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Superfreakonomics coauthor replies to “scathing review” by Elizabeth Kolbert: “she somehow accomplished all this with a degree from Yale in ¦ literature.”

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"Superfreakonomics coauthor replies to “scathing review” by Elizabeth Kolbert: “she somehow accomplished all this with a degree from Yale in ¦ literature.”"

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On Monday, The New Yorker published Elizabeth Kolbert’s lengthy review of SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance.  In her 2400-word review, titled “Hosed:  Is there a quick fix for the climate?” she writes:

Given their emphasis on cold, hard numbers, it’s noteworthy that Levitt and Dubner ignore what are, by now, whole libraries’ worth of data on global warming. Indeed, just about everything they have to say on the topic is, factually speaking, wrong. Among the many matters they misrepresent are: the significance of carbon emissions as a climate-forcing agent, the mechanics of climate modelling, the temperature record of the past decade, and the climate history of the past several hundred thousand years.  Raymond T. Pierrehumbert is a climatologist who, like Levitt, teaches at the University of Chicago. In a particularly scathing critique, he composed an open letter to Levitt, which he posted on the blog RealClimate.

On Friday, coauthor Stephen Dubner replied in a post titled, “With Geoengineering Outlawed, Will Only Outlaws Have Geoengineering?”  Notwithstanding the title, the piece is clearly meant to be serious.  Here is what they have to say about Kolbert’s review:

And for a great illustration of just how repugnant some environmentalists find the very thought of geoengineering, consider this scathing review of our book in The New Yorker. The author, Elizabeth Kolbert, seems to disdain everything we’ve ever written on any topic, and claims we utterly fail to understand climate science (unless of course we don’t). She is a feeling and passionate environmentalist who, seemingly so disturbed by geongineering, is compelled to cast our own horse-dung story right back at us with a splat. Here is my favorite line from the review: “Neither Levitt, an economist, nor Dubner, a journalist, has any training in climate science “” or, for that matter, in science of any kind.”

The time has probably come to admit that neither of us were Ku Klux Klan members either, or sumo wrestlers or Realtors or abortion providers or schoolteachers or even pimps. And yet somehow we managed to write about all that without any horse dung (well, not much at least) flying our way. Kolbert, meanwhile, has written widely about the perils of global warming, both in The New Yorker and in book form (see Field Notes From a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change), and seems to be extremely well-regarded in the field of environmental journalism. And yet, if her Wikipedia page is correct, she somehow accomplished all this with a degree from Yale in “¦ literature.

Snap.  Or not.

Note how Kolbert is pigeonholed as an “environmentalist,” albeit a “feeling and passionate” one, since that allows her to be lumped in with all the other environmentalists who supposedly find geo-engineering repugnant — as opposed to, say, climatologist Ken Caldeira who merely finds the geo-engineering-only solution that the authors propose in their book unworkable and pretty ugly” and “a dystopic world out of a science fiction story” and “crazy.”  Kolbert herself notes:

There are eminent scientists””among them the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen””who argue that geoengineering should be seriously studied, but only with the understanding that it represents a risky, last-ditch attempt to avert catastrophe.  “By far the preferred way” to confront climate change, Crutzen has written, “is to lower the emissions of greenhouse gases.”

You can read the interview she gave and decide if that makes here “a feeling and passionate environmentalist” — not that there’s anything wrong with that — or simply a journalist who has talked to dozens of the leading climate scientists and visited many of the places where the climate is changing the most and reported on what she heard, saw, and learned.

Indeed, Kolbert’s point about credentials is almost exactly the opposite of what Dubner implies in his dismissal of her:

Neither Levitt, an economist, nor Dubner, a journalist, has any training in climate science””or, for that matter, in science of any kind. It’s their contention that they don’t need it. The whole conceit behind “SuperFreakonomics” and, before that, “Freakonomics,” which sold some four million copies, is that a dispassionate, statistically minded thinker can find patterns and answers in the data that those who are emotionally invested in the material will have missed….

Given their emphasis on cold, hard numbers, it’s noteworthy that Levitt and Dubner ignore what are, by now, whole libraries’ worth of data on global warming.  Indeed, just about everything they have to say on the topic is, factually speaking, wrong.

Their credentials aren’t the issue for her.  They simply didn’t do their homework, and so they got the science all wrong (as many, many others have pointed out).  Hence her quote of Pierrehumbert.

Their dismissive reply to her substantive critique is another attempted aerosol smokescreen, just as Levitt’s reply to Pierrehumbert on RealClimate was:

Raymond,

I enjoyed your intentional misreading of my chapter on global warming! I think it has really contributed to moving towards a solution to these important problems….

As Pierrehumbert replied:

Steve, glad to see you’re reading this.

Something I have found rather bizarre about your responses to the criticisms of your climate chapter is the way you continually try to change history about what you actually wrote, which is plainly there for anybody to see. I found it so unbelievable that you included the “black solar cell” meme when I first heard it that I actually went over to Borders and stood there and intentionally read (not misread) the chapter to see if it was true.

Go figure.

Kolbert ended the review:

To be skeptical of climate models and credulous about things like carbon-eating trees and cloudmaking machinery and hoses that shoot sulfur into the sky is to replace a faith in science with a belief in science fiction. This is the turn that “SuperFreakonomics” takes, even as its authors repeatedly extoll their hard-headedness.  All of which goes to show that, while some forms of horseshit are no longer a problem, others will always be with us.

You don’t need to be a climatologist to know that.

their emphasis on cold, hard numbers, it’s noteworthy that Levitt and Dubner ignore what are, by now, whole libraries’ worth of data on global warming.

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31 Responses to Superfreakonomics coauthor replies to “scathing review” by Elizabeth Kolbert: “she somehow accomplished all this with a degree from Yale in ¦ literature.”

  1. Chris Dudley says:

    There is a misspelling and a missing word in the first link.

    [JR: Thanks. Darn that voice dictation software!]

  2. david freeman says:

    Kolbert’s sentence, “To be skeptical of climate models and credulous about things like carbon-eating trees and cloudmaking machinery and hoses that shoot sulfur into the sky is to replace a faith in science with a belief in science fiction” drills right down to the point. That’s just about the best one sentence description of deniers that I’ve read. Just by replacing the geoengineering list with some other bullshit that any individual denier believes and the sentence describes them all. brilliant.

  3. Jeff Huggins says:

    Committing Credibility Suicide

    These Superfreakonomics folks seem to be intent on killing the very things that made them interesting and successful in the first place — an attention to, and respect for, facts, and the credibility that comes with excellent thinking.

    Do they not understand that the best way to get out of a hole is to stop digging?

    What is an “analytic” person, who respects clear thinking and fact, supposed to make out of their emotion-packed un-analytic attempts at self defense that largely ignore (and don’t respond to) the accurate critiques of the book?

    Whatever mathematics and etc. they’ve studied in Chicago, these authors have apparently missed out on some of the most basic wisdom of humankind that has been known for many centuries. As K’ung fu-zi (Confucius) put it:

    “Not to mend one’s ways when one has erred is to err indeed.” (Analects; 15:30)

  4. Gail says:

    The whole point is the Kolbert is listening to what actual scientists are actually saying. The Superfreaks are being deliberately obtuse about that.

    And somebody should point them to this triumph of geoengineering:

    http://desdemonadespair.blogspot.com/2009/11/record-snowfall-destroys-9000-buildings.html

  5. paulm says:

    Gail extreme weather we are seeing more and more is going to ensure that the economic recovery is flat if not downhill here on out.
    Climate chaos is here and now.

    Heavy snow storms in northern China kill 40
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gF0gceDXbybboeibBFQ_P_XU-q8wD9BV3IEG0
    More than 7.5 million people have been stranded or otherwise affected by the storms, which caused the collapse of more than 9,000 buildings, damaged 470,000 acres (190,000 hectares) of crops, and forced the evacuation of 158,000 people, the ministry said.

  6. paulm says:

    must hear program special http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/

    David Suzuki host one of Canada’s top current news program (the MSM should have been doing this 5-10yrs ago), interviewing the likes of:

    - Andrew Weaver, a prominent Canadian Scientest member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    - Vice President of The Maldives, our boats got holes someone punch in:we all have to repair it.

    - Elinor Ostrom (09 Nobel prize winner) , on the global commons and its consequences.

    - Ken Caldeira, …”all devices which pollute our global atmosphere and oceans should be outlawed”

    http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200911/20091113.html

  7. Anna Haynes says:

    Wondering about Jeff Huggins’s “Committing Credibility Suicide” -

    OK, I confess, my knowledge of & interest in history (Paul Graham’s “all the data that we have so far”) has been next to nil for about the first 98% of my life – so I need someone to clue me in here.
    At other times in capitalist/democratic society history, when there were cataclysmic shifts underway and deep pocketed pro-status-quo vested interests… were there otherwise-reputable people singing in the pro-status-quo chorus who acted as (IMO) nihilistically as such people (Dawidoff, Dubner, and a few names I won’t mention) are doing now?

    Was there *ever* a time when this happened?
    (or does it happen all the time & I’ve just never noticed?)
    If so, in retrospect, why was it happening then?
    If not, why is it happening now? is it because we no longer have editors pouring oil on troubled verbiage?

    I have to think that our time isn’t unique, and that the past has something to tell us – since boy, does it seem weird to me.
    (but – as I’ve noted before, this could be demographic/hormonal – “To understand any apparently baffling behavior by another human, ask: what status game is this individual playing, to show off which heritable traits, in which mating market?” – Geoffrey Miller’s Law of Strange Behavior, at Edge.org)

  8. Jeff Huggins says:

    Dear Anna (Comment 7). I hope you are well. In essence, you’re correct.

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  9. paulm says:

    What a kolbert slap down.

    Fodder for the taking.

  10. Anna Haynes says:

    > In essence, you’re correct.

    Jeff, correct about what? I feel like all I have is questions.

  11. You have walked right into the very snare that traps the best scientists in every field. You, as climate change religionists, have decided the results and will use every means to prove your pre-approved and decided result.

    The freakonomics authors, although no where near as credentialed as you all here, do bring a sense of awe for trends especially those that fly in the face of popular opinion. Good for them for not bowing to your altar.

  12. Gail says:

    Oh, Daltonsbriefs. Do you really think that the best scientists in every field have been ensnared by a set of religious tenets?

    That’s a most ridiculous and ignorant belief that indicates you must know nothing whatsoever about the world outside your little deluded cult of denialism.

    It’s absurd to posit that the world’s leading scientists, and all the major academic and research institutions, could possibly be part of some giant conspiracy or mistaken about basic laws of physics and chemistry.

    Check out this for some sobering information: http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2009/11/14/only-0-45-of-physicists-sign-denier-petition/

    Or else just shoo, fly.

  13. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Daltonsbriefs,
    Scientists agree on nothing, they are always trying to poke holes in each others work. Even when they are in agreement they still manage to disagree.

    There is an incredibly wide opinion amongst those who understand that global warming is real and caused by man.

    You also fail to understand the incredibly conservative nature of scientists. They always look to natural variation as the fist explanation of any phenomena, only when natural variation has been comprehensively excluded do they look to global warming and permanent change as an explanation.

    An example: take the thermohaline current, down-welling is reduced near Greenland, reduced upwelling is evidenced by ocean desertification and some studies show reduced flows. Yet all we hear as an explanation, natural variation. No one is saying that the THC is stalling or switching.

  14. Bob K says:

    Albedo modification is the Lysol “solution” to the horse manure problem.

  15. David Lewis says:

    These clowns don’t write about geoengineering that well. I’d recommend the Royal Society study. But they aren’t deniers.

    The material they link to in their reply to Kolbert you are posting about, i.e. the link “this report from The Daily Climate”, had a chart that seemed very up to date on what the current understanding of the various options that could be called geoengineering are. At least these Superfreaks weren’t telling people God was still up there and He wasn’t about to let His Chosen People face something catastrophic.

    In the lecture and Q&A I heard the the Superfreaks do at the London School of Economics via podcast recently, they were claiming that they have consistently said that climate scientists are right when they warn civilization that it ought to take climate change seriously. Even if they haven’t been consistent on this (I haven’t read their book), if they can’t face the public now without saying this at this point, they aren’t even close to being the type of hard core influential moron that still exists.

    I remember when the authors of some latest book series sensation wouldn’t be capitalizing on the interest in climate change by writing a chapter containing their feeble analysis of it, because there wasn’t enough mainstream interest in climate to capitalize on.

    These authors are selling books. The controversy can only translate into more sales. It is in their interest to create more controversy.

    Kolbert says they aren’t trained in science – what could she have expected but to hear them respond that her degree is in literature? What difference does it make?

    I wondered when I read Krugman weighing in on the Superfreaks. Why hasn’t there been controversy over some of his writing on climate? He’s a prominent economist turned popular writer too.

    Read Krugman’s post of July 29 2008, i.e. “Economics of Catastrophe”. Krugman was legitimizing Bjorn Lomborg.

    There were two poles in Krugman’s climate debate in that column, Weitzman and Lomborg. Krugman writes: “suppose there’s a 99% chance that Lomborg is right”, then asks “can we mobilize people to make modest sacrifices to protect against low probability catastrophes in the distant future?”. The New Yorker didn’t publish a tome saying Krugman was spouting horseshit if he thought climate change was a “low probability” possible catastrophe reserved for “the distant future”. What was Lomborg doing there? Bozo the clown says this, I write, the IPCC says that. Suppose there’s a 99% chance Bozo is right…. Why am I legitimizing Bozo?

    I find that economists have not understood climate change, but who did?

    I’ve been trying to raise awareness about climate for more than twenty years. I’ve seen what positions people took.

    I also see that biologists didn’t get it until recently either. Their attention was riveted observing parts of the biosphere. They were busy. Then they suddenly noticed what they knew in such rich detail was changing, duh, the biosphere is an expression of climate, climate is changing, geez. Now they are realizing what a catastrophe it is. Now you hear them agonizing, can we even talk about trying to move some plants and animals to the new places the climate they evolved in are and will be? Only now.

    Did you hear the religious leaders are conferring, I think it was only last week, interfaith, at very high level, some confab with the Secretary General of the UN, supposedly they are going to succeed in waking civilization up where all others have failed. Where were you people twenty years ago?

    So we’ve got lightweight clowns, economists turned pop authors, i.e. the Superfreakonomics boys, making light of what we take to be a serious matter. Its not the worst thing that happened today.

  16. Seth Masia says:

    Anna: There is indeed a long history of entrenched interests spending vast sums to deny scientific findings and delay action. Just a few well-known examples:
    –In the late 1920s, GM and the oil companies suppressed reports that tetraethyl lead in gasoline is an environmental poison (look up Alice Hamilton for the history).
    –In the 1960s the pesticide industry worked very hard to discredit Rachel Carson’s work.
    –The tobacco industry denied for decades widely accepted medical research on cancer.
    –Thru the 70s and 80s the auto industry tried to discredit research pointing to the advantages of mandatory airbag requirements and other crash-safety legislation.

  17. Stefan Min says:

    Anna Haynes: vested interests usually will stop at nothing; the primary examples that come to my mind are the ongoing project of (philosophical) enlightenment which started about 250 to 500 years ago.
    The church (or churches) were very unhappy to give up their monopoly on explaining the world and guiding behavior. Also, most counter-revolutions were a lot bloodier than the revolutions they quenched (not just in 1989, but also in 1848, 1919, etc.). So, yes, Anna, you’re correct.

  18. Jeff Huggins says:

    Hi Anna (Comment 9)

    My understanding/interpretation of your earlier comment was that you sensed, realized, or at least hypothesized that positive change is often resisted, especially by entrenched interests that benefit from the status quo even as they cause the problems that need to be addressed.

    This has happened many times throughout history. In fact, it’s somewhat hard to imagine when it hasn’t happened. Of course, it happens to different degrees each time.

    This time might well be the largest and most consequential on a global basis and in relation to our (humankind’s) future health and well being.

    That’s what I meant.

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  19. mike roddy says:

    Climate change deniers are telling the occupants of a house that is about to burn down to stay put and keep watching television, since they are making money from the advertisements.

    Engaging deniers in civil discussion takes you into a strange la la land, where you keep telling them that, um, you are actually lying about that statistic. This can make you insane and frustrated after a while. This is, however, a necessary exercise. The tone against people like Mark Morano and Steve McIntyre should be mockingly disrespectful. It’s not just that they haven’t earned the right to be respected. If they triumph in their twin goals of obfuscation and delay, the result is very likely to be unimaginable suffering. We therefore have to fight the deniers and not allow them to get away with ginning up a “debate”, and use accurate adjectives in describing them.

  20. Gail says:

    Oh boy, David Lewis, who said this:

    “I also see that biologists didn’t get it until recently either. Their attention was riveted observing parts of the biosphere. They were busy. Then they suddenly noticed what they knew in such rich detail was changing, duh, the biosphere is an expression of climate, climate is changing, geez. Now they are realizing what a catastrophe it is. Now you hear them agonizing, can we even talk about trying to move some plants and animals to the new places the climate they evolved in are and will be?”

    I agree, the idea of species being moved in any viable population to a place that can’t possibly afford the same ecosystem niche that they came from, including sources of food and shelter as well as every other aspect, would be laughable if it weren’t so desperate.

    I’m not so sure most biologists get it now either. Or botonists, or foresters, or farmers. Sure, they understand the environment somewhere far away is in trouble but try to get them to understand the enormity of the trouble going on right in front of them and they start frantically pointing to bugs or fungus or weather. Anything but a broad, intractable source of damage, like toxic emissions from burning fossil and biofuels.

    Case in point, the NYTimes article today that I blog about here: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2009/11/closing-out-season-farmers-want-to_1324.html

    I’ve been predicting crop failures for some time. I’ve called and written the state dept. of Agriculture, Rutgers, the DEP, the EPA all summer, asking for data on production. Everybody told me all summer, even farmers, everything is just fine. Now look at what it says in the article, which is basically, once the farmers get hit in the pocketbook, they are declaring a state of emergency in New Jersey, New York and probably Connecticut. Some of the farmers lost over 90% of their crops and they’re using words like “surreal”.

    I guess we’ll just have to wait for the cost of falling trees to hit the pocketbooks of home owners, the utilities, road maintenance, businesses, the insurance companies – not to mention firefighters – for people to understand that we are poisoning vegetation to the point of widespread crop failure and irreversible tree decline.

    Do I sound peeved? I am. The atmospheric physicists and chemists and the botanists and the soil experts need to stop staring at their microscopes and take a good look at the big picture. We need to stop this while we still have seeds to start anew. Otherwise we can say goodbye forever to apples, cherries, peaches, nuts, and maple syrup, among other things.

  21. Anna Haynes says:

    > “There is indeed a long history of entrenched interests spending vast sums to deny scientific findings and delay action.”

    Agreed, Seth. But what I’m wondering, is what does our better(?) knowledge of the behind-the-scenes machinations then, tell us about what to expect that the behind-the-scenes machinations are now – and about when & where “intelligent [PR] design” was/is employed to shape the public discourse.
    e.g. the WSJ op-ed (i.e. Fred Hiatt’s purview) a month or two back, giving thumbs-down on fluorescent lightbulbs – would the intelligent design have been purely at the “selection” level (“I’ll select this proposed op-ed because it fits into the symphony, or can be edited to fit”), or would it have also been at the “generation” level (“a little bird told me if I write this, I’ll get brownie points”)?
    (its author (who came from Texas A&M) said the latter didn’t happen, btw; but when people aren’t outraged to find that they were playing in the symphony, does that mean they acceded to it? that they don’t think playing in the symphony tars them with the “symphonic brush”?)

    Related, another Q/request – I recall from a high school movie, a clip(?) of [melodic] music that was entirely composed out of normal everyday city sounds; does anyone know how to find a link to something like it? because it’s a great “graphic”(not) demonstration of how a motivated editor can create what sounds like “signal” by preferentially selecting and/or amplifying noises.

  22. Anna Haynes says:

    > ” does anyone know how to find a link to something like it?”

    Google comes through again.

  23. Anna Haynes says:

    …and re my #20 (“when people aren’t outraged to find that they were playing in the symphony”), for first-time players (e.g. the WSJ lightbulb guy) the most parsimonious hypothesis is that they didn’t know, and/or don’t consider themselves a part of it. It’s when you have a repeat player (e.g. Botkin) that the Q gets interesting.

  24. Eli Rabett says:

    Eli really likes this little story (check the comments for more and better)

  25. Paul Klemencic says:

    I have had over ten comments removed from the Freak… blog on the NYTimes website, and I don’t even know why. Clearly Dubner and Levitt are extremely sensitive to criticism and personally attack anyone who questions their analysis and conclusions. They have now attacked critics like Joe Romm, Dr. DeLong, the RealClimate scientists, especially Dr. Pierrehumbert who is a colleague of Dr. Levitt at the University of Chicago, and now one of the most respected writers at the New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert.

    Anyone who disagrees with them, is accused of semi-religious fervor who can’t consider anything but the gospel they believe in. I now don’t see Dubner or Levitt capable of understanding the criticism from knowledgeable critics.

    I simply can’t see how their response to well intentioned criticism is consistent with their own philosophy espousing critical thinking and they way they dress themselves up as contrary thinkers. If others point out fallacies in their logic and argument, then Dubner and Levitt brand these rebels as religious zealots. I think Kolbert nailed these guys accurately in the last paragraph of her review.

  26. Anna Haynes says:

    > “I have had over ten comments removed from the Freak… blog on the NYTimes website, and I don’t even know why. ”

    Paul, do you have screenshots, or did you save the text?

    Here are screenshots of some of my comments they deleted – which linked to, or excerpted from, critical reviews. The “link” comments were pretty simple – e.g. “Don’t miss Elizabeth Kolbert’s SuperFreakonomics review in the New Yorker (link); as Krugman says, it’s a superfreakingly brilliant review.”

    Perhaps someone who Clark Hoyt responds to, could ask him to inform us on NYTimes blog comment moderation policies?

  27. Louise says:

    A “let’s not forget logic” Freakonomics review:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/13/AR2009111302204.html?referrer=emailarticle

    [JR: Too good not to repost.]

  28. Marion Delgado says:

    I thought her take on Vanessa’s blog and book was misguided, and even thought she was missing the point with Colin’s family experiment. That said, none of us who disagreed with her doubted her familiarity and even though amateur-based, expertise. Kolbert’s established that with years of very accurate and informed reporting.

    I would say this insanity from Dubner, a @#$#$#@ing JOURNALIST (which is, more or less, my profession as well, and is, obviously, Kolbert’s) leaning on the expertise of a !$@#$!@#ing Chicago School Economist (which is like a Discovery Institute Biologist), brings in the last needed data to say that fundamentalist marketism is the big issue in the US at least, and everything else is window dressing.

    Dubner is no more educationally qualified than Kolbert – I assume even someone in the grips of a cult fervor like he is will grudgingly admit that? Hence, he relies on a bunch of largely discredited economists – the EXACT people who bankrupted Orange County, nearly bankrupted California, and DID bankrupt the ENTIRE NATION OF ICELAND. And the EXACT people who have led the global economy over a cliff. They don’t even know what they’re talking about in their own field, and Dubner thinks they’re a one-stop-shopping center for every science touching on climate. Meanwhile, Kolbert relies on tens of thousands of scientists via the IPCC, and thousands more via publications accessible to the public of peer reviewed and usually replicated or confirmed research.

    I am not sure how far these guys can be discredited, but I don’t think they’ve hit bottom yet. If Michael Crichton had lived, I think he’d be completely embattled by this point, and considered a right-wing crank on anything climate-related. Levitt and Dubner are headed for a Cannae.

  29. SecularAnimist says:

    Dubner and Levitt are out to make money by selling books. They don’t care about global warming. They don’t care about science. They don’t care about journalism. They don’t care about credibility. They don’t even care about basic honesty and common decency. They are cynical, fraudulent hacks out to get rich by bamboozling ignorant people with BS.

  30. Anna Haynes says:

    > “Perhaps someone who Clark Hoyt responds to, could ask him to inform us on NYTimes blog comment moderation policies?”

    No takers, so I’ve asked; will report back the answer or lack thereof.

  31. Anna Haynes says:

    We have a reply from a member of the NYTimes Public Editor’s office, to my Q re the propriety of Dubner’s deleting comments that linked to critical reviews of his book: they don’t second-guess blog moderation decisions. And furthermore, “The [blog comment] guidelines do not address links to outside material. This is left up to the moderators.”

    The post in question was an assemblage of links to reviews of the book; the deleted comments were an assemblage of links to reviews of the book.