Supplemental: We the people, wrong on our facts!

SATURDAY, AUGUST 2, 2014

Also, Paul Krugman on “experts:” It’s often surprising to see the things we the people believe.

A few weeks ago, we noted this fact: We the people have little idea who is in charge of the Congress. Based upon the survey in question, we’d guess that maybe one third of the public actually knows which party controls the House and which party controls the Senate.

We the people don’t follow such matters closely. This morning, we were struck by a similar factoid in the Washington Post.

The factoid appears in a news report about a major survey. The survey found that roughly three percent of American adults identify as being gay, lesbian or bisexual.

According to reporter Sandhya Somashekhar, some gay rights activists are “distressed” about this figure. They feel the actual number is four percent, and they feel that the lower number may hurt their causes.

Meanwhile, “a number of socially conservative groups immediately seized on the” survey result, Somashekhar reports. They say the three percent figure comports with their own long-standing notions.

That fight over one percentage point ought to be depressing enough. To us, it's an example of the trench warfare which typifies our strife-ridden, tribal times.

We were more struck by a different point, concerning what we the people seem to believe about the demographics:
SOMASHEKHAR (8/2/14): The few scholarly surveys that have tried to size up the gay population typically found that the number of people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual is about 3.5 percent to 4 percent, with about half labeling themselves bisexual. The overall proportion rises when the question is adjusted to ask not about identity but about sexual behaviors, attractions or experiences.

There are broad misconceptions about the numbers, however. Many Americans believe the proportion of U.S. gays to be 1 in 10—a false figure promoted in the 1960s, drawn from a book by sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. The polling organization Gallup has found that a majority of Americans actually believe the proportion is even higher, closer to 25 percent.
Say what? According to Somashekhar, the actual number is something like three or four percent. But according to Gallup, a majority of us the people think the number “is closer to 25 percent.”

(“Closer to 25 percent” is a bit imprecise. Somashekhar links to this Gallup report in which estimates have ranged from 21.4 percent to 24.6.)

With great frequency, we the people tend to wrong, even crazily wrong, on our basic facts. We aren’t especially well-informed.

This brings us to Krugman’s “experts.”

In recent weeks, we’ve been noting the way Kurgman keeps putting the word “experts” inside quotes—scare quotes.

His did this in his July 14 column, then again on July 18. And sure enough! For the third time, he did it in yesterday’s column.

In several earlier columns, he skipped the scare quotes around the word “experts,” referring instead to our supposed experts. Here’s the passage from yesterday’s column where he used the quotes:
KRUGMAN (8/1/14): Am I saying that the professional consensus is always right? No. But when politicians pick and choose which experts—or, in many cases, “experts”—to believe, the odds are that they will choose badly. Moreover, experience shows that there is no accountability in such matters. Bear in mind that the American right is still taking its economic advice mainly from people who have spent many years wrongly predicting runaway inflation and a collapsing dollar.

All of which raises a troubling question: Are we as societies even capable of taking good policy advice?
According to Krugman, a lot of our most famous experts are actually famous “experts.”

For quite some time, Krugman has noted that many alleged economic “experts” are persistently wrong in their predictions without losing their “expert” status! In recent weeks, he has started placing “experts” in quotes.

We’ve done the same thing for many years with respect to “educational experts.” Krugman is telling a story about economics which we have told, for many years, about our public school debates.

In what kind of world are the “experts” persistently wrong, or just uninformed and clueless? That would happen in a world of “manufactured consent”—a world in which powerful elites establish favored story-lines which pseudo-experts parrot for fame and cash.

“Will recite narrative for cash!” Inside the Washington beltway, Potemkin experts stand at busy street corners holding up such signs.

These pseudo-experts get hired. Within our modern public discourse, this elite dissembling interacts with the wide-ranging cluelessness of us the American people.

We the people are misinformed on a wide range of topics. They the elites are eager to fill our heads with inaccurate facts and misleading ideas.

We’ve long noted the working of this culture in the world of education (and in the world of White House campaigns). Krugman keeps describing the way this culture works in the realm of economics.

But how odd:

All the other mainstream liberals just keep ignoring what Krugman says. How weird! His repeated observation just doesn’t much seem to spread.

We’d have to say we have an idea how Krugman must feel about that. Nothing is harder than getting our many Potemkin liberals to repeat key facts and ideas.

Meanwhile, gaze on the cockeyed way our American discourse works:

According to Somashekhar, gay rights activists are “distressed” because a survey said three percent, not four.

Those activists can cool their jets. Out here in the real America, we the people think the number is more like twenty-four!

155 comments:

  1. An expert is someone who has been trained to think analytically and critically about a body of information (facts or knowledge). An expert typically spends many years becoming acquainted with that knowledge base and learning how to think about it, guided by a mentor and with close examination of his or her thoughts and writing on that subject. But no one is perfect, nor is there complete knowledge in any field. Expecting an expert to always be accurate, to be completely unbiased, to always think clearly is like expecting science to have all the answers. We all strive do the best we can, in whatever endeavor we pursue, and we all fall short.

    Putting "expert" in scare quotes is silly. It suggests that the person in question (or people) have not been trained and have not become familiar with their field's knowledge base. That is unfair. It is especially unfair when experts are blamed for having opinions in areas of unsettled understanding (where no consensus exists), when they cannot make predictions in areas where no one can make predictions, and where they make human mistakes, just as are made in any field.

    Experts are the best we have in this time and place. Only a fool expects infallibility. If you stop listening to the people who have spent the most time investigating something, who have the most informed opinions, whether because they get things wrong sometimes or because they disagree (with each other, with received wisdom, with public opinion), then you throw out the best chance of getting closer to what is true in the world. You can go back to the Middle Ages, but I think our society would do better to bumble toward progress along with its experts instead of going back to ways that demonstrably are useless, even counterproductive.

    Somerby's occasional wanderings into anti-intellectualism are troubling. Krugman sounds like he is throwing a tantrum. Being frustrated over the slow pace of progress or the inadequacies of modern science is understandable, but it seems irresponsible to suggest that we disown our experts because of it. They are the only ones with the persistence to keep pursuing an approximation of knowledge despite such frustrations and if society now decides to persecute them for being imperfect, we do so at a cost to that perseverence. Who will want to become an expert on anything if the result is being placed in scare quotes are reviled for not knowing enough to please Krugman, who is supposedly a trained expert himself and should know better than to take this tack.

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    1. An excess of verbiage does not necessarily equate to intelligence.

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    2. Wise advice indeed for our blogger who seems to bury in verbage the same repeated point disguised as "series" and "supplementals" and "interludes."

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    3. They are not disguised. They are clearly labeled. At times they are oddly numbered, as our resident "expert" KZ has noted.

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    4. @ 10:52 would you say, based on the preceding post, that Somerby is an expert on 1999 Howie Kurtz episodes of "Reliable Sources"? Not that many commenters seemed to care.

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    5. @12:26 Words are free on the internet. If long comments annoy you, feel free to skip them. Likewise any big words.

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    6. You seem not to get it. "Experts" who keep wrongly predicting inflation have proven themselves not to be expert. If they are going to opine again saying the same thing, they have an obligation to tell the reader how often and how badly they have been wrong with the same prediction. Those who do not make such a disclosure deserve the scare quotes.

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    7. You don't have to make a correct prediction to be an expert. You test a theory by making a prediction and then comparing the result to what was predicted. Where these guys go wrong is in not changing their theories when the predictions don't materialize.

      All scientists make incorrect predictions from time to time. That is how knowledge advances. Theories must yield to data or you are not doing research.

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    8. When experts make wrong claims or statements, refute them using data, not by telling them to shut up because they are not experts. Truth doesn't rest on authority, so untrue statements cannot be falsified by denying the speaker's authority (claim to expertise).

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    9. "Theories must yield to data or you are not doing research."

      These so called experts don't have theories, they have a religion. There's is only one Commandment, whatever the situation. Cut taxes for the wealthy. Meanwhile, in the real world, towns all over Kansas are having their schools closed because the state can't afford to keep them open.

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    10. Put the blame where it belongs. The experts aren't doing this. People with ulterior motives are using theorists as cover for decisions they would be making any way. Those decision makers need to be held accountable, instead of passing the blame to some economist or other expert.

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    11. I put the blame where it belongs, the idiots who elect these frauds. Is it possible Brownback will be defeated? I guess, but it shouldn't even be close.

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    12. mm, as you know, Kansas politics always had a big strain of Populism in it. Against that, was the emergence of the William Allen White/Eisenhower Republicans who, though conservative in the "cautious" sense, believed also that government had a role to play in the lives and well-being of people.

      Brownback is radically the opposite and very much part of the strain of Republicanism dating from Reagan which believes that "government isn't the solution to problems. Government is the problem." So they want to starve government to death.

      As for the "idiots who elect these frauds," Thomas Frank explained it very well. It's easy to gin up votes by marrying anti-government populism with the so-called "family values" social issues, about which they will only pay lip service to as they slash taxes chiefly for benefit of the wealthy.

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  2. "Inaccurate fact" makes no sense. A fact is not a fact if it is inaccurate, by definition. I suppose Somerby means misinformation presented as fact, not inaccurate fact.

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    1. It's a mistake that would get a high school paper knocked down a grade. As well as the title of the post: "We the people, wrong on our facts!"

      Well again, in the first place, if it's a fact, it's not wrong. Second, speak for yourself, Somerby.

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    2. @ 12: 17 it is refreshing that a commenter "supposes" what Somerby means instead of telling us what he "really" said.

      That said, are you suggesting in your last sentence that 11:04 is Somerby, or did you, in fact, leave out a word in you sentence? If so, intepretations may differ.

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    3. He or she is just calling Somerby a hypocrite again, not suggesting any commented is Somerby. Talk about beating a dead horse!

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    4. 1:23, since you are having so much difficulty figuring it out, I'll help.

      "WE the people, wrong on OUR facts!"

      "Somerby, speak for yourself."

      As for the wondrous evidence he summons to support this? A Gallup poll about the percentage of gays!

      Good Lord, what a weak, lazy mind!

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    5. So perhaps that thought should have been in a seperate comment rather than as a response

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    6. Yes, let's split hairs. How Somerby!

      "Wrong on facts" ties into "inaccurate facts" and points to the laziness and sloppiness of Somerby's prose, with the additional comment that Somerby wants to condemn the entire populous for swallowing misinformation about macroeconomics based on a Gallup poll of how many people are wrong about the percentage of the gay population.

      That's like saying that because some people think a slow baserunner you should attempt steal third with two outs, nobody knows anything about football or basketball either.

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    7. No. That's like saying because somebody questions your prose they have split ends. Just because you never got to second base to begin with doesn't mean you are tall enough to rebound.

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    8. If you are planning to have a debate about policy, it is wise to begin by agreeing on what the facts are. There may be some disagreement about some facts (which is normal in science), but it does not help to embrace the information by experts who are persistently wrong and represent only a small part of the science community just because it supports your policy ideas. Defending positions just because your experts have lots of training and experience is just being contrary and not helpful in resolving conflicts. Unless of course conflict is your purpose.

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  3. For someone who holds others to high standards in handling statistics, this sentence is a blooper: "That fight over one percentage point ought to be depressing enough."

    One percentage point is not the issue; it's whether the LGBT community is roughly 12 million (4 percent of 300 million) or 9 million (3 percent).

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    1. What about margin of error? Shouldn't the two parties debating the statistic include margin of error? Perhaps that is what is depressing.

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    2. Given the sample size from which the 3% is derived, there might be twice the number of GTBL's or none at all.

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    3. As far as I see, this is only LGB. But T would likely fit safely within the margin of error, despite the incessant whinging from that quarter.

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  4. To put this in context, Jews are about 2% of the general population but have a strong influence on elections.

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    1. To put this in another context, are there more Log Cabiners among Republicans than the general population, and do they find it frustrating having to pit their combined voices against the word of the Lord?

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  5. In Krugman's column he isn't expecting experts to always be accurate, he is describing "experts" who have been wrong consistently for decades.

    It's true that in today's world, many charlatans pose as "experts" in order to make a buck. Not just in economics and education but all over the map. You see it a lot in nutrition and fitness etc. These people are modern-day snake oil salesman.

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    1. It's especially frustrating for an economist, let a Nobel laureate.

      Good grief, you would have thought that the whole Friedman school of supply-side economics would have been thoroughly discredited in 2008, as well as the Laffer theories of tax policy -- increase revenues by cutting taxes.

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    2. Facts are the economic measures observed by economists, and their behavior over time. Theories about them are not facts but constructions (ideas) to organize and explain the facts. So there can be agreement about the facts of what has happened in our economy but disagreement about the theories about why things happened and how to change economic behavior. Experts debate how to evaluate theories.

      I think theories change when their proponents die off. I don't see much willingness of anyone to let go of a preferred theory via being convinced by facts. I think people seek subsets of facts to support preferred theories and do not choose theories based on the evidence supporting them, as they ideally should.

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  6. Don't forget to visit Salon.com to congratulate the writer who announced she is having an abortion today. She's waiting for the congratulations and acknowledgements of her "courage" for not only killing the human being she created but seeking attention by announcing it. Pride and congratulations surround killing the most vulnerable human beings who can't defend themselves because of their location and status and size. That's progressive!

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    1. I did as you suggested, and Jenny Kutner described you to a "T".

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    2. Do you mean when she describes me as someone who thinks it gravely immoral that she is killing a human being she created whose life is in her hands? Guilty as charged. I didn't refer to her as a slut, however. A killer is far worse, except to progressives. She also objects to anyone offering an opinion on whether a woman's choice to kill another human should be scrutinized and commented upon. While some abortions are more complicated than others such as when a mother's life is endangered, if one openly declares that they are killing a human because it is inconvenient, as she has declared, they have provided the necessary information on which another may form an ethical judgment.

      Killing helpless human beings out of convenience is very wrong. Seeking attention for it or congratulating it reveals something even worse that only a progressive could admire.

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    3. 12;29 - What does your position on abortion have to do with this post? Please go preach in a more appropriate place. Put your comment on Salon already!

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    4. Killing is one thing. Offending female undergrads, now that is the gravest evil there is.

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    5. Your religion has told you an invisible speck is a human being.What gives you the right to impose your religious beliefs on anyone else?

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    6. "Invisible speck"??? What next? A baby isn't really a full grown human being. Matter of fact, they are a big burden.

      Like a baby, that "invisible speck" will develop into only one thing. Now what do you suppose only my "religious beliefs" tell me that is?

      Does your "science" tell you otherwise? And how dare you try to impose your "science" (I put that in quotes to differentiate your silly notions from actual science) on me?

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    7. "Invisible speck" is also pretty dismissive of the extremely difficult decision and circumstances women are in who face this decision.

      After all, it's really nothing, isn't it?

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    8. Here is a link to an actual photo of an "invisible speck" at eight weeks of development, about the time women find out that they are pregnant.

      http://www.priestsforlife.org/resources/abortionimages/fig16baby8.jpg

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    9. An aborted embryo or fetus is also a killed human being, a killed living being with unique DNA who will never exist again. Science agrees, even though some try to minimize these facts with meaningless words like "speck".

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    10. A fetus is not a conscious being. Isn't is worse, or at least as bad, to kill living animals for food, clothing, medical testing etc than than to abort a fetus?

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    11. We kill living beings with unique DNA who will never exist again every time we use hand sanitizer. You might argue that we shouldn't be attacking that Ebola virus because it too is a living being with unique DNA who will never exist again.

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    12. How many of those unique human beings did good old God kill in the flood? Or do you choose not to believe in that particular Biblical offering.

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    13. Right. A living human fetus is just like the germs we kill with hand sanitizer.

      So much easier to kill we we dehumanize.

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    14. How can you dehumanize that which is not human?

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    15. "Killing defenseless human beings is wrong." Progressive response, "Some people believe God killed defenseless humans in the flood." I guess that argument is less embarrassing than "I don't agree that killing defenseless human beings is wrong as long as their mother does it, because the worst moral act one can commit is to judge the actions of a parent who, because she doesn't want him around right now, kills a defenseless human being they caused to exist." Anger in response to vocal objection to the killing of defenseless human beings. Such is the bankrupt humanity of the progressive.

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    16. Embryos and fetuses are humans but so are newborn babies, and it's OK to kill them too for the same reason we progressives argue it's alright to kill younger ones. When it becomes legal, it will be just as wrong to judge the parents who kill their newborn human beings. It's defensible because those particular human beings, like the fetus, are just not "human enough" by certain standards. Eventually we can adopt still more standards for what criteria, other than DNA, we want to define "human being" by. We don't yet know what species we will label the fetus, infant, or other inconvenient citizen yet but we will come down on you hard if you judge any of us who kill them because we're compassionate and nonjudgmental. Science is on our side:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/29/medical-ethicists-propose-after-birth-abortion-law_n_1309985.html

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    17. Isn't is worse, or at least as bad, to kill living animals for food, clothing, medical testing etc than than to abort a fetus?

      Of course. Under an argument that places importance on level of consciousness than DNA, it's better to use a fetus or young infant for medical testing than an intelligent chimpanzee, or to eat the meat of a fetus, infant, or other less conscious human being before you eat the meat of a cow or pig. It's probably even more ethically defensible to utilize human bad actors, murderers and so forth, for these purposes before a good dog. Anything is possible and much is defensible when the species status of "human being" is thrown aside in favor of which members of the species deserve consideration or protection above members of their own or other species.

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    18. I asked you a question about your belief in the Bible, where we learn the Lord our God wiped out all humans but Noah and his family. You chose to answer with a humaist politcal attack.

      I take it you do not believe that happened.

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    19. Correct, I do not believe that happened nor do I believe the ethical and moral judgments and objections regarding the act of killing human beings, including very young, unintelligent, and helpless ones residing in their mothers' bodies, require foundation in religion even if many do base their objections therein. Support for abortion could be found in some religious tenets more easily than in a humanistic analysis. One cannot be much of a humanist if he believes that criticism of the convenience killing of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised humans should be verboten. Yes, even when weighed against the supreme moral violation of possibly causing someone to feel "judged" when they have written an article announcing their intent to kill their son or daughter on the upcoming weekend. The only appropriate response to that for a progressive is congratulations, praise for the courage to share the news of the killing, and attacks against anyone who regards the act and disclosure as at all questionable, much less revolting for the lack of regard for that unfortunately condemned human being.

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    20. "Humanistic analysis" is concerned with living persons. You have decided to call various types of human tissue (zygotes, embryos, fetuses, etc) "human beings" and then work yourself into a frenzy about someone "killing" them because your rhetorical decision makes "human beings" sound like "living persons."

      But they're not. If you have some benighted belief (religious or philosophical) that grants this tissue the same rights and considerations as living persons because that tissue has the potential to become a living person, that's fine with me. As long as you don't promulgate that benighted belief as law.

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    21. deadratt, would you be here today if you hadn't once been a zygote, embryo or fetus? If that precise sperm from your daddy met the precise egg from your mommy at the precise moment to produce the precise DNA code to create a deceased rodent, and the one and only deceased rodent in all of human history?

      I'm kinda grateful my mother didn't have a headache. Or that I wasn't a crisis pregnancy.


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    22. I'm kinda grateful too. Just kinda.

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    23. No, I wouldn't be here today if mommy had aborted me. And while I can't say the world would have suffered a tragic loss had she done so, I'm happy she didn't.

      That's knowing what I know now. Had I been aborted, I wouldn't have cared, and I wouldn't have missed a thing. Is your ego so huge that it outrages you to think of a universe that wasn't gifted your presence? Is that what this is all about?

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    24. Nor would you have known or cared if you were killed by your parents at 3 months old. What's your point?

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    25. "Humanistic analysis" is concerned with "human beings." Embryos and fetuses are human beings. "Human beings" are those belonging in the homo sapien species defined by DNA. Dehumanizing human beings is what we don't want but it's what those indifferent to abortion must do in order to convince themselves they are not as bad as others who decide which groups of human beings may be killed without conscience.

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    26. You don't have to limit yourself to "tissue" to euphamize human being. You could use "cells" or "criminal" or "savage" or "slave" or "enemy of the state." If your target group is very young or afflicted with mental retardation or dementia, it's even easier to eliminate "it" since you won't be burdened by concerns about its consciousness.

      When you commit these killings, you should never be judged and if you are, those who question your actions should be attacked for their insensitivity. Truthfully I wouldn't even mind seeing them imprisoned since they will have shown they aren't really human.

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    27. 5:03 "would you be here today if you hadn't once been a zygote, embryo or fetus? "

      No, none of us would. By that same token, none of us would be here if our dad pulled out and killed that sperm by shooting into a dirty sock. Is the sperm also human? if so, i caused a holocaust today in the shower.

      Listen, 1 out of 3 zygotes dies naturally. We all know women who have had miscarriages. 10-25% of pregnancies end in one, but it could be much higher as many end before the women knows she's pregnant.

      I get some people feel strongly that abortion is always wrong. Ok. But to say a miscarriage is the same as losing a child tells me you're not all there.

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    28. I doubt there are many who really think abortion is always wrong. There are easily conceivable scenarios under which it is more defensible. A terminally ill fetus who will experience pain for every moment of his life of a few days. There are other far more common scenarios under which it is impossible to justify without a complete abandonment of human decency such as killing the individual because his continued existence will present a burden to his parents' career, finances, recreation, future plans. We don't see these human beings and in most cases never know about them, so that tends to alleviate our own burden of concern. The other party involved who has a voice and is visible, and who has the legal power to end the life of her son or daughter (perhaps a legitimate power for her to have), is thought by some to be the only important human being in the equation. Somehow these superficial conditions have brought about the strange idea among "compassionate progressives" that the practice of killing this particular group of defenseless human beings should be exempt from moral consideration or comment.

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    29. Some do mourn a miscarriage but the experience is usually far less traumatic than losing a child one has seen and known for a longer period of time. One mourns the deaths of those they know more deeply than deaths of strangers but these subjective reactions don't define the value of the human beings whose lives are ended.

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    30. 3:30, really? Let me ask, a 14 year old girls gets raped and becomes pregnant. Are you ok with her getting the pregnancy terminated? If you say no, you're cruel, delusional but at least consistent. If you say "yes" you cannot possibly think the embryo is human, but use that trope to push your anti-abortion agenday.

      3:40, what complete nonsense. Ok, to equate the loss of a 5 week old embryo to the loss of a one day old baby, even one who never met her parents, is absurd. How's that?

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    31. Anonymi @1:02P and @1:41P, I'm sorry, but I'm simply not impressed by an argument you can win by definition. The cells of human embryos and human fetuses all have human DNA. If you want thereby to call those embryos and fetuses "human beings," that's fine with me. But you don't get to to make the sly pivot from your "human beings" to what everybody else calls "persons" and then claim the moral high ground because you love human beings and anybody who challenges your benighted belief "dehumanizes" them.

      I understand that we're dealing with unborn members of the species, that abortion kills a potential person. You may recoil in horror, but that doesn't mean that I've taken a step closer to becoming the Konzentrationslager officer who selects people at the trains any more than legalized abortion has brought us closer to legalized infanticide. Your lack of a rational argument is underscored by the very fact that you have to claim that I have no conscience as I contemplate killing "my" target group, possibly the very young, the mentally, or the demented.

      Truthfully I wouldn't even mind seeing them [those who support the right to abortion] imprisoned since they will have shown they aren't really human.

      I can't think of a better illustration of the pitfalls of feutsolatry than that. Not to mention irony.

      Anonymous @3:30P,

      Absent dire situations involving DNRs and health-care POAs, no one has the legal power to end the life of "her son or daughter," and I'm not going to let you go unchallenged when you try to define your way to moral superiority. All sons and daughters are born.

      That said, in no way do I wish to stop you from considering abortion a matter suitable for "moral consideration or comment." I just want to stop you from imposing your "moral" position on everyone else.

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    32. Nor would you have known or cared if you were killed by your parents at 3 months old. What's your point?

      I was asked to contemplate my abortion, the tragedy that didn't come about. I gave an answer.

      I thought the topic was abortion. Are you asking whether I would support infanticide to 3 months? The answer is yes, I'd be down with that. Of course, any argument I would make would lose the force of citing the bodily autonomy of pregnant women. But is there really an issue of moving the bright line?

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    33. Your lack of a rational argument is underscored by the very fact that you have to claim that I have no conscience as I contemplate killing "my" target group, possibly the very young, the mentally, or the demented.

      What do you mean I "claim" you would permit the killing of the very young with a clear conscience? You said in the post above you'd be "down with" legalization of killing post-gestational babies up to age 3 months. You didn't clarify if you would also be down with legalizing the killing of those afflicted with retardation or dementia with much less potential than the young infant for improvement in their mental capacities.

      Your argument is filled with errors particularly involving definitions, such as the assumption that "everybody else" thinks the term persons should only apply to born persons or that "legalized abortion" has not brought us closer to "legalized infanticide" when many view the two as logically indistinguishable (the difference in location of a human being before birth versus after represents an extremely weak if not absurd argument in support of a different moral calculus regarding the killing of that human being).

      Truthfully I wouldn't even mind seeing them [those who support the right to abortion] imprisoned since they will have shown they aren't really human.

      I can't think of a better illustration of the pitfalls of feutsolatry than that. Not to mention irony.


      I think that was a mocking statement about those who become incensed when someone states that the killing of very young human beings is anything from morally problematic to morally reprehensible.

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    34. Of course, any argument I would make would lose the force of citing the bodily autonomy of pregnant women.

      The force of that argument is the only rational justification for legalized abortion, but it doesn't serve as a rationalization for the act of abortion.

      My rights legitimately permit me to organize and march in a KKK rally. It doesn't follow that I am not committing a morally reprehensible act in doing so. I can't reasonably scream you down as insensitive for "not minding your own business" when you criticize my choice to exercise my right. Likewise when someone announces her intent to kill her son or daughter because that individual will inconvenience her, no one with any consistent humanistic code of ethics can reasonably become offended by criticism of that inhumane act. Yet it sends progressives off the deep end.

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    35. 3:30, really? Let me ask, a 14 year old girls gets raped and becomes pregnant. Are you ok with her getting the pregnancy terminated? If you say no, you're cruel, delusional but at least consistent. If you say "yes" you cannot possibly think the embryo is human, but use that trope to push your anti-abortion agenday.

      I wouldn't be "OK" with it but the context of a raped 14 year old enduring 9 months of pregnancy caused by the rape would mitigate the killing of that human being to some degree. We both know this, as you yourself used the example instead an example involving an adult person who negligently created the human being with the full knowledge that the creation of his or her life was a possibility, one that if necessary she would resolve by killing that individual to avoid the inconvenience of the pregnancy or arranging for that person's care.

      3:40, what complete nonsense. Ok, to equate the loss of a 5 week old embryo to the loss of a one day old baby, even one who never met her parents, is absurd. How's that?

      I understand the subjective differences in the parents' minds but not the objective ones between the two human beings, so why don't you define them?

      Delete
    36. Anonymous @6:54P,

      OK, I forgot the ironic tags around the part of my being down with killing babies. My bad.

      It's not that everybody else "should" think the term "person" applies only to those who have been born. It's that the term "person" does apply only to those who have been born. I don't tell people what they should think. Apparently, that's your job, and fortunately, you're not very good at it. Fetuses aren't persons, mostly because they lack many of the defining attributes of persons. If you think that killing fetuses is morally wrong, then perhaps you might want to provide a reasoned argument that doesn't rely on your redefinition of words.

      One of those arguments might be that once we allow abortion, we're on the slippery slope down and out of the birth canal to allowing the killing of infants. This is a measurable proposition, regardless of your view that the two are "logically indistinguishable." And, of course, it fails. So all we're left with is your frantic and erroneous calculation in moral calculus that we already allow killing infants. We don't, and your peculiar vocabulary doesn't change that.

      Now I'm fully aware that you have no reasoned argument to criminalize abortion, just as I'm aware that you don't think you need one. For you, this is a moral decision so obvious that you're aghast at those who think otherwise. redefining them as evil by calling them murderers, just as you've redefined zygotes as persons by calling them human beings. I will do you the courtesy of not pretending that I respect or understand your position.

      So, why aren't you stalking and killing abortion doctors? After all, it's permissible to kill someone to prevent his murdering another human being. Let me suggest that when you've worked out this problem in moral calculus, and your answer says, "Become a killer or a coward." then you've got an error in one of your steps, the moral equivalent of dividing by zero.

      Delete
    37. I understand the subjective differences in the parents' minds but not the objective ones between the two human beings, so why don't you define them?

      And here we have the answer to the question "What could possibly go wrong when we redefine words to make our moral arguments?" The differences in the parents' minds are based on the objective differences between a fetus and a baby. This has passed you by because, for you, they're both "human beings."

      Delete
    38. The differences in the parents' minds are not based on the objective differences between a fetus and a post-birth baby. As some ethicists who have aimed to defend legal killing of newborns up to age 6 months have pointed out, those differences are negligible and every argument that would support the killing of a fetus at 5 months gestation (usually involving "consciousness" which you or someone else in this discussion mentioned) applies as well to a 3 month old newborn. The location of the fetus vs newborn and their legal status are the irrational foundations that enable a parent to kill their son or daughter at 5 months gestation in good conscience but not at 3 months post birth.

      The commonality between the two entities is that they are human beings, and individuals who will never have the opportunity to exist again. Yes, this is much more important than their differences and I have yet to see an argument supporting why more weight should be given the temporary cognitive ability of these individuals than to their humanity. There is nothing morally defensible about classifying a group of helpless and powerless individuals, or a newborn infant, or a three year old, or mentally retarded or demented individuals, as "less human than other humans" and asserting that killing them is not in the least problematic.

      Delete
    39. There are many immoral but legal killings that take place every day all around the world. You must believe there are some as well, but neither of us is out stalking and killing the offenders. If you try hard, or not very hard at all, you can work out those reasons.

      Delete
    40. From my point of view, there are no legalized murders taking place in my community that I am responsible for, at least partially, as a member of that polity. When you've defined yourself into a moral corner, I think it's time to examine how you got there. YMMV.

      Delete
    41. Please name these "ethicists" who have defended the killing of newborns.

      Once again, it's impossible for you to participate in a rational discussion as long as you think you can limn the moral problems of abortion by calling zygotes, blastocysts, and fetuses "sons" or "daughters." Thus you have convinced yourself that parents can't tell the difference between the former and the latter.

      There's no doubt that there's a commonality, if only at the cellular level, between embryos and babies. But there are also differences -- consciousness; depending on the stage of development, even the existence of a neural system; the ability to draw a breath independently of an already-developed human being (by which I mean an actual person, not one of your potential ones). It isn't so much that you haven't seen these arguments, as you dismiss them out of hand by your misuse of language.

      It's not that killing fetuses isn't the least problematic. It's that the moral calculus should involve the mother's choices for her own bodily integrity, her life, her health, and the well-being of other members of her family. I know that you convinced yourself that your own moral point of view should be dispositive here. I know that because you've attempted to change the language to make yourself the moral arbiter of women's lives. But you're not. You're certainly welcome to the contrary opinion -- and how could I stop you from holding such? -- but you're not welcome to impose your moral certainty on everyone else.

      Delete
    42. If you think that killing fetuses is morally wrong, then perhaps you might want to provide a reasoned argument that doesn't rely on your redefinition of words.

      I didn't define or redefine words. I pointed out that "person" is not a universally defined to exclude fetuses. I am comfortable stipulating to certain legal definitions of personhood that exclude any human being pre-birth, but a decent argument can be made that the legal definition is not encompassing of other definitions including dictionary definitions, some of which would include human beings not yet born ("human being" is one definition of person). That's all I'm saying and semantics aren't important here but they are where you are trying to defend your argument.

      There is consensus on what defines a human being. A being that is comprised of human DNA. A member of the human species. This includes a fetus. Scientists study the "human fetus" and "human embryo."

      But again, semantics aren't important. You are free to make up and defend your own definitions and scientists are not the final arbiters of language, but once you do so in order to defend the killing of certain individuals with human DNA, you must also defend legalized killing of anyone else with human DNA who meets your criteria. I'm assuming you recognize that changing the definition of human being to one that asserts that these "things" alive in their mother's body only become human beings by virtue of their physical location as opposed to DNA would be the weakest possible definition, and obviously designed only to permit consistency in your emotional preference. Not to mention that it would make those individuals who have ever professed to love and care about the "things" they created that haven't yet "turned into human beings" psychotic. But that will be the only argument you'll be left with, and while it would make your arguments consistent, it will also make them laughably arbitrary.

      erroneous calculation in moral calculus that we already allow killing infants. We don't, and your peculiar vocabulary doesn't change that.

      More semantics. Some like to refer to abortion as "infanticide" because they do not see a difference between the killing of a newborn or fetus, so one might as well call the earlier killing "infanticide." It doesn't matter what it is called, but it is true that at one time the vast majority of people did regard killing either as morally reprehensible because they are both human beings. The numbers might have changed but this (highly defensible) position is still held by many, so they choose to use the term in reference to the killing of any very young human being.

      Now I'm fully aware that you have no reasoned argument to criminalize abortion, just as I'm aware that you don't think you need one.

      I'm not in favor of criminalizing abortion. I am in favor of legal abortion just as I am in favor of legalized KKK marches. In both cases there are powerful countervailing arguments against prohibition of either act that have nothing to do with the morality of either. This should deter no one from declaring either act "wrong" or "inhumane" or "evil" when committed in certain circumstances.

      Delete
    43. Please name these "ethicists" who have defended the killing of newborns.

      Some of them have impressive credentials and make quite rational arguments. These arguments are nothing new. We've seen rationales for legal killing of all types of human beings based on certain differences. Always for a "greater good."

      http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/29/medical-ethicists-propose-after-birth-abortion-law_n_1309985.html

      Delete
    44. From my point of view, there are no legalized murders taking place in my community

      There is no such thing as a legalized murder. There are legalized killings. Why are you limiting your stalking to your community? Are you saying that you are courageous enough to take action against unjust killings but your moral obligation only extends to the city limits?

      Delete
    45. t's not that killing fetuses isn't the least problematic. It's that the moral calculus should involve the mother's choices for her own bodily integrity, her life, her health, and the well-being of other members of her family.

      If you are conceding that the killing of fetuses is or may be problematic, then why exclude those individuals from the moral calculus? Because they have no legal standing or cognitive capacity to participate in the decisions? And their individuality or human status does not afford them any moral right of consideration because it is their mother who holds the power of life and death?

      You'll have points taken off your progressive report card for indicating you might find abortion morally problematic in some way, even if you were careful not to offend the person whose act under should be exempt from any moral scrutiny regardless of the facts, by virtue of her legal right to determine whether the individual with no rights lives or dies.

      Delete
    46. But again, semantics aren't important.

      But semantics is all you have. As is evident in you next sentence:

      [if you] defend the killing of certain individuals with human DNA, you must also defend legalized killing of anyone else with human DNA who meets your criteria.

      What you really mean is that if I defend aborting fetuses, then I must also defend the killing of anyone else who meets *your* criteria, presumably of equivalence. (Note the sly use of "anyone." Well played!) But the equivalence is in your definition of human being -- so much for those semantics that aren't important. And, no, I don't have to do that.

      Moral standards all have some element of the arbitrary, but the only thing laughable here is the irony of your bringing that up.

      It doesn't matter what it is called,....

      But it does when you can't keep straight your labels and the things they label. One might as well call the earlier killing "infanticide," but only to make sure that you win a moral argument by definition. We can as well call a dog a five-legged animal because we've decided to call a tail a leg.

      But I seem to have wasted a lot of my time while misjudging you. If you're not in favor of criminalizing abortion, then I should have just let you rant. Sorry about that.

      Delete
    47. Anonymous @9:40.

      The state line in my case, not the city limits. And I wouldn't ask you to travel the country to exercise your courage. That should make it easier to intervene on behalf of zygotes.

      Delete
    48. If anyone wants to know the problem with the American discourse today, read this thread.

      We got the "invisible speck" crowd and the "abortion is murder" crowd screaming at each other with no attempt to find out of there is any ground they hold in common which might address this issue.

      Speaking as a person who considers himself very much liberal and very much pro-life, I wish we had a health insurance system that at least covered pregnancy on a single payer basis. The poorest and the wealthiest have the same access to the best pre-natal, delivery, and post-natal care possible.

      But I wouldn't stop there. I would greatly expand the WIC program to cover more of the working poor, and I would also make such programs as school breakfast and lunch free for ALL children, without the means testing.

      On top of that, I would greatly raise the minimum wage so that a single mother can raise her family in some semblance of dignity, and even expand such programs to help those that want it receive GED (if necessary) and job training.

      Of course, all that would be quite expensive, and would never get by some politicians who pay lip service to being "pro-life" but then proceed immediately to shred further the weak social safety net that is already in place.

      But I do know that we will never make progress on this issue until the adults take over the discussion. And at least in this thread, there are very few adults to be found.

      Delete
    49. You're not adult enough to have understood that I didn't say "abortion is murder." I said abortion is killing a human being, which is indisputable. I said abortion should not be considered a morally inconsequential act because it is, after all, the killing of a human being. Progressives are currently attempting to silence anyone who assigns any value to the human being before birth, or who opines about circumstances under which abortion is a selfish, immoral act of convenience that costs a human being his or her life for no defensible reason. We all judge the circumstances of human killings, evaluate the facts around them to determine the level of justification, and declare our opinions. Abortion should be no exception simply because the person holding the power to kill has the legal right to do so. When an article is written, a boast by a mother intends to kill her son or daughter the next day for no reason anyone could seriously view as morally defensible, for the purpose of normalizing the act and shutting down scrutiny around it, it's worth commenting on and no one should be cowed into silence by overwrought perpetual victims of the left, who consider themselves victims even as they kill human beings they negligently created.

      Delete
    50. Anonymous @ 12:12 I expected this to come up:

      "as they kill human beings they negligently created."

      Keeping these fetuses alive is primarily intended to punish the women for allowing themselves to be impregnated, which usually involves sex, which can be pleasurable, which (therefore) is very, very wrong. I was raised in a religious family and I was told over and over again that sex was bad, unless it resulted in children. This whole anti-abortion gig is just a continuation of that thinking. Sex is bad. We must punish women who have sex and don't have children.

      Delete
    51. What little inclination I had to take your hissy fit seriously disappeared after your no-doubt heartfelt lament that "progressives" are silencing people who hector others about the moral value of zygotes. At the risk of stating the obvious, "progressives" don't have the means to do that, and your own maunderings here thoroughly undercut the case for your own persecution.

      At the risk of restating the obvious,

      1. You can't make your moral case by defining a zygote as a human being, and then declaring that since human beings have a moral right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of property, abortion is immoral.

      2. if we presume Jenny Kutner went ahead with her plans, she didn't kill her son or daughter.

      3. Contrary to your various claims, nothing in Kutner's article is "boast; she did give her reason; and I, for one, view her actions as not only defensible, but not necessary to defend to you or anyone else.

      4, If you'd actually read the article, you'd know that Kutner wasn't negligent.

      5. I suppose that women have abortions for selfish reasons or for reasons of convenience; they also have abortions out of necessity or in their best interests as they perceive them. You hate the former, and probably don't care about the latter, but as there is a moral right to one's own bodily integrity, it 's really none of your business.

      Delete
    52. @1:14, your entire comment is hysterical paranoia and ignorance. Your upbringing doesn't give you insight into anyone's ideas or motives. It obviously limited your ability to think, however.

      Delete
    53. How come breeder issues took over a post about the LGBT agenda? I guess that proves Bob's point about teh stupid.

      Delete
    54. I think it is pretty funny that for the most part, two people can go back and forth here for a couple of days discussing something totally unrelated to the post and none of the troll patrol raises a peep.

      Delete
    55. I have developed a technique that can be used to remove the fertilized egg at any point of development from a woman and grow it to term at my facility. My facility has sufficient capacity so that I will be able to accept all of the fertilized eggs from all of the women now considering abortions. This means that it will no longer be necessary for there to be any abortions anywhere anymore. I am putting you personally in charge of the whole operation. Of course, the process is not cheap. Since the existence of these potential humans is a direct result of your personal intervention, I expect that you will step up provide all of the funds necessary to maintain the operation of the facility. These are, literally, your children. You likely have many, many like-minded friends who will be willing to help. I still expect, however, that no matter how generous your friends may be, your funding will fall short of the money necessary to maintain the process for all of the fertilized eggs. You should prepare yourself to make the ethical and moral decisions as to which potential lives must be cut short to maintain the survival of the facility. I am sure that you are the perfect person to make these choices. Please do not come to me for support. I want nothing to do with your mad schemes to play God with other people’s lives.

      Delete
    56. "Of course, the process is not cheap. Since the existence of these potential humans is a direct result of your personal intervention, I expect that you will step up provide all of the funds necessary to maintain the operation of the facility. These are, literally, your children. "

      They are the children of those who contributed the egg and sperm. Are you saying that the father who produces a child should not be obligated to support it should the mother give birth to it? We already all are paying support and other social costs for these children and their deadbeat fathers.

      Delete
    57. (To answer your question of whether I would be willing to continue to contribute to the cost of raising the offspring of the deadbeat mother and father of the children from your lab if the alternative is killing them, yes, in the same way I already contribute to doing the same for unwanted children of irresponsible and unaccountable parents who produce them. And whether or not I supported doing it, I would be forced to do it anyway just as those who don't believe in social welfare programs are forced to contribute to children they'd prefer had never been conceived.)

      Delete
    58. I think that Anon @12:16 and Anon @12:23 demonstrate precisely what is wrong with the whole so-called ethical/moral position against abortion. It has nothing to do with "life" and has everything to do with money (who pays) and punishing the pregnant woman for getting pregnant.

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Four percent is thirty-three percent greater than three percent. On the other hand, three percent is only twenty-five percent less than four percent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The few scholarly surveys that have tried to size up the gay population typically found that the number of people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual is about 3.5 percent to 4 percent, with about half labeling themselves bisexual.

      The question then becomes one of community acronymic ordering. If about half are bisexual, why isn't it BLGT instead of LGBT?

      Delete
  9. Here is a little "factoid" Somerby stuck in:

    "But how odd:

    All the other mainstream liberals just keep ignoring what Krugman says. How weird!"

    Gack! All of them! You can bet Somerby did a Nexis and Google check to make sure."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excessive literalism is a symptom of mental illness or brain injury.

      Delete
    2. Repetititon is a symptom of Howlerism.

      Delete
    3. "Supply-side" economics has never been properly rebuked by upper end media or liberal politicians. That's why it lives on politically.

      Delete
    4. And no conservatives, mainstream or otherwise, ignored Krugman. Only liberals.

      Delete
    5. @1:50 -- actually, supply-side economics has been challenged. Conservatives and liberals don't read the same things or conservatives would know that.

      Delete
  10. OMB (Figuring out how much of 1% to fight over with OTB)

    "That fight over one percentage point ought to be depressing enough. To us, it's an example of the trench warfare which typifies our strife-ridden, tribal times." BOB demeans percentage points this post

    "Meanwhile, if you don’t get the scores to two decimal places, you’ll get this rounded result:

    Average reading score, Grade 4 NAEP
    Black students, “DCPS”
    2013: 192
    2007: 192
    From that, you may get the impression that “reading scores have not budged.” BOB, arguing for decimal points back on March 3.

    PKA KZ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The factoid appears in a news report about a major survey. The survey found that roughly three percent of American adults identify as being gay, lesbian or bisexual."

      2.3 = 3 according to a very rough rule of thumb.

      Delete
    2. No link and a truncated quote, obviously we're being deceived again by this commenter.

      Somerby said:

      [QUOTE]>>>>>Because of the growth of charter schools in DC, it can be tricky to keep track of the District’s test scores. Over the years, a lot of kids have migrated from DC’s traditional public schools into DC’s charter schools.

      These transfers aren’t occurring at random. As liberals have noted in other contexts, the kids who choose to transfer to charters may be more ambitious and serious, on average, than the kids they leave behind in traditional public schools.

      Let’s consider the reading scores of black fourth graders in the city’s traditional public schools. In fact, there has been a minor gain over the period in question:

      Average reading score, Grade 4 NAEP
      Black students, DC traditional public schools only
      2013: 192.42
      2007: 191.24

      Within the traditional public schools, the average score was a little more than one point higher in 2013.

      No, that isn’t much of a gain. But remember, that gain was achieved even as kids were leaving the traditional schools in favor of the charters.

      That is a modest gain. But here’s what the scores look like if you consider all black kids in the D.C. schools—kids in traditional public schools plus kids in the charters:

      Average reading score, Grade 4 NAEP
      Black students, all DC schools
      2013: 196.89
      2007: 191.54

      That’s a gain of 5.35 points in six years, a pretty good gain. (By a very rough rule of thumb, ten points on the NAEP scale is often compared to one academic year.)

      Where did Brown and/or Catania get the idea that “reading scores for fourth-grade black students have not budged” since 2007? We’ll guess it happened like this:

      The NAEP does a very poor job presenting DC scores, especially before 2009. If you accept the default presentation the NAEP makes—if you don’t know how to separate scores into charter schools versus traditional public schools—you may see this comparison for “DCPS” in the years in question:

      Average reading score, Grade 4 NAEP
      Black students, “DCPS”
      2013: 192.42
      2007: 191.54

      In fact, that average score for 2007 is the average score for all kids in all DC schools, traditional public schools plus charters. The score for 2013 is the score for kids in traditional public schools only.<<<<<[END QUOTE]

      Delete
    3. Thanks CMike for proving you care about black children and BOB's reputation as a philosopher and expert in decimillian numerology. There is of course, in this case, no coincidence in his insistence on seeing the importance of two decimal points in assessing test score progress over two years but finding it tribal to argue over a whole round percentage point in calculating a subpopulation.

      We also take heart that your larger quote provided another instance of that widely used (by BOB) rough rule of thumb!

      Unfortunately, since the commenter between us noted BOB's own willingness to overlook the exclusion of .70 of a percent out of the debate over calculation of the LGBT population, we are not sure your timing is the best.

      FKA KZ

      Delete
    4. Somerby frequently refers to what he calls a rough rule of thumb, you had linked to a paper which indicated that that "rough rule of thumb" has not been established or disproved by any rigorous study and that's among the reasons why you feel compelled to argue constantly and sometimes dishonestly in these threads? I say, "Good for you! Have at it." I wouldn't want you pursuing some other fixation.

      Delete
    5. We linked to a study conducted for the NAEP which said proving what a score differential meant was possible but costly. That hasn't been proven or disproven either, but we are pretty sure it hasn't been done. Thus it discouraged people for further guessing with their thumbs or out their wazoos.

      Your definition of it as neither proven nor disproven
      fits nicely with BOB's frequent reference to matters not having been "journalistically proven." We would say on a scale of .01 to 100, with 100 being mumbo jumbo, the chances of anything being journalistically proven depend on its solubility in 99.96% pure journalistic bullhockey.

      That said, items in this thread remind us that you cannot prove or disprove that, during his service in heaven, God took the initiative in creating man in his own image. Some people have either a faith or a fixation that it happened. Others just think most of them, regardless of whose intiative it was, are dumb. They use poll results to "prove" it.

      Delete
    6. ZKoD - Just a thought - perhaps you could start a blog in which you critique not only this blog, but other blogs that try to analyze the American media. You might even want to start (but of course never complete) an online book about Bob's war on Maddow, or something.

      By the way, Bob's been pretty up-front about why he does this blog - he writes that it's his belief that we can't have a progressive society unless citizens get accurate information, which the media are failing to provide. I'm honestly curious, what's your purpose in subjecting Bob's writing to the level of scrutiny that you do?

      Delete
    7. Who left the door open and let KZ slip back in?

      Delete
    8. jonny, I doubt he'll answer; apparently some weird obsession on his part

      Delete
    9. We heard they was discussing when life begins.

      We may take Jonny Scrum-half up on his suggestion.
      After a dozen years we may even allow comments.

      Delete
    10. Right, he didn't answer.

      Delete
    11. Oh, dear us. We didn't give you our purpose. Our purpose
      is to support BOB's purported purpose. We believe BOB provides the same sort of inaccurate information as the media, often in the same manner as he critcizes in their provision of it.

      Delete
    12. No matter how clever you think you are being, even in calling out trolls, it is not nice to speak of Somerby's book as unfinished. He gave very good reasons why it is still in progress. His frustrations are easily equal to those of Professor Krugman.

      Delete
    13. I kinda happen to think that Bob got a pile of rejection letters when he proposed his "Maureen Dowd, et al, cost my college roomie the election while E.J. Dionne, et al, sat idly by" tome to various publishers. In fact, I would further think that such publishers got quite the chuckle out of it.

      Then after a decade of knowing he had such vitally important things to say about the mean things said about three-button suits, Bob sat down to self-publish his book for free, just to warn the rest of socieity. He then found out that writing a coherent book was even far more difficult for him as writing a coherent blog post. In fact, it's a whole heck of a lot of work, and an editor really comes in handy.

      So he quit.

      Delete
    14. I met a very nice person who self published a book. It was about Aha moments.

      Delete
    15. Is there a rule somewhere saying that (1) someone must write a book, (2) having started a book, it must be finished, (3) having written a book it must be published? I someone doesn't do this things does it mean no one should ever listen to anything they say, that any blog written by that person should not be read, that others are mocking what most people never attempt?

      These troll comments, intended as nastygrams, just make no sense. Who among us (especially trolls) has started a book, much less finished one and who has had it published?

      The days when self-publishing was vanity are long gone. Many authors are finding that self-publishing allows them to keep more of the sales and have more control over when or if the book goes out of print. The internet has changed publishing and many authors are now skipping publishing houses altogether. So I just don't see this as any kind of knock on Somerby.

      Delete
    16. To Anonymous at 1:09 - I really wasn't trying to make fun of Bob at all for not finishing his book. I was trying to be a bit sarcastic about the comments made about it being unfinished. I'm a big fan of Bob's, and I appreciate the time and thought he puts into his projects, whether or not he finishes them as he plans to do.

      Delete
    17. ZkoD fka KZ 11:00 p.m (name change due to the initials KZ apparently similar to German term for a concentration camp??) if that's your purpose it is sure a dumb one.

      Delete
    18. "I'm a big fan of Bob's, and I appreciate the time and thought he puts into his projects, . . ."

      This is ironic coming from you, Jonny. Weren't you the one who took the initiative to discover that D'Leisha Dent had indeed been accepted into a four-year college? By googling her name and getting the story out of her hometown newspaper?

      And even after that, Bob was too damned lazy to read his own combox. He went on for another three weeks about how she could not get into a four-year college. And every time he did, the guffaws grew!

      Until he finally found out, probably through an e-mail or something, then wrote a post as if it just happened.

      But to each his own. You go right ahead and be a "big fan" of a guy who rails about "misinformation" in the media, but is too damned lazy to even do a google check to see if the bullroar he puts out checks out, and too damn dishonest to admit a mistake.

      After all, he's the "critic", they are the "media." Critics don't have to hold themselves to the same standards of truth, accuracy and respect for their audience that they demand from others.

      Delete
    19. "Is there a rule somewhere saying that (1) someone must write a book, (2) having started a book, it must be finished, (3) having written a book it must be published?"

      Only if you announce said book with the greatest fanfare you can muster, create a separate Web site for it, then quit because it's more work than you bargained for and nobody is reading it.

      Delete
    20. Anonymous @ 1:00 p.m. - Yes, I'm "the one" who posted about Ms. Dent. I don't know why my high opinion of Bob's work is in any way made "ironic" by that fact. I recognize that Bob - unlike the media personalities he critiques - isn't paid millions of dollars, and doesn't have organizations that should be helping him be accurate 100% of the time.
      If you don't see value to what he does, that's fine - as you say, "to each his own." But I'm honestly confused why you would then continue to read him if you have such a low opinion of his commentary.

      By the way, I don't think that there's anything wrong with legitimate debate, and sometimes a commenter will disagree with Bob's posts in a way that actually contributes to the debate, rather than detracting from it. I don't think that's what you and KZ are doing.

      Delete
    21. "But I'm honestly confused why you would then continue to read him if you have such a low opinion of his commentary."

      Once again, I'll explain. It's a guilty pleasure watching Bob fans flail away at ideas they can't handle with defenses that are laughable on their face. Such has . . . ."the time and thought he puts into his project."

      Do you have any idea that sentence makes you look like a hero-worshipping nincompoop who is utterly unable to tell the difference between "time and thought" and a blogger dashing off whatever happens to cross his mind in about 15 minutes without doing even the most cursory research?

      And too lazy to read his own combox? Good grief. You sincerely tried to pull his foot out of his mouth, and he ignored you.

      Delete
    22. "By the way, I don't think there's anything wrong with legitimate debate ...."

      Who makes that determination, you?

      Delete
    23. The German word is (K)onzentrations(l)ager, so the official abbreviation was KL. How the alternate acronym KZ took hold, I don't know, but today more people would likely think of Kazakhstan. How absurd is it that you think your problem is that you've mischosen an abbreviation?

      Delete
    24. anon 2:49, you seem to go overboard in overestimating your own cleverness. So she got admitted to a college that admits everyone who applies, like that's some type of cosmic gotcha.

      And that your reason for following the site is to indulge your guilty pleasure in watching bob fans flail away "with ideas they can't handle" trying to defend him - do you realize you are acknowledging that you are a douche?

      Delete
    25. People who call others a liquid vaginal cleanser are at both idiotic and trite. Unfortunately it is one of the more intelligent things you do.

      Delete
    26. Ah, in our absence the deadrat has awoken. Having answered the great moral questions surrounding termination of a byproduct (or is it side effect) of vaginal placement of ejaculate, he now asks if it is absurd to think choice of an anonymous pseudonym is a problem. It might be absurd, deadrat. Do you know someone who thinks it so? We don't.

      Delete
    27. "So she got admitted to a college that admits everyone who applies . . ."

      Yes, the soothing tale Bobfans tell themselves to soothe their pain over the fact that their hero said REPEATEDLY, and long after it had been reported publicly -- including in his own combox -- that Dent could not get accepted into ANY four-year college.

      And, according to the story that Jonny linked to, she also had a couple more offers on the table. She chose the college that offered her the most, and the one that also offered an athletic ride to her boyfriend.

      And here's the "gotcha". Bob spent weeks and many series with interludes and supplementals picking apart Hannah-Jones' report. Yet he took the one part from her story that fit his narrative -- whatever it was as his posts kept meandering from pleasing photos of happy children at play to as far away as Paris and five-year-olds yearning to learn Croatian. and he ran with it without even doing a cursory check to see if Dent's college search had changed from the time Hannah-Jones published her story about her difficulties because of her low ACT.

      Nope. Forget all that. Bob is still right when he continued to write that she couldn't get into ANY college because she got into a college -- on scholarship -- that anybody could get into.

      How was Bob to know that such colleges exist? After all, is he some sort of education expert or something? Why should we expect him to look things up he doesn't know? My God, must we hold him to such sky-high standards as to expect him to make sure that what he writes is the truth? What kind of society would we be if we held everyone to such an impossible standard?



      Delete
    28. "I recognize that Bob - unlike the media personalities he critiques - isn't paid millions of dollars, and doesn't have organizations that should be helping him be accurate 100% of the time."

      So Jonny, how big is your budget and organization that you could discover that Dent had been accepted on scholarship to Miles long before Somerby tumbled onto it?

      The truth is, Bob had a long story to tell and wasn't going to let facts get in his way, so he continued to spread misinformation that his rubes continue to this day to defend.

      While he rails against the misinformation presented by other people. Physician, heal thyself. Then maybe you'd have some credibility.

      Delete
    29. So TDH said that Dent would have trouble getting into any college, but she got into one that accepts all applicants. Obama said that if you like your insurance, you can keep it, and it turned out that people claimed to like their policies that didn't actually cover much of anything. So TDH has no "credibility," and Obama is a "liar."

      Bring in the trolls.
      Don't worry; they're everywhere.

      Delete
    30. Anonymous @ 8:29 a.m. - Bob wasn't "spreading misinformation." He was relying on what had been reported in the Atlantic, and commenting on the implications of the fact that a top student in a Birmingham-area high school was having difficulty getting into college. The fact that she ultimately was accepted into a college doesn't change Bob's point, nor does his mistaken reliance on the magazine story when updated information had become available on Google.

      Delete
    31. Oh good grief, Jonny that's your lamest excuse yet -- It wasn't Bob's mistake, it was someone else's. All he did was repeat it.

      Well, guess how misinformation gets spread? By people too lazy to look it up. Or "update" it.

      Delete
    32. Anonymous @2:24 - Life's too short. Going forward, I'll try to ignore comments, like yours, that seem to me to willfully focus on criticism for the sake of criticism, rather than engaging the point being made by Bob. Good luck to you.

      Delete
    33. Jonny, you can't handle the truth about your hero. He was too damned lazy to look up something it took you five seconds to find. So instead of verifying something in a story he had grave doubts about, he simply continued to spread misinformation, weeks after you discovered the truth.

      Going forward, I too will try to ignore comments, like yurs, that "seem" to be to be written by someone with his head shoved so far up Somerby's ass that he can't even admit the truth when he stumbled upon it himself.

      Good luck to you in your continued hero-worshipping excuse-making. And may one day, your brain repair itself to the point that your critical thinking skills start kicking in again and you'll stop being such a gullible rube.


      Delete
    34. I thought Bob's point was that it wasn't segregation of poorly performing low income minority kids in Tuscaloosa that was the problem. It was that they would have performed poorly even if integrated. Because white liberals hate black kids. Which is why they ignore them.

      Delete
    35. Yes, and Bob's further point was that we did everything we could to solve segregation back in his glory days when he was young, ambitious, and being elitely educated.

      Things are so much better today, and if racism persists, well, those black kids he cares so dearly about are just going to have to learn to live with it.

      After all, he found pictures of black and white children playing happily together.

      Delete
    36. anon 9:58, your comment is a bit unintelligible. In any event, I didn't suggest that his explanation of his reason for his spending time reading a site which he apparently dislikes, if not loathes, amounted to his acknowledging that he (you? - can't tell with all the anons - how many are there 1? 3? 10?) is a douche, meant that he was acknowledging that he was a liquid vaginal cleaner. I meant the word in the sense of being an obnoxious nitwit - which the chain of anonymous comments here (probably the all be the same d*****) only seems to confirm.

      Delete
    37. AC/MA it took you 36 hours to come back with that shit?

      Delete
    38. Anon 11:34. After slaving away for 36 hours, this is the thanks I get!!!???

      Delete
  11. Replies
    1. Two more......Clinton's Rasputin.

      Delete
    2. That's funny! (: Because it true. Good one.

      Delete
    3. Two more.....Mark Penn

      Delete
  12. It is a beautiful day. I am working hard on household tasks, however.
    I don't want any distractions tomorrow when Bob's long postponed series, The Mansions Of Journalist County begins.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What I'm trying to figure out.... "Experts" might come from some of those elite schools Mr. S. is always deriding. (Yes, they also produce some fools, but, who doesn't?) Mr. S. spends so much time undermining the authority of the experts he then expects us to listen to.... I know, I know. Authority should not rest on mere "I went to Harvard." But unless he can show that Harvard or Berkeley or Princeton or numerous others in that league (including small colleges) really are as slipshod as Mr. S. constantly (continuously, it might be fair to say) contends, why suddenly this flip on "expertise"? (Because, you know, ad auctoritatem may be a philosophical fallacy, but we all need it, don't we?).

    ReplyDelete
  14. Some(rby) say that our intellectual culture is broken.

    KZ pushes back against that!

    It is to laugh.

    (Through the tears, of course.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if the push back is against the notion that our intellectual culture broken or somerby's claim that this is 1)news and/or new, 2) those who deliver the "news" are a primary cause and 3) few but Bob Somerby can see it.

      Delete
  15. "Those activists can cool their jets. Out here in the real America, we the people think the number is more like twenty-four!"

    Bob would have a point here if he could support it with evidence that "we the people" have been fed the 24 percent number by either "experts" or "the media."

    But he can't so he won't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He could but he chooses not to. You choose to be here for reasons you can't explain beyond wasting your time not understanding it is his blog and he can cover what he wants to
      with or without whatever evidence he feels is needed.

      Somerby repeats his valuable lessons many times for new readers and sometimes the evidence he once provided in detail can only be found in original posts so he isn't just repeating himself over and over so he can focus on the main lessons again. I don't understand why some people hate him because they don't get it.

      Why can't you quit bringing up the same boring old points since you can't seem to provide evidence why you are here besides hate or someone's paid hidden destructive agenda.

      Delete
    2. You just got one problem. Everything you wrote about me spending time on this blog would also apply to Bob's obsession with MSNBC and NYT, down to his utter, personal loathing for Maddow and Dowd in particular.

      Bobfans could be asking why their hero has dedicated so much of his life to combing through their work. But they can, so they won't. So they instead will be trying to defend what they consider their turf -- an open combox on an Internet blog -- and try to drive the enemy away, in between times that they sit at the master's knee for these valuable lessons.

      Now we learn that Bob doesn't want to repeat himself. What a howler that is.

      But OK, I'll play along. Perhaps you can point me to the "original" post that shows how the American public was so deceived by media misinformation as to believe that the gay population amounts to 24 percent.

      After all, that is the example he carefully chose to illustrate the damage caused by media misinformation.

      Face it, it was yet another random thought Bob pulled out of his nether regions and ran to type it up without putting too much thought into how it related to the point he was struggling ever so hard to make.

      Delete
    3. The difference is that what Maddow and Dowd says matters because a lot of people hear what they have to say. What Bob says does not matter much, because only you and me and a couple of others read any of this stuff. What you say doesn't matter at all, except to you. It is just annoying to have you clutter up whatever discussion is going on.

      Delete
    4. Well, that's certainly what Bob wants you to believe -- that Dowd especially is such a powerful shaper and former of public thought.

      But let me ask you this rhetorically, as food for thought. When was the last time anybody you even remotely know pointed you to a Maureen Dowd column?

      And I am ever so sorry that this "discussion" is being cluttered by folks who won't repeat how brilliant Somerby is. I'm sure divergent opinion bothers you a lot after you've been told the Truth, with a capital "T".

      Delete
    5. If you think I am going to take this sitting down in front of an
      idle keyboard Mr. 12:26 think again. I am not one of either of you and I think what Bob says is more important than what Maddow and Dowd have to say because they are corporate media and Bob is acting in the public interest and that of the health and well being of intellectual integrity as exemplified by Cronkyde and Davis Brinkley. They may have more readers or viewers, but not every eyeball has a brain behind it.

      Delete
  16. Strong and durable horse
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