Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Really well written response to a book I won't be reading

You guys know I've read Freakanomics, and liked it generally. You also probably know that they've got a sequel out - Superfreakanomics. And based on the buzz, I'm not planning on reading that one. From what I've been reading about the book, they've kind of gone off the edge of reason with the same kind of thinking I have complained about in the past - Post-hoc thinking. Essentially what they're doing is picking a set of data, looking at it selectively, and using it to make some point instead of systematically examining all of the facts or, better yet, conducting an experiment to see if their guesses are right. I feel weird critiquing the authors because, having read the first book, I've concluded that they're brilliant. But brilliant people can make intellectual asses out of themselves and one of the things about pop (i.e., non peer reviewed) writing is that you can get away with being a really big intellectual ass and still sell lots of books (sound familiar Mr. Limbaugh and Mr. Beck??). So, brilliant or not, I'm not planning on plopping down $30 more for the book.

One of the things that people are really fired up about it their stance on climate change. Of course a very hot button topic, and they're brave to take it on. But that doesn't make them right. I've read some excerpts from their chapter, and a load of replies, and by far my favorite post on the subject is this one. I like it because it's well written, it's very clear, and it does a great job of illustrating just where post-hockery can get you. So if you've got a second check it out - it's enjoyable and educational all at the same time. A veritable Oreo of a critique. Enjoy.

No comments: