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1
General Discussion / The Real War on Science
« on: November 21, 2016, 06:15:39 PM »
The Left has done far more than the Right to set back progress.
John Tierney

http://www.city-journal.org/html/real-war-science-14782.html

My liberal friends sometimes ask me why I don’t devote more of my science journalism to the sins of the Right. It’s fine to expose pseudoscience on the left, they say, but why aren’t you an equal-opportunity debunker? Why not write about conservatives’ threat to science?

My friends don’t like my answer: because there isn’t much to write about. Conservatives just don’t have that much impact on science. I know that sounds strange to Democrats who decry Republican creationists and call themselves the “party of science.” But I’ve done my homework. I’ve read the Left’s indictments, including Chris Mooney’s bestseller, The Republican War on Science. I finished it with the same question about this war that I had at the outset: Where are the casualties?

Where are the scientists who lost their jobs or their funding? What vital research has been corrupted or suppressed? What scientific debate has been silenced? Yes, the book reveals that Republican creationists exist, but they don’t affect the biologists or anthropologists studying evolution. Yes, George W. Bush refused federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, but that hardly put a stop to it (and not much changed after Barack Obama reversed the policy). Mooney rails at scientists and politicians who oppose government policies favored by progressives like himself, but if you’re looking for serious damage to the enterprise of science, he offers only three examples.

All three are in his first chapter, during Mooney’s brief acknowledgment that leftists “here and there” have been guilty of “science abuse.” First, there’s the Left’s opposition to genetically modified foods, which stifled research into what could have been a second Green Revolution to feed Africa. Second, there’s the campaign by animal-rights activists against medical researchers, whose work has already been hampered and would be devastated if the activists succeeded in banning animal experimentation. Third, there’s the resistance in academia to studying the genetic underpinnings of human behavior, which has cut off many social scientists from the recent revolutions in genetics and neuroscience. Each of these abuses is far more significant than anything done by conservatives, and there are plenty of others. The only successful war on science is the one waged by the Left.

The danger from the Left does not arise from stupidity or dishonesty; those failings are bipartisan. Some surveys show that Republicans, particularly libertarians, are more scientifically literate than Democrats, but there’s plenty of ignorance all around. Both sides cherry-pick research and misrepresent evidence to support their agendas. Whoever’s in power, the White House plays politics in appointing advisory commissions and editing the executive summaries of their reports. Scientists of all ideologies exaggerate the importance of their own research and seek results that will bring them more attention and funding.

But two huge threats to science are peculiar to the Left—and they’re getting worse.

The first threat is confirmation bias, the well-documented tendency of people to seek out and accept information that confirms their beliefs and prejudices. In a classic study of peer review, 75 psychologists were asked to referee a paper about the mental health of left-wing student activists. Some referees saw a version of the paper showing that the student activists’ mental health was above normal; others saw different data, showing it to be below normal. Sure enough, the more liberal referees were more likely to recommend publishing the paper favorable to the left-wing activists. When the conclusion went the other way, they quickly found problems with its methodology.

Scientists try to avoid confirmation bias by exposing their work to peer review by critics with different views, but it’s increasingly difficult for liberals to find such critics. Academics have traditionally leaned left politically, and many fields have essentially become monocultures, especially in the social sciences, where Democrats now outnumber Republicans by at least 8 to 1. (In sociology, where the ratio is 44 to 1, a student is much likelier to be taught by a Marxist than by a Republican.) The lopsided ratio has led to another well-documented phenomenon: people’s beliefs become more extreme when they’re surrounded by like-minded colleagues. They come to assume that their opinions are not only the norm but also the truth.

Groupthink has become so routine that many scientists aren’t even aware of it. Social psychologists, who have extensively studied conscious and unconscious biases against out-groups, are quick to blame these biases for the underrepresentation of women or minorities in the business world and other institutions. But they’ve been mostly oblivious to their own diversity problem, which is vastly larger. Democrats outnumber Republicans at least 12 to 1 (perhaps 40 to 1) in social psychology, creating what Jonathan Haidt calls a “tribal-moral community” with its own “sacred values” about what’s worth studying and what’s taboo.

“Morality binds and blinds,” says Haidt, a social psychologist at New York University and author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. “Having common values makes a group cohesive, which can be quite useful, but it’s the last thing that should happen to a scientific field. Progressivism, especially anti-racism, has become a fundamentalist religion, complete with anti-blasphemy laws.”

Last year, one of the leading scientific journals, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, published an article by Haidt and five colleagues documenting their profession’s lack of ideological diversity. It was accompanied by commentaries from 63 other social scientists, virtually all of whom, even the harshest critics, accepted the authors’ conclusion that the lack of political diversity has harmed the science of social psychology. The authors and the commentators pointed to example after example of how the absence of conservatives has blinded researchers to flaws in their work, particularly when studying people’s ideology and morality.

Democrats outnumber Republicans at least 12 to 1 (perhaps 40 to 1) in social psychology.

The narrative that Republicans are antiscience has been fed by well-publicized studies reporting that conservatives are more close-minded and dogmatic than liberals are. But these conclusions have been based on questions asking people how strongly they cling to traditional morality and religion—dogmas that matter a lot more to conservatives than to liberals. A few other studies—not well-publicized—have shown that liberals can be just as close-minded when their own beliefs, such as their feelings about the environment or Barack Obama, are challenged.

Social psychologists have often reported that conservatives are more prejudiced against other social groups than liberals are. But one of Haidt’s coauthors, Jarret Crawford of the College of New Jersey, recently noted a glaring problem with these studies: they typically involve attitudes toward groups that lean left, like African-Americans and communists. When Crawford (who is a liberal) did his own study involving a wider range of groups, he found that prejudice is bipartisan. Liberals display strong prejudice against religious Christians and other groups they perceive as right of center.

Conservatives have been variously pathologized as unethical, antisocial, and irrational simply because they don’t share beliefs that seem self-evident to liberals. For instance, one study explored ethical decision making by asking people whether they would formally support a female colleague’s complaint of sexual harassment. There was no way to know if the complaint was justified, but anyone who didn’t automatically side with the woman was put in the unethical category. Another study asked people whether they believed that “in the long run, hard work usually brings a better life”—and then classified a yes answer as a “rationalization of inequality.” Another study asked people if they agreed that “the Earth has plenty of natural resources if we just learn how to develop them”—a view held by many experts in resource economics, but the psychologists pathologized it as a “denial of environmental realities.”

To combat these biases, more than 150 social scientists have joined Heterodox Academy, a group formed by Haidt and his coauthors to promote ideological diversity among scholars. That’s a good start, but they’re nowhere close to solving the problem. Even if social-science departments added a few conservatives, they’d still be immersed in progressive academic communities becoming less tolerant of debate because of pressure from campus activists and federal bureaucrats enforcing an ever-expanding interpretation of Title IX. And their work would still be filtered to the public by reporters who lean left, too—that’s why the press has promoted the Republican-war-on-science myth. When Obama diplomatically ducked a question on the campaign trail about the age of the Earth (“I don’t presume to know”), the press paid no attention. When Marco Rubio later did the same thing (“I’m not a scientist”), he was lambasted as a typical Republican ignoramus determined to bring back the Dark Ages.

The combination of all these pressures from the Left has repeatedly skewed science over the past half-century. In 1965, when Daniel Patrick Moynihan published a paper presciently warning of the dangers for black children growing up in single-parent homes, it was greeted with such hostility—he was blaming the victim, critics said—that the topic became off-limits among liberals, stymying public discussion and research for decades into one of the most pressing problems facing minority children. Similarly, liberal advocates have worked to suppress reporting on the problems of children raised by gay parents or on any drawbacks of putting young children in day care. In 1991, a leading family psychologist, Louise Silverstein, published an article in the American Psychologist urging her colleagues to “refuse to undertake any more research that looks for the negative consequences of other-than-mother-care.”

The Left’s most rigid taboos involve the biology of race and gender, as the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker chronicles in The Blank Slate. The book takes its title from Pinker’s term for the dogma that “any differences we see among races, ethnic groups, sexes, and individuals come not from differences in their innate constitution but from differences in their experiences.” The dogma constricts researchers’ perspective—“No biology, please, we’re social scientists”—and discourages debate, in and out of academia. Early researchers in sociobiology faced vitriolic attacks from prominent scientists like Stephen Jay Gould, who accused them of racism and sexism for studying genetic influences on behavior.
Studying IQ has been a risky career move since the 1970s, when researchers like Arthur Jensen and Richard Herrnstein had to cancel lectures (and sometimes hire bodyguards) because of angry protesters accusing them of racism. Government funding dried up, forcing researchers in IQ and behavioral genetics to rely on private donors, who in the 1980s financed the renowned Minnesota study of twins reared apart. Leftists tried to cut off that funding in the 1990s, when the University of Delaware halted the IQ research of Linda Gottfredson and Jan Blits for two years by refusing to let them accept a foundation’s grant; the research proceeded only after an arbitrator ruled that their academic freedom had been violated.

The Blank Slate dogma has perpetuated a liberal version of creationism: the belief that there has been no evolution in modern humans since they left their ancestral homeland in Africa some 50,000 years ago. Except for a few genetic changes in skin color and other superficial qualities, humans everywhere are supposedly alike because there hasn’t been enough time for significant differences to evolve in their brains and innate behavior. This belief was plausible when biologists assumed that evolution was a slow process, but the decoding of the human genome has disproved it, as Nicholas Wade (a former colleague of mine at the New York Times) reported in his 2015 book, A Troublesome Inheritance.

“Human evolution has been recent, copious and regional,” writes Wade, noting that at least 8 percent of the human genome has changed since the departure from Africa. The new analysis has revealed five distinguishable races that evolved in response to regional conditions: Africans, East Asians, Caucasians, the natives of the Americas, and the peoples of Australia and Papua New Guinea. Yet social scientists go on denying the very existence of races. The American Anthropological Association declares race to be “a human invention” that is “about culture, not biology.” The American Sociological Association calls race a “social construct.” Even biologists and geneticists are afraid of the R-word. More than 100 of them sent a letter to the New York Times denouncing Wade’s book as inaccurate, yet they refused to provide any examples of his mistakes. They apparently hadn’t bothered to read the book because they accused Wade of linking racial variations to IQ scores—a link that his book specifically rejected.

Some genetic differences are politically acceptable on the left, such as the biological basis for homosexuality, which was deemed plausible by 70 percent of sociologists in a recent survey. But that same survey found that only 43 percent accepted a biological explanation for male-female differences in spatial skills and communication. How could the rest of the sociologists deny the role of biology? It was no coincidence that these doubters espoused the most extreme left-wing political views and the strongest commitment to a feminist perspective. To dedicated leftists and feminists, it doesn’t matter how much evidence of sexual differences is produced by developmental psychologists, primatologists, neuroscientists, and other researchers. Any disparity between the sexes—or, at least, any disparity unfavorable to women—must be blamed on discrimination and other cultural factors.

Former Harvard president Lawrence Summers found this out the hard way at an academic conference where he dared to discuss the preponderance of men among professors of mathematics and physical sciences at elite universities. While acknowledging that women faced cultural barriers, like discrimination and the pressures of family responsibilities, Summers hypothesized that there might be other factors, too, such as the greater number of men at the extreme high end in tests measuring mathematical ability and other traits. Males’ greater variability in aptitude is well established—it’s why there are more male dunces as well as geniuses—but scientific accuracy was no defense against the feminist outcry. The controversy forced Summers to apologize and ultimately contributed to his resignation. Besides violating the Blank Slate taboo, Summers had threatened an academic cottage industry kept alive by the myth that gender disparities in science are due to discrimination.

This industry, supported by more than $200 million from the National Science Foundation, persists despite overwhelming evidence—from experiments as well as extensive studies of who gets academic jobs and research grants—that a female scientist is treated as well as or better than an equally qualified male. In a rigorous set of five experiments published last year, the female candidate was preferred two-to-one over an equivalent male. The main reason for sexual disparities in some fields is a difference in interests: from an early age, more males are more interested in fields like physics and engineering, while more females are interested in fields like biology and psychology (where most doctorates go to women).
On the whole, American women are doing much better than men academically—they receive the majority of undergraduate and graduate degrees—yet education researchers and federal funders have focused for decades on the few fields in science where men predominate. It was bad enough that the National Science Foundation’s grants paid for workshops featuring a game called Gender Bias Bingo and skits in which arrogant male scientists mistreat smarter female colleagues. But then, these workshops nearly became mandatory when Democrats controlled Congress in 2010. In response to feminist lobbying, the House passed a bill (which fortunately died in the Senate) requiring federal science agencies to hold “gender equity” workshops for the recipients of research grants.

It might seem odd that the “party of science” would be dragging researchers out of the lab to be reeducated in games of Gender Bias Bingo. But politicians will always care more about pleasing constituencies than advancing science.

And that brings us to the second great threat from the Left: its long tradition of mixing science and politics. To conservatives, the fundamental problem with the Left is what Friedrich Hayek called the fatal conceit: the delusion that experts are wise enough to redesign society. Conservatives distrust central planners, preferring to rely on traditional institutions that protect individuals’ “natural rights” against the power of the state. Leftists have much more confidence in experts and the state. Engels argued for “scientific socialism,” a redesign of society supposedly based on the scientific method. Communist intellectuals planned to mold the New Soviet Man. Progressives yearned for a society guided by impartial agencies unconstrained by old-fashioned politics and religion. Herbert Croly, founder of the New Republic and a leading light of progressivism, predicted that a “better future would derive from the beneficent activities of expert social engineers who would bring to the service of social ideals all the technical resources which research could discover.”

This was all very flattering to scientists, one reason that so many of them leaned left. The Right cited scientific work when useful, but it didn’t enlist science to remake society—it still preferred guidance from traditional moralists and clerics. The Left saw scientists as the new high priests, offering them prestige, money, and power. The power too often corrupted. Over and over, scientists yielded to the temptation to exaggerate their expertise and moral authority, sometimes for horrendous purposes.

Drawing on research into genetics and animal breeding from scientists at Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, and other leading universities, the eugenics movement of the 1920s made plans for improving the human population. Professors taught eugenics to their students and worked with Croly and other progressives eager to breed a smarter society, including Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Margaret Sanger. Eventually, other scientists—notably, in England—exposed the shoddy research and assumptions of the eugenicists, but not before the involuntary sterilization or castration of more than 35,000 Americans. Even after Hitler used eugenics to justify killing millions, the Left didn’t lose its interest in controlling human breeding.

Eugenicist thinking was revived by scientists convinced that the human species had exceeded the “carrying capacity” of its ecosystem. The most prominent was Paul Ehrlich, whose scientific specialty was the study of butterflies. Undeterred by his ignorance of agriculture and economics, he published confident predictions of imminent global famine in The Population Bomb (1968). Agricultural economists dismissed his ideas, but the press reverently quoted Ehrlich and other academics who claimed to have scientifically determined that the Earth was “overpopulated.” In the journal Science, ecologist Garrett Hardin argued that “freedom to breed will bring ruin to all.” Ehrlich, who, at one point, advocated supplying American helicopters and doctors to a proposed program of compulsory sterilization in India, joined with physicist John Holdren in arguing that the U.S. Constitution would permit population control, including limits on family size and forced abortions. Ehrlich and Holdren calmly analyzed the merits of various technologies, such as adding sterilants to public drinking water, and called for a “planetary regime” to control population and natural resources around the world.

Environmental science has become so politicized that its myths endure even after they’ve been disproved.

Their ideas went nowhere in the United States, but they inspired one of the worst human rights violations of the twentieth century, in China: the one-child policy, resulting in coerced abortion and female infanticide. China struggles today with a dangerously small number of workers to support its aging population. The intellectual godfathers of this atrocity, had they been conservatives, surely would have been ostracized. But even after his predictions turned out to be wildly wrong, Ehrlich went on collecting honors.

For his part, Holdren has served for the past eight years as the science advisor to President Obama, a position from which he laments that Americans don’t take his warnings on climate change seriously. He doesn’t seem to realize that public skepticism has a lot to do with the dismal track record of himself and his fellow environmentalists. There’s always an apocalypse requiring the expansion of state power. The visions of global famine were followed by more failed predictions, such as an “age of scarcity” due to vanishing supplies of energy and natural resources and epidemics of cancer and infertility caused by synthetic chemicals. In a 1976 book, The Genesis Strategy, the climatologist Stephen Schneider advocated a new fourth branch of the federal government (with experts like himself serving 20-year terms) to deal with the imminent crisis of global cooling. He later switched to become a leader in the global-warming debate.

Environmental science has become so politicized that its myths endure even after they’ve been disproved. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring set off decades of chemophobia with its scary anecdotes and bad science, like her baseless claim that DDT was causing cancer in humans and her vision of a mass avian die-off (the bird population was actually increasing as she wrote). Yet Silent Spring is taught in high school and college courses as a model of science writing, with no mention of the increased death tolls from malaria in countries that restricted DDT, or of other problems—like the spread of dengue and the Zika virus—exacerbated by needless fears of insecticides. Similarly, the Left’s zeal to find new reasons to regulate has led to pseudoscientific scaremongering about “Frankenfoods,” transfats, BPA in plastic, mobile phones, electronic cigarettes, power lines, fracking, and nuclear energy.

The health establishment spent decades advocating a low-salt diet for everyone (and pressuring the food industry to reduce salt) without any proof that it prolonged lives. When researchers finally got around to doing small clinical trials, they found that the low-salt diet did not prolong lives. If anything, it was associated with higher mortality. The worst debacle in health science involved dietary fat, which became an official public enemy in the 1970s, thanks to a few self-promoting scientists and politically savvy activists who allied with Democrats in Congress led by George McGovern and Henry Waxman. The supposed link between high-fat diets and heart disease was based on cherry-picked epidemiology, but the federal government endorsed it by publishing formal “dietary goals for the United States” and creating the now-infamous food pyramid that encouraged Americans to replace fat in their diets with carbohydrates. The public-health establishment devoted its efforts and funding to demonstrating the benefits of low-fat diets. But the low-fat diet repeatedly flunked clinical trials, and the government’s encouragement of carbohydrates probably contributed to rising rates of obesity and diabetes, as journalists Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz have chronicled in their books. (See “The Washington Diet,” Spring 2011.)

The dietary-fat debate is a case study in scientific groupthink—and in the Left’s techniques for enforcing political orthodoxy. From the start, prominent nutrition researchers disputed fat’s link to heart disease and criticized Washington for running a dietary experiment on the entire population. But they were dismissed as outliers who’d been corrupted by corporate money. At one hearing, Senator McGovern rebutted the skeptics by citing a survey showing that low-fat diet recommendations were endorsed by 92 percent of “the world’s leading doctors.” Federal bureaucrats and activists smeared skeptics by leaking information to the press about their consulting work with the food industry. One skeptic, Robert Olson of Washington University, protested that during his career, he had received $250,000 from the food industry versus more than $10 million from federal agencies, including ones promoting low-fat diets. If he could be bought, he said, it would be more accurate to call him “a tool of government.” As usual, though, the liberal press focused only on corporate money.
These same sneer-and-smear techniques predominate in the debate over climate change. President Obama promotes his green agenda by announcing that “the debate is settled,” and he denounces “climate deniers” by claiming that 97 percent of scientists believe that global warming is dangerous. His statements are false. While the greenhouse effect is undeniably real, and while most scientists agree that there has been a rise in global temperatures caused in some part by human emissions of carbon dioxide, no one knows how much more warming will occur this century or whether it will be dangerous. How could the science be settled when there have been dozens of computer models of how carbon dioxide affects the climate? And when most of the models overestimated how much warming should have occurred by now? These failed predictions, as well as recent research into the effects of water vapor on temperatures, have caused many scientists to lower their projections of future warming. Some “luke-warmists” suggest that future temperature increases will be relatively modest and prove to be a net benefit, at least in the short term.

The long-term risks are certainly worth studying, but no matter whose predictions you trust, climate science provides no justification for Obama’s green agenda—or anyone else’s agenda. Even if it were somehow proved that high-end estimates for future global warming are accurate, that wouldn’t imply that Greens have the right practical solution for reducing carbon emissions—or that we even need to reduce those emissions. Policies for dealing with global warming vary according to political beliefs, economic assumptions, social priorities, and moral principles. Would regulating carbon dioxide stifle economic growth and give too much power to the state? Is it moral to impose sacrifices on poor people to keep temperatures a little cooler for their descendants, who will presumably be many times richer? Are there more important problems to address first? These aren’t questions with scientifically correct answers.

Yet many climate researchers are passing off their political opinions as science, just as Obama does, and they’re even using that absurdly unscientific term “denier” as if they were priests guarding some eternal truth. Science advances by continually challenging and testing hypotheses, but the modern Left has become obsessed with silencing heretics. In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch last year, 20 climate scientists urged her to use federal racketeering laws to prosecute corporations and think tanks that have “deceived the American people about the risks of climate change.” Similar assaults on free speech are endorsed in the Democratic Party’s 2016 platform, which calls for prosecution of companies that make “misleading” statements about “the scientific reality of climate change.” A group of Democratic state attorneys general coordinated an assault on climate skeptics by subpoenaing records from fossil-fuel companies and free-market think tanks, supposedly as part of investigations to prosecute corporate fraud. Such prosecutions may go nowhere in court—they’re blatant violations of the First Amendment—but that’s not their purpose. By demanding a decade’s worth of e-mail and other records, the Democratic inquisitors and their scientist allies want to harass climate dissidents and intimidate their donors.

Just as in the debate over dietary fat, these dissidents get smeared in the press as corporate shills—but once again, the money flows almost entirely the other way. The most vocal critics of climate dogma are a half-dozen think tanks that together spend less than $15 million annually on environmental issues. The half-dozen major green groups spend more than $500 million, and the federal government spends $10 billion on climate research and technology to reduce emissions. Add it up, and it’s clear that scientists face tremendous pressure to support the “consensus” on reducing carbon emissions, as Judith Curry, a climatologist at Georgia Tech, testified last year at a Senate hearing.

“This pressure comes not only from politicians but also from federal funding agencies, universities and professional societies, and scientists themselves who are green activists,” Curry said. “This advocacy extends to the professional societies that publish journals and organize conferences. Policy advocacy, combined with understating the uncertainties, risks destroying science’s reputation for honesty and objectivity—without which scientists become regarded as merely another lobbyist group.”

That’s the ultimate casualty in the Left’s war: scientists’ reputations. Bad research can be exposed and discarded, but bad reputations endure. Social scientists are already regarded in Washington as an arm of the Democratic Party, so their research is dismissed as partisan even when it’s not, and some Republicans have tried (unsuccessfully) to cut off all social-science funding. The physical sciences still enjoy bipartisan support, but that’s being eroded by the green politicking, and climate scientists’ standing will plummet if the proclaimed consensus turns out to be wrong.

To preserve their integrity, scientists should avoid politics and embrace the skeptical rigor that their profession requires. They need to start welcoming conservatives and others who will spot their biases and violate their taboos. Making these changes won’t be easy, but the first step is simple: stop pretending that the threats to science are coming from the Right. Look in the other direction—or in the mirror.

John Tierney is a contributing editor of City Journal, coauthor of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Strength, and a contributing science columnist for the New York Times, where he previously wrote “The Big City” column.

2
General Discussion / Peace loving liberals...
« on: November 10, 2016, 01:37:46 PM »

4
General Discussion / In other news, this!
« on: October 03, 2016, 12:22:06 PM »
and I want!


5
General Discussion / Color me surprised
« on: September 15, 2016, 03:29:33 PM »
First female soldier in Green Beret training fails to complete the course

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/sep/14/first-female-soldier-in-green-beret-training-fails/

Next will come reducing of standards even though the DOD has said they won't. All in the name of "gender equality".

lol

6
General Discussion / Great news!
« on: September 08, 2016, 02:35:25 PM »

7
General Discussion / Lincoln votes for Batman
« on: August 27, 2016, 03:28:50 PM »

8
General Discussion / Herpetologists discover rattle snakes eat meat!
« on: August 23, 2016, 04:23:46 PM »
In other "duh" news....

WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money - either personally or through companies or groups - to the Clinton Foundation. It's an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.

At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CAMPAIGN_2016_CLINTON_FOUNDATION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-08-23-14-35-04




9
General Discussion / The slippery slope just got more grease.
« on: August 16, 2016, 11:06:35 AM »
and the young libs happily sang along while their masters played the music that would end their right to sing.

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/08/16/london-mayor-to-set-up-police-online-hate-crime-hub-in-partnership-with-social-media-firms/

The office of London’s mayor has secured millions of pounds to fund a police “online hate crime hub” to work in “partnership with social media providers” to criminalise “trolls” who “target… individuals and communities.”

Convictions for crimes under Section 127 of the Communications Act of 2003, a law increasingly used to prosecute “internet trolls”, have increased ten-fold in a decade, official figures revealed in May last year. They showed 1,209 people were found guilty of offences under the law, compared with 143 in 2004, according to the Ministry of Justice.

127Improper use of public electronic communications network

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if he—

(a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or

(b) causes any such message or matter to be so sent.

(2) A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he—

(a)sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false,

(b)causes such a message to be sent; or

(c)persistently makes use of a public electronic communications network.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.

(4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to anything done in the course of providing a programme service (within the meaning of the Broadcasting Act 1990 (c. 42)).



The law criminalises “using [a] public electronic communications network in order to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety,” and can result in a six-month prison term or fine of up to £5,000.

“Pure rants, very childish [people online] are increasingly criminalised, and as a result of that the police is becoming more and more involved in controlling our morality”, explained Frank Furedi, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent, on BBC Radio 4 this morning.

10
General Discussion / It's quiet....too quiet....
« on: July 08, 2016, 01:23:45 PM »
No comments on the fact that Clinton earned a revocation of her security clearance and perjured herself under oath?

partisan lemmings

11
General Discussion / Bloombergs commencement speech
« on: May 03, 2016, 01:04:51 PM »
http://heatst.com/politics/michael-bloomberg-why-safe-spaces-are-terrible-mistakes/#:REcaKd2sWFLHXA

The following is an adaptation of an address to the University of Michigan’s class of 2016.


The most useful knowledge that you leave here with today has nothing to do with your major. It’s about how to study, cooperate, listen carefully, think critically and resolve conflicts through reason. Those are the most important skills in the working world, and it’s why colleges have always exposed students to challenging and uncomfortable ideas.

The fact that some university boards and administrations now bow to pressure and shield students from these ideas through “safe spaces,” “code words” and “trigger warnings” is, in my view, a terrible mistake.

The whole purpose of college is to learn how to deal with difficult situations — not run away from them. A microaggression is exactly that: micro. And one of the most dangerous places on a college campus is a safe space, because it creates the false impression that we can insulate ourselves from those who hold different views.

We can’t do this, and we shouldn’t try — not in politics or in the workplace. In the global economy, and in a democratic society, an open mind is the most valuable asset you can possess.

Think about the global economy. For the first time in human history, the majority of people in the developed world are being asked to make a living with their minds, rather than their muscles. For 3,000 years, humankind had an economy based on farming: Till the soil, plant the seed, harvest the crop. It was hard to do, but fairly easy to learn. Then, for 300 years, we had an economy based on industry: Mold the parts, turn the crank, assemble the product. This was hard to do, but also fairly easy to learn.

Now, we have an economy based on information: Acquire the knowledge, apply the analytics and use your creativity. This is hard to do and hard to learn, and even once you’ve mastered it, you have to start learning all over again, pretty much every day.

Keeping an open mind to new ideas is essential to your professional success — just as it’s crucial to our collective future as a democratic society.

We are witnessing a disturbing change in the nature of American politics: a rise in extreme partisanship and intolerance for other views.

I’m a political independent, but over the course of my life, for nonideological reasons, I’ve been a Republican and a Democrat. So I can tell you: Neither party has a monopoly on good ideas, and each demonizes the other unfairly and dishonestly.

This is not a new phenomenon, but it has reached a dangerous new level. George Washington warned against the dangers of parties, but we have survived more than 200 years of political parties largely because the Founding Fathers created checks and balances to temper the fires of partisanship. Of course, they also excluded most Americans from their vision of democracy because they feared what democracy might produce. But over the past two centuries, through the sacrifices of so many civil rights leaders and soldiers, the promise of equal rights has spread across income, religion, race, gender and sexual orientation.

We still have a long way to go, and it would be a mistake to think that our progress is irreversible. Democracy and citizenship will always require constant vigilance against those who fan the flames of partisanship in ways that consume us and lead to, in Washington’s words, “the ruins of public liberty.”

We have certainly seen such figures before, in both parties. In the 1930s, there was the despotic Huey Long in Louisiana and Father Coughlin in Michigan, who blamed “Jewish conspirators” for America’s troubles. Then came Charles Lindbergh in the ’40s, Joe McCarthy in the ’50s, George Wallace in the ’60s and Pat Buchanan in the ’90s. Every generation has had to confront its own demagogues. And every generation has stood up and kept them away from the White House. At least so far.

In this year’s presidential election, we’ve seen more demagoguery from both parties than I can remember in my lifetime. Our country is facing serious and difficult challenges. But rather than offering realistic solutions, candidates in both parties are blaming our problems on easy targets who breed resentment. For Republicans, it’s Mexicans here illegally and Muslims. And for Democrats, it’s the wealthy and Wall Street. The truth is: We cannot solve the problems we face by blaming anyone.

So why has it become so hard to find leaders who will lead from the front, rather than following from behind?

Here’s one reason, based on my experience: Today, elected officials who decide to support a controversial policy don’t just get angry letters, phone calls and faxes. They also get millions of angry tweets and Facebook posts denouncing them in the harshest possible terms. This is democracy in action. But this kind of instant condemnation also makes elected officials afraid to do things that, in their heart of hearts, they know are right.

Democracy in action can actually produce a lot of inaction, which we see every day in Washington and other levels of government, too. When governments fail to address the needs of the people, voters in both parties get angry and some politicians exploit that anger by offering scapegoats instead of solutions.

If we want to stop demagogues, we have to start governing again, and that requires us to be more civil, to support politicians who have the courage to take risks, and to reward those who reach across the aisle in search of compromise.

Doing this won’t be easy, and that’s partly because it’s not just social media that has changed the civic dialogue. The constant bombardment of news that we see on our phones, computers and TVs gives us the impression we are acquiring knowledge. Yet many of the sources, facts and interpretations are either dubious or colored by partisanship, or outright lies.

I say that as the owner of a media company who has seen how the marketplace has shifted. Today, people choose cable TV channels and websites that affirm their own political beliefs rather than ones that inform and challenge their beliefs. As a result, we have grown more politically cloistered and more intolerant of those who hold different opinions.

Think about this: In 1960, only 4 to 5 percent of Democrats and Republicans said they would be upset if a member of their family married someone from the opposing party. In 2010, one in three Democrats and one in two Republicans said they would disapprove of such a marriage. In 1960, most people would never have believed that interparty marriage would attract such resistance, while interracial and same-sex marriage would gain such acceptance.

For all the progress we have made on cultural tolerance, when it comes to political tolerance, we are moving in the wrong direction — at campaign rallies that turn violent, on social media threads that turn vitriolic, and on college campuses, where students and faculty have attempted to censor political opponents.

As durable as the American system of government has been, democracy is fragile — and demagogues are always lurking. Stopping them starts with placing a premium on open minds, voting, and demanding that politicians offer practical solutions, not scapegoats or pie-in-the-sky promises.

In 1928, Republicans promised a “chicken in every pot and a car in every backyard.” They won control of Congress and the White House, and a year later, instead of a chicken and a car, we got the Great Depression.

Today, when a populist candidate promises free college, free health care and a pony, or another candidate promises to make other countries pay for our needs, remember: Those who promise you a free lunch will invariably eat you for breakfast.


12
General Discussion / Spoiler Alert!
« on: April 18, 2016, 03:43:11 PM »
'Game of Thrones': Journalist Files FOIA Request for President Obama's Season 6 Screeners

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/game-thrones-journalist-files-foia-884493

Haha!

13
General Discussion / Speaking of Movies
« on: April 18, 2016, 12:12:30 PM »
This one looks like it might be good.

Suicide Squad - Official Trailer


14
General Discussion / The case for Skepticism
« on: April 18, 2016, 12:03:34 PM »
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2016/05/scientific-regress

The greatest friends of the Cult of Science are the worst enemies of science’s actual practice.


The problem with ­science is that so much of it simply isn’t. Last summer, the Open Science Collaboration announced that it had tried to replicate one hundred published psychology experiments sampled from three of the most prestigious journals in the field. Scientific claims rest on the idea that experiments repeated under nearly identical conditions ought to yield approximately the same results, but until very recently, very few had bothered to check in a systematic way whether this was actually the case. The OSC was the biggest attempt yet to check a field’s results, and the most shocking. In many cases, they had used original experimental materials, and sometimes even performed the experiments under the guidance of the original researchers. Of the studies that had originally reported positive results, an astonishing 65 percent failed to show statistical significance on replication, and many of the remainder showed greatly reduced effect sizes.

Their findings made the news, and quickly became a club with which to bash the social sciences. But the problem isn’t just with psychology. There’s an ­unspoken rule in the pharmaceutical industry that half of all academic biomedical research will ultimately prove false, and in 2011 a group of researchers at Bayer decided to test it. Looking at sixty-seven recent drug discovery projects based on preclinical cancer biology research, they found that in more than 75 percent of cases the published data did not match up with their in-house attempts to replicate. These were not studies published in fly-by-night oncology journals, but blockbuster research featured in Science, Nature, Cell, and the like. The Bayer researchers were drowning in bad studies, and it was to this, in part, that they attributed the mysteriously declining yields of drug pipelines. Perhaps so many of these new drugs fail to have an effect because the basic research on which their development was based isn’t valid.

When a study fails to replicate, there are two possible interpretations. The first is that, unbeknownst to the investigators, there was a real difference in experimental setup between the original investigation and the failed replication. These are colloquially referred to as “wallpaper effects,” the joke being that the experiment was affected by the color of the wallpaper in the room. This is the happiest possible explanation for failure to reproduce: It means that both experiments have revealed facts about the universe, and we now have the opportunity to learn what the difference was between them and to incorporate a new and subtler distinction into our theories.

The other interpretation is that the original finding was false. Unfortunately, an ingenious statistical argument shows that this second interpretation is far more likely. First articulated by John Ioannidis, a professor at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, this argument proceeds by a simple application of Bayesian statistics. Suppose that there are a hundred and one stones in a certain field. One of them has a diamond inside it, and, luckily, you have a diamond-detecting device that advertises 99 percent accuracy. After an hour or so of moving the device around, examining each stone in turn, suddenly alarms flash and sirens wail while the device is pointed at a promising-looking stone. What is the probability that the stone contains a diamond?

Most would say that if the device advertises 99 percent accuracy, then there is a 99 percent chance that the device is correctly discerning a diamond, and a 1 percent chance that it has given a false positive reading. But consider: Of the one hundred and one stones in the field, only one is truly a diamond. Granted, our machine has a very high probability of correctly declaring it to be a diamond. But there are many more diamond-free stones, and while the machine only has a 1 percent chance of falsely declaring each of them to be a diamond, there are a hundred of them. So if we were to wave the detector over every stone in the field, it would, on average, sound twice—once for the real diamond, and once when a false reading was triggered by a stone. If we know only that the alarm has sounded, these two possibilities are roughly equally probable, giving us an approximately 50 percent chance that the stone really contains a diamond.

This is a simplified version of the argument that Ioannidis applies to the process of science itself. The stones in the field are the set of all possible testable hypotheses, the diamond is a hypothesized connection or effect that happens to be true, and the diamond-detecting device is the scientific method. A tremendous amount depends on the proportion of possible hypotheses which turn out to be true, and on the accuracy with which an experiment can discern truth from falsehood. Ioannidis shows that for a wide variety of scientific settings and fields, the values of these two parameters are not at all favorable.

For instance, consider a team of molecular biologists investigating whether a mutation in one of the countless thousands of human genes is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. The probability of a randomly selected mutation in a randomly selected gene having precisely that effect is quite low, so just as with the stones in the field, a positive finding is more likely than not to be spurious—unless the experiment is unbelievably successful at sorting the wheat from the chaff. Indeed, Ioannidis finds that in many cases, approaching even 50 percent true positives requires unimaginable accuracy. Hence the eye-catching title of his paper: “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.”

What about accuracy? Here, too, the news is not good. First, it is a de facto standard in many fields to use one in twenty as an acceptable cutoff for the rate of false positives. To the naive ear, that may sound promising: Surely it means that just 5 percent of scientific studies report a false positive? But this is precisely the same mistake as thinking that a stone has a 99 percent chance of containing a ­diamond just because the detector has sounded. What it really means is that for each of the countless false hypo­theses that are contemplated by researchers, we accept a 5 percent chance that it will be falsely counted as true—a decision with a considerably more deleterious effect on the proportion of correct studies.

Paradoxically, the situation is actually made worse by the fact that a promising connection is often studied by several independent teams. To see why, suppose that three groups of researchers are studying a phenomenon, and when all the data are analyzed, one group announces that it has discovered a connection, but the other two find nothing of note. Assuming that all the tests involved have a high statistical power, the lone positive finding is almost certainly the spurious one. However, when it comes time to report these findings, what happens? The teams that found a negative result may not even bother to write up their non-discovery. After all, a report that a fanciful connection probably isn’t true is not the stuff of which scientific prizes, grant money, and tenure decisions are made.

And even if they did write it up, it probably wouldn’t be accepted for publication. Journals are in competition with one another for attention and “impact factor,” and are always more eager to report a new, exciting finding than a killjoy failure to find an association. In fact, both of these effects can be quantified. Since the majority of all investigated hypotheses are false, if positive and negative evidence were written up and accepted for publication in equal proportions, then the majority of articles in scientific journals should report no findings. When tallies are actually made, though, the precise opposite turns out to be true: Nearly every published scientific article reports the presence of an association. There must be massive bias at work.

Ioannidis’s argument would be potent even if all scientists were angels motivated by the best of intentions, but when the human element is considered, the picture becomes truly dismal. Scientists have long been aware of something euphemistically called the “experimenter effect”: the curious fact that when a phenomenon is investigated by a researcher who happens to believe in the phenomenon, it is far more likely to be detected. Much of the effect can likely be explained by researchers unconsciously giving hints or suggestions to their human or animal subjects, perhaps in something as subtle as body language or tone of voice. Even those with the best of intentions have been caught fudging measurements, or making small errors in rounding or in statistical analysis that happen to give a more favorable result. Very often, this is just the result of an honest statistical error that leads to a desirable outcome, and therefore it isn’t checked as deliberately as it might have been had it pointed in the opposite direction.

But, and there is no putting it nicely, deliberate fraud is far more widespread than the scientific establishment is generally willing to admit. One way we know that there’s a great deal of fraud occurring is that if you phrase your question the right way, ­scientists will confess to it. In a survey of two thousand research psychologists conducted in 2011, over half of those surveyed admitted outright to selectively reporting those experiments which gave the result they were after. Then the investigators asked respondents anonymously to estimate how many of their fellow scientists had engaged in fraudulent behavior, and promised them that the more accurate their guesses, the larger a contribution would be made to the charity of their choice. Through several rounds of anonymous guessing, refined using the number of scientists who would admit their own fraud and other indirect measurements, the investigators concluded that around 10 percent of research psychologists have engaged in outright falsification of data, and more than half have engaged in less brazen but still fraudulent behavior such as reporting that a result was statistically significant when it was not, or deciding between two different data analysis techniques after looking at the results of each and choosing the more favorable.

Many forms of statistical falsification are devilishly difficult to catch, or close enough to a genuine judgment call to provide plausible deniability. Data analysis is very much an art, and one that affords even its most scrupulous practitioners a wide degree of latitude. Which of these two statistical tests, both applicable to this situation, should be used? Should a subpopulation of the research sample with some common criterion be picked out and reanalyzed as if it were the totality? Which of the hundreds of coincident factors measured should be controlled for, and how? The same freedom that empowers a statistician to pick a true signal out of the noise also enables a dishonest scientist to manufacture nearly any result he or she wishes. Cajoling statistical significance where in reality there is none, a practice commonly known as “p-hacking,” is particularly easy to accomplish and difficult to detect on a case-by-case basis. And since the vast majority of studies still do not report their raw data along with their findings, there is often nothing to re-analyze and check even if there were volunteers with the time and inclination to do so.

One creative attempt to estimate how widespread such dishonesty really is involves comparisons between fields of varying “hardness.” The author, Daniele Fanelli, theorized that the farther from physics one gets, the more freedom creeps into one’s experimental methodology, and the fewer constraints there are on a scientist’s conscious and unconscious biases. If all scientists were constantly attempting to influence the results of their analyses, but had more opportunities to do so the “softer” the science, then we might expect that the social sciences have more papers that confirm a sought-after hypothesis than do the physical sciences, with medicine and biology somewhere in the middle. This is exactly what the study discovered: A paper in psychology or psychiatry is about five times as likely to report a positive result as one in astrophysics. This is not necessarily evidence that psychologists are all consciously or unconsciously manipulating their data—it could also be evidence of massive publication bias—but either way, the result is disturbing.

Speaking of physics, how do things go with this hardest of all hard sciences? Better than elsewhere, it would appear, and it’s unsurprising that those who claim all is well in the world of science reach so reliably and so insistently for examples from physics, preferably of the most theoretical sort. Folk histories of physics combine borrowed mathematical luster and Whiggish triumphalism in a way that journalists seem powerless to resist. The outcomes of physics experiments and astronomical observations seem so matter-of-fact, so concretely and immediately connected to underlying reality, that they might let us gingerly sidestep all of these issues concerning motivated or sloppy analysis and interpretation. “E pur si muove,” Galileo is said to have remarked, and one can almost hear in his sigh the hopes of a hundred science journalists for whom it would be all too convenient if Nature were always willing to tell us whose theory is more correct.

And yet the flight to physics rather gives the game away, since measured any way you like—volume of papers, number of working researchers, total amount of funding—deductive, theory-building physics in the mold of Newton and Lagrange, Maxwell and Einstein, is a tiny fraction of modern science as a whole. In fact, it also makes up a tiny fraction of modern physics. Far more common is the delicate and subtle art of scouring inconceivably vast volumes of noise with advanced software and mathematical tools in search of the faintest signal of some hypothesized but never before observed phenomenon, whether an astrophysical event or the decay of a subatomic particle. This sort of work is difficult and beautiful in its own way, but it is not at all self-evident in the manner of a falling apple or an elliptical planetary orbit, and it is very sensitive to the same sorts of accidental contamination, deliberate fraud, and unconscious bias as the medical and social-scientific studies we have discussed. Two of the most vaunted physics results of the past few years—the announced discovery of both cosmic inflation and gravitational waves at the BICEP2 experiment in Antarctica, and the supposed discovery of superluminal neutrinos at the Swiss-Italian border—have now been retracted, with far less fanfare than when they were first published.

Many defenders of the scientific establishment will admit to this problem, then offer hymns to the self-correcting nature of the scientific method. Yes, the path is rocky, they say, but peer review, competition between researchers, and the comforting fact that there is an objective reality out there whose test every theory must withstand or fail, all conspire to mean that sloppiness, bad luck, and even fraud are exposed and swept away by the advances of the field.

So the dogma goes. But these claims are rarely treated like hypotheses to be tested. Partisans of the new scientism are fond of recounting the “Sokal hoax”—physicist Alan Sokal submitted a paper heavy on jargon but full of false and meaningless statements to the postmodern cultural studies journal Social Text, which accepted and published it without quibble—but are unlikely to mention a similar experiment conducted on reviewers of the prestigious British Medical Journal. The experimenters deliberately modified a paper to include eight different major errors in study design, methodology, data analysis, and interpretation of results, and not a single one of the 221 reviewers who participated caught all of the errors. On average, they caught fewer than two—and, unbelievably, these results held up even in the subset of reviewers who had been specifically warned that they were participating in a study and that there might be something a little odd in the paper that they were reviewing. In all, only 30 percent of reviewers recommended that the intentionally flawed paper be rejected.

If peer review is good at anything, it appears to be keeping unpopular ideas from being published. Consider the finding of another (yes, another) of these replicability studies, this time from a group of cancer researchers. In addition to reaching the now unsurprising conclusion that only a dismal 11 percent of the preclinical cancer research they examined could be validated after the fact, the authors identified another horrifying pattern: The “bad” papers that failed to replicate were, on average, cited far more often than the papers that did! As the authors put it, “some non-reproducible preclinical papers had spawned an entire field, with hundreds of secondary publications that expanded on elements of the original observation, but did not actually seek to confirm or falsify its fundamental basis.”

What they do not mention is that once an entire field has been created—with careers, funding, appointments, and prestige all premised upon an experimental result which was utterly false due either to fraud or to plain bad luck—pointing this fact out is not likely to be very popular. Peer review switches from merely useless to actively harmful. It may be ineffective at keeping papers with analytic or methodological flaws from being published, but it can be deadly effective at suppressing criticism of a dominant research paradigm. Even if a critic is able to get his work published, pointing out that the house you’ve built together is situated over a chasm will not endear him to his colleagues or, more importantly, to his mentors and patrons.

Older scientists contribute to the propagation of scientific fields in ways that go beyond educating and mentoring a new generation. In many fields, it’s common for an established and respected researcher to serve as “senior author” on a bright young star’s first few publications, lending his prestige and credibility to the result, and signaling to reviewers that he stands behind it. In the natural sciences and medicine, senior scientists are frequently the controllers of laboratory resources—which these days include not just scientific instruments, but dedicated staffs of grant proposal writers and regulatory compliance experts—without which a young scientist has no hope of accomplishing significant research. Older scientists control access to scientific prestige by serving on the editorial boards of major journals and on university tenure-review committees. Finally, the government bodies that award the vast majority of scientific funding are either staffed or advised by distinguished practitioners in the field.

All of which makes it rather more bothersome that older scientists are the most likely to be invested in the regnant research paradigm, whatever it is, even if it’s based on an old experiment that has never successfully been replicated. The quantum physicist Max Planck famously quipped: “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” Planck may have been too optimistic. A recent paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research studied what happens to scientific subfields when star researchers die suddenly and at the peak of their abilities, and finds that while there is considerable evidence that young researchers are reluctant to challenge scientific superstars, a sudden and unexpected death does not significantly improve the situation, particularly when “key collaborators of the star are in a position to channel resources (such as editorial goodwill or funding) to insiders.”

In the idealized Popperian view of scientific progress, new theories are proposed to explain new evidence that contradicts the predictions of old theories. The heretical philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend, on the other hand, claimed that new theories frequently contradict the best available evidence—at least at first. Often, the old observations were inaccurate or irrelevant, and it was the invention of a new theory that stimulated experimentalists to go hunting for new observational techniques to test it. But the success of this “unofficial” process depends on a blithe disregard for evidence while the vulnerable young theory weathers an initial storm of skepticism. Yet if Feyerabend is correct, and an unpopular new theory can ignore or reject experimental data long enough to get its footing, how much longer can an old and creaky theory, buttressed by the reputations and influence and political power of hundreds of established practitioners, continue to hang in the air even when the results upon which it is premised are exposed as false?

The hagiographies of science are full of paeans to the self-correcting, self-healing nature of the enterprise. But if raw results are so often false, the filtering mechanisms so ineffective, and the self-correcting mechanisms so compromised and slow, then science’s approach to truth may not even be monotonic. That is, past theories, now “refuted” by evidence and replaced with new approaches, may be closer to the truth than what we think now. Such regress has happened before: In the nineteenth century, the (correct) vitamin C deficiency theory of scurvy was replaced by the false belief that scurvy was caused by proximity to spoiled foods. Many ancient astronomers believed the heliocentric model of the solar system before it was supplanted by the geocentric theory of Ptolemy. The Whiggish view of scientific history is so dominant today that this possibility is spoken of only in hushed whispers, but ours is a world in which things once known can be lost and buried.

And even if self-correction does occur and theories move strictly along a lifecycle from less to more accurate, what if the unremitting flood of new, mostly false, results pours in faster? Too fast for the sclerotic, compromised truth-discerning mechanisms of science to operate? The result could be a growing body of true theories completely overwhelmed by an ever-larger thicket of baseless theories, such that the proportion of true scientific beliefs shrinks even while the absolute number of them continues to rise. Borges’s Library of Babel contained every true book that could ever be written, but it was useless because it also contained every false book, and both true and false were lost within an ocean of nonsense.

Which brings us to the odd moment in which we live. At the same time as an ever more bloated scientific bureaucracy churns out masses of research results, the majority of which are likely outright false, scientists themselves are lauded as heroes and science is upheld as the only legitimate basis for policy-making. There’s reason to believe that these phenomena are linked. When a formerly ascetic discipline suddenly attains a measure of influence, it is bound to be flooded by opportunists and charlatans, whether it’s the National Academy of Science or the monastery of Cluny.

This comparison is not as outrageous as it seems: Like monasticism, science is an enterprise with a superhuman aim whose achievement is forever beyond the capacities of the flawed humans who aspire toward it. The best scientists know that they must practice a sort of mortification of the ego and cultivate a dispassion that allows them to report their findings, even when those findings might mean the dashing of hopes, the drying up of financial resources, and the loss of professional prestige. It should be no surprise that even after outgrowing the monasteries, the practice of science has attracted souls driven to seek the truth regardless of personal cost and despite, for most of its history, a distinct lack of financial or status reward. Now, however, science and especially science bureaucracy is a career, and one amenable to social climbing. Careers attract careerists, in Feyerabend’s words: “devoid of ideas, full of fear, intent on producing some paltry result so that they can add to the flood of inane papers that now constitutes ‘scientific progress’ in many areas.”

If science was unprepared for the influx of careerists, it was even less prepared for the blossoming of the Cult of Science. The Cult is related to the phenomenon described as “scientism”; both have a tendency to treat the body of scientific knowledge as a holy book or an a-religious revelation that offers simple and decisive resolutions to deep questions. But it adds to this a pinch of glib frivolity and a dash of unembarrassed ignorance. Its rhetorical tics include a forced enthusiasm (a search on Twitter for the hashtag “#sciencedancing” speaks volumes) and a penchant for profanity. Here in Silicon Valley, one can scarcely go a day without seeing a t-shirt reading “Science: It works, b—es!” The hero of the recent popular movie The Martian boasts that he will “science the sh— out of” a situation. One of the largest groups on Facebook is titled “I f—ing love Science!” (a name which, combined with the group’s penchant for posting scarcely any actual scientific material but a lot of pictures of natural phenomena, has prompted more than one actual scientist of my acquaintance to mutter under her breath, “What you truly love is pictures”). Some of the Cult’s leaders like to play dress-up as scientists—Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson are two particularly prominent examples— but hardly any of them have contributed any research results of note. Rather, Cult leadership trends heavily in the direction of educators, popularizers, and journalists.

At its best, science is a human enterprise with a superhuman aim: the discovery of regularities in the order of nature, and the discerning of the consequences of those regularities. We’ve seen example after example of how the human element of this enterprise harms and damages its progress, through incompetence, fraud, selfishness, prejudice, or the simple combination of an honest oversight or slip with plain bad luck. These failings need not hobble the scientific enterprise broadly conceived, but only if scientists are hyper-aware of and endlessly vigilant about the errors of their colleagues . . . and of themselves. When cultural trends attempt to render science a sort of religion-less clericalism, scientists are apt to forget that they are made of the same crooked timber as the rest of humanity and will necessarily imperil the work that they do. The greatest friends of the Cult of Science are the worst enemies of science’s actual practice.

William A. Wilson is a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

15
Marquette University has moved to suspend and then fire Professor John McAdams for backing a student who tried to defend man-woman marriage when a leftist teaching assistant shut the student down.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/03/30/university-moves-fire-conservative-professor-political-views/


The professors p.o.v.

http://mu-warrior.blogspot.com/2014/11/marquette-philosophy-instructor-gay.html

16
General Discussion / How do you maintain your faith?
« on: March 23, 2016, 01:43:36 PM »
In Global Warming? It's a serious question. How do you maintain your faith in predictive models and prophets that have been no more accurate than the guy standing on the street corner with a sign that screams "The end is near!"?

Just a reminder of a few of the predictions based on "settled science".

The Future!  :shocked:

Your Prophet, Al Gore 2007 - "The ice cap is falling off a cliff. It could be completely gone in summer in as little as 7 years from now"

And today...  http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2015/05/19/updated-nasa-data-polar-ice-not-receding-after-all/#36e41a0e32da

Let's jump into a time machine and remind ourselves how these folks used FEAR to get inside your heads (an exclusively conservative tactic according to some here)


Watch this ...  http://www.mrctv.org/videos/flashback-abcs-08-prediction-nyc-under-water-climate-change-june-2015


This...





More

https://www.aei.org/publication/18-spectacularly-wrong-apocalyptic-predictions-made-around-the-time-of-the-first-earth-day-in-1970-expect-more-this-year-2/

http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/18888-embarrassing-predictions-haunt-the-global-warming-industry



There is much evidence that the scientists predicting climate catastrophes are really not very good at their craft and do not really form the "community consensus" that continues to be claimed.

Much more to chew on here for those who do not fear to be intellectually challenged. The articles are well argued.  https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/

So again, how do you maintain unwavering faith in models that fail so consistently and miserably? How do you muster up the audacity to call skeptics foolish for their skepticism when pure faith is far more foolish than even partial skepticism to the progression of human evolution?

17
General Discussion / Who didn't see this coming?
« on: March 08, 2016, 01:08:48 PM »
Oh yeah, Obama and his fan club...


Iran Threatens to Walk Away From Nuke Deal After New Missile Test

Islamic Republic breached international agreements by test-firing ballistic missiles

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/iran-threatens-walk-away-nuclear-deal-missile-test/


18
General Discussion / Couldn't pay me enough!
« on: February 11, 2016, 01:48:51 PM »
Seven fake inmates spend two months in a REAL jail while their real backgrounds are kept from corrections officers and inmates for new TV show

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3441487/7-innocents-spend-time-jail-new-TV-show.html

How much would you do this for?

19
The fact that Hillary garners any support whatsoever speaks to a huge "brain dead" population on the left that libs accuse of the right with regards to Trump. She is the epitome of sleazy above the law politicians.


Top Secret Info Handled By Up to 30 Different Accounts On Hillary Clinton’s Server

The Clinton email scandal is getting bigger again, as Fox News cites a source close to the investigation who says at least a dozen different accounts on Hillary Clinton’s notorious homebrew email server handled Top Secret material. The number of different accounts could be as high as 30.

“The official said the accounts include not only Clinton’s but those of top aides – including Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan and Philippe Reines – as well as State Department Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy and others.  There is no public evidence they were authorized to receive the intelligence some of which was beyond Top Secret,” Fox News reports.

In fact, as former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey pointed out, it’s “counterintuitive to suggest that they all had authorization and access through a non-secure server to information of that sensitivity.”

To put it more bluntly, it’s very unlikely that Clinton’s retinue was cleared to see the material they were handling. The other people with accounts on her server were passing around documents so hot they cannot be released to the public at all.

It looks an awful lot like Under Secretary for Management Kennedy has been caught giving false testimony to Congress, as Fox recalls that he told the House Benghazi Committee he was unaware of the full “scope” of Clinton’s reliance on improper personal email… but now we have emails showing he “routinely sent and received government business from the Clintonemail.com account.”

Besides raising the possibility that Kennedy perjured himself, the latest revelations also make a mockery of his job title, because the Under Secretary of Management is supposed to be responsible for the very information-technology systems he falsely claimed ignorance of.

Fox News mentions something interesting about the evolving Clinton email scandal: in the early days, Clinton claimed the whole thing was a big “food fight” between the State Department and the intelligence community. The latter supposedly has a habit of over-classifying documents, which the Secretary of State and her department disagreed with.

Leaving aside the fact that SecState is not authorized to unilaterally declassify documents when she disagrees with their security level, most of the redactions in the later rounds of Clinton email production were made by the State Department itself. What happened to the “food fight” excuse?

These new discoveries also highlight something that hasn’t been discussed enough in the Clinton email scandal: she wasn’t just hiding her own correspondence from Congress, the courts, and the American people. Her aides all had accounts on her secret server, too. This was an organized conspiracy with numerous participants. Are we supposed to believe they all thought it was too much trouble to carry two cell phones around, to cite the absurd excuse Clinton offered when this story blew up?

Politico reports increasing scrutiny on one Clinton aide in particular: her deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan, who now works for her campaign as a senior policy adviser. Sullivan either initiated or forwarded many of the classified email chains:

“I can only tell you that his [Jake Sullivan’s] email account initiated a number of emails,” said one source who identified Sullivan but spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue. Since the emails have been withheld from public view, the senders’ names are not a matter of public record.

When asked to confirm Sullivan’s participation in the “top secret” email chains, a separate intelligence source familiar with the investigation did so, but with a caveat: “The person in question is one of the primary participants and instigators but by no means the only one,” the source said.

A third source said that Sullivan was one of about three individuals who sent such content to Clinton. It is unclear who else was involved in the email discussions.

To give you an idea of how serious this is getting, top Senate Intelligence Committee Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)0%
 felt obliged to pretend she didn’t know who Sullivan is. “I don’t know anything about Jake Sullivan and the emails,” she babbled. “I’ve never heard it before… I’ve seen the emails but I don’t register on Jake Sullivan.”

She must be losing her eyesight, then, because his name is all over most of the super-sensitive emails extracted from Clinton’s server. He’s usually on the receiving end of her orders to print or forward the material that wasn’t supposed to be flowing through a private mail system, including the amazing email where she explicitly orders him to pull a document off the secure network and “turn into nonpaper with no identifying heading and send nonsecure.”

“My contacts with former colleagues and current active duty personnel involved in sensitive programs reveal a universal feeling that the HRC issue is more serious than the general public realizes,” former Africom strategic planner Dan Maquire told Fox News. “Most opine they would already be behind bars if they had apparently compromised sensitive information as reported.”

The general public should have no problem understanding that the Secretary of State shouldn’t be running a secret email network that concealed her official correspondence, and the correspondence of her aides – material that belongs to us, the people of the United States – from official inquiry and public requests for years.

They also should have trouble understanding that tossing Top Secret material around to a dozen people who lack proper clearance is a serious security breach… even if we got unreasonably lucky, and foreign agents never got around to raiding their accounts.

21
General Discussion / Most violent cities
« on: January 27, 2016, 04:42:01 PM »
A bit of surprise on some of these for me.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3419140/The-50-violent-cities-world-revealed-21-Brazil.html


THE 50 MOST DANGEROUS CITIES IN THE WORLD - BY HOMICIDES PER 100,000 INHABITANTS IN 2015

1. Caracas, Venezuela – 119.87
2. San Pedro Sula, Honduras – 111.03
3. San Salvador, El Salvador – 108.54
4. Acapulco, Mexico – 104.73
5. Maturin, Venezuela – 86.45
6. Distrito Central, Honduras – 73.51
7. Valencia, Venezuela – 72.31
8. Palmira, Colombia – 70.88
9. Cape Town, South Africa – 65.53
10. Cali, Colombia – 64.27
11. Cuidad Guayana, Venezuela – 62.33
12. Fortaleza, Brazil – 60.77
13. Natal, Brazil – 60.66
14. Salvador, Brazil – 60.63
15. St Louis, Missouri, U.S. – 59.23
16. Joao Pessoa, Brazil – 58.40
17. Culiacan, Mexico – 56.09
18. Maceio, Brazil – 55.63
19. Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. – 54.98
20. Barquisimeto, Venezuela – 54.96
21. Sao Luis, Brazil – 53.05
22. Cuiaba, Brazil – 48.52
23. Manaus, Brazil – 47.87
24. Cumana, Venezuela – 47.77
25. Guatemala City, Guatemala – 47.17
26. Belem, Brazil – 45.83
27. Feira de Santana, Brazil – 45.5
28. Detroit, Michigan, U.S. – 43.89
29. Goiania, Brazil – 43.38
30. Teresina, Brazil – 42.64
31. Vitoria, Brazil – 41.99
32. New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. – 41.44
33. Kingston, Jamaica – 41.14
34. Gran Barcelona, Venezuela – 40.08
35. Tijuana, Mexico – 39.09
36. Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil – 38.46
37. Recife, Brazil – 38.12
38. Aracaju. Brazil – 37.7
39. Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil – 36.16
40. Campina Grande, Brazil – 36.04
41. Durban, South Africa – 35.93
42. Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa – 35.85
43. Porto Alegre, Brazil – 34.73
44. Curitiba, Brazil – 34.71
45. Pereira, Colombia – 32.58
46. Victoria, Mexico – 30.50
47. Johannesburg, South Africa – 30.31
48. Macapa, Brazil – 30.25
49. Maracaibo, Venezuela – 28.85
50. Obregon, Mexico – 28.29



26
General Discussion / White Men!
« on: January 10, 2016, 01:25:02 PM »
This board is full of enlistee's in the "we hate whites/white men/old white men" club.

So I am curious.... Do you not see the irony in this mindless conditioned bigotry in the fact that you yourselves are white men? Did your muppet masters give you special absolution or did you just assume it for yourselves?

How do you identify fellow absolved in public? Are there secret hand-shakes, nods, or passwords similar to that of the KKK so you don't end up hating the wrong white man? Do you all get free hand jobs from each other for being fellow "elitists"?

Seriously! How in the fuck do you justify being part of the largest racial bigotry campaign in human history?

Forgetting the irony, and forgetting that the irony in itself is poof of the idiocy of racial bigotry, how do you justify singling out white men versus say Asian men, or African men? How have their societies been more inclusive and loving through-out human history?

Obviously this is just rhetorical venting because anyone who has allowed themselves to be conditioned to be a part of this campaign is very unlikely to have the intelligence to get my point at all. So let me just say to you.... fuck off, you're a fucking moron and you out yourselves as such every time you open your mouth and spout out such nonsense.

28
General Discussion / How much you wana bet..
« on: September 16, 2011, 11:43:34 AM »
How much do you wana bet that somewhere inside the Obama administration there is a debate about replacing Biden with Hillary.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-16/clinton-popularity-prompts-some-remorse-poll.html

Good idea or not?

29
General Discussion / Holy F'ing Sh#$!!
« on: August 17, 2011, 06:33:19 PM »
http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/265455/Bear-s-eating-me-girl-told-

BEAR’S EATING ME, GIRL TOLD MUM IN CALL


A DISTRAUGHT mother listened on a mobile phone as her teenage daughter was eaten alive by a brown bear and its three cubs.


Olga Moskalyova, 19, gave an horrific hour-long running commentary on her own death in three separate calls as the wild animals killed her.

She screamed: “Mum, the bear is eating me! Mum, it’s such agony. Mum, help!’”

Her mother Tatiana said that at first thought she was joking. “But then I heard the real horror and pain in Olga’s voice, and the sounds of a bear growling and chewing.”

She added: “I could have died then and there from shock.”

Unknown to Tatiana, the bear had already killed her husband Igor Tsyganenkov – Olga’s stepfather – by overpowering him, breaking his neck and smashing his skull. Olga, a trainee psychologist, saw the ­attack on her stepfather in tall grass and reeds by a river in Russia and fled for 70 yards before the mother bear grabbed her leg.

As the creature toyed with her, she managed to call Tatiana several times during the prolonged attack. Tatiana rang her husband – not knowing he was ­already dead – but got no answer.


 Mum, the bear is eating me! Mum, it’s such agony. Mum, help! 
Olga
 

She alerted the police and relatives in the village of Termalniy, near Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy, in the extreme east of Siberia.

She begged them to rush to the river where the pair had gone to retrieve a fishing rod that Igor had left.

In a second call, a weak Olga gasped: “Mum, the bears are back. She came back and brought her three babies. They’re... eating me”.

Finally, in her last call – almost an hour after the first – Olga sensed she was on the verge of death.

With the bears having apparently left her to die, she said: “Mum, it’s not hurting anymore. I don’t feel the pain. Forgive me for everything, I love you so much.”

The call cut off and that was the last Tatiana heard from her ­daughter. Half an hour later, Igor’s brother Andrei arrived with police to find the mother bear still devouring his body. Badly mauled Olga was also dead.

Six hunters were sent in by the emergency services to kill the mother bear and her three cubs.

The double killing is the latest in a spate of bear attacks across ­Russia, as the hungry animals seek food in areas where people have ­encroached and settled on their former habitat.

A weeping Tatiana said that Olga had everything to look forward to, and was happy with her life and boyfriend Stepan.

“My daughter was such fun. She was so cheerful, friendly, and warm,” said Tatiana.

“She had graduated from music school, and just days before the bear attack she got her driving ­licence.”

Her husband and daughter are due to be buried today



30
General Discussion / An interesting web site
« on: August 04, 2011, 08:57:20 PM »
Let the "jxands is old" jokes begin.   :rolleyes:

http://www.shorpy.com/

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