Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Powerball Redistribution Meme

1) Poverty: the $4 problem

If you haven't noticed, the math doesn't add up, but that didn't stop 904,000 people on Facebook from liking the meme anyway. Judging from the most recent comments, a lot of people take away that math education has gone down the tubes.

 I actually don't think so. I think that if the math was posed without the ideological content people wouldn't have made the mistake. Once the error is pointed out, almost anybody can figure out that each person receives a very small number. The problem is not that people couldn't do the math, but that only some were motivated to check it.

The way it works is as follows: if you favor redistribution then you like this meme, it seems right, and you don't have to exercise the least bit of skepticism towards it. You "like" and "share" it on Facebook so that the world can know that the end of poverty is one simple step away from greed and selfishness.

If you're opposed to redistribution then your first instinct is to find out what's wrong with it. Of course you double check the math, hazzah! it's wrong! now you can tell those redistributionist how stupid they all are.

If you're a redistributionist you read the comments criticizing the math of the meme. You double check it for yourself. Oh God, they're right! You conjure up a face-saving post in the comments about what it was really about.
"Clearly the lady that created this post picture was off.. But the point she was trying to make .. Spot on my people. Shed a tear like normal lol have a laugh for once ! Duhhhh the math doesn't equal out..you guys want a correction award.
Point she was attempting to make is simple.. There's enough money to feed the people... Why is the world like it is. Her math was incorrect but I get it.
And then you get a few thousand Likes from others who were also caught not being careful around ideas they like. Good God that's an awful comment. Shed a tear? Feed the people? What nonsense.

2) Reasoning until we get what we want

Underlying my interpretation is an enormous amount of research on motivated reasoning. We humans  are apt to take confirming evidence at face value while subjecting disconfirming evidence to critical evaluation. We give evidence that confirms our biases the benefit of the doubt, and give evidence the disconfirms the burden of proof. When we don't want to believe it we ask why, and when we want to believe it we ask why not.

In one study subjects were preselected for their attitudes toward capital punishment, and then asked to read fictitious studies on the deterrence effect of capital punishment. Of course, when fictional pro-deterrence studies were used, people who were pro-capital punishment assessed that they were persuasive, and people who weren't were critical. When the same fictional study was presented with the opposite, anti-deterrence conclusion, opposite groups thought the study was well done or had methodological errors.

Too small of sample size, nonrandom sample selection, or inadequate controls for important variables were problems only when people wanted them to be.

Man that's a really bad comment. I can't get over that.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hungry? Grab a Link

...you answer a lot of personality questions on a test, like “Do you like spending time around other people?”, and you say “no”, and then later the test tells you “You’re an introvert”, and then you think “Oh my god, this is amazing, it’s like it’s known me my whole life!”
The claim that MBTI gives you new information would be a bold scientific claim and would require bold scientific evidence. I don’t know to what degree the MBTI people make this claim, but I don’t think it’s necessary for me to enjoy the test and consider it useful. All it needs to do is condense the information you put into it in a way that makes it more relevant and digestible.

  • Lots of people are talking about Scott Sumner's new book, The Midas Paradox. The complicated world of monetary policy and business cycles is something I don't know very much about. And every time I try the words become gibberish about a sentence and a half into it. From what I hear though, Mr. Sumner is pretty good. although it might just be that the high cost of entry (knowing what their talking about), keeps that complicated world monopolized.
  • Hive Mind by Garrett Jones is about why the IQ of the society you live in matters so much more than the IQ of your own.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Controversy over Starbuck's Red Cups

Some people are complaining about Starbucks using a plain red design for their hot cups this season. Why? because its another ploy of grinch-like liberals to take Christmas out of everything.

Of course, the cups are different each year and they're not always particularly Christmas-centric. Its not like this year they're excluding the holy trinity from their cup design. They just made a design choice that I doubt had anything to do with Christmas.
Last Year's Starbucks Cups

I read that social media covered with angry Christians, but the only thing I catch on The controversy is now trending everywhere. Now everyone is outraged over a small subset of Christian's outrage over a small subset of liberal's outrage over the celebration of Christmas. This is how contagious dumb is.

And what does Starbucks fill those non-Christmas cups with each and every day? Their premier coffee, Christmas Blend!

100 people are outraged over the 5 people who are outraged over the 2 people who are outraged over something silly. This is how we bond over madness.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Does Transgender make sense if Men and Women are the same?

The bottom line is that saying there are differences in male and female brains is just not true.

A neuroscientist has stepped forward to remind everyone that men and women have the same brains

sexes are not ‘hardwired’ in different ways

So are male and female brains naturally different?

One holy belief of the liberal tribe is that they aren't; men and women are born with brains indistinguishable from one another's. Gender differences are therefore explained entirely by culture, and differences in gender outcomes can therefore be explained entirely by culture and discrimination. If there are no natural differences, those are the only options left. Why is the liberal tribe so anxious to believe this?

The Haidtian explanation is that the liberal tribe bond with each other over the sacralization of victim groups. They're eager to accept any possible story involving the victimization of women, because the defense of those women makes them feel like a part of the good team. And if they defect by questioning their battle orders, they're pushed outward from the circle for betraying their tribe. 

Maybe this is why the above links get so much attention, even though as far I can tell the only evidence is that one neuroscientist said so. One.

What can we do about this? Well, if we really want to be provocative we can pit the victim stories against each other. So how can a transgender person identify mentally as one gender if there are no mental gender differences? I think the impulse of the liberal tribe will be to concoct any possible way to protect both victim groups; the transgender group and the female group. But that would be very hard if they've already committed to men and women having exactly the same brains.

Though in my experience if you point out the inconsistencies in the doctrines of these tribes you're more likely to incite more anger than introspection. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Are Trangender people God's Mistake?

I was Transsexual .Then Jesus came into my life

God doesn’t create a person with the genitals of a male and the consciousness and heart of a female.

His wonderful work leaves no room for mistakes; no one is born with the “wrong body.”

Sometimes the evangelical tribe says that trans-gender people can't exist; that those who say so are confused or have a disorder of some kind. 

I'm sometimes taken aback by how pervasive groupthink is, how it leaves us with the inability to entertain counter-arguments. Sometimes exposure to this kind of groupthink leaves others thinking that they're just stupid, rather than the truth that like most of us, they're not very good at practicing intellectual discipline when we're surrounded by people who hold the same beliefs that they do.

In the case of evangelicals protesting transgenderism because, "God doesn't make mistakes", the counter should be clear. There are tons of wrong things we are born with that we should fix if we are able:

-When a baby is born with one leg, we don't say, "God doesn't make mistakes, he can't have an artificial leg"

-When a baby is born not breathing we don't say, "God doesn't make mistakes, we can't give CPR"

-When a baby is born identifying intellectually as one gender and identifying bodily as the other gender...

This is one aspect of a broader trend in evangelicals to ignore natural evil completely. They, like the world that they're not supposed to conform to, believe that nature is perfect and all the terribleness in our experience can be traced naturally to human beings messing with things.

This is false. Nature is a mess; red in tooth and claw. The Problem of Natural Evil, is called a problem for a reason. And whatever solution the theist might have for it should be applies consistently. When someone says they were born transgender, you should not forget the reality of natural evil as an explanation and surgery or hormone pills a solution, no different from the many problems in nature and many solutions we've come up with.