Quote of the day—Wendy Patterson @Jetsgurl46

Iran killed 1,500 protesters and the American media yawned. Iran ordered everyone to attend the Terrorist Generals funeral and 56 Iranians were killed in a stampede. The media gave it an honorable mention. Iran shot down a plane killing 176 people and the media tried to blame it on President Trump.

How can any sane person vote Democrat after witnessing Democrats defend the Iranian regime after they caused so many deaths?

Wendy Patterson @Jetsgurl46
Tooted on January 11, 2020
[As Seventeen76 @Factnews replied:

@Jetsgurl46 you answered your own question with “any sane person”

Harsh. But fair.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Jon Hauptman

I’d be on the side of fact checking if facts actually had anything to do with what people believe. Given the relationship between values, beliefs, and facts, “fact checking” is values enforcement, even if it’s accidental. This is going to reveal itself to be a way to “check” people who believe unapproved facts, more than it’s a tool for improving the information diet.”

Jon Hauptman
December 31, 2019
The Perils of Social Media Fact-Checking
[The points Hauptman makes aren’t always true. Beliefs can be change rather easily if the believer doesn’t have a commitment to the belief. Someone could believe they had plans to have lunch with a friend on on Monday and then check their calendar and find out it was actually Tuesday. It’s a rare person who is going to continue believing the lunch date is on Monday.

On the other hand suppose a person believes the water gods hold up living things like wood, leaves, and small mammals and send things of the earth such as rocks and dirt to the bottom of the rivers and lakes. And further suppose they have been teaching their beliefs to others for many years. Giving the a demonstration of a pumice rock (which floats) and a piece of ironwood (which sinks in water) is likely to cause them to create some explanation which preserves the existence of the water gods.

Also, there exist certain conditions, which can be created, where facts matter and people frequently do change their minds. See When Prophecy Fails for the basis of my claim. My summary of those conditions are:

  • Unequivocal disconfirmation of the false belief must occur.
  • Social support for the false must be minimal or non-existent.

This is how “deprogramming” someone from a cult works. They are removed from their social support network and the flaws in their belief system are presented to them with undeniable certainty.

Conclusion: Mostly true.

H/T to Rolf for pointing it out to me before I caught up on my RSS feeds.

In email Rolf also points out:

What’s interesting to me, after reading it, is the meta:  the author’s bias doesn’t appear to allow him to consider the possibility that the actions of Google, Facebook, etc., are done knowing full well the reality of the situation, and their goal is to shape and form the narrative that people will be conditioned to accept, and are intending to fragment the citizenry, and marginalize specific chosen sub-groups. Subgroups we happen to belong to and are aware of because we’ve been targeted for so long.

Interesting hypothesis. If this is true then I would suspect there would be people who would have leaked this conspiracy. I recall a similar thing has been leaked regarding Google (a video of some sort of an executive) but I don’t recall the exact details even though I know I at least started a blog post on it. I think it had to do with creating a false reality where the uploaded minds of the believers could exist inside their utopian virtual world.

An alternate hypothesis is that determination of reality is really hard problem and it’s irrational for use to expect people to be rational.

And a final hypothesis is that these people just need to be exposed to alternate viewpoints while isolated from their social networks.—Joe]

Update: Phelps points out that Google at least did research on, if not adapted, a policy of “well-ordered spaces for safety and civility”. This is a decent synopsis:

The briefing argues that Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are caught between two incompatible positions, the “unmediated marketplace of ideas” vs. “well-ordered spaces for safety and civility.”

The first approach is described as a product of the “American tradition” which “prioritizes free speech for democracy, not civility.” The second is described as a product of the “European tradition,” which “favors dignity over liberty and civility over freedom.” The briefing claims that all tech platforms are now moving toward the European tradition.

The briefing associates Google’s new role as the guarantor of “civility” with the categories of “editor” and “publisher.” This is significant, given that Google, YouTube, and other tech giants publicly claim they are not publishers but rather neutral platforms — a categorization that grants them special legal immunities under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Elsewhere in the document, Google admits that Section 230 was designed to ensure they can remain neutral platforms for free expression.

The original document is here.

Quote of the day—Leesa K. Donner

Irish author James Augustine Aloysius Joyce once wrote, “In the particular is contained the universal.” Mining the gold of “the particular” can be especially helpful when seeking to understand a seemingly incomprehensible event. In the Dayton, OH, incident, an examination of 24-year-old Connor Betts reveals a psychological profile startlingly similar to that of other shooters:

  • He is a single male.
  • He was a troubled teen.
  • He once drew up a “hit list” of students he wanted to kill or maim.
  • He experienced serial rejection from the opposite sex.

A leading forensic psychiatrist and expert in mass murders, Dr. James Knoll, says that “most perpetrators are young males who act alone after carefully planning the event,” according to Psychology Today. These people, Knoll asserts, are “injustice” collectors – that is, they spend a good deal of time living in a world of rejection and past “humiliations,” real or imagined. In other words, these men are world-class grudge-holders fueled by “social persecution or envy.”

Leesa K. Donner
August 6, 2019
The Mind of a Mass Shooter or Why Gun Control Won’t Work
[Interesting read.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Alan Gottlieb & Dave Workman

Nothing so vividly illustrates the delusional state of the gun prohibitionist’s mindset than the stubborn defense of the so called “gun-free school zone.”

Alan Gottlieb & Dave Workman
Good Guys With Guns, page 105

[You would think they would give it up after being shown that 95+% of all mass shootings occur in “gun-free” areas. Or just pointing out that if “gun-free” areas worked making banks “gun-free zones” would eliminate bank robberies. Or making schools “drug-free zones” would cause recreational drug to cease.

But it is irrational to expect people to be rational. And those rational enough to know the truth but evil enough to further their agenda with the deaths of innocent children use this lack of rationality in the masses to their advantage.—Joe]

Quote of the day—James Howard Kunstler

What is the Democratic Party today? Well, it’s the cheerleading squad for “seventeen” government agencies that add up to the craftily-labeled “intel community,” a warm-and-fuzzy coalition of snoops, false witnesses, rogue lawfare cadres, seditionists, and bad-faith artists working sedulously to hide their previous misdeeds with ever-fresh ones. They’re the party against free speech, the party against due process of law, the party determined to provoke war with Russia. They’re the party of sexual confusion, sexual hysteria, and sexual conflict, the party of kangaroo courts, cancel culture, erasing boundaries (including national borders), and of making up rules for all that as they go along — like the Nazis and Soviets used to do. The ideas and policies they advocate are so comprehensively crazy that their old support of slavery looks quaintly straightforward in comparison.

James Howard Kunstler
December 6, 2019
A Fraught Moment
[Harsh! But fair.

Via email from Chet.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Trump is a Sociopath @sharcat12

Those 53% of Republicans probably don’t even know who Lincoln was and they would kiss Trump’s feet if he asked them to.

Trump is a Sociopath @sharcat12
November 30, 2019
[This is in response to a tweet which said:

Democrats sure better nominate someone we’re excited about.

53% of Republicans polled think Donald Trump is a better President than Abraham Lincoln.

We sure as fuck better be energized and unified.

I find it interesting so many people on the left think insults are an effective response to serious thought they disagree with. Simple things for simple minds I guess.

But of course one should never underestimate the power of simple, powerful, and absurdly stupid concepts to persuade the masses. Never forget that The Communist Manifesto was simplistic, filled with absurdities, claimed communists are intellectual superiors, and persuaded millions to murder hundreds of millions of innocent people.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Tayacan

In order to obtain the maximum results from psychological operations in guerilla warfare, each combatant must be highly motivated to engage in propaganda face to face, to the same degree that he is motivated to fight.

Sanitized Copy of CIA’s Psychological Operations in Guerilla Warfare
[Confrontation is what the political left does. If we are to win we must do the same.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Ben Rhodes @brhodes

It’d be nice if one left of center billionaire recognized the glaring need for investments in progressive media platforms to counter the Fox-Sinclair-Breitbart-right wing propaganda machine.

Ben Rhodes @brhodes
Tweeted on November 7, 2019
[Delusions are often functional, but so are lies. Rhodes was part of the President Obama administration and knows how the “progressive media platforms” dominated and covered for their misdeeds.

Lies are an extremely strong indicator of evil intent. Respond accordingly.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Elizabeth Warren @ewarren

Thank you, @BlackWomxnFor! Black trans and cis women, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary people are the backbone of our democracy and I don’t take this endorsement lightly. I’m committed to fighting alongside you for the big, structural change our country needs.

Elizabeth Warren @ewarren
Tweeted on November 7, 2019
[I wonder what color the sky is in her universe.

We have long had hints she has mental problems. She once had the delusion she was of native American heritage.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Prosper

There are zero reasons to believe a gun offers personal protection against a felon or any protection against any attack. Normal people don’t have the disregard for life to pull the trigger against a threat. The felon enters the scene prepared to shoot at the slightest resistance. Guns are virtually useless for personal protection.

Posted at Democratic Underground on November 2, 2019
[Interesting. Apparently in this world view the police and military are not “normal” people. Nor are the thousands of ordinary citizens who fire their guns in self-defense each year. I think the more likely case is this is a troll.

If someone with children tries to make a such a claim ask them if they would be unable to shoot someone about to beat their young child with a club.

If they have no children of their own then ask about a mass shooter at a children’s school. Do they think they would be unable to pull the trigger if the alternative were to run away and/or watch a dozen or more children be killed?

If they are unable to pull the trigger when confronted with murderous evil in action then it is they who are not normal and should be treated as such.

Continuing on a different path…

Even if we were to grant the absurd proposition that 90% of the population can be characterized in this fashion there is still a problem. The statistics of the masses cannot justify denying the individual their right to defend themselves using the most effective tool for the job.

This type of person belongs in a collective of some sort. They apparently have no concept of the individual or individual rights.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Douglas Murray

Kanye had tripped over the same wire as [Peter] Thiel.

At some point minority political grievances transformed into minority political activism. And from there moved into just politics.

Claiming the existence of voting blocks along minority group lines benefits certain politicians looking for voter blocks. And it can benefit professional middlemen who present themselves as speaking for entire community in order to gain their own forms of preferment.

But this, is an exceptionally dangerous juncture. And one that each rights issue in turn has arrived at. It suggests, that you are only a member of a recognized minority group so long as you accept the specific grievances, political grievances, and resulting electoral platforms that other people have worked out for you.

Step outside of these lines and you are not a person with the same characteristics you had before but you have something differently from some prescribed norm. You have the characteristic taken away from you.

So Thiel, is no longer gay once he endorses Trump. Kanye West is no longer black, when he does the same thing.

This suggests black isn’t a skin color or a race. Or at least not these things alone. It suggest that black, like gay, is in fact a political ideology. This presumption goes so deep and is so rarely mentioned that is generally simply assumed.

Douglas Murray
September 17, 2019
The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity

[I am extremely impressed with this book. Murray researches and explains, with great clarity, some of the things I have been calling mass delusion (see also here and here). Amazon describes the book as follows and with the diagnosis of “mass hysteria”. Perhaps that is a more correct phrase than I use:

In his devastating new book The Madness of Crowds, Douglas Murray examines the twenty-first century’s most divisive issues: sexuality, gender, technology and race. He reveals the astonishing new culture wars playing out in our workplaces, universities, schools and homes in the names of social justice, identity politics and intersectionality.

We are living through a postmodern era in which the grand narratives of religion and political ideology have collapsed. In their place have emerged a crusading desire to right perceived wrongs and a weaponization of identity, both accelerated by the new forms of social and news media. Narrow sets of interests now dominate the agenda as society becomes more and more tribal–and, as Murray shows, the casualties are mounting.

Readers of all political persuasions cannot afford to ignore Murray’s masterfully argued and fiercely provocative book, in which he seeks to inject some sense into the discussion around this generation’s most complicated issues. He ends with an impassioned call for free speech, shared common values and sanity in an age of mass hysteria.

Along the same lines as in the QOTD above he reviews Rachel Dolezal’s claim, and agreement by others on the political left, that she is black because she “identifies” as black even though she is of German and Czech heritage.

He describes some of the many ways Google search results demonstrate some sort of bizarre bias. For example, do an image search for “white couples”. About half of the results will be interracial. A image search for “black couples” shows something approaching 100% black couples. Similar results occur when doing image searches for “heterosexual couples” versus “gay couples”. This has to be deliberate. And to what end? It has to some sort of insanity.

He describes the 2017 protest at Evergreen College in far more detail than I had ever heard before. Amazing stuff. Over the top, unbelievably bat-shit crazy stuff. The things the students were saying and doing would have had me drawing my gun and, had I been unable to withdraw from the insanity, shot my way out of it. Those people were, and probably still are, living in an alternate universe that only has peripheral connections to ours.

Via his research and analysis I find myself hopeful that we will soon have a critical mass of people which will stop the tide of near insanity washing over us and some semblance of normality will be restored.

I expect that when such restoration occurs it will take far less time than what it did to get here. Perhaps only months as the delusion fades into obscurity. Also expect people who had once appeared to be in full alignment with the insanity claim, “I always had my doubts and never really believed it.”

It could be said these are the “crazy years” Heinlein spoke of in his books To Sail Beyond the Sunset (although this was in a different timeline than what you and I are traveling through).and in passing in Methuselah’s Children.

I just wish I was reading a science fiction or even psychological thriller novel rather than current news stories. But such books would never be successful. In order to be mostly believable fiction has to make sense.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Lawrence H. Climo, MD

My tipping point was the clinic’s emergency protocols for what to do in the event someone did enter our clinic with a handgun. The protocols were clear. Immediately notify the psychiatrist on duty. That psychiatrist would approach the gunman and, in a “quiet, non-threatening voice,” ask for his gun. I recalled my medical school classmate who had done that very thing some years earlier at a different mental health clinic. He was shot dead on the spot.

Lawrence H. Climo, MD
October 23, 2019
What Do Mass Murderers Have in Common?
[The “tipping point” he is referring to is when he decided to get and carry a gun.

Yeah, one would think this would be more than enough to tip people over the edge into the realization that the best defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. But that’s not the way it plays out in a lot of cases. Some people tip in a different direction.

Aside from the tipping point and direction the doctor has an interesting hypothesis. Perhaps instead of mental illness being the common issue with mass shooters it is frustration:

But, what if there is this other commonality, this frustration goad or tipping point? What if the tipping point for those with urges and obsessions about delivering justice, restoring honor, pride, and the natural order, defending America, destroying evil, and serving patriotism, justice and God, or just the desire to end pain, isolation, insignificance, and loneliness and feel at peace—or at least feel safe and in control—is an overpowering and unbearable frustration? What are the implications?

It’s sounds plausible in a lot of cases. If true, then a partial remedy would involve something different than drugs and/or confinement such as might be the case with true mental illness. It would also point at a different indicator of potential danger.

Ignore his suggestion. He lives in Massachusetts and probably doesn’t realize that firearm licenses aren’t a requirement in free America.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Andy Wilczak (@heyDrWil)

They locked down 5’s school today because they found ammunition on the ground. She’s in kindergarten. Ban guns. Ban all guns. I don’t care. Ban guns.

Andy Wilczak (@heyDrWil)
Tweeted October 23, 2019
[He has since deleted the tweet.

Interesting school response to ammunition. Makes for an easy “denial of service attack”. Some kid wants to be a jerk and they throw a handful of .22 cartridges over the fence into the school yard and the kids have to go into lock down rather than get a recess.

It’s an even more interesting response of Mr. Wilczak. A presence of a few loose rounds of ammunition with no injuries and extremely unlikely potential for injury is enough for him to justify the elimination of 10% of the Bill of Rights. What kind of mental issues, besides Hoplophobia, does he have? One could justify the elimination of the entire Bill of Rights with whatever criteria Wilczak is hallucinating.

Note that in addition noting the crap for brains exhibited by Wilczak you should also never let anyone get away with telling you that no one wants to take your guns.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Jeff Snyder

Kellermans statistics do not prove that guns cause crime. But neither do Kleck’s statistics prove that guns provide protection. Kellerman’s statistics, even if faultless, provide no justification for a decision to own or use a gun. But neither do Kleck’s statistics provide a justification for owning or carrying a gun.

Admittedly, this sounds strange. Gun owners would like to believe the assertions about Kellerman’s statistics, because we believe they are seriously flawed, but disbelieve the assertions about Kleck’s statistics. Yet asserting that Kleck’s statistics justify owning or carrying a gun commits the same error that asserting that Kellerman’s statistics justify not owning or banning guns. Both treat the gun as an agent, with independent power to effect results. In both cases, the gun has become a force, like a chemical, a drug or microbe, with independent power to cause results apart from our decisions, our character and purpose.

People, we are the agents. Guns are inanimate tools that serve our purposes.

Jeff Snyder
Nation of Cowards, You’re Doing This Because of the Numbers? page 97.
[He goes on to say, paraphrasing some, that the numbers prove guns are useful for criminal acts and the numbers prove guns are useful for self-defense. They don’t “cause” violence or “result” in self-defense.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Roberta X

You are surrounded by dangerous primates, the single most deadly species on the planet, proven killers; and you’re safe because for nearly all of them, harming you is simply too much bother.  You’re in far more danger, orders of magnitude more danger, from the things they do carelessly than any deliberate act.

Roberta X
September 27, 2019
Most People Are Basicially Lazy, Which Is Why They’re Good
[There’s more than a little truth to this. But I’m a little bit more optimist than what is could be concluded from the truth of Roberta’s insight.

People help other people even with no expectation of the favor being returned or compensation. There is something either in the gene’s or in the socialization, perhaps both, that makes most people feel good about helping others rather than just grabbing their stuff and continuing on when someone else is down.

Perhaps I’m more of an optimist than I should be but it’s hard to know for certain.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Breakingbad @BreakingBad7172

Democrats don’t want to take your guns away. They just want assault weapons banned which nobody needs an assault weapon. Nobody is coming for you guns dude.

Breakingbad @BreakingBad7172
Tweeted on October 4th, 2019
[Ignoring the typos we still have some problems comprehending this. One could presume they mean Democrats don’t want to take all our guns. Just the “assault weapons”. As if this would put us at ease for them to ban the most popular firearm type currently sold.

It’s the logical equivalent of saying, “We aren’t going to take all of your children away from you. Just your firstborn.”

One could claim they are unimaginably stupid and/or ignorant. One could claim they are trolling for entertainment value. I might buy into either of those hypothesis if it didn’t happen so frequently.

Another hypothesis is that they are unconsciously or deliberately utilizing deflection. I think this is most likely. Such people should be treated as mentally defective and/or evil.—Joe]

The transcript

We have Democrats demanding impeachment over a call President Trump had with the president of the Ukraine:

This was the week the Democratic caucus wanted to move forward, or at least discuss, presidential impeachment — loudly, urgently, overwhelmingly.

Adam Schiff, the head of the House Intelligence Committee, said that he and his colleagues would be working on their Ukraine probe through the two-week congressional recess, which begins this weekend. “The fast action—and discussions about resorting to a little-known congressional power to detain, arrest or fine recalcitrant witnesses—suggests the House could vote on articles of impeachment as soon as late October,”

“Today, I’m announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry,” Pelosi told reporters on Tuesday. “The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”

Thursday and Friday mornings I had the “free” breakfast offered by the motel I was staying in. The television on both days was on CNN where talking heads talked about how terrible the crimes President Trump had committed.

And this afternoon commenter John Schussler said,

we have the leader of the party, Trump, well on his way to impeachment for trying to ensure his political future and that of his party by extorting a foreign power.

This evening I read the transcript of the call. I cannot find anything even hinting at the “extorting a foreign power” and that can be construed as a crime.

We even have Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky denying such claims:

When asked by reporters about the call on Wednesday in a joint press conference with Mr. Trump, Zelensky said that “nobody pushed me.”

I’m inclined to agree with Chet:

I did not expect a crisis until the election, but it now clear to me that the crisis has arrived. The left is now attempting to overthrow our government using any pretense.

I suspect the frenzy demonstrated by democrats since President Trump’s election in 2016 will make the history books. It will be studied by psychologists and sociologists for decades as as an example of one of the greatest mass delusions of all time.

Read the transcript for yourself.

Quote of the day—Timothy H. Lee

Whether restrictionists are guilty of deliberate dishonesty, simple ignorance or some amalgam thereof is open to speculation.

But what’s beyond debate is the fact that gun controllers’ agenda is untethered from simple, demonstrable fact.

Timothy H. Lee
September 5, 2019
Gun Controllers: The Most Uninformed Among Leftist Subgroups
[Via an email from Paul K.

The political left is experiencing a mass delusion on a scale which is beyond anything I have knowledge of. Some people, at the higher levels, are certainly guilty of deliberate dishonesty. A very large percentage are guilty of willful ignorance. Some are guilty of simple ignorance. And, finally, some are useful idiots.

The final sorting of these different types of people I leave for the judges and juries.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Sarah A. Hoyt

If you find yourself reading the other person’s mind. As in, thinking “I love American” means “white America” realize you’re not psychic. Those thoughts in your head? they’re yours. Examine why you want to believe this, and what purpose it’s serving FOR YOU. Because your mind is the only one you can read.

Sarah A. Hoyt
August 7, 2019
But Then That Must Mean
[H/T to Harvey.

You may think this is just some abstract or exaggerated “thing”. No. It is not. This strongly resonated with me because of personal experiences with people like this.

I have a true story to illustrate. There are many similar true stories but this is the one I tell most frequently:

Several years ago I received a phone call which went like this:

Caller: Can you pick up Sister 1 at the airport?

[Because of the circumstances it was conceivable it could be any one of five different airports. I needed to know a critical piece of information before answering.]

Joe: Which airport?

Caller: I think she is coming in this afternoon.

Joe: Which airport?

Caller: She usually flies on Delta.

[Yay! This actually eliminates one of the airports! Only three more to go. We are making progress.]

Joe: Which airport?

Caller: Can you bring her to the motel we are staying at?

Joe: Which airport?

Caller: She has done a lot of things for you, can’t you do this for her?

[I’m getting frustrated. I would be glad to do this if I can physically make it happen. I just need to determine some critical pieces of information. I almost yelled at my caller.]

Joe: Which airport?!!!

Caller to Sister 2 as she is terminating the call: We should find someone else to pick up Sister 1 because Joe can’t do it.

I’m now infuriated. Not only they wouldn’t answer my question, they are now telling Sister 2 I refused to help them out. I called back, eventually got the information, and agreed to pick up Sister 1 at a local airport.

I met Sister 1 at baggage claim. Wondering if I should get a cart for her bags I asked, “How many bags do you have?”

Sister 2: They’re green.

How does this relate to mind reading? It is because in further talks it came out my words were interpreted as meaning something completely different from what I said. In some cases when this would happen I would ask them to repeat my question back to me. They were completely unable to do it. I could repeat the question and even coach the words out of them, one by one, and five seconds later they would be unable to repeat a simple question such as the one above. Their brains were wired in some weird way that plain and simple words mapped into some completely different concept, perhaps completely unrelated to the speaker’s words and/or actions and the original words would be completely lost.

The original words could even be written down and they would be mapped into something different. In once written case I had them read the words out loud to me. They were able to do so. I asked, “How did you get from those words to your interpretation?” They agreed they were wrong. I hadn’t said what they thought I had said. They looked away from the words and, literally, in less than five seconds they were back to insisting their original interpretation was correct. We repeated the reading of the words and them agreeing I was correct. Again, within a few seconds, they reverted to their original, incorrect, interpretation. I gave up in extreme frustration after about three tries.

It turns out that the entire family did this. They would literally believe they knew you meant something completely different from what you said, no matter how many times and how many ways you said what you really meant. They would insist they “knew” what you really meant. They also believed I was the borderline crazy person because I didn’t know what they really meant when they presented me with highly ambiguous information. In their minds, I was somehow handicapped.

I grew to avoid participating in their family conversations because it was so bizarre. I made it a game to just listen and attempt to disambiguate the meanings of what they said. It was extremely challenging. When confronted with an ambiguity I would form one or more branches of the conversation in my mind and wait for more information to come in. As the additional information came in I could determine which one of the branches was the correct one. Or, at least, trim a branch or two off if it had many branches. And, of course, the branches grew branches. Usually some new bit of data would come in and “Poof!” all the extraneous branches would fall away and I would be caught up on the conversation again.

Keep in mind I doing this for each of two, three, or even four people when sometimes no two of them were on the same branch. It was tough work, but at least my brain was getting practice with logic puzzles. Most of the time the parties to the conversation were essentially in synch with each other. But perhaps a quarter of the time they would actually diverge and never resynchronize on their own. One of them could be talking about their dog making a mess on the kitchen floor and another other believed they were talking about a husband instead of a dog (true story). For a while I thought it was funny and didn’t bother to correct the mistakes. It just didn’t matter that much and I would get in a little bit of trouble for being so nitpicky about details. So, why bother?

Sometimes a day or so later I would hear a mention of the previous conversation with a serious misunderstanding and consequences of what was said. I would inform them that they misunderstood what the other person said. I would explain that I too momentarily went down that same branch but then realized that wasn’t what they really meant. Frequently, I wouldn’t be believed. They KNEW what the other person meant. If the truth was important I insisted they call and verify their understanding of the original conversation. I was always right and the person who “KNEW” couldn’t really understand how I really knew.

Once, in extreme frustration at being repeatedly misunderstood on an important point I demanded and received an answer which explained this bizarre behavior. After being told they KNEW what I really meant despite my repeated attempts to explain I meant something completely different from what they clearly believed I asked one of them, “How do you determine truth from falsity?” The answer was like a stoichiometric mixture of oxygen and gasoline vaper onto a lite match, “It depends on how I feel.”

I blew up. How is it even possible to have a conversation with someone like this? We live in almost completely disjoint realities.

It gets worse.

One time there were three of them talking and I was doing my usual branching and pruning when a new bit of information came in that caused all the branches to disappear in great ball of fire in my head. No one else seemed to notice. I had to interrupt.

“Wait, wait, wait! I don’t understand. A little bit ago you said, ‘[data point A]’. Just now you said, ‘[data point B]’. Both can’t be true and nothing you have been saying makes sense.”

The answer was, “Oh Joe, it doesn’t matter. We are just talking.”

I went slack jawed and the other two family members laughed. They then all continued as if nothing of significance had occurred.

In the span of a minute or less the same person said two things which were completely and totally, contradictory. Not only did they brush it off as irrelevant, they and other parties to the conversation thought it was obvious that I was just being silly for trying to make sense of it. I slunk off into a corner and took a nap. There was nothing further of value to be gained from listening to these people make sounds at each other.

Years later, reading about personality disorders, I discovered that it is characteristic of certain disorders for people to believe they can read other people’s minds.

They might not explicitly say it because they know it will not be well received. They may not believe they can determine the explicit thoughts. But they will “know” the gist of what the other person thinks regardless of what the other person says and does. They can create an entire, frequently conspiratory, narrative which “explains” the contradictory evidence such that what they “know” to be true is not shown to be false. Paranoid people are perhaps the best known example although they are far from the only ones.

This is also particularly easy to see with many of the present day claims of racism. A statement with no mention of race will be claimed as clear and convincing evidence of racism. The political left will go absolutely bonkers about the white supremist, etc. when there is no evidence to support these claims. And, frequently, there is contradictory evidence. These people have mental problems and should be treated as such.

I think a good case can be made that, as many others have said in one way or another, “Liberalism is a mental disorder.”—Joe]

I’m a skeptic

Via a suggestion from Haunt Fox @Haunt_Fox I looked at a research paper claiming to show:

These findings illustrate the shooter bias toward both human and robot agents. This bias is both a clear indication of racism towards Black people, as well as the automaticity of its extension to robots racialized as Black.

See also Robots and Racism: New Study Suggests That Humans Apply Racial Biases, Stereotypes to Black and White Robots.

The study presented test subjects with a series of 128 images. Half contained a gun held by a person or robot. The other half had some other object being held. Half of the robots and people had a dark skin color and half were white. The test measured the response time of test subjects to make shoot/no-shoot decisions and their accuracy in making those decisions.

I found it “interesting” the researchers did not break out the supposed discovered bias by the various racial identities who participated in the study. Only seven subjects out of 163 in Experiment 1 identified as “Black or African American” so I could be persuaded this isn’t an adequate sample size. But 19 out of 172 subjects in Experiment 2 identified as “Black or African American”. I would think this should be a sufficient sample to test one or more additional hypothesis.

For example, were “Black or African American” people also biased against people and robots with dark skin tones? If these participants behaved essentially identical to “White, Caucasian, or European American”, “Hispanic or Latino American”, and “Asian American” participants then I would be strongly inclined to believe there was some aspect of the testing that caused what appeared to be the bias against dark skinned people and robots rather than actual bias. That is, unless it is claimed “Black or African American” people are also biased against their own race. From reading the study this could be true but it wasn’t made as clear as I would have liked it to be.

The authors did not mention doing this sort of validation of the test procedure and did not supply us with the raw data so that we could do this validation for ourselves. It would seem to me this is an obvious check on the validity of their experiment. If the racial identity of the subject did not correlate with the time required to make a shoot/no shoot decisions but there was a consistent bias toward shooting more quickly at black people and robots then doesn’t that strong imply it is an artifact of the testing rather than a bias of the subjects?

One could easily conclude they did not provide that information because it contradicted their predisposed conclusion. The study may well demonstrate the prejudice of the researchers rather than the prejudice of the study participants.

So, what could have the experiment measured rather than a racial bias? As suggested by Haunt Fox:

Just looking at the images of the targets it seems to me there are some serious visual-contrast issues that might prove major confounders.

The researchers supplied eight of the 128 images they used. Here are two of them:



As Haunt Fox observed there are significant contrast differences. The accuracy rates were generally slightly lower for the black people and robots. If the pictures above are representative then this is as expected. But if rapid identification of the gun in a low contrast situation contributed to time differences I would have expected the lower contrast images to take longer. This isn’t making sense.

I wonder about the 120 images they didn’t supply. Did they have contrast issues that were even worse and have some sort of bias not displayed in the pictures supplied? Were all the guns black? What about some chrome colored guns? Could an association of a dark skin colors with the presence of a gun have been created?

I’m skeptical this study tested what they claimed they were testing. I think there is a good chance they demonstrated their and/or test procedure bias rather than a “clear indication of racism” toward dark skinned robots.