I’ve been beating up media figures and their attempts to besmirch the Second Amendment and its defenders for most of the past thirty years, in one form of media or another; talk radio, newsletters, email list-servers, the blog, and talk radio again.
And I’ve noticed two major trends:
- As the actual facts about guns and society get out to real people, and the pendulum swings ever-further in favor of human rights, the true, die-hard orcs just get worse and worse, and sloppier and sloppier, at plying their dubious trade. Example: Heather Martens has never been one to fall back on fact in stating her case (she’s never once in her career made a substantial, factual original statement), but lately she’s sounded more and more like a banana-republic dictator protesting the health of her regime as things swirl down the drain.
- On the other hand, the orcs continue to excel at their one useful skill; manipulating a biased, gullible and un-bright mainstream media. And the latest tool toward that end is “science”.
No, really; Harvard professor David Hemenway pretty much leads off his piece in the LATimes by not only trying to wrap himself in “science”, but admitting that it’s a tool for bludgeoning people into obeisance:
One of the reporters I complained to said that he had covered climate change for many years. He explained that journalists were able to stop their “balanced” reporting of that issue only when objective findings indicated that the overwhelming majority of scientists thought climate change was indeed happening, and that it was caused by humans.
So we’re off to a great start.
Hemenway’s goal; to do to coverage of the Second Amendment what politicized science has done for coverage of climate change.
And the method toward this “science” is the kind of intellectual clown car that might pass muster with leftybloggers, but not with anyone who can outthink sea monkeys:
So I decided to determine objectively, through polling, whether there was scientific consensus on firearms. What I found won’t please the National Rifle Assn.
The NRA might not have been “pleased” by what Professor Hemenway had to say, but only because they, like all of us pro-human-rights media activists, are so un-freaking-Godly bored by refuting the same intellectual effluvium, over and over and over again. Which, naturally, they have done.
But this is my article – and to paraphrase the great Dexter, it’s a wonderful day to throw rocks and garbage at BS that’s mislabeled “science”:
My first step was to put together a list of relevant scientists. I decided that to qualify for the survey the researcher should have published on firearms in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and that he or she should be an active scientist — someone who had published an article in the last four years. I was interested in social science and policy issues, so I wanted the articles to be directly relevant. I was not interested in scientists doing research in forensics, history, medical treatment, psychiatric issues, engineering or non-firearms (for example, nail guns, electron guns).
Most of the scientists who were publishing relevant articles were from the fields of criminology, economics, public policy, political science and public health.
So let’s recap:
- Hemenway sought “scientific consensus” – a term that is itself unscientific.
- He sought it primarily from “researchers” in fields that are, except for public health, not really “sciences” at all, and are generally famous for their shoddy standards and politicized nature of their research.
- He sought it from people working at institutions (and even moreso, academic departments) where Constitutionalist, Originalist, conservative/libertarian thought has been largely extinguished, where academics who exhibit same can find their tenure denied and careers threatened.
This result was not at all surprising because the scientific evidence is overwhelming. It includes a dozen individual-level studies that investigate why some people commit suicide and others do not, and an almost equal number of area-wide studies that try to explain differences in suicide rates across cities, states and regions. These area-wide studies find that differences in rates of suicide across the country are less explained by differences in mental health or suicide ideation than they are by differences in levels of household gun ownership.
I’ll let you read the entire thing at your own leisure; the howlers keep coming.
I’ll sum it up for you; Hemenway:
- managed to find a stratum of academics who manage to generate “scientific” effluvium about the danger of guns that manages to ignore the statistical fact that while the number of guns has skyrocketed and the liberality of gun laws has vastly increased in the past 20 years, violent and gun-related crime has dropped by half
- found “public health” researchers who claim – via “metastudies”, or studies of other studies – that suicide is related to the availability of guns rather than mental health, even though the suicide rates of many nations that strictly control or ban guns are vastly higher than ours.