Statistical illiterates

In fairness, the estimates would probably be right on if one only counts celebrities and fictional television characters:

U.S. adults, on average, estimate that 25% of Americans are gay or lesbian. More specifically, over half of Americans (52%) estimate that at least one in five Americans are gay or lesbian, including 35% who estimate that more than one in four are. Thirty percent put the figure at less than 15%.

Only four percent got the answer right, “Less than 5%”. The actual number is less than half of that, around two percent, not that you’d know it from the way that Hollywood now portrays America as being half Jewish, half Gay, and one quarter Clean, Articulate Black. I expect that Gallup would get similarly overestimated results if it polled Americans on the percentage of Jews in the population too.

I don’t know about you, but I look forward to the touching final episode of Glee, when the very last student at [whatever] high school a) learns that her great-grandmother died in the Holocaust and b) is deconverted from her insidious heterosexuality by Sue Sylvester.

And yet some wonder why I don’t bother to conceal my complete contempt for mainstream opinion. Given its wildly delusional foundations, I would be gravely insulted to learn that my thoughts were considered to be even remotely related to the mainstream.

HT Steve Sailer

Mailvox: why yes, the racists are preferable

Unsurprisingly, Dodo fails to reach the correct conclusion concerning why so many people of different political, religious, and ideological stripes keep telling him to shut up:

I love it how I can come on this site and express some of the tamest liberal philosophy and get attacked from all sides, but this guy gets NO RESPONSE AT ALL. But you’re not racists, no.

I find it tremendously amusing that Dodo is whining about the way people react to him while simultaneously calling all of the thousands of daily readers here, including the black ones, racists. He is clearly incapable of realizing that it is his personality defects, and not his political views, that account for the hostile responses he provokes on a daily basis. Of course, it is not only that he is an annoying asshole, as he also makes a regular habit of producing asinine and uninformed comments that have no object except to be disagreeable. Even other atheists have complained about his repetitive idiocy.

The fact is that most people will quite understandably prefer the company of an open racist who keeps his opinion on racial matters to himself except when it is topical to that of an ignorant and unintelligent asshole who insists on constantly forcing his opinion on others no matter the subject. The fact that people tolerate a wide range of diverse opinions, some well outside the zone of the politically correct, while reacting harshly to Dodo’s expressed views does not mean that everyone agrees with any of those opinions or are racists, it merely proves what an exceptional and unmitigated asshole Dodo has shown himself to be.

Moreover, Dodo’s remark underlines his social autism. If he had any social skills at all, he would realize that silence very seldom denotes approval. I also find it interesting that some have inaccurately claimed that this blog is an echo chamber while others have seen fit to criticize the way in which I permit others to freely express their opinions, even on the most sensitive subjects. But if one simply looks at the rules of the blog, one will see that there is no rule which bars any political, ideological, or religious opinion of any kind.

The birth certificate is a forgery

Karl Denninger declares that Mr. Farah was right again. The birth certificate released by the White House is a forgery.

This is not in the realm of probability stacking any more. The page portion here is curved as it is allegedly “scanned” from a book page. The curvature is consistent with both the margin lines and the printed word “Sex.”

The typed word Male shows no curvature in the baseline of the text; this is physically impossible if the word “Male” was originally printed upon the same page that was scanned.

I’m not sure which is more shocking. The fact that the Obama administration was dumb enough to release such a bad forgery or the fact that it believed the American people were collectively dumb enough to accept it without actually going over it with a fine-toothed comb.

Mr. Farah is going to need a new billboard. “Where’s the REAL birth certificate?”

Mailvox: slutwalking

A number of people have emailed me about the Great Canadian Slut Walk – slogan: she’s not slutty, she’s Canadian – and wondered about my response to it. I have accordingly posted my thoughts on the subject at Alpha Game.

And yet curiouser

Still not smelling even the faintest odor of rat?

White House seeks to scotch bin Laden questions

The White House on Thursday sought to sidestep controversy over the exact circumstances of the raid to kill Osama bin Laden, highlighting instead a “flawlessly” executed and dangerous mission. Officials have declined to give any further details of the raid against the Al-Qaeda leader, after being forced to amend earlier accounts of what exactly happened when Navy SEALS stole deep into Pakistan in a covert action on Sunday.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Air Force One that the operation was still being evaluated, but said that after transparently offering details of what happened, Washington was no longer offering public accounts.

Well, that’s one way to convince everyone. Just refuse to answer questions and try to change the subject. Either Obama has the least competent PR staff in the history of the White House or there is something deeply wrong about the Official Story of the heroic bin Laden assassination. It’s fascinating to see how the administration has so rapidly gone from bragging about it to not wanting to talk about it.

Hiding the hatred

Fred Reed points out that thanks to technological advancement, the media is not going to be able to hide the persistent racial hatred of the black underclass much longer:

In a previous life as a police reporter I encountered or knew of many instances, always of a gang of blacks beating hell out of a white, and in a manner to do serious damage. The maidens in the video wanted to hurt the girl, wanted to hur her badly, and continued kicking her dangerously when they had her helpless. It is one thing to punch someone’s lights out, another to kick him repeatedly in the head.

Always the media respond by describing the attackers as “teenagers” and “youths,” and by burying the story as quickly as possible. When I was writing my Police Beat column for the Washington Times, any mention of racial hatred disappeared during editing.

Ignoring the hatred is not going to serve anyone well, black or white. In the Cook County Jail in Chicago, I once interviewed a Three Star Perfect Elite, if my memory of the title serves, a high-ranking man in the BGD, Black Gangster Disciples. These were and probably are a serious gang. Why, I asked him, do black gang-bangers spend so much time killing other blacks? “We’d rather kill whites, but we know we’d lose,” he said, stone cold. This disappeared in editing….

[I]f you point out that black schools in the cities are terrible, an assertion with which every black columnist in the US would agree, many journalists will furiously argue that it isn’t true—not quite calling you a racist, but very nearly. And so nothing changes. Stray thought: What would you think of an oncologist who insisted that your tumor didn’t exist?

One of the interesting ideas about American exceptionalism is the way in which its racial heterogeneous nature has tended to prevent socialism from sinking roots into the populace. The idea is that that Americans aren’t particularly enamored with freedom or capitalism, but that they lack the strong ethnic identity that the various European nations have historically harbored. The massive Hispanic immigration that has rendered blacks a second-tier minority is also a complicating factor with regards to future race relations. The shrinking of the middle class due to the economy is likely to further poison race relations, and finally contra the expectations of the multiculturalists, more exposure to other races tends to be positively correlated to racism.

In short, neither the media nor liberal guilt nor political correctness among whites is likely to keep the lid on what they apparently believe is a potential powder keg for much longer. While it’s true that America is an idea, it is often forgotten that it was an English colonial idea and one that has not been truly adopted in either its whole or its essence by various other groups who wish to enjoy its benefits without accepting its costs.

The great potential downside of the Browning of America is that it changes the calculation on the part of the likes of Fred’s Three Star Perfect Elite. Once the underclass no longer feels so outnumbered, once is it no longer so certain it will lose, it is going to be considerably less reticent about attacking those who, thinking themselves non-racist, still presently believe themselves to be off-limits by virtue of their race.

An inexplicable burial at sea

Apparently we are going to have to take the U.S. government’s word for bin Laden’s death:

After bin Laden was killed in a raid by U.S. forces in Pakistan, senior administration officials said the body would be handled according to Islamic practice and tradition. That practice calls for the body to be buried within 24 hours, the official said. Finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world’s most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, the official said. So the U.S. decided to bury him at sea.

I’m not saying that Osama bin Laden isn’t dead. For all I know, he’s been dead since 2001, if not before. But it strikes me that if you wanted to make your own words more look suspiciously incredible, you would be hard-pressed to top the recent actions of the Obama administration.

“Hey, here’s an ineptly produced computer file that clearly isn’t a simple copy of the document that supposedly no longer existed in the first place!” “Hey, we killed the bad guy, but we had to ditch the body before anyone else could take a look at it and confirm it’s actually him. Maybe if we just wave our hands and talk about DNA that nobody else has, someone will buy it.”

The whole point of engaging in a helicopter raid rather than simply dropping a daisy cutter was to obtain the body. As one British journalist noted: “The decision to carry out a helicopter assault was incredibly risky but the US Navy SEALS and the CIA pulled it off. The huge advantage is that it means that bin Laden’s body was recovered – any speculation that he remains alive is likely to be shortlived.”

Unless, of course, the body is immediately thrown into the sea…. But whether the most recent reports of bin Laden’s death is real or not, they should at least serve as an excuse to get out of Afghanistan and Iraq before Libya heats up in response to Qaddafi’s likely efforts at retaliation following the reported death of his youngest son. I find myself wondering if the unexpected cancellation of the royal honeymoon has anything to do with the probability that Qaddafi has his terrorist network aimed at Britain and France these days.

I’m not saying they needed to stick bin Laden’s head on a pike at the White House, but providing independent confirmation from a third party such as the Saudi ambassador or one of his family members would have been significantly more convincing than a press release about a body dumped in the ocean.

UPDATE – Bin Laden may well be dead. Presumably photos will soon be released to prove it. But that will not change the fact that the U.S. government lied in claiming that his body was buried at sea in accordance with Islamic ritual. “Muslim clerics said Monday that Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea was a violation of Islamic tradition that may further provoke militant calls for revenge attacks against American targets. Although there appears to be some room for debate over the burial — as with many issues within the faith — a wide range of Islamic scholars interpreted it as a humiliating disregard for the standard Muslim practice of placing the body in a grave with the head pointed toward the holy city of Mecca. Sea burials can be allowed, they said, but only in special cases where the death occurred aboard a ship.”

That’s two known lies in two days out of the Obama administration. They may be telling the truth about other things, such as Obama’s birth certificate or Osama’s death. But one is most certainly not justified in accepting anything they say at face value.

Of course the White House is lying

Given the Obama administration’s unique combination of shamelessness and incompetence, I won’t be in the least bit surprised if we should eventually learn that the birth certificate that was finally released last week turns out to be a fake too:

In a pants-on-fire moment, the White House press office today denied anyone there had issued threats to remove Carla Marinucci and possibly other Hearst reporters from the press pool covering the President in the Bay Area.

Chronicle editor Ward Bushee called the press office on its fib: “Sadly, we expected the White House to respond in this manner based on our experiences yesterday. It is not a truthful response. It follows a day of off-the-record exchanges with key people in the White House communications office who told us they would remove our reporter, then threatened retaliation to Chronicle and Hearst reporters if we reported on the ban, and then recanted to say our reporter might not be removed after all.

The Chronicle’s report is accurate.

If the White House has indeed decided not to ban our reporter, we would like an on-the-record notice that she will remain the San Francisco print pool reporter.”

I was on some of those calls and can confirm Ward’s statement.

The contrast in administrations is easily apparent. The Clinton White House used to assassinate its wayward members with impunity and successfully conceal its connection to the killings within minutes. The Soebarkah/Soetoro White House, on the other hand, apparently can’t even forge a convincing government document when it has two years to get it right.

You can count on Sam

You may recall that I stated in TIA that Sam Harris is intellectually irresponsible, and “fails to do even the most rudimentary research into his chosen subject”. You can count on him to make fundamental factual and logical blunders that undermine his arguments or at least demonstrate his carelessness; when I read a Harris piece now I don’t even pay attention to his conclusions, I simply look for the incorrect assumption upon which he has based the argument. I am seldom unable to find it right away. Lest you think my observations are too harsh, note that is that the quote below was taken today, April 21, 2011, from Sam Harris’s amusingly inept attempt to “deflate the myths” about atheism on his own web site, more than four years after the piece appeared in the L.A. Times. This tends to demonstrate that it is unwise to rely upon a notoriously sloppy historical illiterate to set the record straight.

3) Atheism is dogmatic.

Jews, Christians and Muslims claim that their scriptures are so prescient of humanity’s needs that they could only have been written under the direction of an omniscient deity. An atheist is simply a person who has considered this claim, read the books and found the claim to be ridiculous. One doesn’t have to take anything on faith, or be otherwise dogmatic, to reject unjustified religious beliefs. As the historian Stephen Henry Roberts (1901-71) once said: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

What I find so tremendously amusing here is the fact that neither Sam Harris nor any of his godless coterie of intellectually challenged fans has realized at any point in the last five years that Stephen Henry Roberts never said anything of the sort. In fact, there is no evidence that Stephen Henry Roberts was even an atheist; the only information from his biography concerning his religious faith suggests that he was an Anglican Christian at the time of his marriage. But had Harris ever so much as scanned TIA, he would have known that the fallacious One Less God was constructed by one Stephen F. Roberts, not the deceased Australian historian.

“2) Logical error. In Letter to a Christian Nation, Sam Harris borrows from Stephen F. Roberts in challenging Christians with a variant of the One Less God argument. He informs Christians that they reject Islam in “precisely the way” that Muslims reject Christianity, which is also the same reason he rejects all religions. So, either Harris believes that the Christian God exists and is a powerful spirit of evil or he doesn’t know what is almost literally the first thing about Christian theology”
– The Irrational Atheist, p. 117.

Harris actually devotes the first seven pages – nearly 8 percent – of Letter to walking through the hapless One Less God argument without ever a) noticing that it is both logically and factually incorrect, or b) crediting it to its author. Or even to the individual he incorrectly believes is its author.

And so we see once more that it doesn’t matter if one is discussing large historical matters or very small ones, it is easy to prove that the leading atheists can very seldom be trusted to have even the most basic facts correct. In itself, the confusion of one Stephen Roberts with another isn’t a big deal. But when such a mistake is combined with a large quantity of similarly careless mistakes that repeatedly lead to incorrect conclusions, it amounts to a serious pattern of unreliability that needs to be taken into account when considering the man’s arguments.

The temptation of the sockpuppet

It is perhaps understandable why people in the public eye might be tempted to defend themselves this way, but it’s never a good idea:

How many people think I’m actually Scott Adams writing about myself in third person?
posted by plannedchaos at 9:21 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]

I am Scott Adams.
posted by plannedchaos at 11:09 AM on April 15 [20 favorites]

And just to be clear that this isn’t some weird joke, yes, he is.

Scott, if you wanted to sign up for Metafilter to defend your writing, that would have been fine. If you wanted to sign up for Metafilter and be incognito as just another user, that’d be fine too. Doing both simultaneously isn’t; pretending to be a third party and high-fiving yourself by proxy is a pretty sketchy move and a serious violation of general community expectations about identity management around here.

I appreciate you fessing up at this point, but I’d sure rather it hadn’t happened at all. It’s just incredibly disappointing to watch play out.
posted by cortex at 11:16 AM on April 15 [131 favorites]

I like both Scott and his work, but I would absolutely have advised him against taking this tactic. If he’d defended himself openly, many of the people on the site would likely have been thrilled that he was communicating directly with them. As it stands, well, it’s just doesn’t look good.

And for the record, I do not engage in sockpuppetry here. I realize that some of my critics do occasionally look so spectacularly stupid that suspicions I am setting up strawmen in order to knock them down are entirely understandable. But unfortunately, the fact is that both the critics and the arguments are genuine.

Anyhow, I suspect most of the Dread Ilk recognize that I am too arrogant to be so concerned about whether anyone agrees with me or not that I would resort to a real appeal to public opinion, let alone a fake one.