Saturday, December 20, 2014

An Atheist's Ten Commandments

Not great
But an improvement on the original, FWTW

Carolina 82-OSU 74

When they're on, these Heels sure are fun to watch...
And I really love Big Ten hoops. Always fun to play B1G teams.
Except Maryland of course.
F*ck those guys.

(LOL just kidding, Turtles...)

Scotland Yard, British "VIP Pedophilia Rings" and Satanic Panic

   Just thought I'd go ahead an lay my epistemic cards on the table. I'm skeptical about this story, as reported in the Guardian.
   I ran across this on /r/worldnews, and the explosion of absolute credulity was...bizarre. (And, incidentally,  quickly spawned, e.g., sub-threads about the CIA kidnapping "thousands" of American children every year for slavery, rape, and murder...)  Needless to say, I'm in no way asserting that the story is definitely false. I'm saying: if I had to place a bet on the veracity of the story, I would bet against it. But as in the case of the Rolling Stone/UVA gang rape debacle, I'm actually more focused on the response to the story. It seems fairly clear to me that a story of this kind should send most people at least to epistemic yellow alert. What I've seen so far, however, is not only perfect credulity, but anger and derision directed at anyone who expresses skepticism.
   I've got actual stuff to do presently, but I'll say, in brief, that the story sounds implausible to me for the same kinds of reasons that the Satanic Panic stories of the '90's sounded implausible. In fact, the similarity is rather striking. Obviously pedophilia exists. (Is this the part where I'm obligated to say what goes without saying? I'm never sure where that part is supposed to go...) and obviously it's a terrible crime. But that in no way means that every accusation is true. And this one fits the Satanic Panic-type template too closely for me to accept it uncritically.
   In particular, the murder parts do not seem plausible. It does not seem likely that the perpetrators would kill person A in front of person B, but then let person B go free. (Though if A and B are children, that might mitigate the implausibility.) And running down someone in broad daylight? It could happen...but I'm baffled that there is so little skepticism about it. Were the accusations of murder made without the accusations of child abuse, I can't see them being believed on the basis of the evidence thus far presented. But when they are conjoined with accusations of pedophilia, people seem to think them more likely rather than less so... 
   And, as I said in comments a few posts back, the fact that the police seem to have declared the accusations to be true without corroborating evidence strikes me as bizarre in the extreme. 
   Of course if I'm wrong, I'm going to get hammered on this...whereas if I'm right it will fade into the past without it's rather a gamble to be up-front about this...but there it is...

Satanic Panic

Friday, December 19, 2014

Scotland Yard: "Claims That Boys Were Murdered By VIP Sex Ring Are Credible And True"

Uh...does this story anyone?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Americans Back CIA Torture 2 to 1

I cannot discuss this calmly at the moment

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cheney: Saddam Had A 10-Year Relationship With Al Qaeda

False, of course...
(via Reddit)

In Case You Think What We Really Need Is Another Bush Presidency...

...your prayers may have been answered...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Amanda Marcotte Still Hasn't Acknowledged That Jackie Lied

Unless I'm missing something somewhere...

UCL: M.A. In White Power!!!!!!!

   This is, perhaps, the most embarrassingly stupid thing I've ever seen in academia.
   My previous go-to example of vapid academic bullshit was my own university's "leisure studies" degree...but no more...

The Geography of Plagiarism

Given what I've been told by people with academic experience in China, this comes as no surprise.

Cheney: "I'd Do It Again In A Minute"

This leaves me, basically, speechless.
(h/t The Mystic)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Carolina 70-Kentucky 84

Meh, got beat by a better team.
Nobody likes losing to Calipari, but whaddaya gonna do? The one-and-done strategy is another nail in the coffin of college hoops...but, sadly, there doesn't seem to be any other team in Kentucky's league this year. Though, even a not-yet-coming
-together, not-great Carolina team managed to not get destroyed. So Kentucky is definitely beatable.

Elizabeth Warren Is Fighting Wall Street For The Soul Of The Democratic Party

I think that headline is reasonably accurate
(Brings to mind my friend Anne's frequent claim that she belongs to "the Democratic wing of the Democratic party"...)

More Evidence That The Bush/Cheney Administration Lied About Atta's "Prague Connection"

I am incapable of expressing the depth of my disgust. I was basically enraged for most of the eight years that those terrible, incompetent people were in office. I'd basically shoved it out of my mind, though. And now it's back.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Newsweek: Another Rolling Stone Rape Article Has Major Holes

In this case, four people went to jail and one died there, the accuser changed his story several times, and Erdely did not disclose a conflict of interest.

If We Should Believe Every Rape Accusation, Why Are Feminists et al. Bashing Rolling Stone For Not Confirming Jackie's Story?

   The leftosphere is mad. And not just a little bit. The leftier  regions of the web are furious at Rolling Stone, and seem to be attributing basically all the blame to them. (Not so much to the author of the piece, curiously...but to the magazine as a whole).
   But if every rape accusation should be believed, then Jackie's accusation, despite its extraordinary implausibility, should also have been believed. So Rolling Stone did something wrong only if the principle that every rape accusation should be believed is false. But the leftward web can't have it both ways.
   Consistency is not the strong suit of either extreme edge of the political spectrum, however. In fact I sometimes wonder if it's immunity to cognitive dissonance that allows people to gravitate to one or the other edge of the spectrum.
   At any I overlooking some obvious response to this objection?

NYT: U.S. Obligated To Investigate Torture; Suspects Can Be Prosecuted Abroad Or By ICC

Kaplan: "There's No Way Bush And Cheney Didn't Know" About Torture