Climate Of Ridicule

 A friend of mine in the insurance industry sent me this:

The Minnesota Department of Commerce sent a Climate Risk Disclosure Questionnaire to Minnesota insurers yesterday and ended up on my desk. It is ridiculous.

Here’s some background to it.

Here’s the exact survey I received yesterday, it’s a pretty standard form used by other states.
Here’s how I really want to answer. I think this accurately captures how all insurance companies ought to answer.

Your friend,
[redacted]

I’ll include the survey (and my friend’s answers, in italics) below. 

———-

Climate Risk Disclosure Survey

Question One: Does the company have a plan to assess, reduce or mitigate its emissions in its operations or organizations?

No.

Question Two: Does the company have a climate change policy with respect to risk
management and investment management? If yes, please summarize. If no, how do you
account for climate change in your risk management?

Yes, we look for industries that will are particularly vulnerable to higher taxes and fees from proposed carbon credit trading and excessive carbon taxes. In addition we are monitoring industries that are vulnerable to higher energy prices caused by an expected government policies which will force industry away from cheaper, safer, and more efficient carbon-based energy sources.

Question Three: Describe your company’s process for identifying climate change-related risks and assessing the degree that they could affect your business, including financial implications.

Since all of the scientific models predicting climate change are completely unreliable, an actuarial assessment of climate-related risks would also be completely unreliable. Therefore no financial implications can be adequately factored in to our financial modeling.

Question Four: Summarize the current or anticipated risks that climate change poses to your company. Explain the ways that these risks could affect your business. Include identification of the geographical areas affected by these risks.

Since all of the scientific models predicting climate change are completely unreliable, an actuarial assessment of climate-related risks would also be completely unreliable. Therefore no financial implications can be adequately factored in to our financial modeling.

Question Five: Has the company considered the impact of climate change on its investment
portfolio? Has it altered its investment strategy in response to these considerations? If so,
please summarize steps you have taken.

Yes, we look for industries that will are particularly vulnerable to higher taxes and fees from proposed carbon credit trading and excessive carbon taxes. In addition we are monitoring industries that are vulnerable to higher energy prices caused by an expected government policies which will force industry away from cheaper, safer, and more efficient carbon-based energy sources.

Question Six: Summarize steps the company has taken to encourage policyholders to reduce the losses caused by climate change-influenced events.

We have not taken any.

Question Seven: Discuss steps, if any, the company has taken to engage key constituencies on the topic of climate change.

None.

Question Eight: Describe actions the company is taking to manage the risks climate change
poses to your business including, in general terms, the use of computer modeling.

We are monitoring the additional carbon-related taxes and fees being imposed by all levels of government and building these into our financial models which predict higher costs of doing business and we are planning to raise our premiums to cover these additional fees.

———-

I think that was a perfectly useful template.

Expertise

With the news that the “Center for American ‘Progress’” invited Christina Hendricks to speak at a summit about the plight of single working mothers (one of which she is not, but she plays one, sort of, onMad Men), a mere 20 years after non-biochemist Meryl Streep was invited to Capitol Hill to lecture Congress about the perils of Alar (a pesticide) on apples, it might be good to give Big Left some other noted experts:

We should invite:

 Expert  To Speak On:
 Aaron Paul  Youth Crime and Drug Abuse
Tom Hanks  Wilderness and Open Ocean Survival
Larry Hagman  Middle Eastern Mythology
Tom Hanks  Counterterrorism
Ron Perlman  Organized Crime in the Rural Southwest
Tom Hanks  Small Unit Tactics
Mary Lynn Rajskub  Cyberterrorism
 James Caviezel  Theology of the New Testament
 Ron Perlman  Countersniper Tactics
 Zach Braff  Non-Surgical Interventions for Ischemic Bowel Syndrome
 Justin Timberlake  Preservation of Appendages after Traumatic Amputation
Steven Colbert The Intellectual Roots of Conservatism

Any others?

All In The Timing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Is it coincidence that the Leftist areas of the nation are growing hotter fastest? Couldn’t possibly be that the weather monitoring and recording is tweaked the most there?

http://www.twincities.com/nation/ci_25899883/northeast-southwest-growing-hotter-faster-than-rest-u

The article admits cities that rely on just one weather station are the most unreliable for records. Oh really, you think? So the relocation of trees and buildings that redirect shade, wind and other elements of the weather may have something to do with the measured results over time?

I’m skeptical. I suspect weather runs in longer than 30-year cycles. For example, Great Plains drought in 1880, dustbowl in 1930’s, present drought started in 2010 or so, all accompanied by significant temperature changes from the between-drought range.

The scientists specifically say they picked 1984 to avoid cherry-picking. Spontaneous denials make me suspicious.

Joe Doakes

Somebody needs to tell Joe that suspicion just isn’t scientific, these days.

Spaced

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

In 2010, President Obama told NASA chief Charles Bolden that his foremost job was to: “ . . . find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering.” But last month, NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan said the agency’s primary focus is humans on Mars by 2035.

Is this another one of President Obama’s famous pivots?  Are we pivoting to Mars, now?

Joe Doakes

We’re lucky he hasn’t pushed an expedition to land on the Sun.

Priorities

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The President campaigned for re-election on the grounds that General Motors was alive but Osama Bin Laden was dead.

Except . . . if Global Warming threatens the very existence of human life on this planet, and autos cause Global Warming, shouldn’t he have let General Motors die?

And if Islamic Terror is merely a law enforcement nuisance, shouldn’t he have let Osama Bin Laden live?

Maybe he read the articles in the newspaper out of order and got confused?

Joe Doakes

Polar Bears don’t vote.

Two Generations Of Settled Science!

One of the problems with the current “universal consensus” among “climatologists” in re Global Warming, leaving aside the legitimate questions about the science involved and, beyond that, the political conclusion that the “science” is driving, is the track record of “settled science” from a previous generation of scientific chicken littles.

That’s right – the assembled brain trust of scientists from the original “Earth Day” (whose 34th or 35th go-around was last Tuesday), and the “settled science” of their predictions:

1. “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald

15 or 30 or 60 or 120…heck, it’s gonna happen someday

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner

Vague, untestable…settled!

3. “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” — New York Times editorial

Vague, general, unprovable…settled!

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

Reading an Ehrlich article when I was probably 7-8 years old (in Readers Digest) scared the crap out of me; it gave me nightmares for weeks.

But one of the biggest problems facing the poor of India, Sub-Saharan Africa and China -today is obesity – which brings another meaning to “settled science”.

Oh, yeah – Ehrlich is one of the leading lights of the global warming movement.

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich

The eighties was when KFC made it to India, if memory serves.

6. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day

But while we wait on that mass starvation, we’ll have to deal with a lot of overweight poor people.  We humans are men and women of constant sorrow, aren’t we?

7. “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter

Wonder if they ever proposed “Nuremberg Tribunals” for population bomb “denialists”?

8. “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” — Life magazine

What would “Miami Vice” have been like if everything looked like Seattle?

9. “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

To be fair to the esteemed Mr. Watt, it has been “a matter of time” since the creation of the universe.

10. “Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich

But only at Paul Ehrlich lectures.

11.“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

One wonders why the esteemed Mr. Watt thought someone would be waiting around the pump, in that case…

12.  “[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.” — Newsweek magazine

One wonders if the esteemed editors of Newsweek ever pondered that as the “water vapor fell and froze”, it would leave the atmosphere…?

13. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” — Kenneth Watt

Huh.

Smack, Unsmacked

It’s been a staple of leftybloggers for the better part of a decade, now; every so often, some social “science” organization or another will release a “study” showing some variant “liberals are smarter than conservatives”.

This blog has made a decade-long romp out of trashing these “studies” – which are inevitably junk science.

The latest to the table in debunking this little lefty conceit is that noted conservative tool…

Will Saletan?   At Slate?

Huh.

Continue reading

The Global Carbon Credit

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Minnesota is having the worst winter in 30 years.  Meanwhile, Australia just had its hottest Summer.  Plainly, the Aussies are no allies: they’re heat thieves.  They’ve stolen our global warming and I, for one, want it back.

I say we invade at once, at least through April; then we can call it off and be home in time for the fishing opener.

Joe Doakes

Minnesotans who are that upset about weather could at least rehearse an invasion…

Appeal To Authority

Over the years, I’ve been codifying bits and pieces of (mostly liberal) human behavior into what I call “Berg’s Laws”.

I’m adding a new…well, not so much “law” as corollary to a law; an observation completely supported by the law.

The Law in question is Berg’s Fourteenth:

 The more strenuously a media organization identifies itself as “fact-checkers”, the more completely their “fact checking” will actually be checking statement for congruency with liberal conventional wisdom.

I’m adding the brand-new but utterly-sensible Maddow Corollary:

The same goes for science

I did it after reading this Glenn Reynolds piece in the NYPost, pointing out the facts behind the latest blitz of self-congratulatory articles by liberals lauding themselves for their greater supposed belief in science than conservatives.

These articles always trip the BS detector, naturally; they’re like the articles pointing out the”science” showing that liberals having higher IQ, or are less racist, or other such fripperies; bad science to reinforce a bad and – more importantly – meaningless conclusion.

Of course, as Reynolds points out, the whole tendency goes a solid level of illogic deeper.  He starts by noting that in 1974, a University of North Carolina sociologist Gordon Gauchat noted that in 1974, conservatives had a demonstrably higher likelihood to trust science than liberals.  I’m going to add some emphasis: 

Gauchat points out, correctly, that you can’t lay the blame at the feet of biblical creationists and anti-evolutionists, who were no less common in 1974. Nor is sheer ignorance responsible, as the decline in trust rose with education.

So wait – the more educated a conservative, the less likely he or she is to trust science?

Why, that suggest that this lack of trust isn’t just love of snake-handling, doesn’t it?

Why yes.  It does:

Instead, he suggests that it’s the increasing use of science as ammunition for big-government schemes that has led to more skepticism.
There’s probably something to that, but if you read the actual paper something else becomes clear. Despite the language in the coverage, it’s not science as a method that people are losing confidence in; it’s scientists and the institutions that purport to speak for them.

Reynolds does what everyone needs to do when they analyze polling information; looks at the original questions.

Gauchat’s paper was based on annual responses in the General Social Survey, which asks people: “I am going to name some institutions in this country. As far as the people running these institutions are concerned, would you say you have a great deal of confidence, only some confidence, or hardly any confidence at all in them?” One institution mentioned was “the scientific community.”
So when fewer people answered “a great deal” and more answered “hardly any” with regard to “the scientific community,” they were demonstrating more skepticism not toward science but toward the people running scientific institutions.
With this in mind, a rise in skepticism isn’t such a surprise.

Of course, people today have less faith in general in “institutions” than they used to.  Journalism, the police, the courts, the government, all are less trusted than they used to be.

So has…not “science”, as in the “scientific method”, but the institutions that run it, and especially the ones that use it toward their political ends.

“Science” – in the form of institutions – earned that distrust.  And that’s a good thing – because the root of science is skepticism.

And the push to jam down the beliefs of institutions, simply because they’re institutions, is unskeptical and, beyond that, illogical.  It is in fact a logical fallacy, the “appeal to authority“, which is also unskeptical and unscientific:

We accept arguments not because they come from people in authority but because they can be proven correct — in independent experiments by independent experimenters. If you make a claim that can’t be proven false in an independent experiment, you’re not really making a scientific claim at all.

And saying, “trust us,” while denouncing skeptics as — horror of horrors — “skeptics” doesn’t count as science, either, even if it comes from someone with a doctorate and a lab coat.
After a century of destructive and false scientific fads — ranging from eugenics to Paul Ehrlich’s “population bomb” scaremongering, among many others — the American public could probably do with more skepticism, not less.

Conservatives aren’t less scientific.  After a few years of “debating” liberals, it’s painfully clear we’re more logical.

We’re just less likely to trust someone with a PhD and a lab coat who’s come for our freedom, simply because he has a PhD and a lab coat.

Snowed In

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Our oldest son is a Senior Chief Petty Officer stationed near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  He sent this photo of his front yard, taken Tuesday, February 11, 2014.

They received 8-1/2 inches of new snow with sleet and freezing rain expected [late last week].

More proof of global warming?

Joe:  All evidence supports global warming.  As does all lack of evidence, and all contradictions in evidence.

(The real question isn’t so much “is the climate changing” as “if it is, would the best response be to give unlimited power to the United Nations and groups of unelected, meritless bureaucrats to sandbag the world’s economies even further at the time when they need prosperity the most”?).

Evidence

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If global warming is causing the snow in Atlanta today, it must have been blazing a century ago when we saw the Great Blizzard of 1888 on the East Coast.

The prairies have always had blizzards, going back to the Schoolhouse Blizzard followed by theArmistice Day Blizzard in 1940 and the 1952 Blizzard. Nobody thinks anything of them – it is supposed to snow like mad on the prairie and that’s not evidence of anything.

But Lake Superior is freezing over for the first time in decades.  Duluth is having the coldest wintersince Kennedy was President.  That’s got to stand for something.

Joe Doakes

All evidence that supports global warming, supports global warming. On the other hand, all evidence that undercuts global warming, actually supports global warming.

There’s a pattern here.

Data

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A global warming skeptic thinks he has figured out why the computer models don’t match the thermometer outside - the government data is wrong.  Not accidentally wrong, but intentionally wrong.

According to his January 19, 2014 blog post, the US government lowered the temperature readings from years gone by but left alone current temperature readings.  That makes it look as if the Earth was colder in the past and getting warmer nowadays.  They converted a 90-year cooling trend into global warming by faking the data.

The most graphic illustration is the fifth chart down the page, an animated chart of US Temperature that shows how changing the data changes the result.  Look for this chart on the website and watch as it changes.

Next thing you know, you’ll be saying that the Government is using the executive branch to stifle speech.

Doakes Sunday: Blinded By The Cold

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My Dad taught himself to play “Oh! Susanna” on the guitar.  The clever juxtaposition of opposites in the lyrics made us kids laugh: “rained all night the day I left, the weather it was dry.  The sun so hot, I froze to death, Susanna don’t you cry.”

Stephen Foster may have been an early advocate of global warming because alarmists are singing the same blues today – it’s cold because it’s hot.

The reason we’re freezin’ is not the season, it’s that there is no pleasin’ the freezin’ chillun drivin instead of standin’ at the light rail station.

Joe Doakes

And then with a very unpleasin’ freezin’ and wheezin’ the light rail crashed to the ground.

Then some go-kart Mozart was checkin’ out the weather charts, seeing if it was safe outside, and some early curly-wurly sat up in his hurly-burly and asked me if I needed a ride.

I guess Springsteen was on top of the weather back in 1973…

And Then A Miracle Occurs

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The reason it’s so cold is because of global warming.  See, the Earth being so much warmer, that warm air has spread to the North Pole, where it dislodged a spinning top full of cold air that’s spilling over the nation, making the US colder.  It’s colder because it’s warmer.

True, none of the climate change models predicted this effect; but that only means we have a lot to learn about how badly humans have screwed up the planet by driving SUVs and eating beef.

Okay, I concede I know nothing about climate science so it’s at least possible the new and improved theory is true.  But adding Polar Vortex now smells a lot like adding Retrograde Motion to explain why the other planets really do revolve around the Earth.  I remain skeptical.

Joe Doakes

Turns out the thing I never learned about the scientific method during my semester as a biology major – “all evidence for AND against a theory supports the theory” – was the thing I needed most.

The Democrat War On Science

Kevin Williamson concludes:

But the next time you hear a chorus of “Hooray, science!” from the Left, ask them why Barack Obama’s signature health-care program is going to recognize theworst sort of quackery and pseudoscience, with no more regard for the scientific record than the most fervid young-Earth creationist, swami, or snake-handler.

Williamson is writing about the fact that Obamacare specifically covers naturopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture, “sciences” with no more scientific basis than Christian prayer therapy (which is not covered, by the way).

Read the whole journey to the conclusion.

The Dogma-Based Party

One of the Democrats’ most annoying conceits is that they are the party of empirical reason, while conservatives are a bunch of faith-based “anti-science” snake-handlers. 

Now, most of us know better.  And among them, writing at that noted conservative tool The Atlantic, is Mischa Fischer:

In his first State of the Union Address in 1790, George Washington told Congress, “There is nothing which can better deserve your patronage, than the promotion of science and literature.” He went on to call science “essential” to our nation. Two hundred and twenty years later, in his first inaugural address, Barack Obama vowed to “restore science to its rightful place.”

The president’s insinuation plays into the common perception in the media, electorate, and research community that Republicans are “anti-science.” I encountered that sentiment routinely in nearly a decade working for Republicans on Capitol Hill, and it has become more commonplace in the broader political discussion.

And of course, it’s not that no problems exist:

I’m the first to admit that there are elected Republicans with a terrible understanding of science—Representative Paul Broun of Georgia, an M.D. who claims evolution and the Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of hell” is one rather obvious example—and many more with substantial room for improvement. But Republicans, conservatives, and the religious are no more uniquely “anti-science” than any other demographic or political group. It’s just that “anti-science” has been defined using a limited set of issues that make the right wing and religious look relatively worse. (As a politically centrist atheist, this claim is not meant to be self-serving.)

The two solitary issues on which the left banks this meme are evolution and global warming.

As to evolution?  A Christian with a literal, fundamentalist reading of the Genesis story is going to object to the idea of evolution.  But the allegorical interpretation – which is the one the vast majority of contemporary politically-conservative Christians follow – is not in any way incongruent with the idea of evolution.  People of faith – including Christians - have always been leaders at scientific enquiry:

Members of all faiths have contributed to our collective scientific understanding, and Christians from Gregor Mendel to Francis Collins have been intellectual leaders in their fields. Collins, head of the Human Genome Project and an evangelical Christian, wrote a New York Times bestseller reconciling his faith with his understanding of evolution and genetics…Yes, an embarrassing half of Republicans believe the earth is only 10,000 years old—but so do more than a third of Democrats. And a slightly higher percentage of Democrats believe God was the guiding factor in evolution than Republicans.

And I’m going to hazard a guess that that percentage breaks down along “allegorical vs. literal reading of the Genesis story” lines. 

And then there’s global warming – the left’s current “which is heavier, a witch, or a duck?” meme:

On global warming, conservative policy positions often seem to be conflated or confused with rejection of the consensus that the planet has been warming due to human carbon emissions…Of the many Republican members of Congress I know personally, the vast majority do not reject the underlying science of global warming … Conservatives believe many of the policies put forward to address the problem will lead to unacceptable levels of economic hardship. It’s not inherently anti-scientific to oppose cap and trade or carbon taxes. What most Republicans object to are policies that unilaterally make it more expensive in the United States to produce energy, grow food, and transport people and goods but are unlikely to make much long-term difference in the world’s climate, given that other major world economies emit more carbon than the United States or have much faster growth rates of carbon emissions (China, India, Russia, and Brazil all come to mind).

Beyond that?  The Left rejects science – or embraces ideas that are no less faith-based and anti-empirical than the most zealous biblical literalist, particularly under the rubric of “social science”, which is frequently less “science” than “applied rhetoric”  - on a raft of issues:

  • Pro-infanticide activists plead that life begins when a “fetus” exits the womb, whenever that is, and that a “fetus” in the uterus at 38 weeks gestation is just a mass of tissue – ignoring that preemies born as early as 22 weeks have gone on to live normal, healthy (if very difficult, early-on) lives, and that keeping preemies born after 28 weeks alive is, if not “routine”, at least very common.
  • Gender-Identity Feminists have tried for decades to obscure and ignore the fact that men and women are physiologically, biologically, emotionally and intellectually different – and to enact that enforced ignorance in policies that go beyond “equality before the law”. 
  • Gun grab activists are almost to a person allergic to valid statistics. 
  • Green Energy activistshave gotten the government to “invest” billions in “green energy” scams that can not and will not in the foreseeable future ever address our society’s base power needs, while turning hatred of nuclear power into a near-religious expression of faith over empirical fact. 

And many more; the article compares the two sides’ relative commitment to hard science, and you should read the whole thing.

Moral of the story?  Next time some lefty bobblehead calls himself part of the “fact-based” community, smack ‘em with a beaker.

A Nation Of Pathologies

One in 11 American children is diagnosed – or “diagnosed” – with ADHD in one form or another.

In France, the rate is one out of 200.

Why?

Here in the US, ADHD is considered a biological disorder with biological causes – although as with so many “biological” emotional and mental disorders, nobody has actually empirically found that cause yet.

In France, it’s another story:

French child psychiatrists, on the other hand, view ADHD as a medical condition that has psycho-social and situational causes. Instead of treating children’s focusing and behavioral problems with drugs, French doctors prefer to look for the underlying issue that is causing the child distress—not in the child’s brain but in the child’s social context. They then choose to treat the underlying social context problem with psychotherapy or family counseling. This is a very different way of seeing things from the American tendency to attribute all symptoms to a biological dysfunction such as a chemical imbalance in the child’s brain.

 French child psychiatrists don’t use the same system of classification of childhood emotional problems as American psychiatrists. They do not use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM. According to Sociologist Manuel Vallee, the French Federation of Psychiatry developed an alternative classification system as a resistance to the influence of the DSM-3. This alternative was the CFTMEA (Classification Française des Troubles Mentaux de L’Enfant et de L’Adolescent), first released in 1983, and updated in 1988 and 2000. The focus of CFTMEA is on identifying and addressing the underlying psychosocial causes of children’s symptoms, not on finding the best pharmacological bandaids with which to mask symptoms.

DSM vs. CFTMEA = Tomayto / Tomahto?  Perhaps.

But for whatever reasons, ADHD isn’t an epidemic in France: 

To the extent that French clinicians are successful at finding and repairing what has gone awry in the child’s social context, fewer children qualify for the ADHD diagnosis. Moreover, the definition of ADHD is not as broad as in the American system, which, in my view, tends to “pathologize” much of what is normal childhood behavior. The DSM specifically does not consider underlying causes. It thus leads clinicians to give the ADHD diagnosis to a much larger number of symptomatic children, while also encouraging them to treat those children with pharmaceuticals.

Also, I’m going to take a wild guess here and assume that the French system leaves the diagnosing to actual medical and mental health practicioners, and not teachers with BAs from the French equivalent of Mankato State.

Junk Science, Junk Journalism, Platinum Funding

 The MinnPost – a non-profit-run institutional blog established the the intention to get a jump on the next wave of institutional journalism – gets a whole bunch of money from the Joyce Foundation.  Joyce also bankrolls Minnesota’s “largest” gun grabber group, “Protect Minnesota”, and Michael Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns”, as well as paying academics to deliver the conclusions they want

Is that financial relationship related to the fact that the MinnPost has, whenever the subject of guns and the Second Amendment is at hand, turned itself into a risible propaganda organ for the gun-grabbing extreme left?

From Eric Black’s recycling long-obscure legal theories about the origins of the Second Amendment to Doug Grow’s naked puff-piecemongering in support of Heather Martens’ checkbook advocacy group, the MinnPost would seem to be working hard to earn the $50K or so they got from Joyce. 

The latest?  Susan Perry, a “Health” reporter who has pulled her weight in the past on theMinnPost’santi-gun beat. 

Confederate soldiers! With guns! Defending slavery! This is what the MinnPost think you, the law-abiding gun owner, genuflect to.

Yesterday came this piece, entitled…

Well, no.  We’ll get to the title in a bit.  But I’m going to pull a quote from the end of the story first.  I’ll add emphasis for weasel words and a particularly dim strawman:

“Although correlation is not synonymous with causation,” write Bangalore and Messerli, “it seems conceivable that abundant gun availability facilitates firearm-related deaths. Conversely, high crime rates may instigate widespread anxiety and fear, thereby motivating people to arm themselves and give rise to increased gun ownership, which, in turn, increases availability. The resulting vicious cycle could, bit-by-bit, lead to the polarized status that is now the case with the US.”

“Regardless of exact cause and effect, however,” they add, “the current study debunks the widely quoted hypothesis purporting to show that countries with the higher gun ownership are safer than those with low gun ownership.”

So – seventeen paragraphs into a nineteen paragraph article, we hear that the reasearchers aren’t actually drawing conclusions (in attacking a “widely quoted hypothesis” that nobody quotes at all). 

Which is a bit of a letdown for a story whose headline…:

“Idea that ‘guns make a nation safer’ is debunked in study”

…fairly screams “We’ve got a big big big conclusion here!”

 The Rhetorical Slalom Between The Strawmen: I’ll throw this out to the shooters in the audience.  Was this premise…:

The idea that “guns make a nation safer”

…as new to you as it was to me?

Anyway – the “premise”…

…is not true, according to a study published today in The American Journal of Medicine.

In fact, the study found just the opposite: Countries with a low rate of gun ownership have significantly fewer gun-related deaths than those with a high rate.

Right.  In the same way that areas where couples marry have higher divorce rates than areas where they just shack up. 

The study – and Perry’s piece – are honest, in a very dishonest sense; they scrupulously point out that gun death rates are, mirabile dictu, lower in places fewer guns.  But the “study” is equally scrupulous in avoiding apples to apples comparisons, or correlating their conclusions to any data that doesn’t fit inside their razor-thin premise…

…which is to attack a case (“Nations with few guns have higher gun crime rates!”) that, for the life of me, I’ve never heard a single credible person make – about nations, anyway. 

Cherry-Picked:  Perry notes that…

The U.S. leads in gun ownership — and gun deaths

The analysis found that the United States has far and away the highest rate of gun ownership, with 88.8 privately owned guns for every 100 people (“almost as many guns as it has people,” Bangalore and Messerli note)…The United States also has the highest firearm-related death rate: 10.2 deaths per 100,000 residents…At the other end of the spectrum are Japan and the Netherlands. Japan has a gun-ownership rate of 0.6 guns per 100 people, while the Netherlands’ rate is 3.9.

Those two countries also had two of the lowest death-by-gun rates: 0.06/100,000 for Japan and 0.46/100,000 for the Netherlands.

But neither Japan nor the Netherlands is fighting a “Drug War”; neither nation has policies that have turned their inner cities into shooting galleries, controlled by people who have nothing to lose by resorting to violence to protect their markets, using entry-level employees who grow up in a culture that glorifies violence and ignores consequences. 

Neither Japan nor the Netherlands has a major geographical region dominated by a culture that was practicing duelling and honor-killing and treating violence as a way of life long before there was a United States – a culture whose crime rates are, at worst, on par with the worst of the inner cities

Indeed, both Japan and the Netherlands are extremely homogenous countries; homogenous societies tend to be pretty placid – until they have to flirt with heterodoxy (ask the Koreans and the Ainu in Japan, or the Indonesians in the Netherlands).

Indeed, Perry’s article points – unwittingly – at the truth:

The only country that was a bit of an outlier was South Africa. It had a relatively low gun ownership rate of 12.5/100, but a high (the second-highest, just below the U.S.) gun-related death rate of 9.41/100,000.

And of the countries on the list, South Africa is the only one with a significantly – indeed, pivotally – heterodox society.  One with massive urban dysfunction, to boot. 

Which might lead the rational observer to conclude – or see a correlation, anyway – that guns don’t kill people; societal dysfunction does.

Math Is Hard, And Psychiatry Is Harder:  But let’s look at the “gun death” numbers Perry actually does deign to report – the relative gun murder rates in the US, the Netherlands, Japan and…:

[...the] United Kingdom also ranked low on both lists. It has a gun-ownership rate of 6.2 per 100 people and a gun-death rate of 0.25 per 100,000.

But fully half of the US “gun death rate” is suicides.  And the suicide rate in the US (12/100,000) is half of Japans (21.7/100,000), and equal to the UK’s (11.8), and both the US and UK are 50% higher  than the Dutch, at 8.8/100,000. 

We’re not sure if the “study” concluded that guns and depressed, mentally-ill or chemically-addled people don’t mix, or not.  Perhaps the Joyce Foundation will write a grant to study that?

No?

Is This A Strawman, Or A Begged Question?: Perry’s piece continues:

Their conclusion: “There was no significant correlation between guns per capita per country and crime rate, arguing against the notion of more guns translating into less crime.”

This is the third time in Perry’s piece the “notion” that anyone is comparing national gun rates to crime – at least in nations with working legal and law-enforcement systems, which is what the “study” is limited to. 

And for the record, I’m at a complete loss as to a single credible pro-gun advocate who’s made that claim – between nations.  The variables – societal heterodoxy, cultural conditions, criminal justice issues, different judicial systems – are far too complex to make such a case in an intelligent way. 

But when you start eliminating variables?   By just considering different firearms ownership rates in the US?  It’s not rocket surgery – even I can do it, even though I don’t have to because John Lott et al already did.  At worst, in the United States, places with higher legal gun ownership are very generally safer. 

And that’s just a correlation.  I’m not ascribing causation.

And unlike Susan Perry, I’ll admit that without any obfuscation.

So Let’s Summarize:  Susan Perry’s article reports on a non-comprehensive study whose own authors admit it’s a non-”debunk”-ment, that reached no meaningful conclusion about a premise that nobody advanced. 

Follow The Money:  We mentioned the Joyce Foundation – which bankrolls both the MinnPost and the state’s “largest” gun control group. 

One might ask – is it possible to expect honest “journalism” from a publication that has a financial interest in reporting an organization’s slant on the news? 

I’ll ask – because as Perry’s article notes in its heading, in addition to the Joycers…

This content is made possible by the generous sponsorship support of UCare.

So not only is the MinnPost an organ of an anti-gun extremist group, it’s also on the payroll of…

…the State of Minnesota.

Edward R. Murrow would vomit.

The Power Of Nothing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Obama Administration has a 69-point plan how the federal government can better respond to hurricanes in a time of global warming. The underlying premise is the federal government should do anything. The premise is wrong, it should do nothing

First, there is no Constitutional authority to spend money to rebuild people’s houses after natural disasters. Second, there is a perfectly viable alternative way to achieve the objective of not having to endlessly rebuild coastal areas.

If you built in a flood zone and get flooded, no federal money to rebuild. And if you do rebuilt, you must build on stilts, which is so expensive nobody will do it and without government guarantees, they couldn’t get property insurance anyway. Those who can afford to build will self-insure. Attrition will solve the problem of damaged buildings and the abandoned ground eventually will revert to coastal wetland barriers, at no federal cost at all.

Sometimes the right answer really is: do nothing.

Joe Doakes

But “doing nothing”, even when it’s the right thing (not) to do, creates no government union jobs.