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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Drunk on Their Own Bathwater

In April, Jonathan Chait wrote the cover article in New York magazine, entitled "The Color of His Presidency". It asserted that, instead of alleviating race grievances, Obama's presidency has made them worse. Progressives have relentlessly thrown down the racist card, but mostly conservatives are racists, in that mostly means pretty much totally. It got a lot of attention from All Correct Thinking People.

Crooked Timber, an echo chamber of progressive self regard, had a post on the story.

Having not learned from my previous forays into the fever swamp that is fundamentalist progressivism, I waded in.

Small government conservative = racist hater.

That’s pretty much what virtually all the comments on this thread boil down to.

Paul Ryan says something that is, in effect, identical to things Pres. Obama and Bill Cosby have said. How is that racist?

Arguing confiscatory taxation is a bad idea isn’t racist. Believing that Great Society programs have created a culture of dependency isn’t racist; indeed, it can’t be. Viewing affirmative action programs as likely to harm their beneficiaries and inherently racist isn’t racist. Concluding that the ACA has made a dysfunctional system worse, and was sold only by grotesque lies isn’t racist. (And using Lee Atwater to tar these arguments makes no more sense than dismissing progressivism because Pres. Wilson was a thoroughgoing racist who thought eugenics a good idea, or FDR put Japanese-Americans in concentration camps.)

The result is the Liberal Gulag. After all, it is so much easier to dump out another barrel of Racist Hater™ than countering an actual argument.


Here is the rejoinder from Philosophy professor John Holbo:

As to your objection that “Small government conservative = racist hater” is not a conceptual truth: this is true. Nevertheless, the sociology is disturbing. From Chait’s article:

And the truth is almost too brutal to be acknowledged. A few months ago, three University of Rochester political scientists—Avidit Acharya, Matthew Blackwell, and Maya Sen—published an astonishing study. They discovered that a strong link exists between the proportion of slaves residing in a southern county in 1860 and the racial conservatism (and voting habits) of its white residents today. The more slave-intensive a southern county was 150 years ago, the more conservative and Republican its contemporary white residents. The authors tested their findings against every plausible control factor—for instance, whether the results could be explained simply by population density—but the correlation held. Higher levels of slave ownership in 1860 made white Southerners more opposed to affirmative action, score higher on the anti-black-affect scale, and more hostile to Democrats.”

That is, in case you haven't noticed it, not the brutal truth itself, but rather its executive summary.

Keep in mind, this Chait article got a lot of attention. It was, after all, a very long cover story for a major magazine. Further keep in mind the audience.

Do you know what none of those smug, arrogant, progressives did, including Chait?

Read the actual actual report.

How do I know they didn't read it? Because I did, far enough to discover what progressive political scientists call data (from page 11 in the "study"):


That is to data as a dog's breakfast is to haute cuisine.

Hence my response to Professor Holbo:

Did you look at the study at all, or are you satisfied with a quote from the abstract?

Go to page [11], and look at the three graphs depicting proportion slave in 1860 vice proportion Democrat, approving affirmative action, and racial resentment. You should notice that the portion approving of AA isn’t high anywhere. The center of the distribution in areas without slaves is only 20%, and the variation in racial resentment between low and high slave proportion counties is small — the slope of that line isn’t zero, but it isn’t much more than that. […] One standard deviation in slave proportion yielded a 0.11 point increase in racial resentment; 2.7 percent decrease in support for affirmative action, and a 3.1 percent decrease in among those who identify as Democrats.

The [upper left graph] shows a steep decline in registered Democrats in areas with high slave proportions in 1860. Fine, let’s take it as read that is due to racially derived resentment of Democrat policies.

Now explain this [(an electoral map of the 2012 Presidential election by county)].

You can’t.

You uncritically accepted the conclusions of a study because they confirmed your pre-existing bigotry. No matter that in two dimensions the change potentially due to racist feelings is small, and in the other it has no explanatory power whatsoever.

I have no doubt that the legacy of slavery still has knock-on effects in racial attitudes, but using this study as a tar brush to smear as racist disagreement with progressive policies makes the error of placing far more weight on the conclusions of this study than they can possibly bear.

But by all means, go ahead and do so. I’m sure you will be just as willing to make a cause and effect relationship based on the overwhelming statistical data correlating AFDC to the breakdown of the African American family.

(Brackets where I have fixed typos or other minor errors.)

His rejoinder?

You complain that I haven’t studied one thing that Chait cited. It’s true, I haven’t. But I have read a great deal, studied many other studies – historical and sociological and so forth. (Read that Lind article linked, upthread. That’s a good article.) So the question is not: is this study valid.

In other words, one of progressivism's pillars: fake, but true:

Chait completely uncritically accepted that study. All the readers of his article here, including you, did the same. What should get your attention is the degree to which that study failed to confirm your expectation. When a study clearly conducted to confirm a pre-existing conclusion almost completely fails to do so, perhaps it is the conclusion itself that needs revisiting.

In what way is Lind’s article good?

His thesis is that hysteria, aggression and gerrymandering are white southerner’s last hope to maintaining political control.

Here is the evidence he presented for his thesis: gerrymandering. Well, of course! That has never happened anywhere ever before for any reason, therefore racists! (The maps he links to are no help. The pattern of the first can be closely approximated by average house size, percentage of black owned business, divorce rate, and, average humidity. The second relies upon a virtually meaningless US census distinction.)

As for his assertions, he presents no evidence whatsoever, unless an article written by a Northerner 93 years ago counts.

Why have I drug you through this fetid swamp of progfluffery?

Because it provides insight into the workings of the progressive mind. In order to maintain their own sanctified self image, they must first demonize, then ostracize, anything that might cause cognitive dissonance.

Before suggesting I am, once again, using a large gun and a small barrel to go fish hunting, this is no isolated example of progressives swallowing whole that which flatters.

Neil deGrasse Tyson has a road show, where he panders to those Who Just Absolutely Love Science. In them, he trots out quotes to demonstrate the innumeracy and ignorance of selected targets: headline writers, congress critters, and Bush 43.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that the audiences lapped it all up.

There's a problem, though. (Actually two; I'll get to the second in a bit.)

Near as anyone can tell, none of Tyson's quotes exist in this time-space continuum. Now, as far as headlines or congresscritters go, the targets are so generic as to scarcely matter. (In the former, Tyson's inability to distinguish mean from median seems something of an own goal, and fair warning to those who should become more familiar with the concept of "the pot calling the kettle black".)

Not so with what Tyson attributed to Bush 43:

According to Tyson, in the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bush uttered the phrase, “Our God is the God who named the stars.” According to Tyson, the president made that claim as a way of segregating radical Islam from religions like Christianity or Judaism. Here’s Tyson (link goes to video clip).

From the clip:

TYSON: Here’s what happens. George Bush, within a week of [the 9/11 terrorist attacks] gave us a speech attempting to distinguish we from they. And who are they? These were sort of the Muslim fundamentalists. And he wants to distinguish we from they. And how does he do it?

He says, “Our God” — of course it’s actually the same God, but that’s a detail, let’s hold that minor fact aside for the moment. Allah of the Muslims is the same God as the God of the Old Testament. So, but let’s hold that aside. He says, “Our God is the God” — he’s loosely quoting Genesis, biblical Genesis — “Our God is the God who named the stars.”

This is nasty stuff. It is one thing to slime some not-too-specific group with some intellectual shortcoming that is easily common enough, if not particularly important. It is altogether something else to be repeatedly and specifically defamatory. At least to most of us; not so much, progressives.

Back to The Federalist article:

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s story has three central claims: 1) Bush uttered that precise phrase, 2) in the days immediately after 9/11, 3) in order to distance American religion from that practiced by radical Muslims.

As you have probably already guessed, every single claim is false. Every one! Then there’s Tyson’s aside that Bush’s quote was a “loose quote” of the book of Genesis. Yep, that’s false, too. Add embarrassing biblical illiteracy to Tyson’s list of accomplishments on his CV.

Here is the rest of the problem: just as many in Tyson's audience sussed his fabulisms* as Crooked Timberists cottoned on to that travesty shining example of the social science arts. No one from the self-styled Reason Based Community so much as fluttered an IQ point at Tyson's stylings that were just a little to pat to be true.

Unsurprisingly, and typical for the breed, Tyson's apology was late, and grudging to the point of non-existence.

And we haven't even gotten to Star Wars yet. I sense your dismay, verging on irritation, at this segue: what, in heaven's name, could a galaxy both long ago and far way have to do with any of this?

That you ask this question is a sure sign you underestimate the progressive mind. The opening seconds of the trailer for the next installment in the Star Wars franchise features a black imperial storm trooper. Which, in turn, led to hundreds of racist comments directed at the actor, John Boyega. Unfortunately,

The issue of Boyega’s skin color has been such a heated topic of debate online that none of the news outlets who ran stories about fan racism directed at Boyega could cite a single example of it happening. Not on Twitter. Not in an Op-ed, not on movie fan sites.

Not one.

The progressive world view is, to me, anyway, an unending mystery. Self styled as the reality based community, progressives display a childlike faith in, and blindness to, their own bigotries, combined with a shameless facility for making stuff up. And when it comes to vacuous, rote, demonization, they certainly have a case to answer. It's almost, or perhaps completely, as if the only things left in their intellectual armoire are tar brushes and slime buckets.

Of course, it is entirely possible, even probable, that I am as blind to anti-progressives', and my own, transgressions: that we are just as prone to unquestioned assertions and invention for the sake of the narrative, reality or decency be damned.

So, if any of the thousands of progressives in our devoted reading audience could set me straight, I'd appreciate it.

Or anyone else, for that matter. Unfortunately, my memory, self-awareness, and google skills aren't up to the task.


* Not a word, but it should be

81 comments:

Bret said...

Self styled as the reality based community, progressives display a childlike faith in, and blindness to, their own bigotries, combined with an shameless facility for making stuff up.

I think that's pretty far off.

I'd say out of tens of millions of progressives there are indeed a few dozen that are willing to "shamelessly" make stuff up that happens to fit and promote the narrative. Then, most of the rest have no basis for doubting what's made up - neither their knowledge of the world nor any evidence that they're likely to encounter contradicts the stories made up by the few dozen, so they buy it. Nobody has time to fact check every single thing read, and it's very hard to fact check anyway - they'd end up reading something from one of the other of few dozens that would also be made up and would corroborate the story.

Everybody has their narrative, everybody tends to believe stuff they see that agrees with their narrative, and that's just how it works. Well, at least for me and most others as far as I can tell.

But why do I care that someone said something about what Bush said? It really doesn't matter much. Those who already have that narrative still have that narrative and those like me didn't see it (until your post) so we were unaffected as well. No harm done and a LOT of satisfaction was had by all. Only up side as far as I can tell.

The recent rolling stones rape article brouhaha is another example. That one, in my opinion, matters a bit more because it's an active front in the battle for the hearts and minds of today's youth. It's extraordinarily unlikely that the story in the article is exactly true, and the opposite of exactly true is false.

Bret said...

BTW, amazingly good catch on those graphs. These days I skim articles like that and I would've only noticed the trends, not the absolutely value which is also important (more important in this case).

Bret said...

And here is one of those things created by a progressive. Nothing made up here though. :-)

Hey Skipper said...

I'd say out of tens of millions of progressives there are indeed a few dozen that are willing to "shamelessly" make stuff up that happens to fit and promote the narrative.

#WarOnWymyn

Seventy-seven cents on the dollar

Almost everything ever said by progressives about the Tea Party

And just as much about racism, Islamophobia, and homophobia.

That is a fairly long list of fabulisms. So let's say that only a few dozen are inventing stuff out of whole cloth; that still leaves millions who are serial suckers.

BTW, amazingly good catch on those graphs ...

I skimmed the "study"; it took me all of four minutes to get to page 11. The instant I looked at it, I realized why the room had started stinking four minutes previously.

Anyone with any statistical sense at all would have sniffed it out at least as fast as I did.

Chait, and the whole rest of the nodding crowd, couldn't be fussed (or couldn't smell a rotting mathemackerel, even if it was shoved up their sniffers).

erp said...

... so now do you guys agree with me that Tyson got his job(s) because of AA?

Peter said...

Of course, it is entirely possible, even probable, that I am as blind to anti-progressives', and my own, transgressions: that we are just as prone to unquestioned assertions and invention for the sake of the narrative, reality or decency be damned.

Welcome to the human race. Empiricism is the hammer we use to challenge opposing narratives in the cause of narratives that may or may not be any better grounded in objective reality.

Like you, I engage in a little recreational self-flagellation on a lefty site up here, and just this week they were arguing this from the opposite perspective. Reality is on their side whereas conservatives just make stuff up, yada, yada. I challenged them by arguing that they do that too and there are times when they shouldn't apologize for it. The specific example I used was that it has become very common here in political and ceremonial speeches to refer to the aboriginal peoples as one of Canada's founding peoples along with the English and French. I made it clear I was totally cool with that on political and moral grounds, but that historically it made no sense--they weren't involved at all. The response was interesting. I was immediately challenged with all sorts of talk about the fur trade and military alliances from long before Canada was a gleam in anyone's eye. They weren't satisfied that I agreed with it, they had to believe it was factually accurate, and if history and the dictionary were going to be difficult about it, well then, they would just have to change their ways.

The irony for me is that serious, academically-oriented lefties today are trained in postmodernism, which holds that facts are just tools The Man uses to keep the workers down, yet they become splenetic at the suggestion anything they say wasn't arrived at through the scientific method. Go figure. Then there are older leftists like our beloved Harry for whom the belief that his narratives are grounded in objective, factual evidence appears --dare I say it--religious. He appears to have spent a lifetime amassing the most eclectic collection of obscure "authorities" the world has ever seen to reassure himself on that.

All honest, self-respecting people should be prepared to question whether their cherished narratives are consistent with evidence, but the underlying plinths of our values, moral precepts, etc. have other building blocks as well. I believe your Declaration of Independence does not say "We hold these truths to be consistent with observation, data and repeated testing and therefore objectively proven".

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] ... so now do you guys agree with me that Tyson got his job(s) because of AA?

I don't see how his fanciful creation of straw men illuminates whether he owes his position to sub rosa AA.

He could well be abundantly qualified to hold his position, which requires technical expertise for credibility, and institutional PR skills.

His fanciful thinking, so completely at odds with the scientific tenets which he espouses, combined with a striking absence of any self-skepticism — which his audience shares — seem uniquely progressive pre-requisites.

Which is why, in the post, I assumed, and invited, contradiction.

Most of us here wear the same blinders I do. I don't think Clovis qualifies as a progressive, so that leaves us with Harry to find the things I can't, or won't, see.



[Peter:] Like you, I engage in a little recreational self-flagellation on a lefty site up here …

Which one?

Welcome to the human race. Empiricism is the hammer we use to challenge opposing narratives in the cause of narratives that may or may not be any better grounded in objective reality.

No doubt. Objective reality generally isn't sufficiently ascertainable to provide a completely determined explanation for anything outside the narrow confines of the physical sciences.

However, I still progressives think in a qualitatively different way than everyone else.

Ferguson is a good example. Progressives formed a narrative that was way ahead of the facts. When the facts became available, progressives in various ways made it clear the facts simply didn't matter. Ace of Spades has a perfect example.

Undoubtedly there is a great deal of rot in St. Louis county. Conservatives (IMHO) are prone to confusing descriptions of black cultural pathologies as causes in and of themselves.

That said, had the facts in Ferguson or Florida been different — had they accorded with the pre-conceived narrative — I'll bet the vast majority of non-progressives would have based their judgment on what the legal system should do accordingly.

I believe your Declaration of Independence does not say "We hold these truths to be consistent with observation, data and repeated testing and therefore objectively proven".

Exactly. "We hold these truths …" is a list of axioms from which all else follows.

erp said...

Skipper, IMO it's possible to be a scientist and believe collectivism is the better political model, but I don't believe one can be a Harry-like lemming leftie and be a credible scientist as, I think we all agree, the new Bircher left (I like that label best, even better than fascist) defines everything by how it affects the narrative. Can you imagine Richard Feynman bashing someone with statements he knew were untrue and if he didn’t know they were untrue, it’s even worse, just for a few yucks.

I still think Tyson got where he is for the same reason Obama did – both are good looking and have the gift of gab and are exempt from criticism because those who oppose or criticize them are smeared as racists … and it’s worked out just as planned.

Clovis, is a perfect example of one who has learned his lessons well. He’s not progressive in the same way as Harry, although he actually takes as gospel Harry’s ravings. Clovis digested everything from U.S. films, TV, books, expats living in Brazil, leftwing academics, etc. and created a picture that’s skewed and rather than perhaps stepping back and learning the truth, he’s adamant in proving that he’s right and those of us who lived it, are wrong, lying, senile …

I’m afraid Clovis is probably close to a poster child of what the younger generation thinks it knows.

BTW – the left claims to be so egalitarian that kids can’t keep score when they play soccer, yet both Harry and Clovis are bent to prove that the U.S. is second rate. Socialism found a comet???? Soviets won the war and were first in space -- Soviet citizens were little better than slaves whose lives were a constant struggle for basic necessities under the boot of the state ... So what's the point?

erp said...

I believe your Declaration of Independence does not say "We hold these truths to be consistent with observation, data and repeated testing therefore objectively proven".

Actually, Peter, that's a pretty good definition of self-evident.

Clovis e Adri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

It is interesting that, upon recognizing I paid dear attention to everything I read about your country, you complain I do not give more credibility to your lines than to all the other information that arrives here in my far away location. In other words, you do not complain I am misinformed, but that I refuse to wear the same lenses you do.

There you have, Skipper, right in front of you, a good example of someone as blind as the progressives you complain about.

That you are still looking for, even though Erp has been around for so long, should tell you something about your own objectivity.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Can you imagine Richard Feynman bashing someone with statements he knew were untrue and if he didn’t know they were untrue, it’s even worse, just for a few yucks.
---

Will it help if I tell you that one of his most famous technical books, "Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals", has more than 870 errors?

And mind you, those are objective errors, proven to be wrong in mathematical fashion, as opposed to this nit-picking around Tyson's misquotes.

Feynman was a fabulist too, and a great one at that. Good stories like he used to tell usually have a bit of (self)enlargement to make them catchy.

And for the record, not one of Feynman's mistakes (and that book is not the only place you'll find them) make him one bit less of a genius.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

The complaints about Tyson quotes are not "nit-picking", the quotes are blatant fabrications.

erp said...

Clovis, once again you don't get it.

The point isn't that Tyson made "errors," the point is that he played the clown deliberately misstating the facts to further the cause.

I very much doubt that Feynman ever played the fool even though he was a bit of a showman and I very much doubt he used his position as a scientist to smear political enemies to amuse his masters.

erp said...

Harry, congratulations. Your last comment was completely unintelligible. You went to a social event for Thanksgiving in Florida where there were a bunch of Polish fascists who couldn't follow directions on the packaging on how to cook a turkey is what I was able to discern.

Clovis, again you don't get it. I'm not looking at things through a lens. You are gathering information from unreliable sources, so your conclusions are skewed.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Skipper, IMO it's possible to be a scientist and believe collectivism is the better political model …

There is probably something else at play here: the actuality of expertise in one specific area leading a person to assume expertise in all areas. Noam Chomsky is a perfect example; Krugman another.

I could, once again, be succumbing to blindness, but I can't think of a single example of that form of hubris who is not a progressive.

Something else occurred to me while I was walking Rusty the Alaskan Wilderness Adventure Dog today. The modes of progressive thought are uniquely self-contradictory.

For example, progressives are on a racism hair trigger. Racism is, functionally, the assigning of supposed group characteristics to each individual assigned to that group. Some black men wear their trousers around their knees, are prolific creators of baby mamas, and are prone to violence. That is true. But from that concluding all blacks males are like that is racism.

But the manner of thinking is independent of the specific target. The Crooked Timber thread I pointed to pointed to a racist conservative (Lee Atwater) and from that concluded all conservatives are racist. This should not be surprising — progressives are scarcely one step removed from Marxists, for whom class is everything: the individual practically does not exist.

So it is neither ironic, nor coincidental, that when progressives start pounding on the racism drum, they are thinking in precisely the same way as they accuse their antagonists of thinking. Unfortunately, most often, it is the pot calling the bathroom sink black. Phil Robertson is not a racist, but all progressives jumping onto that bandwagon, who hate Phil Robertson's kind, are, in effect, loudly proclaiming their own racism.

Tyson's fabricated quotes, for reasons having to do with progressivism, are not as trivial as they seem. One cannot proclaim love of scientific rigor and objectivity as a means of undergirding progressive causes while at the same time trafficking in fables. In the trivial instances, the unearned arrogance is bad enough. But then it goes one progressive step further: to defamation.

Like I said at the outset, I might be entirely blind to sins equal in quantity and magnitude on my side. But either everyone else is, too, or the absence of evidence might, indeed, be evidence of absence.

I still think Tyson got where he is for the same reason Obama did …

You might think that, but until you look at the CVs from all the previous planetarium heads and find out where Tyson's is conspicuously lacking, you cannot, or should not, confuse suspicion with conclusion.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Actually, Peter, ["We hold these truths…"] a pretty good definition of self-evident.

Except there are a great many people who, for reasons perfectly self-evident to them, think exactly the opposite. For the marxoids among us, to whom class is everything, that list of axioms is practically meaningless.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Will it help if I tell you that one of his most famous technical books, "Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals", has more than 870 errors?

You wrote this in response to erp's assertion that Feynman wouldn't knowingly rely on fabrications to make a point.

Presuming you looked at the list of his 870 errors, is there even one that is remotely like what Tyson did routinely? From your cite: The first edition of this book suffered from a grave flaw: It was riddled with typographic errors and infelicities. I described the book as "full of extraordinary insight and excruciating errors" and produced a list of 879 errors that extended to 39 pages.

Now, I have to admit that I only got through the first 30 or so, but unless there are a great many sins in the remainder, weaknesses in proof reading and the odd mis-statement or two are not even in the same time zone as Tyson's repeated defamations that not only contradicted his ostensible scienciness, but also indicted, through their credulity, his audience's self labeling as the reason based community. Not one of Feynman's errors as an author undermined Feynman as a scientist.

Contrast with Tyson, whose patter flattered progressives' already fulsome self regard. They lapped it all up with less skepticism than my dog can manage when asked if he wants to go for a walk.

That's not science, that's nothing more than a preacher and his adoring flock.

Hey Skipper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hey Skipper said...

Here's another progressive fabulist.

Peter said...

erp;

...that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Are you seriously arguing those are self-evident and validated by empirical enquiry? I guess you've made your dictionary mend its ways too.



Annoying Old Guy said...

Skipper, Clovis;

I think the "knowingly" is a bigger issue. Clovis' equivalence depends not only on the existence of those mistakes but that Feynman knew of them and repeated them. I think it far more likely that had Feynman known, he would have corrected them. It would be far more telling to have a comparison between the first edition and subsequent ones.

erp said...

No, Peter. I said what I meant and that was that I thought your comment was a pretty good definition of self-evident.

You may disagree, but why this:
I guess you've made your dictionary mend its ways "too."

I'd love to know what I've made mend its ways.

erp said...

Skipper,

Re: Definition of Self-evident.

That's why I prefaced my comment with IMO (In My Opinion).

Re: Tyson

I don't think comparing Tyson's CV with previous heads of the planetarium or anything else about him would be valid because IMO his entire career is owed to AA and it's unlikely any of his predecessors enjoyed such privilege.

Otherwise I think your comments above are perfectly on target.

In fact one of my favorite sayings is that you can when tell a person is a lefty because he/she can hold two opposite and opposing opinions at the same time.

erp said...

Skipper, I forgot to add that AA privilege is much clearer in Obama's case. His career can't be compared to anyone because no one has ever had the kind of career that takes a dopey (literally and figuratively) kid and main lines him/her to the presidency without any of the customary stops (or vetting) along the way.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper, AOG,

I disagree Feynman's errors as an author for a technical audience are of a lesser kind compared to Tyson's bad quoting habits on his stand up presentations for the general public.

By the contrary, it is usually implied that in a technical book you need to apply higher standards.

And I do not think Tyson willingly fabricated quotes to make his pals laugh about Bush. More probably, he acted on his own prejudices and Narrative - to which Skipper has a point - to interpret and mistakenly memorize things different as they actually were. So there is indeed a larger and ironic lesson here, but it is not much about fabrications.


Erp,

As I read you: white man makes mistakes, well, he is only human. Black man makes mistakes... well, that's Affirmative Action.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

It's the knowningly and lack of correction. I don't see it matter whether Tyson fabricated the quotes to amuse his friends or because he's prejudiced. Having read the quotes and the counter evidence, it's clearly not just remembering things differently. Tyson's behavior after the errors were pointed out (far more "dang, you caught me" vs. "oh, let me fix that!") marks these cases as clearly different.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
I think it far more likely that had Feynman known, he would have corrected them. It would be far more telling to have a comparison between the first edition and subsequent ones.
---
I think it is hard to argue what a dead guy would do.

Yet, the fact is that he never printed a corrected edition, even though he lived more than 20 years after its publication and there were plenty of students and colleagues mailing him about errors they've found.

That said, the most serious of those errors only made students lose a lot of time looking for where they made an error in their calculations, to finally conclude the error wasn't theirs. Maybe you can argue that serves a didatic purpose too.

And of course, as Feynman's errors were not related to political views, The Federalist won't be much interested in lauching a smear campaign against that poor dead scientist.


The other day Peter Higgs - the Nobel Priza of a couple of years ago for his prediction of the particle of same name - edclared he would probably not survived the present day Academy.

I guess Richard Feynman would probably not make his name so widely known among the great public in present day America either. Or, if he did, would be only to be hunted by smear campaigns both Left and Right alike.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

So, it's a "smear campaign" to point out when someone lies in public? What should be done about such a thing, then? Are Tyson's lies are a "smear campaign"?

As for politics, Tyson is the one who got himself involved there. It's fascinating how you try to make Tyson's lies and Feynman's errors equivalent and then point reasons they are not.

P.S. If modern academia is so much less tolerant than in the past, where exactly should we lay the blame for that? Do you think it is correlated in any way with the concurrently increasing political activism and collectivist bias of academia?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

What you call "Tyson's lies" are irrelevant to anything but political arguments.

You interpret his behavior - like not immediately apologizing for them - as a lack of scientific integrity. It is more a lack of humility than anything else, and that's an older sin than Academia.

And Higgs was not complaining about modern academia being "much less tolerant than in the past". But it is interesting how you went for the political interpretation right away.

He was mostly complaining about the excess of "productivity" requirements of our days, in detriment of depth and substance.

Take notice how Tyson's mistakes bear no relation to his profession - he did not botch an explanation of a physical mechanism or even wrongly named some galaxy - and hence how shallow all this focus on his misquotes is. There again, noise and fast fingers typing, in detriment of depth and substance.

erp said...

Clovis, you have again confirmed that comprehension is lacking.

There is a huge difference between making mistakes in calculations, typing errors, etc. and playing the clown to make points with his masters and that’s what the world prog movement is.

Tyson was doing standup comedy where hyperbole and ridiculing of public figures is expected and tolerated. Unfortunately, he used his credentials as an eminent scientist to get his gigs. He may well have made mistakes in his science as well, but it's unlikely anyone would have the temerity to point them out never mind make it a cottage industry.

Make no mistake, if a prominent black (see Herman Cain or Bill Cosby) moves to speak against the race war in the making, the movement closes ranks and bimbo eruptions ensue. Yes, Harry there is a conspiracy of silence and black lives only matter if they can be used as propaganda fodder.

As for each student and every student needing to waste his/her time finding Feynman's errors on their own, why not just go here or for more options, here.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

Least I am accused of fabricating quotes, let me give you a source.

And just to be on the safe side, let me also cite here the exact quotes:

"It's difficult to imagine how I would ever have enough peace and quiet in the present sort of climate to do what I did in 1964."

"Today I wouldn't get an academic job. It's as simple as that. I don't think I would be regarded as productive enough."


Maybe you'll also identify with this bit:

"He also revealed that he turned down a knighthood in 1999. "I'm rather cynical about the way the honours system is used, frankly. A whole lot of the honours system is used for political purposes by the government in power." "

Bret said...

Hey Skipper wrote: "Some goals are best achieved collectively. I'm pretty certain that none of our robotic explorers of the solar system and universe would exist without a government entity."

Hmmmm.

My wife and I went to see "A Theory of Everything," a movie about Stephen Hawking. Quite the perfect movie for a couple like my wife and me - the touchy-feeling relationship and disease stuff for her and a movie about a scientist and science for me.

After the movie the my wife said/asked, "He was obviously brilliant - which of his discoveries advanced technology" with the implication being of technology that improved the lives of typical people. Uh, well, that. I imagine that some of Hawking's thoughts and math indirectly stimulated others to think which indirectly stimulated others ... which ultimately helped instigate some innovation somewhere. But theoretical physics of the sort Hawking focuses on doesn't really do that much for us in the here and now in any sort of material way. For example, if Hawking had focused his brilliance on biotech or semiconductors, he probably would've had a much more direct effect.

I find that space exploration is kinda the same thing. Sure, it's kinda cool to have some dude walk on the moon and to put probes on this or that celestial body, but it's also kinda a waste of money. Yeah, supposedly technology for consumer stuff is indirectly stimulated by such endeavors, but it's still indirect.

To the extent that space exploration isn't fairly directly a military exercise (which I believe is the main responsibility of the collective - defense), I don't think it should be done, well, except for by private, non-government entities, and I fully agree that prior to the last decade, that means it wouldn't've been done at all. Again, I think it was mostly a waste of money (except for the defense aspect, if any).

erp said...

Clovis, again missing the point. Tyson playing Stepin Fetchit was part and parcel of his profession. Had he balked at doing it, he would have suffered a bimbo eruption as well.

If you watched the new Cosmos program, you might have picked up on at least some of Tyson's many mistakes.

I only watched the first episode because although I am not physicist nor an astronomer and actually disliked science in school, even I picked up the mistakes of the Giordano Bruno cartoons, turned it off and went back to watching old B&W movies on TMC.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

----
But theoretical physics of the sort Hawking focuses on doesn't really do that much for us in the here and now in any sort of material way. For example, if Hawking had focused his brilliance on biotech or semiconductors, he probably would've had a much more direct effect.
----

Being a drag on society like Hawking - or even of a worst kind, since I do not have his achievements to show up - I must still point out that's a pretty tall order you are asking for.

If Hawking "focused his brilliance on biotech or semiconductors", it turns out he could think that to be so boring that he would have achieved nothing. Unfortunately, brilliance of his kind asks for sources of inspiration that do not come by simple choice.

You will often find geniuses who advanced our knowledge but were very little interested on objective things that could make human life easier.

Isaac Rabi, the nobel prize of 1944 for his works on the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei (and a former Manhattan project team member), was famously astounded in his late years when he needed to do a tomography in the Hospital. For that machine ultimately came from his very discoveries, and yet its development was completely foreign to him.

The debate of Basic X Applied science is too old and vast to be reproduced here, but the general agreement is that one does not exist without the other. Societies who recognized so and invested - collectively - to make basic science possible, reaped many benefits.

I don't know is this collective model of financing basic science will survive, maybe a network of billionaire may do a better job of it in future, as you imply. I doubt so, but only time will tell.



Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

--
You interpret his behavior - like not immediately apologizing for them - as a lack of scientific integrity.
--

Quote, please. I don't recall writing anything about his scientific integrity, only about his integrity in general.

--
Higgs was not complaining about modern academia being "much less tolerant than in the past". But it is interesting how you went for the political interpretation right away.
--

No, it's not - I'm just following the context you set. Let's review

--
The Federalist won't be much interested in lauching a smear campaign against that poor dead scientist.


The other day Peter Higgs - the Nobel Priza of a couple of years ago for his prediction of the particle of same name - edclared he would probably not survived the present day Academy.
--

You go directly from "smear campaign" against a scientist to Higgs complaining he wouldn't survive modern Academia. If there was some other reason, a non-disingenous writer would mention it, especially given this is the overall context on the discussion.

The common theme here is that you ignore the original provocation and then accuse the other side of starting it when they respond in kind. You bring up the political nature of Tyson's remarks and "smear campaigns" and then are "fascinated" when I respond as if you actually meant what you wrote. In the same vein you give Tyson a pass for becoming political but attack those who respond to him in the same field.

--
Take notice how Tyson's mistakes bear no relation to his profession
--

Why? You didn't, when you brought up Feynman in this regard. Again, you create the relationship and then complain when we take it seriously. I would again note that I wrote nothing of Tyson's scientific integrity.

erp said...

A large part of the problem with research today is that it is the grant writers who are in charge. Get the feds out of it and things will change fast back to research to further our knowledge, not research to produce a better mousetrap.

It brings to mind Tom Lehrer's lyric:

"Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down (figuratively speaking, that is);

That's not my department (nor should it be)," says Wernher von Braun."

:-} Sorry, couldn't resist.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] I don't think comparing Tyson's CV with previous heads of the planetarium or anything else about him would be valid because IMO his entire career is owed to AA and it's unlikely any of his predecessors enjoyed such privilege.

Of course it would. It is entirely possible his CV is impressive from the outset. Even if AA is entirely pervasive, there are those who are its ostensible beneficiaries who would have succeeded in any event.

For you to adopt, without evidence, the position that he would not have become the head of the planetarium in an alternate universe without AA is to, effectively, conclude that without AA, no blacks will succeed on their own merits.

Now, it may well be that AA greased the skids for him every inch along the way. To assume that at the outset, though, is both uncharitable and evidence free.

Skipper, I forgot to add that AA privilege is much clearer in Obama's case.

Politics is, largely speaking, a way for people without merit to earn a living.

In Obama's case, there may well be a good case to be made that he was a mediocrity that would not have been positioned in academia as he was if he was melanin challenged. We can't know, though, because of the transparency for which he is so famous, where transparency is another way of saying opaque.

But ever since then, he has benefited beyond measure from progressives' pronounced tendency towards cult of personality. The journolist thing proved that "journalists" should be held in even lower regard than politicians.

That is an entirely different beast than affirmative action, though.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] I disagree Feynman's errors as an author for a technical audience are of a lesser kind compared to Tyson's bad quoting habits on his stand up presentations for the general public.

That is like comparing purple to soup. Feynman's mistakes were in an entirely different category than Tyson's.

Tyson's schtick is that Science investigates, measures, and analyzes to come up with objective facts about which we can make concrete theories.

Then he defames someone with a quote he pulled from his rectal data bank. He didn't even take the most cursory measures to ensure what he said coincided, even glancingly, with reality. He was trafficking in his mantle of scientist, while acting exactly as a propagandist.

Feynman's mistakes were nothing of the kind. I can sympathize with students dealing with textual errors. When I was getting my Masters in Computer Science, I took a course called something to the effect of "Theory of Computational Grammar". The textbook was riddled with errors, which is particularly annoying when trying to make sense out of a proof with the assumption that the proof is correct. But errors like that do not undermine the basic intellectual enterprise, no more than Feynman's tried to portray as true something demonstrably false.

The contrast between the two is why the Federalist decided to look into Tyson's claims. By the way, and I know you aren't a native English speaker, so the distinction might be obscure, but demonstrating that someone is scattering bovine excreta is not a "smear campaign". In fact, you have that exactly backwards. It was Tyson who was engaged in a smear campaign — what he did counted as defamation, pure and simple.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Make no mistake, if a prominent black (see Herman Cain or Bill Cosby) moves to speak against the race war in the making, the movement closes ranks and bimbo eruptions ensue.

Much as I hate to say this, it is very difficult to conclude otherwise than that Cosby was a serial rapist. The allegations have been out there a long time. It's amazing how institutions can discard obvious morality in favor of self protection, whether it is the Catholic Church, or the entertainment industry.

[Bret:] To the extent that space exploration isn't fairly directly a military exercise (which I believe is the main responsibility of the collective - defense), I don't think it should be done, well, except for by private, non-government entities, and I fully agree that prior to the last decade, that means it wouldn't've been done at all.

Thank you for making my point.

In desiring to eliminate government programs for problems that do not have non-collective solutions, the result must be that those solutions will not exist. Fine, eliminate NASA. Then that means the space program would continue to be essentially non-existent. If that is your desired outcome, fine. But there is no waving a magic wand to suddenly wish it into existence.

Space flight, even with SpaceX et al, is still prohibitively expensive, and uses technology essentially no different from the V-2. There is no prospect of that changing. Space exploration will never be a paying proposition.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper wrote: "Space flight, even with SpaceX et al, is still prohibitively expensive, and uses technology essentially no different from the V-2. There is no prospect of that changing."

Ever? Looking at transportation in general, in the last thousand years, man's traveling top speed has increased by a factor of about a thousand. In the next thousand (or million) years you're certain that no developments or needs will possibly make space flight commercially viable?

None of those satellites up there are viable from a commercial standpoint when launch costs are included?

If so, then we should stop doing it. If so, we should certainly stop taxing people to do it.


Hey Skipper wrote: "Space exploration will never be a paying proposition."

Exploration never is. It should only be funded via voluntary donations and philanthropy.

erp said...

Skipper: effectively, conclude that without AA, no blacks will succeed on their own merits.

My argument is the polar opposite.

With AA there is no way of knowing whether a particular melanin enhanced citizen could have succeeded without it.

In Tyson's case, I argue that someone with real talent and a zeal for science wouldn't degrade himself playing the fool.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "For that machine ultimately came from his very discoveries..."

That's a pretty good example of how indirect some of that stuff is. But Rabi's focus is still orders of magnitude less removed from having direct impact on useful stuff than the stuff Hawking focuses on.

Clovis wrote: "The debate of Basic X Applied science is too old and vast to be reproduced here, but the general agreement is that one does not exist without the other..."

I think this statement misses the mark. The question is where does funding for basic versus applied science come from and this changes the debate, even though I've found most people who are fond of government believe it's the identical debate. Those of us not fond of government find it a completely different debate. I have no problem with Basic science, but I do have a problem with fleecing me and my children in order to support it.

erp said...

Re: Cosby

Allegations have been out there for as long as Cosby has been speaking out against race pimping. Neither the Catholic Church nor academe have covered themselves with glory over the past years, so I don't hold them in high regard.

I'd need a lot more proof than has been made public.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper wrote: "Much as I hate to say this, it is very difficult to conclude otherwise than that Cosby was a serial rapist."

Once upon a time I would've agreed with you. Now there's been enough "fake but accurate" rape cases that I no longer am willing to believe any allegations that don't end up with a conviction in a court of law.

Well known examples include the Tawana Brawley hoax and the Duke Lacrosse Team hoax. A more recent example, which hasn't yet been proven to be a total hoax, but shown to be at best inaccurate, is the recent story in Rolling Stone about an alleged brutal, violent, and horrific rape of a female student as part of pledge initiation at a fraternity at UVA.

Rolling Stone's backpedal includes:

"In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie's account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced."

In other words: Oops, we just totally and viciously smeared a fraternity, fairly viciously smeared the entire UVA, and implied that greeks in general are horrible people without bothering to adequately fact check one woman's incredible (as in unbelievable) story.

Too many people lie, too much of the time, for me to not take the innocent till PROVEN guilty thing to heart. That's especially true in Cosby case since he's in the public eye, and as erp mentioned, his outspoken views don't fit the "correct" narrative.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Quote, please. I don't recall writing anything about his scientific integrity, only about his integrity in general.
---
Distinction without a difference.


---
You go directly from "smear campaign" against a scientist to Higgs complaining he wouldn't survive modern Academia. If there was some other reason, a non-disingenous writer would mention it, especially given this is the overall context on the discussion.
---
Interesting. I sincerely wanted to make a comparison between now and then, with no disingenous intent.

Maybe it is my fault, but we promptly see here an error of communication making you to interpret things different from my message.

Now, you could have marked that particular interpreation you understood and, one year from now, declare that Higgs thought the Academy was too intolerant now.

My point being, see how easy it is for Tyson to make the mistakes he did on interpreting Bush words?
We all do it now and then.


---
Clovis: Take notice how Tyson's mistakes bear no relation to his profession

AOG: Why? You didn't, when you brought up Feynman in this regard.
---
Are you sure that my example on Feynman bears no relation to Feynman's profession? Gee, it is like I have cited an obcure and useless book of him, instead of the first textbook on Earth to explain the famous new formalism he alone masterminded...


Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] In Tyson's case, I argue that someone with real talent and a zeal for science wouldn't degrade himself playing the fool.

Noam Chomsky.

[No prospect of space flight becoming economically viable?] Looking at transportation in general, in the last thousand years, man's traveling top speed has increased by a factor of about a thousand. In the next thousand (or million) years you're certain that no developments or needs will possibly make space flight commercially viable?

You are looking at it the wrong way.

Pick a form of transportation — doesn't matter which, because in this regard, they are all the same.

Once invented, there is some period of very slow increase in speed, then another period of rapid increase, followed by complete stagnation. Every form of transportation resembles, with respect to speed, a horizontal 'S'

Airplanes, for instance: a period of very slow increase through the 30's, rapid increase through the introduction of the 707 in 1958, and no significant change since. The B787 cruise speed is three one hundredths of a Mach faster than a 707. (That amounts to about 12 mph).

Ships, same. Cars, same. Trains, same.

As for demand overcoming cost? Other than communications satellites, name one.

[Hey Skipper:] Hey Skipper wrote: "Space exploration will never be a paying proposition."

[Bret:] Exploration never is. It should only be funded via voluntary donations and philanthropy.


That's fine. It also means space exploration won't exist



Re: Cosby and UVa. There are two huge differences. First, the Rolling Stone's UVa story was simply too much to be true, in many regards. For people who weren't already drunk on their own bathwater, that is. In contrast, the Cosby allegations, are altogether too plausible.

Second, people who are "in the industry", including those who aren't progressive bathwater quaffers, have known for decades that there were some unsavory things going on. Also, SFAIK, no one has used Cosby's alleged actions to discredit what he has said about values.

While I don't have any details, I'm inclined to believe Cosby is a serial rapist for the same reason I believe Bill Clinton is.

Unfortunately, the UVa thing amounts to another progressive own goal: Martin, Ferguson, UVa, Robertson have all had the same consequences.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
I think this statement misses the mark. The question is where does funding for basic versus applied science come from
---
So I have no idea why my statement misses the mark, for I was then very explicit about the "funding" part of the debate.

---
Those of us not fond of government find it a completely different debate. I have no problem with Basic science, but I do have a problem with fleecing me and my children in order to support it.
---
Which means that, in a world where virtually all the funding for basic science comes from fleecing citizens through taxes, you do have a problem with it.

As I said, maybe the future could bring us a new model where you are no longer fleeced. But right now you do benefit a lot from the fleecing of your previous generation (and that would be Erp's), and Erp's previous generation, and so on.

Or do you think Isaac Rabi was eating air while working on how to excite the nuclei of atoms in a water molecule, opening up the way for that nice tomograph machine?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
But Rabi's focus is still orders of magnitude less removed from having direct impact on useful stuff than the stuff Hawking focuses on.
---
I forgot this one. Yes, you are absolutely right.

Not only Hawking, but pretty much every discovery in High Energy physics or Quantum Field Theory in the last 40 years look to be all meaningless to humankind, with exception to nerds who want to understand black holes or quarks.

When another Hawking-like useless brat named Friedrich Bessel was, by 1830, dragging the Prussian economy by spending his time doing mathematics, like solving the Bessel equation, no smart engineer around - complaining for being fleeced to pay for Bessel's food - ever thought it could be useful for things like... building an atomic bomb.

A pitty that was later on used to defeat the sons of those Prussians who paid for so much of the research thereafter used.

I guess this is one more reason we should not collectively pay for those theoretical bastards.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

--
Distinction without a difference.
--

Not in my view. A person can have very high scientific integrity and still lack integrity on a personal level. For all I know Tyson does excellent astronomical work. Is your view seems that if he's mendacious in quoting political figures, he must be a dishonest / lousy scientist as well?

--
I sincerely wanted to make a comparison between now and then, with no disingenous intent.
--

But on what metric? You provided none, and no hint that you were using a different one.

--
you could have marked that particular interpreation you understood and, one year from now, declare that Higgs thought the Academy was too intolerant now.
--

When I use such a claim in some place more consequential and separated than in direct response to a weblog comment, I check it out or, as I did here, I poke directly at the person who made the claim. Tyson, on the other, did neither. I also don't find his assertions (which includes ones that haven' been mentioned specifically on this comment string) to be misinterpretations, but outright fabrications.

--
Are you sure that my example on Feynman bears no relation to Feynman's profession?
--

No. Quite the opposite, I think it bears a strong relationship. That's the problem - we started out with an issue bearing no such relationship (for Tyson) and you introduced an equivalence that did. That is, Tyson's remarks were political (not his profession) and you switched to an example involving work in one's profession. That is, you ignored precisely the fact "Tyson's mistakes bear no relation to his profession" by bringing in Feynman's as an analogy.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Skipper;

"As for demand overcoming cost? Other than communications satellites, name one."

Asteroid mining.

I am constantly amazed at your lack of vision on this. Space is filled with energy and mass, which will at some point yield vast amounts of wealth. You sound to me like the British government wondering why people would want to move to North America.

If for no other reason, eventually we'll be wealth enough to want to preserve Earth by moving all of the heavy industry off the planet.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Is your view seems that if he's mendacious in quoting political figures, he must be a dishonest / lousy scientist as well?
---
Not exactly my view, but it is certainly the implication aimed at by many of the people swallowing that Federalist piece. If you doubt so, please read Erp again in this same thread.

---
For all I know Tyson does excellent astronomical work.
---
For all I know, he may be a reasonably good astronomer, but he is no exceptional one. Neither was Carl Sagan, for example, who happened to be the main face of American science popularization for quite some time.


---
But on what metric? You provided none, and no hint that you were using a different one.
---
Indeed, I provided a general commentary after a very speccific one. My fault.

---
Tyson, on the other, did neither. I also don't find his assertions (which includes ones that haven' been mentioned specifically on this comment string) to be misinterpretations, but outright fabrications.
---
Yes, Tyson was sloppy to say the least. I just don't think the noise being made about it keeps a reasonable proportion to his misdeed. And it is pretty clear that noise is being made for political reasons.

---
That is, Tyson's remarks were political (not his profession) and you switched to an example involving work in one's profession.
---
Because, as made obvious by Erp's comparison to Feynman - let's make it clear she was the one invoking him first - the bad light being directed at Tyson was directed to question him at every aspect, including his professional skills.


erp said...

Clovis, yes please read my comments on this string or any other to find out what I think, not what you think are my ulterior motives.

I used Feynman as an example because he was outspoken and perhaps took himself less seriously than other scientists of his stature who rarely stepped outside their professional personas. It never crossed my mind that you would equate "mistakes" in Feynman's vast seminal works with Tyson's deliberate public falsehoods made deliberately to titillate the lefties in the crowd and the obvious real mistakes in "settled science" in the Cosmos series Tyson either did not recognize as being false or didn’t think necessary to correct.

Carl Sagan was also a media creature, but there is no reason to compare him with Tyson because Sagan for better or worse did not gain his positions because of AA privilege.

CAN'T YOU UNDERSTAND?

MY OBJECTION TO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IS SINCE I WAS INSTITUTED, TALENTED AND BRILLIANT PEOPLE OF COLOR CAN NEVER RID THEMSELVES OF SUSPICION THAT THEY DON'T MEASURE UP.

TOO BAD YOU DON’T ASK THOSE IN YOUR ACQUAINTANCESHIP WHO FALL INTO THIS COHORT AND ASK THEM WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT IT.

YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED AT THE ANSWER.

erp said...

Sorry for the typos above, but this subject infuriates me.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

As it happens, I don't know any black American in order to make that question.

But you did not see me defending AA here anyway (by the contrary), so what is your point?

erp said...

My point is then, what's your point?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Carl Sagan was also a media creature, but there is no reason to compare him with Tyson because Sagan for better or worse did not gain his positions because of AA privilege.
---

Pray tell me, to what or whom did Sagan ought to thank for his position?

erp said...

I have no idea, nor do I care.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

"it is pretty clear that noise is being made for political reasons"

Um, yeah. You write that as if it is an indictment, but why? Tyson made his comments for political reasons, why is it a problem if the response is the same? This is precisely what I mean by you giving Tyson a pass that you don't give to the other side. As they say, you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Someone who agrees with Skipper. It has many excellent links.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
You write that as if it is an indictment, but why? Tyson made his comments for political reasons, why is it a problem if the response is the same?
---
Because the response does not restrict itself to the political sphere.

It goes on to hunt him for being an affirmative action supporter, maybe also an affirmative action recipient. It hunts him beyond his limited errors to aspire to turn him into a pariah.

Such is the nature of a smear campaign: it is not done in the service of truth.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
I have no idea, nor do I care.
---
Yet you are quick to say he was a media creature, as if he had no personal merit other than to serve a propaganda purpose of liberalism, in your view, right?

erp said...

As I said, I have no interest in Sagan either personally or professionally and I said he was a creature of the media because that's what he was. If he wasn't, the general public would never have heard of him. Simple.

Whoa, Clovis. Did you not check out the links to the errors in Cosmos? Errors that even a senile old geezerette noticed within the first few minutes of Episode One.

A smear campaign is when the accusations are untrue, ergo the statements about Tyson are not a smear campaign, but simply statements of fact.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

No, I did not check out your link on errors in Cosmos. nor watched that program. I've lost time enough of my life already reading the Federalist link and other nit-picking useless stuff, my time share for this topic is over.

Hey Skipper said...

[Hey Skipper:] As for demand overcoming cost? Other than communications satellites, name one.

[AOG:] Asteroid mining.

I am constantly amazed at your lack of vision on this. Space is filled with energy and mass, which will at some point yield vast amounts of wealth.


That article you linked to is so airy fairy as to make even the most sparkly pastel unicorn seem like a veritable Budweiser Clydesdale in comparison.

Allow me one simple assumption: that meteorites have the same composition distribution as near-earth asteroids.

Now, I'm not sure what they mean by a "platinum rich" asteroid, but there isn't a category for platinum rich meteorites .

And these sentences from your link are nearly empty: A single 500-meter platinum-rich asteroid contains the equivalent of all the Platinum Group Metals mined in history. “Many of the scarce metals and minerals on Earth are in near-infinite quantities in space.

For the first: the real question is not what has been mined so far, but what remains to be mined on Earth. Then compounding that seemingly central point, the reporter (perhaps up to journalism's typical standards) has no idea that "near-infinite quantities" is also the same as "infinitesimal densities".

There is no reason to believe there are any NEA's with a platinum concentration meaningfully exceeding that found on Earth. And there is almost as little reason to believe that should platinum become so expensive that going to space to get it would pay off, we wouldn't find a substitute.

Presuming that the horizontal S curve holds for space flight as it has for every other form of shifting mass around, then even an asteroid that was a pure platinum ingot wouldn't be worth going after.

If for no other reason, eventually we'll be wealth enough to want to preserve Earth by moving all of the heavy industry off the planet.

Why? Certainly it can't be because it weighs a lot. If your reason is because heavy industry is polluting, then it is far cheaper to clean it than put it in orbit. It certainly can't be because it takes up too much space, because we aren't even remotely close to running out of room, and fertility rates are plummeting everywhere they haven't already tanked.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Yes, Tyson was sloppy to say the least. I just don't think the noise being made about it keeps a reasonable proportion to his misdeed. And it is pretty clear that noise is being made for political reasons.

You have completely inverted the problem. The whole point of Tyson's homilies is for tribal affirmation: we are the rational, scientific vanguard, they are superstitious troglodytes. (Here's more fuel for my post's point. And here is Salon quoting Salon quoting Jezebel about Christians "freaking out".)

Tyson got the quote wrong, the context wrong, the timing wrong and the point wrong. It would be impossible to be more wrong than he was. Well, unless he added to his epic wrongness by coming up with the most cackhanded, self-justifying, rationalizing non-apology almost ever.

Which is why I'm astonished that you attribute the "noise" being made to political reasons. The whole point of Tyson's adventure in pure invention was political. It is not noise to point out that this seeming paragon of the scientific method either can't be bothered to investigate his "facts", or is so enamored of his (and his tribe's) intellectual superiority as to render the effort redundant.

Further, his tribalism is, to a large extent, in pursuit of hyping global warming. We, the vanguard, accept The Science™; those troglodytes need either edumacating, or ostracism.

(Yet none of the vanguard get that climatism is not scientific: it has no deductive consequences; not one.)

erp said...

OMG - Skipper, where on earth did you find that hateful screed? It's far past parody. The amusing part of the Fox News hate fest is that it isn't even remotely close to being conservative.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

And apparently you could not bother yourself either into providing a quote of Tyson declaring anyone to be a troglodyte.

Nor, I am sure, you ever failed to provide complete justification, with exact quotes and so on, for every time you made a rant against Obama.

Different from AOG, of course, who now and then talks about the "you did not build that" Obama infamous quote, demonstrating he either misinterpreted Obama too, or is fond of making misquotes and fabrications as our pal Tyson.

You seem it is too easy to mock Tyson while forgetting that, when it comes to political discourse, pretty much everyone is sloppy and lazy. It is politics after all, who cares.

erp said...

Clovis, missing the point yet again.

The point is that Tyson is not working the crowd as a politician. If he were, his behavior wouldn't be fodder for surprise or comment

… and BTW I care very much.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] And apparently you could not bother yourself either into providing a quote of Tyson declaring anyone to be a troglodyte.

Huh?

To refresh your memory, here is what I said: The whole point of Tyson's homilies is for tribal affirmation: we are the rational, scientific vanguard, they are superstitious troglodytes.

Asking for some direct quote shows you are missing the point entirely

He isn't getting up on stage to just spew -- his homilies have a very specific message, which is "we smart, they dumb". We smart people are all about global warming because The Science; no wonder those God bothering trogs -- see what Bush did? -- are deniers.

If you followed the links, you would see that point is very obvious to progressives (and everyone else).

When you stand up in front of a crowd and tell self flattering parables, it is best that the parables do not demolish the basis for the parables. It is even better if you, and your audience, isn't so in thrall to yourselves that you can't be bothered to check your work.

And it is even better if those parables do not, in turn, reveal your own fundamentalist religious beliefs.

Watch those talks. Read what his tribe says.

If I got it wrong, by all means show me.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

"It goes on to hunt him for being an affirmative action supporter"

I read the Federalist article again and I didn't see that. Please provide a quote. Further, with regard to my and erp's questions, can factual claims constitute a smear campaign?

Further, do you consider Tyson's comments to be a smear campaign, or does he get a free pass to make up false claims against other people?

As for my misquoting Obama or misintrepreting him, view this and then point out where I have done as you accuse.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Skipper

The ESA appears to disagree with you. Let me quote - "there are some that appear to be composed of little but metal and, again, there are metal meteorites found on Earth".

Certainly the chondrites asteroid are the common type, but hardly the only type.

My main point for my cited article is that real people are putting up real money to do this. That, IMHO, indicates they believe such efforts can be profitable. i would also note that the mining effort per unit returned may be very different and ultimately much cheaper on an asteroid if you get enough scale.

--
Presuming that the horizontal S curve holds for space flight as it has for every other form of shifting mass around, then even an asteroid that was a pure platinum ingot wouldn't be worth going after.
--

Why? I fail to see the need for speed in this application. You would likely be mining the asteroid for decades, so if it takes 5 or 10 years to get here, that's not a show stopper.

As for why we'd want to move heavy industry off planet, I would think it obvious - pollution and access to energy. That is, for much the same reason we don't have factories next to our houses, just on a somewhat larger scale.

Hey Skipper said...

The ESA appears to disagree with you. Let me quote - "there are some that appear to be composed of little but metal and, again, there are metal meteorites found on Earth".

True. And not one of them with sufficient precious metals concentrations to be worth crossing the street for, never mind launching enough mass into space to reach, recover, and return, them.

That the ESA got to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is easily amazing enough.

(Do not just walk, run to follow the links.)

But the best we could manage was to get something the size of an overpacked suitcase to the surface of that comet, and not a prayer of returning anything at all -- as in nada, zilch, zippo, squanto, nil, heck all -- to Earth.

Cost: somewhere north of $300 million. How much platinum does that equal? Close as doesn't matter to 7.7 tons.

As for why we'd want to move heavy industry off planet, I would think it obvious - pollution and access to energy.

Imagine an alternative -- in other words, take into account opportunity cost: instead of shoveling billions into going into space to get energy to earth, we invest billions into getting energy already on earth.

Like, say, nuclear power.

And you are presuming that our economic energy density remains what it is now. Which it hasn't been doing, and will continue to not do.

Beyond that, you are also assuming it is easier to launch pollution into space than control it here. That is particularly odd because pollution is another way of saying inefficiency. We need to go to space because we won't attack inefficiency?

erp said...

Skipper, it won't be long now that the monkeys aka environmentalist whackoes dancing around Hal will get tired and we can start getting serious about making nuclear energy cheap, plentiful and safe.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

As your link shows, his phrase was ambiguous, and he could be talking either about the roads of the business. Upon being asked about it, they clarified it was about the roads.

You previously claimed you "poke directly at the person who made the claim"... do you really?

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,


Quite sincerely, the links I followed with Tyson himself talking did not impress me much.

He just isn't s particularly good speaker, in my opinion.

That alone is far more of a criticism than any of that fake controversy about what Bush said or not (I guess I believe that trashing their President, even when absolutely unfairly, is a basic right of every citizen).

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

Answering your questions:

Smear campaigns often use partial truths in order to get their objectives.

As for giving Tyson a pass, to the extent he is ranting against his president, I do give him the same pass I give everyone else, including you. My whole point here was about overreaction to something everyone does.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] That alone is far more of a criticism than any of that fake controversy about what Bush said or not (I guess I believe that trashing their President, even when absolutely unfairly, is a basic right of every citizen).

Is it?

Tyson isn't merely calling Bush a religious bigot, he is using Bush as an exemplar of that whole tribe of religious bigots. Tyson's objective is classic progressivism: first denigrate, then ostracize, those who disagree. Because "they" are religious bigots, that is sufficient reason to disregard their beliefs and opinions.

Remember, part of Tyson's remit is popularize science. Yet in telling this fable, he has defined a certain group of people as being beyond the pale.

Fine. But when engaged in such a project, isn't it rather important to be right in the details?

That's why this isn't a fake controversy. Tyson would be condemned for plagiarism. Why not defamation?

Also, the motivation for my post is that there appears -- to me -- certain types of behavior that typify progressives, but not those who aren't progressive.

So far, no one has come up with an example of a non-progressive resorting to the kind of defamation that is so prevalent among progressives.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

I don't think Obama's statement was the least ambiguous, especially in context (e.g., the bit about "there are lots of smart people" to show that you didn't build that because you're smart). Part of Obama's claim is that because of the *roads* you didn't build that *business*.

When asked to "clarify" by an Old Media which has repeatedly sanitized his statements, the White House lied knowing it would be supported.

--
Smear campaigns often use partial truths in order to get their objectives.
--

Yet you have not pointed out any "partial truth" by the Federalist. What exactly makes their article part of a "smear campaign", other than their political views?

I think you rely too heavily on a presumed equivalence, an "everybody does it just as much" axiom, which is not always valid in the real world.

Peter said...

Skipper, although I don't totally dismiss Clovis's argument that you are being a little hyper- analytic, it's a great post. I love "People Who Just Absolutely Love Science" and intend to appropriate it as my own without attribution. Sorry, you should have copyrighted it. :-)

Somewhere in the comments to one of your links is one of those Dawkins-style exchanges in which a pompous twit rails against all things religious, to the point where even some other atheists are telling him he is embarrassing them. Sensing he is losing the crowd, he exits with a final shot that creationism must not be taught in schools because that "would undermine the peoples' faith in science". After all you and I have been through over the past decade, wouldn't you say that's the last word in a lack of self-awareness?

Hey Skipper said...

After all you and I have been through over the past decade, wouldn't you say that's the last word in a lack of self-awareness?

First word, too.

(As well as a self-damning lack of faith in the science with which he is absolutely in love.)