Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘bullshit’

ImageI’ll never forget when US Airways flight 1549 had to do an emergency belly landing in the Hudson river and no one was injured. Shortly following the event, a whole lot of people started clamoring about how it was ‘a miracle’ or that God definitely played a role in getting all those people to safety. My inbox was no exception.

Such things tend to frustrate me because it shows the blatant confirmation bias of the religious thinker. No one questions that ‘God’ steps in to do the ‘good’ outcome but they do not also apply that similar thinking to the ‘bad’ outcomes any more than they think the same ‘God’ would have played a role in causing or should have played a role in preventing the situation in the first place.

For example, do you suppose that anyone on board was ‘cursing’ God when they thought they were going to die? Or what about passengers or witnesses to crashes where no one survives? Well, obviously, that is just part of God’s plan then right? It’s a mystery!

Such thinking is not only inconsistent and intellectually dishonest, it distracts from the real heroes doing real things — real people! — who are contributing to great outcomes. To more than one person who sent me the ‘miraculous’ assertion, I had but one response:

Yes, I am sure that God personally intervened to make sure that all of those passengers and crew as well as the people on the ground were not harmed.
I’m sure that the years of training and calm headed, quick thinking of the pilot and the flight crew played absolutely no role in keeping the jet from crashing.
And the air traffic controllers using the world’s most advanced and coordinated air traffic system, radar technology, two-way radio communications and direct lines to multiple airports across the northeast didn’t have anything to do with it.
Nor did the years of development and advancement in aircraft design, technology and safety measures contribute in any fashion.
The flight attendants, their years of training and their similar cool thinking keeping the passengers calm and following safety procedures that have been practiced and rehearsed had nothing to do with it.
Not to mention the passengers themselves for following instructions and remaining so calm and working together.
No one on the ground in New York city with a cell phone, similarly developed through years of technology utilizing one of the most advanced telephone systems in the world calling upon seeing the plane going down did anything to help.
The 911 operators utilizing their refined network of emergency resources and vast network of trained emergency response procedures obviously did not contribute.
Nor did the quick response of the harbor authority and their rescue vehicles that rushed to the aid of the plane once it was safely upon the water.
Obviously it was all God’s work.

Now I’m sure you’ll probably say ‘well, God created all those things’ or that he had a hand in carrying them out. But I’m just curious. If God really wanted to make sure all of those people were safe, wouldn’t it have been far easier and less trouble in the long run….

…. if he had just moved the goose 3′ to the left?”

WSIDAirplaneGeeseinFlight

Read Full Post »

the-angry-mob

There are a number of folks who have disagreed with some of my statements and some of my methods. I treat the absurd with absurdity, I ridicule the ridiculous and whenever someone is being obtuse to the level of it being profane, I response with the acute use of profantity – e.g. ‘Fuck that shit!’

con-man4When debating particular ideas, concepts and the corresponding societal movements that all-too-often spring up as a result of them, I tend to be rather particular to not only attack the ideas themselves, but to then specifically condemn the people that ‘follow’ such ideas.

Whenever an idea exists, not based primarily on the self-evidence that is good or right, but instead leans upon consensus as a means to gain prominence, there is inevitably some charismatic figure making a good pitch leading the charge. It is the general practice of others when addressing such ideas being broadcast from a primary source of one or a small number of individuals, to attack the source. The problem is, the ideas don’t exist on evidence, they exist on consensus. The slickest con-man in existence is entirely irrelevant if no one swallows his magic elixir!

More specifically, whenever anyone is making a claim that will not stand on it’s own, it can only stand as a result of others supporting it. It can only resonate in society if a ‘mob’ gets behind it and forces it to become an actionable reality. Thus whenever anyone claims to support the idea, they aren’t simply supporting the assertions of the charismatic figure, they are taking on those assertions and becoming the means by which they achieve relevance.

Furthermore, were there not so many willing idiots, there wouldn’t be a market for the snake oil salesmen to begin with!

Let me give an example to get to the heart of what I mean. Someone comes up to me supporting some statist idea that the government should be empowered to collect taxes from me under threat of force. Those who disagree with my methods are making an assumption that the individual is simply enabling the use of force by not standing in the way of it being carried out. They aren’t the ones directly responsible because it is someone in a statehouse somewhere that proposed it, and it’s someone in a police force somewhere that will enforce it and make it actionable.

But in reality, especially in any society with representative governance, such ideas will never ever exist unless a significant enough number of people – individuals – either support it or allow it. Whether it be authoritarian concepts of statist politicians or similar principles being stated from pulpits by evangelical preachers, the ideas themselves are irrelevant until individuals make them actionable.

philosoraptor-choose-not-to-decide

To quote RUSH from the song ‘Free Will’,

“If I choose not to decide, I still have made a choice”

In other words, as the passive thinker stands there and tells you “I think this politician is right when he says you must be forced to help others” or “I think this preacher is right when he says you should not be selfish and sacrifice for the needy”, the most important part of either of those sentences is the first two words, “I think”. They are in essence telling you “You need to be forced to comply with what ‘I think'” – supporting the third party is simply a convenience to that individual in that someone else is energetically telling them ‘I’ll happily force them on your behalf!’

Thus, I don’t play nice with such people. If you say you support someone else doing me harm – you, in my mind, are saying harm should be done to me. If you help propel ideas to prominence that only propel to prominence because people like you help them get that way, you are the one making the concept actionable.

I still hold the statist or the theist responsible for promoting bad ideas and will challenge them regularly on the falsity, absurdity and profaneness of those ideas, but it is the individual that ‘believes’ the bullshit that I hold the MOST responsible for it’s existence!

Read Full Post »

Mitch Albom at WJR 760am

Well, once again good ole Mitch Albom set off my ‘critical thinking bullshit detector’ on my commute home. Today he had on a guest who was discussing some research he was apparently trying to collect on the Michigan Concealed Carry law as part of the acknowledgement of it being passed 10 years ago.

Among some of the other things that were discussed, the guest had pointed out some of the things that the law proposed to do.  Obviously, it established a legal process for a ‘no fault’ CCW. (‘no fault’ in this instance refers to the fact that instead of having to prove a ‘need’ to have such a permit, the responsibility instead falls upon the issuing body to prove cause not to provide one to anyone applying) It also established anonymity protection for the applicants, i.e. not adding their names to some kind of publicly accessible registry.  But apparently, it also established reporting guidelines to better assess any impact on illegal activities that permit owners might be involved with in any way.

Apparently, one of the beefs that Mr. Albom wanted to highlight is that this reporting standard did not carry with it any penalties for non-compliance.  And also apparently, many jurisdictions have not been complying with these reporting guidelines.

Now at this point let me say that I agree with both Mr. Albom and his guest.  If there is a requirement in the law that crimes related to CCW permit holders be reported, they should be.  If, for whatever reason, jurisdictions are not reporting these statistics then that is a legitimate beef to take up with those jurisdictions.  But that is where my agreements end.  And the fact that Mr. Albom felt the need to make this ‘news’ at all reminded me all to clearly of the non-issue news about the potential hazards of Reardon metal in the book Atlas Shrugged.

I’ll give Mitch credit that he did present both sides of the arguments.  He did point out at least twice that you can neither say that crimes are occurring as a result of increased handgun carrying by-way-of legal CCW permit carrying citizens nor can you say that crimes are being prevented by CCW permit carrying citizens when such statistics are not reported.  But he then went on at least half a dozen times to suggest that the statistics on CCW related crimes are under-reported.

If you cannot determine either way, then that is nothing more than an assumption.  You could just as easily assume that these statistics are not being reported because these jurisdictions in question have little or nothing to report!  With that said, the latter is still an assumption, but I would argue it is a safer assumption than the one he is alleging by way of suggesting an under-reporting of CCW related crime.  He also added to this suggestion that ‘there’s not way to tell’.  But I think there is.

There are organizations with political motives on both sides of the debate that could benefit from news one way or another.  (he tacitly eluded to this as well but did not correlate it as it would have no doubt damaged his presumption of ‘under reported crimes)  Both sides have people who monitor the news and would report on any and all successes and/or abuses (respective to their political motive) that benefited their side of the debate.  BUT….. the media tends to reverberate the negative, anti-gun sentiments wider, farther and longer than any pro-gun news.

If in fact there were known abuses of the law by CCW permit holders, the media would pounce on that like a bunch of blood crazed hounds.  Witness the case of Bernie Goetz as a gleaming example of the kind of media bias I am referring to.  Although not a legal-CCW related case, the media went crazy over the coverage of the criminal charges against Mr. Goetz and almost entirely glossed over the criminal acts being committed against him at the time.  (they also grossly under reported the ‘effects’ of his actions on the crime statistics in the NY subway in the weeks following his criminal act of self-defense)

To say there is ‘no way to know for sure’ simply because statistics are under-reported to support either claim, is to over look the media blood-lust for anti-gun rhetoric, in the midst of perpetuating more anti-gun rhetoric!

Unfortunately Mr. Albom, I must say yet again….

Critical-Thinking Bullshit Detector

Read Full Post »