That explains SO much

Matthew Nisbet is apparently a fan of Roger Pielke Jr.

I’m not sure who that reflects upon more poorly…


6 responses to “That explains SO much

  1. I’ve mentioned Nisbet’s stuff to my wife, and she’s pointed out a good reason for his routinely … bizarre … comments This was actually prompted by comments of his about PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins, but the principle holds elsewhere.

    If ‘framing’ is about communication and finding out how to do it well, a naive person (i.e., me) would think that one thing you’d do is go look for people who are being successful at it and see what they are doing. Myers does the most popular science blog on the planet, and Dawkins does so well writing his books that large numbers of people voluntarily pay for the privilege of reading them. Nisbet, on the other hand is … some guy sitting elsewhere doing other things.

    How to attract attention? Attack the most successful people. Or, in this case, praise someone notorious.

    [Response: And someone who does exactly the same thing… -TB]

  2. To be fair, Nisbet is in a slightly different line of work than RP Jr. To my knowledge, the former has never tried to substitute his own policy views for those of scientists, nor has he ever engaged in RP Jr.’s little hobby of egging on denialists. Also, notwithstanding RP Jr.’s numerous defects, probably he shouldn’t be classed with Tierney and Lomborg on policy substance, although he could be classed with Lomborg when it comes to self-promotion.

    [I meant insofar as going after the successful “faces” of the field, e.g. RealClimate -TB]

  3. Roger Pielke doesn’t really self-promote himself any more than other “people on the internet”.

    Having a blog, and commenting on what others say, is hardly self-promotion.

    Lomborg is worse. He’s willingly inserted himself (or had himself uncomplainingly inserted) into a political policy debate, but his positions are not founded upon a solid program of research, instead they are the result of some rather gimmicky science.

    Lomborg and his team scrounges about the literature in a haphazard shallow unscientific way in an amateurish attempt to understand global warming. Then he proposes and organizes a large effort on how much better it would be to spend X on Y instead of Z. Where’d X come from? Why should we expect his method to distinguish spending on Y from Z hold water? In what scientific way did he come up with that method? Answer: it would charitably be called murky, but more importantly, it is all fairly unrelated to global warming and public policy, and so largely a waste of time for anyone other than Lomborg to consider. Like a lot of poor (and good) research.

    So I say his research program is one thing: but it should never be over-emphasized in importance. Unfortunately Lomborg over-emphasizes its importance (which is self-promotion, and perhaps understandable), but he also allows other to promote his work in an entirely inappropriate way and says nothing about it. This is unethical. And it has had a bad effect.

  4. Chuckle. — I asked how impact is measured, N suggested I go determine it for myself if I didn’t believe him. Like I know how, or like any guy on a blog can do it. Weeeelllll, no. Maybe someone who does study impact will eventually comment on RPJr’s or N’s for that matter. Turns out, lo, there really are methods to study it.

  5. Whoa, don’t overreact!

    I detest many things Pielke Jr has said and done (especially in regards to Michael Tobis), but in between I’ve spotted at least one useful and possibly thruthful, if harsh opinion about science policy making.

    Nisbet I don’t really know much good about except the clashes with Myers.

    This is easy to label as concern trolling, but we don’t want to start a witch hunt so that anyone associated or not immediately condemning someone is somehow “tainted”.

  6. Oh, didn’t realize this post was so old, came here through a link from comments somewhere…

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