse pander to flakes in such a way as to lend authority to their views. Such is the case with their coverage of ID lately. I've been staying abreast of the blog reaction from evolutionary biologists and (as usual) in particular PZ Myers at Pharyngula (one of the best science blogs on the net, and imho one of the best blogs period). Anyway, his was among the snarkdowns i've linked to in the last couple of days. Well today he allowed the author of the worst article to respond via the comments section. He, Kenneth Chang, has some decent points but as is stated later in the comments falls prey to the NYT idea that balance somehow means equal time. It doesn't. If there are hundreds of thousands of working evolutionary biologists and students, and a handful (maybe a dozen who are serious) proponents of ID, then articles focusing on the ID movement (even with obscure references to untold minions of scientists who are against even the whisper of a concept) are both wrong-headed and credence-giving bits of malarkey, despite, more like especially because of, the protestations of a writer who claims to be "educating" the public. I have to fall in line with this comment (which, yes, i'm reprinting in full) from Palo (wish i knew who this was, and if he/she writes or has a blog):

I think for a newspaper that seems to value 'balance' more than it values
truth, Ken Chang's defense is perfectly apropriate. This is the paper that
let its journalists claim that to report on imaginary uranium centrifuge
tubes and nuclear clouds is fine because it presents the 'view of the
administration', whether the administration --or the Discovery Institute--
is full of crap, that is not for the most important newspaper in the world
to discuss. Their role, we have to understand, is not to separate the moron
from the educated, or the dishonest ideologue from the honest realist to
better inform us. Their role is to inform them, Mr. Chang tells us, the
idiots and the creeps. Keep up the good work!
After this little party, PZ promptly dismantles Deepak Chopra

Legal Fiction on John Roberts . . .

Slate catches on to Overheard in New York . . . archived here.

Mark Cuban uses his Blog Maverick to do the snarkdown on The New York Times, based on this article. Boom . . .

Kung Fu Monkey on his bud Jon Stewart . . .

The Language Log, a favorite regular read of mine (elegant, eloquent, and erudite) doesn't have comments enabled. If it did, i'd mention that their below-the-fold reads are very difficult because they stretch from edge to edge and on a large monitor my eyes give out after about four lines.

The Presbyterian Church as Jedi Council in Backstroke of the West -- or what happens when you translate Revenge of the Sith into Chinese and then back into English. Choice.

Aydon Örstan at Snail's Tales has, twice in the last month, added a fine collection of links to publications on the web. The first is to pdfs of full articles (including his own) posted on the web by scientific authors. Because of his field of expertise (malacology) these are folks working mostly with molluscs other aquatic invertebrates or paleontology. It's a dang fine collection of research. Then yesterday he posted a set of links leading to free books available online from greek classics to the history of agriculture to the writings of Darwin. Another excellent listing. I've added the latter to my list of eLibrary links in the sidebar for future reference, and created a new listing of Science Books Online for the former listing.

And for the Christian viewpoint of the day . . . which brings me to Ronald Reagan, one of those people i swore's name would never defile my blog. But for such the ninny that he was he raised at least a couple of intelligent beings in his house. Here's one . . .

These posts are retiring to the archives:

Justice for the Chappell's

The Other Side of John Roberts

John Roberts III

Williams on Kleinzahler

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