Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cutting and Running In Lassen County

Local Kurt Bonham at FlyAtNight operates (as far as I can tell) the only other Northeastern California blog that is regularly updated (I'm thinking here about the towns on the east side of the Sierra Nevada and not blogs from the larger cities on the west side like Chico and Redding). Runner up is the Lassen County Blog, which sees periodic updates (again, as far as I can tell for the moment). Niether has addressed science issues; both appear to concentrate on local, state and national politics. I'm getting more local readers, so I'lll even put links to both of these (and any others people might alert me to) on Northstate Science.

Unfortunately, I doubt Kurt and I are going to agree on much (although, stranger things happen). After my response to his personal onslaught against Keith Olbermann's brilliant comments on the Clinton interview, I posted a comment on Kurt's site asking what, specifically, he disagreed with in Olbermann's comment - of course, I was trying to wade throught the typical "I don't like what he says, therefore he's wrong" kind of argument conservatives throw out these days and get to something tangible (like "Olbermann said X, but he's wrong because of Y"). Here's my specific question:

Just curious, but what, precisely, did you not like about Olbermann’s editorial and why?

You know, I was looking for actual data to refute specific arguments Olbermann had made. (He may actually have been wrong, but I certainly wasn't going to take Kurt's word for it...). Instead Kurt posts the following:

Professor O’Brien asked a question in the comments section. The answer is:
Professor, I am sure that you could formulate a better question. I often use open ended innocuous questions, similar to yours, in my classes. They are good teaching tools but have less impact outside of the classroom.


I could be wrong, but I think Kurt is engaging in the intellectual equivalent of "cutting and running"...

5 comments:

DurhamNative said...

I'm a local reader, having just found your blog.

I'm a little confused by Mr. Bonham's response. He calls your question "innocuous" and yet the feeling is that he questions your motives. Is that sarcasm (she asks)? Your question seems direct and clear enough. He should answer it, already. And as you have said, you were looking for information, not, as he suggests "impact".

Carl said...

I left him a comment with the simple question restated, "what, specifically, did you find disagreeable with Olbermann's editorial? And Why?"

Of course, like all good political bloggers, he has moderation on and will probably only allow comments from posters he agrees with.

Or, perhaps he'll read my criticism of his moderation here (since he's commented on this post it's clear he reads you blog) and approve the comment, making some witty response that doesn't really provide an answer.

When you already have strong conclusions, reason can be an unwelcome guest to the party.

Christopher O'Brien said...

Durhamnative,
Welcome, thanks for looking through the blog. I'm getting more and more local hits, so it appears the community is starting to find Northstate Science...yes, unfortunately almost everything nowadays seems to be viewed with suspicion, even asking questions. I try to ask questions, however, because many times misunderstandings come from not knowing (or not wanting to know) all of the aspects of an issue. I wasn't being facetious by suggesting that maybe Olbermann is wrong and Kurt might have a good objection (although the fact that he's dodged the question twice now suggests otherwise).
Thanks again for visiting! I don't always respond to comments, but I always read them.

Carl,
Great observations!

Christopher O'Brien said...

Carl,
Great observations. I love the last line..."when already have strong conclusions reason can be an unwelcom guest to the party"...I may have to put that one up on my quotes section. Explains a lot in northeastern California.

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