Thursday, March 08, 2018

Taking Steven Pinker to task

Good on George Monbiot for deflating the celebrity bubble that has grown around Steven Pinker's work.

'Rather than using primary sources, Pinker draws on anecdote, cherry-picking and discredited talking points developed by anti-environmental thinktanks.Take, for example, Pinker’s claims about the landmark Limits to Growth report, published in 1972. It’s a favourite target of those who seek to dismiss environmental problems. He suggests it projected that aluminium, copper, chromium, gold, nickel, tin, tungsten and zinc would be exhausted by 1992. It is hard to see how anyone who had read the report could form this impression. The figures it uses for illustrative purposes have been transformed by some critics into projections.

Its actual prediction is that “the great majority of the currently important non-renewable resources will be extremely costly 100 years from now”. It would be perfectly reasonable to take issue with this claim. It is not reasonable to recycle, then attack, a widely circulated myth about the report. That’s called the straw man fallacy. It is contrary to the principles of reason that Pinker claims to champion.'

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

More on the systemic failings of universities/H.E.

From a despondent Peter Scott in an article today called:  'Don’t let this university wrecking government masquerade as reformers'

'The fees and funding system in England is certainly bust.'

' English higher education is too expensive. It is the most expensive public system of higher education in the world (including the US).'

Tuesday, March 06, 2018