Corrupted Conclusions


We have a problem of reproducibility in studies. And by that, I mean in the HARD sciences. If you need background, look here, here, here, here and here.

Why this should matter: most of us, including people who are responsible for doing things like creating weapon systems, making regulations on what medications are safe/how you should cook your food/what age you can drink/smoke/fight/boogie (really any regulations at all that interfere with your daily life)/treat you when you get sick have neither the time nor the inclination to look into the entrails of “studies” that “prove” this or that or the other.

Medicine, particularly under Obama care went into “evidence based” mode, for instance. What this means is that what they’re going to use on your problem is not in any way based on the doctor’s experience, or his experience with YOU particularly, but on “studies.”  This makes perfect sense, of course, to treat people with normal bodies at least (I recently found that for a significant number of my friends, a supplement does the opposite of what it’s supposed to. I have the same issue, and it was good to know I wasn’t alone.) Unless, of course, the “studies” the doctors are relying on have flaws that render them irreproducible.

Needless to say, the crisis is much bigger in the social sciences. In fact, there is significant push back in Psychology to assure us, now they’re getting it right, and we’re totes supposed to trust them now. This after they lied to us about things like the rodent overpopulation studies and Zimbardo’s prison experiments, and led to the creation of severely flawed, if not outright drawers on head legislation based on those things.  Yeah, now we’ll trust them, because they’ve COMPLETELY eliminated the problem.  And if you believe that, I can find you a nice plot of land in Florida which I guarantee won’t be under water or anything…

The problem is that the reproducibility crisis is baked in.

I’m not even going to protest against government funding of science. I would, except that the regulatory burdens we’ve put on research, particularly research involving people make it almost impossible for individuals or companies to fund most of the research that we need or would like.

What I’m going to protest is the drive for “results”, particularly the results that the governmental entity funding the studies wants/wishes for.

Yes, honest researchers resist that push. But if they’re fairly sure of the results, the temptation to “fudge” can be … irresistible. Because, you know, getting the “desired” results means more money.

So, while there is still excellent research being done, a lot of it is corrupted.

That goes double and with little bells for ANY social research.  Why? Because all social research involves people. And that calls forth more “bias of the researcher” and “desire to make it fit the expectations” and….  And subjects can pick up on all that, even with the researcher thinking he/she is being strictly dispassionate and objective.  Which means….  We’ll never have absolutely infallible social and psychological studies. (Not to mention that both society and psychology change over time, and therefore change how people react. What is “over time”? I don’t know. Could range from decades to centuries, depending on what the research is.)

Now, sure, we can get some insights into humans on things like “how long will children weight for a reward” but you can’t really extricate all the factors going into it, from disparate brain development, to family environment going into that study. At best you can say “on average, a child will–”

However the results are weak at best, and therefore ABSOLUTELY should not be used to base social “push” or much less regulation on.

Distantly the Margaret Mead debacle is responsible for everything from pushing girls into promiscuity (and the great idiocy of the 70s in which very educated people believed it was for CHILDREN to have sex) to the current globalization crisis, because it assumed cultures were just put on or dropped like garments. (Something, btw, that any immigrant who has acculturated and knows how hard it is could tell them is not just insane, it’s lala land crazy. I’ve found myself on occasion talking to groups of people from various backgrounds who came here and acculturated to the measure of the possible, and all of us agree it’s very difficult and requires extraordinary motivation. So importing masses of people and expecting the culture to remain the same is idiocy. But Mead thought humans were infinitely plastic, and it was all a matter of culture, and of course, cultures could be tinkered with, duh.)

The Zimbardo prison experiments convinced a vast number of liberals and particularly liberals designated “victim” classes that everyone would be out to get them/exterminate them WITHOUT the benevolent government standing between. (Please, please, please, someone hammer into their heads that government, like soylent green, is people. And therefore would/will be out to get people if it can. Though honestly, because that experiment was actively faked, most of what government does is “get” people through good intentions, bone-headed implementation, sheer stupidity and ignoring the laws of unintended consequences.)

As for the overpopulation studies with rats (first hint, humans are not rats) they convinced more people than should be possible that there was an overpopulation crisis and led to the depopulating of the west, which in turn, in slow unfolding crisis, led to the importation of unassimilated third worlders, which in turn is killing the one culture that lifted more people out of poverty and need than any other in the world. And it might lead to the extinction of civilization itself.

Now the left is striking (while the iron is fevered, like their minds) with the idea that studies prove the need to stop micro aggressions, and “hate” speech and all sorts of other things because these “harm” people.

And these studies are, if possible, even more flawed and tenuous than the ones that led us down the merry path of 20th century hell.

Which is why it’s vital to understand these social “studies” aren’t science in any recognizable way. Most of them are irreproducible. They are also often done with tiny samples, and bizarrely biased.

And even if they were attempting to be completely scrupulous, there would be other issues.  For instance, people raised on the idea that everyone is out to get them, will react differently from people who have been told they’re as good and capable as anyone else and can weather other people’s displeasure with no harm.

And people who EXPECT women (say) to succeed with no effort (which was kind of the premise of feminism: “if we could move in on equal terms, we’d outdo all men, because we’re better.” (This was based on early pioneers who had to fight to even get into male fields, and therefore tended to be extraordinarily well prepared and motivated. Same thing with conservatives in any artistic/entertainment field today. It was almost reasonable to think so, except the opening of the field brought in the unmotivated and ill prepared, and women, like men, are mostly mediocre.)) are likely to see any set back as someone else’s fault and the result of “discrimination.” (Which is the reason that American women — American women, who live in as close to a matriarchy as humanity has ever created — think that they live in a patriarchy.  And minorities, who are practically pushed and prodded (often in directions they don’t want to go. Ask me how I know) to succeed are convinced their every failure is the result of a non-existent (still, by and large, except when you count foreign trolls. As the Jussie Smollet and other cases show, there is way more demand for racism than there is supply. ) white supremacy.)

Working with such a population doesn’t in fact give us any realistic idea of whether “hate speech” is harmful or in fact has any effect at all. And as for micro aggressions? Pfui. If you’re human and don’t get micro-aggressed (and often macro) in rubbing shoulders with other humans, you’re probably not paying attention.

And doing away with the amendments and values that have — again — lifted more people out of poverty in the history of humanity as well as created the most genuine progress (in ease of feeding, cleaning, transporting, clothing and entertaining people) in history in the name of appeasing the conclusions of some nebulous and irreproducible study is cheer idiocy.

Besides, we have some very large sample studies on the results of their favorite policies: the USSR, the Eastern block countries (note they managed to make GERMANS poor and lazy, despite their culture being by nature antithetical to that.), China, Venezuela, etc etc etc. These vast and by nature unbiased studies tell us the regulators, who “believe in science” are in fact standard issue would-be oppressors who are, fortunately, not a majority of the human race, because if they were Zimbardo would be right. (And I hate Zimbardo for several reasons, among which is being a mud shark of science.)

Also, note that every dictatorship ever was really good at creating “studies” to show what they wanted.

Yeah, real science doesn’t lie. But there are areas of human endeavor that are curiously resistant to testing hypothesis. Unless of course you take the large-scale studies inadvertently done by history itself.

When someone flings a “study” in your face, fling both middle fingers, upright, in uncompromising salute (might as well give them something to feel it’s a micro-aggression.

Laugh at them. And keep your liberties.



323 thoughts on “Corrupted Conclusions

  1. I’d been taught that if it ain’t reproducible, it ain’t science. This resort to Magickal Thoughtlessness is part and parcel of the abandonment of integrity in institutions across the board. Sure, nobody ever won a prestigious award for replicating somebody else’s experimental research, but perhaps it is past time that changed.

    1. The one I keep getting told is that if you don’t accept a theory, you have to offer a theory that fits all the facts better.

      Doesn’t go well when I say the theory has to have some positive reason to believe it, first– that is, show that it fits the facts.

        1. And the mere assertion that a solution is “workable” is definitely not sufficient to accept that it is!

          (this is usually the “does it have predictive power” question)

          1. I posited that the proposed solution be both workable and practical. My bad. I said that, but that was only in my head. 🙂
            For example: Global Warm…err… Climate Change. IF you choose to believe anthropogenic climate change is a problem (gigantic IF) the left’s current fixes fail. Spend cubic dollars? Cripple the economy? Do away with internal combustion engines? Jet airplanes? COWS? Those are all non-starters for both reasons. Workability and practicality.

            1. *doubletake* You didn’t specifically say that? I could’ve sworn you had– maybe it was just clear, that’s why I was adding to it for clarity.

              The grand unified theories that assume both that all the stuff it claims actually are related, are as described, and are actually improved by the solution being defended are exactly the sort of problems.

              Contrast with, oh, the “firearm violence” problem– where the definition of “firearm violence” flips between all injuries from guns (when they need the numbers) and “bad guys hurt people” (when they’re making arguments,) and the solution that actually improves stuff (enable legal carrying) is rejected because while it reduces both overall firearm injuries and makes the injuries much more likely to be of bad guys than innocents, plus improves the related issue of weaker innocents being targeted, they don’t completely and perfectly solve either form of the “problem” and shutupshutupshutup about guns being an equalizer.

              1. I was pleased to see the shooting in a Texas church was brought to an early end when one of the attendees put a pill in the brain housing group of the now deceased shooter.
                Expect zero media hooraw.
                Biden contributed to the Trump re-election effort by !!!publicly!!! condemning the recent law modification in the state that made it OK to carry in this formerly “gun-free” zone. What idiot on his campaign advised him to say this?
                I love living in Texas.

                1. Did you see the older lady who was in the second round of folks pulling a pistol? any wise guys who think they can use the first shooter to identify secondary targets should take note, they’d be HER target.

                  ❤ ❤ ❤

                  1. Yes, I did. But I recently (five minutes ago) resolved to be more “woke,”so I thought it prudent not to mention the gender choices of any of the FOUR CCL folks running to the perp.

                    1. Wasn’t it seven?


                      Part of why I was paying attention to the Granny type is because I am aware that my first job is to get my kids, and any other vulnerables, out of the line of fire first– then return fire.

                      Husband and I did a mutual agreement of tactics since first-round, being able to scare and/or bludgeon them to death is handy while second round, cover/concealment is better.

                2. America’s paper of record, The Babylon Bee, noted that the media at large was grossly disappointed by the actions of the armed churchgoers that put a stop to the shooting, thereby preventing weeks upon weeks of gun control articles.

                  1. no, instead they are trying to insist that the good guy was an FBI agent… then that he was a reserve sheriff as if that means he has years of law enforcement experience…

                    1. And when that fails, they are instead “terrified” that we know nothing about the people who also drew their guns but did not fire.

                      (Well, except that they had CCW and had passed all the requirements, and that they held fire when it was unneeded.)

                      Though the tweet lamenting that the church had a security team was even more — something.

                    2. I wonder how many years t has been since that Tweeter attended church for any reason other than a “special” service (wedding, funeral, …)?

                    3. If they want examples of wild shooting of innocent bystanders, they need the “professionals” of the NYPD……


                1. Most of them already did that when I pointed out their stats to promote explicit sex-ed to 12 year olds showed that most of the “teen pregnancies” were 18 and 19 years old.

              2. I would add as another practical part of the solution – firearms training in schools. (There are many who do not have easy access to a firearm, or a range, and I am of the firm belief that teaching “gun safety” is not possible without hands-on instruction. No more than someone reading the driver’s license manual and then being handed the keys to the car.)

                1. I am of the firm belief that teaching “gun safety” is not possible without hands-on instruction. No more than someone reading the driver’s license manual and then being handed the keys to the car.

                  Do not know how it is taught these days, but when I went through Hunter’s Safety (you know back when dinosaurs roamed, about winter ’69) it was a 9 hour class over 3 nights ending with an hour test (which observing *parents* were welcome to take). First night was spent going over proper handling. Then all the official students were divided into two groups. Group 1 brought in weapons to the next class; Group 2 to the last class. Anyone caught handling unsafely had an immediate fail.

                  *parents*. Instructors egged parents to take same test telling them they’d do worse than the enrolled participant/child. FWIW, both dad & I got 110%.

        2. But it’s so much EASIER to bitch about a problem without offering a workable solution, or even improving things on a local level.

          (rant ahead, skip if you like, it’s been irritating me for a while now.)

          I rather hold a lot of the vegan-warriory-climate-catastrophe-screaming-crybullies in contempt for that reason. Not one of them could be arsed to fight fires, or actually work toward sustainable local alternatives (because FARMS ARE EVIL) and will cheerfully and VEHEMENTLY scream about how everyone else is killing the planet, but they, virtuous they, have ‘good’ reasons to not give up their expensive tech, their cars, etc, etc, but everyone else should (and also stop having babies, stop eating meat, stop being ‘so racist’ and be against unrestricted mass immigration…)

          The symbolic gestures and harm they do is so much more fun for them, and gets them more attention. The people actually doing things that help, even a bit (like that teenager who is cleaning the ocean) isn’t getting as much attention as he should (because ‘unsolvable problems’ that get politicians pushing for higher taxes and increased handwringing and re-electability is what catches the attention of main stream media). And on and on… as if Australia doesn’t have yearly bushfires and hasn’t been considered in a drought for YEARS (When I met Rhys late 2003 Australia was considered to be in a drought and on water restrictions, and that doesn’t seem to have changed in the LEAST and it’s been what, nearly 20 years now? I keep wondering ‘did these people forget that they’re not in rural hilly England, and in crazy-weathered mostly desert Australia?’ And let’s not get into the massaging of temperature data by the BOM…)

          So much petty bull being made the BIGGEST WORSTEST THING EVER THAT IS FIXABLE ONLY BY SOCIALISM (natch) and then you get the surprised pikachu face when people, who these self-declared nobility condemn as ignorant and uninformed, racist bigoted filth… decide they have had enough.

          Then they scream about elections being wrong and shouldn’t be allowed with the current rules (because they lost on those current rules).

          (Gee, it’s like we couldn’t have seen THIS coming, from our little microcosms like the Hugo Asterisks and similar things. Right?)

          1. Well, SD/C (Sorry, I don’t know how to properly address you) my estimation is that everyone reading this would agree that the entire education industry, from K-12 to the advanced secondary level, is a complete failure. (Didja know that education majors have both the highest GPAs and the lowest standardized test scores?) Yet few if any have solutions to offer. I’ve yet to hear one, and I follow the topic. We can piss and moan for the next fifty years about clueless kids indoctrinated by clueless teachers but until we fix the system, we’re just pissing up a rope and moanin’ in the gloamin’.

            1. Solution I have isn’t a huge fix, but hopefully at least I can instill in my own children self-study, reading, and supplementation of their education outside of the school, ground them in reality and practicality, and provide, as best as I can, a library for them to have. I don’t have quite the access to secondhand book wealth that y’all have over in the US, but I try to get what I can.

              (Btw, anyone have suggestions for good economics books / esp. one by Thomas Sowell, but other recommendations would be welcome too!)

              And folks usually just call me Shadow. ^_^

                  1. After that, Milton and Rose Friedman’s _Free To Choose_ and Milton’s other books. (If you could find the TV series by that name, it would be a little dated but otherwise excellent. I don’t know if it exists in the wild anymore.)

                    1. An excellent primer in Physics can be found by following this series:

                      There are a vast number of entertaining and informative videos out there for many scientific principles.

                    2. All thirty episodes in one convenient playlist, from Ep. 1: Inertia

                      To Ep. 30: Radiation Spectrum

                      Episode 8 is unavailable in the sequence but is appended at the end, under the title “The story of kinetic and potential energy”.

                      Prager U also offers an excellent range of informative short videos.

              1. Solution I have isn’t a huge fix, but hopefully at least I can instill in my own children self-study, reading, and supplementation of their education outside of the school, ground them in reality and practicality, and provide, as best as I can, a library for them to have.

                ^^ This ^^

                This is what we did. Didn’t produce a fiction reader of books. He does play role playing (fiction) video games. He *built his own gaming computer to his specs at 1/3 the original cost, with his own money, after college & he was working. Looks like after 7 years he needs to do some part replacements, which means, by definition researching best fit upgrades. Eagle Scout. Plus he earned a number National Park Junior Rangers. Not a bad mechanic either, for all that can be done at home with more modern vehicles**. Plus a whole other list of things that the answer to “Mom/Dad, how …” was “Hmmm, lets find out, shall we?”

                Overall good news. He knows how to question things. May not get involved in discussions (can’t be bothered), but if cornered he can/will call BS; just like his parents. His dad has fun talking circles around those that corner them; kid can, just prefers to not … me not so much regardless of the information available, unless I can write it out, which in most face to face discussions doesn’t work so well. (I did not do well in debates. Those stupid walls kept pulsating, getting closer & closer.)

                * More than I’m willing to do at this point & I wrote software for a living. (I despise dealing with hardware.)

                ** BIL is a retired mechanic; he is limited as to what he can do at home with newer vehicles.

                1. I think one of the (less educational, but more life-surviving) skills we gave eldest son was a thicker skin. He is a rather sensitive, caring soul, and a bit prone to hurt feelings. Or was prone to it, until we took it upon ourselves to tease him / give him shit while gaming – which we also did to each other, essentially treating him no different from the adults. At first he’d cry, but after a while he started learning to snark right back. Now he has no patience for the snowflakes he encounters in his school, and we pointed out it was because we gave him teasing instead of indulging in minor Q_Q that he grew tougher. That, and he knows there’s worse than hurt feelings. We don’t invalidate the ones that should be paid attention to (he got quite a bit of bullying because he’s mature and thus a bit out of step with his peers; deaths in the family age a kid in ways the others don’t) but he’s learning to recognize the difference between the big things, and the small things.

                    1. It’s not just the male bullies he has to watch out for. There are lots of very physically aggressive female bullies here, and being tearful means he’d paint a giant target on his ass. A girl yanked a book he was reading (one of my dragonlance ones) from his hands, tearing the cover and some of the pages. He yelled, and a teacher who’d noticed scolded the girl for stealing, and she claimed she was just ‘borrowing’ the book. She got in trouble, and she came back later and blamed my son for ‘getting her in trouble.’ and hinted that there would be repercussions. Son was more upset about my reaction to the torn book (I’d had the book since before he was born and he’d been careful with the fragile item.) I wasn’t angry with the damage, I was more worried for him and told him to tell the teacher who’d intervened about what the girl had said. Since I was heavily pregnant at the time I couldn’t go to the school to talk to the administration about the bullying, but I did call. Has stopped since, as he has some friends he hangs with now, but he now prefers to read webnovels on his phone while at school.

                    2. “he now prefers to read webnovels on his phone while at school.”

                      Better make sure he can have it at least recording audio at all times; one of the easiest “repercussions” she can come up with is a fake #MeToo complaint.

                      I know, I’m just a depressive and clueless, but somehow I can keep coming up with actual examples of how our “government of laws republic” —- under the facade isn’t any more.


                      The lawsuit states the girl told classmates in October 2017 “she would do anything to get [the boy] expelled” so she accused him of sexually assaulting her at the pool. A friend of K.S. who worked at the pool, Megan Villegas, claimed she was present during the assault. Villegas is the only named defendant and is a graduate of Seneca Valley High School, where the other students attend.

                      I haven’t been able to find a verdict or outcome yet. Note that the DA in this case is identified as a Republican…..

                    3. The ten commandments are at least three thousand years old, and since they felt the need to include not bearing false witness, the despair that humanity will bear false witness in a Republic seems a little… out there.

                    4. Since you missed the obvious point, let me impale you on it:

                      1. These females decided that they would lie about a male whose face they didn’t like.
                      2. No one investigated whether this was possible or true. The due process we supposedly have should have required it. Instead, this kid was simply railroaded.
                      3. Eventually, the lies and exaggerations were found out. Are there any consequences for obvious perjury? How about for the people who SHOULD have investigated but couldn’t be bothered? Of course not. Why should it bother anyone that uncorroborated by any evidence beyond assertion charges can ruin a life and go unpunished?

                      It has absolutely ZERO to do with surprise that people lie; it’s when the supposedly intact justice system consistently delivers injustice, to the point that Shadow is having to deal with the real possibility that her son could be next.

                      But you knew that. You simply pretended otherwise.

                    5. Your impaling point is rather blunted by not being supported by either your offered evidence or further investigation– your assumptions are not the strongest material even when they are not contradicted by things like a basic bit of research showing that the poor guy’s parents assumed there was some sort of actual basis for the accusation, and accepted punishment on his behalf.

                      That you then assume your conclusion that there were no penalties– in a case where all parties are under age and thus the case is locked down— does you no favors.

                    6. I can’t find any reporting on the lawsuit’s outcome, either– which probably means they got a settlement with an NDA given it’s a year and a half back, the dad and at least one of his siblings is a teacher, looks like the mom may be as well– but going off of what is most likely his mom’s facebook page, Tyler is exactly the kind of kid you’d expect to get falsely accused for this junk.

                      Big, kinda cute, rather shy looking.

              2. OK, Shadow, this is a bit OT, but something you might could use. I spent two years teaching in Bogota, Colombia. As part of the orientation process, I was asked what my goals were for the kids that year. (I was hired to teach World History.) I told them I had two goals, no matter what I was asked to teach. First, to spark in each child a love for learning, and second to teach them how to teach themselves. I figured if I could just manufacture two auto-didactic polymaths from each group of about twenty-five, I was doing quite well. Apropos of nothing, this was a spendy private school for the Colombian 1%, and the overall level of education was sorely lacking.

                1. I had to first hurdle getting oldest son to reading. He reads pretty much most the books I read in the fiction category (and makes cute eyes at me to read any Larry Correia book first) and I’m currently working on the love for learning/nonfiction books.

                  I wanted to howl at the World History lessons they had at his school, because they were woefully skimmy and light. Just to get him through the school year I got him one of those two-pages cover a topic history books, and had him read it (he finished the whole thing in a day.) I wish I had been able to keep/rescue my old textbooks; they were still better than anything these days.

                  1. The Great Courses has its lame bits, but there are some really amazing shows. Egyptian history with Bob Brier. (Haven’t done his hieroglyphics course yet.) The Central/South American archaeology ones with Edwin Barnhart. Greek and Latin 101 with Mueller. Grand Rounds medical cases for non-doctors. Etruscans. Steppe history. Viking history. Basic archaeology is nice too. The first eps may be blah blah format.

                    There was also a great courses-similar thing on audiobook at my library that had an amazing course on the Odyssey, by a Catholic priest prof named Gregory Carlson. Pointed out all kinds of stuff that none of my other profs had. Very good for sf/fantasy worldbuilding and plot/character relationship. It is on Overdrive and some other library app programs.

                    Oh, and Time Team and Walking Through History, as long as you are prepared to razz the Tv/computer screen when they say something stupid. Because usually they are good, but they say some doozies.

                    My neighbor is improv singing/rapping and rhyming. Not bad.

                    1. Mesopotamian history course by Amanda Podany is also awesome, albeit it is really “general Mesopotamian stuff with some specifics.” Like Egyptian history there is just a lot of thousands of years of history happening, before you even get up towards people you have heard about. And yet, there is already a complicated society that trades over long distances and has a lot of different cultural and diplomatic things going on.

                      Also lots of professorial admission of “This is weird, and we don’t know why because we don’t have any data.” If you want story ideas, this course has a bunch.

                    2. Forgot the weird Mesopotamian diplomatic culture fact: Senior kings sent out daughters to marry junior kings, with everyone knowing that daughters reported back to Daddy in letters. Marrying a bunch of foreign princess wives meant admitting that you really needed a kinship status of subordinate son-in-law of great kings, who could help you like your daddy.

                      The Egyptians took it the opposite way entirely. Kings married foreign wives, but never sent out daughters. One of the pharaohs had so many princess wives that he lost a Babylonian wife somewhere in the palace; and there was stiff diplomatic correspondence trying to find out if she were alive or dead, and if the Babylonian ambassador had any way to recognize her and verify.

                      Presumably Solomon was juggling both cultural assumptions.

                    3. Yup, that is the Carlson. The audiobook lectures are on Audible too, or at least Amazon, with the weird title of “Life Lessons from Homer’s Odyssey”. But it is the same lectures, as far as I can tell, though I suppose a prof might have two versions.

                      The study guide is definitely not the whole lecture notes!

                    4. Are these shows or DVD box sets? *curious* My few visits to the local libraries result in disappointment. The usual DK books, loads of PC blandness; only the cookbooks, home DIY/Gardening stuff seem somewhat interesting. I encouraged my son to go there before but after a while he actually got bored.

              3. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt, as low as 9 USD on the river place, based on Bastiat’s classic The Law (as low as $3.35, same place).

            2. The difference between a Teachers’ Union and a criminal conspiracy to defraud the public is not visible to the naked eye. They need to be broken. Janus v. AFSCME is a start.

              While there are some who pursue Teaching degrees because they have a Call to teach, if you assume that anyone attending a teachers college is a work-shy bum and intellectual mollusk, you won’t be wrong often enough to matter.

              1. there are some who pursue Teaching degrees because they have a Call to teach

                Such people are generally weeded out via the credentialing process, as the general ambiance of your typical teachers’ college is as mind-numbingly stultifying as bouncing bricks off one’s head.

                Those who survive to get their certification are further weeded out in the classroom which, thanks to union seniority policies, ensure the least experienced teachers are inserted into the most demanding situations.

                1. I did. Have a call. I love teaching as much as writing maybe more. But even at the community college level, I wasn’t willing to put up with the hoop jumping and the ridiculous, insane paperwork.

                    1. “I teach for free. But you gotta pay me to do paperwork. ”
                      The purpose of bureaucracy is to serve the bureaucrats. Sigh.

                  1. I love teaching, also, and I flatter myself that I was good at it, back in the day – but I just did not love it sufficiently to go through the goat-rope of getting a required credential to teach in an average American public school.
                    My daughter was consigned to a Catholic HS, where just about all the teachers were there because they had a skill and a willingness to teach it. Me, I do what I can … and I hope that by writing HS, I can teach a love of history regardless.

                1. I am of the generation that assumed an Education major was on campus to get her MRS degree. Funny,I don’t think I ever met a male Education major.

                  I’m of the generation that any woman on campus enrolled was out for her “MRS” degree. Or so I was told often enough.

                  I grew up with a lot of male teachers, 6th through graduation, highest percentage of teachers were male.

                  Hubby started out as a teacher (math), but switched to not teaching. Teaching part he’d been great at. He doesn’t put up with BS however.

                  Sister got double science degrees, then looked around, and decided did not want to go for Phd, research & publishing, so got her teaching credentials. She tried to keep her mouth shut. She always seemed to be one write up from being let go. Some how all disappeared until the next one. Union was worthless.

                  OTOH the worst offenders against her (or the ones she had a tendency to say to “what the heck …” in break rooms) suddenly managed to get themselves fired, for **cause, after she *retired recently. I think they went after the wrong teacher of conservative views (someone willing to by pass the Union and use own representation).

                  The main trigger was district finances, or lack of.

                  * I laugh. Because the head administrator for the district came to her asking what it would take for her to retire (she was waiting for 2 years, for reasons) because he was tired of the turmoil. Her answer? Pay out her contract & pay her insurance through the contract. Admin said okay. So now they are still paying her, AND paying for a substitute. Then Admin discovers “oops” wrong choice. Too late, papers signed. She is not going back.

                  ** Two are likely losing their state teaching certificates, and one could lose state teaching & administrator certificates. Nothing that will hit the newswires. Nothing against students or youth.

          2. I have my own rant on this with regard to immigration and the border situation. All the people crying about “children in cages”and crap, and none of them willing to put forth any money or effort to build housing on the Mexico side where people could live while their cases were adjudicated. Where they could have language lessons, skills training, lessons on navigating a banking system and negotiating salary. Learn the legalities of the system. Get medical care. Anything like that.

            And anyone who wants to help with the actual situation, by donating beds or medical assistance, gets bullied and hated. They’d much rather people be taken into custody, released temporarily untim adjudication, and then live lives of perpetual fear within the US, never being able to be secure. Never able to call the police when threatened, never able to know safety. And yet these people will consider themselves virtuous heroes of the downtrodden.

            1. A major reason for ‘get woke, go broke’ is that people on the Left don’t like spending their own money on anything, even for themselves. They’re even less likely to spend on charitable works.

              One reason for increased shrieking is the prospect of losing the privilege of spending other peoples’ money.


            2. Agree so much. Also, not a PEEP from the party of abortion to birth about the child trafficking, the stolen children and the abandoned kids found wandering on the states-side of the border, or the rape trees with the obvious signs of CHILDREN’S UNDERWEAR hung from them… ‘that’s a hoax, not proven’ they like to pretend. But ‘they care for the children.’

              And I don’t have much sympathy for the kids who ham up in front of the cameras and pretend to cry (the fat kid with the pizza sitting on the floor comes to mind) because they’ve learned early on that this spiel helps them.

          3. i once got screamed at and denounced as a misognist hatey hater when a … little girl* over the age of 20 told me i should want kids because of overpopulation.

            I asked her if she’d had her tubes permanently tied, then…

            *- can’t cal her a woman, that would mean she’s an adult…

      1. Ah, the old argumentum ad “can you do better?” I hate that one. My go-to response is “I don’t have to be a plumber to notice that the pipes are leaking.”

          1. “Your model couldn’t predict historical climate patterns when we gave it data from the actual past weather. How is it supposed to predict future climate and weather patterns?”

            “H8r! Because the Science is Settled!”


            1. I know!

              Explain the 1969 Winter Willamette Valley storm? Proof a glacier was going to cover even western Oregon before the end of the century. Am I missing something? Not seeing a glacier or even snow most years.

              Or the 1962 Columbia Day Storm in the Willamette Valley? Proof cyclones were going to be regularly hitting into Oregon from the coast.

              All due to “climate change” during ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, caused by human activity. Would include the 50’s too, but I was < 5 years old, so who knows.

              1. I wonder if “Climate Scientists” in the 60’s and 70’s adjusted the data as much as modern “Climate Scientists”. I am sure most of them got involved in climate research for sincere interest in the subject but soon found out probably with some pressure from their peers that there is little funding available for studies that say everything is how it is and we can’t change it anyway. Scaremongering gets grant money and pays the bills.

                1. Undoubtedly. OTOH it got us the Environmental Studies class, 3 credits of English, Social Studies, & Science, that was a whole lot more interesting than say, oh, English or Social Studies.

                  Like to say the Bike Path/Bridge research & report we (partner & I) put together, & presented to Eugene City Council, was part of getting the North most Bike Bridge (parallels Beltline over the river), and east river pathway completed to Valley River … hey it could have happened. Report presented June ’73, built ’78 … 🙂 (Yes, because a pair of 16 year old’s had that much influence back then …)

                  Bike Path/Bridge project was our Big project. Others did other projects. Also class projects on the comparison of water quality above and below the sewer treatment plant (on River Ave), Analysis of a Bog in PNW Forest (don’t remember where it is at), and other projects.

                  Hey got to spend a lot of sanctioned, not always instructor supervised, time outside of school building. Rode a lot of bike paths.

            2. Burt Rutan has said if he designed planes like they model the environment, his planes wouldn’t fly. AGW support is not a safe topic of discussion around him. He hadn’t paid it much mind and decided maybe he could help figure something out to fix things. He got numbers and models from somewhere and started to look into it.
              Yeah, he was not impressed at all.
              I would bet he is a big reason they now will not fully share their data or modeling software unless you’ve proven you are a full on supporter of the politics (and willing to lie).

                1. I think I used to have the link (need to just download that pdf)
                  I used to have a folder of links about this and one of the WMD finds in Iraq and they disappeared. A smaller folder of climate stuff survived, but it was like 3 or 4 folders in, and I just made a new one that was well populated. Back when, I did a Firefox log in backup, and lo, after a crash, I signed in downloaded my backups and those folders were gone.
                  I now keep a backup of my favorites on a drive here.
                  And stopped using FF.

                    1. some of those links look VERY familiar.
                      thankyouveddymuch!!! Shoulda known the Freepers would still have most of them.
                      I had a ton from Canadian and other foreign news English language web sites. It was like no one here, including the Bush admin, was willing to report what was happening

                    1. again, thanks.
                      I also had, (might be somewhere in these) a link to papers or correspondence from Saddam where he thought he had it set, where once things cooled down, he could easily start things back up, but those stashing the stuff were not in any way doing it so the equipment would likely be usable again. (like the centrifuges buried in the sand or chem weapons marked by the UN for destruction but not, though who wants to take a chance that the stuff was only 50-70% effective? Some of the Elflife/Winger leftoid loons were willing)

            3. “But *we’re* the ones who are on the side of SCIENCE! 11,000 scientists say climate catastrophe is real!!!!1111eleventy”

              “Micky Mouse is a scientist? news to me.”

              “THAT’S FAKE NEWS”

              “Coming from the people who are listening to an emotionally and mentally damaged easily manipulated school drop out, why are we supposed to grant you any sort of credibility?”


              1. and the opposite end of their numbers:
                Send out 13,000 surveys
                Get 10,233 returned
                pull 97 of those out
                95 of the 97 say Yes, AGW is Man Caused
                95 is 97% of 97
                et viola
                “97% of scientists surveyed say . . . See! Scientific consensus!”

              2. oh, and I suppose they are just beating that horse aplenty down there with the fires this season. Last I looked it was like 2 from natural causes and the rest arson or accident/negligence. That still holding? (Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt are now paywalled, so I can’t read them, again and all articles are paywalled as well, though I only read the Daily)

                  1. World Wildlife Federation again????

                    “Four members of an NGO have been arrested for starting fires in protected forests. They started a blaze then took pictures which they sold to the World Wildlife Federation for large sums of cash.”

                  1. Well, at least y’all haven’t gotten to the Cali levels of stupid over wildfires. Stop fuel mitigation works, and when fires keep happening, kill power to the area hence kill people. Oh, and also not really stop the fires as well.
                    Here we have a conundrum for the greenies: an endangered bird (“We must protect it!”) that needs it’s nesting grounds burned periodically (“But fire bad! all that carbon release!!”) to keep predator hiding brush away, and keep its preferred trees of a certain size, also said tree is one of those the cones need fire to open fully. (***insert greenie blank stare here*** “maybe if I ignore the situation, no one will notice)

                    1. Yeah, that latter paragraph was apparently why they started making serious restrictions on fuel mitigation burns. ‘But the koalas! The endangered birds!’ (Pretty much EVERY BIRD IN AUSTRALIA is considered ‘protected’.) That’s why the Greenies here are screaming climate change every chance they get.

                      Oh and apparently the Sydney and Melbourne fireworks should’ve been cancelled that the money already spent several months before the summer really started for the displays and performance should be rechanneled to state support of the firefighters/respect the people who lost their homes. The fireworks displays were all over water, and no danger to the surrounding areas; the event is paid for by the cities’ residents and results in an uptick in revenue for the city and the businesses there; and the fireys went and asked for donations to support during those times. But ‘We shouldn’t be celebrating, because people are suffering! And its’ a waste of money it should be cancelled because FEELINGS and ‘insurance will pay for the loss!'” from the same people who tend to whine hardest when insurance rates go up, don’t donate and don’t do anything to improve anyone’s situation and think that yelling at other people ‘Shame!!!’ is actually ‘action.’

                      Hell, apparently one of the things the damn Greenies stopped is letting livestock into the national parks to graze and naturally trim back the undergrowth in there!


                    2. Those types busy slamming the PM over being gone during the fires are also the types who are fine with 0bama not declaring a disaster when Texas had fires.
                      I say if they support policies that are causing this, they get to work the firelines.
                      If we’re feeling nice we might let them have tools and water trucks, but they tend to not make me feel nice.

                    3. There have been people ragging back about ‘Oh so we’re supposed to all feel miserable to make you feel better?’ or “Did you give up your Christmas for the farmers/fireys/victims, or are you just bleating online?” Others have observed that most of the people who are in the fire zones don’t have a problem with the fireworks, that polls about the fireworks pretty much were in favor of the celebration, and that cancelling the things would not be good for tourism in Australia in general because then we’d be seen as unreliable as a tourist destination.

                      To which, the soycialists sneer “It’s all about the money for you, huh?” – which is what they usually bleat about – the ‘waste’ of funds that they feel could be ‘put elsewhere.’

                    4. You will find this very, very fascinating then. Taxpayer funded news deleting previous reports that don’t support the current climate change screaming.

                      Crap like that is why people buy into Agenda 21 ‘lessen human population by 2030’ theory.

                    5. Just saw in my morning links, though I forget where it was, (Watts Up?) a Google Cached Facebook post deleted by your ABC about protests blocking fuel mitigation controlled burns. The post and ABC articles were very much in support of the protesters, of course.

                    6. See, here they just deny reality and say that not allowing fuel mitigation is in no way the reason. They just decide that, as one was due to a powerline issue, they will instead shut off the power. What could go wrong?

                    7. I confess, crap like that is why I buy into Agenda 21 ‘lessen human population by 2030’ theory

                      Except I don’t see waiting so long when I’ve already got a list.

                    8. Some people that live in Texas were OK with that, thinking local folks could handle it better, wouldn’t take drop of water from Obama if they were on fire, and preferred freely given charity, (with which we abound) to those affected over fed handouts. Having said that, it was a remarkably clear demonstration of both Obama’s pettiness and weaponization of the Deep State. How do you think Texas will vote when Chicago’s inevitable bailout comes up? Not that Obama cares; he got his.

                    9. The issue was Texas had funds itself it could not use until 0bama made the declaration. It was to be used for the responders in Possum Kingdom who had costs involved (fire fighters, EMTs etc). iirc the next session, that got changed to allowing just the governor’s discretion to be needed to free up those. It was sort of the opposite of Katrina where Bush’s hands were tied until Blanco made her declaration.
                      Plus it was a clear case of “Most of them didn’t vote for me so F#(k them” and far less damage from storms or fires in commie areas got declarations immediately.
                      Politics of Petty Childishness. 0bama’s real legacy. (and why he doesn’t garner enough respect from me to bother spelling his name correctly). If Chicago has another big fire, or other natural disaster, Trump not declaring it will be different from not willingly bailing out a financial failure due to policies.

              3. My favorites are the ones who claim we deny evolution and deny the most obvious trends in evolution in modern human society. (It’s even microevolution.)

                1. One aspect of “Evolution” (as Moderns see it) is that they aren’t just talking about “Biological Evolution” (ie the evolution of the Species).

                  They apparently are talking about every aspect of how the universe came into being (without a Creator).

                  As far as “Human Society” goes, they often appear to believe in the “Arrow Of History” which is Always Moving Into A Glorious Future.

                  And of course, if we don’t Accept this, then we’re “On The Wrong Side Of History”. 😦

            4. ““H8r! Because the Science is Settled!””

              Answer; “Yes. I hate you. I hate you because you are a fascist rat bastard pretending too a moral superiority you forfeit because of your arrogance and stupidity. I hate you because you don’t care how much misery you spread, so long as your fellow parasites are comfortable. Please go die in a renewably-fueled fire.”

              I’ve only snapped hard enough to actually say something like that once or twice, but the response is everything one could want in the way of shock and fear.

          2. Reminds me of that old sexist, misogynist, anti-Semetic doubleplusungood joke. The SJWs are gonna flay me.
            “How does a Jewish mother change a light bulb?”
            “Sits in the dark and bitches.”
            OMG, with one joke I have destroyed my chances of ever being traditionally published. The horrors. Time to Epstein myself.

            1. I wouldn’t make them any happier, but folks who don’t know any of the classic Jewish Moms tell the same jokes with “mother in law” and it works fairly well.

              Probably because they both frequently have similar… ah… problem identification and solution mechanisms? (you may not agree it’s a problem, but you by gum will HEAR about it)

            2. OK, I’ll top this with a Jewish American Princess joke, from the collection of an Army buddy of mine, who was a Jewish-American Princess and collected such jokes the way that my daughter (a very fair blond) collects Blond Jokes.
              “How many Jewish American Princesses does it take to change a light bulb?”
              “What – and RUIN MY NAILS!!!”

              1. How many topless dancers does it take to change a light bulb?
                Just one, and it’s really easy. She just holds the bulb in the socket, and the whole universe revolves around her. DAMHIK.

              1. Who knew? Genetics sometimes IS destiny.
                Yes, I grew up with a Catholic mother of Jewish descent.
                It’s okay. It only hurts when I laugh.
                Though I’ve used one of her favorites on my kids. “Never mind me. Just take the car keys and drive me directly to my grave.”
                You can hear their eyes rolling from across the city. BUT it works.

        1. Similarly, I don’t have to be a short-order cook to know a shit-sandwich when one is served up to me.

      2. Saying “You can’t object to a theory until you can produce a better one” is a ludicrously non-scientific thing to say.

        A theory has to account for the data.

        If an experiment contradicts a theory, either the experiment is in error, or the theory is wrong (potentially still useful inside a limited range of applicability, but no longer a universally applicable theory.

        If you find an accepted theory is contradicted by experiment, say so. If someone says “what’s your theory?” you can simply say “I don’t have one — all I have is evidence, and it’s the theoreticians job to come up with theories that fit the evidence, not the other way ’round”

      3. That’s a bunch of hooey. Just because someone can’t come up with a better theory for something doesn’t mean they aren’t allowed to see the problems with the current theory.

        Like, for instance, a rocket ship. I couldn’t design a rocket ship to save my life, but I sure as hell can look at one that crashes and say “well, something didn’t go right”.

        1. It sort of depends on how you define “better” theories, doesn’t it?

          I mean, Creationism covers all facts at least as well as Darwin’s theory and, this side of the grave, is equally unfalsifiable.

          1. As St. Albert the Great or one of the other scholastics pointed out, referring everything back to the original Cause/r does not tell you bupkis about all the subordinate causes, and does not show love or interest in the details of the Creator’s work and methods.

            I mean, of course cows exist “because God.” But that isn’t detailed enough to be helpful. If humans can wonder about it, that is a directive from God to take a proper interest.

            1. People tend to ignore that the early developers of European science were operating under the assumption that the G-d who created all things was not insane and that by learning the elements of his creation they could better appreciate the Creator.

              The point is not how every thing came to be, it is to appreciate the process of its creation.

    2. Sure, nobody ever won a prestigious award for replicating somebody else’s experimental research, but perhaps it is past time that changed.

      Forget winning awards, I think it would be a good idea if you could just make a career of it. As it is, you get publications and tenure for original research; trying to repeat other people’s results is just wasting time from the things that would let you keep your job.

  2. I just “LOVE” the studies that show Religious People and/or Conservatives are “mentally ill”. [Sarcastic Grin]

    1. Indeed. It makes it even more delicious when a study comes out that say that conservative women, particularly women in long term relationships ( IE Married ) have *far* more satisfying sex lives than their leftist counterparts 🙂

      1. Think about the losers and psychos that are leftist men. Then picture having to sleep with one. Then picture having the delusion that other non-leftist men are worse.

          1. It’s not all bad. Many of us are married to non-leftist men who understand that the marriage vows they took require them to respect us and pay attention to our needs and desires both in and out of the bedroom.

            1. …respect us and pay attention to our needs and desires

              What kind of crazy society would a system like that produce!

        1. I have some sympathy for the frustration of non-sociopathic ones who try to follow all the rules…”Why doesn’t she want me? She SHOULD want me! I’m doing everything right, so why doesn’t she want me???”

          Meanwhile the sociopaths are having a lot more luck. Comparatively speaking, when you consider the specimens available.

          They deserve each other.

    2. It’s (religion as mental health) working for the Red Chinese, see!
      All those Media Dahlings keep telling us we need to be more like China.
      So, how many containers full of US born illegals get smuggled into China now? (yeah, that mth is easy)

  3. I’ve been smoking my pipe for over 60 years. But medicos still try to order me to give it up as ‘unhealthy’. Oddly enough, they shut up when I point out that the vast majority of ‘studies’ have been on cigarettes so are irrelevant for pipe smokers.

  4. It’s not all lies, there is also honest cognitive and systemic bias.

    For a result to be considered valid in the social sciences, you usually need p<0.05. In other words, the chance of the result having happened by chance (because it's all statistics) is less than 5%.

    Now, imagine that a hundred grad students do experiments, for all of which the null hypothesis (there is nothing there) is true. Purely by chance, 5% of them will be successful.

    Out of the 95 students with nothing to report, 90 won't bother to report anything, but maybe five will write articles saying "there's nothiere". All five students that have something to report will write articles, because writing articles is how you get ahead in academia.

    The Journal of Social Whatever gets ten articles. They decide to publish the most interesting three or four. Probably all of those have something to report in them.

    1. It’s not all lies, there is also honest cognitive and systemic bias.

      And accidental equivocation; for a low conflict example, the yearly to-do about “the Catholic Church teaches that beavers and crocodiles are fish,” which while amusing is a silly misstatement based on loose translations. (specifically, what is carne, roughly translated as “meat,” as opposed to I can’t remember the term that’s loosely translated as ‘fish’ but means more like “stuff that swims around,” somewhat related to the old “The Bible teaches bugs are birds” when the word is something like “stuff that flies.” Conflicting definition groups.)

    2. Out of the 95 students with nothing to report, 90 won’t bother to report anything, but maybe five will write articles saying “there’s nothiere”. All five students that have something to report will write articles, because writing articles is how you get ahead in academia.

      The Journal of Social Whatever gets ten articles. They decide to publish the most interesting three or four. Probably all of those have something to report in them.

      And that’s only if everyone is doing everything right. In reality, all 100 grad students spent their advisor’s grant money to get the data that doesn’t show anything in 95 cases. Spending grant money for no result isn’t going to get the grad student a thesis, and it isn’t going to get the advisor any more grants. So the advisor is likely to encourage the grad student to “look at the data again,” perhaps with a different hypothesis. Or two or three or twenty different hypotheses. And as the saying goes, if you torture the data enough, eventually it will give something up. And then you publish, just leaving out the previous hypotheses. After all, they were wrong, so no one should bother about them.

      1. After all, they were wrong, so no one should bother about them.

        And that, science fans, is how we got Springtime for Schroedinger.

    3. If you have a hundred grad students doing experiements, you have a good chance one of them will be significant to p<0.01 by random chance. OMG, this result is CERTAIN!

  5. cultures were just put on or dropped like garments.

    Of course that is true! Stay at a five-star hotel in pretty much any part of the planet and you will appreciate how little the “cultural differences” matter! Sure, the staff uniforms will be quaintly different, and what gets left on your pillow by the turn-down service varies from one establishment to another, but that’s simply cultural enrichment.

    1. Likewise, since the current lingua franca is English, most of the upper class from around the world has very likely been educated in English, and has probably attended college in England or the USA.
      As such, they will know what culturally plays well with an American audience, especially those who see disagreement as shameful.
      This further reinforces the idea in the American mind that you have a world full of similar people.

  6. You don’t understand, there is no need for anybody to check their results because they are Right!

    Leftists Believe, as an article of faith, that they are smarter than everybody else. They must be, because they are Right (another article of faith) and everybody else is Wrong, and thus demonstrably stupider than the Enlightened Leftists.

    Nobody with more brains than a tree stump could believe a lot of the things that leftists Believe, therefore everybody else must be even stupider than that. Certainly too stupid to direct their own lives, or choose what’s right for themselves, or the best way to spend their own money, so they need the Nanny Government to make all those hard decisions for them. Especially about the money.
    Governments can only print money; they can’t make it worth anything. They can make it worth nothing.

  7. Working with such a population doesn’t in fact give us any realistic idea of whether “hate speech” is harmful or in fact has any effect at all.

    Once upon a time Americans valued resiliency.

    Some people have trouble understanding that, but it made this nation great.

  8. As a random note, the Vatican has a science division. And the mandate for that science division is “do good science.” So what do they end up doing?

    The boring stuff, mostly. Categorizing all of the life forms within a given area. Astronomy that is also mostly categorization. (I met Brother Guy, who is now the head of the Astronomy Department.) All of the stuff that doesn’t get funded but is absolutely crucial to the understanding of science in the greater picture, because if you don’t have the building blocks, you’ve got nothing.

    But Catholicism is anti-science, according to the popular narrative…

    1. Well, you see, vivisection studies on prisoners are the most important future topic in science, so you can see how Catholic teaching would a problem.

      The experiments in exposure, cloth based diets, and Mengele’s twin studies are among the most important scientific results of the 20th century.

      (I only have 99.8% confidence that I’m joking. My response to opposition to capital punishment is partly investigation of the possibilities for capital science or capital medicine. Plus, the left’s claim of opposition to torture gets my back up. I’ve got some fairly mad notions for psychosurgery that I’m sure would be excellent trolling for the medical literature.)

      1. Even Catholic resources are pointing at the Chinese guy who genetically altered embryos and implanted them in folks– and the outrage is that the kids were gestated.

        Not the human experimentation.


        1. I boggle the same way though I actually think human experimentation might be okay, but the conditions in which it is okay is the opposite of that. I think that the horror is when the experiment is flushed or killed. That’s not what makes it okay, that to me is what makes it wrong.

          But gestating and ending with a human illustrates that you were dealing with a human all along.

          IMO, in whatever case human experimentation might be acceptable it would require being very clear that there are *humans* involved. Honesty.

          1. I figure that unless they recognize the subject as a *patient*– so the risk of the treatment has to be proportional to the benefit, generally fixing a fatal flaw– it’s immoral.

    2. I met Brother Guy, who is now the head of the Astronomy Department.

      *squee* LUCKY!!!

      For folks wondering, you HAVE heard of him– he’s the guy whose answer to “would you baptize an alien?” was “sure, if he asked me to.” One of the awesome outreach examples.

      1. He is from Chicago fandom, and also goes to Detroit conventions on occasion. Sometimes other cons depending on book tours or Arizona observatory work. One of the few advantages of the graying of fandom is that you might run into him easier, if you want to meet him.

        1. But the official position, or so I’ve read, is that Jesus Christ was sent down to Earth to save humans from original sin. Aliens may or may not have an original sin, and if they have, the Lord will make their own way to atone.

          1. Technically, there isn’t an official position–there are various non-binding theories.

            Traditionally, the definition is very circular– if you’re a rational creature, you’re a human, and human is a rational creature. Came up in Augustine of Hippo’s City of God because of the monstrous races and deformed births.
            (which is part of why I get so pissy with the fantasy trope of “church teaches non-humans go to hell”; if you wanna make it, sure, but WORK for it, dang it!)

            1. Well, the point is that you cannot baptize an animal (plant, rock, etc), because that would be sacrilegious. A rational being could be baptized conditionally, if you are not sure if they need it.

              If someone is personally disabled of conscious rationality (or too young, too sick, in a coma, etc.), but is a member of a species capable of rationality and thus possesses a rational soul, they are okay to baptize, too.

              OTOH, rational = capable of conversion does explain a lot of the formulations about how, if you can wonder if you can be saved, obviously you can possibly be saved.

              A lot of classic sf/f discussions of souls and soulless beings seem to reject Thomism or not have heard of it, even when the writers are Catholic or medievalists. Very weird manifestation of the anti-Thomist (or anti-followers of followers of summaries of Thomists) stuff going on in the early twentieth century. I don’t know what school it is following, either.

          2. Ah, but do all human beings come from the same origin? When the Americas were discovered, two Zunis, having an audience with the Pope, convinced him of the sincerity of their conversion. He didn’t know whether they came from the same origin those human beings in Europe/Africa/Asia, so he issued a papal bull redefining a human being as a being capable of converting to Christianity.

        2. Brother Guy is also closely connected to Boston fandom, from his time at MIT (he did a lot of work there), so he knew most of the MITSFS/NESFA people of that generation.

          He has a number of his talks online. And I’d recommend his talk, “Astronomy, God, and the Search for Elegance” for an indication of a philosophy of science.

      2. I actually met him at a convention kaffeeklatsch. Unfortunately, he told me that as he was a “brother” and not a “father,” he was unable to bless the fossil rosary I’d made for my mother for when she was going on the Camino. (Because while fossil rosary is cool, fossil rosary blessed by the Vatican astronomer would have been way cooler… uh. I’m a geek.)

          1. I tried, but the only beads I could find were fossil jasper of small sea creatures. The decades were of those, and the other beads were amber.

  9. I find the concept of micro aggressions offensive and insulting. If I have the need to be aggressive towards someone, won’t be no “micro” about it.

    1. I usually have the subtlety of a Chicago Bears linebacker, so “micro” aggressions aren’t part of my makeup.

  10. On making Germans poor and lazy – it was worse than that. They got the most fanatically hard-working part of Germany. The part of the population that was part of the nation that worked itself from being a Polish fiefdom into an international power in less than 100 years, got stomped into the mud by Napoleon and Russia’s little argument, then built itself back up to form the German Empire in less than 100 years. The part that started out poorer than dirt with a patch of land that had buggerall in the way of easily exploited national resources and buggerall in the way of natural defenses – which meant that most of the spare cash went towards defense in the hope of not being conquered by the neighbors.

    Also probably the origin of the so-called “Protestant work ethic”.

    And they turned that into poor and lazy in 40 years.

    1. Also probably the origin of the so-called “Protestant work ethic”.

      Now that would make sense, depending on how it plays with the areas witch hysteria (waaaaay far back) — if you somehow got the culture selecting for folks who go “I doesn’t matter whose fault it is and how unfair it is, get up and FIX it!” that would be an insane boost to productivity.

      this kind of stuff makes me wish I had the knowledge and time to figure out if it is actually related!

      1. Ditto. At least part of the problem is not being able to read German well enough to even think about digging into original sources. My high school German is way insufficient for that – and who knows how much was destroyed during “deNazification” (which from what I’ve read was largely an excuse to get rid of as many potential “problems” as possible)

  11. In “The vision of the annointed” Thomas Sowell describes what he called “Ah Hah! Statistics” where someone has a position then sifts through mounds of data until he finds something that seems to fit and cries “Ah hah!”.

    If the situation is at all complex there will always be so.e outliers in the data that “fit” any given proposition. Thus while it’s possible to “prove” anything if you’re allowed to make up your data (and they do that too), it’s also possible to prove almost anything if you’re simply allowed to exclude data that doesn’t fit.

    1. The example I’ve seen used is that of someone going to the beaches of the Florida panhandle and picking out all the black grains of sand and putting them into a bucket. With enough time and patience, they get a bucket of black sand to use as evidence that those beaches consist of black sand.
      But, anyone who’s been there knows that it’s powder fine white quartz.

        1. I thought the beaches on Oahu were all white(ish) sand, and only the big island had the black and other weird color beaches. From what I learned about those, the black sand beaches erode very quickly if there isn’t an active volcano busy replenishing them.

          1. Actually, there is a fair amount of olivine greenish sand in a few protected areas like Hanauma bay. The white sand is parrotfish shit, coral ground up as the fish feed off the live polyps.

    2. That’s also where Big Data starts breaking down. With enough data, you can get any results you want. And even if you’re trying to avoid bias, coming up with search algorithms starts becoming… difficult.

    3. The solution to that, (and the problem with big data below), is to describe your methods and criteria for success BEFORE the starting the study. And then reportAll your results. “Study was was negtive, study 2 was negative… AHHA, study 47 supports out theory, we are vindicated, is a lot less likely to give the erroneous conclusion than “This study [47] supports our theory.”

  12. (first hint, humans are not rats)

    Well, most people are not rats. Some of ’em, calling ’em rats would be offensive to rats. Certain politicians come to mind…
    “I do not like Santiago. I’ve always thought that a leader should have a strong chin. He has no chin, and his vice-president has several. This to me is not a good combination.”

    1. SoCal desert, 2009. Spent the whole day working outside. Remarked on what a nice day it was. Got back to the house and saw…

      Okay, I think I’m adapted….

      (And it peaked at 122F, but I forgot to take another picture.)

      But the world average going up half a degree from 60F or whatever it is, and we’re all gonna die.

      Check out the North American heat wave of 1936… 120F in North Dakota. Most every day for a month. Yep, we’re all gonna die.

      Whenever I see “anomaly” I know the data is fudged, or at least selected for effect, cuz what’s anomalous depends on where you set your baseline.

      1. We’ve had more thunder storms locally, covering the valley, the last few years, than there have been in the last 30 or so … of coarse climate change. I get a lot of shutupshutupshutup because …

        I point out that there use to be a lot more when I grew up in the area, ’60s, & ’70s, & into the ’80s. Used to sit on back porch and watch the storms (not safest place, but hey young …

        Late ’70s lightening storms added to my college fund. Rarely got sent out on a fire, but we’d be in the field, feel the storm coming in (don’t ask how, everyone just knew ). We’d head into the Ranger District office, and get held over, until storm passed & it was determined no one was getting sent out. Hey 1.5 OT pay was a lot of money (at $4.25/hour OT). Got another 25% of base pay if you saw flame. Granted S. Oregon gets more storms then as well as today; but there have been a lot fewer over the last 30 years. Sure they seem to be picking up over time. But which is the anomaly?

        1. “The Hole in the ozone is growing!, We must do something to stop it!” (and consequently line the pockets of AlGore and family)
          How long have you been monitoring the hole?
          “Since we discovered it!” (not very long)
          How do you know it doesn’t fluctuate naturally?
          “Science denier!”
          some years later: “Hey, when temps go up, the hole grows, and when temps go down, the hole shrinks. who’dathunk?”

  13. I saw something recently that someone was researching the guy who got everyone convinced that mental hospitals were abusive and bad and is generally responsible for getting them shut down and people with mental illness out on the street, and they couldn’t find any of the original participants AT ALL and only slight evidence that the fellow himself may have done the experiment and had a bad experience.

    So it’s very likely that every bit of it was made up.

    Because shitting on a sidewalk, sleeping in a doorway, and self-medicating on whatever drugs that can be had is better than a mental hospital.

    1. “I saw something recently that someone was researching the guy who got everyone convinced that mental hospitals were abusive and bad and is generally responsible for getting them shut down…”

      I read about that too:

      It wasn’t just that one study that led to the “deinstitutionalization” revolution in psychiatry, of course, but it’s difficult to deny now that the whole thing was based more on ideology than evidence (and an ideology that it’s still difficult to question openly in some circles).

      There’s no doubt that some reform was needed, and that there was abuse in (and misuse of) the institutions at times in the past. But leaving people to fend for themselves when they are unable to do so is not obviously better, and combined with the breakdown of traditional communities and family structures, it’s been a disaster.

      1. The primary person for convincing the public to back the closing of state mental institutions was Geraldo Rivera and his expose on Willowbrook. It’s available on youtube. Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace

        1. If WP lets me: Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) helped prepare the downturn. Got it in freshman Rhetoric in 1970. Pretty sure Jerry Brown pushed closure when he got elected Guv in ’74.

        2. Arggh! WPDE. Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962, movie ’75) helped prepare the downturn.

        3. There’s a guy who deserves another body slam, and a punch in the nose for Wayne. Jerry falsely accused Wayne of being the Virginia Tech shooter, and never apologized to him for it or stated a correction. The network did. I’ll give them that (I think that was “privately apologized” but short mealy-mouthed public correction)

      2. I’d throw in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, too. IIRC it was part of the freshman year Rhetoric program at the University of Redacted in 1970. The push to eliminate California facilities really got a move on when Moonbeam was elected in ’74.

        I started to see crazy street people in my corner (not downtown, but near it) of San Jose in the mid 1990s.

      3. Typo’d my ID.

        I’d throw in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, too. IIRC it was part of the freshman year Rhetoric program at the University of Redacted in 1970. The push to eliminate California facilities really got a move on when Moonbeam was elected in ’74.

        I started to see crazy street people in my corner (not downtown, but near it) of San Jose in the mid 1990s.

      4. that there was abuse in (and misuse of) the institutions at times in the past

        I’m waiting for the out cry of closing down assisted living situations for handicapped &/or elderly because of the substandard or warehousing feel of some. I’m thinking of the ones grandma & grandpa ended up in … clean, but plain; what medicare would pay for. Not to mention the horror I felt during the Jobs Daughter’s visit to the ,i.*Masonic Home* in Salem (which grandparents would have qualified for if they’d gone in while still mobile). Latter visit would have been late ’60s, early ’70s. Suspect it has been improved (maybe) in the last 50 years.

        I mean, today the rally cry is age in home. Yes, for some. OTOH not everyone can afford the $3 – $5k/month for the other extreme.

        *Masonic home* qualifications -> Member in good standing, or spouse was/is. Plus sign over all assets … given grandparents creditors (other than mortgage) got $.10/$1, family had no problems … they might have lived to 100, instead of 95.

      5. All right, let’s see if this escapes the WP hamster litter:

        I think Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest also had a fair amount to do with demonizing mental hospitals. This was required reading, IIRC in freshman Rhetoric in 1970 at the Uni. When Jerry the Moonbeam got elected governor in 1974, the push to close the state hospitals went full speed.

  14. *pinches nose*

    Halp, I are geek, I actually know that card is labeled “the fool” in French and that it’s said “lah foo,” because that’s Gaston’s toady in Beauty and the Beast.

    This is of incredibly use, you know, since my mental corner for “French” is “don’t they skip half the letters and say most of the rest wrong?”

    is that afreaking cat?!?!

    1. Three years of high school German ruined me for French diction. German, where you pronounce *everything*.

    2. I admit that I would have expected a dog to be pulling down the Fool’s hose, but maybe dogs had better manners back then, and cats less sense.

      1. Looking at the picture, and knowing dogs, the canine might just have its nose planted in the fool’s butt. That’s assuming it’s a semi-friendly dog, otherwise, it’d be teeth there.

  15. Old farts like me, we thought it was undeniably clear that the moral of the story of the twentieth century was “Communism is very, very bad.” That we are two decades into the 21st and closer to Communist overthrow than we ever were in the twentieth? New moral: The smartest move the Communists ever did was dissolve the Soviet Union.

  16. a) So you are saying that I couldn’t get you to even cross the street by writing a fake journal paper on fancy letterhead? Much less commit mass murder? And it is not simply a matter of my writing skills not being up to the task?
    b) Think the gentleperson who was throwing studies at you was inappropriately passed through the education system because of ‘reverse racism’ or ‘reverse sexism’? XD
    c) This sounds similar to the formulation that ‘technocracy is the fallacy of assuming the automatic validity of applying industrial engineering methods for widgets to human beings’.
    d) It’s not just that the measurement of human beings is difficult, and the current state of the art not that impressive. It’s not even that fruitcakes are being published. In absence of a censored scientific literature, you would expect different kinds of fruitcakes. If you have heavy censorship, you get all the same flavor of fruitcake, which is probably not so offensive to sane people permitted to publish within field that they critique it as much as if it was very offensive. So the field’s fruitcake content is not as obvious to outsiders, /and/ the censorship can also have the effect of hiding huge scientific flaws. Where are the pro-white-supremacist or kill-the-homosexuals scientific articles?
    e) That individual claimed to be very oriented towards not offending minorities. How the f*&# do you deduce a general theory under which that is even possible without making racism potentially valid? I mean, buckets sized in the tens of millions, accurately described by a simple model, couldn’t you estimate intelligence just as accurately as hurt feelings? If one is going to throw intellectual shit at a wall to see if it sticks, one should at least have the intellectual chops to deal with serious critique.
    Plus, what are minorities? Does it include American Indians? How do you evaluate whether someone with Indian ancestry counts as one for the purposes of offense? Is it possible that coming at someone’s blog posting with the strong implication that they are racist, when they have indian ancestry, could itself be offensive to a minority?

    1. We keep having to remind our management that Liquid chemicals are not widgets and can’t be made like them.
      “How soon can we get X?
      once we get the raws we need, it will take, best case, 3 weeks to make it.
      “Can the raws be airshipped?”
      We ordered all they had, and got them on a container ship. They don’t have any to send until later in the year.
      “Can we expedite making that by making half as much?”
      no, you save a few minutes pumping items in and out, but the reactions take 3 weeks, besides we need a full batch to meet needs, so you will be delaying the order even longer. The only way to expedite is to get the raws here faster, and they are on a ship coming from China, and there is nothing we can do until that shows up.
      (copy/paste the conversation for the next weeks’ meetings, verbatim, until the raws show up, then repeat the “No, it takes 3 weeks to make it”)

      I’ve been up here for going on 4 years and still no one knows what and how we do this.

      Last month Planner (both for my work and for making the product) – “We need 64 40# pails of XYZ”
      Okay, I can only make 28 with what is on hand, How many is the order (normally it is 3 or 4 pails per customer order)
      planner – “We must ship 22 for orders right now, more orders for early next year, some to go to Europe warehouse”
      Okay, here is 29, I managed to squeeze a bit extra out (inventory was a bit off in our favor), the rest I will make as soon as we get more. When is the next batch scheduled?
      planner – “I don’t know”
      engineer – ***face-palm*** ” we can’t make any until late next month, and we won’t get it until next year”
      Planner – (two weeks ago) “We need drums of XYZ. When can we get some?”
      ***copy/paste engineer***
      Planner email I got yesterday – “We are going to need pails of XYZ for orders and are currently 1 short. When can you make more?”
      my reply got and auto-reply “Out until the 2nd” My reply is “As soon as I get another batch I can make stuff.” (engineer is also off the last two weeks, so . . .)
      If I wasn’t already bald, I pull all my hair out.

      1. Maybe you ought to make up a chart of common batch sizes and lead times and send it to everyone concerned. Not that they’ll read it, but you could just re-send it instead of typing specific replies every time…

  17. The quote should be “Government is just a name for what we do in mobs.”

    The Constitutional concept of government was an astonishing idea in 1776, and the founders started weaseling around its limitations before the ink was dry. They were good men, a good deal better than out rowdy nation deserved, and they STILL fell short of their own standards.

    Which doesn’t mean we should give up.

    Mobs are never, EVER, trustworthy. I mind me somebody P. J. O’Rourke quoted who reacted to a ‘Peace Protest’ with real alarm. He was told ‘They’re for peace.” and replied “It could be anything. It could be ‘kill the Jews!’”.

    Antifa are bad enough as they are. But they could easily be so much worse, and I expect they will be. Because we have stopped telling ‘protesters’, “No, you must assemble PEACEABLY”.

    The Right mostly has, up to the last couple of years. Assembled peaceably, and picked up after themselves. The Left has been a bunch of mobs since the Vietnam era.

    Government by the Left will be government by mob. That can’t be good.

    1. > Because we have stopped telling ‘protesters’, “No, you must assemble PEACEABLY”.

      They gave up on that a long time ago. I was reading up on the riots at Kent State, and it was blindingly obvious how it was supported by the college, the police, and even the Governor, who seemed to be egging the whole situation on as far as it would go.

      We have the same thing at Charlottesville, Berkeley, and Portland. They’re doing their best to incite a bloodbath, but it seems most Americans are peacable and don’t care to get involved in trouble.

    1. I was struck by this passage:

      One example: Millikan measured the charge on an electron by an experiment with falling oil drops, and got an answer which we now know not to be quite right…. It’s interesting to look at the history of measurements of the charge of an electron, after Millikan. If you plot them as a function of time, you find that one is a little bit bigger than Millikan’s, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, until finally they settle down to a number which is higher.

      Why didn’t they discover the new number was higher right away?…When they got a number that was too high above Millikan’s, they thought something must be wrong–and they would look for and find a reason why something might be wrong. When they got a number close to Millikan’s value they didn’t look so hard… We’ve learned those tricks nowadays, and now we don’t have that kind of a disease. (Emphasis added)

      All I can say is that Feynmann was way too optimistic here, because I can think of dozens of examples where we’ve done exactly that. Forget the various politically charged issues, and go with this one, the number of genes in the human genome.

      Before the human genome project, it was estimated that there were 100,000-200,000 genes in the human genome. When they started analyzing the results of the project, the first few papers that came out suggested that number was probably on the lower end of that. Then came the papers that suggested it might be even lower, say 75,000. Then the papers that suggested 50,000. Then would you believe 40,000? It wasn’t until they were completely done that they finally admitted the truth that their data had been telling them all along: 20,000.

      The official story behind this is that the scientists assumed they’d just started in an unusually sparse region of the genome. Maybe that works when they’d done 5% and only found 1,000, but it doesn’t hold when they’ve done 90%, found 18,000, and are still insisting that the 10% they haven’t analyzed contains more genes than they’ve seen so far in total. No, it’s clear that they were succumbing to peer pressure, that they didn’t want to rock the boat too much and give a number too far from what people were expecting.

      Now consider that the 150K number was just a WAG, no one really had any idea how many genes we had, there were no policy implications that came from that wrong number of genes, and no one’s career was based around the wrong number…and now imagine how scientists will behave when the wrong number DOES have serious implications for someone.

      1. Simpler yet; go to the early 20th century research and note the “48 human chromosomes”, here’s the pictures. Followed later by “there’s 46, and the same pictures will prove it”. Michael Crichton had it as a “law” in The Andromeda Strain “All Scientists are Blind”

        1. WordPress, would you please tell me how long a comment is to avoid your verdammt auto-moderation tonight?


  18. I recently found myself politely arguing with a friend over a study proving you shouldn’t have caffeine within six hours of bedtime. He helpfully linked to the full text of the study.

    Sample size: 12 adults aged 19-48, self-reported as normal sleepers. Their diet was not recorded, but they were asked not to have any caffeine after 4pm on study days. Their sleep was monitored for four nights, once each with a caffeine pill 0, 3, and 6 hours before bedtime, plus one all-placebo night.

    I could drive a truck full of confounds right through the middle of this, but I think it’s sufficient to point out that the measured results claimed that “latency to persistent sleep” for the night they got their pill 6 hours before bedtime was 44.68 minutes plus-or-minus 54.60 minutes.


    1. Synova should not have caffeine after about 2pm or she will be sorry. 😉

      That really doesn’t say anything about anyone else. Which might also apply to Sarah’s post. Why worry about your sample size or controls or records if you’re not really trying to prove something because you already know it’s true?

      1. I’m sure that I would make a fascinating longitudinal study on coffee. Used to be that I didn’t dare have any after noon. Now, I drink between 6 and 12 cups a day, any time, and it has no effect on my sleep.

        But that is with milk. Drink one cup of black coffee at 6:00 AM, and I will be agitated and unable to sleep (or do much of anything else requiring attention span) until 6:00 PM – the next day.

        1. Anything from one cup to a pot, I’m nodding off about 8:30pm…as long as it’s before lunch.

          I grab so much as a coffee freeze at Costco and drink it after lunch? I’m going to be wired at 10pm. Drink that instead of lunch? Sleep fine.

          1. After working my way through school on the hotel night shift I am virtually immune to caffeine; the only way it affects my ability to sleep is through hydraulic pressure.

                1. I have ADD, diagnosed late (oh if only I’d known back in school). Friends will occasionally say “oh, you have ADD? Maybe I have ADD too.” My touchstone question is always “can you drink a nice relaxing cup of black tea before you go to sleep?”

                  I’ve been self-medicating with Coca-Cola and later tea since I was 9.

                  1. Yep. Only it got to the point I needed to drink five energy drinks a day. Also, after menopause it wasn’t working properly (don’t ask. often happens to women, apparently.) So, I’m late-medicated. It DOES make an amazing difference.
                    Also, as you probably know, it’s hereditary. My dad’s entire family would gather around, at 11:30 pm or so, to have ink black tea with lemon before going to bed. I THOUGHT IT WAS NORMAL 😀

      2. I’ve been known to drink a Monster, Red Bull, or a LARGE cup (actually a 24 oz soup bowl with a cup handle) of tea, and 20 minutes later, fall asleep. Caffeine makes you sleepy! Proof!
        Also, back in the mid to late 90’s, before I drank much in the way of caff or energy drinks (as in none), I periodically got insomnia and would be awake for 48-60 hours at a stretch, and often only slept a few hours at most, 4 hours was a celebrated rarity. It would last weeks at a time.

    2. blink
      44.68 ± 54.60 minutes? What, were some people reporting they were completely asleep ten minutes before they went to bed?

      (Not to mention the smaller innumeracy: four significant figures in a sample size that small, and with a large error margin, is being ludicrously over-precise.)

      1. four significant figures in a sample size that small

        I knew someone would appreciate that part. My high school physics teacher would have horsewhipped me for reporting hundredths of a minute on anything outside of a tightly-controlled lab environment. Much less something as inherently imprecise as “time to fall asleep”.

        Rounding the results to whole minutes would have made the tables much clearer, and given a reviewer (or the three PhD sleep researchers who added their names to this paper and clearly had no part in writing it) a better chance to spot the ludicrous numbers.


        1. In Cooper Union, we had a guest lecturer (I think it was Brian Kernighan) who spoke about spurious precision, particularly regarding imperial/metric unit conversions. No, the range on this is not “0.31 to 6.84 miles”, it’s “0.5 to 11 km” or “0.3 to 7 miles”. And while ³⁄₁₆″ does have the decimal equivalent 0.1875″, this is not “0.47625 cm”. 0.48 cm, or even ½ cm, is sufficient.

            1. Most of it was bizarre… uh magical-math trying to calculate the values of various historical figures according to some strange potential power relating to magic and history.

              1. I’m not saying that sound alike an interesting story premise, but that sounds like an interesting story premise. Forensic mathemagics for historical figures. Kind of like people do with fantasy leagues for sports ball figures of the past.

        2. My family won’t talk global warming with me anymore (darn!).

          I pointed out that in the Navy, when you’re calibrating stuff you’re not allowed to use the lowest measurement on an instrument– so if it’s divided into 100ths, you can do 10ths. This avoids the eyeballing-it factor.

          When they say yeah, that sounds reasonable, I point out that the numbers they’re using for region-wide temperatures are from thermometers where a really precise one is in half a degree, so you’d be talking five degrees give or take. Usually it’d be ten.

          And then one of the relatives that was on fire watch for the forest service mentions that they usually faked up their temperature record five minutes before it was due to be picked up…..

        1. I frequently attain zombie state a good fifteen minutes before bed … and by the time I have gone through the process of setting up for the morning (laying out coffee, pills), flossed & brushed teeth, washed face and (forty-five minutes later) attained bed I am once again wide awake.

        2. ichele and I have a system, if one of us wants to discuss something after bedtime (or shortly before) the other can say “yes, but under lights out conditions.” This is as a result of discussions that one or the other of us would completely forget the next morning. So a “lights out” discussion is non-binding until confirmed the next day, e.g. “We decided last night to X, correct?” “Yes, that’s right” or “No, I don’t agree to that.”

  19. My father pointed this out in the 70s and 80s– that the sciences were becoming religions. It is so easy to corrupt a religion when a whole group follows one goat. I’ve found that when I look at the research… when my brain is working… that I can find another report that will contradict it. I’m usually looking at research in medical fields so I can stay upright and maybe eventually in full health.

    What I believe.. .and I see this in medication and supplements the most… is that when they declare that one thing is so important for all people for instance statins, they don’t take into account people like me who have a severe reaction to it. Statins cause liver proteins and eventual failure in my body… With my kidneys in sad shape, this could put me in the hospital or even more.

    I have a reaction to most of the HB pressure meds especially metroprolol. If I am on too much of it, I start to have regular asthma attacks. This medication is considered a good medication for most people.

    So yea– this one size fits all… is definitely a corruption of medical science. If that is a problem there (although it does deal with us soft-flesh like beings) then how much is it a problem in other hard science areas? Even worse, I wonder about the soft sciences… especially psychology.

    1. Two words: “Food Pyramid”, brought to you by the USDA (with a grant from the corn lobby).

    2. When my aunt developed MS she was prone to look for research that fit her bias. but yeah, there was a LOT of contradictory stuff out there. Sometimes, her bias was the better way, others, her docs would have a hell of a time convincing her to just stop it, that wasn’t helping. She was a hard head.

      1. I realized after awhile that some times something would work for someone else, but not for me. I talked to a few of my doctors about this and one or two actually listened to me, which is why I now have a note in my record about my problems with statins and HBP meds… But in the beginning when I noticed something, I had doctors that didn’t believe me.
        Believe me– I have a hard head as well. If the doctor won’t work with me– I go find one that will.

        1. her problem was when it didn’t work for her she still kept at it. Her doc was up front in working with her on things. He eventually got her a $1500 twice monthly shot for free. She would not check for side effects or compatibility and not listen to him when he’d tell her stop and find something else or just stop the damned shot . . . eventually she got bad enough she gave up trying so many things, and the shot effectiveness picked up for a while.

            1. My main issue is the stuff which I do not know whether or not it works. Turmeric, for example: does it reduce inflammation? How would I know if the inflammation which is background to my body is 20% less than it would be? Does cinnamon help regulate my Blood Glucose level? I dunno. Maybe. Beloved Spouse has added it to the vitamin/supplement regimen to see whether it aids metabolic processes and so far can only confirm that it results in far more preferable belches.

              When the goal is slowing bodily deterioration it can be tough to tell how much things have slowed.

              1. I can only tell you what worked for me. Turmeric was really good as a pain reliever (so yea might help the inflammation). However it is high in potassium so I cannot use it regularly due to the kidneys. The only way to tell if the inflammation is down is a blood test (CRP). As for cinnamon– it’s also supposed to be good for HB pressure. I can’t tell you if that works or not. I do put cinnamon in my coffee regularly.

                Another way to lower the inflammation marker– yes this worked for me… your results may vary.. is fish oil. I was so high that all my doctors were worried that I was on my way out. I started taking 1000 mg of fish oil three times a day. It brought my inflammation down drastically in one month. I keep fish oil in my supplement regimen (about one 1000 pill) daily. I know from others that fish oil dosesn’t work for everyone. Some people have good results with flaxseed oil. That stuff just gives me a stomach ache. The down side is that fish oil is a blood thinner and cannot be used when you are on a prescription blood thinner.

  20. One more comment about the psychology studies. Even if we assume that everyone is being honest (hah!), that the subjects aren’t responding to pressure to give the “right” answer (hah, hah!), and that they’re all well versed in statistics and aren’t using methods that will bias things from the outset (hah, hah, hah!), there’s the problem of where they’re getting their subjects. Traditionally, they’re Psych 101 students who are forced into participating in a certain number of studies as part of the course. So at best, these studies tell us things about introductory psych students, a group that there is no reason to believe is representative of the population as a whole.

    1. And half the time you can identify what is being tested and what is there as camouflage for what’s being tested.

    2. Made me laugh because when I talk to therapists they tell me that I already know the theories too well. So they have to come up with another way to talk to me… Yes, I have had Psych 101. 😀

  21. Funnily enough, a year or two back on Baen’s Bar, I asked about the replication crisis as it might apply to the hard sciences, and was assured that there was no such thing, that physical sciences couldn’t have it because it’d be too easily caught.

    Apparently not. Guess they’re just as sloppy about peer reviewing each other, and just as desperate for the appearance of results in a world of ‘publish or perish’. (But aren’t quite as bad because, perhaps, they _do_ have to answer to math and engineering at some point.)

    Which sucks in the real world, but it’s a moderately important plot point for a dormant WIP, so I may warm that one up and try to get a novel out of it this upcoming year.


    1. Guess they’re just as sloppy about peer reviewing each other,

      Consider what peer reviewing involves: you read the paper. You make sure that the methods described therein are solid and try to judge if the results they report are significant. If something they claim pings the BS meter, you look up their references. But what you can’t do is try to replicate the experiment. You typically have 2-3 weeks to finish the review, so you don’t have time even if you had the motivations and the funds. You have no way to determine whether or not the methods in the paper were actually what they did or if they got the results described.

      Peer reviewing can work in math, I think, but in most of the other sciences, it’s a sanity check at best. There are many types of errors that it just can’t catch, and it’s pretty much hopeless for nailing outright liars.

      1. Oddly enough, peer review does occasionally work. I am mindful of the great Cold Fusion Kerfuffle of a few decades ago. As contrasted with the current AGW twaddle. Clearly, peer review is more likely in some circumstances than other.

        1. With the Cold Fusion thing, I think it was a matter of “If True, this will really change things” and thus people wanted to Prove it or Disprove it.

          1. Yeah, I remember people at the university frantically downloading copies of the original CF paper when it came out, desperately eager to try it out. Because it would have changed everything if it hadn’t been nothing.

            I think the campus laser printers were jammed for days. 🙂


        2. There were a *lot* of people who were so eager to jump on the cold fusion bandwagon they were reporting results of experiments that were not replicable by anyone else. Some of them were Names who should have known better. But after the waves of funding failed to materialize and everyone backed away, it was like there was a gentleman’s agreement not to mention those papers…

          “Yes, we got 3.1 watts out of a Faber #2 lead pencil in a cup of Folger’s Instant…”

          “Nothing to see here, move along.”

      2. You skim the paper. If the notation is not sufficiently professional looking and the subject doesn’t interest you, peg the BS meter. Don’t bother checking for errors or references. Send it back.

    2. It is a very easy mistake to make. Better than economics is still a low bar.

      Strictly speaking, climatology is a physical science. Insofar as it is a science, and not fraud or humanities. (Though, perhaps it is a weird one that should be held separate.)

      Several lines of fundamental issue.

      One, scientists have always been human, and there has always been a rubber meets the road judgement about how valuable/trustworthy results are. Two, mediocrities teaching kids that papers are holy writ results in young academics taking the same attitude, and not learning experimentation and writing as well as might be desired. Three, volume of graduates and publications has some interesting potential for problems. Four, the reason why the research has not already been done is often expensive materials or skills. Even if you have the inclination, you don’t necessary have the time, money, and ability to work on replicating the work of others. Five, one of the big things right now is ANN/Big Data/Deep Learning, etc. Tools out of computer science. Hence potentially vulnerable to fundamental issues within CS, if those exist.

      Hard sciences, scientific research in engineering disciplines based on those hard sciences, and engineering practice are all different buckets. There’s much more research going on in buckets one and two than has immediate, direct, real world applications. Conversely, a lot of work done in bucket three is never published.

      Florida bridge collapse is evidence that the engineers do not ‘have this’, and should not simply be left alone without external scrutiny.

      Consider the following process.

      Does paper A have real world applications I can make money from?

      If no, treat it as science. Yes, maybe I think it is flawed, but perhaps I am simply not expert enough to replicate it right on the cheap and easy.

      If yes, I have funding for experiments to validate it or not. If I disprove it, it is proprietary test data. If I expand and validate it, proprietary test data with future profit potential.

      Private institutions that stupidly apply hard sciences research go bankrupt. Public institutions which stupidly apply soft/life sciences research do not.

      So, there is a difference, and it isn’t as grim as it might seem, but it is not perfect.

      1. On the Florida bridge issue, there was a lot of experienced eyeballs going over the data and writing about it (see the eng-tips site for their forensic engineering forum). Note that it’s was a very deep rabbit hole; perhaps 2800 posts have been made on this topic there,

        The results boiled down to the bit that to the designer, it was “just a pedestrian bridge”, though it used a lot of advanced techniques.. The fact that those techniques were not well implemented was ignored by the engineer of record, who (until this disaster) was one of the top men in the field. When he said “it’s fine, don’t worry”, those worrying were ignored, and things fell down.

        The bottom line for this (to me), is that engineering is a lot like other fields; given the (im)proper circumstances, things can get corrupted. OTOH, in engineering, reality gets a vote, and sometimes quickly. Case in point, the 737 Max airliners.

  22. I only have one (minor) quibble– modern American society is in no way a matriarchy. It is a gynocracy, with the gynocrats actively hating matriarchs and motherhood.

    Mothers are only useful when propagandizing for policies the elite want implemented, such as attempts to disarm the populace (Moms Demand Action, for instance.)

  23. Because all social research involves people.

    Specifically, a huge amount of research in the Social “Sciences” uses undergrad volunteers who are trying to gain a few extra points or a little cash or both by volunteering as test subjects. The student population nowadays is either deep undercover, or happily drinking all the koolaid and asking for more.

    If you think that population pool would not skew the results, especially when trying to make conclusions about the general population, then I have a great investment opportunity for you based on insider knowledge on where the new Caracas Tesla Dealership is going to be located – all we need is a few thousand dollars to jump in now and buy that land, and you can make a tax-free killing.

    1. The student population nowadays is …

      Disproportionately White, Female and from Upper Middle Class background with a demonstrated propensity for deferring gratification.

      1. Yep – and accumulating student loan debt on questionable degrees.

        And later to be seen serving a fine paper cup of java with names written on them, though not in SF where they banned plastic straws to save Mother Gaia, and then proceeded to ban paper cups, so back to plastic for hot coffee, because they hate That Bitch Gaia for her non-Transgenderist Mother Earthiness.

  24. >For instance, people raised on the idea that everyone is out to get them, will react differently from people who have been told they’re as good and capable as anyone else and can weather other people’s displeasure with no harm.

    This. So much this. I was raised both incompetently and maliciously, and if it weren’t for living as much as possible in books it’d be impossible for me to believe there are people out there who aren’t out to get me. Even so, I have to use logic to get to that conclusion where other people are going on reflex. Which makes my friendly reactions noticeably slower, which leads to bad reactions from other people… it’s a vicious cycle.

    1. Certain populations being raised with the idea that certain political and demographic groups are the reason why they can’t succeed, and are out to get them, and that only a particular political party keeps them from being utterly destroyed, is a HYUUUGE barrier to those populations ever actually succeeding. It is very rage-making.

      1. Trust?

        I trusted that people were “out to get me”. 😈

        Not so bad now that I realized most people don’t know I exist. 😈

        Seriously, I’m not currently as paranoid as I once was.

  25. I recently listened to an interview with Dr. Shiva of MIT who talks about this and how funding and research is skewed in regards to vaccines, but also other areas of biological sciences. He also thinks that he was not recognized as the inventor of email when he was 14 (he actually has a patent) because he is a dark Indian and claims MIT is in the pocket of big Pharma, but that is another story. It is a long interview and has some good points and makes you think.

    I also really like reading your blog, as it is a refreshing change from what we hear here with a view of the Potomac river and all the nonsense that goes on here. My wife, who is from the first atheist communist country in the Balkans often says to stop talking when entering the elevator or walking in earshot of other people as the walls have ears. It is also her experience that if you get on the wrong side of the “leaders of the field”, you don’t get funded, even though she has first name authored papers in astrophysics journals.

    1. As I recall, he claimed to have “invented” email during the late 1980’s. Which was a tad bit late, as even I had an email account as a junior high school kid at a summer camp at a college, long before he “invented” it.

        1. MULTICS had an email system in ’64 or ’65; the programmers (scattered across the country) used it to communicate with each other while writing the OS.

  26. “Medicine… went into “evidence based” mode, for instance. What this means is that what they’re going to use on your problem is not in any way based on the doctor’s experience, or his experience with YOU particularly, but on “studies.” ”

    That puts me in mind of the first anthropometric studies. They thought it was possible to define an “average” male body…and found out that while you could define “average” for any given characteristic, real people were made up of a mish-mash of characteristics.

    Example: I stand 5’10”, 49th percentile for adult males. My seated eye height is 98th percentile. When I sit at a table, I can look dead level at the crowns of most other people’s heads. Needless to say, I also have a 28 inch inseam. It’s been 40 years since I could buy pants without hemming the legs up.

    The point being that “studies” often lack the detail to get at the facts.

    1. A lot of people with “evidence based” forget that all people are not the same and one size (both literally and metaphorically) does not fit all is also part of the evidence. This “effective” and effective for. this. patient. may not be the same.

      1. And in for example drug response it doesn’t help that we do NOT really understand the mechanism in many cases. Look at the useless wads of warnings that come with medications and you’ll see phrases like “Believed to act by…” or “Thought to act by”. Some of the worst of these are the SSRI’s for depression. The pathway is unclear AND the diagnosis purely on external symptoms no measuring of seratonin or such like. So for some people they’re a wonder drug, some they’re less useful than a placebo, some they just make fat and ruin their sex drive. A few they drive suicidal. And it continues on, asthma drugs, long term type 2 diabetes control, blood pressure control. Remember the relationship between salt and BP? Not as clear cut as they thought. Definitely has a STRONG emphasis on SOME people. Others could chow down on 50 grams of salt a day and get precisely nothing. Studies seemed to have fallen on more of the latter because they had selected for folks with High Blood pressure, and natural High Blood pressure seems to travel with the salt issues on average. So the correlation exists in the chosen population, but that population is NOT a valid sample.
        Doctoring is still VERY much an art. It has a scientific basis, but to a major extent it is art/engineering. Trying to cookie cutter choices for a whole population from often wonky studies will/has end(ed) poorly. Look at National health anywhere that has private medicine too. The wealthy use the private when the answer fails. Thats a huge hint that single payer is a horrific fail.

        1. The active ingredient in Tagamet™ works great for me, and I get no side effects. The active ingredient in Zantac™ wasn’t nearly as effective. Same goal (reduce gastric acid production), same person, very different efficacy.

        2. People with horrible auto immune do really well on singulair. I did too, for two years. Then it made me suicidal and gave me short term memory loss.
          The doctors acknowledge it happens (it’s listed as a VERY RARE side effect.) But they have no idea why or how.

          1. There used to be an online blog by a geezer dermatologist, who was very big on pointing out common genetic-based differences in drug response, and advocating to get more office-based minor tests for drug reactions and interactions, before prescribing stuff.

            He was the guy who explained that Benadryl/diphenhydramine can be both a non-drowsy antihistamine, and a sedative that puts some people out like a light for 24 hours with tiny doses, and with a lot of variants inbetween. It depends on age and certain specific genes more than anything. though

            But even though doctors can get programs that list out these known factors for drug reaction differences, most don’t subscribe to them.

            1. 95% the time OTC sleep meds put me to sleep, hard. Be it the natural stuff or the harder PM version. But occasionally they wire me, hard; don’t care how tired I am, I’m not sleeping. Granted when I come down, I’m crashing, just as hard. Its just the timing sucks … the kicker I’m retired (so how can timing be “bad”, just trust me, it always is). I don’t take the PM versions on a whim. I have Glaucoma. One of the conditions the small print says “don’t”. (OTOH so doe Niqul & I guaranty if I’m sick, I’m taking … I mean so what glaucoma, if I’m not going to live?)

            2. Yup Benadryl knocks me out. Also is an excellent antihistamine for me. I was doing an infusion treatment where one of the meds made me have allergic reponses. Had to have the treatment so I got intravenous Benadryl. I could feel my ability to stay awake fade in about 10 minutes after first introduction. One of my daughters it does nothing for allergies/histamine response AND makes her jumpy as heck. Go Figure…

          2. Singulair messes with my short term memory. Also I can’t take Sudafed or any of the cold/virus otc stuff. It’s like being on meth… same symptoms. I found that when I have a cold, I do better with Benedryl (although I can’t reach certain words with it)

    2. The End of Average, Todd Rose.
      When you have a large number of different measurements, no one comes in as near-average on every measurement, or even almost every measurement. In other words, no one is average.

    3. I dunno what percentile my seated eye level is, but it’s higher than average for my height as well. Except at least an inch of it has to be the fat on my buttocks, which is hanging around while the fat deposits in my extremities recede first.


    4. There was a time in our teens when I was taller than my younger sister when we were sitting down — shorter when standing. (Now she’s taller all the time, but it is impressively less when we are both sitting.)

  27. There’s Engineering, Speculation, and Superstition. If you can’t put it into a hull, make turn the wheels of industry, or cross chasms and rivers with it…take it with a grain of salt. Or a shaker of salt.

    1. Some people say there’s a woman to blame, but I’m a white guy so its my own darn fault?

  28. Pfui. If you’re human and don’t get micro-aggressed (and often macro) in rubbing shoulders with other humans, you’re probably not paying attention.

    **raises hand**

    Usually this isn’t an advantage.

    *Goes to back bedroom to get something from the closet*
    Mom: What did you think of the newbed? Is it too big?
    Me: New bed?
    Mom: Yes, I replaced the twin trundle with a queen size bed.
    Me: Nope. I was thinking about something.

    But you miss a lot of aggressions this way.

      1. That generally makes them even angrier.

        I generally don’t respond to trolls and idiots. I just watch them work themselves up into Trigglypuff levels of outrage over it…

  29. So when I was on Cytoxan, I was also put on a low-salt diet due to my kidneys. I began to have severe cramps in my feet, legs, and thighs. When I talked to my doctor of the time about it, he said that I should drink some chicken broth to get the salt back into my body. So I was supposed to not take salt… but I needed to take salt. What????? So I went back on the salt slowly. It hasn’t shown as a problem in my blood tests…for the last decade.
    I do have problems with calcium though.

    1. You bring up a good point often overlooked in most dietary advice: the body adapts. What once was medicine now is poison and vice-versa. In addition, chemicals interact, so what goes in talks t what goes in with it and, if you’ve combined it with the wrong supplements goes into a sulk and provides no (or negative) benefit. (Simplified for benefit of colourful imagery.)

      Which brings up a point about Adderal. Beloved Spouse wants to advise Sarah that Daughtorial Unit’s experience with Adderal is that it provides benefit for a only period of one or two* years, by which time your body has adjusted in an effort to restore what it perceives as native levels … which is why a) people using it can often end up worse for the experience and b) you need to treat it as training wheels, enabling you to develop the coping skills and routines to handle the life of the ADHD.

      *Precise time depends on your body’s insistence that it knows what is right and normal and how hard it is willing to work to maintain its sense of propriety. I would guess, based on no evidence beyond general background understanding of human body, that your period of usefulness might be extended by intermittent usage or even variable dosage (as pharmacies like to provide standard dosages this might prove inconvenient) or admixture with caffeine administered orally in solution. Basically, anything that slows your biochemistry from recognizing new established levels and adjusting its own production. Confer with son as needed and physician according to your level of trust.

  30. The ozone hole is a personal favorite doomsaying mechanism of mine because it’s so illustrative of the … emoting process involved.

    “Oh my god, the ozone disappears over the Antarctic in winter”

    “Interesting, where’s the ozone come from in the first place?”


    “Erm … you do know what happens to the Antarctic in winter, right? About how there’s no sun?”


    “But … the sun is shining in Florida. It makes ozone”


  31. What this means is that what they’re going to use on your problem is not in any way based on the doctor’s experience, or his experience with YOU particularly, but on “studies.”

    “Studies”, developed by those who are in no position to tell you apart from a statistic, but still imposed on you as though they know you better than they know yourself.

    An expression of the confession that Reagan warned us about: that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

  32. Pingback: PUT NOT YOUR TRUST IN STUDIES:  Corrupted Conclusions…. – The usa report

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