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View Diary: By hiring a climate disinformer, Nate Silver undermines his entire premise of data-driven journalism (204 comments)

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  •  His schtick is also to be a contrarian (33+ / 0-)

    There are basically three types of climate deniers.  There are those who are paid by the fossil fuel industries and who, like the tobacco apologists, will say whatever their masters want.  There are also people whose ideology precludes them from accepting climate change because if it is happening, it is an indictment of markets as not able to solve big problems and is going to require big government solutions along with individual ones.  Neither is acceptable, so it can't be happening.

    The third kind is a guy (almost always) with libertarian leanings who sees himself as smarter than everyone and standing against the consensus, the lonely voice of truth.  They love to stand athwart the consensus.  

    There are times when  the consensus is wrong (Galileo was right)  but climate change is not one of those.  Silver clearly is in the third group.  He claims to be data driven but on climate he doesn't understand the data.  And he can't seem to admit that.  Politics may be like baseball, but climate science isn't and he is out of his league on this.

    Don't bet your future on 97% of climate scientists being wrong. Take action on climate now!

    by Mimikatz on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 01:08:24 PM PDT

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    •  Actually ... (7+ / 0-)

      this is not a bad 'three' but there are more than three, imo.  Wow, it was 7 years ago that I drafted a typology of climate skepticism

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 01:43:11 PM PDT

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    •  Silver may not be as smart as he thinks he is. (10+ / 0-)
      He claims to be data driven but on climate he doesn't understand the data.  And he can't seem to admit that.  Politics may be like baseball, but climate science isn't and he is out of his league on this.
      Analyzing climate data is much more complex, and it requires understanding climate science, not just crunching numbers.

      This brings into question how much of Silver's success at political prediction was talent or just a matter of luck.

    •  Might also be a case of false equivalency (3+ / 0-)

      which sorta ties in with the third case, but it much more widespread in the media, i.e. giving "equal credence" to right-wing bullshit even it's patently bullshit to everyone since it gives the impression of "objectivity". Nate Silver may be buttress his credentials as a "neutral observer" with this dumb move.

      All this being said, Nate may have been a bit overrated to begin with as a "data-driven prognosticator", even though his results for the Presidential Election were decent, he was off for many of the critical races for Congress (i.e. getting Heidi Heitkamp totally wrong IIRC) and some of the state races. So he may simply be reverting to his personal mean, i.e. probably above the general noise of pontification but hardly a solid bet in his guesswork.

      •  Skills not transferable fm subjective to objective (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peregrine kate, sethtriggs, k9disc

        If Nate had genius-level skill at selecting & crunching numbers from opinion polls in order to project actual votes, which of course amounts to identifying co-relations between
        •    a subjectively-determined series of actions, and
        •    each action's subjectively-generated precursors,
        •    with the latter acting at least partially as self-fulfilling prophecies,

        ..still there would be no reason to expect that skill to transfer to the very different ability to evaluate objective scientific evidence about a first-time one-off event.

        More generally, people who are highly skilled in one area are often (perhaps more often than average) clumsy in other areas. This is easily observable in the frequently clumsy political instincts and comments of many people who are highly skilled at making money. (Exhibit A: Mitt Romney).

        •  I am very good at the subjective, and not so good (0+ / 0-)

          with the objective.

          In fact, my objective is supplemented by my reliance on subjective big picture. It often serves me, but I have to reverse engineer and hop around - make logical leaps.

          Objective people follow the path, properly.

          I agree that they are vastly different skill sets. Good point.

          Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

          by k9disc on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 12:11:27 PM PDT

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