Archive for December 1st, 2009

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Philosophy and Class

December 1, 2009

There’s a thoughtful discussion going on over at Leiter’s blog on philosophy and class. Philosophers, I assume, are already watching this. Non-philosophers may also find something of interest there.

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Philosopher’s Nightmare

December 1, 2009

I often use cases like this in my classes, typically cavalierly. Hard to imagine what it must be like in real life.

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Raw Dogs

December 1, 2009

Andrew Revkin has a recent post addressing the climate data set from CRU and the FOIA request to access the raw data that CRU apparently now claims to have discarded. To facilitate the discourse and cut speculation off at the pass, Real Climate has helpfully provided a set of links to publicly available data sets. Not outrageously, noting the disappearance of the raw data, some in the contrarian community are concerned that manipulation happened sometime between the collection of the raw data and the “cleaning up” of that data.

This whole discussion reminds me of another recent flap in which batshit crazy dentist-lawyers were pounding down the doors of Hawaii’s state offices to obtain an actual long-form birth certificate from the current occupant of the White House. If you recall, the question in that case was whether a proxy certificate (issued and validated by official state institutions) should “count” as evidence of Obama’s live birth in Hawaii. Taitz and her entourage were concerned about monkey-business in the Statehouse,  insistent that the only acceptable validation of Obama’s US citizenship would be the yellowed and coffee-stained document that was signed on the day of Obama’s birth by the attending physician. Anything else was just a proxy, open to manipulation.

As a result, some people called for Obama simply to release his actual long-form birth certificate and be done with the politicized controversy. The White House responded that they didn’t actually have a long-form birth certificate. Alas, this was a sure indication that Obama could not be an American citizen. Why else would the Obamas and the State of Hawaii bury such an important document? Every decent American citizen, as we know, is a meticulous file-keeper.

Likewise, friend and colleague Roger Pielke Jr. argues on political grounds that CRU should’ve saved the raw data. They’d then be in a position to release it later, if there were any questions about the research. And hey, whaddoyaknow, there are questions about the research!

It’s probably true that as a matter of political expediency, it would’ve been better for CRU to release the raw data than to have to issue a statement that they don’t have it. Looks and smells fishy to the skeptical folk.

Unlike Obama, who I think oughtn’t release his long-form birth certificate on constitutional grounds — it sets a bad precedent if he capitulates to political pressure to release this document — maybe it should be the standard that all collectors of data hold on to their original notes. Ought all data to be saved?

Good question, let’s explore…

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Bar Fight!

December 1, 2009

Earlier this week I played bartender to a brawl that’s been brewing for longer than I’ve been around. You can check backlogs on that brawl here. (Scroll down through the comments.) Of his own motivation, Roger has decided to take matters out onto the street. Like most good barkeeps, I’m staying out of it, righting upended stools and wiping down the bar, listening with one ear to the commotion outside. Should the two resolve their differences and choose to come in from the cold, I’m happy to offer both participants drinks on the house.