Posts Tagged ‘Superfreakonomics’


A Climate for Change

Brigham Young University Pwns Deniers

18 leading scientific organizations

He tolls for thee

Dubya’s War on Science

Chamber pot of commerce tries rebranding

Meanwhile, the Superfreaks are:

  1. Supercensoring
  2. Pwned by George Will
  3. Getting hosed by The New Yorker
  4. Still using mind control on Jon Stewart



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pwnBPSDB Why the on-going fascination with the error filled climate change chapter in Superfreakonomics? Quite simple really, it’s a rare opportunity to get some anecdotal evidence on whether the climate science blogosphere has an impact, what kind of impact, and how much. This particular issue is valuable in that it has spilled over into the more public realm while still clearly ‘tagged’ as Superfreakonomics.

Naturally anecdotal evidence is far less than what we could wish for, but at least it is something. A sputtering match is still better than the usual darkness that we fumble around in.

Oh yes, there is also a link to where you can read the climate chapter if you haven’t yet and still want to ….


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Jon Stewart, Pwned! (by Jon Stewart)BPSDB

I was rereading Brad Johnson’s article about the Jon Stewart non-interview with Levitt of Superfreakonomics infamy when I realized that one of the links he provides is the Stewart interview on Crossfire

Ouch, nasty, but so apropos. It brings up a couple of points worth mentioning in regard to the Levitt interview, so here is the Crossfire transcript, and here is the Crossfire interview:

Two points about the interview

1) Stewart is both clear and ruthless about how the failure of investigative journalism is damaging to society.

…it’s not so much that it’s bad, as it’s hurting America … Right now, you’re helping the politicians and the corporations. … You are partisan, what do you call it, hacks …

2) Carlson and Begala do challenge Stewart that he is no better, citing his interview with Kerry. Stewart responds that if they wish to compare themselves to a comedy show, that was fine with him. A number of people have made a similar point with regard to the Levitt interview, ie ‘come on, it’s a comedy show.’


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To make Glenn Beck’s head explode?BPSDB


I really don’t know what I’m talking about, do I?

Jon Stewart

Well no shit Sherlock! The question is, why not?

The context (nutshell version) is that the new book Superfreaknomics has a chapter on climate change that is scientific gibberish. Not simply wrong, but error riddled nonsense. One of authors was on The Daily Show last night for some slow ball questions, with a nerf ball … and no strikes called … with Stewart both pitching and catching for Levitt.


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“When I looked in her eyes they were blue,

but nobody home”BPSDB

I thought I was done with this particular tar baby and would just leave it to Brian to keep track of the ongoing discussion of Superfreakonomics, but like others (eg here and here) I just can’t seem to shake it off. Actually there are some good reasons to revisit it, so please bear with me … or jump right to “what you can do.”

  • He’s right

  • It’s bad, seriously bad

  • Popular sentiment

  • Why it matters

  • What you can do

He’s right

An interesting exchange took that took place on a forum a couple of days ago raised an important question generally, but with reference to Superfreaknonomics specifically. As is too often the case the more general discussion will have to wait while we deal with the Superfreaks.


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Freak Show #1BPSDBA week ago Joseph Romm fired the opening salvo in what became a hail of criticism of the forthcoming book “Superfreakonomics” by  Levitt and Dubner, particularly the climate change chapter which had been circulating on the web (albeit probably illicitly). Now the authors  have begun to reply to their critics, or at least put out what they claim is a reply … or as Only in it for the Gold put it “The authors, Dubner and Levitt, are busily jumping the shark …”

I was late in making it to the freak show and had not actually read any of the critiques when the authors began to reply.  As such I thought it would be interesting to discuss their reply rather than the climate chapter itself, particularly given the rather thorough treatment it has been getting (below). Thus I have read the critiques and the relevant parts of the book only after Levitt or Dubner framed it first. (more…)

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