Archive for December, 2015

Persistent in the assault. Creative (and desperate) in tactics.

Jazz Shaw: 2016 will usher in a fresh wave of assaults on Second Amendment rights. From California’s easy path to confiscation to Washington’s ‘tax’ to Virginia’s executive fiat ending interstate agreements, the efforts are ongoing and the rationales continue to be dishonest.

Having lost the battle of public opinion on the importance of Second Amendment rights and losing repeatedly in the courts at the federal level, gun rights opponents have been crafting new strategies to chip away the constitutional rights of gun owners at the state level. (This is traditionally the line of attack where they’ve enjoyed the most success.) Since the Democrats want to score big points with the gun grabbers in their base and there’s a big election on the horizon, you can count on these stories making the news all year long.

The entire demand for gun safety research is a smokescreen to provide some sort of pseudo-science support behind the effort to ban gun ownership.

Gun violence isn’t the only issue on the table with overblown exageration. Anthony Watts: Study: hyperbole is increasing in science

We’ve long noted at WUWT that the word “robust” has seen a significant rise in usage in climate science papers, becoming a favorite word to use when statistical Spackle has been applied to climate data. Now there’s evidence from a new study suggesting that observation is spot-on.

Researchers at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands say that the frequency of positive-sounding words such as ‘novel’, ‘amazing’, ‘innovative’ and ‘unprecedented’ has increased almost nine-fold in the titles and abstracts of papers published between 1974 and 2014. There has also been a smaller — yet still statistically significant — rise in the frequency of negative words, such as ‘disappointing’ and ‘pessimistic’.

The most obvious interpretation of the results is that they reflect an increase in hype and exaggeration, rather than a real improvement in the incidence or quality of discoveries,

Vinkers and his colleagues think that the trend highlights a problem. “If everything is ‘robust’ and ‘novel’”, says Vinkers, then there is no distinction between the qualities of findings. “In that case, words used to describe scientific results are no longer driven by the content but by marketability.”

This sort of observation is why the efforts to get the CDC back into research on gun violence should be troubling. When it comes to corporations, money is corrupt and evil but when it comes to government ‘investment’ in ‘research’ money is a necessary good. Those who believe this way are not in touch with reality. But then, they may suffer confirmation bias supported by the mainstream propaganda machine. See Climate Depot: Meteorologists refute media claims that Arctic storm caused by humans: ‘That’s utter bullsh*t’ – ‘Who is feeding the media this crap?’

‘That’s utter bullshit,” meteorologist Dr. Ryan Maue declared on December 29, in a response to the Washington Post’s claim that the Arctic event “reeks of a human-forced warming of the Earth’s climate.” Maue added: “Who is feeding the media this crap?”
Meanwhile Arctic sea ice extent is currently at a 10 year high

Big Arctic Melt Fizzles: “One Arctic buoy 300 km from the pole reported temperatures just above freezing for an hour yesterday. Another buoy a mile away did not report any above freezing temperatures.”

The current warm spike is not unprecedented. Arctic temperature data shows three cases of North Pole temperatures exceeding freezing (32F) since 1948.

It is one thing to be delusional but that gets compounded when you seek out any anomaly or unusual event to support your delusions and compounded again when you go to extreme links to foist your delusion on everyone else. There is reason to worry.

Leave a Comment

Cognitive Dissonance Explained. With Examples.

Deborah C. Tyler gets into Why People Can’t Face the Truth about Obama with some rather inflammatory examples. The key element in these examples is a concept of racist America as the foundation of American Guilt(™).

In the 1950s the psychologist Leon Festinger theorized that the mind spontaneously, continuously reduces cognitive dissonance to enable goal-directed functioning in a paradoxical, inconsistent, deceptive world. Festinger’s discovery founded a rich tradition of research which has demonstrated how the mind resolves contradictions. It provides a powerful way to understand why people can’t face what President Obama is doing to America.

Research has demonstrated countless times that cognitions do not have to be true to create dissonance, they just have to be believed.

The antecedents of Barack Obama’s hatred of America are now well understood.

America is Barack Obama’s prey. He is tearing America apart and feeding the pieces of her life to his foreign and domestic fellow travelers. He is not transforming the nation but terminating it.

The immensity of Obama’s disloyalty is key to why people cannot face the truth about him.

Before the mass denial of Obama’s hatred is explained by dissonance theory, let’s mention subdissonant Americans. Subdissonant Americans have no discomfort whether America is about freedom or racism because they are too intellectually limited, dumbed-down, or drugged out to care.

Festinger’s induced-compliance paradigm of dissonance theory explains why black Americans may be the last group to face Obama’s destructiveness … The induced-compliance paradigm found that people paid only $1 to lie convinced themselves they were telling the truth more than people paid $20 to tell the same lie! This counterintuitive effect has been replicated many times. People who received minimal external motivation for managing dissonance — those paid the least — produced stronger internal justifications to deny their actual experience.

The social psychologist Elliot Aronson advanced cognitive dissonance theory, further explaining why people can’t face Obama’s hatred and destruction. Aronson’s self-concept model theorized the central purpose of dissonance reduction is to preserve positive self-image (I am a good person) and self-justification (I was right all along).

The loss of opportunities and the diminishing of hopes which Obama’s policies have inflicted create a monumental need for self-justification among his supporters.

The reality is there and it is staring down those who want to believe in something else. The reality is that racism is an inherent part of personal identity and only becomes a social issue when it drives social behaviors. What one can see is that the personal identity part is being used to drive victim beliefs that feed the idea that social racism is endemic. The meme is a common one. The reality with race is evident in the rise of the middle class black population and other ‘individually beneficial’ arenas as well as the ruckus about “diversity” as being something beneficial to the point of mandating it rather than earning it.

The takeaway is that the discussion is becoming more visible. This is the discussion about the underlying psychology that drives humans into destructive beliefs and behaviors. More are starting to wonder why people do crazy things or why people ignore reality and that is a first step towards improving emotional health in the population.

Leave a Comment

Playing with numbers: incarceration

Paul Mirengoff reports on the myths of over-incarceration. It’s another of those issues where American Guilt (™) is being pushed by distorting reality.

Behind the push for leniency is the notion that America — aka “incarceration nation” — has sinned. We are told, based findings by the International Centre for Prison Studies (“the Centre”), that the U. S. has only 5 percent of the world’s population but nearly 25 percent of its prisoners.

But are these claims rooted in fact? Not according to a paper by Michael Rushford, President & CEO of the Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation (via Crime and Consequences).

Most conservatives and centrists understand intuitively that clemency, early release, and shorter sentences for drug dealers are bad ideas. To sell these ideas to sensible Americans, proponents of sentencing reform resort to mythology — most notably the myth of over-incarceration. In doing so, they slander our country.

This is much like going to Las Vegas and thinking it will be nice because everyone will win at the gambling table. The reality is something different. Emptying prisons is betting that crime has little to do with those convicted of committing them. The evidence, and sound reasoning, indicates otherwise but it does not seem that we are in an era of evidence and sound reasoning when it comes to governance. That should be a worry.

Leave a Comment

An illustration of why it’s not debatable

The site is named Reason.com and you’d think that it’d present reasonable material. Steve Chapman illustrates otherwise in Ted Cruz’s Climate Change Festival of Fraud
Response to global warming evidence mischaracterizes the truth
. Sounds good but only if you don’t consider what is being offered.

Consider the start: “You have to feel sorry for Ted Cruz.” This is called ad hominem and illustrates that the issue at hand is attacking the person and not climate change.

Then there is “The topic was global warming. Every major scientific body has confirmed its existence, but as “the son of two mathematicians and computer programmers and scientists,” he feels particularly qualified to debunk it.” This is an appeal to authority citing appeal to authority – double whammy. Do remember that Mann’s hockey stick debunking was done by a statistician.

Then considered this discovery of the victim’s flaws: “The second is that the satellite data don’t refute global warming. NASA says that based on surface temperatures.” There seems to be some conflict between satellite and surface measures. Choosing one or the other to suit one’s desires doesn’t instill confidence that truth is being sought. Keep in mind that the surface data record is subject to continuous “adjustments” while the satellite data is not. The most recent brouhaha deals with decisions about ship cooling water inlet temperatures being considered more reliable than buoy data. 

This same sort of confusion is evident in “The same data indicate that of the 14 hottest years ever, 13 occurred in this century. When Cruz says there has been “no significant warming” since 1997, he’s engaging in brazen deception.” The problem here is that rate of change is being confused with actual position. There is also a problem in asserting extremes without considering the facts that the measures are within margins of error and the reference period chosen is usually just recent history and quite limited.

Then there’s the money corruption angle: “Which scenario is more plausible, thousands of scientists pretending to believe in global warming to get government grants or Cruz denying it to get campaign donations?” Perhaps Chapman forgets Climategate from a few years back? In one case there is blatant evidence of corruption. In the other, only allegation. Sliming with a perceived taint of money is a phenomena that deserves proper attention as an escape from “reason.” 

The debate deserves better than this.

Leave a Comment

Rants & Raves: fascism, false choices

Stephen Moore takes off on name calling. This time the label is “fascism” and, as usual, the definitions have been skewed to fit. The ‘Fascist’ left in America — “After Trump’s call for a Muslim moratorium the name-calling began

The left simplistically has redefined the term to mean it is when massive numbers of voters support a conservative cause supported by the right and opposed by the left.

but what is the traditional meaning of the word?

Liberal fascism, as my friend Jonah Goldberg has aptly pointed out in his book of the same title, is the “collaboration of government, church, unions and interest groups to expand government. It is simply the liberal impulse for controlling the lives of others.” It is the religion of the left.

But the real definition of a fascist is a leader who wants to use governmental power to suppress rights of individuals. It is the partnership of government and private industry for the collective good. Corporate cronyism is a classic form of fascism, which would include programs like Export Import Bank.

The distortion of language is for a purpose. Robert Knight explains Liberalism’s false choices — “Progressives shame people into adopting their agenda“.

Over and over, we’re given simplistic formulae, plus name calling if we’re on the “wrong” side of an issue.

This is not happenstance; it’s the way progressives shame people into adopting their agenda or at the very least silencing opponents.

This leaves no room for common sense and caution tempered by compassion.

There is no room for discussion, no room for learning, no room for solving problems. At least the behavior is being noted and described. Recognition and acceptance are first steps.

Leave a Comment

Intellectual integrity and the role of weapons

Jeffrey T. Brown has a thesis that intellectual integrity and ‘criminal violence’ don’t fit together. See Stop Gun Violence? Stop Liberalism First.

Physical violence is ultimately the fruit of psychological disturbance. Those who are rational, thoughtful, self-analytical, and objective rarely commit crimes of any kind, let alone those of violence. They do not hate, they do not feel entitled, they are not bitter, and they respect the lives and property of others. They recognize the necessity of laws based on wisdom and experience. They understand the need to live cooperatively in a social construct that benefits all when practiced in good faith by all. Such people, a subset of Americans identified as “conservatives”, know and appreciate the genius of our Constitution, both in what it says and in its implicit purpose to squelch the ever-present vice of those who are not content to live peacefully and on their own merit.

Where does language of minority oppression occur? Who pushes it and why? As Brown illustrates, that political ideology comes from the same place as the urge to control others on many fronts, including controls on weapons of self defense.

Leave a Comment

Their enemy is reality

John C. Wright puts in his diatribe titled from a Chinese political saying: Point Deer, Make Horse. That is a literal translation of four Chinese characters. The fable on which it is based shows that it means ‘calling a deer a horse.’ It goes to the same roots as the fable about the Emperor’s new clothes.

You see how the Unreality Principle works. Bringing in a pony and calling it a horse won’t do. Someone might honestly mistake a horse for a pony. Only lies that are breathtakingly stupid, things no sane person could say or believe, are sufficient to show where one’s loyalty rests.

It is for this reason that Hillary Clinton announced that acts of terrorism carried out by Islamicists in the name of Islam as defined, promoted and commanded by Islam now and for all centuries past not only had nothing to do with Islam, but, in her words, ‘nothing whatsoever to do with Islam.’

Islam is not the enemy. The deer is a horse.

The problem with loyalty to the Unreality Principle is that in order to be truly loyal, you have to believe, actually to believe, nonsense you should know is nonsense.

I have wasted endless hours debating to what degree the various followers of the Unreality Principle are complicit in their own self-deception, and have finally resigned from the debate in disgust. The question is a paradox. When a man is trying to deceive himself, he is his own victim, deceiver and deceived at once. And successful self deception results in his not knowing himself to have successfully deceived himself: so arguing that he really does not know better is merely to say he is skilled at something akin to auto-hypnosis.

The surface appearance, by design, is all that there is. Intellectual honesty and introspection are what their mental system is designed to avoid.

The question is what you can or should do when you find yourself in a nest of such people. 

Leave a Comment

Tactics: using the Kübler-Ross model to understand climate activist behavior

Larry Kummer says Activists go thru 5 stages of grief for the climate change campaign

Summary: Climate activists have begun to see the failure of their campaign to get public policy measures to fight climate change. Their actions follow the five stages of grief in the Kübler-Ross model. This helps us predict what comes next, and prepare. For example, stage four (bargaining) offers an opportunity to gain something from the expensive policy gridlock in this vital area. This is the third in a series attempting to understand the ending of this 26-year-story and find in it some useful lessons for the future.

Life goes on, even for activists. There is always another campaign, as the coming apocalypse from air & water pollution was followed by the The Population Bombclip_image002[1] (1968), which gave way to Limits to Growthclip_image002[2] (1972), then nuclear winter (1983), then several more campaigns until peak oil, peak everything, and climate change.

Activists will enjoy the certainty that they were correct even though defeated by an ignorant public led by conservatives and oil companies. They will look forward — as did previous generations of such prophets — to the eventual apocalypse that results from the world’s refusal to believe.

Eventually the weather will decide whose science was stronger, that of the “activists or the “skeptics”. It might take years to see decisive results, or perhaps decades (see some scientists’ predictions here). Climate change is a commonplace in history, sometimes destroying entire civilizations. Our refusal to prepare even for the obvious — continuation of the two centuries of warming or, even more irresponsibly, for repeat of past extreme weather — probably will prove expensive in lives and money.

One way to understand this is that grief is just one example of cognitive dissonance. The real world intrudes on the way one wants to see it. Coming to grips with reality is an emotional process whether it is dealing with the death of a person or the death of a fantasy. As Kimmer notes, acceptance may come but that does not necessarily mean compliance. The acceptance that comes with an ideology hitting the fan of reality is to go with the flow rather than to accept the reality and modify the ideology. That is why the effort goes on and on. Life goes on and the struggle continues. Chicken Little or the Prophets of Doom are only flavors of the phenomena. At least the behavior is being noted and described so all can see it for what it really is.

Leave a Comment

It is called evil

Elizabeth Price Foley: “AMERICANS BETTER START BELIEVING IN EVIL: When a mother chooses jihad over life”

It’s called “evil,” and it tries very hard to look normal. Indeed, radical Islam exhibits all of the traits of evil. As psychiatrist Scott Peck’s book, “People of the Lie” suggests (a terrific book that I highly recommend), evil is always convinced that it is “right” or “righteous” or “good” and works hard to maintain that appearance. It projects evil onto others (scapegoating). It is strong-willed, controlling and intolerant. And it hides it motives by confusing others with lies and “magical thinking” (think 72 virgins for Allah’s martyrs).

There seems to be a concerted effort to hide it somewhere, anywhere. Gun control tries evasion – blaming the tool rather than the agent of evil. Then there is the mantra that Islam is a “religion of peace” or the idea that the solution is in the government. Much of the concern in developing the U.S. Constitution was about how to stymie the surfacing of the evil inherent in human nature. Christianity is about this as well as it assumes all humans are sinners who need redemption. 

Evil cannot be ignored and it cannot be hidden and it cannot be defeated. It is the challenge of civilization to inhibit its expression and the importance and difficulty of that challenge should not be understimated.

Leave a Comment

Tactics: demonizing the opposition

Guy Benson describes one tactic used to degrade debate to argument: Planned Parenthood: Shame on these zealots for their violence…and legislation.

It’s cynical enough to casually conflate actual violence with “incendiary rhetoric” that creates a “climate of disrespect.” But that’s End of Discussion 101; it’s depressingly commonplace on the Left these days. Planned Parenthood’s meme takes the slander a step further, lumping in perpetrators of (exceedingly rare and virtually universally-condemned) anti-abortion violence with pro-life Americans seeking to increase legal protections for the unborn through peaceful, democratic means. The abortion lobby is intentionally erasing distinctions between speech, legislative efforts, and physical violence.

The climate issue provides another clear cut example. Disagree with the idea of catastrophic human caused climate change and you are called a denier, accused of violating RICO laws, and told you are out to do evil. 

The real question is why such disreputable tactics get the credibility they do.

Leave a Comment