JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Mysterious thing called Populism affecting wildlife

If only there was no populism:

ScienceDaily.   Researchers at Colorado State University and The Ohio State University have found that a cultural backlash stemming from the rise of populism may limit opportunities for state fish and wildlife agencies to adapt to changing social values in the United States. The team reached this conclusion by analyzing more than 12,000 surveys from 19 states and studying ballot initiatives related to hunting.

Unwind your way through that maze. Academics have spent thousands of dollars to discover that some people have different values to academics. Some people who don’t like new laws are protesting, and that may stop “unlimited” changes. Isn’t that democracy?

In the case of human-wildlife conflict, traditionalists would be more likely to support lethal wildlife control methods while mutualists would be more supportive of restrictions on humans.

After two million years of meat-eating, I’d say homo traditionalist had already been “affecting the wildlife”. Even before the rise of populismisticness.

But if populism is pop-u-lar, what kind of “changing social values” do fish and wildlife agencies really need to adapt to anyway? If the changes are less popular, who says we need to change?

The problem is “Trust [...]

Uni NSW Journalism lecturer gives advice on how to cleanse your news sources

Christopher Kremmer, Senior Lecturer in Literary & Narrative Journalism, School of the Arts & Media, UNSW, wants to help you shield yourself from worldviews that you don’t like, so he provides a detailed “how to” list of ways to make sure you filter out, specifically, news.com.

This man lectures in journalism. Instead of teaching journalism students on how to logically outplay and counter arguments and spot the flaws, he’s teaching them to cleanse their feeds lest they be exposed to inconvenient worldviews.

The team that has no evidence and no answers has to find a way to compensate for their intellectual vacuum.

Taking control of who gets to send us news

… before I had even typed in my search terms, it was apparent that my options had been narrowed. The news list that the aggregator threw up was dominated by websites whose idea of what constitutes news is very different to my own.

It takes a lot of effort to build an information silo:

One by one, I began blocking offending mastheads, then refreshing the browser to check the progress of my censorship. It takes a while because news websites use multiple addresses to maximise reader access. [...]

Ivy league profs warns of the vice of conformism: “Think for yourself”

This is a good sign.  Fifteen Ivy league professors have offered advice and a warning to students everywhere –to recapture the spirit of truthseeking and free debate. The message might just catch on, because although the young strive to conform to fashionable norms, approximately none of them want to be seen doing so. Who wants to be a the weak minded conformist?

The real bigots are those who fear open-minded enquiry…

It’s sad that it needs to be said, but we don’t train children to question fashionable truths and always look at both sides.

Our advice can be distilled to three words:

Think for yourself.

Now, that might sound easy. But you will find—as you may have discovered already in high school—that thinking for yourself can be a challenge. It always demands self-discipline and these days can require courage.

In today’s climate, it’s all-too-easy to allow your views and outlook to be shaped by dominant opinion on your campus or in the broader academic culture. The danger any student—or faculty member—faces today is falling into the vice of conformism, yielding to groupthink.

It is great to see them stepping into [...]

Professor Peter Ridd facing misconduct charges for not selling peer review as sacred unquestionable testimony

Professor Peter Ridd has made the mistake of putting scientific standards ahead of collegial comfort. What was he thinking? He seems to feel he should serve the people of the Queensland instead of helping the careers of co-workers and admin staff.

Ridd is being accused of “Not acting in a collegial way” (or something like that, no one is allowed to say for sure) and is now under investigation for serious misconduct.

 Jennifer Marohasy has more details. Apparently, in The Australian, he dared suggest that we need a group of scientists to check other scientists pronouncements on the Great Barrier Reef:

The federal government is set to spend more than $1 billion on the Great Barrier Reef in the next few years to mitigate the effects of climate change, based largely on research that is claimed not to have been subjected to proper scrutiny.

James Cook University physics professor Peter Ridd writes in a new book that the credibility of key research papers driving investments in the reef rest on “a total reliance on the demonstrably inadequate peer-review process’’.

Professor Ridd argues for the establishment of a properly funded group of scientists whose sole job [...]

Profs tell students “no debate” on climate. Unbelievers should “Drop out”

Welcome to Higher Education 2016: Whatever you do, don’t ask questions, don’t ask for evidence, and don’t discuss your doubts on class forums.  “We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change’” All outside sources for research must be peer reviewed by the IPCC.

Students in the University of Colorado expressed concern about the first online lecture in “Medical Humanities in the Digital Age”. All three Professors together replied via email that students should Drop class if they dispute man-made climate change

“The point of departure for this course is based on the scientific premise that human induced climate change is valid and occurring. We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change, nor will the ‘other side’ of the climate change debate be taught or discussed in this course,” states the email, a copy of which was provided to The College Fix by a student in the course.

“Opening up a debate that 98% of climate scientists unequivocally agree to be a non-debate would detract from the central concerns of environment and health addressed in this course,” the professors’ email continued.

“… If you believe this premise [...]

At the zoo: Interpreting academics trying to interpret Christians and conservatives

Geniuses at Rice made a breakthrough and discovered that Christianity reduces the “negative” effect of being a conservative. Conservatives, see, are less likely to buy things that are “pro-environment”. The academic mindset assumes this is a personality flaw. Instead it’s an attribute. The environmental movement has a record of hurting the poor, razing forests, and destroying family businesses. There is a reason “environmentalist” has come to be a dirty word.

Supersize that condescension:

Obviously the true evil people are the people who watch Fox.

“Put more colorfully, Americans who are watching Fox News instead of attending church on Sunday morning appear to be particularly uninterested in buying with the environment in mind,” said Ecklund, who is also director of Rice’s Religion and Public Life Program. “It would stand to reason that those who participate in their houses of worship and who tend to be more engaged in civic life may have less time to be exposed to such media and therefore be less likely to follow the politicized conservative ‘line’ with respect to the environment.”

So, both Christians and conservatives are dump people who are fooled by Fox. But Christians are a bit more useful, not because they [...]