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« These ones are blunt too! | Main | Overheating »
Monday
Aug042008

Not the sharpest tool in the box

Everybody's piling in on Alex Lockwood, who seems to be one of those "academics" who earn their daily bread by campaigning for left wing causes. And seeing as everyone's having such fun, it seems a pity not to contribute something to the metaphorical kicking too.

Rather than throw brickbats at his current article (calling for censorship of people who don't toe the line on climate change) I thought I'd look through his recent oeuvre to see what else he has had to say.

Here's a goody, in which he takes umbrage at an article of Brendan O'Neill's in which the Spiked man accuses greens of wanting to curb our freedoms. This has got Mr Lockwood riled, and, all flustered, he girds his loins, summons up all his intellectual firepower and unleashes the following salvoes of pure illogic, the like of which can only be launched by journalism lecturers at the University of Sunderland. O'Neill is wrong to say greens want to curb freedoms because....

  • There's nothing new here
  • O Neill doesn't mention the science
  • The argument has moved on
  • O'Neill links to his own articles too much
  • Well, yes, only the rich will be able to afford free movement when I'm running the country
I make that four logical fallacies and one admission that O'Neill is correct.

God help his students.

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Reader Comments (10)

You probablty mean piling in, not pilling in, don't you?
Alex
Aug 4, 2008 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered Commenteralex
Fixed now. Thanks.
Aug 5, 2008 at 5:42 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
If all teach can come back with is a spelling mistake then you;ve got to be happy. Bit rich of him to pick on spelling when he spells pedigree "pedigee" and has the lack of respect to spell Jennifer Marohasy's surname as "Mahorasy" in the infamous article which incidently does mention the science but only in the it is settled sense.
Aug 5, 2008 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud
Err, Lockwood states that his arguments are "why O'Neill's piece is bad", not "why it's wrong to say greens want to curb freedoms".

And 1-4 (even in your summary versions) are perfectly logical arguments for the proposition that O'Neill's piece is bad...
Aug 5, 2008 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn b
Yes, John B, Lockwood does say that... right after he says this: <i>"Articles decrying environmental practice as “a tyranny of environmentalism” which is leaving people with more “fear, self-loathing and a religious-style sense of meekness than any piece of anti-terror legislation ever could” are interesting cultural artefacts to examine."</i>

To suggest this piece is not seeking to contradict this specific "decrying of environmental practice" is disingenuous. Of course, that's Lockwood's intention. He is seeking to dismiss tangentially Brendan O'Neil's piece by making these criticisms of the quality of writing. This is a dishonest approach to debate.
Aug 5, 2008 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Risdon
It's John b. Disingenuous is his middle name.
Aug 5, 2008 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterQuestionThat
John B

Lockwood's article is entitled "Five reasons why O'Neill is wrong".
Aug 5, 2008 at 7:44 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
Apologies for length, but what an awful post by Lockwood - he seems to fail by even his own standards! He sets up three criteria for what journalism should be:

‘...journalism, even opinion, is meant to say something new, be interesting, and be accurate.’

And then lists six perceived failings in O'Neil's piece - many of which don't actually address the criteria given.

ONE: it’s mainly rehashed journalism.

This addresses the 'new' criterion. Fair enough.

TWO: There’s nothing on the science.

This is irrelevant and addresses none of Lockwood's three criteria. O'Neil's piece is not about the science, it is about political responses to the science.

THREE: The argument has moved on.

This addresses the 'new' criterion as well. Fair enough.

FOUR: Too many links to his own articles.

Not relevant. Linking to yourself lots may well be poor form, but that does not make the piece 'old', ‘uninteresting’ or ‘inaccurate’.

FIVE: Enforced localism

This provides a counter opinion, but does not challenge the original piece's accuracy. Indeed it actually seems to support the claim for enforced localism!

SIX: the guilt thing…

This addresses the 'accuracy' criterion, but only in a very roundabout way. It doesn't say that anything in O'Neil's piece is inaccurate, merely incomplete, in that it doesn’t mention that there are a minority of green activists/businesses who take an optimistic, pro-technology, stance.

So out of his three criteria, 'interesting' and 'accurate' are barely mentioned, and all we are left with is that Brendan's piece might be a bit old.

And this guy’s a journalism lecturer?!?
Aug 5, 2008 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterFahrenheit
Brendan O'Neill really is up himself most of the time and has an ego that could power a medium-sized city. That said, if I find myself in the last ditch with him when hordes of bloody Alex Lockwoods come over the horizon, I'll think myself lucky and hope both of us can shoot straight.
Aug 6, 2008 at 4:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Gillies
Fahrenheit.

It is a truly amazing piece of work, isn't it?

David

I don't really follow O'Neill, as I don't read Spiked very often. When I've come across his work, he seems relatively sound on most things.
Aug 6, 2008 at 6:37 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

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