Deltoid vs The Thunderer

My recent scuffle with the Oz, is one of a long line in which a paper which was once (long ago, and only for a few years, but still) Australia’s best has had it out with bloggers, mostly coming off second-best. After being shredded in its fight with the psephbloggers in 2007, and having long since abandoned any claims to credibility, the Oz is not much of a scalp to hang on your belt these days.

A much more interesting match-up is between Tim Lambert’s Deltoid and the Times of London, as represented by their laughably mis-titled ‘Science’ reporter Jonathan Leake. With more than 200 years as the world’s best known newspaper of record, the Times ought to be a shoo-in. But Murdoch ownership erodes credibility at a startling rate, and Lambert has Leake dead to rights. I’m betting on a TKO for Deltoid.

Starting with Leakegate (Leake’s role in pushing the anti-science lies associated with ClimateAuditGate), Lambert has pointed out all manner of journalistic malfeasance on Leake’s part. The Times wisely stuck to dignified disregard for a while, but, like the Oz, they couldn’t keep it up. Leake had a fellow reporter call Lambert and claim to be doing a general story on science blogging. She didn’t manage to get much but ran a hatchet job anyway. Now, as Lambert is reporting, Leake is getting banned from all sorts of places for such malfeasance as breaking embargoes. You can read the whole story here.

35 thoughts on “Deltoid vs The Thunderer

  1. Kanazawa could have made a strong point buried in there somewhere, though. The point he wants to make is his surmise that catastrophic change can select for species that will go extinct quicker under less catastrophic conditions than would some species killed off in the catastrophe. Another point is that from a fossil record point of view it might be harder to point out just-so story logic in the selection process. It’s certainly food for thought.

    Darwin thought human evolution would slow down to a crawl in the strictest sense – that the human species wouldn’t change much genetically, except in a greater predominance in previously survival-poor traits. One of many notions corrected by modern genetics, because human evolution is in fact still ongoing – it’s a subjective freeze like watching the teakettle come to a boil on medium heat. It’s not fast or dramatic enough for sociobiology to be interested, or pop science, but it’s definitely there. Mutation, random selection, genetic drift – the whole thing is at work in the human population. There may be SUPERIOR MUTANTS among us! 1% less likely to contract cervical cancer! Better able to digest beets! The possibilities are endless.

  2. Kanazawa is talking out of his posterior orifice. Evolution is a change of allele frequencies in a gene pool; this obviously does not only happen when the environment is unchanging over many generations — how absurd, and contrary to biological science. His “evolution can’t happen because nature can’t determine which traits to select and which to eliminate” is beyond ridiculous, implying a strong teleology in nature that does not exist at all, and flying in the face of simple and obvious facts. What, he thinks no traits were eliminated in any of the mass extinctions on this planet that resulted from radical change in the environment?

    “The point he wants to make is his surmise that catastrophic change can select for species that will go extinct quicker under less catastrophic conditions than would some species killed off in the catastrophe.”

    That’s not what he said, and rather than being a “strong point”, that “surmise” and “can” makes it as weak as possible. Of course catastrophic change can select traits that are less resilient in stable conditions, but there’s no reason to think it generally will.

    “There may be SUPERIOR MUTANTS among us!”

    Superiority is not a biological concept.

    ” Better able to digest beets!”

    You can detect them by their big ears and feet and their small brains.

  3. P.S. I don’t think it’s at all a stretch to say that Kanazawa is a pseudoscientist who gives evolutionary psychology — which is already eyed skeptically by many scientists — a bad name, or that he is a loon. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satoshi_Kanazawa

    “Imagine that, on September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers came down, the President of the United States was not George W. Bush, but Ann Coulter. What would have happened then? On September 12, President Coulter would have ordered the US military forces to drop 35 nuclear bombs throughout the Middle East, killing all of our actual and potential enemy combatants, and their wives and children. On September 13, the war would have been over and won, without a single American life lost. Yes, we need a woman in the White House, but not the one who’s running (Hillary Clinton, ed.)”.

    I actually don’t think that Ann Coulter is quite that reckless.

  4. In referring to”superior mutants”, Marcel Kincaid is referring indirectly to folk like Albrechtsen and Milne?
    Much of the problem with public broadcasting seems to come from the Labor Right’s tardiness in dismantling the apparatus established during the Howard years.
    The worst example is the most egregious, as well as the most recent, involving that vicious attack from Zionist Howardist crank and board chairman Maurice Newman and the quarrell he’s picked with people like Jonathon Holmes.
    Many thought the problem with the ABC involved its head news honcho, surname of Cameron I think. But since his replacement by a woman who’s name escapes me, last year, the process downhill has accelerated rather than eased in the wake of the change of government.
    But what a legendarily offensive choice a barbarian like Conroy was, for the ministry that takes in public broadcasting in the wake of whatever deals were done behind closed doors between Rudd and Murdoch. Someone like Duncan Kerr would have been a better choice, surely!

  5. @paul walter
    Tardiness is my only complaint againts Rudd and too much mollification of the stewards of the prior obnoxious regime. Nice gesture but it isnt working in any polls sense. Enough with the fairness – were they fair when they had power? Are they fair now? Even my kid says all they do is obstruct and object and slow progress and he is undecided but ticked off at rotten infrastructure like the rest of us.

    To be as ruthless as Howard is a much better strategy for Rudd. Its why they got the vote – a mandate to clean out the mad right – I just wish they would get on with the job faster and stop trying to get on with and show magnaminity to these clowns now (meaning the incredibly deep and caring ??? Mr Abbott who will never ever ever ever ever ever ever deliver a years parental leave – note I said it here first).

    Not after having been whacked in the head badly by Uncle Wilson Tuck. (Tony you idiot – what were you thinking ? Whats that green tea you have been drinking after your morning ride…or was Tony taking us all a morning ride?

    Nothing unusual in that. Its the modern liberals and the media. The greatest cookup of all time known to Australians. (ever ever ever)

  6. Alice, #31, refers to “too much mollification” of the old guard, but here is SA am just out the door to do my civic duty, as is demanded by convention and the fear of a fine, at the regular four yearly juncture.
    It has been a most depressing campaign, with the complacent Rann government looking punch drunk, having spent the last eight years “molly”coddling the developer end of town whilst ignoring everyone else, while the Lib opposition behaved like delinquent pork chops . But the government can’t “hide their lying eyes”, as the old Eagles song goes, and the opposition has done well by following Rudd’s 2007 tactic of just lying low and staying a small target, whilst Labor’s crash thru or crash approach has alienated many in its very heartland, where I live.
    “everyway you look at it , you lose”, to quote Simon and Garfunkle and “Mrs Robinson”.

  7. @paul walter

    I had wondered why the ABC has gone downhill, so far and so fast. Other than now giving the impression of being an arm of Rupert Murdoch enterprises, the new lot are poorly educated even when it comes to English. They also have a uniformly high regard for their own opinions. Too often, now, an ‘interview’ is nothing but one ‘journalist’ talking to another ‘journalist’ who is giving his or her interpretation of what someone, who is a someone, has said without providing us, the audience, with what that person said directly. They also frequently misquote and beat up and distort what someone said, again, rather than simply providing the original source. Reporting is now a lost art, in many ways. As is real investigative journalism. And they wonder why people would rather hear what someone who is not a ‘professional’ journalist has to say.

  8. @Megan
    Whats worse is Megan – even his own kids are objecting to Murdoch media…I suspect his grandkids will as well. Murodch has run the media for policies that suit the big end of town (where he lives) for years and in my opinion its causing a backlash against the neoliberal right. We didnt vote Murdoch in and his business is journalism and media be has chosen to live his life playing out his own conservative politics through the media and appointing and annointing mouthpieces like family friends (MD and Albrechtsen and Ackerman) and editors on that basis.
    At least Packer appeared to have a genuine fondness for real investigative journalism – more balls and less vindictiveness. Happy to be a media baron ? instead of wanting to be a ruling oligarch and push for benefits for other silver spooners.

  9. Just finished watching SA election coverage on tel, been like parklands footy on a wet Saturday, as far as political sophistication go, this election.
    The result is that Labor is on life support right now, regardless of what these weird laptop things say, that the Easterners bring with them.
    The telecast itself was fraught with tech glitches, as predicted by Media Watch last year when they described problems arising on a regular basis since they computerised the newsroom to get rid of tech staff.
    Re Freelander’s comment, the one exception to a mundane presentation came from Dominique Schwartz, the Adelaide newsreader. The cameo sketch interviews with different politicians emphasised house psephologist Dean Jaensch’s comment that there are local subtleties that elude “foreigners” but detectable by locals, but also the difference between the best (eg Schwartz)and some of the new rude kittens and pups now swamping the system.
    Anyway, big swing, 7%, to Redmond Libs, but uneven in regions and not translated into major seat gains. However a couple of doubtful seats hang by a thread in anticipation of postals, so results will not be known for a few days, hung Parlia (Iwish!) or even lib coalition with indies is possible.
    Mercifully, a Rudd-free zone for most of the night, so will stick with auntie yet longer.
    Tassie election result similar, one hears?

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