I Love It When John Scalzi Subtweets

Effluvia

Some people don't like to engage with the arguments of their ideological opponents.

Personally, I relish a good debate, but that's fine – each to their own. My mom, for example, prefers quilting over kick-boxing… and I don't want to change her.

I find it amusing, though, when people try for the best of both worlds – pretending to their supporters that they're ready to fight, but then refusing to engage. This can take a few forms: deleting comments, namecalling, passive-aggressiveness, subtweeting, and other catty behaviors.

There's something crisp and clean about a knock-down drag-out fight. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but it's honest. You let the audience see you position, you let the audience see the other guy's position, and then you each defend your propositions as well as you can.

Points get made, arguments get overextended and then pulled back, and – hopefully – the two parties each end up knowing a bit more than they did before, and the observers learn something too.

I bring all this up because in my post about Pax Dickinson I made a reference to how I dislike John Scalzi's censorious instincts and thin skin…but I still didn't approve of the way that people mocked him by making a meme out of a picture of him wearing a dress. The dude did it to raise money for charity (I think), and I can respect that. (update: I'd assumed the charity was something that improved the world: fighting breast cancer or child rape in Pakistan or something like that. Turns out that the money is going to a writer's workshop).

Anyway, my passing reference to how I didn't approve of mocking Scalzi with a man-in-dress meme led to a tangent in the responses where multiple commenters – even (especially?) those sympathetic to Scalzi's politics – admitted that they didn't like his condescending tone and called him an 'online bully', or cranky, or irritating. A substantial percentage of the ~600 comments on the Pax post ended up being on the topic of blog moderation. Interesting stuff.

It turns out that John Scalzi (and, I note, I call him by the name he prefers to be identified by and will continue to do so – I have no interest in stringing multiple adjectives and potty-mouth noun into a schoolyard insult) became aware of the thread.

And he responded to it.

Awesome. Blog fight!

But – and this is the part that sticks in my craw – he did it by subtweeting. "Hey, loyal fans, there's someone out there who disagrees with me. But we all know that I'm in the right, right?"

I'm condensing, of course. Here's the long version:

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/09/13/comment-thoughts-91313/

And who decides you’re being an asshole? Well, obviously, I do. It’s entirely possible that my standards on this score are higher than other people’s. This is both fine, and not my problem if other people disagree with where I draw that line. They can draw it where they want on their own sites.

There's a fair bit that's good here: John defends his policy. I like that. If you're going to do something, admit it, and stand up for it.

But there are two things that are noticeably missing: a summary of the other guy's position, and a link to them.

I don't think that one has to always bend over backwards to steel man one's opponent's opinions, but the decent thing to do is to at least link to the thing that one is criticizing.

This, in turn, gets back to my core disagreement with Scalzi's moderating policy: just like his fellow SF-pro Teresa Nielsen Hayden who also (a) deletes or disemvowels comments that are crude and insulting, (b) deletes or disemvowels comments that make her look foolish or wrong, and (c) conflates the two issues by doing so he makes it impossible for any third party to see if there are, in fact, any comments in category 'b'.

This is like the NSA arguing that there are good reasons that it's intercepting phone calls, but unfortunately it can't tell you what they are.

It's the "trust me" argument.

I didn't trust the NSA to start with…and I trust them even less after I've caught them playing fast and loose.

I didn't trust the TNH to start with…and I trust her even less after I saw her disemvowel comments that were perfectly polite but showed her to be factually wrong.

And I didn't trust John Scalzi…and I trust him even less after seeing him delete comments that were no more or less rude than others.

tl;dr

Clark's rules for Transparent Internet Fight Club

1) Open society thrives when parties show their work; "trust me" sucks (quis custodiet ipsos custodes ?)

2) Fight like a man: put your arguments up, let the other guy put his arguments up, and let the audience see both sides. Don't subtweet and implicitly invite your fans to favor you over some argument you won't even link to. If your argument is better you should be happy to link to the other guy's lame argument. The worst thing for a bad product is good advertising.

3) Don't call names. What is this, third grade?

4) Use footnotes (and on that note, an out of left-field idea: I'd love to see the most recent chapter of the Scalzi / Day fight – the Great Web Traffic Debate – settled by the two of them installing third party site meters in their sidebars).

UPDATE: one of John's readers (Christian Goetze), asks So where is that discussion?. Hopefully John will give his readers a link.

UPDATE #2: another Scalzi reader asks I’m missing a link to the disagreement you are referring to. Link please?

UPDATE #3: Scalzi commenter Ryan notes The discussion to which Mr. Scalzi refers to is in the comments of one of Clark’s pieces on Popehat, and Clark has since posted a follow-up discussion as well. I’ll let Mr. Scalzi do the linking if he so desires; …

UPDATE #4: Scalzi commenter Doc RocketScience calls out my ego Ryan: ahm yes, Clark on Popehat. That dude is… very impressed with himself.

UPDATE #5: Bi-tribal-curious Kilroy, who walks on both sides of the street, flatters me Clark’s all right. He’s crazy as a loon and politically off his rocker, but he is consistent and entertaining. Definitely one of the better reads on the interwebs.

Still no links, though. :-(

In another hour or so perhaps I'll stop over and leave a link.

Last 5 posts by Clark

501 Comments

501 Comments

  1. David  •  Sep 13, 2013 @11:29 am

    "disemvowels comments that make her look foolish or wring"

    Was "wring" "disemvoweled"?

  2. Michael  •  Sep 13, 2013 @11:31 am

    For someone I manage to often disagree with on specific issues, you give a startlingly agreeable description of how to debate online.

    A question about moderation, and your views on it: is hiding but not removing comments (in your opinion) more appropriate than outright deleting them?

    It seems easy enough to reduce comments to "Name – Hidden for [Show]" from their full form when marked as "inappropriate", allows you to attach reasons for the removal, and allows interested parties to go back and look at it.

    Perhaps a "Comments Hidden: " fold if there are many such censored comments in a row.

  3. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @11:34 am

    @Michael

    For someone I manage to often disagree with on specific issues, you give a startlingly agreeable description of how to debate online.

    Thank you; I appreciate that!

    A question about moderation, and your views on it: is hiding but not removing comments (in your opinion) more appropriate than outright deleting them?

    It's absolutely wonderful. I like Amazon.com's system where reviews that are downvoted are hidden with a button saying "most customers felt this review did not add to the conversation; click to show the review".

    Perhaps a "Comments Hidden: " fold if there are many such censored comments in a row.

    Another great idea for a technical solution.

  4. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @11:37 am

    @David:

    "disemvowels comments that make her look foolish or wring"

    Was "wring" "disemvoweled"?

    No. Just typpod.

  5. Jay  •  Sep 13, 2013 @11:45 am

    I would love to see, similar to how Larry Lessig came up with the Creative Commons licenses, a global internet commenting standard (or standards) outlining the sort of moderation a host does to make it easy to tell when it's pretty much anything goes, or pretty much in a limited speech forum.

    I think a lot of people that want to claim support of open dialog have terrible moderation policies and are able to do so due to the lack of transparency.

  6. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @11:49 am

    @Jay

    I would love to see, similar to how Larry Lessig came up with the Creative Commons licenses, a global internet commenting standard (or standards) outlining the sort of moderation a host does to make it easy to tell when it's pretty much anything goes, or pretty much in a limited speech forum.

    This is a genius idea.

    To add to it: science thrives because it is open. Every experiment is, in theory, subject to replication. I'd love some system where data was collected to allow others to audit the moderation policies of a blog. You'd need to capture all of the comments, and then note which ones were approved and which spam-binned. In my next lifetime I'll code it up! ;-)

  7. Virgil  •  Sep 13, 2013 @11:56 am

    On my blog (now defunct), the comment policy was simple – don't fuck about! I never had to delete a single comment. I did, however, have to post some responses revealing the cities in which certain commenters lived, since their IP addresses all resolved to the same location even though they were using several different user IDs and posting "I agree with the troll above" type comments. The number of asshats who don't realize their IP is captured by wordpress, is quite stunning.

  8. pillsy  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:01 pm

    It's a "trust me" argument, but what you're trusting them to do is something that they already have pretty much unlimited rights to do as they please. If you're concerned it's really an issue that whould interfere with you carrying on a debate in comment threads on TNH or Scalzi's blog, you already have a place to post your disagreement in a way that's more visible[1] and entirely beyond the reach of both their most rigorous principles and their most arbitrary caprices.

    Since even if they're being maximally perfidious here–deleting people who make valid, polite arguments that make them look dumb, I guess–it doesn't really do much harm to even ideal notions about the free exchange of ideas, it's hard to regard it as a real problem. Even the hypocrisy is very small beer hypocrisy; it would be like saying that your living room looks great when in fact it's a total mess.

    [1] Not just you in particular, Clark, but anyone who wants to reply. Sure, most people don't have blogs that are as popular and widely read as Popehat, but most people can have a blog that will be as widely read as comment #372 of almost any given blog.

  9. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:05 pm

    @pillsy

    It's a "trust me" argument, but what you're trusting them to do is
    something that they already have pretty much unlimited rights to do as
    they please.

    There are three different topics:

    • Whether a blog owner has the legal right to censor (they do)
    • Whether a blog owner has the moral right to censor (they do)
    • Whether a blog owner has the moral right to censor for content while claiming not to

    It is to the third issue that I address myself.

    Further, in the same way that body cameras make police noticeably less likely to beat up innocent civilians, a social system that allowed blog owners to pledge which social license they enforced, combined with a technological system that allowed third parties to audit compliance would be interesting.

  10. Ryan  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:06 pm

    It's not just Clark, but if I keep seeing references to the NSA pop-up on the various blogs and debate sites I frequent we're going to have to coin an equivalent of Godwin's Law.

    I agree with Clark's Rules, but I don't disagree with the deletion of impolite or offensive comments, either. I agree that there may be a problem of conflating, and think that some of the technical solutions suggested by other commenters are quite workable. On the other hand, I also prefer a system where abusive commenters get banhammered, their posts get marked, but the post content remains to shame them for eternity and as an example to others.

  11. Jay  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:10 pm

    "To add to it: science thrives because it is open. Every experiment is, in theory, subject to replication. I'd love some system where data was collected to allow others to audit the moderation policies of a blog. You'd need to capture all of the comments, and then note which ones were approved and which spam-binned. In my next lifetime I'll code it up! ;-)"

    The way I've thought about implementing that is through a pastebin like website and a browser bookmarklet that captures the comment, links to it, possibly screenshots it, and allows for the "righteously indignant and abused commenter" to come back later and flag it as having never gotten through moderation, or edited, or what have you.

    Recently I have been using imgur and a very easy and seamless imgur integrated screenshot tool for windows called "hyperdesktop" to implement my own version of that.

    There have also been forums where a search engine crawl of the comments or their RSS feed would be helpful to detect comment deletions and alterations.

  12. MaudeLL  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:12 pm

    I agree that Clark's method leads to better dialogue/arguments and is fairer. However, I fail to see how moderating a private blog is censorious. A lot of people feel entitled to other people's space and time, and bloggers can choose to engage them or not. On his own space, Scalzi chooses to be an asshole to people he deems to be assholes. Fair enough, his assholery can be criticized. But I'm not seeing the NSA parallel here.

    Having been on the receiving end of the popehat mallet a couple years ago (and later pardoned), I was under the impression that popehat was somewhat (rightfully, in my opinion) more on the 'site owner chooses who pisses on his floor' side of the argument. Of course, it is possible that Clark also disagrees with other authors here (given the different interpretation of the Pax case, that is quite plausible). Other possibility, I might not understand anyone's actual position.

    In the end, I don't see why anyone (me included) should have the absolute right to write on other people's space. I can mention it on my blog (as was done here), but 'NSA' and 'censorious' seem hyperbolic to me.

    But then, I have not read the conversation with Scalzi. I might have a different view if I can find it.

  13. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:16 pm

    @MaudeLL

    I fail to see how moderating a private blog is censorious.

    I never said it was. I very carefully chose my words and said that Scalzi had "censorious instincts".

    I will defend to my death John Scalzi's property rights to do whatever he wants to with his own webserver.

    I was under the impression that popehat was somewhat (rightfully, in my opinion) more on the 'site owner chooses who pisses on his floor' side of the argument. Of course, it is possible that Clark also disagrees with other authors here

    Yes. Clark disagrees.

    In the end, I don't see why anyone (me included) should have the absolute right to write on other people's space.

    No one here is arguing for that.

    See above, where I wrote:

    There are three different topics:

    • Whether a blog owner has the legal right to censor (they do)
    • Whether a blog owner has the moral right to censor (they do)
    • Whether a blog owner has the moral right to censor for content while claiming not to

    It is to the third issue that I address myself.

  14. Kilroy  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:17 pm

    ah… now i'm surrounded by Assholes.

  15. Ken White  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:19 pm

    "Ho hum, another quiet Friday, I'll just check the front page of our blog and see if anything has . . . uh oh."

    See? I do real work and Clark decides to start a blog war.

    I respectfully dissent from Clark's take. I will explain why when I have time.

    Only two points for now:

    1. I might have been tempted to say fight like a girl, because my admittedly unscientific sense is that the female bloggers I read are less likely to moderate heavily than the male bloggers I read.

    2. I don't know what the dispute over traffic is, but I suspect I'm going to hate it.

    I note, however, that Clark's criticism of John Scalzi is considerably more civil than many of Scalzi's haterz.

  16. Don  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:20 pm

    I think Scalzi's position that "my space, my rules" is a very reasonable one – people who want to rant in their own manner can find their own location for it. I also respect that he simply wields the smackhammer and removes everything when someone violates that. It's not nuanced and it doesn't alter the meaning of other people's words without their permission.

    TNH and the Boing crowd with their selective 'disemvoweling' are a whole other matter. You don't want to provide people a place to say anything anyhow, sure, fair play. But they consistently do this selective thing where they chop up just pieces of a comment. That's just uncool even if you're not doing what you allege and what I have always suspected – just excising the parts they dislike or which prove them wrong, regardless of whether it really violates policy.

  17. BruceB  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:21 pm

    A system to audit the moderation policies of blogs? I mean really, why do you care so much what someone else does with their blog? Don't read it, don't link to it. He obviously doesn't want to send traffic your way either. Sure, that's a bit passive aggressive, but who cares? Anyone who's policy is "don't be an as*hole" clearly is saying they may delete anything they don't like.

    This all smacks too much of "someone is wrong on the internet" to me.

    I'm thinking of changing my Popehat bookmark from http://www.popehat.com to http://www.popehat.com/author/ken/ to decrease the amount of time I'm wasting. But that's too broad a weapon. Anyone know how to see all authors but one in a group blog?

    Ohmigod – I'm not being passive aggressive am I?

  18. pillsy  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:23 pm

    @Clark:

    I was trying (and evidently failing!) to address the third point in my post, by arguing that whatever Scalzi does in his comment policy, it essentially does no harm to your (or anybody else's) ability to carry on a debate or disagree vehemently with what he says. It's a no harm, no foul kind of thing.

    It's still a no harm, no foul thing if Scalzi is being a bit hypocritical, and since the only thing that would be gained by Scalzi moderating with the degree of transparency you'd like to see is enabling you to verify that he isn't being a hypocrite… well, I don't see the issue.

  19. Luke  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:24 pm

    I think part of the link issue in this case is that there was no central link to get to what he was responding to. The main post simply said he "has the instincts of a censor" and then you have scattered comments about it. Even the ones Clark has above don't catch them all. (I had to go catch up using ctrl-f scalzi) Should he have still done it? Yes, or at the very least have put @popehat in one of his tweets.

    That said…I wouldn't give him the benefit of the doubt. It should be noted this isn't the first time he's done something like this.

  20. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:24 pm

    @Don

    I think Scalzi's position that "my space, my rules" is a very reasonable one

    I agree.

    TNH and the Boing crowd with their selective 'disemvoweling' are a whole other matter.

    Indeed. I gave up on Bng Bng when there was a thread of the form "Bush is Satan", "Reagan WAS Satan", "No, the Koch brothers are EACH Satan" and I added something like "I'm not convinced that Obamacare will be workable"…and got banned.

  21. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:25 pm

    @BruceB

    I'm thinking of changing my Popehat bookmark from http://www.popehat.com to http://www.popehat.com/author/ken/

    Ohmigod – I'm not being passive aggressive am I?

    I treasure the fact that this comment was stuck in moderation and I just approved it.

    Rage on, Clark hater!

  22. Ken White  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:27 pm

    I'm thinking of changing my Popehat bookmark from http://www.popehat.com to http://www.popehat.com/author/ken/ to decrease the amount of time I'm wasting. But that's too broad a weapon. Anyone know how to see all authors but one in a group blog?

    Ohmigod – I'm not being passive aggressive am I?

    I learn more about my own positions and other people's positions from disagreeing with Clark than I learn from people agreeing with me.

  23. Mike  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:29 pm

    Clark – Can you explain what you mean by "censorious instincts"? If you (rightly) don't think that what Scalzi does with his own blog can be censorship, I assume you have examples of him advocating official restrictions on others' speech. Right?

  24. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:29 pm

    @pillsy

    I was trying (and evidently failing!) to address the third point in my post, by arguing that whatever Scalzi does in his comment policy, it essentially does no harm to you

    Absolutely agreed.

    Think of me as a style writer, critiquing this years new runway trends.

    I offer my opinions, I say what I think society would be better off with more of…or with less of.

    I mention in passing that I like cleavage, and then recall that style writers are usually female or gay, so I retract hat bit…

    It's still a no harm, no foul thing if Scalzi is being a bit hypocritical

    Absolutely agreed. Your average cop does more harm to the universe in one day than Scalzi does in his entire life.

    Why did I criticize Scalzi?

    Why did Scalzi tweet about me?

    Why does a bear crap in the woods?

    An economist would say that all three of us are simple beasts acting according to our own utility functions.

    (i.e. "we did it for the lulz")

  25. Christopher B. Wright  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:33 pm

    I actually like "disemvoweling" a lot. It's usually quite possible to translate what the person originally wrote, it just takes a little more time to do it. It's one of the more creative ways for a moderator to express disapproval and it's a lot more useful than simply deleting a post because it lets everyone else figure out what the post was and determine for themselves if they agree it was warranted.

  26. Luke  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:36 pm

    @Ken

    "Ho hum, another quiet Friday, I'll just check the front page of our blog and see if anything has . . . uh oh."

    Clark is secretly jealous you have the top 3 most commented posts :)

  27. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:40 pm

    @Luke

    Clark is secretly jealous you have the top 3 most commented posts :)

    Clark became aware just this morning that he has positions #4 and #5 and is sort of amazed that his drivel has climbed that far up the charts.

    If he paused to think about it, he might despair about what it says about our nation that his stupid crap is even with in shouting distance of Ken's stuff.

    Clark is now thoroughly sick of the third person. Also, the head injury he suffered earlier today is starting to hurt. Clark thinks he should go to the hospital and/or drink more whiskey.

  28. aczarnowski  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:40 pm

    I must be more than a few standard deviations off the median because I really don't get the "Clark is crazy" vibes I've been seeing.

    Thanks for keeping the internet interesting Popehat.

  29. Dave Ruddell  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:40 pm

    @Ken

    "I note, however, that Clark's criticism of John Scalzi is considerably more civil than"

    More civil than what Ken? Dammit man, I'm dying to know!

  30. Kilroy  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:41 pm

    I love it when the blogs I frequent collide. Can we get abovethelaw.com involved? I've been there the longest by far and even have one of the ultimate comment-of-the-week awards.

  31. Pharniel  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:44 pm

    One of the first 'forums' that the Interwebz had setup I deeply got into had very strict moderator rules about what could and could not be deleted during mod actions – if a comment was vile and violated policy it wasn't excised – just simply updated to note that the person was being modhammered for whatever reason.
    The only time content was deleted was when it was 'over the line' and then the post was updated to reflect redacted content with who removed and what they removed. Usually it was along the lines of 'incoherent and off topic racism' since it was about a video game.

    But then video game forums are usually calm waters compared to, say, sexism threads (in general). My current standard for Good Practices in moderating is RPG.net – as much transparency as possible and open communication within limits.

    I mean…people disagree with it constantly. Usually after they're on the receiving end of a ban for being a terrible person having a posting history that adds nothing to the conversation.

    But yeah – anything not illegal and/or active actions of harassment should probably stand for posterity – if nothing else as a monument to "When I call person x an asshole allow me to show you exhibits one through twenty-one thousand and six.."

    Also let me add the 'I disagree with Clark on just about every substantive policy issue but find his thoughts on modern communications interesting and enlightening.'

  32. Ryan  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:48 pm

    FYI, Clark, the Ryan who just posted in Scalzi's comments is the same one that's been known to criticize you here and indeed, just wrote this comment =)

    (in other words, not a regular Scalzi commenter)

  33. Pharniel  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:51 pm

    @Dave Ruddell

    Uh…Scalzi has occasionally tangled with Men's Rights Activists, PUAs and other….interestingly cognitive individuals.

    He has threatened privilege by talking about it – and the reaction is only slightly less vile than what was directed at Tropes vs. Women or that individual who reported feeling threatened at a skeptic con.

    See Ken's posts on the subject for the kind of stuff that regularly occurs – also note that the actual industry Scalzi is in is rife with conflicts of interest, horrific business practices, exploitative contracts and other scan shenanigans on a good day combined with an institutional attitude reminiscent of the brogramming culture only with more beards and typewriters and you….get some really creepy stuff.

    Like 'Hi, I'm Pharniel and I find /b/ funny and /d/ cute and Something Awfull really has great traditional gaming forums and oh my god my eyes what did I just read??!?!?!?!' creepy.

  34. VD  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:53 pm

    I'd love to see the most recent chapter of the Scalzi / Day fight – the Great Web Traffic Debate – settled by the two of them installing third party site meters in their sidebars).

    It's not necessary. Both Mr. Scalzi and I utilize Google Analytics. I will happily provide my Google Analytics pageviews for 2012-2013 to Popehat, complete with supporting screenshots, when John Scalzi agrees to do the same.

    I am 100 percent certain that Mr. Scalzi's average pageviews are considerably short of the "50k daily readers" that he repeatedly asserted.

  35. pillsy  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:54 pm

    Clark:

    Think of me as a style writer, critiquing this years new runway trends.

    I offer my opinions, I say what I think society would be better off with more of…or with less of.

    Sure. I just think this is one of those style tips that doesn't make people more, um, stylish.

  36. Ken White  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:56 pm

    Short of posting embarrassing pictures of me from that weekend in the Poconos, I don't tell Clark what he can or can't post.

    I will only say that if Clark chooses to make Popehat a vehicle for an argument over who has more traffic I plan to ridicule everyone remotely involved until my fingers fall off.

  37. Kilroy  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:58 pm

    To actually try to make a point for once:

    comment moderation that works for one site doesn't always work for other sites. Abovethelaw doesn't delete anything but the most hateful, but the average commentator is either a lawyer or law student, so it is really pretty tame. Popehat seems to draw a similar educated crowd, but from a wider range of professions. Again, a group that is generally pretty reasonable. Whatever is mostly writers, gamers, and sci-fi geeks (the group to which I would belong), but also seems to draw interest from the dregs of the web. Those are the types that really don't comment here or at AtL, so they aren't a problem. If Scalzi didn't weld the mallet, Whatever would end up like CNN or Youtube.

    So each site does a great job using its own policy, but would probably not work so well on the other site.

  38. BruceB  •  Sep 13, 2013 @12:59 pm

    Interesting reactions to this from me:

    I'm thinking of changing my Popehat bookmark from http://www.popehat.com to http://www.popehat.com/author/ken/ to decrease the amount of time I'm wasting. But that's too broad a weapon. Anyone know how to see all authors but one in a group blog.

    Ohmigod – I'm not being passive aggressive am I?

    From Clark:

    I treasure the fact that this comment was stuck in moderation and I just approved it.

    Rage on, Clark hater!"

    and from Ken

    I learn more about my own positions and other people's positions from disagreeing with Clark than I learn from people agreeing with me.

    Sorry to disappoint you Clark, but there's no rage here. Just expressing my opinion that you're veering close to not being worth my time (yes I recognize the irony of taking the time to make a second comment).

    I'm not tired of reading Clark because of his position on issues so much as his opinion of what is worthy of a dozen paragraphs of bloviating. As I noted (in the part Clark left out!) I feel like Clark is becoming a waste of time.

    Two days in a row he's written two very long posts which seem to boil down to:
    (yesterday): Clark doesn't like the way mean writers piled on in attacking Pax Dickinson who he seems quite certain based on not much more than Dickinson's claims is really just a satirist, not a bigot (and then eventually clarifies in comments that yes, Dickinson's employer had every right to fire him).
    (today): Clark doesn't like the way a mean relatively niche blog writer moderates his comments (and then clarifies in comments that yes, said blogger has every right to moderate his comments as he see fit).

    I read several group blogs across the political spectrum and find that some writers just become a waste a time because they write long posts that never get to the point, or if they do, the point seems trivial, and often they still have to clarify themselves in comments.

    This is why I honestly would like a way to read Popehat sans Clark. And it's not just Clark@Popehat -others that come to mind that I prefer to skip are Stewart Baker @Volokh, John Holbo @Crooked Timber, SEK@LGM…

  39. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:01 pm

    @Pharniel

    Scalzi has … threatened [ male ] privilege by talking about it

    This male privilege of which you speak sounds about as well designed and as invincible as the aliens in that M Night Shyamalan / Mel Gibson movie.

  40. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:02 pm

    @Ken White

    I will only say that if Clark chooses to make Popehat a vehicle for an argument over who has more traffic I plan to ridicule everyone remotely involved until my fingers fall off.

    Combine this with Ken's earlier statement that I can have the master keys to Popehat when I can pry them from his cold dead fingers, … and suddenly I've got a plan.

  41. Luke  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:04 pm

    @Clark – It's Friday, go for the whiskey! Or if I may suggest, bourbon.

    And I don't know why you would despair, there is a lot of good conversation in all of those Top 10.

  42. JT  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:04 pm

    @clark

    Thanks for adding "subtweet" to my lexicon. #themoreyouknow

  43. Tali McPike  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:04 pm

    I will say Clark, I have an interesting feelings about you. First and foremost I have a lot of respect for you (as I do most people who speak their mind coherently on unpopular opinions). As someone who is still trying to figure out where I fall on the political spectrum many of your posts not only educate me about issues, but about where I stand on those issues (especially as a Catholic). I find as I'm having discussions with people I end up thinking to myself "I wonder what Clark's opinion is on this subject" (this happened most recently in a discussion on joining labor unions). I also find myself frustrated with you sometimes, because you remind me of my husband (very intelligent, but sometimes falls into the habit of assuming other people are not as intelligent as he is, or at least saying things that make it appear that way, even if that assumption wad not actually made). It is not something that makes you insufferable, just mildly frustrating at times.

    Ok now that I've shared that, on to my real reason for commenting.
    I totally agree with you here, and I admit it is something I struggle with on occasion. Out of curiosity, what is your opinion of how Ken handled the situation with "Captian Pastetaster" or the closing & deleting of comments on the 9/11 post? (I would link to them but I'm on my mobile & my toddler keeps trying to help me use my phone).
    I know you guys have certain things you don't tolerate, but I'm wondering how those situations are any different than Scalzi (who's blog I do not read, and I didn't even know who he was until VERY recently, so I have very little opinion on him)

  44. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:05 pm

    @BruceB:

    Sorry to disappoint you Clark, but there's no rage here.

    I didn't think there was. I was aiming for some sort of humorous portmanteau of "party on, Wayne / party on, Garth" and rage.

    This is why I honestly would like a way to read Popehat sans Clark.

    I fully support that desire. If there's a wordpress plugin we can install that will give you a URL for everyone but me, I'd support installing it.

  45. Damon  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:05 pm

    Clark,
    That's the way it should be, but for a lot of folks, it's about winning.

    All the sleazy underhanded methods mentioned above to stop/hide criticism are all done to ensure the person doing it prevails. Doing those things ensure that they really don't have to work hard justifying their positions. If a person can't defend themselves under severe criticism and has to resort to these tactics, then they have to say really doesn't matter to me.

  46. Tali McPike  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:08 pm

    I see you answered my question earlier in the thread…that's what I get for not paying attention :/

  47. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:11 pm

    @Tali McPike

    I will say Clark, I have an interesting feelings about you.

    Well, that's great to hear because I've got …

    my husband

    Oops. Wait. Seems I misinterpretted that previous line.

    ;-)

    I have a lot of respect for you

    Thank you!

    my husband (very intelligent, but sometimes falls into the habit of assuming other people are not as intelligent as he is

    Well, to put on my Sheldon hat, doesn't that mean that your husband is choosing a good and useful heuristic?

    It is not something that makes you insufferable, just mildly frustrating at times.

    It sounds like you and Mrs. Clark could compare notes and find lots of stuff to commiserate about. ;-)

    Out of curiosity, what is your opinion of how Ken handled the situation with "Captian Pastetaster" or the closing & deleting of comments on the 9/11 post?

    @MaudeLL asked something similar above. I replied.

    I was under the impression that popehat was somewhat (rightfully, in my opinion) more on the 'site owner chooses who pisses on his floor' side of the argument. Of course, it is possible that Clark also disagrees with other authors here

    Yes. Clark disagrees.

  48. AnonCoward  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:12 pm

    Maybe related; I've spent a reasonable amount of time over on Scalzi's blog, under a few names. Generally wasn't bothered by his deletions.

    What did bother me, though, was that when people changed his mind, even slightly, he would repeat their points back to them as if they were his own, and as if he had just triumphantly convinced them. I'm sure it wasn't done as some sort of sinister rhetorical device, but nevertheless it really annoyed me. Has anyone else noticed this?

  49. BruceB  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:13 pm

    Clark, After my overly-long comment complaining about your writing overly-long posts on trivial matters, I have to say that one line you wrote above best sums up my feelings on this entire thread as well as yesterdays:

    Why does a bear crap in the woods?

  50. Pharniel  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:13 pm

    @Clark –

    This male privilege of which you speak sounds about as well designed and as invincible as the aliens in that M Night Shyamalan / Mel Gibson movie.

    I take that statement to mean that you assert that you do not believe that Male Privilege exists?

    Do you believe that privilege, as a concept commonly discussed does not exist or do you disagree with privilege as it relates to straight white males does not exist?

  51. John Kindley  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:14 pm

    There is only one charity that improves the world by fighting breast cancer: The Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, http://www.bcpinstitute.org/home.htm.

    So what are the Popehatter's Twitter handles?

  52. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:18 pm

    @Pharniel

    I take that statement to mean that you assert that you do not believe that Male Privilege exists?

    This question is deserving of a well-considered blog post, not a quick comment.

  53. pillsy  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:19 pm

    @Damon:

    All the sleazy underhanded methods mentioned above to stop/hide criticism are all done to ensure the person doing it prevails. Doing those things ensure that they really don't have to work hard justifying their positions.

    You may be right as to the underlying motives, though I sort of doubt it as a categorical thing.

    But even so, it not only won't work, it can't work, so who cares?

  54. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:20 pm

    So what are the Popehatter's Twitter handles?

    Ken is @popehat.

    I believe that Patrick also has access to that account; others may as well.

    I read twitter as a guest but do not have a username.

  55. Ken White  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:23 pm

    C: I saw it over there: 'Olsen's Standard Book of British Birds'.

    P: (pause; trying to stay calm) 'Olsen's Standard Book of British Birds'?

    C: Yes…

    P: O-L-S-E-N?

    C: Yes….

    P: B-I-R-D-S??

    C: Yes…..

    P: (beat) Yes, well, we do have that, as a matter of fact….

    C: The expurgated version….

    P: (pause; politely) I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that…?

    C: The expurgated version.

    P: (exploding) The EXPURGATED version of 'Olsen's Standard Book of British Birds'?!?!?!?!?

    C: (desperately) The one without the gannet!

    P: The one without the gannet-!!! They've ALL got the gannet!! It's a Standard British Bird, the gannet, it's in all the books!!!

    C: (insistent) Well, I don't like them…they wet their nests.

    P: (furious) All right! I'll remove it!! (rrrip!) Any other birds you don't like?!

    C: I don't like the robin…

    P: (screaming) The robin! Right! The robin! (rrrip!) There you are, any others you don't like, any others?

    C: The nuthatch?

    P: Right! (flipping through the book) The nuthatch, the nuthatch, the nuthatch, 'ere we are! (rrriiip!) There you are! NO gannets, NO robins, NO nuthatches, THERE's your book!

    C: (indignant) I can't buy that! It's torn!

  56. Jay  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:25 pm

    @BruceB

    A system to audit the moderation policies of blogs? I mean really, why do you care so much what someone else does with their blog?

    I think your question dismisses "blogs" too quickly. Blogs with noxious commenting policies might be my little blog about the evildoers in my apartment complex, or it might be some of our largest mainstream media outlets including NPR, the Guardian, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Atlantic, Slate, Salon, etc. Blogs might be the discussion forums at various activists/lobbying/special interest groups RawStory, Jezebel, Mother Jones, DailyKos,. It might be well known expert blogs backing various public issues RH Reality Check, Real Climate, or semi well known and semi influential blogs.

    In all these cases it is informative to the public to understand the context the comments are pubished under, to understand the moderation, etc., and I think it also encourages all of these venues to up their standards and encourage open, transparent, understandable, and fair moderation.

  57. Steve  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:25 pm

    The solution is clear. Create a separate Ken RSS feed, and a separate Clark RSS feed. Then tally the votes, and instantly delete the tally because it doesn't matter.

    I'm with BruceB, who had the same idea that I did, and came up with it earlier than I. I would like the option of straight up Ken. And I agree with Ken that getting multiple sides of an issue is important, but time is finite and there's only so much time I want to devote to a measurements, and blog traffic as a phallic substitute.

  58. Ken White  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:28 pm

    @BruceB:

    If that seems like I am making fun of a desire to read one blogger at a blog and not the other, I am not. De gustibus etc.

    (Though if you skip Stewart Baker @Volokh you will surely miss out on some of the most very persuasive reasons that we should submit to anal probes by civil-service-protected polyestered drones for the good of all children.)

    Rather, I am making fun of the instinct to decide that you want to read one blogger and not the other and then show up at the blog and ANNOUNCE that you want to read one blogger and not the other, seemingly in order to receive affirmation or congratulation or possibly some sort of prize.

  59. Kilroy  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:31 pm

    I don't get the partisan Ken or partisan Clark when Via Angus is clearly the best read. I like the youtube channel, but that guy really needs his own blog.

  60. John Kindley  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:33 pm

    What would be interesting is something on how all the authors at Popehat know each other, tailored of course to preserve the anonymity that all except Ken maintain. I seem to recall from somewhere, for example, that Ken and Patrick have never met irl.

  61. Ken White  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:34 pm

    @Kilroy

    I don't get the partisan Ken or partisan Clark when Via Angus is clearly the best read. I like the youtube channel, but that guy really needs his own blog.

    Via Angus is truly outstanding in his field.

  62. Pharniel  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:38 pm

    This question is deserving of a well-considered blog post, not a quick comment.

    That's fair. I'll wait for it then.

    However – that doesn't change the fact that if you post certain opinions about gender issues on the internet as both Scalzi and Ken have you will get a specific set of trolls who are highly motivated and brutish in a very pedestrian "You can play bingo reliably with them" kind of way in your comments.

  63. Kilroy  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:39 pm

    something about old gaming buddies from like, world of warcraft, right?

  64. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:40 pm

    @John Kindley

    What would be interesting is something on how all the authors at Popehat know each other, tailored of course to preserve the anonymity that all except Ken maintain. I seem to recall from somewhere, for example, that Ken and Patrick have never met irl.

    I, too, would enjoy a "Get to know Popehat" blog entry.

    I know that Patrick (who I've met IRL once, a year after I began blogging here) is VERY protective of his anonymity.

    In case such a post never comes into existence, here's my boring story:

    I read Popehat for years. One day I sent email to Ken and we chatted. The email friendship escalated. Patrick got roped in. Eventually Patrick, I think, asked me if I'd like an outlet to blog my email rants, pending approval by Ken. Ken agreed. Here I am.

  65. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:42 pm

    @Pharniel

    This question is deserving of a well-considered blog post, not a quick comment.

    That's fair. I'll wait for it then.

    No promises that it will arrive. Merely an assertion that I would do grave disservice to the topic by being flip.

    In thread convergence, my thoughts on the topic are largely centered around Scalzi's "game difficulty setting" metaphor.

    However – that doesn't change the fact that if you post certain opinions about gender issues on the internet as both Scalzi and Ken have you will get a specific set of trolls who are highly motivated and brutish in a very pedestrian "You can play bingo reliably with them" kind of way in your comments.

    My views on all sorts of social issues are simultaneously nuanced and unpopular. I'm used to getting commenters who won't read what I wrote and instead want to bin me into Team Blue or Team Red and then fight with that strawman.

    It'll all work out.

  66. John Kindley  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:45 pm

    I was, for example, a little amazed that not only 2 of the Popehat authors (Clark and David) are apparently expert mathematicians / cryptographers, almost as if you do it for a living, but apparently half the commentariat is as well.

  67. Steve  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:49 pm

    I was, for example, a little amazed that not only 2 of the Popehat authors (Clark and David) are apparently expert mathematicians / cryptographers, almost as if you do it for a living, but apparently half the commentariat is as well.

    When Clark wants a mod code for the internet, he really wants more modulo, not moderation.

  68. Richard  •  Sep 13, 2013 @1:55 pm

    I know that Patrick (who I've met IRL once, a year after I began blogging here) is VERY protective of his anonymity.

    A-ha!

    I know who Patrick is!

    Clark started posting in Sept, 2011. Clark's photo is of Superman. The current Superman was filmed (partially) in 2012, in Chicago. Therefore, they must have met in Chicago. That must mean that Patrick is none other than…

    Pat Quinn, current Governor of Illinois!

    What do I win?

  69. Kilroy  •  Sep 13, 2013 @2:00 pm

    Clark's photo is not of Superman. Superman doesn't wear glasses and has a cape. That is just a picture of a mild-mannered reporter.

  70. VD  •  Sep 13, 2013 @2:00 pm

    I will only say that if Clark chooses to make Popehat a vehicle for an argument over who has more traffic I plan to ridicule everyone remotely involved until my fingers fall off.

    With all due respect, Mr. White, you publicly asserted that anything I said should be taken "with a MASSIVE grain of salt", and in doing so you laid down a gauntlet that now requires precisely that sort of argument. So, should any such argument take place here, you should feel free to at least take partial credit for it.

  71. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @2:01 pm

    @John Kindley

    2 Popehat authors (Clark and David) are apparently expert mathematicians / cryptographers,

    I was more off in that direction once than I am now.

    …and then I took an arrow to the knee.

    @Steve

    When Clark wants a mod code for the internet, he really wants more modulo, not moderation.

    There was a professional comedian at the 1996 RSA conference who was warming up the crowd, and – with out any specific knowledge of the audience – made a joke about logarithms.

    It brought down the house.

    He was a bit befuddled by the disproportionate reaction.

  72. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @2:04 pm

    @VD

    With all due respect, Mr. White

    You'll find, if you read Popehat for a while, that Ken has his prejudices but is remarkably fair in practice.

    Which is to say, I think you'll get a better hearing here – both from bloggers and commenters – if you adopt the same thick skin with regards to Ken's jibing (which, in this case, was aimed at me and not you) that Ken has with regard to my frequent threats to release that compromising picture of him and those two pygmy goats.

  73. Mike  •  Sep 13, 2013 @2:22 pm

    VD – unless I missed something, it was me in the other thread who said you needed to be taken with a massive grain of salt due to the gamma male, gamma rabbit, obese female shoggoth, socio-sexual blah, zeta seahorse, etc. type of comments. Which would make it my gauntlet, I guess, though for what exactly I don't know. I didn't see Ken say it too. Then again, if he did, I take this back and, uh, squee?

  74. Ken White  •  Sep 13, 2013 @2:32 pm

    Ken has with regard to my frequent threats to release that compromising picture of him and those two pygmy goats.

    Sexism, racism, now heightism — is there nothing you won't stoop to?

  75. Ben  •  Sep 13, 2013 @2:40 pm

    I agree with you about your rules Clark, but I think you're being hypocritical. If internet arguments work best when you show your work, then show your work.

    When you say:

    I didn't trust the TNH to start with…and I trust her even less after I saw her disemvowel comments that were perfectly polite but showed her to be factually wrong.

    And I didn't trust John Scalzi…and I trust him even less after seeing him delete comments that were no more or less rude than others.

    Maybe if you showed them, readers here would come to a different conclusion than you have. Maybe not. How can I trust your interpretation if you don't show those examples?

    I also agree that there's no use for personal attacks in honest debate between two parties, although I think they can be great as a rhetorical device. But when I posted my first comment here (criticizing the comparison of Obama and the Boston Bomber), rather than ignoring me or explaining why I was wrong in response to my lame attempts at quoting The West Wing and ironically misusing "literally," you immediately called me a "Boot-loving authoritarian". It had the effect of discouraging me from commenting here again for awhile. But I kept reading and enjoying the posts and comments here, and I eventually tried again.

    So I like your conclusions in this post. I just wish you'd take your own advice. That doesn't put me in the "Popehat would be great if it weren't for Clark" camp, it just shifts the value I get out of reading a bit from the Clark posts themselves over to the comments.

    As a newbie aside: Is there a way to do preview post here? I'm not sure how to use blockquotes and rather than getting it horribly wrong I went with italics. What goes inside of 'cite=""'? Do you close the quote with a /blockquote tag? Thanks.

  76. Brad Hutchings (@BradHutchings)  •  Sep 13, 2013 @2:48 pm

    Longtime lurker… I thought Clark's story about being banned from Bng Bng was interesting. I'd imagine that experience might weigh on him later and color his future judgement about posts and other shenanigans there. The story certainly confirmed some of my thoughts.

    There are unanticipated downsides of modding particular people out of your conversations. At some point, they might be loud enough to drown yours out and still hold a grudge. Probably not that many, but still, the bigger you are, the bigger the possibility.

  77. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @2:50 pm

    @Ben

    I didn't trust the TNH to start with…and I trust her even less after I saw her disemvowel comments that were perfectly polite but showed her to be factually wrong.

    And I didn't trust John Scalzi…and I trust him even less after seeing him delete comments that were no more or less rude than others.

    Maybe if you showed them, readers here would come to a different conclusion than you have.

    I can not show you comments of mine that John Scalzi deleted because…they're deleted.

    I can not show you comments that TNH disemvoweled because they are under another name, and I don't choose – at this time – to point people to my driver's-license-name.

    Sorry. I try to link to data whenever I can.

    you immediately called me a "Boot-loving authoritarian".

    I apologize for that.

    I rarely live up to my own standards.

    I do, however, try to go to the sacrament of confession and/or apologize to people.

    I just wish you'd take your own advice.

    Me too. I also wish I'd lose weight.

  78. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @2:51 pm

    As a newbie aside: Is there a way to do preview post here?

    No, but I like the idea. David holds the IT keys here.

    I'm not sure how to use blockquotes

    Like this:

    <blockquote>

    quoted text

    </blockquote>

  79. TooManyJens  •  Sep 13, 2013 @2:52 pm

    This is why I honestly would like a way to read Popehat sans Clark. And it's not just Clark@Popehat -others that come to mind that I prefer to skip are Stewart Baker @Volokh, John Holbo @Crooked Timber, SEK@LGM…

    Do you have any facility with Yahoo Pipes? I've done some feed customizations for myself that way.

  80. Ben  •  Sep 13, 2013 @2:59 pm

    Thanks for the explanation, the apology, and the noob help. I can see providing proof of deleted comments can be tricky or impossible. But even so, without evidence the assertions don't have anything to stand on. Although the "subtweets" have an rhetorical style that I find ugly, so I feel comfortable categorizing Scalzi as a bad monkey.

  81. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @3:05 pm

    I can see providing proof of deleted comments can be tricky or impossible.

    Which is exactly the core problem I have with secret courts, secret laws, and comment deletion.

  82. Chris  •  Sep 13, 2013 @3:05 pm

    Clark's position reminds me of FIRE's position on free speech at private universities. Basically that they have the right to restrict speech of their students and employees however the wish, but if they make representations about how they protect free speech, we will hold them to it.

  83. Chris  •  Sep 13, 2013 @3:06 pm

    Which is exactly the core problem I have with secret courts, secret laws, and comment deletion.

    Arson, murder, and jaywalking

  84. Dan Weber  •  Sep 13, 2013 @3:19 pm

    If you can't take Clark's word for comment policy at BoingBoing, can you take Ken's?

  85. Ben  •  Sep 13, 2013 @3:36 pm

    Thanks for the relevant link Dan. I try to never take anyone's word for anything and instead look at evidence.

    In Ken's post, he provides proof of the overly zealous moderator essentially admitting everything and defending herself, as well as a link to a twitter feed with screencaps of some of the deleted comments themselves. In that situation Ken is a 3rd party observer, while in this one Clark is talking about his own posts, making him obviously biased. No one wants their own posts deleted. In the linked post, ultimately BoingBoing posted links to dissenting views which I take as a mea culpa for the aggressive comment deletions. The characters in that post are moderator Antinous and post author Xeni Jardin, and they seem to have very different takes on what level of dissent should be allowed in their post. BoingBoing seems suspect for sure, similar to what I've come to expect from the left-wing and right-wing web, but I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that Teresa Nielson Hayden has the same policy as Antinous.

  86. Ben  •  Sep 13, 2013 @3:44 pm

    *queue someone showing that TNH and Antinous are, in fact, the same person*

  87. naught_for_naught  •  Sep 13, 2013 @5:27 pm

    "My mom, for example, prefers quilting over kick-boxing."

    If she'd stop telegraphing her roundhouse kick, she'd have more success in the ring and perhaps enjoy it more — just sayin'.

  88. Ken White  •  Sep 13, 2013 @5:39 pm

    @VD:

    With all due respect, Mr. White, you publicly asserted that anything I said should be taken "with a MASSIVE grain of salt", and in doing so you laid down a gauntlet that now requires precisely that sort of argument. So, should any such argument take place here, you should feel free to at least take partial credit for it.

    My dear Mr. Day:

    I believe you have me confused for someone else.

    I do not doubt your assertion that you get more traffic than Mr. Scalzi. Mr. Scalzi seems to agree that you may get more traffic than Mr. Scalzi. If I have any doubt on the matter, it is but residual doubt that you are seriously — as opposed to self-deprecatingly — engaging in a dispute over whether you get more traffic than Mr. Scalzi.

    I like to think I have a decent imagination, even if I am not a science fiction writer. Yet I find it hard to imagine that anyone — anyone — even someone who uses MRA/PUA terminology, even someone obsessed with odd racial and social theories, even someone who knowingly writes for WorldNetDaily using a profile picture that appears to depict a man who lost his way whilst pursuing an unsuccessful audition for a DEVO cover band and asked for directions at a salon that offers haircuts and nerve stapling under the same roof — would be so lost to self-respect and sensibility as to get in a fight over whose blog has more traffic.

    So: I presume to tell nobody, Mr. Day, that they ought to take any salt in connection with you, although quite frankly from my limited experience a certain amount of bourbon cannot hurt.

    Very truly yours,

    Ken

  89. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @5:55 pm

    using a profile picture that appears to depict a man who lost his way whilst pursuing an unsuccessful audition for a DEVO cover band

    For the record, my first contact with Vox was picking up a copy of some used CD around 1995 because it had a track called "PGP" (thus achieving thread convergence). I didn't realize it was the same person as the author until more than a decade later. I assure you, the sound is unlike Devo.

  90. Ken White  •  Sep 13, 2013 @6:04 pm

    Also:

    Mr. Day, I understand that you are a successful and devoted parent, and I wonder if I may ask for some parenting advice from you.

    My house is relatively modest. We have two bathrooms. With three kids, this sometimes means it is hard to get into the bathroom, what with one or the other of them dawdling in there.

    On the one hand, I understand that many parenting experts emphasize that children need to be given privacy in general and especially with respect to toileting matters to develop good habits and appropriate adult self-confidence. On the other hand, my children are Asian-American, and I wonder if I should instead take the more muscular approach to expelling them from the bathroom implicit in your writings like this:

    The reality is that America will proceed on one of two paths. The first is to embrace the conflict. If Americans can find the courage to consciously reject the myth of the melting pot and expel the Mexicans from the American Southwest, the Arabs from Detroit and the Somalis from Minneapolis, they can reclaim their traditional white Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture.

    Should I expel the Asians from my hall bathroom so that I may reclaim my right to read the Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide and move my bowels at my Anglo-Saxon leisure?

    Very truly yours,

    Ken

  91. En Passant  •  Sep 13, 2013 @6:55 pm

    I came to Popehat for the jaywalking, but I stayed for the arson and murder.

    Well, that and debates on the notorious Lavatory Expulsion Acts.

  92. Lizard  •  Sep 13, 2013 @7:16 pm

    @Ken: APG? Really? That came out like, what, three years ago? Perhaps more appropose to this dicussion, you should be reviewing Advanced Race Guide and finding some really munchkin combination of traits you can use to sneak past the GM's border fence of Tolkien-inspired stereotypes and destroy his Eurocentric fantasy world by corrupting it from within. First you let in the half-elves, and maybe they're not so bad, but then come the half-orcs, and we know about THEM, and now there's ratlings and lizardmen and all sorts of, you know, THOSE types. You know what I mean. I mean, they're OK if they stay in the Monster Manual where they belong, maybe one or two could be NPCs if they know their place, but, really, we can't have them walking around gaining full PC levels like *proper* folk.

  93. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 13, 2013 @7:47 pm

    On the OP: I find myself incapable of caring.

    It comes down to this: either Scalzi is lying about only banning assholes, or he isn't. Really, it comes down to whether or not he's operating in good faith, since everyone makes mistakes.

    Say he is operating in good faith: there's no problem. A few people may loose their pseudo asshole comment, but no real loss.

    Say he isn't operating in good faith: this is annoying, since people may put effort into crafting a decent rebuttal and loose that work. This suggests an obvious solution. Back up that comment. I did it for a while . I was worried that a blog owner wasn't playing fair, so I kept my comments in a text file. If I ever lost one, I had them right there. I could then post them elsewhere, while pointing out that the blog owner was lying (the author in question never actually deleted anything).

    And all that assumes that Scalzi isn't acting in good faith. There's no reason to assume he isn't, and, in my experience, most people are.

    On this spiel:

    If Americans can find the courage to consciously reject the myth of the melting pot and expel the Mexicans from the American Southwest, the Arabs from Detroit and the Somalis from Minneapolis, they can reclaim their traditional white Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture.

    Go back to England if you want your Anglo-Saxon protestant culture. Better, go back to Germany where the Anglos and the Saxons actually came from.

  94. Donald  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:01 pm

    But when has John Scalzi ever pretended, to his supporters or anyone else, that he's running a fight club?

    My impression is more that Scalzi considers his blog an Internet variety program that he's sponsoring to promote his writing. So if you comment there, you're not entering a kick-boxing match, you're accepting a job as a staff writer on The John Scalzi Show. (He'll pay you in exposure.)

    From that point of view, Scalzi's deleting or modifying comments is no more censorship than the head writer of Saturday Night Live nixing or reworking an idea for a skit because it's too offensive or too stupid or just not what he had in mind for that episode.

    The political bloggers who are frustrated because Scalzi won't debate them — and I'm not just picking on Clark here, several others have made this mistake — don't seem to realize that this is like Mitt Romney demanding a debate with Stephen Colbert, back when he was "campaigning" for President. I mean, not only would no one have seriously expected Colbert to accept, they'd have thought Romney had completely lost his mind.

  95. John Kindley  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:02 pm

    Clark: Are you seriously a fan or supporter of this Vox character, with whom you're apparently on a first name basis. I just read the post that got him kicked out of the science fiction writer's club and was thoroughly disgusted. I do not doubt for the sake of argument that there's a history there and his antagonists, a couple of whom you express disapproval of in this post, are like him thoroughly unpleasant characters, but the bile and racism of his words stink to high heaven. I can not for the life of me understand how a self-described "prominent Game blogger" is also a self-described Christian. The comments on his post are beyond vile. Is Vox who your post above was really about? Is this why it maybe wasn't as clear as it could have been? I'm all on board with your "left-anarchism," and my own "left-anarchism" is strongly influenced by characters like Nock and Juenger who usually considered right-wing, but it seems to me you might be coming from some really "strange" cultural places, to put it charitably, although I could be wrong as I often am.

  96. George William Herbert  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:15 pm

    Jacob wrote in part:
    It comes down to this: either Scalzi is lying about only banning assholes, or he isn't. Really, it comes down to whether or not he's operating in good faith, since everyone makes mistakes.

    From firsthand experience – I have commented on Whatever for some years. The only time he zapped my posts was a day I was home sick, in a vile mood, and made a prime asshole comment while trying to make a more reasonable point.

    Other than posts by VD and his followers, that's about it for what I see him moderate of others' comments.

  97. eddie  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:16 pm

    (pause; trying to stay calm) 'Olsen's Standard Book of British Birds'?

    I see that earlier you posted about A Sale of Two Titties.

  98. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:17 pm

    @Luke

    @Clark – It's Friday, go for the whiskey! Or if I may suggest, bourbon.

    Hic! Done!

    (srsly)

  99. Mark - Lord of the Albino Squirrels  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:22 pm

    Starting to think this week is actually the start of nerd combat season and no one told me. In no particular order…

    Ken v. Clark
    Nate Silver v. Public Policy Polling
    Ken v. Vox
    Clark v. Scalzi
    Scalzi v. Vox

    I'm liking it better than the start of college football honestly. Maybe add some mascots though?
    Now I'm feeling inspired; gonna go restart the old Bene Gesserit v. Jedi argument with a friend over a beer.

    @Lizard
    That comment rolled at least 2 natural 20's.

  100. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:23 pm

    @John Kindley

    Clark: Are you seriously a fan or supporter of this Vox character,
    with whom you're apparently on a first name basis.

    A first name basis?

    I referred to him as "Vox" (which isn't even his name; it's his online pseudonym). I also referred to John Scalzi as "John", and as "Scalzi". In both cases I've shortened their names to something that trips a bit more mellifluously off the tongue fingers.

    I've read zero books by Vox and four or so by Scalzi.

    I've never met either man.

    Does Vox have some opinions that I agree with? Yes.

    Does Scalzi have some opinions that I agree with? Yes.

    Am I supposed to say that Vox has zero redeemable qualities because …why? Because he's on some secret shit list?

    I just read the post that got him kicked out of the science fiction writer's club and was thoroughly disgusted.

    Vox was race-baiting. No doubt at all about it.

    Did I say anywhere here, or anywhere else, that I'd write a post like that, that I defend that post, or anything else?

    I can not for the life of me understand how a self-described "prominent Game blogger" is also a self-described Christian.

    Ask him, not me.

    Although I will say that a touch of Game (Athol Kay style) has done well for me.

    The comments on his post are beyond vile.

    I don't defend the comments on his blog.

    What, exactly, is the thought crime that you think I'm guilty of? Treating Vox like a human being?

  101. eddie  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:24 pm

    Though if you skip Stewart Baker @Volokh you will surely miss out on some of the most very persuasive reasons that we should submit to anal probes by civil-service-protected polyestered drones for the good of all children.

    I'm so glad to see someone else who's noticed this!

    Also, I like affirmation. Do you?

  102. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:25 pm

    @Jacob

    It comes down to this: either Scalzi is lying about only banning assholes, or he isn't. Really, it comes down to whether or not he's operating in good faith, since everyone makes mistakes.

    Fallacy of the excluded middle.

    Third option: Scalzi is honest about only banning assholes, but his trigger for "asshole" is a lot more prissy than that of me or others, because he finds that people who disagree with the tribe are definitionally anti-social.

  103. Anthea Brainhooke  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:25 pm

    Meh, it's all dickwaving. Knock yourselves out.

  104. James Pollock  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:27 pm

    "From that point of view, Scalzi's deleting or modifying comments is no more censorship than the head writer of Saturday Night Live nixing or reworking an idea for a skit because it's too offensive or too stupid or just not what he had in mind for that episode."

    Those are both censorship.
    You censor when you decide for other people what they shouldn't hear, and take action accordingly. Not all censorship is bad. Censorship is bad when the people doing censorship do not have legitimate authority to act as censors. Censoring your own blog IS censorship, but is not the BAD kind of censorship, because you DO have authority to decide what you publish. The complaint IS NOT censorship, it's censorship while substantially misleading people about the nature of the censorship (whether the claim is "I don't censor" or "I only censor X" when in fact you censor Y.)
    When the writer (or S&P guy) nixes a sketch because it's potentially offensive, or because it's just not good enough, that's censorship, but it's censorship the writer (or S&P guy) is allowed to do.

  105. AliceH  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:39 pm

    –Meh, it's all dickwaving.–

    Now, see, I find that to be a sexist remark. But, as you say, knock yourself out.

  106. John Kindley  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:40 pm

    Clark, Well, as I said I am often wrong and am glad to be wrong in this instance. I know and follow none of the characters named in your post above, and so was perhaps unduly struck by encountering for only the second time in my life these same names when reading VDs post that got him kicked out of the SF writers guild. I too interact on twitter with a certain racist PUA who is quite understandably considered untouchable by most of my other friends on twitter. But besides being obviously extremely intelligent and capable of good ideas he's only 19, so I figure there's hope for him yet.

  107. Anthea Brainhooke  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:42 pm

    Now, see, I find that to be a sexist remark. But, as you say, knock yourself out.

    Rock on with your bad self, yo.

  108. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:52 pm

    Scalzi is honest about only banning assholes, but his trigger for "asshole" is a lot more prissy than that of me or others, because he finds that people who disagree with the tribe are definitionally anti-social.

    I call "arbitrarily defining your idealogical opponents as anti-social" bad faith; if you're gonna point out an excluded middle, it needs to actually be excluded.

  109. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:55 pm

    @John Kindley

    Clark, Well, as I said I am often wrong and am glad to be wrong in
    this instance. I know and follow none of the characters named in
    your post above, and so was perhaps unduly struck by encountering
    for only the second time in my life these same names when reading
    VDs post that got him kicked out of the SF writers guild.

    The problem is that there's selection bias.

    99% of the people who have ever read even one Pax Dickinson tweet read the one about Jesus being raped by n-words. No context for that particular tweet, no understanding of Pax's modus operandi, etc.

    Therefore 99% of the people who have ever heard of Pax think that he's Satan.

    Same with Vox.

    I enjoy defending the underdog and enjoy taking the outrageous position.

    Thus I defend Pax and say that the Vox v Scalzi fight is not quite as simple as puppies-vs-Hitler.

    I too interact on twitter with a certain racist PUA who is quite understandably considered untouchable by most of my other friends on twitter. But besides being obviously extremely intelligent and capable of good ideas he's only 19, so I figure there's hope for him yet.

    Viking Manx or Nydracu?

  110. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:56 pm

    @Jacob Schmidt

    I call "arbitrarily defining your idealogical opponents as anti-social" bad faith; if you're gonna point out an excluded middle, it needs to actually be excluded.

    We're all human. Things aren't always black and white. I can disagree with Scalzi's ban policy with out thinking that he's the biggest asshole in the world.

    I'm sure that if I banned people at all my judgement as to their civility would be biased by how much they agreed with me.

    …which is one reason I don't ban people.

  111. John Kindley  •  Sep 13, 2013 @9:10 pm

    VonGleason. I interact with him, but note that although I have engaged him on race before I don't make a habit of it, and when I do I don't omit to call his ideas on race stupid. Not all ideas deserve to be taken seriously.

    I like Pax. I recall reading edgy tweets by him but none quite as bad as the ones Ken dug up. When you're edgy your bound to birth some outliers.

    That post I read by VD though oozes stupidity. It appears to me to represent his real, stupid, opinions.

  112. Sami  •  Sep 13, 2013 @9:11 pm

    Hmmm.

    See, I think Scalzi is kind of a dick, but periodically he also writes awesome things, and also, everyone gets to make the rules for their own blogs. His blog, his rules.

    Of course, this means that on your own blog, you have every right to complain about it, post your blocked comment, and say what a jerk Scalzi is, because… your blog, your rules.

  113. Sami  •  Sep 13, 2013 @9:15 pm

    Clark – the problem with "defending the underdog" and "taking the outrageous position" is that sometimes underdogs deserve to be roadkill, and sometimes the outrageous position is quite indefensible.

    Context doesn't make Pax Dickinson's "Jesus raped by niggers" joke okay. It's entirely offensive even in context, on multiple levels no less. Context also doesn't make Vox okay, either.

    Sometimes you seem kind of implausible. You act like a caricature of an Internet Libertarian And Devil's Advocate Guy, but it's a performance so po-faced (or Poe-faced) it seems like you mean it, and yet… surely anyone smart enough to write the things you write should be too smart to be sincere. IDEK.

  114. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @9:15 pm

    @Sami

    His blog, his rules.

    Sure.

    Of course.

    But that's orthogonal the points I'm making.

    A: "He's got ants in his house because he drips maple syrup on the rug."

    B: "Legally, he's allowed to."

    A: "Yeah, I know. But the whole ant issue -"

    B: "But he's allowed to.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

  115. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 13, 2013 @9:18 pm

    Clark

    We're all human. Things aren't always black and white. I can disagree with Scalzi's ban policy with out thinking that he's the biggest asshole in the world.

    I'm sure that if I banned people at all my judgement as to their civility would be biased by how much they agreed with me.

    This is just weird. I never wrote "Scalzi is the biggest asshole" as an option. Acting in bad faith is just that; acting in bad faith. It's a (probably) small, douchey thing to do, that all of us have done at some point.

    Whether or not he's biased doesn't really matter: bad faith due to bias is still bad faith. Hell, I'd argue that bias is the leading cause of bad faith.

    Now, maybe he doesn't always act in good faith. My dichotomy could be criticized there, since I don't allow inconsistency as an option. But usually or mostly acting in good faith is good enough for me.

  116. Ken White  •  Sep 13, 2013 @9:18 pm

    @John Kindley

    Clark: Are you seriously a fan or supporter of this Vox character, with whom you're apparently on a first name basis.

    Say, John. How's Crystal doing?

  117. eddie  •  Sep 13, 2013 @9:21 pm

    Context doesn't make Pax Dickinson's "Jesus raped by niggers" joke okay. It's entirely offensive even in context, on multiple levels no less.

    Could you summarize, briefly, what you think the context to his Jesus raped by niggers joke is?

  118. pjcamp  •  Sep 13, 2013 @9:22 pm

    Well, (a) The NSA is not a private citizen and equating actions of private citizens with exercises of government power is pretty much the very thing you libertarians always bitch about, and (b) You're essentially arguing for unrestricted flame wars and unlimited posting of any crap whatsoever without restriction. Once again, the standard libertarian argument is that you can't force individuals to do that, to support arguments they disagree with.

    Essentially, in the end, your argument is "He doesn't want to listen to me! Make him listen to meeee!"

    What, are you five years old? Got no sympathy for that. So let's see how long it takes for you to disemvowel me.

  119. Brad Hutchings (@BradHutchings)  •  Sep 13, 2013 @9:26 pm
  120. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @9:30 pm

    Context doesn't make Pax Dickinson's "Jesus raped by n_____" joke okay. It's entirely offensive even in context, on multiple levels no less.

    I find it offensive. I don't make fun of the Son of God. I also don't use the n-word.

    That said, the proper context turned it from extinction-level-event horrible to "uggg- that's not super cool".

  121. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @9:33 pm

    @pjcamp

    he NSA is not a private citizen and equating actions of private citizens with exercises of government power is pretty much the very thing you libertarians always bitch about

    uh…what?

    What every libertarian I know bitches about is "government initiates the use of force – if private citizens did what government employees did, they'd go to jail".

    You're essentially arguing for unrestricted flame wars and unlimited posting of any crap whatsoever without restriction.

    Am I?

    I thought I was arguing for cleaner, less arbitrary comment policies and links back to other arguments.

    I find it telling, though, that you think the two choices are "police state" and "chaos".

    Once again, the standard libertarian argument is that you can't force individuals to do that, to support arguments they disagree with.

    What?

    Essentially, in the end, your argument is "He doesn't want to listen to me! Make him listen to meeee!"

    What?

    What, are you five years old? Got no sympathy for that. So let's see how long it takes for you to disemvowel me.

    I have never deleted a single comment. Not once.

    I hold myself to a much higher standard than Scalzi holds himself to.

  122. John Kindley  •  Sep 13, 2013 @9:35 pm

    @Ken

    "Say, John. How's Crystal doing?"

    Pretty good. She's giving me Spiritual Direction for only 1/10 of my income.

  123. Ken White  •  Sep 13, 2013 @9:43 pm

    That's good. Marc and I are thinking of inviting her to our commitment ceremony. The Mafia is catering so the food is going to be incredible.

  124. grung0r  •  Sep 13, 2013 @9:51 pm

    @clark

    I enjoy defending the underdog and enjoy taking the outrageous position.

    The fact that you claim to enjoy taking the outrageous position is about the only thing you've ever written that I agree with you on.

    As for the underdog thing, It's curious to me that your underdogs always appear to be well off, right wing, racist, misogynistic, heterosexual white males. I wonder why that is. It couldn't be…tribalism, could it? Nah…you rail against that all the time. It must be something, else. It just must be.

  125. Clark  •  Sep 13, 2013 @10:02 pm

    the only thing you've ever written that I agree with you on.

    Have you read anything I've written before?

    It's curious to me that your underdogs always appear to be well off, right wing, racist, misogynistic, heterosexual white males.

    I've defended a Hispanic guy, a guy who was raped by three other men, Egyptian peasants, citizens in New Hampshire who don't want the cops to have a tank, a black guy shot by a white cop, a baby deer, every American who is not Jay Carney, etc.

    Thanks for playing.

  126. eddie  •  Sep 13, 2013 @10:02 pm

    @brad: I was asking Sami to explain what HE thought the context was.

    I suspect that Sami thinks the context is something rather different from what I think the context is, and I am curious to know more about Sami's view of Pax's joke.

  127. Brad Hutchings (@BradHutchings)  •  Sep 13, 2013 @10:09 pm

    @eddie: right, now that I re-read it the 5th time, I look pretty silly. Hey, I'm the new guy here. If I stay out of lurk mode, I will get a lot better. #RookieMistake

  128. grung0r  •  Sep 13, 2013 @10:13 pm

    I've defended a Hispanic guy, a guy who was raped by three other men, Egyptian peasants, citizens in New Hampshire who don't want the cops to have a tank, a black guy shot by a white cop, a baby deer, every American who is not Jay Carney, etc.

    Even given the hyperbole on display, your list still seems to be missing something…something that composes 50% of the population.

  129. Chris  •  Sep 13, 2013 @10:20 pm

    Even given the hyperbole on display, your list still seems to be missing something…something that composes 50% of the population.

    The baby deer was female.

  130. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 13, 2013 @11:40 pm

    I've defended a Hispanic guy, a guy who was raped by three other men, Egyptian peasants, citizens in New Hampshire who don't want the cops to have a tank, a black guy shot by a white cop, a baby deer, every American who is not Jay Carney, etc.

    Arguably, many of those examples appear to be more about attacking representatives of the State, than defending whoever has brought them to attention.

  131. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 14, 2013 @12:10 am

    @Clark

    Therefore 99% of the people who have ever heard of Pax think that he's Satan.

    Same with Vox.

    Man, have you actually read much Beale? He is a flaming racist, creationist, anti-evolution, AGW-denying, anti-vaccine, homophobic misogynist who has made himself unwelcome at just about every fora he has ever graced with his presence. I can see the case that this Pax chap may have said some things that have now been taken out of context (although, overall, he seems to have been incredibly unwise in his behaviour on Twitter, given his job), but Beale is in a different category.

    Regardless of his claims to be "a person of color" (as a Brit, I've probably got Roman genes: can I be one too?), he chose to claim someone was not fully human on the basis of race and linked to it via the SFWA Twitter stream. He might be attempting some disingenuous "that's not why I was kicked" pseudo-lawyering bollocks, but he seems economic with the actualité on all subjects, so yeah, right.

    Scalzi has a clearly listed posting policy at his blog. Just as there is one here, in fact. Surely part of the whole Libertarian thing is defending someone's right to govern their own territory (at gunpoint, it appears), so why the pearl clutching at Scalzi doing just that? Surely if enforcing a comment policy is such an act of evil, you should be taking your ball home and setting up your own blog?

  132. grung0r  •  Sep 14, 2013 @12:46 am

    Arguably, many of those examples appear to be more about attacking representatives of the State, than defending whoever has brought them to attention.

    Yes indeed. In fact, Apart from his defense of Zimmerman,(and just to be clear, Geroge zimmerman is still a well off, right wing, racist, misogynistic, heterosexual white male. Meeting 6 out of 7 criteria doesn't exactly disprove my point)everything on that list was an attack on state power, and had little or nothing to do with the person Clark was supposedly "defending". And of course, In his search for underdogs he's defended, he still failed to come up with any women who he was even tangentially defending. He "defended" a deer, but appears to have yet to get around to defend a human being with a vagiana(or an ungulate for that matter. That baby deer was referred to as "he").

  133. VD  •  Sep 14, 2013 @1:56 am

    unless I missed something, it was me in the other thread who said you needed to be taken with a massive grain of salt

    Ah, my fault. My apologies to Ken, and if such an argument does become necessary, let the credit go, in part, to you.

    I believe you have me confused for someone else.

    I did. I am sorry about that.

    I find it hard to imagine that anyone… would be so lost to self-respect and sensibility as to get in a fight over whose blog has more traffic.

    That's not the issue, as it happens. My traffic is irrelevant. The point is that Mr. Scalzi very seldom tells the truth about anything. He is one of the most serial self-promoters on the Internet and I have repeatedly caught him seriously exaggerating his various accomplishments and so forth since I first ran into him in 2005. I caught him substituting books contracted for books published then. More recently, I caught him repeatedly substituting average "daily blog readers" for "up to X readers per day".

    So, it's not about anything so petty as who gets more traffic, but rather, Mr. Scalzi's basic integrity. Which, you will note, is directly connected to the truth about his characterization of his blog comment policy.

    Should I expel the Asians from my hall bathroom so that I may reclaim my right to read the Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide and move my bowels at my Anglo-Saxon leisure?

    Speaking as an Asian, I would indeed recommend that you do so. See, those rhetorical tactics don't work with me, Mr. White Privilege, because I will trump your Asian-American Children card with my own Asian card. Your "race/color doesn't matter" perspective is highly parochial; what most U.S. Americans view as racism, most Asians and Europeans view as simple necessity. They know, as most U.S. Americans don't, how multi-ethnic societies end.

    And all that assumes that Scalzi isn't acting in good faith. There's no reason to assume he isn't, and, in my experience, most people are.

    There is considerable evidence to indicate that if Scalzi is communicating in any way, he is at the very least bending the truth to improve his image. As the New York Times said of him, he is "comfortable with the business of promotion".

    Go back to England if you want your Anglo-Saxon protestant culture.

    I don't live in the USA. The point isn't whether I want Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture or not; I tend to prefer Italian Catholic culture myself. The point is that your former Anglo-Saxon Protestant-derived society is not going to remain what it was now that it has been settled by a sufficient number of non-Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Everything, including your very concept of freedom, will be transformed in accord with the invading influences. The melting pot mythologists have it backwards; history shows the settlers usually set the social mores, not the nations in which they settle.

    I can not for the life of me understand how a self-described "prominent Game blogger" is also a self-described Christian.

    Because you have a limited concept of Game. Game, in the larger sense, is merely a term for the mechanism by which non-naturals observe, articulate and simulate the successful attitudes and behaviors of naturals. The fact that it began with pick-up artistry does not limit the utility of the concept to that arena. It is a conceptual tool that can be used for good or for evil.

    That post I read by VD though oozes stupidity. It appears to me to represent his real, stupid, opinions.

    The fact that it is entirely over your head doesn't make it stupid. It just means that you weren't capable of understanding it. The amusing thing is that not a single person who has cried raciss about that post has dared to dispute the core idea upon which it is based, which is the time-to-civilization concept. Which concept, if true, means that every single anti-racist, multiculti, diversity social policy is completely doomed to failure regardless of how perfectly we all pretend that geographic location is a transformative magic.

    Context also doesn't make Vox okay, either.

    The question isn't whether I'm okay or not. I think we can all agree that my observations are deeply offensive and unacceptable to the current ideological mainstream. The question is whether I am correct or not. And that is the question that my critics on this subject are afraid to address.

    Regardless of his claims to be "a person of color" (as a Brit, I've probably got Roman genes: can I be one too?), he chose to claim someone was not fully human on the basis of race and linked to it via the SFWA Twitter stream.

    It is a matter of California public record that I am no more white than Barack Obama. Furthermore, it appears you did not understand those tricky references to genetic science. I pointed out that as an African, Ms Jemisin was MORE purely homo sapiens sapiens than I am, due to my being a combination of homo sapiens sapiens, homo neanderthalensis, and probably homo denisova. I said nothing about anyone being less than human, and even if you insist on erroneously substituting "human" for "homo sapiens sapiens", that "someone" was me.

  134. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 14, 2013 @3:08 am

    @Beale

    It is a matter of California public record that I am no more white than Barack Obama. Furthermore, it appears you did not understand those tricky references to genetic science. I pointed out that as an African, Ms Jemisin was MORE purely homo sapiens sapiens than I am, due to my being a combination of homo sapiens sapiens, homo neanderthalensis, and probably homo denisova.

    Whichever way you choose to spin it, you are saying your racial background makes you more capable of being civilized than hers. Which is biological nonsense: show me one decent bit of research that supports the idea that a few genes from protohuman species make any difference whatsoever. You're trying to justify your racism with poor science, and it's not impressive. Although, as a creationist, I suppose it's fair to say your grasp of basic science is not of the first order.

    I know you attempt to console yourself with idea that prophets are often attacked before they are proven right, but arseholes are often attacked too.

  135. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 14, 2013 @7:05 am

    There is considerable evidence to indicate that if Scalzi is communicating in any way, he is at the very least bending the truth to improve his image. As the New York Times said of him, he is "comfortable with the business of promotion".

    That is easily one of the least damning descriptions used to damn a person. Honestly, you can do better then this.

    (Saying there's evidence then failing to show any is hardly convincing; there's evidence I'm the most awesome person ever, dontcha know).

    The fact that it is entirely over your head doesn't make it stupid. It just means that you weren't capable of understanding it.

    Ahahahaha, hilarious.

  136. Kat  •  Sep 14, 2013 @7:21 am

    *delurk*

    Epigenetics proves that environment (level of stress, exposure to toxins, diet, etc.) does play an important part in inheritance and genetic expression.

    I'm not staying for an argument, though. I've got 8 more days 'til my son is due, and there are meals to precook and freeze, baby things to organize, and a very small spot I've just discovered on the wall that demands I go and scrub it with a toothbrush.

    *relurk*

  137. VD  •  Sep 14, 2013 @7:25 am

    Whichever way you choose to spin it, you are saying your racial background makes you more capable of being civilized than hers. Which is biological nonsense: show me one decent bit of research that supports the idea that a few genes from protohuman species make any difference whatsoever.

    Of course, because it is observably true. As for the incontrovertible scientific evidence, give it time. It's only been about four years since the biological myth of humanity as being equally homo sapiens sapiens was scientifically shown to be false. Now it's only a matter of time before the many scientifically observed sub-species differences will be connected to the already confirmed biological differences. You can't stick your head in the bio-sand forever; genetic science is methodically destroying the 20th century equality myths.

    I know you attempt to console yourself with idea that prophets are often attacked before they are proven right, but arseholes are often attacked too.

    Console myself? I did rather nicely with my prophetic calls on gold, housing, and the financial crisis. I'll be correct about this too, although I have no idea how to go about profiting on it, except perhaps shorting municipal debt on certain cities and countries containing high percentages of population groups with short time-preferences.

    Saying there's evidence then failing to show any is hardly convincing

    I have twice posted his traffic history dating back to January 2009 on my blog, which just happens to very closely match his recent admission concerning his traffic since October 2008. Moreover, despite all his dancing around the issue, despite all his suggestions, and intimations, and taunts, Scalzi has never once directly claimed that I am wrong. He has not done so for the very good reason that he knows I am entirely correct.

  138. grung0r  •  Sep 14, 2013 @7:45 am

    @vox

    It's only been about four years since the biological myth of humanity as being equally homo sapiens sapiens was scientifically shown to be false. Now it's only a matter of time before the many scientifically observed sub-species differences will be connected to the already confirmed biological differences. You can't stick your head in the bio-sand forever; genetic science is methodically destroying the 20th century equality myths.

    Aren't you a creationist? How do you reconcile the fact of some humans having 4% neanderthal DNA with fact that you think that you're sky daddy made human beings 6,000 years ago? I don't get it. The neanderthal thing doesn't seem like a point in your favor.

  139. Matthew Cline  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:03 am

    We have Vox Day here and we aren't arguing about vaccines? Awwwww…. :(

  140. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:09 am

    @ Pharniel

    Do you believe that privilege, as a concept commonly discussed does not exist or do you disagree with privilege as it relates to straight white males does not exist?

    The current usage of the term "privilege" means something akin to "that which is the product of ill will ex nihilo". In reality, every type of life has its own type of privilege and is just a reference to something that is more available to one category of life than it is to another.

    The term has come to mean something no less metaphysical than terms like "spirit" or "God". So, when you say "privilege" it's like a Christian saying "Satan did it". Now, I don't have a problem with you saying "privilege" anymore than I have a problem with a Christian saying "Satan did it" but you are being intellectually dishonest if you think there is any categorical differences between the two.

  141. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:20 am

    @ Ken White

    even someone obsessed with odd racial and social theories

    Care to explicate? Look, the real bent of this post is about intellectual honesty, which is always enhanced by greater specificity. As for the PUA labels? Yeah, I don't use them myself, but it is a better description of reality than putting your fingers in your ears and chanting "everyone is the same, everyone is the same".

    Am I a slavish apologist for Vox? No. Hell, I was banned from commenting on it. That said, Vox is more "less wrong" than 99 percent of his detractors, and there is a reason Scalzi studiously avoids direct confrontation with him – Vox would mop the floor with Scalzi.

  142. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:25 am

    Of course, because it is observably true. As for the incontrovertible scientific evidence, give it time. It's only been about four years since the biological myth of humanity as being equally homo sapiens sapiens was scientifically shown to be false. Now it's only a matter of time before the many scientifically observed sub-species differences will be connected to the already confirmed biological differences.

    To paraphrase: "I have no evidence and this is utter bullshit".

  143. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:27 am

    @ Ken White

    Should I expel the Asians from my hall bathroom

    Presumably, the asians in your hall bathroom are not several million, in number. Any particular individual is quite likely to be capable of acculturating to a cultural heritage that is not also coincidental with his genetic lineage. The issue is when you get millions, tens of millions, of individuals who share a similar cultural and genetic lineage that is far different from another, proximate, lineage.

    While I have not spent much time at your blog I would infer from the quality of the posts and comments that you are a highly intelligent person and already knew the answer I gave. Such a comment should be beneath you.

  144. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:29 am

    @ Ken White

    Also, Beale aka VoxDay has significant asian ancestry, which makes your comment unintentionally hilarious.

  145. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:31 am

    @ Jacob Schmidt

    Go back to England if you want your Anglo-Saxon protestant culture. Better, go back to Germany where the Anglos and the Saxons actually came from.

    Anglo Saxon protestants conquered North America; conquered it fair and square.

  146. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:38 am

    @ Clark

    Vox was race-baiting.</b.

    Absolutely not. Vox's response was to a black female scifi writer named NK Jemisin who was the one race baiting and Vox's response was satirical. Jemisin's original posts had something to the effect that most white men wanted a legal system that allowed all white men to go around randomly shooting black men without punishment – a reference to the Zimmerman/Martin affair.

    in response, Vox called her a half-savage and for good reason. Modern civilization, of all varieties, is massively derived from traditions originating from Western Europe and the sort of intellectual behavior in which left-leaning race-baiters engage would have prevented the rise of civilization had they been in vogue over the past two thousand years.

  147. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:43 am

    @Asher

    I note you have the same unique approach to blockquotes as your hero. Nothing dodgy involving woollen footwear going on, is there?

    Oh, and I'll think you'll find it was our Anglo Saxon diseases that did most of the damage in America, and it's nothing to be proud of.

  148. VD  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:44 am

    Aren't you a creationist? How do you reconcile the fact of some humans having 4% neanderthal DNA with fact that you think that you're sky daddy made human beings 6,000 years ago? I don't get it. The neanderthal thing doesn't seem like a point in your favor.

    Yes. You're confusing creationism with a particular sub-set of it called Young Earth Creationism. The fact of Neanderthal DNA being discovered in modern humans neither supports nor weakens my intrinsic skepticism concerning abiogenesis, Accident Theory, or the Theorum of Evolution by (probably) Natural Selection, Biased Mutation, Genetic Drift, and Gene Flow.

    To paraphrase: "I have no evidence and this is utter bullshit".

    That's not a reasonable characterization. There is considerable evidence showing divergent civilizational capacity based on time-preferences, IQ, brain weight, and skull circumference in various human population groups. You'd have to be scientifically ignorant to fail to know that.

    Those studies have not yet been tied to the genetic evidence you mentioned for the obvious reason that the genetic evidence is very new. You do understand that published scientific papers only reflect reality, they do not create it, do you not?

    You can certainly plant your flag and make your stand betting that I am wrong. A lot of people have done so in the past. But with the exception of US election politics, I usually end up winning those bets.

  149. VD  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:48 am

    I note you have the same unique approach to blockquotes as your hero. Nothing dodgy involving woollen footwear going on, is there?

    (laughs) Asher is one of the very few people who has ever managed to get himself banned from my blog. He is about as likely to be my sockpuppet as you are.

  150. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:49 am

    @Beale

    That's not a reasonable characterization. There is considerable evidence showing divergent civilizational capacity based on time-preferences, IQ, brain weight, and skull circumference in various human population groups. You'd have to be scientifically ignorant to fail to know that.

    Citations?

  151. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:53 am

    Fallacy of the excluded middle.

    Third option: Scalzi is honest about only banning assholes, but his trigger for "asshole" is a lot more prissy than that of me or others, because he finds that people who disagree with the tribe are definitionally anti-social.

    I'm pretty sure this is a distinction without a difference. i have very, very limited experience with Scalzi but I have a staggering amount of experience with those who are similar, left leaning, educated, urban, upscale, etc. The real issue is whether or not Scalzi has a set, upfront and knowable standard for what constitutes assholery.

    one thing i found on left leaning blogs is that they ban dissenters for being "assholes" but they allow enough commenting from dissenters so they can selectively quote. Look, if you have a blog and only want agreement from commenters then that's your call but it is intellectually dishonest to allow some comments from dissenters, ban then and then begin selectively quoting from them in a completely distorting fashion.

    For all my disagreements with, and banning from, Vox I will swear up and down to his intellectual honesty. Scalzi? my impression is that he is a sniveling belly-crawler and that his definition of "asshole' is so subjective as to be a lie. you just can't use words in an intensely personal fashion orthogonal to general usage and be intellectually honest unless you're accompanying it with an argument why your usage is better than generally existing usage.

  152. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:58 am

    @ handofgod137

    I note you have the same unique approach to blockquotes as your hero.

    Vox my hero? Hardly, and, apparently, you missed the bit about my ban at his blog – btw, which was done purely by diktat with zero explanation (ok, i know the reason but it was not explicated on the blog).

  153. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:59 am

    OK, enough. Being tag-teamed by the KKK is ruining my Saturday. If Beale comes back with any citations (Jensen '98 and Kanazawa, 2004 are always popular), he can check out the huge list of disagreeing papers listed at wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_intelligence.

  154. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:00 am

    @ Clark

    I can disagree with Scalzi's ban policy with out thinking that he's the biggest asshole in the world.

    Uh, the issue isn't puppies versus Hitler, but that of intellectual honesty. Vox is. Scalzi is a dishonest, little weasel.

  155. John Kindley  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:02 am

    Vox Day:

    Although I wrote above that not every idea deserves to be taken seriously, there are very few if any ideas that don't deserve ANY consideration whatsoever. Therefore, a few months ago I spent all of several hours looking into so-called "race realism." It would take a long time to get to the bottom of it. I am not so foolish as to think that the circumstance that Wikipedia says the scientific consensus is that the race realists are full of shit makes further investigation on my part a waste of time. After all, I spent several years of my life getting to the bottom of the scientific evidence linking induced abortion with increased breast risk and proving in the pages of the Wisconsin Law Review and elsewhere that the scientific consensus denying the link, as politically molded by the National Cancer Institute, is full of shit.

    No, the reason why race realism is a waste of my further time is that even if the hypothesis that some races are on average more intelligent than others were proven true it would have no conceivable "political" value. It is of no interest to me. In stark contrast to the right of a patient to be informed about risks associated with a proposed medical procedure, there is no political or social value in saying one race is smarter or dumber than another. Hence, the highly-questionable motivation of the so-called "race realists" is a legitimate target.

    Similarly, I do not dismiss completely out of hand racial separatism or whatever it's called. After all, I find these words by Nietzsche illuminating:

    Somewhere there are still peoples and herds, but not with us, my brothers: here there are states.
    A state? What is that? Well! open now your ears to me, for now I will speak to you about the death of peoples.
    State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies; and this lie slips from its mouth: "I, the state, am the people."
    It is a lie! It was creators who created peoples, and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.
    Destroyers are they who lay snares for the many, and call it state: they hang a sword and a hundred cravings over them.
    Where there are still peoples, the state is not understood, and is hated as the evil eye, and as sin against laws and customs.
    This sign I give to you: every people speaks its own language of good and evil, which its neighbor does not understand. It has created its own language of laws and customs.
    But the state lies in all the tongues of good and evil; and whatever it says it lies; and whatever it has it has stolen.

    But, however nostalgic Nietzsche may have been for "peoples," his point was that the State killed them. They are past. There's no going back. "Culture" is a word for people who have none. What's left is the "lonesome and the twosome."

    In addition, I don't see that the "culture" or "civilization" created by white males is anything to be particularly proud of. It's culmination is none other than the present United States of America. If you want to parse out and say that we owe this or that good aspect of the USA to white males but this or that bad aspect to some inauthentic adulteration you're down the rabbit hole.

    But most fundamentally, the reason why any further consideration of racial separatism is a waste of my time is that for me the most fundamental moral and legal concept is the presumption of innocence, which I take to be the essence of "libertarianism." For force against another human being to be justified, you need to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that such force is necessary. You're talking about forcibly excluding people of different races from a geographical area appropriated by a particular race. That's bullshit. God created the earth. It belongs to all of his children equally.

  156. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:04 am

    Acting in bad faith is just that; acting in bad faith. It's a (probably) small, douchey thing to do,</b.

    Small thing? Hardly. Human understanding can only progress in a context of good faith and actively regresses where there is bad faith. intellectual good faith is why we live in the civilization we do rather than swing from trees. Haven't you people ever heard of Aristotle?

  157. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:13 am

    @ handofgod137

    he chose to claim someone was not fully human on the basis of race

    This was Vox setting an intellectual trap, a tactic that is far too often ineffective and one for which I chided him a number of times. If you agree that "true" humans are homo sapiens sapiens then "humans" with neanderthal DNA are a bit less human. In an intentionally ironic statement, Vox was pointing out that only 'black" people are 100 percent human and the rest of us about 96 percent human.

    He was poking fun at you earnest herbs who soil their drawers over any faintly non-PC statement.

  158. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:15 am

    @ handofgod137

    Whichever way you choose to spin it, you are saying your racial background makes you more capable of being civilized than hers.

    No, he isn't. That statement has absolutely nothing to do with the capacities of any particular individuals and, solely, describes the various social environments produced by distinctive groups.

  159. Chris  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:19 am

    Scalzi has a clearly listed posting policy at his blog. Just as there is one here, in fact. Surely part of the whole Libertarian thing is defending someone's right to govern their own territory (at gunpoint, it appears), so why the pearl clutching at Scalzi doing just that?

    I believe Clark's point is that Scalzi's actions do not match his posted policy. Scalzi has the right to whatever policy he wants on his blog, but he does not have the right to avoid being called out on it if he doesn't follow his stated policy.

  160. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:31 am

    @ John kindly

    if the hypothesis that some races are on average more intelligent than others were proven true it would have no conceivable "political" value.</b.

    The US military applies what is, essentially, an iQ test to recruiting policies. By current standards, approximately half of American blacks lack the intellectual capacity to be front line grunts in a modern military. now, this criterion is not some arbitrary line set up for the purposes of "white privilege" but is a product of trial and error used to produce a functional fighting force.

    The minimum iQ, if you're interested, is around 85.

    Moving to other areas of public policy another prime example is education and child development. If intelligence is innate and places a maximum ceiling on your ability to learn things then it makes little sense to try and teach someone Algebra 2 when they are simply incapable of grasping the concepts. Now, this willful blindness results is massive amounts of wasted time and effort. Are you saying that these wasted resources have no impact on society.

    Another example is a story i read about a single black mother living in Cleveland with three children. Two of her children have been diagnosed with dyslexia, a diagnosis susceptible to a dizzying degree of subjectivity, and she gets a monthly stipend from the federal government to care for them, 900/mo iiRC. Having done a great deal of reading in human brain development and educational theory i am pretty sure that these two simply have low iQs. in short, the federal government is paying women to have stupid children – there is no nice way of putting that. How in the world can you say that has not political and social impact.

    When you say that race realism is politically irrelevant what you are really saying is that the US political class has, upon being confronted with reality, decided to shove its head up its ass and beat the stuffing out of anyone who points out the reality they so studiously ignore. Fine, but you can't ignore reality forever without it coming back to bite you in the ass.

  161. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:38 am

    Anglo Saxon protestants conquered North America; conquered it fair and square.

    And immigrants are turning the US into a multicultural country, fair and square (though I object to characterizing attempted genocide as "fair").

    The current usage of the term "privilege" means something akin to "that which is the product of ill will ex nihilo".

    You'd might as well write "I don't know what I'm talking about"; a frequent aspect of privilege is doing harm with the best of intent.

    I have twice posted his traffic history dating back to January 2009 on my blog, which just happens to very closely match his recent admission concerning his traffic since October 2008.[1] Moreover, despite all his dancing around the issue, despite all his suggestions, and intimations, and taunts, Scalzi has never once directly claimed that I am wrong. He has not done so for the very good reason that he knows I am entirely correct.[2]

    Jesus fuck, Beale.

    1) So he isn't lying or twisting like you say.

    2) Ahahahahaha, ok.

    You've still yet to show that Scalzi twists the truth for promotional purposes. C'mon, you can handwave better than this.

  162. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:40 am

    ugh broken shift on my keyboard. Sorry.

    @ John kindly

    In addition, I don't see that the "culture" or "civilization" created by white males is anything to be particularly proud of.

    Entirely missing the point. It's not that the race realists are saying "yay white men' but that modern civilization is synonymous with what white men have done. Don't like white, male privilege? Great, then i have a suggestion for you: eat with the right, wipe with the left. No, seriously, if 'white male privilege' is such an all consuming metaphysical essence then everything it produced, from iPods to cotton picking slavery, is "white male privilege".

    Don't like 'white, male privilege"? Fine, then, quite commenting on the internet because the internet is a product of 'white, male privilege", andeven if you are a black lesbian you are participating in white, male privilege.

  163. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:43 am

    Oh, also:

    Anglo Saxon protestants conquered North America; conquered it fair and square.

    The french and spanish were catholics, by and large. Not to mention portugal, the dutch, and another dozen european countries that added to the colonization of North America. Try harder; you mask you're ignorance poorly.

  164. grung0r  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:47 am

    @vox

    You're confusing creationism with a particular sub-set of it called Young Earth Creationism. The fact of Neanderthal DNA being discovered in modern humans neither supports nor weakens my intrinsic skepticism concerning abiogenesis, Accident Theory, or the Theorum of Evolution by (probably) Natural Selection, Biased Mutation, Genetic Drift, and Gene Flow

    Doesn't it, though? Creationism is an attempt to reconcile the facts on the ground with a literalist interpretation of the fairy tale book that you believe in as a Christian, yes? So, the fact that you accept an ancient age for the earth does not suddenly make room for a 4% hybridization of human beings and neanderthals in the bible. God didn't say:"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, except for 4% of the dna of peoples descended from Eurasian stock, which will be put there via hybridization with a closely related hominid that otherwise doesn't figure into the story and is totally not created in our image", did he?

  165. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:47 am

    @ Jacob Schmidt

    You'd might as well write "I don't know what I'm talking about"; a frequent aspect of privilege is doing harm with the best of intent.

    You are confusing primary and secondary attributes. True, on consequence of privilege is that results are often at odds with intend, however, that is not an identifying criterion of privilege. i'm pretty sure that most leftist critiques of 'white privilege" would consider the historical phenomenon of lynching to be an example of 'white privilege" but there is also, clearly, intent to harm.

    The term comes from the old english "privy lege" meaning 'private law". Some castes and classes in society had access to private courts of law to which other members of society lacked access. The defining criterion of 'privilege" is differences in access to different people. Example: when it comes to dating women tend to prefer taller men ceteris paribus. That is "tall privilege". That's all "privilege" means, nothing more. It's not some metaphysical essence.

  166. Kat  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:53 am

    So I realized that my wording when mentioning epigenetics can be construed as an argument for the "race is genetic" position. Just want to say that I view it as argument against, and also drop this link:

    http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/ViewPage.aspx?pageId=79

    And now I feel comfortable leaving the discussion.

  167. VD  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:03 am

    OK, enough. Being tag-teamed by the KKK is ruining my Saturday.

    I'm as white as Barack Obama. I'm not acquainted with the KKK membership guidelines, but my understanding is that I wouldn't qualify.

    No, the reason why race realism is a waste of my further time is that even if the hypothesis that some races are on average more intelligent than others were proven true it would have no conceivable "political" value.

    There are literally billions of dollars spent on the basis of social policies that race realism calls into question. Setting aside whether the search for the truth should rely upon its political value, your argument is false even by its own metric.

    So he isn't lying or twisting like you say.

    He is lying and twisting exactly as I say. First, he only came out with those numbers in response to my drawing attention to his twice-repeated false claim of having "50k daily blog readers". Second, he lied again and claimed that "the bone of contention appears to be that I note the site gets up to 50,000 visitors a day".

    This is provably false. I pointed out that he could truthfully, if misleadingly, make that claim. The actual bone of contention, as Scalzi well knows, is that he gets "50k daily blog readers".

    He doesn't. As I pointed out on August 27, 2013, he gets 2,972 daily blog readers. Yesterday, he finally admitted that he has averaged 13,699 pageviews per day, which is 2,740 daily blog readers given the number of pageviews/reader on that blog.

  168. John Kindley  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:06 am

    Asher: May I assume that you're white? (And why is it that I can safely assume you're not black or Hispanic?) If so, the stupidity displayed in your comments is a data point disproving race realism's hypothesis. Way to go. Good job. You're a credit to your race.

  169. VD  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:08 am

    Creationism is an attempt to reconcile the facts on the ground with a literalist interpretation of the fairy tale book that you believe in as a Christian, yes?

    Not at all. Nick Bostrom's Simulation Hypothesis is also a creationist theory and it has nothing to do with Christianity at all. An atheist and I have had a very interesting debate concerning the inability to distinguish between gods and aliens, and between technology and the supernatural. With regards to the fairy tale, I suggest you take up the interpretation angle with one of the physicists who regularly hangs out at VP. It will likely surprise you, if not fascinate you.

  170. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:13 am

    You are confusing primary and secondary attributes. True, on consequence of privilege is that results are often at odds with intend, however, that is not an identifying criterion of privilege. i'm pretty sure that most leftist critiques of 'white privilege" would consider the historical phenomenon of lynching to be an example of 'white privilege" but there is also, clearly, intent to harm.

    I'm not the one whose confused. Look:"The current usage of the term "privilege" means something akin to "that which is the product of ill will ex nihilo"."

    You argued that the prevailing definition of privilege is "that which is the product of ill intent". It is not. You are wrong. Privilege is orthogonal to intent.

    Beale

    First, he only came out with those numbers in response to my drawing attention to his twice-repeated false claim of having "50k daily blog readers". Second, he lied again and claimed that "the bone of contention appears to be that I note the site gets up to 50,000 visitors a day".

    You realize that the latter denotes a maximum, not an average, right?

  171. Ken White  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:13 am

    I'm getting to be an old man. I can't get keep up with what the kids these days mean by "satire."

    Sometimes they seem to mean trolling — saying provocative things to get a reaction so you can make fun of the reaction.

    Sometimes they seem to mean "say what you think but punch it up 10-25%." Under this theory "A Modest Proposal" would have been satire if Swift didn't want to eat Irish babies but did thing that agricultural policies should be manipulated to ensure they starve.

    Then there's "I'm going to say roughly what I think and mean, signal to my base that it's still what I think and mean, use the attention it gets to draw more eyes, and, depending on the reaction, say to the outside-my-base people that their reaction shows they are humorless or foolish." This is the Ann Coulter model.

    Then there's the "I'm going to say roughly what I mean, and when someone calls me on it, deploy a wall of text to say that it's satirical but some component of it is accurate."

    Many of the modern conceptions of satire seem fundamentally tentative and cowardly — I'm going to say roughly what I think, then depending on whether I can manipulate the reaction for my own benefit, either say it was satire or admit it is what I think. Meh. I have more respect for people who constantly own their highly unpopular views than those who deploy cries of "satire" strategically depending on the circumstances.

  172. Ken White  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:17 am

    @Asher:

    Care to explicate?

    If this thread — for instance, the expelling ethnic minorities quote — doesn't illustrate my point to you, it's unlikely you'll find anything sufficient.

  173. grung0r  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:37 am

    @vox

    Not at all. Nick Bostrom's Simulation Hypothesis is also a creationist theory and it has nothing to do with Christianity at all

    No, but you do have something to do with Christianity, in so far as you believe it. Are you saying that you believe in YVWH, adam and eve, jebus and all the rest but that those things don't play a part in your theory of creation?

  174. John Kindley  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:53 am

    @Vox Day
    "There are literally billions of dollars spent on the basis of social policies that race realism calls into question. Setting aside whether the search for the truth should rely upon its political value, your argument is false even by its own metric."

    Let me cite the specific example I'm most familiar with: affirmative action in public law school admissions. There is a less than direct and 1 to 1 relationship between LSAT scores and law school grades, and between law school grades and proficiency as a lawyer. If the purpose of public law school is, as seems evident to me, not to provide legal educations for people who want to be lawyers but to provide lawyers for the people, then it seems entirely legitimate to aim towards a law school graduating class that more nearly reflects the people to be served, for similar reasons that makes affirmative action in hiring police officers or correctional officers entirely sensible. This is so even if it's shown that blacks on average score lower than whites on the LSAT, because, again, the LSAT is not a strong indicator of ultimate proficiency as a lawyer, socio-economic factors (as opposed to biology) may have a lot to do with these scores, and extra-LSAT factors such as the very hardships associated with these socio-economic factors may arguably be conducive to proficiency as a lawyer.

    Now, as an anarchist I'm opposed to all public education. So while the hypothesis of race realism is irrelevant to me even in the present state of society for the forgoing reasons, it's even less irrelevant at the level of my preferred state of society. Give people their due (which to my mind entails Georgism) and let them sink or swim. Now Murray Rothbard, who was also a self-described anarchist but often a fat turd, claimed race realism studies were important to explain why, after anarchy came about, some racial groups would tend to sink. Two responses to that: First, if such an anarchic society were brought about without remedying, through, say, Georgism, historic economic justices, then certain groups will likely tend to sink for reasons having to do with these historic economic justices rather than biology. Second, in such an anarchic society such explanations by the rich anarcho-capitalists for why some people are poor would hardly seem necessary, as their only remedy would be war.

  175. VD  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:00 am

    Are you saying that you believe in YVWH, adam and eve, jebus and all the rest but that those things don't play a part in your theory of creation?

    I believe in those things. I have no theory of creation. How the Earth and humanity came to be is not even a tertiary concern of mine. I wasn't there. I don't actually know.

    Many of the modern conceptions of satire seem fundamentally tentative and cowardly — I'm going to say roughly what I think, then depending on whether I can manipulate the reaction for my own benefit, either say it was satire or admit it is what I think.

    I agree with you. It is cowardly and lame. And while I meant every word I wrote on that post you find objectionable, what I believe Asher was pointing out was that many of the parts people found objectionable were taken directly from the post to which I was responding.

    Mr. White, what I think you're failing to recognize here is that I'm not an enthusiastic supporter of ethnic cleansing. It is merely that we now find ourselves in the situation of an effective multi-ethnic, multi-cultural state and I believe history suggests that expelling ethnic minorities is the least awful outcome of the present options.

    Sure, we can hope that for the first time in history, everyone will spontaneously decide to get along. But I don't think the probabilities favor it. I'll take Operation Wetback over the Holocaust every single time and I see no need to apologize for that. Can you seriously claim to disagree?

    Now, surely you will insist that those are not the only options. Perhaps you are right. Perhaps I am incorrect. As I said prior to the 2008 financial crisis that I correctly anticipated, I certainly hope I am. Unfortunately, I see absolutely no evidence to support any of the more optimistic cases.

    You may not be aware that there is already ethnic violence in Europe, from Italy to Hungary. Once the various national economies finally break down, that's when things are likely to get openly problematic. And for the record, I don't favor economic depression either.

  176. VD  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:06 am

    First, if such an anarchic society were brought about without remedying, through, say, Georgism, historic economic justices, then certain groups will likely tend to sink for reasons having to do with these historic economic justices rather than biology.

    You missed Rothbard's point. He was saying they were going to even if you magically managed to do what is never going to happen.

    Second, in such an anarchic society such explanations by the rich anarcho-capitalists for why some people are poor would hardly seem necessary, as their only remedy would be war.

    You might as reasonably discuss what is likely in a unicorn society. Your entire argument is irrelevant. You don't live in a unicorn society. It doesn't exist. But the social policies based on race unrealism do exist and they do affect you, if only because you are forced to fund them.

    I'm not saying you have to care. Do or don't, as you please. But your argument for why you shouldn't is a non-starter.

  177. Lizard  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:25 am

    I'm getting to be an old man. I can't get keep up with what the kids these days mean by "satire."

    Well, it used to mean, more-or-less "Mocking the other guy's point of view, often by reductio ad absurdium, or by applying their principles to other objects, and by changing the concretes, making it easier for people to see the flaws in the concepts".

    Now, as you note, it seems to mean "Hey, don't hate me for what I said, unless you kind of agree with me, then, love me for it."

    As regards Pax, I'm willing to accept that his "Passion Of The Christ" tweet *was* satire against Mel Gibson, highlighting Mel's racist rants, and playing off the fact many considered "Passion", as it was, borderline anti-Semitic. Such explanations pass at least a first degree "sniff test" of plausibility, in the absence of further context contradicting this.

    Thus far, though, no one has shown that the "Unicorn" tweet was done to mock "brogrammers". Unlike, say, Colbert, there's little reason to believe Pax is adopting the false persona of an extremist in order to mock extremists. Rather, as Ken notes, he's simply amplifying his actual opinions to stand out from the crowd of those who share his views but are marginally more subtle about expressing them. Despite many people claiming that can provide "context", or the guy from Htrae with his "plausible" explanations, no one's actually come up with one for that.

    (Some of the dimmer bulbs here might be confused as to how I can think "some things the guy said might actually be satires of bigotry, and other things might actually be bigotry", because they live in hyper-manichean worlds where everyone has exactly one personality trait and is either wholly good or wholly evil. Sucks to be them.)

  178. grung0r  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:31 am

    @vox

    I have no theory of creation.

    You have no theory of creation but you are a creationist? Zuh?

    How the Earth and humanity came to be is not even a tertiary concern of mine

    Given your repeated claims of race realism in this very thread(specifically the claim that neanderthal DNA or lack there of is a marker of real racial differences amongst Human beings), much less your various posts and convention controversies on the matter, I find this claim incredibly hard to swallow.

    I will agree with you on one thing though. I, unlike Ken, do not think you are claiming to be satirical. It seems perfectly clear to me that you are raging racist and misogynist, and that you wear it on your sleeve for all to see, without backpedaling or claiming "it's only a joke!". Credit where credit is due, I guess.

  179. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:32 am

    @ John Kindly

    Asher: May I assume that you're white? (And why is it that I can safely assume you're not black or Hispanic?)

    This is because the types of topics discussed on this blog go back to classical era Greece and are virtually undiscussed by blacks and hispanics. Yes, yes, sometimes you'll get a stray one dropping by to post a comment that boils down to "das raciss", but other than that, serious intellectual discussion of this sort of topic is going to be done 99.9 percent of the time by white people. Hitting "1" in a population comprised of 999 "1s" and one "0" doesn't exactly qualify you for Mensa.

    the stupidity displayed in your comments is a data point

    Notice that you don't actually deign to argue for this assertion, which is really the same problem I have with Scalzi. I can't remember the last time I called someone stupid, but if I did I would provide scrupulous reasoning for that assertion.

    You comment is just rancid intellectual dishonesty. Argue for your assertions or shut up and listen to people who do so.

  180. John Kindley  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:36 am

    @VD

    Huh? What are you talking about? I didn't miss Rothbard's point, which is here: http://archive.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/ir/Ch75.html

    Yeah, he claimed, based on his prejudices, that certain races would sink in an anarcho-capitalist society. He didn't specify whether or not he meant an anarcho-capitalist society after historic economic injustices were remedied. Presumably, because he was a racist, be believed they'd sink even if these historic economic injustices were remedied. My point was that if these historic economic injustices weren't remedied it might look like the poverty of certain races was due to their race rather than these injustices.

    As it happens, following Ernst Juenger I usually call myself an anarch rather than an anarchist, because I believe that anarchy, i.e., rulerlessness, is the presently existing reality, and I'm not about trying to bring about what already is. I also share Nock's pessimism about things changing for the better in my lifetime, as well as, incidentally, his suspicion that not all men are human (which had nothing to do with racism). Nevertheless, talking about how a Stateless society would look is a useful framework for criticizing the society in which we live.

    By the way, you're a fine one to be talking about unicorns.

  181. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:38 am

    @ Jacob schmidt

    Privilege is orthogonal to intent.

    Um, yeah, we agree. Orthogonal, meaning unrelated to, which contradicts your prior comment. You might wanna get your own disagreements with yourself ironed out before you start disagreeing with others.

    You argued that the prevailing definition of privilege is "that which is the product of ill intent"

    Yep. This is how leftists use it, and leftists are almost always the source of this term being used today. I can't remember the last time I saw a non-letist use it. It's like "racism", "sexism", "oppression" and all the other pseudo-intellectual, postmodern gobbledygook that leftists spew; all it mean is "I think this is a really, really bad person because they disagree with me".

    Or, as I like to put it "mommy, make the bad man go away".

  182. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:44 am

    @ Ken White

    If this thread — for instance, the expelling ethnic minorities quote — doesn't illustrate my point to you, it's unlikely you'll find anything sufficient.

    You seem to be unfamiliar with the distinction between proscription and description. Beale is simply describing what is inevitable, the more burdensome that blacks and hispanics become to whites and asians. Having grown up very poor in a neighborhood that was about fifty percent in my age cohort I can tell you that my number one concern was living, as an adult, in an area with a very small black population.

    On an individual level I treat individual black people with the same decency and respect as I would anyone else. But when it comes to overall social environment I make sure I am in one without large populations that pose a significant quality of life burden. That's what normal, sane people do and, if you disagree, then I invite you to pony up and move to Detroit.

  183. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:56 am

    @ John Kindley

    You are just falling back on the old hoary leftist tactic of asserting that only leftists get to talk about race because … non-leftists are bad people and … talking about race makes non-leftists doubleplusungood.

    Yeah, he claimed, based on his prejudices, that certain races would sink in an anarcho-capitalist society

    Try to keep your crude apriorism in your pants. The plain meaning of "prejudice" is "to pre-judge", and in this context what you are really say is that one is a doubleplusungood person if one even entertains the notion of divergent human evolution over the past 100k years.

    What you are really doing is conflating "pre judgement" with "misjudgement". If I am correct that different groups have divergent evolutionary histories then that still does not warrant my judging any specific individual based on group evolutionary history; that would be prejudgement. However, if I am not correct and human evolution stopped 100k years ago (with some minor cosmetic drift) then that is not a prejudgement but a misjudgement.

    You can't "prejudge" groups, only individuals. An incorrect assessment, on the other hand, is just an incorrect assessment, not a prejudgement.

  184. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @12:03 pm

    @ John Kindley

    Every comment you've made just reeks of subjective philosophical idealism. One way I have found to cure that is to go an entire year without saying or writing the words "should" or "ought" or some variation, thereon. I did that. Cured me of my youthful idealism*.

    * Idealism is starting from an idea that "the world should look thus and thus" and then proceeding to reorganize reality to suit one's juvenile masturbatory fantasies.

  185. AliceH  •  Sep 14, 2013 @12:07 pm

    – I invite you to pony up–

    Uh oh.

  186. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @12:11 pm

    @ John Kindley

    it might look like the poverty of certain races was due to their race rather than these injustices.

    This is just a disguised argument from free will. The problem is that every cause is an effect of a prior cause so saying "injustice caused it" requires no less than an investigation into the cause of that injustice. Seriously. Why were white people able to impose "injustice" on black people, rather than the other way around. I mean if you're a leftist it pretty much looks like "because white people are evil ex nihilo". The only answer that doesn't boil down to "free will did it" is divergent evolution, and you've already declined that option.

  187. VD  •  Sep 14, 2013 @12:12 pm

    You have no theory of creation but you are a creationist? Zuh?

    See: Aristotle. I see movement, I conclude there is a mover. Either you believe in a) steady-state universe, b) completely random chance bringing about something out of nothing, or c) a creator of one sort or another. I vote (c).

    I find this claim incredibly hard to swallow.

    Okay. It's still true.

    Credit where credit is due, I guess.

    Um, thanks? You can label my views whatever you like. They are what they are. And the truth is what it is, regardless of what you, I, or anyone else, might wish it to be. That doesn't mean I'm right, but then, it doesn't mean you're right either.

  188. Gabe  •  Sep 14, 2013 @12:31 pm

    For readers of this great blog, it is very sad to see so many posts ignored and passed over for the sole reason of being poorly reasoned and thought out. After all, is it not a substantial violation of the first amendment if the owner of a blog does not feel obligated to not just allow, but also agree with the posted content? Therefore, I submit the following proposal to fix this grave injustice.

    Firstly, Ken must allow every post, no matter what the content. We all must read about how my uncle John made $2235 a month on the internet or the most recent scientific theory on how women from Davenport, Iowa compose a master race? The "PC facists" might disagree with this as "race-baiting", but that is only because they are scared and less intelligent and desire an "equal" world, in which the women from Davenport are oppressed into living along side with the lesser population.

    Secondly, for any comments that the author fears may be ignored, I suggest writing it entirely in bold. This font automatically makes it more persuasive and respectable. When one hears a song you like on the radio, you turn up the volume to hear it louder. It works the same way with opinions on the internet; being louder is better. Writing everything in capital letters using multiple question and exclamation points also gives an authoritative air to anything. DOESN'T THIS SENTENCE LOOK IMPRESSIVE?!?!? You will all agree that writing like that makes me look like a founder of civilization, or even from Davenport.

    Some of you may object to these proposals, claiming that I am just trying to find a way to post my own ramblings to this website. However, unfortunately, I am not clever enough to make my text bold, not being female so unable to be part of the master race.

  189. Ken White  •  Sep 14, 2013 @12:32 pm

    @Asher:

    You seem to be unfamiliar with the distinction between proscription and description.

    Oh, I don't read that as necessarily prescriptive. It's perfectly plausible that Mr. Day means "Hey, I'm not saying you SHOULD expel all the minorities, I'm just saying that if you don't your society will collapse." I'm perfectly happy with maintaining my characterization of his view either way you read it.

  190. grung0r  •  Sep 14, 2013 @12:35 pm

    I see movement, I conclude there is a mover.

    No, as a christian, you do more than that. You conclude that the mover was YVWH. You assume this based on a bronze age fairy tale book whose stories you concede you believe in. To put it in the form a question, How do you reconcile your christianity with your creationism?

    Okay. It's still true.

    Then explain why you keep yammering on about race realism and neanderthal DNA. I don't understand why you would continually raise points and publish posts about the subject if you have no interest in it whatsoever.

    Um, thanks?

    You're welcome.

  191. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 14, 2013 @12:37 pm

    Orthogonal, meaning unrelated to, which contradicts your prior comment.

    Did you know that a property can be present within individual phenomena without being correlated with the entire set? Asher doesn't.

    It's like "racism", "sexism", "oppression" and all the other pseudo-intellectual, postmodern gobbledygook that leftists spew; all it mean is "I think this is a really, really bad person because they disagree with me".

    I'm amused to note that, in reality, the current definitions of your entire list predate not only post modernism, but modernism as well.

  192. Gabe  •  Sep 14, 2013 @12:47 pm

    To be fair though, this comment thread reads a lot better if you just assume that VD and Asher are presenting brilliant parodies of bigoted, poorly reasoned ideas without evidence. In my wildest imagination I couldn't have produced some of these lines and I try to appreciate great satire when I see it.

  193. Dion starfire  •  Sep 14, 2013 @12:57 pm

    What goes inside of 'cite=""'? Do you close the quote with a /blockquote tag? Thanks.

    I've always put the url of the comment or blog post I'm citing in that section. The blockquote tag isn't limited to just citing other comments on Popehat, you can cite other pages, even comments in other blogs.

    On Popehat,the timestamp shown for each comment is actually a link to that specific comment (that the timestamp is shown on/for). I'll leave it up to you to figure out how to extract the destination url for a link using your particular browser.

  194. Xenocles  •  Sep 14, 2013 @2:21 pm

    I like the way Reason does moderation. Someone comes in and posts something blatantly racist, all the regulars dump on him, and sometime later the mods ban that identity and delete all his comments. Any comments nested below those comments remain, and they often appear to be threaded to completely innocuous comments.

    Meanwhile the obvious spammers continue unmolested.

  195. Dave Ruddell  •  Sep 14, 2013 @2:39 pm

    Mr. White, what I think you're failing to recognize here is that I'm not an enthusiastic supporter of ethnic cleansing.

    Let it be known that Beale is a reluctant supporter of ethnic cleansing. It's for the best, you see.

  196. VD  •  Sep 14, 2013 @3:12 pm

    It's perfectly plausible that Mr. Day means "Hey, I'm not saying you SHOULD expel all the minorities, I'm just saying that if you don't your society will collapse."

    That's precisely it. I don't really care that much if the USA collapses and I predicted it would do so by 2033 more than ten years ago. I can only conclude that people like you fully merit what I expect to be your fate. The post-1965 transformation of the USA isn't your fault, to be sure, but you've celebrated the planting and the sprouting of the seeds of your society's destruction. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind… it's nothing new.

    How do you reconcile your christianity with your creationism?

    The short answer would be Thomism. But it's hardly a problematic reconciliation, given the Book of John. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….

    Then explain why you keep yammering on about race realism and neanderthal DNA. I don't understand why you would continually raise points and publish posts about the subject if you have no interest in it whatsoever.

    Those two things are not necessarily related to creationism. It's like complaining about evolution by natural selection not accounting for abiogenesis. Anyhow, I have over 12,000 posts on VP. I post about anything that happens to interest me at the moment.

    It's for the best, you see.

    It depends upon the alternatives. The wise thing would have been the Japanese approach and keeping the number of minorities small and manageable.

  197. En Passant  •  Sep 14, 2013 @3:21 pm

    AliceH wrote Sep 14, 2013 @12:07 pm:

    Uh oh.

    Paging Mike Godwin. Mike Godwin to the white privilegecourtesy telephone, please. A researcher at Popehat Labs has found evidence of an equine corollary to your theory.

  198. ChrisTS  •  Sep 14, 2013 @3:31 pm

    'Asher' seems to be unaware of the difference between 'proscription' and 'prescription.'

  199. Aaron  •  Sep 14, 2013 @3:31 pm

    Either you believe in a) steady-state universe, b) completely random chance bringing about something out of nothing, or c) a creator of one sort or another. I vote (c).

    I posit that you cannot put forth a definition of a creator that means you don't fall into either (a) or (b). All you've done is move the goalposts.

  200. htom  •  Sep 14, 2013 @3:33 pm

    Part of me wonders if Clark has confused being malleted or kittened (or deleted as a reply to one of those) with being banned.

    Scalzi and I agree on some things and disagree on some things; we've squabbled about those we disagree on in the comments on Whatever. Sometimes we misunderstand each other's positions and figure it out. I've had a few comments deleted because they were replies to things he subsequently malleted (that is, deleted, leaving only the user name, sometimes with a comment about why) or kittened (changing some of the wording of the comment into nonsense.) I think I've been malleted once, and that was my own fault, he'd asked that some auxiliary topic not be brought up again, and I did (not having read that part of the thread.) My bad.

    I wonder how much traffic this thread is generating? (No, not really.)

  201. Matthew Cline  •  Sep 14, 2013 @3:45 pm

    The post-1965 transformation of the USA isn't your fault

    Are you referring to the Civil Rights movement in general, or the Voting Rights Act in particular?

  202. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 14, 2013 @4:18 pm

    On the OP

    "Hey, loyal fans, there's someone out there who disagrees with me. But we all know that I'm in the right, right?"

    I notice this summary is largely inaccurate. There is no "right and wrong" here; he's clarifying his policy. To that end, he agrees that he deletes comments of substance (you'll note that agreement is not disagreement) and explains why.

  203. Chris  •  Sep 14, 2013 @4:21 pm
    Either you believe in a) steady-state universe, b) completely random chance bringing about something out of nothing, or c) a creator of one sort or another. I vote (c).

    I posit that you cannot put forth a definition of a creator that means you don't fall into either (a) or (b). All you've done is move the goalposts.

    Maybe he thinks it's turtles all the way down.

  204. Ken White  •  Sep 14, 2013 @4:22 pm

    "I don't really care that much if the USA collapses and I predicted it would do so by 2033 more than ten years ago. I can only conclude that people like you fully merit what I expect to be your fate."

    Yeah, well. My bad.

  205. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 14, 2013 @4:33 pm

    Either you believe in a) steady-state universe, b) completely random chance bringing about something out of nothing, or c) a creator of one sort or another. I vote (c).

    I really wish I had a pound for every time I've seen this particular witless set of options. Let's ignore eternal inflation, the possibility of infinite time and space and the fact that "nothing" means a quantum vacuum (and hence isn't really nothing in the sense Beale obviously believes), but choose the option that involves inserting an extra entity that then needs explaining. It's just the unmoved mover argument coupled with personal incredulity. And like the "some races just can't do civilization" theory, has no good supporting evidence

    And the simulation hypothesis isn't a creationist theory unless you posit the material universe the simulation substrate exists in was created. So moved goalposts again.

    Frankly, every argument Beale puts forward on any subject appears to consist of things he's misunderstood (and now often refuses to back down on, q.v."McRapey") or is wilfully misrepresenting. One always hoped the Alpha Übermensch would actually, like, understand stuff when those superior genes came to the fore; oh well, more proof evolution is not directed I suppose.

  206. grung0r  •  Sep 14, 2013 @4:52 pm

    The short answer would be Thomism. But it's hardly a problematic reconciliation, given the Book of John. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

    So we're back to you being an old earth Christian creationist. Great. Now, how do Neanderthals fit into the biblical christian framework you have chosen?

    anyhow, I have over 12,000 posts on VP. I post about anything that happens to interest me at the moment.

    So that time you got kicked out of the SFWA for calling N. K. Jemisin a savage and "Not equally homo sapiens sapiens" was just something that happened to interest you at that moment? Not anything you had really thought about or considered in any great depth. Or here, right now, where you are defending those very words again. If this idea doesn't interest you Jack old boy, how did you come to… well…develop this theory?

  207. VD  •  Sep 14, 2013 @5:27 pm

    Are you referring to the Civil Rights movement in general, or the Voting Rights Act in particular?

    Neither. Hart-Celler, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

    And like the "some races just can't do civilization" theory, has no good supporting evidence

    That's a ridiculous statement. There is considerable evidence that some races can't do advanced civilization. It's just not scientific evidence because you can't do experiments with entire societies.

    Let's ignore eternal inflation, the possibility of infinite time and space and the fact that "nothing" means a quantum vacuum (and hence isn't really nothing in the sense Beale obviously believes), but choose the option that involves inserting an extra entity that then needs explaining.

    Throw them in if you like, sport. Makes no difference to me. And playing games with the word nothing doesn't make that lame "quantum vaccuum" dance any more convincing.

    And the simulation hypothesis isn't a creationist theory unless you posit the material universe the simulation substrate exists in was created. So moved goalposts again.

    Of course it is a creationist theory. To pretend otherwise is abysmally stupid. Creationism refers to this universe, not the turtle at the very, very bottom. You don't even grasp what you're trying to criticize.

    Frankly, every argument Beale puts forward on any subject appears to consist of things he's misunderstood (and now often refuses to back down on, q.v."McRapey") or is wilfully misrepresenting.

    Oh, are you still upset that I keep quoting your little friend about how he is a self-declared rapist? Here, you can even listen to him repeating it: "John Scalzi is a rapist."

    So that time you got kicked out of the SFWA for calling N. K. Jemisin a savage and "Not equally homo sapiens sapiens" was just something that happened to interest you at that moment?

    Yes. She happened to attack me in her "Australians are scary" speech because a few people in SFWA voted for me in the annual election and I responded to it. Fortunately for her, she survived all the killer white people there. I hear the koalas can be deadly too.

  208. grung0r  •  Sep 14, 2013 @5:55 pm

    @vox

    *crickets*

    After jebus knows how many dodges, you have completely given up even attempting to explain how 4% neanderthal DNA fits into a Christian Creationist framework. Seems safe to go ahead and check the "cognitive dissonance" box for you on that one.

    Yes. She happened to attack me in her "Australians are scary" speech because a few people in SFWA voted for me in the annual election and I responded to it.

    Ok. But your response consisted of a bizarre and odious racial theory involving human origins that you have clearly put a lot of time and thought into. If the subject doesn't interest you, why did you have the theory available to you at all?

  209. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @6:36 pm

    @ Gabe

    In my wildest imagination I couldn't have produced some of these lines

    You know, i constantly see comments like this from leftists and, yet, they never manage to actually specify what specific lines they find so appalling/hilarious/whatever. Gabe, seeing comments such as yours is akin to watching grade-school girls giggle and tsk over the most banal stuff. It's the tactic of implying that some position is beyond the pale without actually having to argue for why it is so.

    It's pathic and intellectually dishonest. If you don't want to argue for your positions then leave the conversation to the adults.

    bigoted

    just another "mommy, make the bad man go away" word. Like "racism" and "sexism" it no longer has any meaning, at all.

  210. Matthew Cline  •  Sep 14, 2013 @6:40 pm

    @grung0r:

    After jebus knows how many dodges, you have completely given up even attempting to explain how 4% neanderthal DNA fits into a Christian Creationist framework.

    He could be interpreting the story of the creation of Adam and Eve allegorically rather than literally. Of course, if he interprets the story of the Flood literally, I'd wonder how he thinks the various sub-species survived the flood. Unless by "neanderthal" he means a sub-species that arose after the flood, in which case using the word "neanderthal" without any clarifications is going to confuse a lot of people.

  211. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @6:42 pm

    Proscription is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a "decree of condemnation to death or banishment" so, no, I meant proscribitve. Beale isn't talking about eliminating people, merely, separating them up into more natural political entities, or, at least, I doubt he is doing so.

  212. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 14, 2013 @6:43 pm

    just another "mommy, make the bad man go away" word. Like "racism" and "sexism" it no longer has any meaning, at all.

    Heh. Ok.

  213. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @6:47 pm

    @ Jacob Schmidt

    Fine, Jacob, then define "racism". Make it:

    A) coherent
    B) unitary
    C) non-tautological
    D) a definition that is widely shared by, at least, some significant demographic
    E) fewer than thirty words

    I have offered this challenge to hundreds of clearly intelligent and well-educated leftists for over a decade. I have yet to have even one get off the ground in the attempt. Be a sport and give it a shot.

  214. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @6:48 pm

    "R*cism" is to 2013 what "n*gger" was to 1963. Just a nasty word used to smear and belittle perfectly decent and upstanding individuals.

  215. John Kindley  •  Sep 14, 2013 @7:13 pm

    A racist is a person who views another person as inferior on the basis of his race. E.g., "That bigoted racist advocates removing Mr. Jones from his home and the town just because he's black."

  216. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 14, 2013 @7:13 pm

    fewer than thirty words

    Why is this a criteria?

  217. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 14, 2013 @7:15 pm

    Before I play your game, Asher, are you gonna admit that you were full of shit on "bigotry"?

  218. John Cain  •  Sep 14, 2013 @7:19 pm

    "R*cism" is to 2013 what "n*gger" was to 1963. Just a nasty word used to smear and belittle perfectly decent and upstanding individuals.

    "Let's hang that racist for being uppity!" said no one ever.

  219. grung0r  •  Sep 14, 2013 @7:22 pm

    @matthew

    He could be interpreting the story of the creation of Adam and Eve allegorically rather than literally

    I asked him above if he believed the story of adam and eve, and he answered in the affirmative.

    In addition, I have been arguing with creationists for a long time, and I have yet to meet or even hear of one who takes genesis as allegory. What would be the point? Genesis is the sole reason for the existence of creationists(of the abrahamic variety, anyway). If you toss Genesis on the trash heap of "didn't literally happen", then why be a creationist at all?

  220. John Kindley  •  Sep 14, 2013 @7:24 pm

    E.g., "That racist dumbfuck wants everybody to admit blacks are dumber than whites but is whining that people are calling him mean names."

  221. grung0r  •  Sep 14, 2013 @7:27 pm

    @asher

    non-tautological

    Before I take you up on your challenge, I want to know what you mean by this. Because I suspect what you mean is "any definition one provides can always be challenged by the fact that words can only be defined by other words, and so I always have an out"

  222. Kat  •  Sep 14, 2013 @7:36 pm

    Ooh, I remember the "define this" game from back in the creeper thread!

    Awesome!

    (If by awesome you mean terrible, of course.)

  223. John Kindley  •  Sep 14, 2013 @7:43 pm

    All definitions are tautological.

  224. JW  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:03 pm

    Full disclosure: I've read most, if not all of Scalzi's novel and find him to be a talented and entertaining writer. He's no Stross, Niven or Heinlein, but he's makes for a good read. He's also an empty, bloviating suit with way too high an opinion of himself and what he thinks. I don't bother reading what he writes outside of his novels and have lost any respect I had for him, based on his arrogant public behavior, posing as a smoking turd on a hot day.

    I belonged to a list serve dedicated to computers for many years, which was run by a complete jackhole, with few redeeming human qualities, who delighted in insulting anyone who didn't agree with him and basically trolled the list on a regular basis. He was a nasty piece of work and even though we corresponded for a dozen years, we never even came close to remotely liking each other.

    But, I respected him. For all of his many faults, he didn't moderate or censor At. All. Not one bit, even when he was the target of a vicious personal attack. He let everything stand.

    Scalzi can run his site any way he wishes. That's the beauty of it being your site. But, he lessens himself as a thinking person when he holds himself out the way he does.

  225. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:12 pm

    A racist is a person who views another person as inferior on the basis of his race

    Even once or all the time? If you mean all the time then most neo-Nazis are probably not "racist', so you can't really mean this. i mean if the one group who is most closely identified as 'racist" contains lots of non-racists then you have a bad definition.

    Care to try again?

    bTW, i know of what i speak. i used to comment regularly at GnXP and the primary blogger, Razib khan, had an ongoing feud with several Stormfronters over his attraction to blonds. Many of them were surprisingly erudite and could argue a point, frankly, better than most leftists I have encountered. My general impression is that most of them did not consider every single member of any race inherently superior to every single member of some other race.

  226. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:17 pm

    @ John Kindley

    Further, under your definition most of human history has been one unending story of "racism" Something that explains everything explains nothing. Here, let me help you out:

    Over at a pretty popular alt-right blog there is a regular black commenter who is politically left of center and makes excellent comments. His definition of "racism" is "attributing a particular trait to an individual based solely on their race". Now, this is the closest thing I've encountered to a good definition but it is, also, highly counter to how the term is almost always used.

    mainly, the term "racist' is just a slur thrown by leftists at anyone with whom they have a disagreement. Since we already have a perfecting good term for that, namely, "disagreement", the term is redundant and not necessary.

  227. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:18 pm

    @ Jacob Schmidt

    <b.Why is this a criteria?

    Because the longer the definition of a term gets the more ad hoc it becomes. Eventually, you're just going to have an infinitely malleable definition that can be used in any way you like to suit your purposes.

    If i am challenged to provide such a definition for a contentious term I've used i can usually do so in fewer than fifteen words.

  228. Ahkbar  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:25 pm

    I am probably missing something here:

    I thought that neo-Nazis (or regular Nazis for that matter) by definition believe in the superiority of their own race over all others.

    Wouldn't that presume that they think all races other their own are inferior all the time?

  229. John Kindley  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:25 pm

    Even once. But of course, once a racist doesn't mean always a racist. People can change. You said up thread you grew up as a minority in a poor neighborhood. Maybe you had some bad experiences that colored your views out of all proportion to the broader reality. Maybe you'll change.

  230. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:26 pm

    "Let's hang that racist for being uppity!" said no one ever.

    You do realize that the vast majority of lynchings had to do with real and heinous criminal acts and had nothing to do with being uppity. The Civil War was necessary and lincoln was one of history's great leaders. That said, the aftermath was one of the most poorly handled political implementations in recent history. Basically, the North eviscerated the extant social structure in the South and replaced it with nother, leaving almost complete anarchy.

    In fact, there are all sorts of lynchings over putative "racism" in the US. An excellent example was the Limbaugh/McNabb imbroglio, where limbaugh mocked the media for overexaggerating the effectiveness of a QB due to his being black and then the aftermath. Not a listener of Limbaugh and not even defending him. just pointing out that it was of the same mob mentality that led to lynchings.

    I don't care what happened to Limbaugh. the point is the behavior of the people who attacked Limbaugh for making a perfectly reasonable and valid point.

  231. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:32 pm

    Further, under your definition most of human history has been one unending story of "racism" Something that explains everything explains nothing.

    It doesn't explain everything; it explains that much of human history involved racism. Unless you can show that such is false, there's nothing wrong with that.

    Because the longer the definition of a term gets the more ad hoc it becomes. Eventually, you're just going to have an infinitely malleable definition that can be used in any way you like to suit your purposes.

    Uhhh…. ad hoc is for a specific purpose. Defining the term loosely to cover many instances is the opposite of ad hoc.

  232. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:32 pm

    @ John kindley

    Why is it that leftists are so damn clueless about simple statistics. Consider the following statement:

    Men are taller than women

    Now, it's pretty clear that any reasonable person would infer that the speaker isn't saying that all men are taller than all women but that the average man is taler than the average woman. However, if you take the following statement:

    Whites are more intelligent than blacks

    Most leftists seem to interpret that as all whites are more intelligent than all blacks. The interpretation is so obviously false that only someone with severe learning problems or with a hefty dose of intellectual dishonesty could interpret it that way. Since you are clearly not stupid the obvious explanation is that you are acting in bad faith, ie. intellectually dishonest.

    Going back to my occasional run-ins with stormfronters at GnXP I, actually, had several directly state that there were plenty of black individuals who were more intelligent than plenty of white individuals.

    You have a bad definition. Care to try again?

  233. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:37 pm

    @ grungor

    Look, the solution is perfectly obvious: any definition that is far afield from how leftists use the term. Then you, too, can experience the joys of confronting a bunch of intellectually dishonest leftists. The criteria of non-tautology is because i have, actually, what was clearly an intelligent leftist offer the following:

    Republicans are racist because racism is what the Republican party is based on

    No. Seriously. BTW, non-tautology is a basic criteria for any good definition. i have also encounter the following:

    Racism is what racists are

    No. I'm kidding. And these individuals who offered these definitions were clearly otherwise intelligent and educated people.

  234. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:42 pm

    All definitions are tautological.

    Well, now you've just defined all language into meaninglessness.. Good job, kiddo. For the rest of us, we somehow manage to use words meaningfully.

    Look, the solution to this is very simple. Define "racism" in ways that saying it in a roomful of leftists will have them screaming that you're a "racist". For exampe, attributing a specific trait to an individual solely due to their race. That, roughly, was the way in which I was raised to use the term and it is still something I studiously avoid doing.

    Jump into a room full of leftists with that defintion and they're be frothing at the mouth calling you a "racist" in two minutes.

  235. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:46 pm

    I thought that neo-Nazis (or regular Nazis for that matter) by definition believe in the superiority of their own race over all others.

    Nope. Most I have encoountered are just separatists; btw, I am not even a separatist.

    Also, the standard so-called "anti-racist' definition is "white supremacy" is any social environment that is mainly focused on the needs of white people and is created by them to meet those needs. Seriously. i have had more than a few 'anti racists" offer that exact definition, almost all of them being white.

    As Steve SAiler pithily notes: Asia for Asians, Africa for Africans, Europe and America for everybody.

  236. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:48 pm

    Maybe you had some bad experiences that colored your views

    Nope. i was the odd white kid in the corner reading the biography of Winston Churchill between pickup basketball games. Look, there's a perfectly good explanation for "white flight" that doesn't involve, and is simpler than, irrational white hatred/fear.

  237. John Cain  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:49 pm

    Ok, lynching and "lynching" are in no way equivalent, due to the lack of murder in the latter. Jesus Fucking Christ.

    I continue to be amazed by the pseudo-intellectual artifices constructed to cover for "I hate black people".

  238. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:52 pm

    @ Jacob Schmidt

    Call like things alike – nietzsche, which seems to apply using different terms for things that are different.

    It doesn't explain everything; it explains that much of human history involved racism. </b.

    And … this is the reason i require non tautology. Ice cream is whatever the term ice cream identifies. Great! That's real understanding, ya got there. Saying that ice cream is whatever ice cream is simply is nothing more than a tautology and doesn't express any real knowledge about the world.

  239. John Kindley  •  Sep 14, 2013 @8:55 pm

    Asher:

    I never imagined you were quite so stupid as to maintain all whites are smarter than all blacks. I understood that the allegation has to do with average intelligence apart from confounding socio-economic factors. I also understand that the allegation is unproven, and that the effort to prove or assert the unproven allegations serves no decent social or political purpose and appears to be motivated by malicious agendas deserving of mockery and shunning, such as ethnic cleansing.

    The definition of racism I gave you is just fine.

  240. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:00 pm

    <b.Uhhh…. ad hoc is for a specific purpose. Defining the term loosely to cover many instances is the opposite of ad hoc.

    Not if you load up your "definition" with an infinite number of ad hoc conditions, which should have been pretty damn obvious. Let's take "racism", as most people have commonly understood the term, and "institutional racism". Any attempt to define them is going to result in two completely different definitions, ones that are completely unrelated. The reason that so caled anti racists did this was to piggyback a political agenda onto a term that raised visceral emotional objections, in myself included, among people whose lives don't revolve around politics or social commentary.

    it was an intellectually dishonest tactic to use the very real disgust that people feel when someone attributes a trait to an individual solely for their race with "social institutions mainly created by white people fr white people". In reality, every people in human history has operated in this latter manner and to call one instance "racism" and another, identical one, not is pure intellectual dishonesty.

    Call like things alike. If white people creating social institutions that mainly cater to whites is 'racist" then the entire scope of all human history is nothing other than one mass of all pervading 'racism'. you've just defined "racism" to include every facet of human existence, which … explains nothing. That which explains everything explains nothing.

  241. John Kindley  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:04 pm

    Asher:

    You're a clown. I'm done encouraging your antics.

  242. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:08 pm

    @ john Cain

    lynching and "lynching" are in no way equivalent, due to the lack of murder in the latter.</b.

    By this reasoning all executions for crimes in human history have been murder because the formal legal structures of the modern state really have no equivalent prior to several centuries ago. Let's say you go back to pre-Roman Germany. i'm going to guess that a fair amount of socially sanctioned punishment for real crimes was not done according to the sorts fo formal institutions that we, today, enjoy.

    The problem with lynching weren't that they were murder because, well, they weren't. The problem with lynching is that it undercuts the rule of law and the formalism required for a modern legall system. There's a real famous black adn white picture of a bunch of white people, in their Suday best, standing around a tree with two lynched black individuals. The facts of that case are indisputed; IIRC the two men brutally raped and murdered a wife and beat her husband into a coma(?). it's not like a bunch of white people just decided to go out and string up two random individuals because they were bored.

    Is that sort of event conducive to a well-ordered, modern society? No. Was it murder? Again, no. You are imputing our current sensibilities to all of human history.

  243. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:14 pm

    @ John kindley

    <b.I also understand that the allegation is unproven

    While this statement is intellectually dishonest I highly doubt it is intentionally so. What leftists tend to do is whatever current PC orthodoxy says is reality until someone comes along and proves (sic) otherwise – you really mean "demonstrates", not "proves".

    Anyways, you have a position which is

    human evolution ended 100k years ago

    And mine is

    human evolution did not end 100k years ago

    I don't have to definitively prove(sic0 beyond all doubt that my position is unassailable. All I have to do is demonstrate that my position is significantly better than yours. See, leftists/antiracists have a hidden position on which they are rarely called to account.

    Truth, and science, is nothing more than the explanation that best fits, predicts and explains the observable facts. your position is no more apriori true than is mine.

  244. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:15 pm

    @ John kindley

    You're a clown.

    And I've mopped the floor with you. hey, it's been fun

  245. Matthew Cline  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:18 pm

    @Asher

    Further, under your definition most of human history has been one unending story of "racism" Something that explains everything explains nothing.

    Saying "the majority of people through history have been X" doesn't mean "human history has been one unending history of X", or that all human activity is explained in terms of X.

  246. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:28 pm

    Saying "the majority of people through history have been X" </b.

    No, under the 'antiracist" definition which is "people creating social institutions to primarily meet their requirements of their particular group" ALL people have been "racist'. Of course, "antiracists" arbitrarily exclude societies outside of ones that are A) recent B) white. They don't offer a justification for this massive exclusion, though, so it's just ad hoc.

  247. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:31 pm

    Groups of people creating social institutions and norms to meet their specific needs is standard operating procedure at all times and places in history. "Antiracists" just slap the phrase "white supremacist" on groups of people that are A) recent B) white with no justification for what distinguishes them from all people in all other times and places that have behaved in an identical fashion.

  248. cpast  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:34 pm

    Fine, Asher, I'll accept that that definition of "racism" doesn't meet your constraints.

    Define "tree" in such a way as to meet your constraints.

  249. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:35 pm

    Care to try defining "racist' again? hint; it involves some definition of "racist" that will have leftists calling YOU "racist" within a couple of minutes. Of course, being leftists you enjoy the tactical benefits of a definition of "racism" that pushes a leftist political agenda.

    Fine. You want to win. so do we all. just don't pretend that your definition is based on some abstract, universal, timeless, impartial principle that is undeniable because that is blatant intellectual dishonesty – the primary criticism of Scalzi.

  250. Matthew Cline  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:45 pm

    @Asher:

    Okay, I guess I'd mixed up which definition you were responding to.

    it's not like a bunch of white people just decided to go out and string up two random individuals because they were bored.

    They must have been guilty, because if they hadn't been guilty, they wouldn't have been lynched? Using that reasoning, wouldn't the targets of all vigilante groups be guilty of what they were accused of?

  251. James Pollock  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:49 pm

    "In fact, there are all sorts of lynchings over putative "racism" in the US. An excellent example was the Limbaugh/McNabb imbroglio, where limbaugh mocked the media for overexaggerating the effectiveness of a QB due to his being black and then the aftermath. Not a listener of Limbaugh and not even defending him. just pointing out that it was of the same mob mentality that led to lynchings."

    Limbaugh's awful talkative for a guy hanging from a tree.

  252. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:54 pm

    <b.They must have been guilty, because if they hadn't been guilty, they wouldn't have been lynched? Using that reasoning,

    Well,if i had used that reasoning then you might have a point but i did not. What you are saying is that all punishments meted out in human history that do not conform to current standards of formal legal proceedings are oppression. The men involved were witnessed during the act and, iiRC, bragged about it.

    another interesting fact is the case of Emmett Till. Till had earlier that day entered a store and confronted a white woman with a gun and engaged in graphic sexual talk. Her family members forced him into the car at gunpoint to set him straight and ended up murdering him. The story of Till flirting with a white woman who was willingly engaging him is an absolute fabrication. Was his killing justified/ Uh, no, but it's not like he was some random kid picked out for the purposes of amusement by marauding whites.

    Incidentally, Tills father had been executed for raping and killing italian women.

  253. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:57 pm

    Limbaugh's awful talkative for a guy hanging from a tree

    The point is that the vast majority of the use of the term is to silence people for the political positions and not to assess some well defined behavior.

  254. Ahkbar  •  Sep 14, 2013 @9:58 pm

    Nope. Most I have encoountered are just separatists; btw, I am not even a separatist.

    You can be separatist and still believe that all other races are inferior. I think that would be a good reason to want to be a separatist.

    Also, the standard so-called "anti-racist' definition is "white supremacy" is any social environment that is mainly focused on the needs of white people and is created by them to meet those needs. Seriously. i have had more than a few 'anti racists" offer that exact definition, almost all of them being white.

    I don't see how any of this has anything to do with my question.

    Assertion: Nazis (and subsequently neo-Nazis) believe as a doctrine (or fundamental belief) that their race is superior to all others (ie. the master race).

    Please clarify if you believe this assertion is true.

  255. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:06 pm

    Nazis (and subsequently neo-Nazis) believe as a doctrine (or fundamental belief) that their race is superior to all others (ie. the master race).

    Please clarify if you believe this assertion is true.</b.

    nazis? Sure. But, then, nazis were a specific organized political party over the course of about a decade in the mid 20th century. there are no more nazis in existence today then there are Darius' Immortals. Neo-nazis, on the other hand and in my experience, mostly just are separatists because they are most comfortable being around people with similar understandings of the world, which is perfectly standard human behavior.

    Nazis? Yes. Neo-Nazis? No.

    BTW, several years ago I somehow found an interesting post over at majority rights and spent a brief period of time commenting there. The site is explicitly white nationalist and separatist and every blogger i saw there explicitly held that the very notion of a 'superior race' is not just wrong, but completely incoherent – which is also my position.

  256. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:06 pm

    jeez i need a new keyboard

  257. Matthew Cline  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:15 pm

    @Asher:

    What you are saying is that all punishments meted out in human history that do not conform to current standards of formal legal proceedings are oppression.

    No, since I don't think the all punishments meted out in human history consisted of average citizens taking it upon themselves to be judge, jury and executioner. Just because the various historical systems of punishment don't conform to current standards of formal legal proceedings doesn't mean that they were all equivalent to vigilantism.

    The men involved were witnessed during the act and, iiRC, bragged about it.

    Who were the witnesses to this? If they were the vigilantes themselves, or relatives/friends, then they had a very strong motive to claim this after the men had been lynched.

    Incidentally, Tills father had been executed for raping and killing italian women.

    What relevance does that have? Or are you pointing this out simply for the sake of pointing it out?

  258. Ahkbar  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:16 pm

    I think you just need to replace your ">" key. Soon.

    Thanks for your clarification. What is the blog/site your are referencing?

  259. Ahkbar  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:18 pm

    *edit*

    What is the blog/site you are referencing?

  260. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:26 pm

    Just because the various historical systems of punishment don't conform to current standards of formal legal proceedings doesn't mean that they were all equivalent to vigilantism.

    Uh, no, by our current, formal standards that is exactly what they were. You are arbitrarily slapping different labels on identical things. one of the benefits of organized hierarchy is that it produces known, abstract rules that can be applied across a huge population structure, with each individual having no direct interpersonal connections with the vast majority of their fellows. Take away that organized hierarchy and its attendant rule of law disappears with it leaving most punishments looking like what we, today, label vigilantism.

  261. Asher  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:41 pm

    @ ahkbar

    I have an insanely voracious appetite for knowing *stuff*. I probably had more real knowledge about the world by the age of ten than the average person obtains in their lifetime. This was a few years ago, and i investigated the issues of segregation, Jim Crow, etc., until i was overwhelmingly satisfied that it wasn't "just because a lot of white people are uniquely bad in ways that no other people in history have been". White rule, and misrule, over black people is far more complicated than the picture painted by "antiracist" ideology. At the point, that i overwhelmingly establish, in my mind, that the racial phenomena in the US was far more complicated than the caricature portrayed by 'antiracists" I moved onto subjects I found far more interesting.

    Am I yearning for a return to Jim Croe or to live surrounded only by other white people? Hell, no. Are the issues surrounding race in the US as starkly black and white as portrayed by "antiracist" ideology? Equally, hell, no

  262. Ahkbar  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:06 pm

    Uh, what? I was just asking for a link. I see in my misreading that you provided the name of the site already (majority rights).

    I'm not sure whose question you answering, but I don't believe it was mine.

  263. Ken White  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:09 pm

    Till had earlier that day entered a store and confronted a white woman with a gun and engaged in graphic sexual talk. Her family members forced him into the car at gunpoint to set him straight and ended up murdering him. The story of Till flirting with a white woman who was willingly engaging him is an absolute fabrication.

    You're 100% sure of that, because you're 100% sure that Carol Bryant — defending her family members — was telling the truth when she accused Till of that. Gee. What a shock.

    I probably had more real knowledge about the world by the age of ten than the average person obtains in their lifetime.

    Yes, we're all quite amazed by your astounding intellect.

    Asher, I can't imagine that you're ever going to acquire any useful knowledge here from us, your inferiors. Wouldn't you be happier seeking further enlightenment elsewhere? Surely there's someplace where you can discover that Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner were about to strangle a baby or that Collins, Wesley, Robertson, and and McNair helped with the 9/11 conspiracy or something.

    I'm sure you'll be happier there. The benefit is that you can strut away telling everyone that we puny fools couldn't handle your brilliance, and how you put us in our place. I'm sure you'll be congratulated by your admirers.

  264. eddie  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:26 pm

    Oh god.

    oh god oh god oh god oh god aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh

  265. grung0r  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:27 pm

    Looks like Clark may just have a new underdog champion to courageously leap to the defense of! Common Clark, the waters fine. It's a pile on, the piled on person is a (presumably) hetrosexual white male(I know the male part is particularly important to you) with deeply held racist beliefs. Right up your alley, yeah? Asher needs your help. Who are you to decline it?

  266. Aaron  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:31 pm

    @Asher

    The point is that the vast majority of the use of the term is to silence people for the political positions and not to assess some well defined behavior.

    So far you have likened criticism of Limbaugh to violence, in the form of lynching, and to censorship, in the form of silencing.

    As this blog often discusses: Condemning speech is not the same as suppressing it. Speech is not violence, censorship, or tyranny. To claim otherwise is willfully dishonest.

  267. Matthew Cline  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:34 pm

    @Asher:

    This was a few years ago, and i investigated the issues of segregation, Jim Crow, etc., until i was overwhelmingly satisfied that it wasn't "just because a lot of white people are uniquely bad in ways that no other people in history have been".

    I rather doubt that anyone here believes that.

  268. Ken White  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:39 pm

    Went to dinner and a movie tonight. Saw "The Butler." Came home to read this thread. Pretty sure my head is going to fall off.

  269. JR  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:54 pm

    Do people tilt because windmills exist or do windmills exist because people tilt?

  270. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 14, 2013 @11:56 pm

    @Beale

    That's a ridiculous statement. There is considerable evidence that some races can't do advanced civilization. It's just not scientific evidence because you can't do experiments with entire societies.

    Yet you still can't provide this "evidence".

    Throw them in if you like, sport. Makes no difference to me. And playing games with the word nothing doesn't make that lame "quantum vaccuum" dance any more convincing.

    "I don't know what quantum vacuum means"

    Of course it is a creationist theory. To pretend otherwise is abysmally stupid. Creationism refers to this universe, not the turtle at the very, very bottom. You don't even grasp what you're trying to criticize.

    My World of Warcraft avatars are not in a separate universe, and the monitor is not a magical window into Narnia. Virtual worlds running on a substrate in a material universe exist within that material universe. If we exclude many-worlds, the universe is the totality of everything (and the many-worlds thing is a bit of a semantic trick: I would argue alternate world-lines are still in the one universe, it just contains many more histories than we can usually observe). So if we are in a simulation, was the ultimate material domain that simulation runs in created?

    Oh, are you still upset that I keep quoting your little friend about how he is a self-declared rapist? Here, you can even listen to him repeating it: "John Scalzi is a rapist."

    Satire, another thing Beale finds hard to understand. And this wasn't even the tricky Pax-esque is-he-isn't-he sort.

    For all the "look at the mighty girth of my IQ", you really are a bit dim, aren't you?

  271. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:00 am

    @Beale

    That's a ridiculous statement. There is considerable evidence that some races can't do advanced civilization. It's just not scientific evidence because you can't do experiments with entire societies.

    Yet you still can't provide this "evidence".

    Throw them in if you like, sport. Makes no difference to me. And playing games with the word nothing doesn't make that lame "quantum vaccuum" dance any more convincing.

    "I don't know what quantum vacuum means"

    Of course it is a creationist theory. To pretend otherwise is abysmally stupid. Creationism refers to this universe, not the turtle at the very, very bottom. You don't even grasp what you're trying to criticize.

    My World of Warcraft avatars are not in a separate universe, and the monitor is not a magical window into Narnia. Virtual worlds running on a substrate in a material universe exist within that material universe. If we exclude many-worlds, the universe is the totality of everything (and the many-worlds thing is a bit of a semantic trick: I would argue alternate world-lines are still in the one universe, it just contains many more histories than we can usually observe). So if we are in a simulation, was the ultimate material domain that simulation runs in created?

    Oh, are you still upset that I keep quoting your little friend about how he is a self-declared rapist? Here, you can even listen to him repeating it: "John Scalzi is a rapist."

    Satire, another thing Beale finds hard to understand. And this wasn't even the tricky Pax-esque is-he-isn't-he sort.

    For all the "look at the mighty girth of my IQ", you really are a bit dim, aren't you?

  272. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:02 am

    @ A blog owner

    Apologies for double post Could you delete the first version with the failed html tags, please. And this one. Thanks.

  273. James Pope  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:45 am

    Wow. This place kind of got filthy with the Stormfront-lite crowd quick, didn't it?

  274. Dan  •  Sep 15, 2013 @3:31 am

    At the risk of engaging in an exercise in futility, let me make one minor point on something that I think Asher doesn't know as much about as he thinks he does, to wit: IQ testing in the military. The test is called the ASVAB, measures a bunch of different types of knowledge/intelligence, and I imagine there is a correlation between ASVAB scores and IQ scores. However, they're not the same thing. That IQ of 85 that you allegedly have to have to be a grunt? Its actually called (last time i checked) a CO score, which is a combination of certain sipubtests, such as verbal expression, shop knowledge, and mechanical knowledge. It is not the same as an IQ score. I'd also love to see the citation that indicates that more than half the blacks in America lack the intellectual capacity to seve in the military.

    I love (by which I mean find extremely annoying) when people who don't seem to know much about the military like to use the military to justify arguments or make points. I'm making an assumption here, but I'm guessing the extent of Asher's knowledge of the military is gathered from military science fiction novels.

  275. Dan  •  Sep 15, 2013 @3:36 am

    My kingdom for an edit button, or a review page prior to posting, or less bulbous thumbs, or bigger iPad keys. In other words, I apologize for the numerous typos above: I know how to spell subtests (for example), I just failed to this time. I can only hope that the Internet will have the compassion to forgive me.

  276. George William Herbert  •  Sep 15, 2013 @4:21 am

    Herein we find a conundrum.

    Some debates, even some of them posed politely and with apparent rational thought, are not in fact debates. They are assaults upon a community, intended to degrade it, disrupt it, destroy it.

    Clark may disagree in principle, but this is a well known issue. Cf Shirky's "A Group is its own worst Enemy."

    On a thread started to criticize censorship, I must now point out that this thread has attracted those who are here to destroy, not build, and failure of the community leaders to defend it will lead to its lessening and if left unchecked, destruction.

    This is not rational debate. You are in the muck with the pigs. Deal with the real problem. Do you value Popehat? Sure, total transparency in defensive measures may be more your style. But acknowledge, respond, end the threat.

  277. VD  •  Sep 15, 2013 @4:39 am

    Satire, another thing Beale finds hard to understand. And this wasn't even the tricky Pax-esque is-he-isn't-he sort. For all the "look at the mighty girth of my IQ", you really are a bit dim, aren't you?

    Yes, recognizing satire can be a bit difficult can't it? But where is your evidence that John Scalzi hasn't actually raped anyone? You haven't provided the slightest bit of good, solid, scientific evidence that John Scalzi has never raped or sexually assaulted anyone, despite the fact that we have him on record, in both voice recording and in print, declaring himself to be a rapist. Why do you hate science?

    Until you can provide scientific evidence that John Scalzi is not a rapist, I don't see how anyone can possibly take your position seriously.

    After jebus knows how many dodges, you have completely given up even attempting to explain how 4% neanderthal DNA fits into a Christian Creationist framework.</b.

    I'm not dodging at all. I'm simply not interested in explaining an obvious non-contradiction to anyone who fantasizes contradictions where it is obvious that none exist. Before Neanderthal DNA was discovered in modern humans, there were numerous theories concerning Neanderthals and the Biblical giants, nephilim, sons of god, and so forth.

    But your response consisted of a bizarre and odious racial theory involving human origins that you have clearly put a lot of time and thought into. If the subject doesn't interest you, why did you have the theory available to you at all?

    Because people who are considerably smarter than you have these things called "ideas". They don't necessarily have to go to a monastery and meditate for a year upon them. In this particular case, I was discussing Caesar's invasion of Gaul with someone and it occurred to me how long it had taken the Germans and Britons to go from naked savagery to advanced civilization. And then it occurred to me that that amount of time was about twice as long as Africa has been in contact with Europe. So, unless Africans, being more purely homo sapien sapien, can make that transition faster than Northern Europeans, their comparative inability to maintain and participate in advanced civilizations should have been anticipated. How can we rationally expect better results than the Romans would have expected from importing 200 thousand blue-bottomed Britons into Rome and giving them the vote?

    I have put very little time into refining or proving the time-to-civilization concept. If I do, I will probably do a series of blog posts on it, and then a book. As of now, it is simply an idea that is consistent with a number of observations one can readily make concerning various societies and their societal ills.

    But just as my original ideas concerning atheism being a consequence of brain abnormalities related to the autism spectrum and the statistical fact of religion not being a cause of the vast majority of war have been picked up by various scientists and academics and referenced in scientific journals like Nature, I expect others will pick up on my ideas on the subject and find support for them.

    I'm rather like Einstein in that way, you see. Although I'm a little disappointed that my proposal for changing the core mechanism of the Austrian Business Cycle hasn't been adopted by anyone yet.

    And that should suffice to answer everyone's questions for the nonce. If anyone wishes for a more substantive engagement, I'll be happy to continue the debate and give him as long a guest post as he might like.

  278. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 15, 2013 @4:46 am

    Brave, brave Sir Robin.

  279. Ashera  •  Sep 15, 2013 @6:12 am

    Please note, despite the user name, I am NOT Asher above (or the female version thereof).

    This is not rational debate. You are in the muck with the pigs. Deal with the real problem. Do you value Popehat? Sure, total transparency in defensive measures may be more your style. But acknowledge, respond, end the threat.

    I don't know, after having read through the entire thread, I think the policy of "more speech is better speech" is working exactly as intended.

  280. Chris  •  Sep 15, 2013 @8:08 am

    I don't know, after having read through the entire thread, I think the policy of "more speech is better speech" is working exactly as intended.

    A classic example of "freedom speech makes it much easier to spot the idiots."

  281. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @9:32 am

    @ Aaron

    So far you have likened criticism of Limbaugh to violence, in the form of lynching, and to censorship, in the form of silencing.

    I don't make an apriori distinction between physical and non-physical harm. Drop the apriorism.

    Condemning speech is not the same as suppressing it

    I have no problem with condemning speech … provided it is intellectually honest. The vast majority of accusations of "racism" are intellectually dishonest, which relates to the problem with Scalzi.

    The real issue is intellectual honesty.

  282. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @9:34 am

    @ handofgod137

    Wow. This place kind of got filthy with the Stormfront-lite crowd quick, didn't it?

    Ah, yes, descending from intellectual dishonesty to blatant lying, which often tends to be the logical consequence of intellectual dishonesty. Neither Beale, nor myself, is a a Stormfronter. But, fwiw, in my passing interactions with stormfronters I have found them more intellectually honest than the average leftist by a fair bit.

  283. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @9:41 am

    @ Dan

    the extent of Asher's knowledge of the military is gathered from military science fiction novels.

    I have never read a scifi novel in my life. The last time I read any fantasy was Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth. Maybe ten years ago I read Neal Stephenson's Cyrptonomicon and Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire. Prior to that I read Tolkein in my middle teens. I simply find fiction very boring. Ninety percent of what I've read in my lifetime is from philosophy, science, history or the Bible.

    BTW, the ASVAB and it's relation to the general factor of intelligence is a thoroughly discussed topic. It's not like one day I realized on my own that OMG! the ASVAB has some(sic) correlation to intelligence.

  284. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @9:43 am

    @ Dan

    A person who with an average intelligence and twenty years of service in the military would have a lower understanding of the relation between ASVAB and intelligence than would someone with a very high intelligence who spent several hours reading up on the subject.

  285. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @9:45 am

    we puny fools couldn't handle your brilliance

    Brilliance is simply demonstrated by the ability to argue for one's position and to respond to one's opponents. Nothing more.

  286. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @9:47 am

    @ Asheara

    I don't know, after having read through the entire thread, I think the policy of "more speech is better speech" is working exactly as intended.

    This is what's known as insinuation without argument. It's intellectually dishonest. If something I've said is so obviously incorrect then it should be easy to point out exactly how it is so. But you don't, therefore, the most logical explanation is that you can't. Since you can't you resort to mere insinuation.

    Notice that most of the "leftish" commenters aren't even bothering to argue for any position.

  287. Ashera  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:00 am

    This is what's known as insinuation without argument. It's intellectually dishonest. If something I've said is so obviously incorrect then it should be easy to point out exactly how it is so.

    I don't need to argue with you to think you are a disgusting human being. The reason for that is because I can plainly see everything you have written (e.g. free speech). No argument is required.

  288. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:03 am

    The answer "divergent evolution" is a perfectly reasonable and logical answer to the question of "why do white people have better outcomes than black people". It may not even be correct, or may be only partially correct, however, to simply respond to it by shrieking "racism!" is blatant intellectual dishonest, the basic problem with Scalzi.

    The thing about labels in human language is that they tend to develop categorical characteristics, unless that tendency is rigorously resisted. At this point, the term "racism" is incapable of distinguishing between Adolph Hitler and some decent and respectful individual who holds the position that there has been some divergent evolution in the human species over the past 100k years.

    And that is why the term is meaningless.

    BTW, the Nazi Party held to a notion of racial metaphysical essentialism that every single race-realist explicitly rejects.

  289. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:12 am

    Let me offer a piece of evidence for this discussion. I was raised in a very poor, religious family with seven kids. Amusingly, my mother kept me out of Sunday School because she considered it morally corrupting, and, needless to say, I was homeschooled. My math education consisted of her teaching me through long division and then buying me textbooks to read and from which to teach myself.

    The first math class I ever attended was third-quarter calc for science majors. I four-ohed it.

    Now, during grad school I tutored at a private tutoring service and saw a wide range of students in their attempts to learn math. Some had a slacker personality who just need to be reminded of the specific definitions of various terms not in use in general conversations. Others were able to get through calculus with a fair amount of drilling in formulas (which is not the sort of calc class for science majors). Still others could barely get a passing grade in Alegbra 2, and that onlly with massive amounts of drilling.

    You need a theory that can explain that diversity in manifest ability and "socioeconomic factors" is laughably inept at that. On the other hand, a general factor of intelligence fits and predicts such patterns quite well.

    One fact that should put to rest the notion that the black-white gap is a product of socioeconomics is that white students taking the SAT from households in the bottom quintile of household income outscore black students from households in the top quintile of household income.

  290. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:14 am

    @ VD

    I'll be happy to continue the debate and give him as long a guest post as he might like.

    Can anyone even imagine Scalzi making such an offer??

  291. David  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:22 am

    Brilliance is simply demonstrated by the ability to argue for one's position and to respond to one's opponents. Nothing more.

    That's a rather impoverished definition of "brilliance", and thus a waste of a pretty good metaphor.

  292. Ahkbar  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:26 am

    Could you please cite actual evidence for your various assertions?

    For instance:

    The US military applies what is, essentially, an iQ test to recruiting policies. By current standards, approximately half of American blacks lack the intellectual capacity to be front line grunts in a modern military. now, this criterion is not some arbitrary line set up for the purposes of "white privilege" but is a product of trial and error used to produce a functional fighting force.

    One fact that should put to rest the notion that the black-white gap is a product of socioeconomics is that white students taking the SAT from households in the bottom quintile of household income outscore black students from households in the top quintile of household income.

    A person who with an average intelligence and twenty years of service in the military would have a lower understanding of the relation between ASVAB and intelligence than would someone with a very high intelligence who spent several hours reading up on the subject.

    I'm sure there are others.

    I would assume that someone with as much knowledge about intellectual honesty would not simply make assertions without any reasonable evidence.

  293. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:38 am

    @Asher

    @ handofgod137

    Wow. This place kind of got filthy with the Stormfront-lite crowd quick, didn't it?

    Wasn't me. Although, to be fair, I totally agree with however posted it. Do you get spittle on your monitor when you type?

  294. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:47 am

    @David

    That's a rather impoverished definition of "brilliance", and thus a waste of a pretty good metaphor.

    Careful you don't inspire him to demonstrate his brilliance further: he could annex the Sudetenland or invade Poland, powered only by his vast rage at Scalzi.

  295. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:49 am

    @ Ahkbar

    A) http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/1997whygmatters.pdf Franky, it is evidence to the power of political correctness that you're not aware of the massive amount of discussion and literature on the general factor of intelligence. I just randomly picked the first thing that came up.

    B) There's wikipedia page that discusses comparative educational stats between whites and blacks. What blows my mind is that you're not already aware of it. Just more evidence of the power of political correctness.

    C) This one is a bit more difficult. When you say "evidence" I suspect you mean laboratory tests that conform to nothing ore than the rules of inductive reasoning. Up through the early middle ages deductive reasoning was all the rage. Since then inductive reasoning has come to dominate, with its high tide being middle of last century.

    The reality is that human understanding is equally a product of deductive and inductive reasoning and the simple "citation needed" is a surreptitious dismissal of deductive reasoning (and intellectually dishonesty).

    If you accept that there is some general factor of ability to learn (i.e. what we call intelligence) then it logically follows that a person with an exceptionally high ability to learn is going to understand the function of the ASVAB with no military service than the person with an average ability to learn but with twenty years of military service. Okay, you can reject a general factor of ability to learn but, then, it logically follows that everyone has equal abilities to learn – basically, blank slatism.

    Consider my definition of science that I tried to debate with Vox:

    Science is nothing more than the best physical explanation that best fits, explains and predicts the observable facts

    This is just a specific example of the folloowing definition of truth:

    Truth is an explanation that best fits, predicts and explains the observable facts

    Now, think of all of the social sciences together and their accumulated ability to give us truth. You have the two following competing states of human understanding:

    A) All the fields of human studies, including accepting a general factor of an ability to learn
    B) All the fields of human studies, including rejecting a general factor of an ability to learn

    Which of these states produces a better ability to fit, predict and explain the observable facts? That's my answer to your third query.

  296. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:52 am

    @ handofgod137

    Wasn't me. Although, to be fair, I totally agree with however posted it. Do you get spittle on your monitor when you type?

    Spoken like a 12 year old girl. Snark is for juvenile intellectual mediocrities.

  297. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:56 am

    powered only by his vast rage at Scalzi.

    Internet pscyhologizing is just another instance of intellectual dishonesty. Frankly, I have zero emotional connection to Scalzi, as a subject. I absolutely detest intellectual dishonesty so some of that might bleed over when discussing Scalzi but it has nothing to do with Scalzi, as a person. Any reading about Scalzi is going to elicit about the same emotional experience as reading about, say, Darius III; in short, a complete lack of any emotional experience.

    Scalzi is simply another object of my experience and there is no subjective component in how I experience "him".

  298. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:58 am

    @ handofgod

    What you (mis)interpret as rage is, merely, disgust and contempt.

  299. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:01 am

    The Asher doth protest too much, methinks.

  300. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:04 am

    Here's physicist, Steve Hsu on g (a general factor of ability to learn, ie. intelligence):

    although there is a weak correlation between g and SES, there are obviously huge variations in g within any particular SES group. Not all rich kids can master calculus, and not all disadvantaged kids read below grade level.

    If you posit SES as the sole predictor and explanation of understanding then there should be absolutely no variation outside of SES. It's really that simple and no amount of pseudointellectual, postmodern handwaving can make that go away. I mean, maybe genetics plays zero role in outcomes but SES is blatantly poor predictor, as there are huge variations within SES.

  301. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:07 am

    But, then, maybe Steve Hsu is the sole honorary Chinese member of Stormfront.

    You people REALLY need to expand your intellectual horizons because everything I'm seeing is ridiculously parochial.

  302. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:08 am

    @ handofgod

    The Asher doth protest too much, methinks.

    Insinuation without argument. Just more typical leftist intellectual dishonesty.

  303. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:11 am

    @Asher

    Insinuation without argument. Just more typical leftist intellectual dishonesty.

    Seriously mate, I'm past the argument stage. This is prodding with a stick then pointing and laughing.

  304. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:14 am

    @ handofgod

    The original quote from Shakespeare actually involved protestations that were disingenuous handwaving. In our interaction, you make an unsubstantiated insinuation and I respond in an direct and simple fashion. You are twisting and perveting what was a perfectly good quote.

    More intellectual dishonesty from you. Leftism tends to do that to the mind.

  305. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:16 am

    Seriously mate, I'm past the argument stage. This is prodding with a stick then pointing and laughing.

    then you're a childish dolt because I've mopped the floor of the leftists in this comment section.

  306. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:16 am

    handofgod, frankly, I cannot find even one serious sentence in all of your comments, here, combined.

  307. Ahkbar  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:28 am

    @Asher

    Reminding you of the responsibility to back up your own assertions with evidence does not imply lack of awareness on my part. It is not my responsibility to use my time to research your assertions.

    I would ask that you take your own advice regarding insinuation without argument.

    Regarding the ability to learn, taking as assumption that there is a general factor to learn, logically there is no reason that could both reach the same level of understanding regarding the role of the ASVAB. It may take the individual with the lower g to reach that level.

    But since g is a generalized factor, there could be potentially more facets to that comparison that deductive logic cannot possibly confirm it as reasonable fact. Thus, yes, I would accept some type of actual evidence; otherwise it is just your opinion and not a viable assertion.

  308. David  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:30 am

    because I've mopped the floor of the leftists in this comment section.

    Indeed you've made a spectacle of yourself. However, I'm afraid you fail to grasp the magnitude of the delta between your self-appraisal and the reasonable inferences about you and your views that your discourse and other behaviors here actually support.

  309. Aaron  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:41 am

    I don't make an apriori distinction between physical and non-physical harm.

    In other words, you conflate criticism (criticism is not "non-physical harm," unless you think speech should be free of social consequences) and physical harm out of willful dishonesty.

    In other flaws, you assume everyone who doesn't agree with you is a "leftist," and you consistently double-, triple-, and even quadruple-post.

    And now look, I've gotten myself dragged into this. I'll drag myself out of it. Bye!

  310. John Cain  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:41 am

    Yes, you can win comment threads. You're a true alpha, brah.

    Clark, you suck.

  311. En Passant  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:56 am

    George William Herbert wrote Sep 15, 2013 @4:21 am:

    This is not rational debate. You are in the muck with the pigs. Deal with the real problem. Do you value Popehat? Sure, total transparency in defensive measures may be more your style. But acknowledge, respond, end the threat.

    I, for one, welcome our new genetically and intellectually superior overlords.

  312. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:03 pm

    @ Ahkbar

    logically there is no reason that could both reach the same level of understanding regarding the role of the ASVAB. It may take the individual with the lower g to reach that level.

    Absolutely false. By this reasoning everyone should be capable of being a theoretical physicist and that the only difference between the janitor mopping the floor and the theoretical physicist is "education", another term that has come to take the form of a magical incantation. Further, even were this true, you would need a metric and a explanatory theory for this phenomenon.

    in almost any endevour there is a ceiling on the ability to learn (intelligence) required to achieve full understanding. Consider the equation 1+1=2; is there any reason to believe that some average person understands that any less than Bohr, Einstein or Feynman?

    Anyways, one of the bizarre but logical conclusions to rejecting a general factor in ability to learn is that you end up with the conclusion that everyone, from conception, is equally capable of becoming a theoretical physicist. The obvious reality is that social science that incorporates a general factor of the ability to learn that is significantly genetic in origin explains the world better, overall, than one without it.

  313. dontpanic  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:04 pm

    Can anyone even imagine Scalzi making such an offer??

    No more than I can see him offering to mud wrestle a pig, and for the same reason.

    I don't know what Hsu being a physicist has to do with knowledge about IQ/g, but what do I know I'm only an PhD physicist… Oh wait, since I'm a physicist I should be free to pontificate on subjects outside my field and I'm sure Asher will defer to my superior knowledge. It's just common sense.

  314. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:07 pm

    Indeed you've made a spectacle of yourself.

    Insinuation without argument, yet, more typical leftist intellectual dishonesty. In ancient greece in the agora if you failed to argue for your positions or failed to respond to another's positions you automatically lost regardless of the silliness of the other guy's positions and this is because if you dont argue for your positions then you have nothing besides whimsy and diktat.

    The silliness/seriousness of my position is rather irrelevant because I am the only one, here, who's even bothering to produce an argument. i am making a spectacle …of you.

  315. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:08 pm

    No more than I can see him offering to mud wrestle a pig, and for the same reason.

    Question begging. you are insinuating that Vox is akin to a pig in the mud without, actually bothering to argue for your insinuation.

    Typical leftist intellectual dishonesty.

  316. Ken White  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:09 pm

    Asher:

    Since subtlety is lost on you, let me be more explicit: this is our living room. I find the presence of a lynching apologist to be entirely repulsive, made more so by your protestations of intellectual superiority. You are unwelcome. A normal person would have perceived that already. Your failure to suggests that you are trolling and indifferent to social signals or somehow incapable of interpreting them.

    Go. Go somewhere and tell how you trounced all the inferior libruls, some of whom no doubt were dark-hued. Go elsewhere and explain to other people in need of enlightenment how lynching is misunderstood.

    Stand not on the order of your going.

  317. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:16 pm

    since I'm a physicist I should be free to pontificate on subjects outside my field </b.

    Physicists, like hsu and Cochrane, who take an interest in genetics and evolutionary theory tend to be more brilliant and insightful than individuals who get a formal phd in genetics.

    this is because physics attracts individuals with an average ability to learn that is higher than any other field. if you spent a bunch of time studying genetics, human behavior and evolutionary theory then you would be able to make cogent arguments regarding those subjects, as opposed to sounding like a snarky 12 year old girl.

    I'm sure Asher will defer to my superior knowledge

    A phd in physics denotes a very high degree of ability to learn things. That you are ignorant of these subjects merely denotes that you have spent your time learning other things. your ignorance is obvious and logically inferred from any lack of substantive argument.

    if you were knowledgeable on these subjects then you should be able to construct logical and reasonable arguments pertaining to them. occam's razor, that you do not implies that you cannot. The upside is that you clearly are capable of becoming non-ignorant of these subjects.

  318. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:16 pm

    Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.

  319. Asher  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:22 pm

    @ Ken White

    this is our living room.

    So, this place is more of a social club than one devoted to serious intellectual discussion. fair enough.

    Shooting fish in a barrel only stays fun for so long. Off to soccer.

    Since subtlety is lost on you,

    In my experience, protestations of subtlety are usually just indications that one is an intellectual lightweight.

    Your failure to suggests that you are trolling and indifferent to social signals or somehow incapable of interpreting them.</b.

    Neither. It means that I don't care, which is not the same thing as trolling.

    I find the presence of a lynching apologist

    This statement indicates a highly parochial mind. The history of our species is one that makes the Jim Crow era in the south look like a walk in the park What you are doing is setting up a false dichotomy that one is either a committed ideological anti-racist or one is a lynching apologist. Frankly, that you interpreted my comments as a lynching apology says little about me an a lot about you.

    I will leave you guys to your safe, little social clubhouse. have fun.

  320. Ken White  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:26 pm

    Asher is gone. It would be uncouth to speak of him once he is gone. Let us hear no more of or about him.

  321. JT  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:33 pm

    Unless I missed it, in the discussion of ASVAB no one so far has raised the problematic nature of generalizing data taken from a self-selecting group. Entrance exam takers are self-selecting groups which makes the data biased. In statistics, when you're representing a population using a sample, the size of the sample is less important than the selection methodology of the sample. A random sample, where everyone in the population has an equal and independent chance of being chosen for the sample, is the ideal. A convenience sample is useless.

    Entrance exams are also not intended to be samples of anything, but instead are used as gatekeeping and placement mechanisms.

  322. JT  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:36 pm

    Also, about 13 comments appeared in the time it took me to type mine, lest I be accused of beating a dead pony.

  323. Kat  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:36 pm

    I'm afraid you fail to grasp the magnitude of the delta between your self-appraisal and the reasonable inferences about you and your views that your discourse and other behaviors here actually support.

    The Dunning-Kruger Effect.

    Researchers have found that the more confident someone is about an ability, the worse their aptitude scores regarding that ability are likely to be. They also found that truly competent people consistently underrate themselves and consistently estimate their skills as being about average across a wide range of skillsets.

    As Figure 2 clearly illustrates, it was participants in the bottom quartile (n = 11) who overestimated their logical reasoning ability and test performance to the greatest extent. Although these individuals scored at the 12th percentile on average, they nevertheless believed that their general logical reasoning ability fell at the 68th percentile and their score on the test fell at the 62nd
    percentile. Their estimates not only exceeded their actual percentile scores, fs(10) = 17.2 and 11.0, respectively, ps < .0001, but exceeded the 50th percentile as well, fs(10) = 4.93 and 2.31, respectively, ps < .05. Thus, participants in the bottom quartile not only overestimated themselves but believed that they were above average. Similarly, they thought they had answered 14.2 problems correctly on average—compared with the actual mean score of 9.6, r(10) = 7.66, p < .0001.

    Other participants were less miscalibrated. However, as Figure 2 shows, those in the top quartile once again tended to underestimate their ability. Whereas their test performance put them in the 86th percentile, they estimated it to be at the 68th percentile and estimated their general logical reasoning ability to fall at only the 74th percentile, fs(12) = 3.55 and 2.50, respectively, ps < .05. Top-quartile participants also underestimated their raw score on the test, although this tendency was less robust, M = 14.0 (perceived) versus 16.9 (actual), r(12) = 2.15, p < .06

    The more someone insists that he or she is a genius, the less likely it is to be so. In fact, people who believe they are about average are more likely to be truly intelligent.

  324. Kat  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:40 pm

    Also, about 13 comments appeared in the time it took me to type mine, lest I be accused of beating a dead pony.

    Same. lol

  325. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:52 pm

    Well, to get back to the point of Clark's original piece, evidence suggests the "free for all" posting policy works as long as all involved agents act in a reasonable manner, but can deteriorate rapidly if one or more chooses not to. Going beyond the fact all posters are guests of the blog owners, and so should have no query with imposed standards of behaviour (I wouldn't dream of going into someone's living room and taking umbrage at not being able to act entirely as I wanted), shouldn't we also accept that certain blogs are likely targets for the more deranged, so a fast hand on the banhammer is entirely understandable?

  326. John Kindley  •  Sep 15, 2013 @12:59 pm

    JT: For the reason you mention I knew that I was being somewhat "intellectually dishonest" by arguing that the whiteness and ipso facto unintelligence of race realists was itself evidence against their hypothesis. It was as little relevant as pointing out that most gangbangers are black. In my defense, I only called it a "data point," and more's fair in rhetoric than in logic.

    For my part, after reading the Wikipedia articles on scientific racism and race and intelligence I was reminded anew of the "wisdom" of Colbert's schtick where he says "I don't see race." The scientists who say race is more of a social construct rather than a biological reality make sense to me. Unfortunately, because it's been treated as a reality throughout most of American history to notorious and odious effect we can't ignore those effects.

  327. dontpanic  •  Sep 15, 2013 @1:09 pm

    It just seems that a necessary corollary of Clark's TIFC rules is that one must at any time be willing to wrestle the pig.

    Ken's actions seem to imply that there are limits. And I'm just going to point out that there is a continuum of where to draw the line; of course everyone thinks their line is best.

    Does every multi-way conversation have to be Fight Club-ish? Or could, as earlier suggested, this lead to a distortion of the viewpoints represented that has nothing necessarily to do with the validity of their merits? And the environment within which such arguments becomes self-validating and insular?

    This is a discussion that's been held before; Clark's answer seems to be that his is the only valid approach. I think Scalzi disagrees but to acquiesce to Clark's call for a link is to accept Clark's premise.

  328. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 15, 2013 @1:17 pm

    Ken White

    Asher is gone. It would be uncouth to speak of him once he is gone. Let us hear no more of or about him.

    Glad I read this before I posted.

    John Kindley

    The scientists who say race is more of a social construct rather than a biological reality make sense to me. Unfortunately, because it's been treated as a reality throughout most of American history to notorious and odious effect we can't ignore those effects.

    But Kindley, race is real. Black people have darker skin, so all the bullshit we attribute to that must be real. /sarcasm

    Sorry, I wanted to get that in before someone else said it in earnest.

  329. dontpanic  •  Sep 15, 2013 @1:41 pm

    An analogy: requiring one to always explicitly reference whom you are talking about, Clark's original complaint, is like requiring one to always have a TV in your living room tuned to, say, the SciFy channel no matter what's on, be it a good show (rare), hilarious (Sharknado) or stupid (WWE) if I want to talk about any of those or the channel as a whole.

    If people want to go off and seek out the channel, fine. But I don't think it should be required that the host supply the feed. I do agree that sometimes Scalzi is a bit obscure in his indirect references and it becomes something of an in-joke to a limited audience. But that is, I think, a different complaint than Clark's (per the "updates")

  330. Matthew Cline  •  Sep 15, 2013 @1:41 pm

    @VD:

    Yes, recognizing satire can be a bit difficult can't it? But where is your evidence that John Scalzi hasn't actually raped anyone? You haven't provided the slightest bit of good, solid, scientific evidence…

    Until you can provide scientific evidence that John Scalzi is not a rapist, I don't see how anyone can possibly take your position seriously.

    Are you seriously suggesting that the scientific method be used to determine if a particular piece of writing is satire? If you aren't suggesting that, then you're being entirely too obtuse in whatever point you're trying to make.

  331. Kat  •  Sep 15, 2013 @1:47 pm

    @John Kindley @Jacob Schmidt The link I posted a bit earlier supports your views. http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/ViewPage.aspx?pageId=79 Unfortunately I've found that unless you post actual text from links instead of just the links themselves they tend to get ignored, and at the moment I'm not feeling patient enough to do that. :)

    But yes, the only reliable genetic indicators for race are all appearance-based and the author believes that race is a social construct. The author is also one of the pioneers of the field of molecular evolution, was a professor emeritus for Harvard, and is currently a Harvard researcher. So, not scientifically ignorant.

  332. John Kindley  •  Sep 15, 2013 @1:52 pm

    Kat, thanks! Much better than Wikipedia.

  333. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 15, 2013 @2:08 pm

    Kat

    But yes, the only reliable genetic indicators for race are all appearance-based and the author believes that race is a social construct.

    It get's worse than that. They aren't even that reliable. Within a given homogeneous culture they can be, but between cultures with infrequent contact, the definitions of a given race get warped. "Black" to south america, north america and Africa are three different "blacks." Plus, the definition of "white" has shifted immensely; it used to include Hispanics, for instance.

  334. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 15, 2013 @3:02 pm

    There appears to be a lot of evidence pointing to one or more extreme population bottlenecks in human history, resulting in a very homogeneous gene pool. Taking a direct quote from Wikipedia:

    There is about 2-3 times more genetic diversity within the wild chimpanzee populations on a single hillside in Gombe, than in the entire human gene pool

    Talking about "race" in that context seems utterly ridiculous.

  335. Kat  •  Sep 15, 2013 @3:17 pm

    @Jacob: Yep, pretty much!

    I count myself on the side of race being a social construct that allows people to find meaning in their lives. The worst thing by far that results of *not* thinking this way is the way that some people who are visually identified as "ethnic" sometimes get treated by people who do not visually identify as ethnic.

    For example, I'm half Italian and half Irish–I derive a great deal of pleasure out of enjoying my family's food and cultural traditions. In that sense, my "race" is a construct that allows me to more awesome things.

    However, my appearance reads as "white" because I've got blue eyes, dark brown hair, and light skin. So I don't experience the same drawbacks that someone who has darker skin experiences. And this is basically entirely because I happen to have parents who had light skin. So for example, I can safely maintain ties to my parents' culture without being accused of wanting to be needlessly special or not fully American.

    Ahhh, I could go on and on about this, so I guess it's best to stop there.

  336. Clark  •  Sep 15, 2013 @5:29 pm

    @Asher

    You do realize that the vast majority of lynchings had to do with real and heinous criminal acts and had nothing to do with being uppity.

    Do you have any evidence to support this position?

    "Had to do with" is a remarkably low bar; one can equally assert that many witch burnings "had to do with" real issues like crop failures. A vague connection does not mean that
    * there was an evil-doer
    * the evil-doer is correctly identified
    * the punishment fits the crime

  337. Clark  •  Sep 15, 2013 @5:36 pm

    @HandOfGod137

    There is about 2-3 times more genetic diversity within the wild chimpanzee populations on a single hillside in Gombe, than in the entire human gene pool

    Talking about "race" in that context seems utterly ridiculous.

    I stake out absolutely no position on the greater race issue, but just to fight about math (nerrrrdss!) I'd argue that until we understand what genes control what, metrics like this are useless. One can imagine a population of integers. In pool A the integers are all either binary
    1000000000000000 (decimal 32,768) or binary 0000000000000000 (decimal 0). In pool B we have every possible distribution of values in the low 8 bits, from 0000000000000000 (decimal 0) to 0000000011111111 (decimal 256)

    Pool A has only 2 types (very low diversity). Pool B has 256 types (very high diversity). Yet considered as integers pool A has radically different elements while pool B has pretty much just one type with a very minor bit of variation.

  338. Clark  •  Sep 15, 2013 @5:39 pm

    @dontpanic

    But I don't think it should be required that the host supply the feed.

    Required?

    Not in a legal sense, certainly not.

    But perhaps in a moral sense. Or, rather, something even weaker than that.

    In a sporting sense.

    I do agree that sometimes Scalzi is a bit obscure in his indirect references

    I think it's worse than obscure. I read it as status posturing, with (near) zero risk. Which I don't considering sporting. Scalzi is entirely entitled to not care what I consider sporting. So be it. I, likewise, am entirely free to think poorly of him.

  339. Clark  •  Sep 15, 2013 @5:45 pm

    @HandOfGod137

    Well, to get back to the point of Clark's original piece, evidence suggests the "free for all" posting policy works as long as all involved agents act in a reasonable manner

    Restated: "anarchtopia works well for small groups of a similar culture, but it doesn't work in large diverse populations". …which is a criticism of my preferred ancap stance that I've heard from many corners.

    And … huh … I'm just now realizing a parallel I'd not seen before: my ideal moderation policy and ideal blog population have a lot of parallels with how I think government should be run (or, rather, not run).

    Starkly obvious, in retrospect, but I'd not seen it.

    shouldn't we also accept that certain blogs are likely targets for the more deranged, so a fast hand on the banhammer is entirely understandable?

    I understand it, sure.

    I think, though, that power corrupts.

    Remind me again – who is it that chose this image as his public face on Twitter?



    Who is it that named his book of essays after his tool for banning people?

    Moderation may be necessary, but it's a rare person indeed who can pick up a tool of eldritch power and not be corrupted by it.

  340. Clark  •  Sep 15, 2013 @5:48 pm

    @John Cain

    Clark, you suck.

    Excuse me?

  341. John Kindley  •  Sep 15, 2013 @6:44 pm

    The power to ban commenters corrupts? You do realize what went on while you absent from your post, don't you? You do realize that after superhuman forbearance and obvious reluctance to implement the final solution Ken stepped in to do what was necessary? You do realize that the specific offense cited in the expulsion was "lynching apologetics," that Ken instructed the rest of us not to talk about the expelled behind his back after his expulsion, and that you finally returned to engage the expelled to argue with the expelled on his lynching apologia, as if it was a fit subject for cicil debate and as if you weren't aware of his expulsion? This whole sequence suggests your philosophy or lack thereof on blog moderation could use some serious reconsideration.

  342. John Cain  •  Sep 15, 2013 @6:46 pm

    @Clark: In that your opinion of people is more influenced by their commenting policy than their willingness (however reluctantly) to commit ethnic cleansing.

  343. Dave Ruddell  •  Sep 15, 2013 @6:58 pm

    @John Cain: I had noticed that as well.

  344. Clark  •  Sep 15, 2013 @7:03 pm

    @John Kindley

    The power to ban commenters corrupts?

    Yes.

    You do realize what went on
    while you absent from your post, don't you?

    You're referring to Ken banning Asher, yes?

    I disagree with that decision. I thought that Asher added to the conversation and raised good points. I disagreed with him on several topics, but I didn't want him banned.

    You do realize that after
    superhuman forbearance and obvious reluctance to implement the final
    solution Ken stepped in to do what was necessary?

    "Superhuman", huh?

    "Necessary", huh?

    No. I realize nothing of the kind.

    You do realize that the specific offense cited in the expulsion was "lynching apologetics"

    I found Asher's lynching apologetics factually unsound and asked him for footnotes. If (when) he failed to provide them I would have demanded that he retract the assertion.

    that Ken instructed the rest of us not to talk about the expelled behind his back after his expulsion, and that you finally returned to engage the expelled to argue with the expelled on his lynching apologia , as if it was a fit subject for cicil debate and as
    if you weren't aware of his expulsion?

    Let's phrase this another way.

    "Clark, you read the comments from the top down and replied to them as you went, didn't you?"

    Yes, John, I did.

    "Clark, you understand that I don't care that you read the comments from the top down, and I'm going to construe a wild theory about you, don't you?"

    Yes, John, I realize that now.

    "Clar, you realize that I've been specially deputized by Ken to enforce the laws of Popehat, and Ken cares more about my interpretation of events than he does the word of his co-blogger, don't you?"

    No, John, I'm not so sure about that.

    This whole sequence suggests your philosophy or lack thereof on blog moderation could use some serious reconsideration.

    The facts that

    (1) you were able to generate one, and only one, hypothesis to explain why I might have left one response to Asher, and then stopped responding to Asher…and
    (2) your hypothesis was dead wrong, and
    (3) you are arrogant enough and angry enough to presume to lecture a co-blogger at Popehat over proper Popehat etiquette, and
    (4) you further impute philosophical corruption to me

    suggests that – pending a bit of thing and then a retraction / apology on your part – you're not someone I need to take seriously as an intellectually honest debater.

  345. Clark  •  Sep 15, 2013 @7:04 pm

    @John Cain

    @Clark: In that your opinion of people is more influenced by their commenting policy than their willingness (however reluctantly) to commit ethnic cleansing.

    Can you point me to any place that have I supported ethnic cleansing?

    @Dave Ruddell

    @John Cain: I had noticed that as well.

    Dave, please also point to your evidence.

  346. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 15, 2013 @7:06 pm

    Moderation may be necessary, but it's a rare person indeed who can pick up a tool of eldritch power and not be corrupted by it.

    The only greater threat than Cthulhu is comment moderation.

  347. John Kindley  •  Sep 15, 2013 @7:21 pm

    "intellectually honest" Who did I hear that very phrase from over, and over, and over?

    No apology or retraction will be forthcoming from me, pal. I'll just presume I'm henceforth not welcome to comment on your posts. Fine by me

  348. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 15, 2013 @7:28 pm

    Can you point me to any place that have I supported ethnic cleansing?

    Uhh, that isn't the complaint. The complaint is that, apparently, a poor moderation policy incites greater reaction from you than support for ethnic cleansing. That's being taken as an indication of your priorities.

  349. Kat  •  Sep 15, 2013 @7:30 pm

    I actually had gotten the impression that Asher had just flounced, not necessarily been banned. (Either way is fine by me.)

  350. Clark  •  Sep 15, 2013 @7:34 pm

    @Jacob Schmidt:

    Can you point me to any place that have I supported ethnic cleansing?

    Uhh, that isn't the complaint. The complaint is that, apparently, a poor moderation policy incites greater reaction from you than support for ethnic cleansing. That's being taken as an indication of your priorities.

    Can you point me to any place where I treated the topic of ethnic cleansing at all, let alone treated it as less serious that blog moderation?

  351. Clark  •  Sep 15, 2013 @7:43 pm

    @John Kindley

    "intellectually honest" Who did I hear that very phrase from over, and over, and over?

    Is that supposed to be some sort of rebuttal?

    No apology or retraction will be forthcoming from me, pal.

    The lack is only to your own discredit.

    I'll just presume I'm henceforth not welcome to comment on your posts. Fine by me

    You're welcome to comment on anything you want. Just because you're not big enough to admit that you were factually incorrect and attacked me as dishonest when I was not is no reason that you can't express your opinion.

  352. John Cain  •  Sep 15, 2013 @7:43 pm

    What Jacob said.

    Also that Clark seems to care about the manner in which opinions are provided and not care a whit about the contents of those opinions. So Pax and Vox are honest about their racism and misogyny, which makes them courageous heroes, while Scalzi bans commenters thus is History's Greatest Monster. I find this all very stupid.

  353. Dave Ruddell  •  Sep 15, 2013 @7:54 pm

    Beale supports ethnic cleansing, however reluctantly. Even said so in this thread. Scalzi bans commenters he thinks are being assholes. Beale is an inveterate racist (and race baiter). Scalzi doesn't fight like a man. Beale has disingenuously called Scalzi a rapist . Scalzi is prissy.

    You have seen fit to criticize Scalzi; I have not seen any similar criticism of Beale here, even after the comments he's made in this thread. (although in the 350+ comments I may have missed it).

    In short, I agree with John Cain; your preoccupation with form over content makes you look foolish.

  354. John Kindley  •  Sep 15, 2013 @7:56 pm

    Clark: In no way did I attack you as "dishonest." It is mind-boggling how you could read that into my comment. Asher was stinking this place up to high heaven. It really is hard to count and pinpoint the ways, but they're there for all to see. Popehat has a very liberal commenting policy, to its great credit. Only rarely and judiciously does it bring the hammer down. But there's a limit, beyond which one clown can make civil debate for every one else impossible.

  355. Clark  •  Sep 15, 2013 @7:59 pm

    @Dave Ruddell

    Beale supports ethnic cleansing

    I didn't realize that; I've only ready about half of this thread. Well, in case it wasn't already clear, I utterly reject the morality of displacing people from their homes.

    You have seen fit to criticize Scalzi; I have not seen any similar criticism of Beale here

    I also haven't criticized Mao in this thread. Is my willingness to attack Scalzi for being passive agressive while refusing to call out Mao for mass murder proof that I'm a pro-genocide Marxist?

    In short, I agree with John Cain; your preoccupation with form over content makes you look foolish.

    I love how you arrive at "over". In the middle of topic A I had addressed topic A.

    Personally, Dave, I find the fact that you just typed three paragraphs about me while entirely ignoring the far worse crimes of Hitler to be apalling. Have you no sense of proportion?

    (There. See what a stupid tactic it is?)

  356. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 15, 2013 @8:01 pm

    Can you point me to any place where I treated the topic of ethnic cleansing at all, let alone treated it as less serious that blog moderation?

    No. What I can point to is a comment thread that contains comment supporting ethnic cleansing.* You have no reaction.

    Yet Scalzi clarifying his comment in a way you don't like policy get's a whole blog post.

    That seems indicative of your priorities. It's a datum. I will take it into account. Rest assured, you will not be judged solely on this, at least not by me.

    *To be fair, it was really "if you don't cleanse, society will collapse"

  357. Clark  •  Sep 15, 2013 @8:04 pm

    @John Kindley

    Clark: In no way did I attack you as "dishonest."

    I misread a comment. I retract that allegation and apologize.

    Asher was stinking this place up to high heaven.

    To be clear, "stinking the place up" means "stating opinions you disagree with" ?

    See, this is the core issue and the common theme running through the last few posts.

    My preferred method of debate is to call Asher out, get him to state his opinions crisply, then attack them with facts. After that he either retracts them or is revealed to be dishonest. This approach has positive externalities.

    You prefer a different approach: declare that his views are unpopular and beyond the bounds of propriety.

    It's a hell of a lot easier, but I think it has no positive externalities.

    It really is hard to count and pinpoint the ways, but they're there for all to see.

    "I have here in my pocket a list of 100 ways – I can't count them or pinpoint them, but …"

    You understand how ludicrous that sounds, right?

    This gets back to the same issue. Defeating wrong and/or evil opinions with facts and arguments takes work. Saying "I don't have to because it's obvious" is lazy.

    I reject the lazy approach.

  358. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 15, 2013 @8:04 pm

    Personally, Dave, I find the fact that you just typed three paragraphs about me while entirely ignoring the far worse crimes of Hitler to be apalling.

    Hitler isn't here arguing for his claims in your space. Further, Hitler is dead.

    (Analogies need to be analogous)

    Is my willingness to attack Scalzi for being passive agressive while refusing to call out Mao for mass murder proof that I'm a pro-genocide Marxist?

    Mao isn't here either. For that matter, the accusation was never one of supporting racism. I don't know why you feel the need to disavow support.

  359. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 15, 2013 @8:06 pm

    Crap. Hopefully that ridiculous fuck up above is still readable.

  360. Clark  •  Sep 15, 2013 @8:07 pm

    @Jacob Schmidt

    Can you point me to any place where I treated the topic of ethnic cleansing at all, let alone treated it as less serious that blog moderation?

    No. What I can point to is a comment thread that contains comment supporting ethnic cleansing.* You have no reaction.

    I haven't seen the comment. It's in this thread? I've searched for the phrase "ethnic cleansing" and not found it.

    Is it in some other thread, or is it expressed in other words so that a simple search wouldn't turn it up?

    Going meta, for a moment, may I point out how foolish it is to assume that someone's lack of response to one particular comment that may or may not be in one 300 response thread – or is perhaps in some other 300 response thread – is the same as an endorsement of those views?

  361. Clark  •  Sep 15, 2013 @8:08 pm

    *To be fair, it was really "if you don't cleanse, society will collapse"

    I just searched for this phrase too and did not find it. Please point me to it with a URL if you'd be so kind.

  362. Dave Ruddell  •  Sep 15, 2013 @8:12 pm

    Clark, there have been no support of Hitler or Mao in this thread, but I do congratulate you on the attempt at distraction. There has been a defense of ethnic cleansing. There has been a breathtakingly disingenuous accusation of a man being a rapist. Both of these have been made by the same individual, who seems to be okay in your books because of his very liberal commenting policy. Do you begin to see why some people believe your priorities are out of whack?

  363. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 15, 2013 @8:15 pm

    Here.

    It's perfectly plausible that Mr. Day means "Hey, I'm not saying you SHOULD expel all the minorities, I'm just saying that if you don't your society will collapse."
    Ken White

    That's precisely it.
    Vox Day

    (You coulda found that by searching "society will collapse"; I don't think you looked very hard)

    Going meta, for a moment, may I point out how foolish it is to assume that someone's lack of response to one particular comment that may or may not be in one 300 response thread – or is perhaps in some other 300 response thread – is the same as an endorsement of those views?

    I said "indicative", not "certainly".

    Once more, endorsement and support are not the criticisms here. Why the bloody hell do you think they are?

  364. John Kindley  •  Sep 15, 2013 @8:19 pm

    Clark: You're repeating and legitimizing Asher's complaint: that other commenters owed him "argument," when frankly it's evident that some people just aren't worth your time. Let me pinpoint just one thing he pulled. In response to something I wrote he said he said how he loved how "leftists" didn't understand statistics, because I didn't understand that racists like him weren't arguing that all blacks are dumber than all whites. So I had to waste my time responding that I did understand. And I'm having to waste my time again right now "pinpointing" this particular instance of incomprehension or intellectual dishonesty on his part. There were multiple such instances, which made me conclude he wasn't worth arguing with. Not everybody is worth our time.

  365. Mark - Lord of the Albino Squirrels  •  Sep 15, 2013 @8:25 pm

    Extrapolating from the One Ring analogy, some advice on resistance/immunity to "a tool of eldritch power".

    1) Keep a good supply of "water" on hand for yourself and your guests. The water may or may not actually be gin/vodka/everclear ("it seemed to be clear cold water, yet it went to their hearts like wine and set free their voices.")

    2) Have at some point a relationship with a member of the opposite sex that is *not* either doomed, epically tragic, or ridden with angst (Goldberry, Rosie, Eowyn… maybe)

    3) Easily defeat both evil trees (the left side of stupid/evil?) and barrow wights (the right side of stupid/evil?)

    4) Speak in verse/rhyme often

    5) Dress in a goofy manner

    6) *Be* eldritch power (the last four only really apply to Bombadil I guess)

    I know zero personal details about the bloggers at Popehat, but tend to think you guys have a at least of few of those traits/abilities covered, so not overly worried about corruption here. Judging from Frodo and Smeagol though, look out for heart pain/trouble and hair loss respectively.

  366. Zazlo  •  Sep 15, 2013 @8:39 pm

    Second year popehat reader, 6 month comments reader, first time commenter.

    I'm actually seeing a fair amount of intellectual dishonesty – or at least un-sporting behavior – all around here. To some of the recent commenter's credit, yes, both Asher and VD displayed some startling amounts of un-sporting behavior and intellectual dishonesty. And while, Clark, I understand you didn't see them, it's hard to imagine either of them (notably VD, who you have previously mentioned, and supported – not his content, but his rights, presumably as part of your enjoyment of defending the provocative) never behaved this way before; while, no, I don't have empirical data on this, it's overwhelmingly likely that it is endemic in their thinking and writing, and for you to have missed it, or passed over it due to defending-the-provocative concerns is troubling.

    For example, VD said this, which is as far to the outer bounds of disingenuous and intellectually dishonest as I've ever seen:

    "Yes, recognizing satire can be a bit difficult can't it? But where is your evidence that John Scalzi hasn't actually raped anyone? You haven't provided the slightest bit of good, solid, scientific evidence that John Scalzi has never raped or sexually assaulted anyone, despite the fact that we have him on record, in both voice recording and in print, declaring himself to be a rapist. Why do you hate science?
    Until you can provide scientific evidence that John Scalzi is not a rapist, I don't see how anyone can possibly take your position seriously."

    To presume that there is "good, solid, scientific evidence" that ANYONE has "never raped [...] anyone" is ridiculous. Unless we continuously videotaped an entire persons life (even sleeping – they might sleepwalk), it can't be done. It's a disingenuous request. As for the "record" – it was a cut-and-dry satirical piece, no question. Further, the corollary "I don't see how anyone could take your position seriously" is just insulting. This is the most egregious example, but not the only one.

    Interestingly, as for you view that the "it's obvious" is lazy, allow me to quote VD again:

    "I'm not dodging at all. I'm simply not interested in explaining an obvious non-contradiction to anyone who fantasizes contradictions where it is obvious that none exist."

    I agree that there's a point where discussion ends. There *are* some obvious things. Sometimes people pretend to be obtuse, and it becomes impossible to have a dialogue with them. Your point that had you seen that, you'd've asked for citations, and if he didn't give them, he'd have to retract does not work. It assumes every other commenter behaves reasonably. If you ask for proof, or a retraction, and he evades or reframes and insists you're wrong, then what? You say again "you didn't provide any citations, so do so or retract?" And if he still does neither? If he makes it clear he will do neither? But then keeps commenting?

    I honestly would like to know what you'd do. I *do* think there should be blood-stained-concrete places. I'd like to go to places… sometimes. I also think there should be Ken's living room places, though.

    Moreover, though, to pretty much everyone here: you are all great in a lot of different ways. I love this site, and I love the bloggers and posts and comments and commenters. Even the ones that drive me totally bats.

    Okay, that's all for now, I guess.

  367. Zazlo  •  Sep 15, 2013 @8:48 pm

    Ugh: "I'd like to go to THOSE places… sometimes." Sorry.

  368. Chris  •  Sep 15, 2013 @8:58 pm

    I haven't seen the comment. It's in this thread? I've searched for the phrase "ethnic cleansing" and not found it.

    Among others, see the comment by VD on September 14, 2013 at 11:00am.

    http://www.popehat.com/2013/09/13/i-love-it-when-john-scalzi-subtweets/#comment-1112812

    Mr. White, what I think you're failing to recognize here is that I'm not an enthusiastic supporter of ethnic cleansing. It is merely that we now find ourselves in the situation of an effective multi-ethnic, multi-cultural state and I believe history suggests that expelling ethnic minorities is the least awful outcome of the present options.

  369. Ken White  •  Sep 15, 2013 @9:34 pm

    @John Kindley and @John Cain:

    I might disagree with Clark about the utility of dialogue with someone like Asher, or Vox Day. I might disagree with Clark about whether we should invite someone like Asher to depart. (I apologized to Clark privately not for quoting Lady MacBeth to Asher but for doing so without first speaking with Clark because it's his thread.)

    However, suggesting that Clark is somehow a supporter or apologist for Asher's view is ridiculous. Clark missed that I invited Asher to leave and suggested we not speak of him any more. If I felt tempted to throw the first stone over that I hope someone would forcibly remind me of how many times I have done the same thing. Clark has a record of defense of individual liberty that is the opposite of ethnic cleansing, which is a sign of unrestrained government power. Rather, Clark thinks that you deal with views like those of Asher by engaging them. I agree in some circumstances but not in my living room.

    It is also silly, in this instance or in general, to assert that someone supports a view because they do not go out of the way to attack it. It's silly in general, and it's silly in the context of a 300+ comment thread on the internet.

    Everybody simmer down.

  370. David  •  Sep 15, 2013 @9:49 pm

    It is also silly, in this instance or in general, to assert that someone supports a view because they do not go out of the way to attack it. It's silly in general, and it's silly in the context of a 300+ comment thread on the internet.

    Yeah– what's up with that? There's nothing indecent or irresponsible about scoping, focusing, and bracketing out. Nobody bears the burden to discuss everything else that might be relevantly discussed in addition to what he's actually discussing.

  371. Ken White  •  Sep 15, 2013 @9:53 pm

    Whenever David agrees with me I always suspect he's pointing out that I've acted inconsistently recently.

    It's my issue; I'm getting therapy from it.

  372. John Kindley  •  Sep 15, 2013 @9:58 pm

    Well, allow me to apologize to Clark for my strident tone. It really is no business of mine how Ken or Clark chooses to moderate the blog, and I mean that, with no snark intended. I mean, it seemed to me Asher was really cluttering the place up, but having determined for myself that he was a clown / troll it was no big deal to simply stop talking with him and ignore his comments, and other commenters could do the same, and the suggestion of one commenter that Popehat was inviting its own destruction by failing to take out the trash seemed a little overwrought.

    All you guys are great.

  373. grung0r  •  Sep 15, 2013 @9:58 pm

    I had loads of fun why you were gone Clark. My favorite part was when Vox Day admitted that he thinks that the 4% of DNA he believes makes Eurasians superior comes from the nephelim(who were the Neanderthals, apparently). Now that your back though, would you do me a solid and get back to your hyperbolic list of people whom you have defended? Because I noted at the time you left that your list(even given that it had a very lose definition of "defense") lacked any women. I just want to know if you regard this as incorrect, or regard it as a personal failing of yours.

  374. Chris  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:09 pm

    Getting back to the subject of comment moderation. Clark, what do you think about blog commenting software that offers an "ignore user" option? This essentially gives each reader the ability to moderate the site for themselves as they see fit.

  375. Ken White  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:17 pm

    Because I noted at the time you left that your list(even given that it had a very lose definition of "defense") lacked any women. I just want to know if you regard this as incorrect, or regard it as a personal failing of yours.

    It's likely that some of the people who would — or will — die in air strikes on Syria would be women, but perhaps Clark should have emphasized that, to curry favor with the sort of person who thinks it would be a serious point. Some of the protestors being killed in Egypt were women, but again, Clark was really dreadfully negligent in failing to call them out, possibly with a special graphic. Some of the people killed because we use platitudes to distance ourselves from tyranny are women, but Clark has not sufficiently labeled them as such.

    Really, Clark. What's the deal? It's almost as if you think women are part of humanity.

  376. David  •  Sep 15, 2013 @10:18 pm

    @Ken White, Not taking aim atcha. I commented on the "but what about ismism?!" fallacy because it's a pet peeve of mine.

  377. George William Herbert  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:06 pm

    Ashera:
    I don't know, after having read through the entire thread, I think the policy of "more speech is better speech" is working exactly as intended.

    Chris:
    A classic example of "freedom speech makes it much easier to spot the idiots."

    There is a point there. But the value is a curve, with a peak and then decreased value.

    Again – you are hear to learn and intellectually grow; THEY were here to destroy and disrupt. They will not respond and change their views no matter how much you demonstrate alternate evidence, theories, and arguments. They do not believe in a liberal, open, rights-respecting diverse society. They literally believe some participants here are subhuman and without inherent rights or values.

    Once that is evident, you have learned all you are going to, and all continuing to debate does is further their goal to disrupt and destroy.

  378. George William Herbert  •  Sep 15, 2013 @11:25 pm

    John Kindley:
    and the suggestion of one commenter that Popehat was inviting its own destruction by failing to take out the trash seemed a little overwrought.

    I commend to everyone: http://www.shirky.com/writings/group_enemy.html

    The Internet as a social phenomena has almost 30 years of history. I have 25 years experience with this. Nick Weaver has over 20. The number of destroyed or gutted net communities in those years are quite high. Patterns are evident: Shirky articulated, but many of us understood it instinctively a decade before the 2003 essay.

    These things matter.

    One discussion might not gut Popehat, no matter how bad it turned. But getting that group's attention and assuming rational debate will carry the day is sadly and predictably a very common path to the death of places like this.

    Those people don't want your mind. They despise all the site's principals stand for, and want it wrecked.

  379. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 16, 2013 @12:24 am

    Without getting into any "he said she said" drama, this thread does seem to provide good evidence of how ideals of reasonable discussion fail in the presence of nutters. Once you have posters who are prepared to launch a Gish-gallop of multiple posts, dominating the discussion with views both distasteful and intransigent, you kill the discussion. It is a monologue.

    Idealism is all well and good, but when the other players don't have the same goals as you (and are in fact attempting to win by loot and pillage, so they can return to their tribe and impress the other Alphas and possibly be allowed to mate, horrible as that thought is), I can see no other option than inviting them to leave. Unilaterally, if that is what it takes.

  380. Anony Mouse  •  Sep 16, 2013 @12:35 am

    Asher was stinking this place up to high heaven. It really is hard to count and pinpoint the ways, but they're there for all to see.

    On most keyboards, there is a key labeled "PgDn" or sometimes "Page Down". You may find it most effective in skipping over Popehat comments you don't like. The spacebar will also work.

    I know it's the internet, but you are allowed to ignore people you disagree with. It just takes self control.

  381. grung0r  •  Sep 16, 2013 @1:43 am

    @ken

    My point was that Clark relases +2000 word screeds in the defense of what are all pretty much white, right wing, heterosexual males. for this, I accused Clark of the thing he rails against so much: Tribalism. Clark responded with a highly inflated list(most of them not really defenses of someone at all, but were all just just short blurbs attacking state power) and yet, even taking the list at face value, he never defended ANY woman.

    I'm sure Clark thinks women are part of humanity, but I don't think he thinks it's worth his time defending one, what when a white misogynistic vilely racist dude needs an assist in his silly blog war, or when a white misogynistic vilely racist dude needs help because he got fired for saying those things in the name of a large company he works for. That's all. Seems a lot like tribalism to me.

  382. Clark  •  Sep 16, 2013 @4:18 am

    @Ken White

    Whenever David agrees with me I always suspect he's pointing out that I've acted inconsistently recently.

    And, heck, when David agrees with me that's even more surprising – especially given that I was a dick to him in the Popehat author forums last night.

    Thank you, David, for your defense, and for putting up with me when I'm sleep deprived and cranky because of a long weekend of all errands and no fun.

  383. Clark  •  Sep 16, 2013 @4:34 am

    grungor:

    I accused Clark of the thing he rails against so much: Tribalism.

    I plead absolutely guilty.

    This is a failing (and I believe I have called it out – against myself – in one or two mea culpa asides).

    I strive to be more inclusive in my sympathies and have a long way to go.

    I'm sure Clark thinks women are part of humanity, but I don't think he thinks it's worth his time defending one

    It depends on the case.

    I personally don't have many receptors for "someone (white, black, male, female) is doesn't get a promotion they deserve" outrage, so I'm unlikely to fire off a glass ceiling screed. I have an overabundance of "someone (white, black, male, female) got shot by guys in uniforms" outrage, so I'm more likely to write about police abuses.

    If I happened to come across an article about a hooker who was raped by a cop, you can be sure I'd compose a screed about it.

    The Pax thing was a one-off, because it was about the startup tech world, and because I "know" the guy in that I check him out on twitter and am amused at some of his fights.

    People are trying to conflate my explication of Pax (note: explication but not defense – I note for the 400th time that Pax deserved to get fired and I'll add to that that I would not hire him now because of his reputation) with an asserted defense of Vox.

    I do not defend Vox. I have not purchased Vox's books. I do not subscribe to his RSS feed. I have never read his worldnet daily columns. Somehow because I do read Scalzi's blog and have some issues with him, this means that I am a whole-hearted supporter of Vox? There are more than two sides to this fight, and I stake out the "these dudes both have issues side".

    when a white misogynistic vilely racist dude needs an assist in his silly blog war

    This. Right here. I didn't post "Vox is pretty cool." I posted "John Scalzi is thin skinned and censorious, but it's not cool of Vox to shame him with a picture of Scalzi in a dress." Then, when Scalzi got passive-agressive about me for the same level of criticism that I dish out to my blog friend Ken, I responded to the fact that a guy with 52,442 twitter followers was telling them half the story.

    In retrospect it was probably a silly waste of my time to even care that Scalzi was subtweeting, but please note that my argument was "he's subtweeting about me", not "how dare John Scalzi call out a creationist for believing that human racial differences are because of angels having sex with the Biblical Fathers (or whatever it is that Vox believes; I don't know and it sounds like I really don't want to know. I've mentioned my firm belief in evolution multiple times in passing.)

    tl;dr: you're absolutely right that I'm more tribal than I should be, but I'm not as tribal as you think I am, and by trying to make this a white-and-black "you're either with Scalzi or against him" issue, you're falling into the same tribalism trap and assuming that I'm a Vox partisan when I'm not.

  384. Clark  •  Sep 16, 2013 @4:42 am

    @George William Herbert

    John Kindley:

    and the suggestion of one commenter that Popehat was inviting its own destruction by failing to take out the trash seemed a little overwrought.

    I commend to everyone:

    Shirky's essay is a classic, and, yes, George is right that everyone should read it.

    I don't agree with it entirely (I'm partial to John Kindley's thoughts quoted above), but it's undeniably insightful.

    My favorite bit is this:


    The third pattern Bion identified: Religious veneration. The nomination and worship of a religious icon or a set of religious tenets. The religious pattern is, essentially, we have nominated something that's beyond critique. You can see this pattern on the Internet any day you like. Go onto a Tolkein newsgroup or discussion forum, and try saying "You know, The Two Towers is a little dull. I mean loooong. We didn't need that much description about the forest, because it's pretty much the same forest all the way."

    Try having that discussion. On the door of the group it will say: "This is for discussing the works of Tolkein." Go in and try and have that discussion.

    Now, in some places people say "Yes, but it needed to, because it had to convey the sense of lassitude," or whatever. But in most places you'll simply be flamed to high heaven, because you're interfering with the religious text.

    I run afoul of this all the time. I think TNH is a good editor but I mention in her blog that she is factually wrong about thing X, and I get disemvowled because the point of her blog is religious veneration of TNH. I go to Bng Bng and point out a historical inaccuracy in the comments about a president and it gets deleted because the point of the blog is religious veneration of a hip-San-Francisco world view and of Cry Dctrw. etc.

    There are two responses to this:

    1) stop trying to tack close to the wind and distinguish between things like "Pax Dickinson didn't make a black joke, he made a Mel Gibson joke" vs. "Pax Dickinson is a good person with impeccable taste and I'd hire him to do public relations for my company", or "John Scalzi is passive agressive" vs. "Vox Day is right about creationism".

    2) give up on most discussion fora

    I've chosen response #2. Perhaps, at some point, I will switch to #1.

  385. Grandy  •  Sep 16, 2013 @5:43 am

    @George William Herbert – I am well versed on Shirky's writings, as our several of the other authors at Popehat. I personally have helped run message boards for over 15 years, and participated in several other forms of internet discussion – from BBSes to Usenet – going back into the early 90s.

    Your comment was absolutely, 100% overwrought. The repeated invocation of Shirky as justification for your comments is ungainly at best.

  386. Mike  •  Sep 16, 2013 @6:54 am

    Clark – "I do not defend Vox. I have not purchased Vox's books. I do not subscribe to his RSS feed. I have never read his worldnet daily columns. Somehow because I do read Scalzi's blog and have some issues with him, this means that I am a whole-hearted supporter of Vox?"

    My assumption, at least, about you and Vox came from the "I think that John Scalzi . . . lies about his website traffic statistics" aside in your other post, since Vox has been beating that odd little drum for a while and I didn't think you'd independently reached the same conclusion while also happening to agree with him about the other Scalzi stuff.

  387. Clark  •  Sep 16, 2013 @7:17 am

    @Mike

    My assumption, at least, about you and Vox came from the "I think that John Scalzi . . . lies about his website traffic statistics" aside in your other post, since Vox has been beating that odd little drum for a while and I didn't think you'd independently reached the same conclusion while also happening to agree with him about the other Scalzi stuff.

    I've noted above that Michael Z Williamson, John Ringo, and Larry Correia have covered the FSWA/Vox/Scalzi fight.

    I don't think anyone can put a toe in either Scalzi's blog (which I used to read via RSS) or Vox's blog without wondering "what are these two on about", and being drawn into clicking a few links and becoming fascinated by the inanity of the fight.

    If you read science fiction and follow two or three authors online I don't think you can be ignorant of the whole thing. I'm not a Vox partisan, but I do admire the pugnacity of the man, and after Ringo (I think) linked to Vox, the most recent post I read at the latter's blog (a week or so ago) was about the website stats. Vox said something along the lines of "I'll publish my stats; Scalzi is passive agressive and won't publish his. Further, he's lying about this detail." I went over to Scalzi's blog and saw that Scalzi was using weasel words to neither confirm nor deny that Vox was right.

    Scalzi got roped into the Popehat thread because I was posting about Pax and internet shaming and I disliked Vox's dress-shaming. Seriously, go back and read the timeline of this whole thing.

    If you want to put me firmly into an ideological camp in the Great SF Author Fight of Twenty Aught Thirteen, then put me over with John C Wright and Michael Flynn who are debating much more interesting topics like mind/body duality and the history of astronomy.

    Your assumption, as noted above, is reasonable. Just not correct.

  388. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 16, 2013 @7:18 am

    Ken White

    However, suggesting that Clark is somehow a supporter or apologist for Asher's view is ridiculous.

    Again, didn't happen. I think this is the 4th time I've pointed this out.

    Really, Clark. What's the deal? It's almost as if you think women are part of humanity.

    :facepalm:

    It doesn't look good when the only time Clark defends women is when he's defending men at the same time.

    It's not even that damning a criticism. All it takes is some mild tribalism and a focus on issues that you personally care about (being male, he's less likely to be hurt by issues that affect primarily women) and bingo: you get an author who rarely defends women.

  389. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 16, 2013 @7:22 am

    Wait, nevermind. It happened once, waaaay up the thread.

  390. David  •  Sep 16, 2013 @7:32 am

    @George William Herbert

    The Internet as a social phenomena has almost 30 years of history. I have 25 years experience with this. Nick Weaver has over 20. The number of destroyed or gutted net communities in those years are quite high. Patterns are evident….

    One discussion might not gut Popehat, no matter how bad it turned. But getting that group's attention and assuming rational debate will carry the day is sadly and predictably a very common path to the death of places like this.

    You're right about this: Some people profess an enlightened commitment to genuine debate but instead exhibit toxic or maladjusted behaviors in actual discussions. Allowing unlimited disputation among such people in the name of pure reason, instead of containing and negating their rhetorical onslaught in a timely and decisive way, can lead to the downfall of a community.

    You've been around the block, and so have many others in the community. But so have many of the authors, as Grandy points out. I've been engaging in (and watching and drawing inferences about) online discussions since '93 or '94. Ken and Patrick and Clark and Charles and Via Angus and Derrick are well aware of how rationalization and self-deception (and, as Kat points out, the Dunning-Kruger effect) color actual discussions and debates (no matter how much rhetoric about "reason" and "process" may come into play).

    Relax. We're professionals.

    (Would you believe "seasoned amateurs"?

    How about "ill-prepared hacks with low-grade software and some free time"?)

  391. Clark  •  Sep 16, 2013 @7:35 am

    @Jacob Schmidt:

    It doesn't look good when the only time Clark defends women is when he's defending men at the same time.

    Mostly I don't defend; I attack. I attack cops, I attack foreign policy, I attack the NSA.

    It's fair enough to say that I defended Pax Dickinson, although it was a pretty weak-kneed "Oh, yeah, he absolutely deserved to get fired, but…" defense.

    bingo: you get an author who rarely defends women

    What woman should I be defending, given that my blogging interests are police corruption, the government overstepping the Constitution, etc.?

    Would be defending, say, Sarah Palin or Michelle Malkin help you sleep better at night? (A mostly theoretical / rhetorical question; I know very little about either one and don't follow them in the news).

    But, seriously, given that my interests are what they are (constitutional theory, second amendment rights, and so on), who should I defend so as to prove my bonafides to you?

    Should I namecheck the Pink Pistols, as I last did in April? Do you want to see the check stubs to prove that I've donated to the EFF? How about a signed letter from a girl scout leader thanking me for my hours of time working with her girls to teach them programming and graphic design?

    You're drawing a hell of a lot of assumptions from a pretty small set of facts, and I strongly dislike that the conversation has even moved to the point where I've got to bragdefend myself (how's that for a portmanteau?) on my ideological bonafides. This has reached a "well, you talk about chess tactics a lot at the chess club meetings, but not once have you talked about how you've stopped beating your wife" sort of apotheosis.

  392. Clark  •  Sep 16, 2013 @7:45 am

    How about "ill-prepared hacks with low-grade software and some free time"?

    Someone needs to parody William Gibson's sprawl trilogy where instead of hardened expert criminals the protagonists are more Woody Allen caper movie archetypes.

    "I slotted the Russian military black ice into the jack and … PC Load Letter? What the F___?"

  393. cb  •  Sep 16, 2013 @8:10 am

    –To be clear, "stinking the place up" means "stating opinions you disagree with" ?
    I don't think that's a clear reading at all.

    –This approach has positive externalities.
    Perhaps, though it also has substantial negative ones

    –but I think it has no positive externalities.
    This explains your reading of "stinking the place up".

    Counting externalities requires assessing the effect on all, not just your preferences

  394. Clark  •  Sep 16, 2013 @8:16 am

    @cb

    To be clear, "stinking the place up" means "stating opinions you disagree with" ?

    I don't think that's a clear reading at all.

    Well, it was certainly snarkier than it should have been, and I apologize for that.

    Thanks for the rest of the explanation.

  395. cb  •  Sep 16, 2013 @8:26 am

    –Well, it was certainly snarkier than it should have been, and I apologize for that.
    I don't the snarkiness was the main problem.

    Rather, the problem was that the reading was unfair. It's entirely possible that the objection was to the form of argument. At the same time, the snarkiness was part of the problem in that it failed to distinguish about the extent of disagreement–one can be perfectly fine with most disagreement while finding some opinions to be beyond tolerable.

  396. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 16, 2013 @8:33 am

    Mostly I don't defend; I attack. I attack cops, I attack foreign policy, I attack the NSA.

    I'm aware. You described yourself as defending here: "I've defended a Hispanic guy, a guy who was raped by three other men, Egyptian peasants, citizens in New Hampshire who don't want the cops to have a tank, a black guy shot by a white cop, a baby deer, every American who is not Jay Carney, etc."

    What woman should I be defending, given that my blogging interests are police corruption, the government overstepping the Constitution, etc.?

    Can you read, Clark? Look:"It's not even that damning a criticism." Cripes man, but you're whiny over little. I specifically said you're interests likely won't lead to defending women.

    There seems to be significant police corruption in coverage of rape cases. You might like to cover that. Or, you know, constant attacks on abortion rights. Some places on placing virginity tests as a requirement for education for women. That looks right up your alley, what with the blatant violation of civil liberty and all.

    It's likely you just don't notice these that much. I can accept not covering them for that reason, though it suggests a bit of isolation I think you should try to escape. Acting as though there's very few women to defend in these areas (which, to me, that above quote implies) is just ridiculous.

    You're drawing a hell of a lot of assumptions from a pretty small set of facts, and I strongly dislike that the conversation has even moved to the point where I've got to bragdefend myself (how's that for a portmanteau?) on my ideological bonafides.

    Oh, cripes.

    Quote me on it. Please do. I'd like to see what assumptions I've made.

  397. Ken White  •  Sep 16, 2013 @8:40 am

    "Please write about what I want you to write about or I will proclaim that you have rejected my favored topics for illegitimate reasons."

  398. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @8:40 am

    "Or, you know, constant attacks on abortion rights."

    Right on! I'd like to see a post defending women by attacking Big Abortion for not informing women prior to an abortion about the increased risk of breast cancer associated with abortion. Good idea!

  399. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 16, 2013 @8:53 am

    I'd like to see a post defending women by attacking Big Abortion for not informing women prior to an abortion about the increased risk of breast cancer associated with abortion. Good idea!

    The abortion–breast cancer hypothesis has been the subject of extensive scientific inquiry, and the scientific community has concluded that abortion does not cause breast cancer. "

    Please write about what I want you to write about or I will proclaim that you have rejected my favored topics for illegitimate reasons.

    Uhhh… you do realize that I wrote that this criticism isn't damning because the reasons for not writing on them may be perfectly legitimate? Hell, I even gave the one I thought was most likely. Seriously, wtf?

  400. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:03 am

    "you do realize that I wrote that this criticism isn't damning because the reasons for not writing on them may be perfectly legitimate"

    So, in other words, what you're saying is your "criticism" is nothing but hot hair. Seriously, wtf?

  401. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:04 am

    Also, this summary. The results are under "results of major prospective studies." Spoiler: there's no link.

  402. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:10 am

    Dude, you're citing the ACS on the abortion-breast cancer link to the wrong person. If you want to know the truth about this you're going to have to dig deeper, and look at why those who say the "scientific consensus" on this is politically biased in the extreme say that.

  403. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:10 am

    So, in other words, what you're saying is your "criticism" is nothing but hot hair. Seriously, wtf?

    "I can accept not covering them for that reason, though it suggests a bit of isolation I think you should try to escape."

    I think being socially or culturally isolated is a bad thing. I think it leads to a narrow view. Clark's a good writer; such isolation ill befits him. I'm not saying the criticism is invalid, I'm saying that my criticism is not a criticism on his character. Does that confuse you?

  404. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:13 am

    From the first link:

    "This consensus is supported by major medical bodies,[5] including the World Health Organization,[6] the U.S. National Cancer Institute,[7][8] the American Cancer Society,[9] the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,[10] and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.[11]"

    If you want to know the truth about this you're going to have to dig deeper, and look at why those who say the "scientific consensus" on this is politically biased in the extreme say that.

    Ahahaha. Sorry, I've heard the same claim from dozens of ridiculous ideas. I find this one equally convincing, sans any evidence whatsoever.

  405. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:13 am

    Abortion causes breast cancer? I thought that was just a bit of Conservapedia lunacy, not an actual argument pro-lifers have tried to use. That's insane.

  406. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:17 am

    Jacob Schmidt: That sounds like really good advice. For example, you come across as what most would call a thorough-going "liberal." Maybe step outside that paradigm for a day and walk around.

  407. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:22 am

    HandofGod: We just got through in this thread an exhausting and lengthy off-topic digression into race realism. I'm sure the proprietors don't want a debate here on this new topic. And note the mindset with which you start off contemplating it, a mindset determined by forgone conclusions. No, I don't think such a debate would get very far, for reasons having nothing to do with the merits.

  408. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:24 am

    That sounds like really good advice. For example, you come across as what most would call a thorough-going "liberal." Maybe step outside that paradigm for a day and walk around.

    Being liberal has nothing to do with whether or not breast cancer is linked to abortion.

  409. David  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:25 am

    @Jacob Schmidt
    Given that you grant at least one perfectly legitimate reason for the absence of {a, b, c, …, p} in Clark's posts about y and z, what exactly is your point?

    Some interests carry with them the gender preselections and gender biases of the social contexts in which they're discussed. Clark's interests are probably like that.

    The reason you're catching minor flak is that everyone's interests are probably like that, and everyone's writing is a subset of whatever might have been written. So if you grok that and you're not faulting anyone, it's unclear what further point you're trying to make.

  410. Clark  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:28 am

    @John Kindley

    HandofGod: We just got through in this thread an exhausting and lengthy off-topic digression into race realism. I'm sure the proprietors don't want a debate here on this new topic.

    Actually, the other proprietors might hate it, but I'd enjoy it.

    I've seen conservatives argue that there is a link and liberals argue that there is not, and I've never had the time or energy to go researching it.

    With the proviso that Ken might grow bored of this thread and shut it down, I'd invite both combatants to present their case as to why there { is / is not } a causal link.

  411. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:31 am

    Given that you grant at least one perfectly legitimate reason for the absence of {a, b, c, …, p} in Clark's posts about y and z, what exactly is your point?

    Already given.

    The reason you're catching minor flak is that everyone's interests are probably like that, and everyone's writing is a subset of whatever might have been written.

    I'm aware. It's ridiculous, but I'm aware.

  412. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:35 am

    Clark et al.: Well, here's the "short" answer, written by yours truly: http://www.kindleylaw.com/?page_id=14

    Here's a recent fact sheet written by my expert witness in the legal case referenced in the preceding link, at a site which contains fuller explanation: http://www.bcpinstitute.org/epidemiology_studies_bcpi.htm

  413. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:36 am

    Well, as long as the proprietors are OK with it, I'd start by asking what mechanism is postulated to be the link between abortion and cancer. In the absence of any statistical link (which seems to be the case with a quick bout with the Googles), I've got to ask John Kindley how he defends his position. I think the onus is on him, as the person making the assertion, to support it.

  414. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:40 am

    And that BCPI organisation appears to be more than a little partisan, to be honest. An organisation dedicated to finding a link between abortion and cancer finds a link between abortion and cancer…

  415. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:48 am

    It is established that a first-full term pregnancy early in life decreases the risk of breast cancer. This protective effect has to do with cell differentiation that occurs in approximately the last 8 weeks of a full-term pregnancy. So an induced abortion abrogates that protective effect, and this loss of protective effect is one of the ways in which induced abortion increases breast cancer risk. Secondly, when a women gets pregnant her estrogen levels rise dramatically. This estrogen exposure causes the proliferation of "immature" undifferentiated breast cells, which are far more susceptible to cancerous mutation than differentiated cells. Estrogen overexposure is associated with most of the known established risk factors for breast cancer, such as early age at menarche or late age at menopause. So when a woman has an abortion, she loses the protective effect of a full-term pregnancy, and does so at a time when estrogen overexposure has left her breasts with a much greater number of cells vulnerable to cancerous mutation than were there prior to the pregnancy.

  416. Clark  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:49 am

    @HandOfGod137

    And that BCPI organisation appears to be more than a little partisan

    Not a rebuttal.

    An organisation dedicated to finding a link between abortion and cancer finds a link between abortion and cancer…

    Does this mean that every scientific study about climate change funded by organizations that believe in climate change can be dismissed?

    The point is: this is not how science is done. We read the papers, no matter how partisan the authors are, and we see if their data and arguments hold water.

  417. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 16, 2013 @9:57 am

    @Clark

    Fair points, but this seems to be one of those cases where the overwhelming evidence states there is no connection. Short of listing endless studies and meta-studies that have found no link, and counting them against the few that have, it's hard not to just link to the appropriate Wikipedia page and say "you're wrong". Consensus != proof in science, I know, but it's a pretty good indicator.

  418. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:01 am

    Not a rebuttal.

    For the record, Kindley made a similar claim of the ACS.

  419. Clark  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:04 am

    @HandOfGod137

    this seems to be one of those cases where the overwhelming evidence states there is no connection.

    So present some of it. Neutral parties (and I assure you, I truly have no opinion on this matter) can look at John Kindley's list and your list and reach the "overwhelming evidence states there is no connection" conclusion.

    For that matter, take a look at John's list. Is it factual? Are those real journals? Is there some reason I should not trust his list as being at least true-as-far-as-it-goes?

  420. cb  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:04 am

    The point is: this is not how science is done. We read the papers, no matter how partisan the authors are, and we see if their data and arguments hold water.

    agreed, though I would have quoted Kindley's comments regarding ACS when saying this

  421. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:08 am

    HandofGod: In fact, an overwhelming preponderance of the evidence supports a causal link. The topic is big enough that it's hard to show why without simply repeating what's in the law review article and legal briefs I linked to above. Keep in mind that when it comes to law review articles there is a process built-in wherein every citation in an article is checked by members of law review. Also keep in mind that this article was published by the Wisconsin Law Review, and that UW and its law school is famous for being liberal. Every single editor who voted to publish my article described himself or herself as "pro-choice."

  422. Clark  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:09 am

    @Jacob Schmidt

    Not a rebuttal.

    For the record, Kindley made a similar claim of the ACS.

    Give me a link and I'd be happy to respond "not a rebuttal" to his comment as well.

    The one thing I see searching this thread for the word "ACS" is this:

    @John Kindley

    Dude, you're citing the ACS on the abortion-breast cancer link to the wrong person.

    I'm happy to crap on anyone who argues ad hominem. I believe that smoking causes cancer, but I don't like the attack on the Tobacco Institute that "Big Tobacco funds it!". Let's rip the "science" to shreds.

  423. Clark  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:10 am

    @John Kindley

    Keep in mind that when it comes to law review articles there is a process built-in wherein every citation in an article is checked by members of law review.

    So far, I'm favorably inclined to your side of the argument from the massive literature list you cited above…but I find the above sentence to be unpersuasive. Some lawyers are quantitative geniuses, but some aren't. I have no knowledge of how good law review editorial staff are at verifying abstracts of scientific papers.

  424. cb  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:13 am

    the ACS link again, with references and additional links at the bottom:

    http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/is-abortion-linked-to-breast-cancer

  425. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:19 am

    If you want to know the truth about this you're going to have to dig deeper, and look at why those who say the "scientific consensus" on this is politically biased in the extreme say that.

    I find little difference in claiming "political bias" and "confirmation bias".

  426. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:20 am

    According to that ACS fact sheet, "recall bias" and the 1997 Melbye study are critical to this whole issue. Allow me to quote a lengthy excerpt from my "Reply Brief" linked above:

    6. One of the studies which Dr. Palmer counts as a "null" study is the 1997 Melbye study. Dr. Palmer considers this study "the reason that [she] now feel[s] certain" that recall bias is significant in other epidemiological studies on the issue of induced abortion and breast cancer, because it was immune by virtue of its methodology from any possibility of recall bias and reported no overall association. T. 458-59. If anything, however, the findings of this study provide evidence against the recall bias hypothesis and in favor of the causal hypothesis.

    7. Although the study reported an overall relative risk of 1.00, it also reported that "with each one week increase in the gestational age of the fetus there was a 3 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer," a trend which was statistically significant. T. 549:13-22. The study reported a biologically-inexplicable reduced relative risk of 0.81 associated with abortions performed before 8 weeks, while abortions after 18 weeks were associated with a statistically significant 1.89 relative risk. T. 469:15-20, 549:22-23. These statistically significant positive findings cannot possibly be explained by recall bias, and are evidence against the hypothesis that recall bias could be behind the positive associations found in other studies.

    8. Dr. Brind testified that the trend of increasing risk with gestational age of the fetus reported in the Melbye study

    would be the best evidence really of a dose affect which is one of the criteria that epidemiologists also use to infer causation. That is to say well if one abortion increases your risk of breast cancer, some level, shouldn't two abortions increase it more. It's difficult however to find that in lots of studies. In the literature some studies show it, some don't, because an abortion is not really a very good direct measure of exposure to estrogen. But gestational age is a better measure.

    T. 184:8-18.

    9. Dr. Palmer, on the other hand, professes agnosticism on this point: "We don't know that an induced abortion is a surrogate for estrogen exposure. If it were, if we knew that was a really close surrogate, you might be able to say" that the duration of exposure to pregnancy estrogens is a more appropriate measure of a dose-response effect than number of abortions. T. 552:2-8.

    10. The Melbye study itself describes its own findings as follows:

    Induced abortion had no overall affect on the risk of breast cancer but we found a statistically significant increase in risk among women with a history of second trimester abortion. . . . The increased risk among women who had had second trimester abortions finds biologic support in experiments in rats and is in line with the hypothesis of Russo and Russo. . . . We cannot explain why a very early induced abortion was associated with a slight although insignificant decrease in risk.

    T. 552-53.

    11. Dr. Brind testified that the Melbye study's calculation of an overall 1.00 relative risk is explained by several serious methodological problems in the study, and that the real overall relative risk in this study population is probably somewhere between 2.0 and 3.0. T. 160-61, 182-83. Although Dr. Palmer disputed Dr. Brind's criticisms, a review article moved into evidence by the Clinic and characterized by Dr. Palmer as a "very good review" acknowledged that the 1997 Melbye study has "several [methodological] limitations," and is "not definitive." T. 500:21; Def. Exh. No. 26, 4-5.

    12. Other studies cited by Dr. Palmer as support for the recall bias hypothesis also call into question her objectivity and credibility. She describes as "evidence" of recall bias the fact that her 1997 study and Dr. Newcomb's 1996 study found a slightly stronger association for women who had pre versus post 1973 abortions, a difference which was not statistically significant. T. 540-41. When asked whether she could think of any explanation other than recall bias for why those points might be different, she offered "chance" as an explanation. T. 546. Dr. Palmer was then referred to the following statement on the last page of Dr. Newcomb's 1996 study: "Compared with spontaneous abortion the duration of pregnancies electively terminated has decreased since 1972 with the majority now performed at less than 8 weeks gestation. If longer gestation is associated with greater mammary cell proliferation induced terminations in past decades might be associated with greater risk." T. 546. When asked whether this was a plausible explanation for why women who have abortions prior to 1972 might wind up with a higher risk of breast cancer, Dr. Palmer replied, "I don't know how plausible it is but it's a possible explanation." T. 547. This explanation, of course, is also the explanation for why the statistically significant trend of increasing risk with gestational age in the Melbye study constitutes evidence of a dose-response relationship.

    13. Dr. Palmer also offered as evidence of recall bias a 1991 study by Lindefors-Harris, in which the investigators were able to compare what women reported in an interview about their abortion history to abortion registry records. T. 460-61. The authors calculated from discrepancies they found between the interviews and the records a spurious 50 percent increase in risk, a figure cited in an affidavit filed by Dr. Palmer in this case and in her direct testimony at trial. T. 461, 558. When Dr. Palmer was asked on cross-examination whether this figure was based on the observation that a number of women had "over reported" abortions of which the registry had no record, coupled with the assumption that the registry was correct and these women had made up abortions they in fact did not have (as opposed, for example, to having had the abortions outside the country), Dr. Palmer answered: "Well, I read the Lindefors-Harris and they don't actually say that it was based on over reporting. Dr. Daling says it here but when I looked at that they ­ I couldn't find in their original paper that they talk about over reporting." T. 559. However, when Dr. Palmer was asked to read the very first page of the Lindefors-Harris paper, which actually uses the word "over-reporting," she admitted that the authors had indeed in calculating the 50 percent figure made the unreasonable assumption that a number of women made up abortions they had never had, and that she herself "would never make that assumption." T. 580. This study, based on an absurd assumption, was also cited by both the 1996 and 1999 NCI fact sheets on abortion and breast cancer as support for the recall bias hypothesis. Pl. Exh. Nos. 4, 5.

    14. Dr. Palmer testified on cross-examination that she knew of only one study that provides evidence against the recall bias hypothesis ­ the 2000 study by Tang et al., published in the American Journal of Epidemiology by scientists whom Dr. Palmer knows and respects, which directly examined the issue and found no evidence of recall bias. T. 562-64. However, a number of other studies, including the Melbye study discussed above, also provide evidence against the recall bias hypothesis. See cross-examination of Dr. Palmer concerning the 1989 Howe study, T. 567-68; the 1995 Bu study, T. 576-77; the 1995 Lipworth study, T. 569-574; and the 1994 Daling study, T. 564-567. All of these studies reported statistically significant positive associations even though recall bias was either impossible or highly unlikely because of the studies' methodology or population.

  427. EAB  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:21 am

    There's a difference between "massive lit list" and "bibliography salad" which often is not obvious to those outside the field.

    Simple question for you, John Kindley: do you believe that the evidence suggests that first-trimester miscarriages also increase the risk of breast cancer? There is no biological difference between an induced abortion and a D&C for a missed miscarriage. If there is a causal link between abortion and breast cancer, there should also be a clear causal link between miscarriage at equivalent gestational ages and breast cancer. Do you believe this to be the case?

  428. Clark  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:21 am

    @cb

    the ACS link again, with references and additional links at the bottom

    Excellent, thanks.

  429. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:27 am

    "Simple question for you, John Kindley: do you believe that the evidence suggests that first-trimester miscarriages also increase the risk of breast cancer?"

    Most miscarriages are characterized by estrogen levels not rising as they do in a normal, healthy pregnancy. If a miscarriage is caused artificially, say by falling off a ladder or a car accident, rather than naturally, it would have the same effect on breast cancer risk as an induced abortion.

  430. EAB  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:28 am

    I would also note that John's paper is dated 1999, and therefore does not address the large studies from 2007 and 2008 discussed in the ACS fact sheet. According to the ACS, both studies were designed as prospective studies in order to eliminate recall bias, since the women were asked about their reproductive history before they were diagnosed with breast cancer.

    It doesn't matter whether or not recall bias was a factor in earlier studies when you have larger and more recent studies to look at where recall bias has been eliminated. (The timing of the studies is also important, since breast cancer diagnosis and treatment has changed dramatically in the 15 years or so since John wrote his paper.)

  431. grung0r  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:32 am

    @ken

    "Please write about what I want you to write about or I will proclaim that you have rejected my favored topics for illegitimate reasons."

    What a mendacious reading of this argument, which seemingly flies in the face of your previous reading of it("Clark defends women because he has defended humanity at large, which women are a part of")

    This all started from a claim Clark made, specificity:

    I enjoy defending the underdog

    I asked him why his "underdogs" were always misogynistic white dudes and he responded not with his new "yeah, I am a triablist, but I'm working on it, and as soon as a women does something worth defending, I'll be on it" but with his list that attempted to prove he "defended" all sorts of people. I noted that his list, inflated as it was, lacked people with vaginas, which I thought was a telling development.

    I don't care what Clark writes about, and it isn't my place to tell him what to write. But I think his "underdogs" are anything but, and when I called him on it, he proved it with his pathetic list.

  432. Dave Ruddell  •  Sep 16, 2013 @10:59 am

    I have to say that John Kindley's line of argument does sound rather similar to those making the case for an autism-vaccine link. I'm not actually putting that forth as an argument (it's quite prejudicial), but that's my first reaction.

    Mind you, this immediately led me to wonder whether or not David Gorski (Orac) had blogged on the topic (he is a surgical oncologist), and sure enough, he has. There are many papers linked there.

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/abortion-and-breast-cancer-the-manufactroversy-that-wont-die/

    Also, an aside for Clark; to the best of my knowledge, Gorski has banned 3 or 4 commenters at most in the many years I've been reading his blogs.

  433. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @11:02 am

    EAB wrote: "I would also note that John's paper is dated 1999, and therefore does not address the large studies from 2007 and 2008 discussed in the ACS fact sheet. According to the ACS, both studies were designed as prospective studies in order to eliminate recall bias, since the women were asked about their reproductive history before they were diagnosed with breast cancer."

    Yet according to that ACS fact sheet:

    "The largest, and probably the most reliable, study on this topic was done during the 1990s in Denmark, a country with very detailed medical records on all its citizens. In this study, all Danish women born between 1935 and 1978 (a total of 1.5 million women) were linked with the National Registry of Induced Abortions and with the Danish Cancer Registry. All of the information about their abortions and their breast cancer came from registries – it was very complete and was not influenced by recall bias."

    So what I said above about recall bias and the 1997 Danish study by Melbye et al. still applies. Also, it appears that scientists continue to do retrospective studies of this issue, despite the 1997 study that supposedly resolved the issue once and for all, and their results continue to mostly show a positive association. I suggest that this is because they as scientists know that the recall bias hypothesis has been tested and been shown to not invalidate retrospective studies of this issue.

  434. EAB  •  Sep 16, 2013 @11:02 am

    "Most miscarriages are characterized by estrogen levels not rising as they do in a normal, healthy pregnancy."

    In the early weeks of pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone are produced by the ovary's corpus luteum, since the placenta is not yet established. Those hormone levels are totally independent of anything like a chromosomal defect, and there's no difference in the early weeks of pregnancy. Abnormal HCG levels can often indicate ectopic pregnancy, biochemical pregnancy, and early miscarriage, but the estrogen and progesterone levels are the same until the placenta takes over at 8-10 weeks LMP.

    Also, the "normal" range of both hormones is so very very broad that it's really hard to determine. One woman's normal progesterone level with healthy pregnancy is another's miscarriage level.

    So no, there's still difference between most early miscarriages and early abortions. There is also no difference between a later-term induced abortion and a preterm delivery (viable or no) at the same gestational age, since those are mostly done for causes which are independent of hormone levels. A 20-week preterm delivery for preeclampsia has the exact same patterns of estrogen and progesterone levels as a 20-week abortion for fetal abnormality.

  435. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 16, 2013 @11:05 am

    Two relevant studies looking at approx half a million cases are also linked below. No link was shown.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16646050

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17111259

    To be honest, this appears to be a straightforward politicisation of science. Some groups object to abortion on idealogical grounds, and so grab at whatever evidence they think may support their cause. There's certainly a discussion around at what stage of pregnancy abortion should still be considered an option, but citing what are at best marginal health risks seems clearly an attempt to frighten women off. Opening the discussion with the phrase "Big Abortion" was a bit of a giveaway, to own the truth.

  436. EAB  •  Sep 16, 2013 @11:20 am

    "It is established that a first-full term pregnancy early in life decreases the risk of breast cancer. This protective effect has to do with cell differentiation that occurs in approximately the last 8 weeks of a full-term pregnancy."

    This also points at two other problems with the abortion/breast cancer hypothesis. One, 61% of women who have abortions have already had children, and therefore presumably have already absorbed whatever protective effects of cell differentiation there are.

    Two, if the protective cell differentiation happens in the last 8 weeks of a pregnancy, you would also expect to see some meaningful difference in women who gave birth prior to 32 weeks. Again, it's the basic biological issue of distinguishing between an abortion and some other type of pregnancy termination, and there's no easy biological differentiation you can point to in such cases.

  437. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @11:21 am

    HandofGod: "Marginal health risks"? A study published in 1994 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that the absolute effect on breast cancer risk of having a single induced abortion before age 18 is comparable to the risk of lung cancer from long-term heavy smoking. That's cited in the very first paragraph of my linked law review article by the way.

    Also by the way, although it shouldn't matter, it so happens that I do not support outlawing first trimester abortions.

  438. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 16, 2013 @11:28 am

    I'm using the phrase "marginal health risks" to indicate the preponderance of evidence suggesting no risk (or down amongst the statistical noise, at worst) and the few papers that suggest there is a risk. The Orac link Dave Ruddell posted above covers the subject far better than I can (and he's a doctor, to boot), and basically says "no risk". It's a veritable linkfest, too, so plenty of supporting evidence.

  439. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @11:44 am

    EAB wrote: "One, 61% of women who have abortions have already had children, and therefore presumably have already absorbed whatever protective effects of cell differentiation there are."

    According to Wikipedia: "Lower age of first childbirth, compared to the average age of 24,[51] having more children (about 7% lowered risk per child), and breastfeeding (4.3% per breastfeeding year, with an average relative risk around 0.7[52][53]) have all been correlated to lowered breast cancer risk in large studies.[54]"

  440. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @12:13 pm

    I just realized that Gorski post has been cited to me before, at the Turley blog, and I responded to it here in this comment: http://jonathanturley.org/2012/02/12/lying-for-jesus-the-abortionbreast-cancer-link/#comment-328146

  441. EAB  •  Sep 16, 2013 @12:52 pm

    @John Kindley, that's exactly my point. If abortion raises the risk of breast cancer by "abrogating the protective effect" of a term pregnancy, it should have little or no effect on those who have already had term pregnancies and thus undergone the changes.

    Also, first-trimester estrogen levels are much lower than later pregnancy. Especially earlier in the first trimester, when the vast majority of abortions occur, there is fairly significant overlap with what you'd expect to see around ovulation. On the day of ovulation, the average E2 level is at least 200 pg/ml, and it's not at all uncommon for it to be 400 pg/ml or higher. Compared to the levels later in pregnancy, which are two orders of magnitude higher, it's a drop in the bucket.

  442. A. Nagy  •  Sep 16, 2013 @1:10 pm

    I'm a pro-lifer and have never heard that argument and even if it's true who cares, you're allowed to do lots of things that increase the odds of you getting cancer. The entire debate comes down to (or it should) do you think the baby/fetus/bundle of cells is a living human or not. If yes then abortion is murder and bad, if no then by stopping abortion you are restricting freedom and that's bad.

  443. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @1:27 pm

    A. Nagy wrote: "I'm a pro-lifer and have never heard that argument and even if it's true who cares, you're allowed to do lots of things that increase the odds of you getting cancer."

    The issue is informed consent. If you're contemplating an elective medical procedure or even a necessary medical procedure you have a well-established legal right to be informed of risks associated with that procedure prior to the procedure. The failure to provide informed consent is medical malpractice.

  444. cb  •  Sep 16, 2013 @1:42 pm

    Seems like a stretch to call it medical malpractice when the doctor reasonably believes the information to be correct based on the general consensus of the scientific community. We aren't talking about knowingly withholding information here

  445. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @1:49 pm

    EAB: You're touching on refinements I don't pretend to have exhaustive knowledge of, and for which I have to rely in some part on my memory of conversations from years ago with my medical expert, who is a professor of endocrinology.

    My understanding is that age at first-full term pregnancy is most significant for the protective effect, but that this factor is not such that subsequent pregnancies (whether carried to full-term or artificially terminated) are rendered irrelevant. This is shown by what I quoted above: "having more children (about 7% lowered risk per child) [has] been correlated to lowered breast cancer risk in large studies."

    The link you gave says "During the first trimester, the mean was 726 pg/ml with a range of 139 to 1,389." This is higher than the average 200 pg/ml estrogen levels you give for the day of ovulation. In all my numerous debates on this in print or otherwise this has never been an issue, as it has seemed to me it was conceded that estrogen levels rise dramatically within days of conception.

    That is not to say you may or may not have a point. But apart from that, why aren't women who are considering a 2nd-trimester abortion and haven't had a prior full-term pregnancy informed of the risk, when even the 1997 Melbye study reported a statistically significant 1.38 RR for 2nd-trimester abortions, and when even that number might have been significantly underestimated because of methodological flaws in the study?

    We can start with that, and advise other women considering other abortions with an addendum of all relevant qualifications / reassurances.

  446. James Pollock  •  Sep 16, 2013 @1:56 pm

    "I have no knowledge of how good law review editorial staff are at verifying abstracts of scientific papers."

    I can speak to this, I was a law-review article editor. Cite checking is done by first-year members of law review, typically students in their second year of law school. Cite checkers DO NOT evaluate scientific information; all they do for non-legal citations is verify that the source says what the article author claims it does. Few law students come from scientific or engineering backgrounds; the majority come from liberal arts.
    Without making any claims of fact, I would be extremely skeptical of any scientific or technical article that was published in a law review. Law reviews are edited by students; scientific journals are peer-reviewed. The peer-review process is not perfect, in the sense that it has allowed incorrect findings to be published and has delayed publication of some things that are true, but these are rare events.

  447. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @1:57 pm

    cb wrote: "Seems like a stretch to call it medical malpractice when the doctor reasonably believes the information to be correct based on the general consensus of the scientific community. We aren't talking about knowingly withholding information here."

    This may or may not be true of individual physicians. It isn't true of Planned Parenthood as a national organization.

  448. cb  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:00 pm

    –It isn't true of Planned Parenthood as a national organization.

    I'm not sure I understand your point. Are you saying that PP rejects the general consensus but still refuses to inform? Or something else?

  449. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:01 pm

    @John Kindley

    You keep on citing the '97 Danish study, but as Gorski notes in the linked blog entry, more recent larger and more accurate studies have shown the risk converging on zero.

    @Clark

    Does this mean that every scientific study about climate change funded by organizations that believe in climate change can be dismissed?

    I overlooked this earlier, but I think there's a subtle difference you're missing. The various scientific bodies reporting on climate change don't start from the presumption that it is the case: they look at the evidence and see what comes out (which is AGW is real, but that neither here nor there for this argument). The BCPI organisation John Kindley cited were formed with the express purpose of publicising the link they believe exists between abortion and cancer, and so start from a position of prejudice. That's not science.

  450. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:07 pm

    "Are you saying that PP rejects the general consensus but still refuses to inform? Or something else?"

    I'm saying the freaking federal government in the form of the National Cancer Institute, a branch of the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services, is lying to the American people about the evidence linking induced abortion and increased breast cancer risk. And I'm saying that Planned Parenthood is knowledgeable and sophisticated enough not to be able to use that as an excuse.

  451. cb  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:11 pm

    It's a convenient claim, since you get around having to demonstrate that they agree with you regarding what the evidence shows. Instead you can suggest a conspiracy without having to show anything.

  452. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:16 pm

    "Instead you can suggest a conspiracy without having to show anything."

    Have I not shown anything? Well, I guess the North Dakota Supreme Court, among others, agrees with you. So there's that.

  453. cb  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:18 pm

    –Have I not shown anything?

    Regarding the claim that the govt is lying? And the implied claim that PP knows that abortion causes cancer?

    No, you haven't shown anything

  454. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:24 pm

    @John Kindley

    If you're trying to say it's a conspiracy, you have to assume it's global, as the studies showing there's no link are from all around the world. And then you have to explain why the entire world's medical profession is lying. The evidence just isn't there.

  455. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:26 pm

    I just want to point out that one of the above NCBI links point out a decreased risk for induced abortion: "The relative risk of breast cancer among women who reported ever having had an induced abortion when compared to women who reported never having had an induced abortion was 0.95 (0.87-1.03)."

    (For relative risk, x=1 means no change in risk, x>1 indicates an increased risk, x<1 indicates a lower risk)

  456. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:26 pm

    At the heart of the North Dakota case was a blatant, obvious bald-faced falsehood made by the National Cancer Institute, which wound up being quoted in the commercial brochures of an abortion clinic we sued for injunctive relief on behalf of the general public. If your interested check out the briefs filed in the case I linked to above.

    Planned Parenthood has detailed statements online saying essentially the abortion-breast cancer link is a pack of lies made up by pro-lifers to scare women out of having abortions, but pretending to have carefully and objectively reviewed the evidence. As the nation's largest provider of abortions, they can damn well be expected to be quite familiar and on intimate terms with all the evidence linking induced abortion with increased breast cancer risk.

  457. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:34 pm

    @John Kindley

    I'm no lawyer, but the link suggests you lost the case?

  458. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:41 pm

    "I'm no lawyer, but the link suggests you lost the case?"

    Lol. Ya

  459. Dave Ruddell  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:44 pm

    I guess I'll chime in with some gratuitous Latin and ask, cui bono? The anti-vaxxers assume that Big Pharma is behind a conspiracy to protect their profits. What is the presumed motive for lying on this issue?

  460. cb  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:48 pm

    –Planned Parenthood has detailed statements online saying essentially the abortion-breast cancer link is a pack of lies

    Assuming this to be an accurate representation of what they say, it sounds like you are on equal footing with them here

    –but pretending to have carefully and objectively reviewed the evidence. As the nation's largest provider of abortions, they can damn well be expected to be quite familiar and on intimate terms with all the evidence linking induced abortion with increased breast cancer risk.

    See, when it's pointed out that you have offered nothing to back up your claims it doesn't actually move the conversation forward to reiterate your claim. I understand that you think they are liars. I understand that you think they are intentionally misleading people. What I;m looking for is something more than accusations

  461. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:54 pm

    @John Kindley

    After Clark told us to play nice or risk the Wrath of Ken, I'm desperately trying to control myself, so I'll restrict myself to noting that this all sounds a bit odd.

  462. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:55 pm

    cb: I never pretended to have any other evidence of a conspiracy to lie other than the disparity between the facts and how the NCI / PP represent those facts.

  463. Clark  •  Sep 16, 2013 @2:56 pm

    @HandOfGod137

    @John Kindley

    After Clark told us to play nice or risk the Wrath of Ken

    To clarify, what I was trying to convey was "I can't speak for Ken, but ** I ** would enjoy a good debate."

    Ken seems to be ignoring this thread / doesn't mind the fight, so proceed.

  464. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @3:00 pm

    HandofGod: Really now? That's mighty big of you. Anyhow, I've made my case, not so much here as years ago, in the writings to which I've linked. Take it or leave it. I washed my hands of this years ago. If no one else gives a fuck why should I?

  465. cb  •  Sep 16, 2013 @3:02 pm

    –I never pretended to have any other evidence of a conspiracy to lie other than the disparity between the facts and how the NCI / PP represent those facts.

    That's insufficient for a conspiracy. you seem oblivious to the idea that people might honestly disagree with you.

  466. EAB  •  Sep 16, 2013 @3:05 pm

    The link you gave says "During the first trimester, the mean was 726 pg/ml with a range of 139 to 1,389." This is higher than the average 200 pg/ml estrogen levels you give for the day of ovulation. In all my numerous debates on this in print or otherwise this has never been an issue, as it has seemed to me it was conceded that estrogen levels rise dramatically within days of conception.

    Average is just that, average. The normal range at ovulation is 110-410 pg/ml, and it's not at all unusual for women to go higher.

    I think you are confusing estrogen with HCG, which does begin to rise dramatically starting 5-7 days after fertilization — it is the hormone produced by the embryo upon implantation, and is what pregnancy tests detect. Estrogen does not start skyrocketing upon conception, because it's produced by the corpus luteum of the ovary until the pregnancy develops far enough along that the placenta takes over. That doesn't happen until 8-10 weeks LMP.

    Your guy Joel Brind claims 600 pg/ml is the average value at 8 weeks LMP, just for reference, and I will not argue with that. However, the difference between 400pg/ml and 600 is tiny in the context of the overall rise in estradiol levels to 6000 or higher. In addition, the major form of estrogen (estriol) produced during pregnancy doesn't even show up until at least 9-10 weeks in, since it is produced by the placenta from the output of the fetal adrenal glands.

    On the meta level, the reason for not informing second-trimester women of any potential risk is twofold. One, only about 10% of abortions involve second-trimester pregnancies, and most of those involve some overriding consideration like a serious birth defect or maternal health. Two, the level of absolute increase in risk under discussion is lower than the possibility of death or serious injury in childbirth. Do you likewise support informing women considering abortion that there is a 1 in 11,000 baseline chance they will die of pregnancy or birth complications if they DON'T have an abortion?

    BTW, abortion isn't legal in Denmark after 12 weeks unless there is a consideration like a threat to the life of the mother — you have to appeal to the hospital committee. I would be pretty careful about making any conclusions after 18 weeks, since it's a measurably different population with what we can presume to be a lot of confounders.

  467. EAB  •  Sep 16, 2013 @3:14 pm

    @Clark "To clarify, what I was trying to convey was "I can't speak for Ken, but ** I ** would enjoy a good debate."

    BTW, I am perfectly happy to drop the topic upon request. I'll argue as long as it's open, having important work to avoid doing, but I don't want to be tiresome.

  468. Ken White  •  Sep 16, 2013 @3:15 pm

    Knock yourselves out.

  469. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 16, 2013 @3:19 pm

    @John Kindley

    If no one else gives a fuck why should I?

    Sorry, didn't mean to sound nasty (british sense of humour). But honestly, if the current best evidence suggested this risk was real, I can't see anyone not being concerned. Even the pro-choice like I consider myself don't see abortion as a desirable outcome, so we're certainly not pushing for greater numbers by hiding the risks. I just cannot see any motivation for a huge conspiracy to hide a link.

    And, lest we forget, I'm sure anyone facing a medical procedure these days has the nous to do a spot of googling first. It's insulting to women to suggest they need the guidance of all us men to come to an informed decision.

  470. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @3:37 pm

    EAB: That thing you linked to by Brind is good, and expresses the appropriate level of sophistication, and I defer to that. Frankly, I never spent much time making sure I was especially sophisticated on the endocrinology, i.e. beyond laymen's terms, because the biological plausibility of a causal link is generally conceded. Rather, I focused on the epidemiology, because that's where the crux of the debate was.

    I don't see that what Brind has written on the endocrinology would suggest there's not a biological reason to expect an increase in breast cancer risk associated with 1st trimester abortions, albeit less than the risk increase we'd expect from second or third trimester abortions.

    "Two, the level of absolute increase in risk under discussion is lower than the possibility of death or serious injury in childbirth. Do you likewise support informing women considering abortion that there is a 1 in 11,000 baseline chance they will die of pregnancy or birth complications if they DON'T have an abortion?"

    Your first sentence there is completely untrue. Breast cancer last I checked was the leading cause of death among middle-aged women. As I mentioned above the 1994 Daling study in the JNCI reported above a 2.0 RR for women who have abortions before age 18. In fact, it reported that every single woman in the study who had an abortion before age 18 and who had a family history of breast cancer (I think there were 18 such women in the study, if I recall correctly) developed breast cancer by age 45, and accordingly reported the RR as "infinity."

    But yeah, I'm all for telling women considering abortion the risks of childbirth too.

  471. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @3:46 pm

    HandofGod: On the question of motivation, from my law review article:

    Dr. Stuart Donnan, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, expressed his convictions concerning the abortion-breast cancer (ABC) link in an editorial about the Brind meta-analysis:

    Some readers may consider that the calculation made by Brind and colleagues of possible numbers of breast cancers following–conceivably caused by– induced abortion is alarmist. It is certainly true that a relative risk of only 1.3 adds up to a large absolute increase in risk with a very high prevalence of the underlying factor. However, in the light of recent unease about appropriate but open communication of risks associated with oral contraceptive pills, it will surely be agreed that open discussion of risks is vital and must include the people–in this case the women–concerned. I believe that if you take a view (as I do), which is often called ‘pro- choice,’ you need at the same time to have a view which might be called ‘pro- information’ without excessive paternalistic censorship (or interpretation) of the data.

    Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, a NJ breast cancer surgeon and co-founder with Brind of the BCPI, when I used to associate with them used to speculate that the same dynamic that surrounded Sommelwies and the reaction to his findings was at play here.

  472. Jacob Schmidt  •  Sep 16, 2013 @4:17 pm

    Breast cancer last I checked was the leading cause of death among middle-aged women.

    The link between breast cancer and abortions is not 1:1. What that sentence means is that you are more likely to die in labour than you are likely to die from breast cancer caused by an abortion.

  473. John Kindley  •  Sep 16, 2013 @4:22 pm

    "What that sentence means is that you are more likely to die in labour than you are likely to die from breast cancer caused by an abortion."

    Huh? Based on the epidemiology, my law review article made a rough estimate that a woman who has an abortion has about a 1 in 100 chance of dying from breast cancer caused by the abortion.

  474. EAB  •  Sep 16, 2013 @5:55 pm

    Oh, whoa whoa whoa. Statistical red card.

    The Melbye study lists a raw RR of 1.92 for women with abortion >18 weeks, but that does NOT NOT NOT mean that individual women with breast cancer are 1.92 times likelier to develop breast cancer than if they do not have the abortion. The 95% CI is 1.13-3.26, meaning that if we had an entire large population composed of women with abortions >18 weeks, it would theoretically probably contain somewhere between 1.13 and 3.26 times as many women with breast cancer as the same population if carried to term. (Of course, there's a 5% chance it's a fluke.)

    The result in question is considered statistically significant because the CI's low range is > 1. However, it could be anywhere from 1.13 to 3.26, and there's no way to say which — the sample is too small. Yes, I know the population size is an actual population in this case, but it's still too rare an occurrence. (And a range that broad should be your first clue that you need a bigger sample — just because you can math a p-value on it doesn't mean it's for real.)

    What you CANNOT do is then take that relative risk and multiply it by the baseline risk to say that "women have a 12% risk of getting breast cancer, but if this particular woman has an abortion > 18 weeks, it will become a 1.92 * 12 = 23% risk".

    If you have 1000 women who get abortions after 18 weeks, the null hypothesis states that 120 of them will get breast cancer if they all live to be 90. Assuming arguendo that there is a causal link, somewhere between 135 and 391 of them will have breast cancer, or a total of 15-271 extra cancers. So, the likelihood that any individual woman will be one of the "extras" rather than the baseline group or the non-cancer group is somewhere between 1.5% and 27.1%. Then you multiply by the odds of a patient dying from breast cancer (which is TERRIBLE HORRIBLE NO GOOD VERY BAD statistics, but stick with me), you come up with anything on the order of 7:10000, for women in the 1.5% whose cancers are caught very early, to 23% for women in the 27.1% whose cancers are caught very late. That's before accounting for the very first confounding factor.

    Indeed, Melbye's entire population of abortion patients bears this out. Out of 1.5 million women in the cohort, there were 14 cases of breast cancer in women who had abortions > 18 weeks, some significant fraction of whom would have it anyway. That is not a big number to be basing conclusions on, especially given the high likelihood that those particular women had health issues necessitating the abortion. We don't know the number who actually had abortions > 18 weeks, since the published data only breaks it down to > 12 weeks. We also don't know the number who *died* from breast cancer, only the number who were diagnosed. Picking numbers from the air and assuming 7 of the 14 would have had it anyway, and that half of the remaining 7 would survive, your proposed 1:100 deaths would mean that only 300 late-term abortions happened. Out of a post-12wk population of 6400, and a global population of 281K abortive women, that seems… implausible, to put it kindly.

    Indeed, you can toss out that 1:100 deaths number without any more fanfare simply by observing that there were 1338 cases of cancer out of 281K women with a history of abortion. If 1:100 women who have abortions die of breast cancer, you would expect 2810 DEATHS in the abortion group alone. That's not some statistical quibble over recall bias — that's more than twice as many deaths as the actual number of cases of cancer. You can safely flush that 1:100 number straight down the ol' confidence interval.

  475. Kevin  •  Sep 16, 2013 @7:11 pm

    This thread is like the fatal car accident by the side of the road that you REALLY don't want to look at, but can't help yourself from looking at… and then looking away in disgust… and then looking back at…. and then looking away in disgust…. and then looking back at.

    If I were a rational man, I would simply close this tab in my web browser, and never think of it again. But alas, I am but a mere mortal, flawed and sinful.

    Since the Simulation Hypothesis has been mentioned, I'd just like to take this opportunity to say that in the event that the hypothesis is correct, and in the event that the simulators happen to be reading this thread, could you please try rebooting the server? Or restoring the last-known-good checkpoint? Something seems to have gone horribly wrong.

  476. Dave Ruddell  •  Sep 16, 2013 @7:48 pm

    Knock yourselves out.

    I wonder if Ken means that literally?

  477. BradG  •  Sep 16, 2013 @8:17 pm

    For what it's worth: I post on Scalzi's blog semi-regularly. He isn't online 24/7, and so I've seen quite a few comments pre-Mallet. To a one, they've been blatant trolling stupidity. I'm not saying he's never modded reasonable disagreement. I am saying that I've never seen it, and I can confirm that there seems to be an organized crew of jackasses who like to take big steaming shits on his site. If he didn't zap them his comment section would be a complete waste of time.

  478. Wick Deer  •  Sep 16, 2013 @8:30 pm

    Mr. Scalzi's last blog post made me think, "And Clark's head explodes in 3 … 2 … 1.

  479. John Kindley  •  Sep 17, 2013 @7:54 am

    EAB wrote: "Oh, whoa whoa whoa. Statistical red card," etc.

    Easy there, Nellie. It is, as you say, not a straightforward matter to calculate an absolute effect from an average lifetime risk (which in the case of breast cancer is about 12% for American women) combined with a relative risk reported in an epidemiological study. For one, that average 12% lifetime risk in the case of breast cancer includes women who presumably developed breast cancer because of the risk factor at issue, in this case abortion.

    Nevertheless, Marcia Angell, M.D., the former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, wrote in her popular "Science on Trial: The Clash of Medical Evidence and the Law in the Breast Implant Case": "[O]ne of the recent studies of postmenopausal estrogen and breast cancer showed … a 30 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer …. [S]ince we already know that 3 or 4 of every 100 post-menopausal women will get breast cancer in the next 10 years, we could say that this study shows that estrogen increases that risk to 5 in 100."

    So that's why I called my 1 in 100 risk of death from breast cancer caused by abortion a "rough estimate." I based this rough estimate not on the Melbye study but on the 1.3 relative risk reported in the Brind meta-analysis. The relevant paragraphs of my law review article (really, my law review "Comment," for those who might call me out on the distinction) state:

    "The real significance of a relative risk increase depends upon the background risk which is increased. For example, although smoking increases the risk of lung cancer by a factor of 10.0, the background risk of lung cancer for nonsmokers is very low. [FN154] By contrast, an average American woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about twelve percent. [FN155] A 1.3 relative risk increase from an induced abortion would therefore indicate about a four percent increase in absolute terms. Estimating a twenty-five percent mortality rate, [FN156] this figure would suggest that about 1 out of 100 women who have had an induced abortion die from breast cancer attributable to the abortion.

    According to the American Civil Liberties Union, “even a 1 in 10,000 risk of death must always be disclosed.” [FN157] The courts have *1621 likewise generally found that a physician must inform her patient of risks of such magnitudes. [FN158] In Hartke v. McKelway, [FN159] for example, the District of Columbia Circuit Court affirmed that the jury could conclude that a three in 1000 chance that a laparoscopic cauterization performed to prevent pregnancy would fail was a material risk, given the plaintiff’s history of pregnancy- related health problems and the availability of other alternatives. [FN160]"

    Note that the 1.3 RR from the Brind meta-analysis represents only the independent effect of an abortion, abstracted from the loss of protective effect that would have occurred if the pregnancy had not been aborted but instead carried to term, which for the reasons stated in my law review article is just as material as the independent effect. Note also that the epidemiology indicates that for certain subgroups of women, such as women who have abortions before age 18 and/or who have abortions later rather than earlier in their pregnancy, the RR is well above 1.3.

    It is helpful to take into account what you call the "TERRIBLE HORRIBLE NO GOOD VERY BAD statistics" relating to the odds of a patient dying from breast cancer not only to make the comparisons I made in my law review article but to counter the pervasive claim that "abortion is 10 times safer than childbirth," which is based on the odds of a woman dying in childbirth.

    I tried to be as careful and accurate as I could with my law review article. Not only did Brind review it prior to publication, but I also discussed it extensively with my roommate at the time, who was a graduate student in statistics and who I thanked for his contribution in the first footnote.

  480. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 17, 2013 @8:13 am

    @John Kindley

    I'm in no doubt that you took great care compiling your paper in the law review. However, that was 14 years ago. As has been documented in great detail in this thread, the data you based your conclusions on has been superseded and current evidence suggests there is no link.

  481. John Kindley  •  Sep 17, 2013 @8:27 am

    "As has been documented in great detail in this thread, the data you based your conclusions on has been superseded and current evidence suggests there is no link."

    You're completely wrong about that, but readers of the thread can judge for themselves.

  482. LJU3  •  Sep 17, 2013 @12:21 pm

    @Ken White

    "Via Angus is truly outstanding in his field."

  483. LJU3  •  Sep 17, 2013 @1:04 pm

    @Ken White

    "Via Angus is truly outstanding in his field."

    [Slow clap.]

    [Sorry, I somehow messed up posting this originally!]

  484. BradG  •  Sep 17, 2013 @1:28 pm

    Mr. White, I have to say, you're a cool guy.

    VD, apt pseudonym.

  485. Clark  •  Sep 17, 2013 @2:10 pm

    @LJU3

    @Ken White

    "Via Angus is truly outstanding in his field."

    [Slow clap.]

    Yeah. I normally hate puns, but that was excellent.

  486. John Kindley  •  Sep 18, 2013 @10:55 am

    Two (or three) last links, which are especially relevant to answer the contention above that studies published in 2007 and 2008 showed no link and are entitled to particular weight. The most recent study on American women was published in 2009 and reported a statistically significant 1.4 relative risk of breast cancer associated with induced abortion. It's available here: http://www.abortionbreastcancer.com/download/Abortion_Breast_Cancer_Epid_Bio_Prev_2009.pdf

    The first 3 sentences of the Results section of this study state:

    "In analyses of all 897 breast cancer cases (subtypes combined), the multivariate-adjusted odds ratios for examined risk factors were consistent with the effects observed in previous studies on younger women (Table 1). Specifically, older age, family history of breast cancer, earlier menarche age, induced abortion, and oral contraceptive use were associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. Risk was decreased in relation to greater number of births and younger age at first birth."

    It's particularly interesting that one of the prominent authors of this study is Louise Brinton. Why that's particularly interesting is explained by Dr. Angela Lanfranchi here (2 pages):
    http://www.bcpinstitute.org/report/BCPI-Report-4-2010-Page1.pdf
    http://www.bcpinstitute.org/report/BCPI-Report-4-2010-Page2.pdf

  487. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 18, 2013 @12:06 pm

    @John Kindley

    A couple of observations:

    1) It's one of a number of studies. Some show a weak correlation, some don't. The general medical consensus is that no risk has been proven.
    2) As the paper notes in its discussion:

    The results of this study should be considered in light of several limitations. Our study population contained few non-Caucasians, and given that triple-negative breast cancer is more than twice as common among African-Americans, similar research is needed in a racially heterogeneous population to evaluate the
    generalizability of our results

    In other words, the paper's own authors don't know if its conclusions can be extended generally. It's another piece of data, but its 900 subjects have to be considered against the 500,000 used in the studies I linked.
    3) Why do you think there is a global conspiracy to hide a genuine risk if one exists? Who gains?

    And finally, I'd trust the BCPI for unbiased information on this subject about as much as I'd trust Answers In Genesis for info on evolution. They appear to exist for the sole purpose of pushing this agenda, which although unstated, seems likely to have a pro-life basis.

  488. John Kindley  •  Sep 18, 2013 @12:43 pm

    "3) Why do you think there is a global conspiracy to hide a genuine risk if one exists? Who gains?"

    What do you think would have happened if after that 2009 study came out the NCI updated its website to say, "You know, upon further consideration of the entire body of evidence, and in light of this new study which found a statistically significant positive link, which after all as the authors said is 'CONSISTENT WITH THE EFFECTS OBSERVED IN PREVIOUS STUDIES,' it is now the NCI's position that, although epidemiology can never prove a causal link with absolute certainty, because a causal link is biologically plausible, because the study we've called the biggest and most 'reliable' [the 1997 Melbye study] showed statistically significant evidence of a dose-response effect and reported a 1.38 RR for 2nd trimester abortions, and because an induced abortion undoubtedly increases breast cancer risk by abrogating the known and undisputed protective effect of a full-term pregnancy, a woman considering abortion should be informed that having an abortion will increase her risk of breast cancer by abrogating the protective effect of a full-term pregnancy and MAY also increase her risk beyond what it would have been had she never gotten pregnant. Medical ethics and well-established legal principles of informed consent require no less."

    The shit would have hit the fan, that's what. Questions would undoubtedly be raised as to why women weren't informed of the potential risk (and all risks are "potential" risks) decades ago.

    Note that most scientists themselves appear to be going along their merry way, reporting results as they find them, heedless of how inconvenient these results might be for policy-makers.

  489. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 18, 2013 @12:58 pm

    I would think they're doing the responsible thing, which as an organisation dedicated to fighting cancer, is report a known cancer risk. Like happened with cigarettes.

    Note also I said "global conspiracy". Are you saying everyone's in on this in every nation with legal abortion? Including the researchers who are finding no link? You repeatedly cite the '97 Danish study and the one above with 900 subjects, but choose to ignore the much larger studies that contradict your position: I'm starting to think this discussion is pointless.

  490. John Kindley  •  Sep 18, 2013 @1:10 pm

    "You repeatedly cite the '97 Danish study and the one above with 900 subjects, but choose to ignore the much larger studies that contradict your position"

    I repeatedly cite the 1997 Danish study because that study continues to be cited by, e.g., the ACS fact sheet someone linked to above, as the "largest, and probably the most reliable, study on this topic," and as "good evidence that induced abortion does not affect a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer."

    "I'm starting to think this discussion is pointless."

    Well, that's one thing we agree on.

  491. Castaigne  •  Sep 18, 2013 @6:27 pm

    @John Kindley: So what's your connection with the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons?

  492. Castaigne  •  Sep 18, 2013 @6:37 pm

    @John Kindley: And before you ask why I think you have a connection to the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons [1], it's because you make several arguments that are similar to those that appeared in the AAPS publication Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (now the Medical Sentinel [2] when they published an article on the link between breast cancer and abortion. [3]

    Sadly for the quack journal JPANDS [4], the article has been debunked several times over. [5] [6] [7] So, are you a member or affiliate of the AAPS? Or perhaps you have a connection through the Pauls (Ron and Rand) or maybe Dr Mercola? Perhaps the link is from Conservapedia, since Andy Schlafly serves as their legal counsel?

    [1] http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Association_of_American_Physicians_and_Surgeons

    [2] http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/JPANDS

    [3] http://www.jpands.org/vol12no3/carroll.pdf

    [4] http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/nonrecperiodicals.html

    [5] http://web.archive.org/web/20110513112736/http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs240/en/index.html

    [6] http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2007/10/tagteaming_with_orac_bad_bad_b.php

    [7] http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/10/abortion_and_breast_cancer_the_chicago_t.php

  493. John Kindley  •  Sep 18, 2013 @7:20 pm

    Castaigne: You sound like a purebred jackass. I have no connection to those organizations. In fact I have no connection to any organizations whatsoever. Your eagerness to make some kind of ad hominem connection to make some kind of ad hominem argument, based on your seeing in my arguments some kind of supposed similarity to some argument made somewhere else (I bet they talked about recall bias and estrogen too, right? What a coincidence!), indicates on your part an abject dependence of thought. I'd tell you to try and think for yourself for once, but tragically that capacity is rare among nominally human beings.

  494. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 19, 2013 @4:46 am

    @John Kindley

    You missed the word "sheeple" from that rant.

  495. John Kindley  •  Sep 19, 2013 @5:10 am

    Sheep are relatively clean and mild-mannered creatures.

  496. John Kindley  •  Sep 19, 2013 @9:08 am

    Let me add, finally (I hope!), that although I haven't even bothered to google the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons to find out what they stand for, the connotations imputed to them above lead me to believe that, because I despise Republicans as much as I despise Democrats, and because my fanatical adherence to the Presumption of Innocence leads me to not support jailing or otherwise punishing criminally women or doctors for 1st trimester abortions, I doubt I would fit or be welcome in their organization (not to mention the fact that I am not a physician or a surgeon).

    As for Ron Paul, M.D., he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives when then-Congressman Dave Weldon, M.D., sent a copy of my law review article to every member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1999. I've never heard a peep out of Dr. Paul on the abortion-breast cancer link, despite the fact you'd think it'd be right up his alley in light of his expressed antipathy to the DHHS. He's a politician, like his son.

  497. Castaigne  •  Sep 24, 2013 @1:34 am

    @John Kindley: You sound like a purebred jackass.

    Purebred asshole, thank you very much, from a long line of them. What, you have a problem with assholes? Welcome to the internet.

    I have no connection to those organizations. In fact I have no connection to any organizations whatsoever.

    Noted. Strange, then, that you produce the exact same arguments as the people and organizations I mentioned. You might want to join or affiliate with them then; they possess similar thought and so would probably be comrade in arms. Birds of a feather and all that.

    . Your eagerness to make some kind of ad hominem connection to make some kind of ad hominem argument, based on your seeing in my arguments some kind of supposed similarity to some argument made somewhere else (I bet they talked about recall bias and estrogen too, right? What a coincidence!), indicates on your part an abject dependence of thought.

    Ad hominem? You mistake me, sir – I was merely attempting to see who you were possibly affiliated with. If you think that's an attack of some type, then I recommend you acquire a thicker skin. Looks like a duck, quacks like one – why wouldn't it be reasonable to ask if you are one?

    I'd tell you to try and think for yourself for once, but tragically that capacity is rare among nominally human beings.

    I think for myself all the time. One conclusion I consistently come to is that idealistic political beliefs are bullshit because of impractical elements that can never be resolved, which is why I am neither an anarchist nor a Communist.

    Let me add, finally (I hope!), that although I haven't even bothered to google the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons to find out what they stand for

    *mildly* I did provide you with links. And the links have many footnote links and references. You might bother. Increase your education a bit. I provide those links so you know that I'm not just pulling bullshit of my ass.

    I've never heard a peep out of Dr. Paul on the abortion-breast cancer link, despite the fact you'd think it'd be right up his alley in light of his expressed antipathy to the DHHS.

    Ron Paul has been very vocal about it when he has been questioned on his pro-life viewpoints, especially in the years 2003-2005. He agreed with the link based on his experience and knowledge of obstetrics and gynecology, which was his private practice.

  498. Max  •  Sep 26, 2013 @3:10 am

    I used to be ambivalent about whether unmoderated free flow of discussion was a good or bad thing. This thread has been excellent at convincing me that lack of moderation is a terrible, terrible thing. If anything, it has made me feel Scalzi is being too wimpy about it.

    In what I suspect is a meta-sub-tweet Boing Boing posted this article today: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/you-idiot-course-trolls-comments-make-you-believe-science-less

    All this rudeness does nothing to change minds. It angries up the blood and makes people bunker-up into their prejudices. Also, this constantly shifting tack may allow people to prove how clever they are, but it does make it difficult to follow a constantly shifting point. Like trying to nail mercury to a table, or listening to the monologue of a mentally ill person.

    I honestly didn't mean that to be rude. With a few exceptions, which are obvious and hammered, it seems most people on this thread are rational and intelligent. And actually, I'm a disabled activist and many friends of mine are mentally ill. It doesn't make them bad people, just a little hard to follow when they aren't taking their medication.

    This thread is an experiment in lack of moderation. It quickly became deranged. The ban hammer is the only medicine.

  499. Devil's Advocate  •  Sep 27, 2013 @8:09 am

    Obligatory XKCD:
    http://xkcd.com/882/

  500. Donald  •  Sep 27, 2013 @7:13 pm

    @HandOfGod137, Re: Global Conspiracy

    Read the original article again and it should become obvious to you that the man behind all this is none other than John Scalzi himself. His censorious instincts are so keen that no comment making him look foolish or wrong has ever been posted to his blog. His Internet skillz are so leet that he can game the daily visitor counts not only in the WordPress stats suite but in Google Analytics as well. Suppressing a few not very well designed in the first place abortion studies would be child's play for this twisted genius. As for why he'd do such a thing, he lays out his reasons pretty clearly right here:

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/10/25/a-fan-letter-to-certain-conservative-politicians

  501. HandOfGod137  •  Sep 28, 2013 @4:22 am

    @Donald

    You really don't get satire, do you. But kudos for getting someone to transcribe your post from the original crayon.