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Friday, May 24, 2013

'The Noble and Ancient Tradition of Moron-Baiting'

Via Language Log:

I agree that the world is better off with more of what Ben Goldacre has called "The noble and ancient tradition of moron-baiting", and that the blogosphere, for all its many faults, is the best method so far invented for "[making] bluffing harder".

It's a comment on Paul Krugman's The Sloppiness Syndrome, though one other NY Times columnist is also mentioned:

David Brooks writes for the New York Times, as Prof. Krugman does, and his motivation for shockingly sloppy presentations of "facts" and theories is usually to reinforce an all-too-familiar point of view, like "boys and girls need to be educated differently", or "social roles are determined by 'patterns that nature and evolution laid down long, long ago'", or "Western societies have an individualist mentality and Eastern societies have a collectivist mentality", or "individualism and governmentalization are rising, and morality is declining", or some combination of the above.

I'm still not fully convinced on this point. The internet may make bluffing harder, but it also makes it easier for "bullshitting (to use the correct philosophical terminology)" to spread within conservative and/or liberal circles (which are relatively isolated). But perhaps those calling bullshit are, on average, prevailing over those spreading it -- I sure hope so.

    Posted by on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 10:57 AM in Economics, Weblogs | Permalink  Comments (30)


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