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The “war against science”

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 May 2015

I saw an issue of National Geographic the other day that had a headline whining about the alleged “war against science.”

I’m pretty sick of this whole “war on science” thing.

If people aren’t buying what you’re selling, don’t blame the customer. That’s a pretty basic rule in the real world. But scientists don’t want to live in the real world, where free people get to decide what they believe.

Scientists — or at least some “science” defenders — want a world where everyone is required by law to listen to their pronouncements — and then get tested on them.

This, despite the fact that “much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue,” according to the editor in chief of the Lancet. He goes on …

Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. … In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world.

Gosh. Who would have guessed that?

But it’s science, so we all need to bow down and do homage.

Baloney.

If scientists want to persuade people of something, fine. They should do their homework and make their case. But they need to quit it with this crybaby stuff about a “war on science.”

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-05-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel





Sanders gets a feminist hall pass

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 May 2015

If any Republican had said what Bernie Sanders said, it would be The Story, played 24-7 on the mainstream media.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Essay: Women ‘Fantasize About Being Raped’

I have recently said that certain ideas are so outlandish that they fall into Bigfoot territory. Well, anybody who thinks the media isn’t carrying water for the Democrats is crazier than the Bigfoot hunters.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-05-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel





“I’ll abolish the IRS, and all the reptiles at the national zoo will be cute.”

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 May 2015

It annoys me when candidates make silly promises in their “I’m running for president” speeches.

They say ridiculous, impossible stuff that has no chance of happening.

I figure they might as well go the whole way into fantasyland.

When I’m elected the man on the moon will have a beard, and he’ll only smile at good people. No one will think bad thoughts any more, and it will only rain between midnight and 2 am.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-05-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel





Could “co-president” spell legal trouble?

by Greg Krehbiel on 28 May 2015

(This is not a serious post.)

I was just reading the text of the 22nd Amendment, which limits the president to two terms. It reads, in part …

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.

Emphasis supplied, of course.

Now take a look at this. Hillary Clinton Embraces Her Husband’s Legacy

Both Clintons are making the case that theirs was a co-presidency — an echo of Bill Clinton’s controversial statement during the 1992 campaign that voters would get “two for the price of one” if they elected him.

So if Hillary was “co-president” for eight years, is she disqualified to run again?

This is nonsense, of course … except perhaps for people who believe in a “living constitution.”

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-05-28  ::  Greg Krehbiel





You must agree with me!!!

by Greg Krehbiel on 28 May 2015

feminism

I saw the image on the right on Google+ and thought it quite funny, but then I read Kirsten Powers’ column and realized it’s no laughing matter.

There are more and more people who feel that way, and rather than laughing at them and telling them to shut up, we’re surrendering to their demands.

These people go through life believing that everybody has to affirm them, or agree with them, or they’ll sue.

It’s beyond ridiculous.

-- 3 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-05-28  ::  Greg Krehbiel





The media needs to add value to survive

by Greg Krehbiel on 27 May 2015

Obama has shifted his media strategy and is trying to bypass traditional channels. See Here’s how the first president of the social media age has chosen to connect with Americans.

The press won’t like it. They’ve been “disintermediated,” which is a silly word, but my mother gives me a quarter whenever I use a new word on the blog.

The press used to be the only game in town. If you lived in Cleveland and wanted to know what was going on in Washington, you had to get a newspaper.

That’s obviously not true any more, and politicians don’t need the press to get their message out to the public. There’s Youtube and twitter and blogs and … lots of other options.

If I was running for office, I would focus a lot of attention on Youtube. I’d talk to real people — not made up, phony stuff like Hillary is doing — and post the video.

If the press wants to remain relevant, it has to offer something of value. Access to their audience isn’t enough any more, because there are other (sometimes better) ways to reach the audience. The press is going to have to convince people that the analysis they provide is better than what people can get on other sources.

They’re not doing a very good job so far, in my opinion.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-05-27  ::  Greg Krehbiel





How rules and exceptions have been turned upside down, and why that’s a bad thing

by Greg Krehbiel on 26 May 2015

This post is based on my impressions about the culture a few decades ago and the culture today. I haven’t made a detailed study of it or anything. It’s just the way I see things.

It seems to me that a few decades ago people recognized some basically applicable rules that admitted of exceptions in special circumstances, whereas today people eschew basically applicable rules because they focus on the exceptions.

For example, people used to be hesitant to date a divorcee, trust a reformed drunk, or socialize with an adulterer, and they generally gave the benefit of the doubt to Eagle Scouts, Naval officers and Ministers. They knew there were exceptions, but they also believed in warning signs.

Decades of stories about good-hearted thieves, Eagle Scouts who are perverts, and so on, have subdued (or perhaps killed) this reliance on ordinary prudence, so that now people mock the very idea of being guided by such general rules.

“Early to bed, early to rise” sounds stupid because Frank sleeps in late and he’s a millionaire.

This change in attitude fits in with the general repudiation of stereotypes in the modern world, but it misses an important distinction. Stereotyping people by race, or national origin, is a little different than stereotyping them by behavior.

So, for example, a statement like “don’t date a man who can’t change his own oil” might be a generally reliable rule — with some exceptions. But today, if you were to post something like that, the responses would be along the lines of “but I know a guy who ….”

That is, they would deny the general applicability of the rule by appealing to specific cases. That’s bad logic, but it seems to persuade a lot of people.

This is, in my opinion, a bad development, but it has led to an even more unfortunate development, which is projecting that same rejection of general rules into the minds of other people. That is, assuming that other people will also reject such stereotypes.

If you were to tell a young person not to get a tattoo, because it will hurt his chances in the working world, he will regard such a rule as out of date, and would probably reject the idea that there are any people who follow such rules. Or if they do, who cares about them anyway?

The idea that people judge you by your appearance, dress, table manners, vocabulary, accent, etc., seems horribly prejudicial and unfair to modern people, so they are inclined to ignore such rules. Or even to flout them.

That is a shame.

Generally applicable rules are … well, they’re generally applicable. They’re not stop signs, they’re yield signs. They tell you to slow down and think carefully before proceeding. And if you’re flying down a road, ignoring the yield signs, you’re probably going to get in serious trouble.

-- 10 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-05-26  ::  Greg Krehbiel





Divergent, American Sniper and women in combat

by Greg Krehbiel on 26 May 2015

This weekend I was jogging in the park and saw a deer beside the trail.

As I’ve mentioned before, I carry around in my brain a whole collection of interlocutors who challenge me on things from time to time. This time the sentimental teenage girl piped up with her comment.

“Oh, look at the cute little deer. How could anybody want to hurt it?”

That got me thinking about how the “don’t shoot Bambi!” attitude relates to sex roles — how girls can think that way, but men really can’t.

In almost all cultures, women gather while men hunt, and women nurture while men defend and fight.

“Don’t kill Bambi” goes along with the woman’s nurturing instincts, and it doesn’t hurt her ability to gather. (By contrast, for example, feeling sympathy for the plants she picks would be a serious disadvantage.) The “don’t kill Bambi” attitude would be debilitating to a man, who needs to hunt and fight in wars. That’s why those kinds of attitudes are socialized out of boys so they can become men.

This should be both non-controversial and obvious as daylight — at least so far as how humans have typically behaved in the past.

There’s the rub. Some people think that modern life has made it unnecessary to have people who, when they see the deer, wish they had their shotgun. They think that sort of cruelty should be left behind and we should all strive to be tender hearted.

Honestly, I wish it were so. I would love to live in a world where everybody was friends. Or at least I think I would love to live in that world. It’s easy to pretend that we know how to make worlds, and can pick and choose what they’ll be like.

Anyway, sensible people know that we don’t live in such a world. If we raise a generation of boys who “use their words” and don’t know how to fight, they’ll fall to the Nazis just like the French did — despite better equipment and more troops.

Until there is universal peace — no Nazis, no Communists, no ISIS, etc. — we need hard men who do hard things.

But our mixed-up world always wants to make rules based on exceptions. They say, “okay, I’ll admit that we need to have hard people to go fight the wars, but there are men who are nurturing and women who are cold-hearted killers, so you don’t have to make it a sex thing.”

Of course there’s variety among men and women. By way of full disclosure, I used to work in a day care center, and I’m so good with kids that a friend once called me “the baby whisperer.” So yes, I know full well that men can be kind-hearted towards children, and that women can both hunt and murder.

And here’s where we come to Divergent and American Sniper.

Divergent takes a very modern approach. We need the tough people, so we have the Dauntless group — men and women — who are tough. We need scholars, so we’ll have the Erudite — men and women — who have those skills.

IOW, never mind about evolution or human history or what we know about populations and cultures. Or even biology, for that matter. We need to assert the individual’s right to be anything he or she wants. And to pass muster with the politically correct (i.e., statistically challenged), we need to put about an equal number of men and women in each group.

The Divergent model would be a level of social experimentation that would be breathtaking. That is, it would be if we weren’t already acclimated to the lunacies of the modern world.

I realize nobody is actually proposing the Divergent model, but it is a picture of the way a lot of things are going in our society.

I’m not saying it’s impossible. That’s far more than I know. What I am saying is that it’s crazy.

If somebody wants to start their own country and set up a culture based on the “Divergent” style of thinking, they can go right ahead. We’ll all watch and see how it turns out. I’d give it less than a snowball’s chance, but … that’s just me.

Still, that is the type of lunacy that’s driving our policies these days. The left is forcing the Armed Forces to get women into combat roles. They want us to retool our entire military to accommodate the handful of women who can meet the physical requirements. It makes no sense.

I haven’t seen American Sniper yet, but from what I have seen and heard, it shows things the way they really are. In order to protect civilization, men have to be able to set aside their feelings and become cold-hearted monsters who can shoot kids with RPGs — because somebody’s got to do it. Then they get to go home and agonize over it for the rest of their life.

What we ask men to do is awful stuff, but it’s what they were designed to do.

So then, if you were in the business of recruiting and training a million people to go out and fight wars, would you pick the ones that nature designed to be mothers, or the ones that nature designed to be fighters? The answer is obvious. Unless you’re a “progressive.”

-- 7 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-05-26  ::  Greg Krehbiel





A wake-up call for the Catholic Church

by Greg Krehbiel on 23 May 2015

Catholic Ireland just became the first country to approve of same-sex marriage by a popular vote (as opposed to other jurisdictions where our robed masters in the judiciary imposed it on people who don’t want it).

This should be a clear wake-up call to the Catholic Church. The message is quite simple.

Nobody cares about your social views anymore.

As far as the culture wars go, the Catholic Church has become irrelevant. And it was fairly predictable, if you were paying attention.

People say, “your sermons are useless.” Catholics reply, “but we have Jesus in the Eucharist.”

They complain, “your Sunday School is awful.” Catholics reply, “but we have Jesus in the Eucharist.”

“Your priests are ignorant and untalented.” Catholics reply, “but we have Jesus in the Eucharist.”

“Your liturgy is shallow and your songs are atrocious.” Catholics reply, “but we have Jesus in the Eucharist.”

If you say so. And Ireland had Jesus in the Eucharist too. Look how successful that was in making any practical difference.

-- 9 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-05-23  ::  Greg Krehbiel





How does “minimum wage” work in a Fiverr world?

by Greg Krehbiel on 22 May 2015

This morning on NPR I heard a segment on Amazon’s mechanical turk program, where people are paid pennies to do little jobs that a human can do better than a machine. It takes its name from a “mechanical” chess game that actually had a person hiding inside the box. IOW, something that seems like it’s automated but actually relies on humans.

The list of tasks that a human can do but a machine can’t is getting smaller all the time, which makes me wonder about the future of work. But no matter how things eventually pan out, it seems that more and more people are doing small, odd jobs online. Fiverr.com is a good example, and there are other sites like it.

In a way it’s a very good development. People can choose their hours and create their own business — offering services straight to the people who need them. But I think it’s not the greatest for Americans, who would be competing against cheap labor overseas.

The idea of “everybody as an independent contractor” is a theme of Atlas Shagged, which is a fun book by a friend of mine.

How does this sort of thing fit in with the concept of a minimum wage? If jobs move towards small, task-oriented gigs, the idea of a “wage” won’t make any sense.

-- 4 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-05-22  ::  Greg Krehbiel

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