Interesting Links

 From Mark Steyn

The great strength of Common Law is its antipathy to “collective rights” – because the ultimate minority is the individual. If you elevate group rights over individual liberty, you’re mainly empowering not “minorities” but the state, which becomes the sole legitimate arbiter of relations between various groups. And empowering the state means empowering the likes of Commissar Geiger-Adams to preside over four-year investigations into the precise degree of smooching between two patrons of a late-night comedy club. That’s why group rights are “the key Nanny State concept“. What we are witnessing, from the comedy clubs of Vancouver to the groves of academe in Connecticut, is not just the collapse of liberty but the death of the human spirit. There is something deeply sick about the willingness of freeborn citizens to submit to statist enforcers like Geiger-Adams.

In a related article, Reuven Brenner on the limits of free expression:

Western countries protect the media’s and culture’s freedom of expression, whether in the shape of books, movies, caricatures, blogs, or YouTube postings although not all to the same degree. The US offers the widest protection, the exception being not to shout “fire” in crowded halls. European countries have laws against “hate speech”. Canada has its own version, enforced by “human rights tribunals”, where bureaucrats decide whether verbal or visual barbs, even stereotyping, are “too offensive” and qualify for condemnation and compensation. Yet, what these laws and courts achieve is hardly more civil behavior, but rather the wearing of thin masks that hide much that would be much better if it came into the open.

And its financial scams in academia:

University education once stood for informed, civilized debates where people expressed opinions backed by facts, logic, and knowledge of precedent. That is the definition of “disciplined speech”. The criterion for becoming an academic was having had a history of expressing reasoned opinions and research, double-checked by peers, based on “disciplinary” standards.

…Unfortunately, government subsidies to tens of thousands of academic journals, universities, libraries, and conferences, destroyed the once sharp distinction between “academics and disciplined speech” and “freedom of speech”.

The Last Psychiatrist, on epistemology of scientific studies, and science as faith;

You would be forgiven if you thought this was a study about video game violence. It is not. It is a study about how to validate scientific claims, and this method hopes to be used more generally.

Look carefully at the argument being made and the conclusion. The entire study is a cognitive bias, and that bias is called Appeal To Authority.

In essence, the study is studying which group of people is more “expert” about this question. How do you define expert? Experts have published more extensively on this question. I hope it is obvious that this is so flawed as to be useless. The only people who judge expertise by number of publications is social scientists, and that’s why they aren’t considered scientists by anyone else…

 …No one is making any attempt to interpret the studies themselves– that’s not what they want. The point is to be able to quickly screen a social or controversial question for expertise in an effort to control the dialogue on matters no one wants to/can evaluate on their own. I’ll let you imagine how this “novel method” might be put to excellent use in climate change and etc. Science becomes a matter of faith.

About Avadoro Worden

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One Response to Interesting Links

  1. Pingback: Statistical Magic and its uses | Fog of Chaos

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