Nov 17 2016

Post-Truth

post-truthThe Oxford Dictionary word of the year is “post-truth” which they define as:

an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.

The implication is that we are now living in a post-truth era. Many people would probably point to the outcome of the recent presidential election as evidence of this. Of course there were many factors influencing the election and it’s impossible to tease them all apart, but this seems to legitimately be a factor.

Trump has 15 million Twitter followers, which means that more people likely see his tweets than will watch any news broadcast. Trump just appointed Stephen Bannon to be his chief White House strategist. Bannon was the chairman of Brietbart news, a far right propaganda echochamber.

I have friends who span the political spectrum, and it did strike me this election how cocooned they were in the narrative of their candidate. It was not just a matter of perspective, they would cite as facts blatant lies and myths. Some were complex, but many were a 1 minute Google search away from being debunked. It just didn’t seem to matter.

Even more amazing were those, when challenged, who expressed some version of the defense that the actual facts did not matter. They continued to support the underlying “truth” even when the facts they put forward to support it were demolished.

Of course, this has always been true to some extent. Emotional appeals have always been more influential than dry facts, that is just the human condition. The question is – is there a difference in magnitude and net effect in recent years?

Effect of Social Media

For those who think there is something different about the current period that makes it more “post-truth” than previous times, many point to social media as being the primary culprit. Again, any complex social phenomenon is likely to have a complex set of causes and influences, but how much of a role is social media having?

At the very least we need to consider two related phenomena – the decrease in traditional journalism and its replacement by social media. More people are now getting their news from social media than traditional media.

I am a big fan of social media, as you can probably tell, but it has been a double-edged sword. It has changed the relative value of certain incentives. With social media you can profit with little infrastructure investment by attracting and monetizing clicks. We are all now familiar with click-bait, headlines that are meant to tease and titillate, leading to vacuous articles or even completely fake news.

Again, this is not entirely new, just on a new level. We grew up with the “click-bait” local news teasers. The difference is, in the past journalists would give actual news, even if it was biased or poor quality. Now, any pretense to real journalism can be abandoned. You can make up entirely fake news that is optimized to cater to a political point of view, or just shock value.

Some websites never give up the pretense of being real news, and are actually propaganda sites for a particular viewpoint. Other sites don’t even have the integrity to be propaganda, they are just fake. They may, somewhere far down on the page in small type, declare themselves to be “satire” but in many cases that is not accurate. The Onion is satire. Many fake news sites are just fake.

Facebook vs Google

We are still in the middle of this disruptive technology and trying to sort out how to deal with it. Google and Facebook have taken two different paths. Google News provides news from whitelisted sites that are curated by human editors. The Google algorithm is mainly about assessing quality.

Facebook’s algorithm rewards popularity, not quality. Posts are tested with a limited set of users and the ones that garner the most likes, shares, and comments have increased circulation. Fake news is shared as easily as real news, and has the advantage of being optimized for popularity, rather than quality.

We have been actively curating the SGU’s Facebook page for a couple of years. Overall we have been very successful, and have 1.1 million likes. This was not by accident, we had to learn and utilize Facebook’s algorithm (with the help of a knowledgeable volunteer). We therefore have many data points, and it is clear that there is almost an inverse relationship between the quality of the content we post and the number of likes and shares we get on Facebook. Facebook, it seems, is optimized for memes and celebrity. Articles of substance barely register.

This has always been the reality of mass media, again the question is one of magnitude. Social media, and in particular Facebook, have taken this phenomenon to its logical conclusion.

Where do we go from here?

I don’t think anyone yet knows how this will all play out. The shocking result of the 2016 presidential election is a good example of how clueless we all are.

When I am feeling optimistic I think of positive trends. The more experience we have with social media, the more savvy we will become in sorting through the noise and finding quality. There will hopefully be a backlash against “post-truth” and journalistic organizations will find a way to survive and provide genuine quality news.

The pessimist in me dwells on the recent election results. This was, among other things, a populist rejection of intellectuals and intellectualism. It was a rejection of the inherent value of honesty, transparency, and factual accuracy.

It is a small comfort that Trump did not win the popular vote. It was essentially a dead heat. I am as disappointed that more people did not turn out to vote against Trump as that so many turned out to vote for him.

The election was about many things, and everyone will be tempted to impose their own narrative on the results. For some of us, though, we were horrified by the abject rejection of any respect for intellectual integrity. That was more important even than policy or ideology. Trump simply did not meet the minimum criteria for intellectual integrity to be put into a position of such power.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this election is that so few people noticed or were sufficiently bothered by that fact. The American voters essentially said – you can lie to us. You can sell us whatever fiction you think we want to hear, and we will reward you for it. In fact, we will help you spread those lies. They will become our truth.

We can no longer even agree upon a shared set of facts. Did you notice how little discussion there was of policy during this election? We didn’t even get there. You can’t roll up your sleeves and start negotiating about how to solve our problems when you cannot even agree on basic facts.

That is post-truth.

182 responses so far

182 Responses to “Post-Truth”

  1. DevoutCatalyston 17 Nov 2016 at 8:49 am

    “Bannon was the chairman of Brietbart news, a far right propaganda echochamber.”

    “Google News provides news from whitelisted sites that are curated by human editors.”

    Google News provides news from Brietbart News. FWIW.

  2. dngon 17 Nov 2016 at 9:16 am

    As a scientist, I share your concerns, Steve. I grew up when the Internet was nothing more that a resource for scientist and academia types sharing research. Our goal was to seek the truth. The Internet only had FTP (File Transfer Protocol), Telnet (remote login) and Sendmail (a cruder form of email). I sometimes yearn for those days. While today’s version has a lot of good things going for it, there is, unfortunately, a dark side to deal with and you are correct, social media has a lot to do with it.

  3. SteveAon 17 Nov 2016 at 9:20 am

    Much of the post appears to presuppose some golden age when media outlets were, more often than not, balanced and impartial.

    Was that ever the case? In the UK, if you’re right-of-centre newspaper-reader you’ll likely subscribe to the Telegraph; if you’re on the left, then it’s The Guardian. Both will process the same facts to a certain extent, but the outcome in either case will be steered to fit a preferred narrative. It’s always been like this, so much so that I gave up on ‘traditional journalism’ around 20 years ago (though I did flirt with The Economist for a while). Echo chambers have always been with us. Truth and justice don’t pay a paper’s bills, readers do; and readers are given what they want to buy.

    In my experience, most people tend to vote with their gut, then look for reasons to rationalise their choices, rarely seeking out viewpoints that might challenge their own. Again, was there ever a time when it wasn’t like this?

    Generally, I think the rise of digital media is a positive. At least it makes the facts more easily available for anyone who wants to take the time to seek them out (as Tmac57 reminded me in a recent thread). Hopefully a more technologically literate generation will get bored of the pap and start digging for the meat instead.

  4. ccbowerson 17 Nov 2016 at 9:33 am

    “Much of the post appears to presuppose some golden age when media outlets were, more often than not, balanced and impartial.”

    Really? Did you read the post? The question addressed is “Is it getting worse?” He writes:

    “Of course, this has always been true to some extent. Emotional appeals have always been more influential than dry facts, that is just the human condition. The question is – is there a difference in magnitude and net effect in recent years?”

    “This has always been the reality of mass media, again the question is one of magnitude. Social media, and in particular Facebook, have taken this phenomenon to its logical conclusion.”

  5. ccbowerson 17 Nov 2016 at 9:45 am

    It has been 11 years since Colbert coined the term ‘truthiness’ (at least in its current usage), and it was word of the year in 2005 (American Dialect Society) and 2006 (Merriam-Webster). Now we have “post-truth” in 2016 by the OED. And if you go and watch political debates from even 20 years ago you will see stark differences in how facts are used and viewed by the politicians and the media. It is not necessarily that they were all more truthful, but that truth seemed to carry more weight. The deceptions were more likely to be cherry picking as opposed to making up your own facts and repeating them as we have seen a lot of in 2016.

    If attitudes have not shifted about facts, opinion, and policy, it is an impressive illusion.

  6. carbonUniton 17 Nov 2016 at 9:58 am

    The best cure I can think of is to make sure students from middle to high school to get courses in critical thinking, so they can spot a bad arguments and have the ability to find accurate, non-biased sources of information. This would give them the ability to deal with marketing, politicians, etc. in a much better manner. Of course, banning the teaching of critical thinking has been a Republican party plank (in Texas?) as something to ban, so one might have to tailor the message to avoid the perception of this being aimed at religious and political ideologies. Perhaps take Carl Sagan’s notion that everyone needs a functioning baloney detector. Baloney detector seems an innocuous label…
    Students need enough economic and scientific background to be able to have their baloney detectors triggered when ridiculous things are proposed.

    I really regret that there is not some way to penalize lying politicians.

  7. Kabboron 17 Nov 2016 at 10:03 am

    Indeed there was once a golden age, where things in some specific ways were slightly less bad, and other things were much worse. Nostalgia for times that didn’t exist is rampant, though fortunately not on this blog. I do hope the internet can find a way to reward and popularize honesty and nuance rather than what we have been seeing.

    Does anyone have any info as to the average (mean) age of regular Facebook users? I suspect it is older than just about anywhere else on the internet, but I’m curious. I think that older populations on average are even more prone to seeking facts that fit existing opinions, and I think there might be a chicken and egg scenario where the demographic molds the medium to some level. Thoughts?

  8. wfron 17 Nov 2016 at 10:40 am

    As shameful as it is to claim that inconvenient facts don’t matter, it is even more distressing to realize that we don’t even care any more about right and wrong.

    We are a racist and sexist country, and this has been true since long before the onset of social media. The only thing new is that we have a new champion.

    We are living in a post-morality era.

  9. tmac57on 17 Nov 2016 at 11:04 am

    During the campaign I was extremely frustrated by my Facebook feed and the almost non-stop avalanche of propaganda and outright lies being spread by my friends.
    At first I would try to pick out the worst examples, and reply to them with respectful corrections and good fact checking sources to support my reply, but it never seemed to matter, and they would just argue back with their own propaganda ridden sources.
    Then I began worrying about the ‘backfire effect’ that Skeptics and social scientists have observed, and I stopped responding directly to them, but instead would try to later, post a link to a good source that debunked a hot topic rumor.
    Even then, I suspect that it made little difference. The main thing that needs to happen, is to help people gain the critical thinking skills and motivation to seek out the most grounded in facts information, without regard to what their biases want them to believe.
    It’s a tall order, but either the facts matter to a functioning and productive society, or they don’t.

    As Matt Dillahunty says:

    “I want to believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible”.

    I’m surprised (especially by this election) by how many people apparently do not hold to this standard.

  10. RCon 17 Nov 2016 at 11:49 am

    “I’m surprised (especially by this election) by how many people apparently do not hold to this standard.”

    It doesn’t help that our political system (more the Republicans than the Democrats, but both are guilty) deliberately play on emotion, and disregard fact. Below is a link to a John Oliver segment from the RNC this summer – with Newt basically telling a reporter that whether or not crime is down in America is irrelevant – that feelings are what matter.

    https://youtu.be/zNdkrtfZP8I?t=352

  11. BBBlueon 17 Nov 2016 at 11:59 am

    Google News is the first news aggregator I look at every morning. Maybe it is my conservative bias, but there sure seemed to be a disproportionate number of negative stories about Trump at the top of the page every day. I know there are plenty of negative things to say about him, but I have yet to find a news source that appears to be free from a clear editorial bias, and that includes GN, BBC and NPR. I always feel the need to check out Drudge or conservative talk radio to make sure liberal news sources are not hiding something from me.

  12. dkilmeron 17 Nov 2016 at 12:30 pm

    I have a feeling that we’re actually still pre-truth.

  13. praktikon 17 Nov 2016 at 1:36 pm

    BBBlue – “but I have yet to find a news source that appears to be free from a clear editorial bias”

    The moment you do? You will have found only the source that more closely matches your biases, and thus “appears” to be “free from a clear editorial bias”.

    There is no source free of bias, and in fact, we should be looking rather more for those sources that have the best biases – the ones most likely to produce useful insights and to identify things accurately.

    But we should never look for a source free from clear bias, since this is essentially a fool’s errand. And the other issue is if you follow this heuristic it may lead you to a Wolf Blitzer like blandness, a “who’s right? you decide!” equivocation that can have its own failings, like leading one to false equivalencies that mask differences between positions and cause us to lose detail in our analyses.

  14. praktikon 17 Nov 2016 at 2:53 pm

    https://youarenotsosmart.com/2015/11/09/yanss-062-why-you-often-believe-people-who-see-the-world-differently-are-wrong/

    THis was a great examination of why we think people who see the world differently are wrong – and after listening – I found my outlook on the world really did change.

    It was both empowering and frustrating, and Steve’s post is an example of the frustrations one encounters living in a post-truth world. I found it empowering though in that listening helped me identify more gaps and limits of my own biases, and to cultivate a general humility with respect to my own beliefs. I also think it helps to humanize people who are wrong..;)

  15. Lukas Xavieron 17 Nov 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Off the cuff idea:

    Posts are tested with a limited set of users and the ones that garner the most likes, shares, and comments have increased circulation. Fake news is shared as easily as real news, and has the advantage of being optimized for popularity, rather than quality.

    First, deliberately circulate fake stories, in order to evaluate how easily people were taken in. Then, take the people who were most critical and make them the test group for real news stories. This would work as a means of vetting the people who vet the stories.

  16. praktikon 17 Nov 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Lukas – this has been circulating on FB today, with appeals to “share, don’t click!”

    http://www.theshovel.com.au/2016/11/17/mark-zuckerburg-dead-at-32-denies-facebook-has-problem-with-fake-news/

  17. Teaseron 17 Nov 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Steve said

    I have friends who span the political spectrum, and it did strike me this election how cocooned they were in the narrative of their candidate. It was not just a matter of perspective, they would cite as facts blatant lies and myths. Some were complex, but many were a 1 minute Google search away from being debunked. It just didn’t seem to matter.”

    Given the two candidates and the gaping holes in each of their histories I do not see how either were deserved of any amount of impassioned “cocooned” support. Neither candidate provided a pathway to restore US politics back to a functioning system that first and foremost serves its citizens. That said, in my analysis the downside of Trump was extremely apparent.

    Pre-cable television and internet, I think it was harder for the average citizen to adopt fringe positions. If you turned on the nightly news, you could choose, NBC, CBS or ABC. You would get approximately 22 minutes of news and little commentary. Newspapers were vital in providing news and commentary.

    Were we getting the ‘Truth’ in the pre-cable, pre-internet age? Maybe it was easier to agree on a common truth since most people were hearing and seeing the same information. It was easier to have a discussion since the sources of truth were limited. Perhaps the truth is more like agreeing to believe the same general story about the world.

  18. Steven Novellaon 17 Nov 2016 at 4:23 pm

    I think in the pre-internet days the problem was too little information. I agree, people generally got sanitized news, although newspapers did fill a very useful niche.

    today, people have plenty of information, but too much misinformation, or biased and even targeted misinformation, or just plain fake information seeking only clicks.

    Alex Jones proclaimed to his audience that Clinton was an actual demon.

    Someone just recently told me that Trump won the popular vote. How more basic does this information get? They were not just confused or mistaken – they were confident because of some bullshit they were told.

    A recent blog cited a clear Poe as an example of racism, and when that was pointed out the commenters essentially said that it doesn’t matter if it’s real or not, because there are people like that.

  19. TheGorillaon 17 Nov 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Reality TV star walks into 2016 US politics and wins the presidential election. The Clinton campaign fucked up bad, but a major issue was not understanding the social field and playing the old, wrong game of pretending to be a caring, fact-based politician. Tells you all you need to know — the demographics analysis, etc is totally useless; the only interesting and meaningful explanation is how Trump was able to become a thing in the first place. I think if our society was less focused on data this outcome would have been far less surprising.

    I’m curious as to the effect such brazen lying is going to have. It might just lure people into thinking stories based on “”objective”” facts and data are much more objective than they are.

  20. tmac57on 17 Nov 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Snopes has a pretty relevant piece today that is a bit different than their usual fare, more of an OP:

    http://www.snopes.com/2016/11/17/we-have-a-bad-news-problem-not-a-fake-news-problem/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

  21. Teaseron 17 Nov 2016 at 6:24 pm

    There is evidence of a backlash against misleading web sites. I saw this pop up on my feed yesterday. (I guess thats a good sign of my news input!)

    “Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor of communication at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, put together a publicly available Google doc cataloging “False, misleading, clickbait-y and satirical ‘news’ sources.” It’s been making the rounds on social media as people seek to cleanse their newsfeeds of misinformation.”

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-trailguide-updates-want-to-keep-fake-news-out-of-your-1479260297-htmlstory.html

    She provides some guidance

  22. tmac57on 17 Nov 2016 at 6:42 pm

    Teaser- That list is getting a lot of traction, and I shared it on my FB page yesterday, but when I clicked on your link just now, I noticed that part of the list was there, but not all of it, and when I click on the list or what appears to be links to it, all I am getting is the text describing her tips for analyzing sites, without the list. So I went back to my FB wall to look at the ‘share’ of the article that I put up, and I get the same thing. Wonder what’s up with that?

  23. hardnoseon 17 Nov 2016 at 6:45 pm

    “This was, among other things, a populist rejection of intellectuals and intellectualism. It was a rejection of the inherent value of honesty, transparency, and factual accuracy.”

    How could the masses be so ignorant? How could they reject those kindly, wise, truth-loving intellectuals?

    Novella, you are as blinded by bias as all the rest of us ignorant rabble. You can’t see through Hillary’s politeness and her political correctness. When she says “I care about you all” you take it at face value.

    People are basically rational, whatever their education level. When faced with obvious facts, we accept reality, however we may feel about it.

    This election, and most elections, involve controversies. Controversies are never about obvious facts, they are about things that are complex, uncertain, and unpredictable. No one knows what is best for this country or this world.

    There is no “political spectrum” that can organize the data for us. So people simplify the hell out of everything and force it into tiny boxes.

    Trump is a blowhard who says all the wrong things. He doesn’t pretend to be nice. This world is not always a nice place, and your better off knowing that.

    Half the country is sick and tired of BS and elitist political correctness. And most of all they are tired of being robbed by those “intelligent” political correct elitist rulers.

    I did not vote for Trump and never hoped he would win. But I am glad Hillary lost.

    You are so entranced with the surface of things. There are smart decent guys (and girls), and then there is the ignorant rabble. They must be educated so they can perceive the obvious truth that you smart guys can easily see.

  24. hardnoseon 17 Nov 2016 at 6:53 pm

    “Perhaps the truth is more like agreeing to believe the same general story about the world.”

    Yes, the only people who really know the “truth” are those with extremely limited information.

    I noticed the two opposing narratives being spun during the election. Neither was “true.” They were simplified narratives that helped people frame their opinions.

    When we all had the same news sources it may have been easier to find common ground. But now people tend to get their information from the kind of source they already resonate with, which just deepens their bias.

  25. praktikon 17 Nov 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Hardnose said: “Novella, you are as blinded by bias as all the rest of us ignorant rabble. You can’t see through Hillary’s politeness and her political correctness. When she says “I care about you all” you take it at face value.
    People are basically rational, whatever their education level.”

    I don’t believe anything Steve wrote would support the claim that he himself takes everything Clinton says at “face value” – but as long as we’re appealing to human nature on a generalized level I would go so far as to say that yes, she *does* care, why wouldn’t she?

    Everyone is the hero of their own narratives, part of our bias that we are “blinded by” as you put are the nesting of rationalizations that we use to understand the world around us. Part of these for Hillary are internalized narratives about the role she has played to make America a better place for working people – and they might very well be based on ideological BS, but I don’t doubt she believes them honestly.

    Similarly, the Koch brothers are often maligned as greedy guys who are looking to change American culture with their money to suit their business interests. While the self-interest is there- they ALSO share a nesting of rationalizations about the world, especially ones that see their own success as America’s success and America’s success as the world’s success. Left wingers would say they support appalling policies for the working poor, they would counter that the left’s “culture of dependency” is worse for them and that their “bootstrap pullin'” policy framework is *actually* the kind of thing someone who *really cares* about the working poor would support.

    So I think we should actually take politicians at face value – most of the time, they believe their own BS. I don’t doubt that Trump is absolutely as fearful of illegal immigrants as his rants would indicate. What explains your differences with politicians is less likely to be malignant intention concealed behind a facade of good intention but instead good intentions twisted through rationalizations that serve ends other than those originally intended – bad outcomes the politicians may not even be able to percieve, as they likely have people and reasons that explain away their responsibility for those bad outcomes or ascribe them to enemies. Such is the Banality of Evil.

  26. GrahamHon 17 Nov 2016 at 8:22 pm

    First radio president, first TV president, now the first click-bait president.

    Remember the thin veneer of civilization, people beneath the thin veneer vastly outnumber those in the veneer itself.
    My feeling is that the majority prefer a paternalistic society so they don’t have to take as much responsibility for themselves. Targetting voters interested in progressive social measures leaves you open to those can connect to the bigotry and bias inherent in so many.

    I hope to visit the US in a few months, road trip. I hope I can do so before the country becomes a wasteland (moral, nuclear, whatever).
    I’m glad I’m not from or of the US in as much as I can deny any responsibility for president clickbait. Unfortunately that doesn’t protect me from the problems that are likely to arise.

  27. hardnoseon 17 Nov 2016 at 8:24 pm

    “What explains your differences with politicians is less likely to be malignant intention concealed behind a facade of good intention but instead good intentions twisted through rationalizations that serve ends other than those originally intended”

    Yes I know, people believe their own lies and everyone perceives him/herself as saintly. Even though they might be committing horrendous crimes and trampling helpless victims. That is how life works.

    But what I was trying to say is that the Democrats have become the party of niceness and smartness, the wise rulers of the nanny state. Their supporters look up at them adoringly, not noticing how badly they are being robbed and beaten and deceived.

    The election of Trump seems to be a resounding F You directed at the intellectual establishment that Novella admires and trusts. So no wonder he is so appalled by it.

    I can’t help sympathizing with the rebellion, even though I doubt it will accomplish anything good. I have a sense of what motivates it.

  28. jsterritton 17 Nov 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Ah, the Democrats, the “intellectual establishment” that robs and beats and deceives [citation needed].

    Hardnose, you are such a trollish loser, you will rail against anything you can label “the establishment” that has so underappreciated your obvious intellect and utility. I adore that you are here, presuming to speak for Dr Novella, and turning his reportage on a topical cultural phenomenon into your own soapbox from which to lecture/hector all of us for being stupid and intellectually dishonest. You’re so great.

    If anyone should be excited and expected to thrive in a world without facts, it should be you — you’ve had the most practice!

    (I realize this is in no way productive commenting, but this particular unprovoked, unfounded attack on Dr Novella got my hackles up.)

  29. Willyon 17 Nov 2016 at 10:12 pm

    I don’t have enough time tonight to digest Dr. Novella’s post, much less the responses to it. Anyway, I will add for now that I was just involved in an exchange on AGW. While I am certainly scornful of deniers, I ALWAYS use facts in support of my posts. I was labeled an “elitist” for “believing” in climate change. The poison from this election will last for a long, long time.

  30. ccbowerson 17 Nov 2016 at 10:15 pm

    “Maybe it is my conservative bias, but there sure seemed to be a disproportionate number of negative stories about Trump at the top of the page every day.”

    What would you expect, an equal number of negative and positive stories about him? Disproportionate relative to what? That is the problem, when there is asymmetry with regards to merit, there should be an asymmetry with regards to media coverage in proportion to this. I think praktik is right on that point: you will be most drawn to the media that matches your biases, and you will think those are the least biased sources. That is where our skepticism comes into play. If we apply skepticism to these topics and ourselves, we have a chance of avoiding the worst of these problems.

    “I always feel the need to check out Drudge or conservative talk radio to make sure liberal news sources are not hiding something from me.”

    I used to do this for many years, but found that rather than seeing stories others were hiding, I was mostly being exposed to intellectually dishonest takes on stories. Not to say there is no value in in following that stuff (Drudge Report and talk radio is not the most intellectually honest sources for conservative perspectives), at the very least to see what information others are receiving. Despite their editorial biases, NPR and BBC have good quality news reporting. At least for the majority of topics. Google News is an aggregator, more in common with Drudge Report. The relative biases between those 2 are not even comparable. Their motivations are very different. At least GN is trying to limit bias, while DR is trying to increase bias, but mostly trying to get clicks.

    Rather than trying to balance ‘left’ with ‘right’ sources, I try to follow outlets that are trying to get the process right. I value a rigorous process rather than counterbalancing spin with spin.

  31. ccbowerson 17 Nov 2016 at 10:24 pm

    “Alex Jones proclaimed to his audience that Clinton was an actual demon.”

    Right before the election, he stated that Wikileaks emails showed proof that the demon Clinton and her ‘camp’ were participating in Satanic parties in which young girls were being offered, as part of a satanic and pedophile network.

    This from the most amazing extrapolations from the flimsiest of connections from emails. Somehow people watch and read this stuff and find it at least possible, if not plausible or likely. I’m not sure how to engage people who finds that stuff compelling. It is literally speaking to someone who doesn’t have any standards for evidence that support their biases. I have tried, and I tend to avoid engaging people that far off of reality.

  32. BillyJoe7on 17 Nov 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Apparently he was once a scientist, but the “establishment” rejected him (for reasons that are obvious to everyone who has ever read anything he has written). And so he moved on to make his fortunes in IT. But he has not forgotten those bastard establishmentarians and they cop it every chance he gets. As he declines into senility in his retirement he has lost even the ability to read.

  33. rezistnzisfutlon 17 Nov 2016 at 11:43 pm

    BBBlue is right, there is a left bias in the media and it’s been there a long time. Sorry, but it’s true, and it’s not simply a matter of perspective.

    I think what we expect is objectivity and lack of bias, a legitimate Fourth Estate. Instead, the vast majority of the time we get, at best, a sprinkling of facts mixed in with commentary and editorializing, and these are sites that purport to be straight news. Sure, there is Fox News, but sorry, they are outnumbered 20 to 1.

    It’s been discussed here many times when it comes to the media’s coverage of science, how off they typically are, how often a narrative or bias is included with it. We are happy to criticize them then because we point a skeptical eye at them – we have no feelings or ideology in the fight other than preserving the integrity of science.

    But when it comes to politics and even economics, that often goes out the window, and scientists are every bit as prone to human bias as anyone else. Same goes with skeptics. As I read Dr. Novella write it, our skepticism should be most vigorously pointed at ourselves. I know I have bias and even some ideology in there, and I try hard to have some idea what those are. I’ve seen people in this forum even, self-proclaimed skeptics, who think that their bias is in-sync with reality. Really?

    I think most of us want our media to be actually professional, neutral, and with journalistic integrity and ethics. They seem far more concerned with clicks and views than fact-checking, due diligence, and accuracy. A highly provocative and inflammatory headline will tend to generate more clicks. I’ve seen this happen in many social media forums I moderate where the most controversial posts tend to generate the most responses. And it’s been my experience that most mainstream outlets do tend toward the left. That’s just how it is.

    There is something seriously wrong when we have to spend more time fact-checking what we’re getting from mainstream news than watching the news itself. Or when we get bombarded by “analysts”, which are typically just pundits grinding out a narrative, after any facts are stated.

  34. practiCal fMRIon 18 Nov 2016 at 2:58 am

    @carbonUnit:

    “The best cure I can think of is to make sure students from middle to high school to get courses in critical thinking”

    YES! Yes times a million! Call me crazy, but critical thinking is no less important than basic math and language skills. In the twenty-first century it should be mandatory as a central core of our education. So many things would change if many more people had the mental tools to ask if they’re being hoodwinked.

  35. SteveAon 18 Nov 2016 at 7:44 am

    Ccbowers: “Much of the post appears to presuppose some golden age when media outlets were, more often than not, balanced and impartial.” Really? Did you read the post? The question addressed is “Is it getting worse?”

    Yes. I did read the post. Did you read my qualifier ‘more often than not’?

    Steve’s position, broadly (another qualifier), is that things were better in the past; but worse now. I contend that things are pretty much the same as they’ve always been; it’s just the media that’s different. It’s faster and more accessible now, but the results are the same as they ever were.

    Try reading the letters section of ‘The Gentlemen’s Magazine’ c.1735 and you’ll find flame wars. Olde worlde and slow motion, but flame wars none the less.

    “And if you go and watch political debates from even 20 years ago you will see stark differences in how facts are used and viewed by the politicians and the media. It is not necessarily that they were all more truthful, but that truth seemed to carry more weight.”

    Is this the truth, or the past viewed through rosy glasses?

    “Right before the election, he stated that Wikileaks emails showed proof that the demon Clinton and her ‘camp’ were participating in Satanic parties in which young girls were being offered, as part of a satanic and pedophile network.”

    You might be interested in the history of the Jersey Devil (http://www.csicop.org/si/show/the_jersey_devil_the_real_story); another politically motivated Satanic smear story, this time an 18th-century one.

    People don’t change.

    You probably can scout around for historic examples of times and places where political discourse was moderate, thoughtful and measured, but I’d contend that these were times and places where there was less at stake, and consequently people weren’t so het up about stuff.

  36. hardnoseon 18 Nov 2016 at 10:33 am

    [you will rail against anything you can label “the establishment” that has so underappreciated your obvious intellect]

    You are completely wrong, as always. I distrust the ruling powers because of evidence, and because of human nature. I do NOT feel under appreciated. I am just a software developer and very happy with that. I never had any desire to be a politician or belong to the intellectual elite you love so much.

  37. hardnoseon 18 Nov 2016 at 10:35 am

    “The best cure I can think of is to make sure students from middle to high school to get courses in critical thinking”

    Yes, make sure every student agrees 100% with liberal elitist ideology. Disagreeing in any way is a sign of poor thinking skills.

  38. Kabboron 18 Nov 2016 at 11:09 am

    praktik,

    I appreciate your comment that in general people believe they are genuinely trying to improve the world. The hyperbole in the rhetoric used is a tool to accomplish all the ‘good’ things they will do once in office. This is a very hopeful way to look at things since otherwise I can’t help but feel that America decided to punch itself in the face, rather forcefully.

    I can’t help but feel that the left and right divide in the US is like 2 sets of parents. The right looks down on the left for not spanking their kids and vice versa. Both regard the other as immoral. It would certainly be nice to apply more charity and/or nuance to the discussion, but I have as hard a time with that as anyone.

  39. Lenscleaneron 18 Nov 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Steven,

    Please provide evidence for “Google algorithm is mainly about assessing quality”.

    Lc

  40. Teaseron 18 Nov 2016 at 12:30 pm

    My bias is that people who habitually watch any 24/7 cable news service are brainwashed.

    However I see this brainwashing most on display from those of the conservative FOX News tribe. It is well documented that FOX News was created from whole cloth as a conservative propaganda tool.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-roger-ailes-built-the-fox-news-fear-factory-20110525

    I know immediately when I am talking to a person who is wholly informed (brainwashed) by the rightist media establishment. They are filled with ‘facts’ and are willing to go on the offensive to make their point regardless of the social setting. Since I alone cannot deprogram their conditioning I understand that arguing is futile. Instead I try to find a common topic to discuss that is not political….like the weather…..:(

    Colbert always did an excellent job of revealing the conservative talking point of the day. His team would create a montage of the daily talking point repeated across TV, Radio and Republican representatives in the Senate and House. There was no disputing they were all in lockstep as the talking point was repeated verbatim across all media.

    I did/do not see the dots connected so cleanly in the liberal sphere. The liberals do not appear to have the same unified talking point coordination. Additionally after Obama was first elected, Clear Channel bought numerous AM radio stations that aired liberal programs such as Thom Hartmann and Stephanie Miller. These stations were converted either to conservative talk, sports or christian programming. AM radio access to liberal discussion has been significantly snuffed out.

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/14355-an-insiders-view-of-the-progressive-talk-radio-devolution

  41. a stray caton 18 Nov 2016 at 1:05 pm

    It may be described more as a “post-trust” era than “post-truth”. The rise of new media, echo chambers, and misinformation comes with its whole host of problems, but it also reveals problems with the mainstream media which have probably always existed. When only a few media sources existed, it was much easier for them to control the narrative, misrepresent the truth, or lie without anyone being the wiser. They flexed this power greatly this election cycle, enough to break many people’s trust, and this was revealed in unprecedented ways. We already knew Fox News was a propaganda network, but when the other major networks start showing signs of deception for the other side, all confidence is broken. Trust in mass media is at the lowest point ever.

    Steve Novella said:
    “The election was about many things, and everyone will be tempted to impose their own narrative on the results. For some of us, though, we were horrified by the abject rejection of any respect for intellectual integrity. That was more important even than policy or ideology. Trump simply did not meet the minimum criteria for intellectual integrity to be put into a position of such power.

    Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this election is that so few people noticed or were sufficiently bothered by that fact. The American voters essentially said – you can lie to us. You can sell us whatever fiction you think we want to hear, and we will reward you for it.”

    The fact that Clinton consistently polled as less trustworthy than Trump disconfirms that narrative. She had an aura of deceit even before the primaries, and her style of campaigning only strengthens that aura. Many people didn’t vote Clinton or even voted Trump explicitly to punish Clinton (or the establishment politics she represents) for their habitual, self righteous dishonesty, not because they wanted to be lied to. The irony there is rich. Trump takes lying to a new level, being so outrageous that I think many automatically jump to understanding his statements metaphorically, forgetting to penalize him in doing so. But this only is a palatable alternative because there is little trust already.

    Obviously, she is much more correct on the facts than Trump, but politics is as much about people’s motives as it is about their competency, and I would argue that motives matter more, as they are less malleable. I think on some level, most people know they can’t possibly be sure about all the facts. Even something as “simple” as the election results is subject to question when US election integrity is ranked worst in the Western world. Virtually all the facts relevant to politics are embedded in contexts that can hugely change their meaning.

    In the end, for most everyone, it comes down to trust in authorities to analyze and report the facts accurately. When this trust is repeatedly weakened, facts start losing their power.

  42. banyanon 18 Nov 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I posted this article to my Facebook.

    It has gotten very few likes and no shares.

  43. Marshallon 18 Nov 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Hardnose:

    > “The best cure I can think of is to make sure students from middle to high school to get courses in critical thinking”
    > Yes, make sure every student agrees 100% with liberal elitist ideology. Disagreeing in any way is a sign of poor thinking skills.

    How typical of conservative dingbats, equating critical thinking with “liberal elitist ideology.” We should instead embrace the ignorance of all things that you so proudly tout. Yes, fight against it as hard as you can. Remove education, critical thinking, and the use of evidence, and instead teach them the mumbo jumbo that you spew on a daily basis.

  44. jsterritton 18 Nov 2016 at 2:04 pm

    “You are completely wrong, as always.”

    About what? About you? You are a cipher and a liar; don’t make me comb the archives to cobble together your autobiography (in you very own words).

    “I distrust the ruling powers because of evidence.”

    Don’t you dare break with precedent and actually cite any of this “evidence” stuff.

    “I do NOT feel under appreciated.”

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! I know, you’ll be appreciated in the future, when you show us all!

    “I am just a software developer and very happy with that. I never had any desire to be a politician or belong to the intellectual elite.”

    Gee, you sure sound like a politician. What have you done with @hardnose?!?

    But seriously, it’s good to learn that you are happy — you’re always come off as mad and self-righteous and cartoonishly villainous. Mazel tov!

  45. hardnoseon 18 Nov 2016 at 2:35 pm

    “But seriously, it’s good to learn that you are happy — you’re always come off as mad and self-righteous and cartoonishly villainous.”

    Yeah I am very glad not to be involved in the madness. Thinking about these things is a hobby for me. I try to find out the real truth, which is not necessarily what the experts and authorities want us to believe. Sometimes that makes me mad, but then I take a break for a while.

    Being a graduate student showed me how brainwashed and superficial so-called “intellectuals” usually are. Computers don’t care about your ideology.

  46. FuzzyMarmoton 18 Nov 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you for this post, Steve. This election has important consequences for science, critical thinking, and evidence-based public policy. It is very, very important that the skeptical community makes it voice heard now. I’m grateful that you have the courage to speak up on this issue.

  47. ikewinskion 18 Nov 2016 at 4:27 pm

    it is clear that there is almost an inverse relationship between the quality of the content we post and the number of likes and shares we get on Facebook

    This older article, The Toxoplasma of Rage, examines that phenomena in more detail and has helped me understand the nature of the problem a little better.

    http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/12/17/the-toxoplasma-of-rage/

    Also see one of his most recent, You’re Still Crying Wolf:

    http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/11/16/you-are-still-crying-wolf/

  48. tmac57on 18 Nov 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Teaser- Concerning that list that Melissa Zimdars created at the LA times article, they now have this added update notice:

    “UPDATE: Nov. 17, 5:52 p.m.: The professor who created the list has taken down the Google doc. She said it was a safety measure in response to threats and harassment she and her students and colleagues had received. She is continuing to work on it and plans to release it in the future in a format other than a Google doc.”

    Seems as though some people do not like others trying to create a list of factually challenged news sources.

  49. hardnoseon 18 Nov 2016 at 7:16 pm

    “Seems as though some people do not like others trying to create a list of factually challenged news sources.”

    The list will be selected according to the bias of whoever makes it.

  50. ccbowerson 18 Nov 2016 at 10:11 pm

    “Is this the truth, or the past viewed through rosy glasses?”

    Go and watch presidential debates over the past 20-40 years there many on Youtube. I have watched several. And it is not that I view these days fondly, I barely remember some of them. You will not see anything close to the GOP debates in general, and Donald Trump in particular. This is true especially when you take the social changes that have taken place fairly rapidly, and many things said in the past would not be acceptable today. I am not one to romanticize the past. That is a pet peeve of mine, so you have the wrong guy if that is the implication. I acknowledge the fact that the world is a much better place for more people than it ever was. I just don’t let that broad narrative cover up the ways in which things are worse.

    “People don’t change.”

    Yes they do, but I understand your point- that there were always elements of polarization, infighting, demagoguery, political smears, tribalism etc. If you think that acknowledging this is a counter argument, then you are fighting a strawman. Showing similar examples from the past of similar behavior is not enough to show things are more or less the same. You have decades and decades to pick from. Of course there will analogous situations over time. But the period of time you are comparing the past to, is a much narrower recent history.

    I understand there is some debate as to the polarization of the general public in the US, and I think a large part of this perception of increased polarization is due to the recent election season. This seems to definitely be a cyclical phenomenon related to campaigns and elections. But this is a complex question with nuanced answers. It is a bit too easy to say that we are in an obvious trajectory of extreme polarization, but I also think it is also too easy to say things have always been this way.

    Here is a paper on the topic. Although there are various ways to look at the issue. Figures 7-9 cannot be simply explained away with your perspective. There has been some differences, especially in the increased connection between party affiliation and its correlation with particular views:

    http://web.stanford.edu/~gentzkow/research/PolarizationIn2016.pdf

    20 years ago, cable news was much smaller, and internet news didn’t exist for most people. These have had a profound effect on public perception of politics, and it is hard to separate this from any changes we have seen over this time.

  51. practiCal fMRIon 18 Nov 2016 at 10:57 pm

    @Marshall: Thanks mate. I was resisting hardnose’s well trolled bait. Appreciate you taking one for the team. Let’s say I owe you a beer!

  52. BillyJoe7on 19 Nov 2016 at 6:26 am

    I think the time has come to put the troll on permanent ignore.
    From this point on, I resolve to not read anything he writes, or any responses to what he writes.
    Time is too precious to waste on idiots.

  53. arnieon 19 Nov 2016 at 7:45 am

    Thank you BillyJoe! My past pleas for that have themselves been largely ignored. Apparently some actually enjoy the exchange with him while others just can’t resist snapping at the bait. Still others hope their responses will educate the naive lurkers.

  54. tmac57on 19 Nov 2016 at 10:32 am

    Just as a personal observation about whether the political polarization is worse now, the one stark difference that I have experienced, is that in the past, you might get into an argument with someone that you know occasionally over lunch, at a party, or maybe Thanksgiving dinner. But now, with social media, you get it everyday…multiple times per day, and without the social filters that cause face to face interactions to tone it down to more acceptable levels.
    I have friends who have revealed unexpectedly harsh, nasty, vindictive, attacking, insulting, bigoted, thoughtless, credulous, biased, prejudiced, uninformed, and just plain mean sides of themselves.
    Some or them will not be fact checked, and an intellectually honest debate cannot be had. This is frustrating and disappointing beyond anything that I have experienced in my lifetime.
    The mask has been pulled off of a good chunk of our population, and we are rightly stunned.
    This is not normal, but maybe it is an underlying truth that has been hidden by the fact that social norms have previously been a sort of check to keep it all from boiling over.

  55. Fair Persuasionon 19 Nov 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Secretary Hillary Clinton stated an election truth at the Children’s Defense Fund dinner, she received 62
    million votes. She won the popular vote on November 8, 2016. A woman ran for President in 2016 and won the popular vote. The USA gave women the right to vote in the Twentieth Century. May we actively strive for a better world for ourselves and others in the Twenty-First Century.

  56. drrileyon 19 Nov 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Post-Trump win there has been a lot of discussion in a variety of forums to the effect of needing to make certain change in order to, in effect, prevent someone like Trump from winning again in the future. Changes in journalism, social media, education (more “critical thinking” and “media literacy,” as examples). However … there’s always an unspoken caveat: That the changes will or, indeed, MUST result in an outcome suitable to those who want the changes.

    I have read many comments in various forums calling for “more education” as, somehow, a preventative against a future Trump win. But, that call for more education presumes that the education is, in general, what many would describe as a progressive liberal education. I think it fair to say that “more education” wouldn’t be so attractive to many commenters if the outcome was more voters agreeing with, believing in, and supporting conservative/republican viewpoints. In fact, I think many who support “more education” simply presume that education = liberal.

    Likewise, post-Trump win, there is a lot of chatter about journalism, fake news, social media, etc. etc. … all seemingly presuming that those who voted for Trump couldn’t, wouldn’t or didn’t take it all into consideration, see through it all, and STILL come to the same conclusion that Trump was the better of the two candidates presented for their vote.

    Before the election I heard so much discussion about the “basket of deplorables” – that there is no way Trump could win as the only people who support Trump are uneducated hicks, racists, xenophobes, misogynists and homophobes (the last 4 labels being just that – “labels” that the alt-left are quick to apply to anyone that doesn’t agree with them). POST-election the narrative is now more along the lines of that if only there were changes to journalism and social media along with “more” or “better” education then this basket of deplorables could or would have somehow “seen the light” … the alt-left light, and realized the errors of their ways.

    Almost all of the post-Trump analysis and hand-wringing that I have read speaks directly to how and why Trump got elected in the first place: The level of elitism, arrogance, and presumption has been astounding, but not surprising. It is NOT a lack of education, fake news or social media that put Trump in power; Trump’s win is a direct result of elitism and entitlement. I had a longer list in mind of the factors that have led to a Trump win … but as I thought about it more they ALL relate back, fundamentally, to elitism and entitlement.

  57. hardnoseon 19 Nov 2016 at 1:44 pm

    “Trump’s win is a direct result of elitism and entitlement.”

    Thank you.

    I can’t help sympathizing with the “deplorables,” and I think that label helped to unify and enrage them. Now we have Deplorable Pride, which I can’t help admiring.

    I happen to belong to an ethnic minority, by the way, so I don’t advocate rounding up the minorities and gassing them, or any of the things liberals are now so afraid of. I just don’t believe that’s what the Deplorables really want.

  58. ccbowerson 19 Nov 2016 at 3:01 pm

    “Before the election I heard so much discussion about the “basket of deplorables” – that there is no way Trump could win as the only people who support Trump are uneducated hicks, racists, xenophobes, misogynists and homophobes ”

    Ironically this ‘basket of deplorables’ (the unfortunate phrase), has been to imply in the precisely opposite way that Clinton intended in her talk. As cumbersome as her wording was and to the extent she was generalizing when speaking at the LBGT event, the point that she was actually making was that many, many Trump supporters were not these “deplorables.” Precisely the opposite of what your quote implies. I criticize her use of the word “half,” but relative to how people interpret the quote, that detail doesn’t matter. It took a life of its own, with a spin that resonated with people.

    And to argue that Trump won due to actual elitism, arrogance, and entitlement on one side is quite amazing. I agree that there is a perception of this, but really people of all types are in their bubbles, and the middle of the country is just as dismissive as those on the coasts, from their own perspectives. There is an issue there, but it is not one-sided. For a candidate who has contempt for facts that don’t fit his opinions, and a billionaire born into millions, he sure gets a pass for his own arrogance and elite status. This is not a simple conservative versus liberal dichotomy as you are framing it. This is quite different.

  59. hardnoseon 19 Nov 2016 at 4:33 pm

    “For a candidate who has contempt for facts that don’t fit his opinions, and a billionaire born into millions, he sure gets a pass for his own arrogance and elite status. This is not a simple conservative versus liberal dichotomy as you are framing it.”

    Nothing is a simple conservative versus liberal dichotomy.

    Elitism and snobbism is more obvious among the so-called “liberals.” In this thread, for example, you see Trump supporters criticized for their poor thinking skills.

    People who do not always buy the consensus of Big Science are called “anti-science” and are considered idiots.

    Trump may be an unethical a-hole, but he does not represent the “liberal” “elite.” There are many different ways of being “elite,” and for liberals, the appearance of being “educated” counts even more than wealth.

    And appearing to be educated does not depend on what degrees you have. It depends on echoing the consensus of Big Science, and admiring the social democracies of Europe, and never saying anything politically incorrect.

  60. RickKon 19 Nov 2016 at 5:44 pm

    drriley – what are the characteristics of a “conservative” education? Can you point to conservative educational institutions and highlight what sets them apart from the liberal educational system?

  61. tmac57on 19 Nov 2016 at 6:54 pm

    drriley- “Changes in journalism, social media, education (more “critical thinking” and “media literacy,” as examples). However … there’s always an unspoken caveat: That the changes will or, indeed, MUST result in an outcome suitable to those who want the changes.”

    What ‘suitable result’ was Trump’s unspoken caveat implying with “Make America Great Again!”? One would assume that means to create an outcome suitable to his supporters who want change.

    What ‘suitable result’ were his supporters expecting as they demanded to “Take ‘our’ country back!”?
    From whom are they taking it back? Why do they assume that America is ‘their’ country for the taking? Has America been in possession by someone else? Hasn’t significant actions by the right had profound effects on America even during the last 8 years?
    How was America ever a ‘possession’ of the conservative party or right wing faction or any ideology for that matter?

    “elite:
    noun \ā-ˈlēt, i-, ē-\
    Simple Definition of elite
    : the people who have the most wealth and status in a society : the most successful or powerful group of people”

    How does that not suggest a disproportionately large portion of the Republican party in general, and Trump specifically?

    “Simple Definition of entitlement
    : the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something”

    Such as the clarion call of the right to “Take ‘OUR’ country back !”?

  62. tmac57on 19 Nov 2016 at 8:00 pm

    drriley-“Likewise, post-Trump win, there is a lot of chatter about journalism, fake news, social media, etc. etc. … all seemingly presuming that those who voted for Trump couldn’t, wouldn’t or didn’t take it all into consideration, see through it all, and STILL come to the same conclusion that Trump was the better of the two candidates presented for their vote.”

    Oh, I see. So the fact that Trump voters shared millions upon millions of false and fake news stories and memes about Hillary Clinton, and argued FOR those facts against people online who pushed back against them, doesn’t mean that they ‘could’ not or ‘would’ not see that they were false or fake, but that they went ahead and shared them all the same because they had no regard for the truth?
    So you are essentially implying that the ends justify the means?
    And I guess whether Trump really believes that global warming is a hoax created by and for the Chinese, or that vaccines have caused autism are things that his supporters also can “see through” and take into consideration yet still find him to be the better candidate.
    Or maybe, they actually did believe all the fake and false news that they passed along, and they do believe that AGW is a hoax and vaccines cause autism, and all of the other 170 plus documented false statements that he made during the campaign. I mean how can we tell?

    You want to paint Trump as just another Republican or conservative that the other side can’t swallow simply because he isn’t of their political persuasion, but when have you ever seen this same kind of alarm and pushback from almost every corner of the political spectrum, including the GOP themselves along with most mainstream conservative media that had never been against a Republican?
    This is NOT normal! If you can’t see that, then you are hopelessly trapped in your own ideological bubble.

  63. Steven Novellaon 20 Nov 2016 at 8:45 am

    drriley – you are just imposing your own narrative on the results, which is exactly what you are simultaneously criticizing.

    This was not “all” about elitism. That was certainly part of it. Trump put together a coalition, like all successful candidates do. Many were angry about their economic situation and blamed, vaguely, the “elites.” Some were hard core conservatives who were willing to look past Trump’s negatives because they wanted a standard bearer to push a conservative agenda, like appointing conservative Supreme Court Justices. Some just really hated Hillary Clinton. Others were racists and saw Trump as their man, a champion of white nationalism.

    I spoke to a lot of people during the campaign from across the spectrum. There were absolutely a lot of people who bought every propaganda bullshit story pushed by Drudge and Fox. The more extreme would also buy the bullshit from Alex Jones. You could not fact-check them. Any inconvenient fact was a conspiracy of the liberal media.

    Keep in mind also, Trump got fewer votes than Romney. He did not expand the base, he shrunk it. He lost the popular vote but eked out an electoral win because fewer people came out for Hillary. She always had low enthusiasm. What surprised me was the relative absence of horror over the idea of a Trump win. That should have motivated a higher turn out, but didn’t. That was the surprise of the election.

  64. Ivan Groznyon 20 Nov 2016 at 9:58 am

    Steve Novella,

    it’s not the problem that there are fake news sites and that Trump has 15 million followers on twitter where he for the most part spews lies and nonsense, the problem is that there are powerful nation states such as Russia that use fake news model propaganda to influence American elections by helping Trump. And that at least 20 or 30% of Trumps followers on twitter are Kremlin bots, or troll from KGB troll factories.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/donald-trump-twitter-army-228923

    And American government does very little to counter that.

  65. Ivan Groznyon 20 Nov 2016 at 10:03 am

    The wrong link, this one is more relevant:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-internet-trolls-and-donald-trump-2016-7

  66. BillyJoe7on 20 Nov 2016 at 3:28 pm

    An article in “Business Insider” says so, so it must be true. 😀

  67. Ivan Groznyon 20 Nov 2016 at 5:45 pm

    CIA, FBI and NSA say that Russians are beyond the DNC hacks, and that they apply a very sophisticated “active measures” that include of course online propaganda. Russian troll factories and their use to influence the Western public opinion are a well-known phenomenon for anyone basically familiar with the modes of operation of FSB and GRU and Russian security apparatus in general. There is nothing spectacular in the article. Billy Joel is probably one of Sanderistas who love Putin no less than Trumpkins…No way comrade Vladimir would have done such nasty things…

  68. ccbowerson 20 Nov 2016 at 7:48 pm

    “He lost the popular vote but eked out an electoral win because fewer people came out for Hillary. She always had low enthusiasm…That should have motivated a higher turn out, but didn’t. That was the surprise of the election.”

    This isn’t quite right. Despite the initial reports (which shouldn’t have been relied upon), the voter turnout was not that low this year. In fact, it was just over 58%, which is pretty much on par with 2012. The explanations on why Hillary did worse electorally relative electoral is that Trump ran the table on swing states. It was more that her distribution of votes were ‘wasted,’ electorally speaking, with big wins in states that Democrats always win, and close losses in toss up states like FL, PA, OH, NC, WI, and likely MI. She also did a bit better than Obama in some red states, which didn’t help her electorally like TX, and UT.

    To me, it seems obvious that Trump tapped into something that appealed to the Midwest, and that this worked to bring enough people to edge out Clinton in every swing state. The polls were not that far off overall, but they tended to be off underestimating Trump’s support in the Midwest, which did matter electorally, but the states that were off towards Clinton didn’t impact the electoral situation for her (e.g., CA). He promise to bring manufacturing jobs from the past back, which must have resonated with a portion of that electorate. I wonder what the response will be when those jobs don’t come back because we no longer live in that world.

  69. cozyingon 21 Nov 2016 at 1:13 am

    Ivan Gronzy,
    I agree. But it’s worse than you described. Hillary said: “17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election”. Fact check it all you want.

    ccbowers,
    You claimed that: “…the voter turnout was not that low this year…on par with 2012….”

    I did some searching, I found one PBS news article that makes the same claims you made. However, numerous other sites like CNN, politico, Forbes, all have articles saying the exact opposite. Full results are not actually available yet. From the presidential results posted on those sites as well as Wikipedia, the evidence seems to be completely against the claims you made.

    Less people voted this year than in 2012. From available data so far. Some articles claim it’s the lowest turnout in 20 years.

    You then go on to claim that the “polls were not that far off overall”

    For me personally, this is the biggest red flag. Were you following the election? Because literally every major scientific poll had Clinton winning the election. Almost every mainstream statistician working on this had Clinton winning. Nate Silver got into hot water for downgrading her chances of winning a little bit, a few days before the election. People thought he was crazy.

    You also talk about swing states and the electoral college like you never heard of or saw the daily analyses and predictions that were out there. Especially after a major poll came out. Many sites predicted the electoral map based on the polling and constantly updated their maps. The results of this election were very surprising to almost every expert out there. Trump always had to cite obscure polls and unreliable online surveys.

    About the “elitism” theme in these comments,
    Trump’s campaign was modern populism. So that implies this kind of conspiratorial mindset that scapegoats people. He blamed the illegal immigrants. He claimed that all Muslims were dangerous and planning to secretly infiltrate and destroy the country. It’s modern day McCarthyism, which the alt right admits and glorifies. Even though only a very small subset of them are jihadist. (The reason Obama and Clinton refused to say “Islamic extremism” is because it’s just an inaccurate label that demonizes the other 99.99%). He also was against globalism and the elites and insiders who secretly run the world.

    Those of you who say this election was a backlash against elitism you have a (weak) argument to make.

    In order to say that, you have to ignore so many things that were against Clinton. The fact that she was the first female nominee, assuming this wasn’t counted against her assumes sexism doesn’t exist, which is ridiculous. The fact that it’s kind of inevitable in American politics that after 8 years of a democrat president, the other party is on a comeback. Add to this over a decade of right wing gerrymandering. Her age, either of them would have made the oldest president-elect in history. But the media attacked her health much more than Trump’s. He didn’t even release any legitimate medical information. And despite being overweight, eating an unhealthy diet, and believing that exercise is harmful, we didn’t really pay attention to his health. The alt-right claimed that she couldn’t stand for 10 min straight and that there was no way she could do the debates. This was before she even got pneumonia. You would also have to ignore that the FBI broke with decades of protocol and added value judgments to their investigations. Calling her careless, and announcing a reopening of the investigation into her emails that then turned out to be nothing at all. The FBI historically does not publicly announce the opening or closing of a case. The letter to congress has been cited by the Clinton camp as the reason they lost the election.

    If you ignore this mountain of details. Then yeah the election was about sticking it to the snobby people.

    I personally find it disturbing that people think it’s okay to say political correctness and intelligence are bad things. If you are intellectually dishonest, enjoy pushing buttons and hurting people’s feelings, you are a troll. That’s all.

    Take the “anti- political correctness/intelligence/educated arguments” to their logical conclusion. People making these claims are celebrating ignorance and hatred. I feel like they can’t be serious, in my heart I feel like they are just trolls seeking to provoke me. But I know I’m wrong. I’ve watched Alex Jones attack smart people, repeatedly. All while promoting his brand of miracle cures and claiming vaccines cause autism and aspartame is designed to sterilize people. And it’s not just him. Lots of alt right people attack modern science and bash “social justice warriors.”

  70. SteveAon 21 Nov 2016 at 5:08 am

    Ccbowers:
    Referring back to your earlier post, it’s obvious that we have some differences of opinion that are too complicated to untangle in a series of comments, but I stick by my position that modern politics has not somehow been ‘subverted’ (not a word Steve used) by digital technology.

    The media might change, but people’s buttons are still pushed in the same way, whether you’re sending defamatory Twitters or hiring thugs to scrawl ad hominems on the walls of Rome; bandying false news-stories on your website, or throwing scurrilous pamphlets out of hot air balloons.

    People can do this kind of canvassing much faster that they could before, and digital media is obviously far more ubiquitous, but does that matter when campaigning takes place over months and years?

    However, on reflection, I do think that my statement ‘people don’t change’ is too blunt to be useful. At a fundamental level our responses appear to be hard-wired to a large extent, but I think ‘surface’ behaviours can be influenced (for good or bad).

    carbonUnit’s call for compulsory school courses on sceptical thinking would get my vote. I have two daughters at school, and they spend a significant amount of time studying Religious Education as part of the UK’s National Curriculum. I would much rather they spent time learning about logical fallacies, and the way our hard wiring can lead us astray.

  71. rezistnzisfutlon 21 Nov 2016 at 5:26 am

    Well, you’ll see it here in good health just like anywhere else. I genuinely appreciate Dr. Novella’s reticence when it comes to politics, but the fact of the matter is that he and his closest followers are to the left. That is why we see the most stringent criticisms of Trump and very little of Clinton or her cohorts.

    I have very little invested in either sway, only that our so-called Fourth Estate remain faithful to what are supposed to be its goals of objectivity and lack of bias.

    Dr. Novella, I respect the heck out of ya but your thinly-veiled leftism isn’t fooling anyone.

    To his regulars, your notion of “reality having a left bias”, well, you should rethink your cognitive bias and dissonance.

    I’m not a leftist or rightist. It’s easy and lazy to write off one or the other to fit one’s comfortable bias. Self-reflection is difficult, and as the ghost of Krampus present, it is what is haunting the left at this time. They simply can’t figure out why Trump won – how can such an egregious racist and sexist take the electorate? We must do away with it, bring back mob rule!

    The lack of introspect in the press and their supporters is what marks what is going on now. They simply refuse to listen to the regulars who, in private, voted what they were really feeling, not what they were shamed into admitting in front of a camera before a live crowd. Why is that? No one dares asks that question.

    If you’re a leftist who cares at all about what happened, you’ll ask what the heck went on? Of you’re like the rest of mainstream, you’ll ignore that and call everyone “racist”. You’ll pigeonhole anyone who had any sort of grievance against the status quo as “bigotry”, and continue on, ensuring Trump another four years.

    This is an indictment of the arrogant pigheaded left who refuses self-reflection, as well as the media that calls anyone who doesn’t agree with them “racist” and refused to listen to what anyone else has to say. If you want a continuation of the same, by all means keep on doing what you’re doing. If you’re interested in what is actually going on, put on your adult hats and put aside your puerile whining.

  72. bachfiendon 21 Nov 2016 at 6:21 am

    Rezistzisfutl,

    You’re demonstrating your laziness in continuing to refer to Steve Novella as being a leftist or an adherent of leftism.

    What do you actually mean? Do you mean that he’s a liberal or a progressive? They’re not the same thing.

    You should use precise terms. It would be just as silly talking about the right, when it could refer to conservative or libertarian.

    And anyway. Steve Novella, from a global perspective, isn’t particularly liberal in orientation. There are actually very few liberals in America. Bernie Sanders, anywhere else, would be regarded to be a fairly typical run of the mill social democrat.

    America is an exceptional country in regarding its politics as being typical for the world, when they aren’t.

    And do you actually think that Donald Trump’s statements weren’t objectionable? Many Americans appear to have done so. He got 2 million fewer votes than Romney in 2012, and only won because Clinton got 6 million fewer votes than Obama, and lost key states. Despite winning in the Electoral Collage, he still lost the popular vote.

    It seems as though many Republicans couldn’t stomach voting for him, so they stayed away from voting. The same may have applied to Democrats (or they thought Clinton was certain to win, and didn’t bother voting).

    Trump can’t be regarded as having the support of the American voters, because less than half of the registered voters bothered voting (and there are tens of millions of people eligible to vote who don’t bother to, or are discouraged from, registering to vote), and less than half of these voted for Trump.

    He got the support of less than a quarter of the American voters (possibly including some Republicans who pinched their nostrils to avoid his stench), plus an unknown proportion of the more than half of the electors who didn’t vote.

  73. ccbowerson 21 Nov 2016 at 9:17 am

    “Some articles claim it’s the lowest turnout in 20 years.”

    There was a CNN article saying just this, but it was not based upon good data. Most up to date estimates have the turnout higher than the early 54-55% estimates. You mention several outlets that reported lower turnout, but those are mostly based upon the same information. Instead of multiple sources, many of those are the same sources cited by different outlets. In some sense this doesn’t matter, because in reality attempting to connect overall turnout to outcome is a tough thing to do. This is because overall turnout may not have declined much, but certain states may have different turnout affects due to the competiveness of those states.

    “For me personally, this is the biggest red flag. Were you following the election? Because literally every major scientific poll had Clinton winning the election.”

    Actually I was following it closer than most, and that is why, although I was surprised, I was not shocked at the result. There was a reason that fivethirthyeight, although still had Clinton winning, but had an almost 30% chance for Trump winning. A 30% chance of something shouldn’t shock people. People were overly confident based upon uncertain data. Including you, apparently. Just before the election fivethirtyeight had an article titled ‘Trump Is Just A Normal Polling Error Behind Clinton.’

    “You also talk about swing states and the electoral college like you never heard of or saw the daily analyses and predictions that were out there.”

    I was watching them very closely. I don’t understand your complaint really, unless you are reading into my comments more than I am actually saying. Projections within or close to margins of error should not be interpreted as certain, which is what people felt apparently. I also though CLinton was likely to win, because Trump needed to run the table on the swing states, which he did.

    The issue is that although the number of undecideds were decreasing, they were still pretty high just before the election, and many of the swing states were very close, even if leaning towards Clinton. Plus the uncertain turnout that we have been discussing. Keep in mind, I did not say the polls were correct, but that overall (nationally) were not that far off. But overall (national) doesn’t matter to determine who wins, because of electoral college. The individual states were off enough to make a difference (hence my comments about the Midwest states, but also include other swing states), and in a systematic way.

  74. ccbowerson 21 Nov 2016 at 9:25 am

    Let me add to the “systematic error” comment on the state poll data. This was always a concern for those swing states in the Midwest (as there is a concentration of swing states there), because polling error is not random from state to state. If the OH polls were off in a certain direction, there is a good chance that that would be true for PA, or that that the errors in WI, MI, and MN would also be connected. This was not a post hoc rationale to explain the election. This is a well known phenomenon that people underappreciated for some reason.

  75. ccbowerson 21 Nov 2016 at 9:38 am

    “The media might change, but people’s buttons are still pushed in the same way, whether you’re sending defamatory Twitters or hiring thugs to scrawl ad hominems on the walls of Rome; bandying false news-stories on your website, or throwing scurrilous pamphlets out of hot air balloons.”

    I think we agree on this, and I don’t want to be too argumentative on subtleties, but you seem to be objecting to the implication that there is quantitative difference, by interpreting that I am saying there is a qualitative difference. Yes, all of the manipulation of others through rhetoric and bad arguments that push the emotions to the fore have existed since we have had societies at all.

    But that doesn’t mean that recent changes in media and how people access information hasn’t worsened these problems. For example, it was much harder to access completely fake stories that confirm our biases just a few years ago, let alone during the Roman empire. Even in your examples, a person can read a hundred defamatory tweets before the hot air balloon gets off the ground.

  76. SteveAon 21 Nov 2016 at 10:33 am

    ccbowers: “Even in your examples, a person can read a hundred defamatory tweets before the hot air balloon gets off the ground.”

    Yes, but if we’re talking about people seeking information that will reinforce their gut decisions, how many of those hundred Tweets will people need to read? If you like what the Tweets say, you only need one; if you dislike them, you’ll ignore all of them.

    Again, I don’t think speed and/or volume are a factor in a long race, not if folk are selectively filtering for the information that suits them.

    ccbowers: “I was not shocked at the result.”

    Neither was I. Though I am very surprised at people who profess to be shocked. I think you could have been shocked, amazed even, that Trump won the Republican ticket, but once he had that under his belt, it should have been obvious he had a solid chance, considering how disliked HC is many circles. Mind you, that’s speaking with 20/20 hindsight…

  77. ccbowerson 21 Nov 2016 at 11:10 am

    “If you like what the Tweets say, you only need one; if you dislike them, you’ll ignore all of them.”

    Well, that ignores that many people are on a spectrum of motivated reasoning –> actively trying to make sense of the world. If you see your pet ideological ‘facts’ promoted from various places, it makes it easier to rationalize that the disconfirming evidence is also biased. That won’t sway the Alex Jones’s of the world, but it should have some impact on those who are not so committed. Otherwise the conclusion would be that the amount of misinformation doesn’t matter, which I think is an untenable position.

    “Though I am very surprised at people who profess to be shocked.”

    Without 20/20 hindsight it still was a surprise though (if not shock), since Trump never really lead the major projections, although it was close polling wise. I don’t want to imply that I wasn’t surprised, but it didn’t take long to wrap my head around the possible reasons why. If you followed the election superficially I understand the shock. Many are still struggling with it.

  78. cozyingon 21 Nov 2016 at 12:16 pm

    ccbowers,
    We won’t know the exact numbers for these things for a couple months. It is possible to calculate turnout state by state, and they will be doing that. Until there are detailed results available I’m just gonna avoid this topic for now. I might be wrong about it. We will see. But you don’t know the answer either.

    There are numerous articles all over the web describing how every major pollster was wrong. So yeah it’s shocking. A lot of people were wrong. This is a great article.

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/11/16/upshot/presidential-forecast-postmortem.html

    There were lots of models that had Trump’s chances of winning at less than 15%. The night of the election, when John Podesta told everyone to go home and sleep, Hillary still had like a 10% of winning. Trump’s camp was complaining that she wouldn’t concede, and Fox News was already celebrating.

    For you to claim you weren’t surprised is cool. Maybe it’s true. I personally don’t believe you, or the other people who say they weren’t surprised. If you read the prediction models done by teams of statisticians you would have been shocked. I personally was shocked. Still am. It’s hard to believe this happened.

    The results were shocking. They surprised a lot of people. Especially the experts who dedicated lots of time and resources to their forecasts.

    I disagree with your conclusions on systematic polling error. There are many different types of errors in stats. The +\- error beside the poll numbers is sampling error I think. So it means that the poll doesn’t represent the overall population perfectly. The idea that all sampling error is going to sway one way in neighbouring swing states is incorrect. That’s not how math works. The error comes from the fact that a couple hundred people or even a couple thousand, people surveyed don’t accurately represent the millions of people in the state’s electorate. The idea that the ~3% sampling error is going to be consistent towards one candidate across multiple states is just meaningless. They used random sampling to pick people for the scientific polls. There is no good reason to assume the error isn’t random. There is no way that sampling error could be “secret trump votes.”

    A lot of the statistical models that rely on this type of polling data are slow to change when new polls come out. And they don’t account for things like the FBI letter. Or the numerous things I previously mentioned.

  79. hardnoseon 21 Nov 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Here are Steve Novella’s political beliefs:

    Liberal social values — people should not be treated differently because they are black, female, gay, ethnic minorities, etc.

    Moderate progressive economics — free enterprise, but government intervention for science funding, social programs, financial regulation, etc.

    Progressive educational values — Human nature is, or can be, basically good and rational, as long as adequate and responsible education is provided.

    Most of the world’s worst problems — war, disease, poverty — are caused at least partly by ignorance, superstition and inadequate education.

    The above explains why he, and the other organized Skeptics, are so passionate about their cause. They believe their ideas could save the world.

  80. cozyingon 21 Nov 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Hardnose,

    Our ideas can save the world.

    I don’t agree with the political belief labels. You can’t tell us what someone’s beliefs are, you don’t know what’s in his heart.

    It’s possible to believe in educating our youth so they can achieve their potential, and to be a republican at the same time. I don’t see many republican leaders advocating for the opposite. Sure some of them want kids to learn about creationism, but they aren’t actively trying to shutdown the education system. I think most of them find it sad that our education system isn’t better overall. Everyone wants their kids to be able to have the skills to get a job. Being misguided about education doesn’t mean you advocate for ignorance.

    But let’s assume you are right. So what?

    Please explain how social equality and education are bad things?

    By definition you would have to argue for discrimination and ignorance. Good luck.

    How does denying the scientific consensus on global warming help save the world?

    How does refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, or barring transgendered people from using a bathroom, save the world?

    All you are doing is trying to label someone so you can ignore them. Steven has been talking about this for years. How people don’t pay attention as much, or are too quick to judge if you politicize things.

    If you label skeptics as progressive liberals then it’s easier for you to brush aside everything we have to say. You can just call us social justice warriors and move on.

  81. ccbowerson 21 Nov 2016 at 1:15 pm

    “But you don’t know the answer either.”

    Keep in mind, I was reacting to the implication that voter turnout was low. I countered with the fact that the best estimates currently are that turnout was not that low, and appears to be similar to 2012. These are not the official statistics, but the best estimates. The problem is that the initial stories were simply wrong, because they use early data which were too preliminary. Yes, we are still in the estimate stage, but these data are much more reliable now as they were then, and turnout is higher than initial reports. Take a look at the most recent estimates:

    http://www.electproject.org/2016g

    “There were lots of models that had Trump’s chances of winning at less than 15%.”

    I know, and these are the same people who were shocked. It is a case of too much certainty in an uncertain position. Yet even 15% is a roll of the dice. I would not be shocked if you rolled a 6 on a die.

    “If you read the prediction models done by teams of statisticians you would have been shocked. I personally was shocked. Still am. It’s hard to believe this happened.”

    You referenced Nate Silver earlier. If you were following his perspective, you would have been surprised but not shocked. Models that didn’t sufficiently incorporate uncertainty had these high figures for Clinton. They were not just wrong in hindsight, Mr Silver himself pointed out the issues with certain models (without calling them out specifically) given the uncertainty well prior to the election. I am not saying I wasn’t surprised, but I was mentally prepared for the result. I just didn’t think Trump would really run the table on those swing states. He did.

    ” There is no good reason to assume the error isn’t random.”

    This is simply incorrect. There are many good reasons to believe that the errors of polling from one state are not random with respect to another. In fact, assuming this will affect a given model’s statistics and render them invalid. It is not just about sampling error, but errors that result from methodology.

  82. ccbowerson 21 Nov 2016 at 1:21 pm

    To follow up with the non-independence of states’ voting and polling patterns, see assumption #4:

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/election-update-why-our-model-is-more-bullish-than-others-on-trump/

    The support for this notion are history and the results of polling and elections over time. I don’t know why you resist this notion, but you do so with no evidence, and you dismiss the possibility without good reason. Keep in mind the real assumption is if you were supposing independence of data as this can lead to incorrect use of statistics and overconfidence in the absolute value of the data (as opposed to the trends).

  83. cozyingon 21 Nov 2016 at 1:58 pm

    ccbowers,
    What you are referring to appears to be correlation. It’s talked about in the link I sent. It has nothing to do with error in polls. You are conflating polling results and error with actual results. Sampling error is a mathematical concept that’s a result of the polling system. Even if you assumed that those states were more likely to vote together it wouldn’t have increased Trump’s chances that much, it’s in the post mortem. You also keep talking about Nate silver. But he was wrong. By a lot. Even on the day before. You said that only the uninformed people that weren’t following the election closely were surprised. That’s wrong. The paid experts, which we aren’t, were essentially all wrong and surprised.

  84. steve12on 21 Nov 2016 at 2:08 pm

    [you will rail against anything you can label “the establishment” that has so underappreciated your obvious intellect]

    Been trying to stay away from politics for obvious reasons, but in going through this thread I’ve noticed something interesting.

    There are two frequent commentors here that I’ve long suspected are the same person. They employ the exact same rhetorical nonsense, but would seem to not fit into the same ideology. Dig a little deeper, however, and they’re philosophies are not so far apart. Especially where metaphysical issues are concerned.

    One always puts selections from others’ posts in square brackets (a practice I noticed because I actually like it). Now the other one has done this, but only occasionally. More of a slip-up than a practice.

    Could be a coincidence. But having suspected this forever on the basis of their writing, I don’t think so.

    Anyone else have this feeling?

  85. steve12on 21 Nov 2016 at 2:09 pm

    THEIR philosophies…

    hate when I do that!

  86. hardnoseon 21 Nov 2016 at 6:23 pm

    “If you label skeptics as progressive liberals then it’s easier for you to brush aside everything we have to say.”

    You missed the whole point. I would never brush aside someone’s ideas just because of a political label. I would only brush aside ideas if I think the ideas are incorrect.

    I explained what Novella believes (and if anything I said is wrong, he could correct it) to show what motivates his activism. Activists need simple narratives, and progressivism/liberalism provides that.

    There is nothing wrong with treating people fairly regardless of their race, gender, etc. There is nothing wrong with wanting everyone to have equal opportunities and education.

    So what’s the problem? None of those things have caused the world’s most serious problems, and we have no reason to think liberalism/progressivism is going to provide solutions.

    The simple narrative of the organized Skeptics has no foundation in reality.

  87. cozyingon 21 Nov 2016 at 7:05 pm

    hardnose,
    Steven has been talking about how people always assume they know what he actually believes, for years. This is nothing new. He addressed it quite recently in his blog post about Massimo and GMOs.

    In my experience, people rush to label people as a way to pigeonhole them so they can move on. I’ve been asked so many times in the middle of arguments: “so you are a liberal right?” “So you are a skeptic? That means you don’t believe in anything?” “You’re just a contraction.”

    It doesn’t matter what we actually believe as skeptics. It doesn’t. Skepticism is about the process of thinking. Not about the conclusions.

    You are acting like Steven is pushing a secret agenda. That the reason he doesn’t proudly announce his beliefs is because he is secretly trying to trick people into coming over to his side.

    Instead of thinking about what’s actually going on in the heads of the people you disagree with, why don’t you try to actually focus on what they are saying and doing.

    For example. Your comments to this post are filled with many problematic statements, logical fallacies and straight up errors. I wouldn’t presume to know what’s going on in your head. I would never try to guess what your motivation is or what you believe politically. I can however address the things you said. Actually I already did in my first comment. About your claim that the election was about sticking it to the elites.

    About your latest comment:
    “So what’s the problem? None of those things have caused the world’s most serious problems, and we have no reason to think liberalism/progressivism is going to provide solutions.”

    Einstein said something about how our problems cannot be solved with the same thinking that created them.

    You are right that we don’t know if ‘liberal’ ideas, like critical thinking and promoting scientific literacy, and will solve the problems we have.

    But we know for sure that global warming isn’t going to get better by ignoring it. The level of thinking that created that problem isn’t going to solve it.

    The same goes for basically every major problem we have today. We need radical solutions to the worlds problems.

  88. Steven Novellaon 21 Nov 2016 at 7:39 pm

    hardnose – your summary of my beliefs is wrong in places, and very incomplete. Clearly I am socially progressive, for example, but if you try to pigeonhole me as a typical social progressive you will not predict my actual opinion on many topics.

    The problem with such labels is that they tend to value certain virtues over others, while I consider all virtues in their context.

  89. ccbowerson 21 Nov 2016 at 10:40 pm

    “What you are referring to appears to be correlation. It’s talked about in the link I sent. It has nothing to do with error in polls. You are conflating polling results and error with actual results. Sampling error is a mathematical concept that’s a result of the polling system.”

    I am not conflating sampling error with anything. You are the one that brought up sampling error, not me. My only point is that how the candidates do in individual states are not independent of each other, and if the polling is off relative to the actual results in a given state (for whatever the reasons), those similar and nearby states will tend to be correlated. This is how he could run the table. And he did.

    “You said that only the uninformed people that weren’t following the election closely were surprised. That’s wrong.”

    I never said that. Read what I wrote, and try not to fit it in some narrative in your head. In fact I even stated I was surprised more than once, but not so shocked as other people seemed to be, and in disbelief. The polls were tight in many states that mattered and the uncertainty was high enough to cause concern.

    “You also keep talking about Nate silver. But he was wrong. By a lot. Even on the day before.”

    Their model made a probabilistic prediction of about a 28% of Trump winning the day before. Was there a model that outperformed that? Like you said, many models had Trump’s chances much higher. If you followed his analysis you wouldn’t have such a black-and-white assessment. If you lump everyone into the category of “wrong,” you are missing the important stuff. Correct methodology, and proper level of certainty is critical. There is huge difference between a 28% prediction from a model coming true and another model that stated a 2% chance. There should be much less surprise with 1/4-1/3 chance of something happening.

    You really want to argue with me, but I’m not sure your point. You keep changing what you are arguing about

  90. ccbowerson 21 Nov 2016 at 10:45 pm

    “The same goes for basically every major problem we have today. We need radical solutions to the worlds problems.”

    There is something to be said for persistence and chipping away. Sure there should be people pursuing “radical” solutions, but much of the progress will be incremental and seemingly slow, until one day we look back and see more progress than we realized.

  91. cozyingon 21 Nov 2016 at 11:18 pm

    ccbowers,
    You claimed: “…because polling error is not random from state to state. If the OH polls were off in a certain direction, there is a good chance that that would be true for PA, or that that the errors in WI, MI, and MN would also be connected”

    Those are your words.

    You brought it up in talking to someone else. You literally said that polling error is connected. Then you went on and lied about it for numerous replies. Your comments show that you don’t know what error is or how it works. No sampling error is not connected from state to state. Not even from poll to poll. And it certainly doesn’t sway all in the same direction. This type of error doesn’t mean there are hidden votes. It just means that the polling method isn’t a perfect representation of the population. I

    You also said: “if you followed the election superficially, I understand the shock.” And other comments like this, basically implying that 15% isn’t shocking. In reality it was less than 10% on most models for MONTHS. Then in your latest rant you denied saying this stuff. This is the reason I gave all the examples I gave of experts who crunched polling numbers being shocked. And literally every model being wrong. Because it is shocking. Sorry?

    It’s kind of embarrassing that you deny stuff that you wrote that is just a short scroll away. Can’t imagine having an actual conversation with you.

  92. SteveAon 22 Nov 2016 at 7:21 am

    steve12

    Okay. Spill.

    Hardnose and…?

  93. ccbowerson 22 Nov 2016 at 9:41 am

    “It just means that the polling method isn’t a perfect representation of the population.”

    When I elaborated on my comments, I made it clear that I wasn’t using the narrow definition of polling error you were. But you chose to misunderstand my comments. Correlation between states that are off in the same direction is a type of polling error. It is likely due to methodology, as there are many decisions in polls about representativeness, who is likely to vote, etc. I even posted a five thirtyeight article that said basicially the same thing “State outcomes are highly correlated with one another, so polling errors in one state are likely to be replicated in other, similar states.” So how is this different than what I wrote? It isn’t.

    You then accuse me of “lying,” which is ridiculous. Here is a nice article for you to read below. Your engagement here has been unnecessarily hostile and uncharitable. I said I was surprised, but not shocked. You then paraphrase to me to saying I wasn’t surprised, precisely the opposite of what I said. Then you double-down on this and accuse me of lying. Are you trying to be a troll? We already have one on this site.

    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/how-to-argue-in-the-comments/

    ” And other comments like this, basically implying that 15% isn’t shocking. In reality it was less than 10% on most models for MONTHS. Then in your latest rant you denied saying this stuff.”

    15% isn’t shocking. If it were, then you should be shocked at every flip of a die that you guess correctly. And I was going by the fivethirtyeightprojection of 28%, which is even further from surprising. And it doesn’t matter what predictions said for “months,” that is water under the bridge.

    “It’s kind of embarrassing that you deny stuff that you wrote that is just a short scroll away.”

    Like?… So far, you haven’t shown me something that I have “lied” about. I don’t even see an honest mistake. The main ones you bring up are your own misrepresentations (like swapping out ‘surprise’ for ‘shock,’ when I was actually distinguishing between those terms) I have been commenting on this site for years, and am pretty sure that I have a decent reputation amongst the quality skeptics on this site. These are the times I wish there was feedback like social media to see who is off-base. From my perspective you are not interpreting my words as I write them.

    “Can’t imagine having an actual conversation with you.”

    The irony of this. I’m not sure how one progresses when the other person is constantly misrepresenting your statements.

  94. ccbowerson 22 Nov 2016 at 9:43 am

    Woops, meant “And I was going by the fivethirtyeightprojection of 28%, which is even further from shocked.” I don’t want to add to the misrepresentation.

  95. DrNickon 22 Nov 2016 at 10:36 am

    The two commenters arguing about polling methodology seem to be talking past each other, so perhaps I can help clarify.

    One seems to be talking about sampling error. Sampling error is purely a function of sample size, and is completely random – there’s no reason to expect it to be correlated in polls from state to state or even in successive polls from the same pollster. Sampling error is basically just the confidence interval around the population estimate (e.g. the margin of error).

    The other seems to be talking about selection bias. When discussing election polling, this is really all about the likely voter screen. Pollsters want their sample to best represent what the actual electorate will look like, so they make their best guess based on previous elections and people’s expressed likelihood of voting. Selection bias can absolutely be correlated from poll to poll and from state to state, particularly if different pollsters are using similar likely voter screens (usually true), or if the states being polled are demographically similar (true of MI, PA, WI, and MN, where the polls all massively underestimated Trump support).

    The failure of the prediction models was that they accounted for sampling error (aggregating polls takes care of this), but completely underestimated the effects of selection bias. The polls underestimated Trump support across the board, but the bigger misses were in the rust belt/upper Midwest, precisely where he needed to win to take the electoral college vote. The possibility of correlated errors in the polls in these states caused by selection bias was only really addressed pre-election by Nate Silver, and was one of the reasons why his model was much more bullish on Trump’s chances than anyone else (although even he only had Trump at a 30% likelihood).

  96. steve12on 22 Nov 2016 at 10:47 am

    Dr. Nick:

    “The possibility of correlated errors in the polls in these states caused by selection bias was only really addressed pre-election by Nate Silver, and was one of the reasons why his model was much more bullish on Trump’s chances than anyone else (although even he only had Trump at a 30% likelihood).”

    But historically (i.e., empirically) speaking, this source of error is always to some degree correlated, and more so by region. It’s not a tough concept, and I can’t for the life of me understand how you could not model something so simple to at least not have polls out there giving Clinton a 99% chance of victory.

    This gets worse when you consider what happened in Michigan in the democratic primary. Clearly, something was amiss here – that was very unlikely to be sampling error.

  97. steve12on 22 Nov 2016 at 10:54 am

    # SteveA:

    I was hoping someone else would produce the name.

    I’m pretty sure Hardnose is Egnor. The writing, the same rhetorical tricks, the anti-science / anti-materialism nonsense. He just removed the politics (until recently) and religion because it would be too much a giveaway.

    Add to that that Hardnose has very occasionally (but rarely) “quoted” others using square brackets – an idiosyncrasy unique to Egnor, and I think that there is a fair chance that they’re the same person.

  98. SteveAon 22 Nov 2016 at 11:01 am

    Mmmm…

    Interesting.

    I didn’t have the heart to wade through past posts to see who else had been using square brackets.

  99. DrNickon 22 Nov 2016 at 11:10 am

    steve12:

    You’re correct that the good prediction models attempt to account for error correlation in the polls, but this is very tricky stuff. Even minor changes in the model’s assumptions can produce huge shifts in the uncertainty of the estimate. The model that had HRC as a >99% favorite was on the very low end of the spectrum on this, but even Nate Silver, who is the most diligent about correcting for correlated errors, had her at 70%. There’s also the problem of over-correcting and producing a prediction that is too uncertain – Nate has been criticized for this in past elections, and would surely have been so again had the election gone as expected.

    This election was also unusual because, in the final reckoning, the errors in the polls were correlated in precisely the way that they had to be in order for Trump to win. He really had no other plausible path to victory than the one which occurred, and it took a 5+% polling error across states in precisely the region where he was close enough to pick off enough electoral votes. Give HRC another 50,000 votes in the right places and she’s the president-elect now. This is a pretty unlikely occurrence, but was within the realm of plausible outcomes.

    With hindsight, the polling miss in the Democratic primary in Michigan was probably a red flag, but the polls didn’t do too badly in WI, PA, or MN during the primaries, yet these states each had massive polling errors in the general as well. Something weird went on in those states, and I’m not sure we completely understand what it was yet.

  100. steve12on 22 Nov 2016 at 11:22 am

    Dr. Nick:

    I’m not saying that they should have predicted a Trump victory – I did not see that coming either. It’s a matter of being “less wrong”. I think maybe my post came out as saying I saw this or something – not the case.

    “You’re correct that the good prediction models attempt to account for error correlation in the polls, but this is very tricky stuff. ”

    The hard part is determining how much to correct – and this is hard, you’re right. But making a decision to treat each state as independent is empirically indefensible. That’s tantamount to proposing that, for the first time ever, there will be no correlation of error b/w states.

  101. steve12on 22 Nov 2016 at 11:23 am

    “Something weird went on in those states, and I’m not sure we completely understand what it was yet.”

    Yeah – I wonder how many demos who don’t traditionally vote, and therefore are undersampled in polls, voted.

  102. ccbowerson 22 Nov 2016 at 11:57 am

    “The two commenters arguing about polling methodology seem to be talking past each other, so perhaps I can help clarify.”

    Except I never explicitly said sampling error, and my comments are pretty clear that that is not what I was implying. My very first comment was obviously about the correlation between states due to methodological errors that would be expected to be similar for similar states. ‘Cozying’ brought up the term, which he/she then attributed to my arguement, just like he/she misinterpreted me comments about relative surprise versus being shocked. Someone likes to argue, even if a strawman needs to be created.

  103. cozyingon 22 Nov 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Okay so we talked a little past eachother fine. I will however say that while you didn’t explicitly mention “sampling error” you did say they were off by a certain “amount,” I.e. A percentage. Like the +\- on every poll result. And there are no such “systematic” percentages that have been calculated from the polls. Systematic errors are hard to quantify. The percentage points you mentioned to do with polls sounded very much like sampling error percentage points.

    The full data won’t be available for months. So there won’t be full analyses available till then.

    Polling error can be random from state to state. Even systematic errors can be random and cancel each other out. It is totally possible.

    You said it’s not random. This is a claim you made multiple times that is incorrect. I just read an article about the 2012 polls that makes that argument to explain how their polling faired better.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2016/11/09/the-science-of-error-how-polling-botched-the-2016-election/

    The same type of systematic error can affect the polls of two different states in different ways. Think about it.

    You also continue to conflate polling data and error with actual results. The full results aren’t out yet, and as we have seen the polls were not accurately measuring what they were supposed to be measuring. You are just using post-hoc reasoning to connect the two. Polling data hasn’t been accurate in presidential politics for a long time.

    If the polls were not accurate and the full results aren’t out yet there are very little conclusions we can draw.

    You claim I’m just making strawmen and looking for things to argue about. Look at your response to what I said to hardnose about how we need radical solutions. You didn’t say you agreed with me, you didn’t acknowledge anything else I said. You cherry picked something and said slow progress is more likely than radical change. I even used the example of global warming to show how ignoring it won’t help, neither will slow gradual changes. Guess the Paris agreement is wrong then. We shouldn’t try our best to make pretty dramatic changes now.

  104. BillyJoe7on 22 Nov 2016 at 1:23 pm

    I’m pretty certain they are not the same person. One has a childish “baby Jesus” view of religion that is truly embarrassing, the other actually has a more mature attitude that is at least non-denominational.

  105. cozyingon 22 Nov 2016 at 1:35 pm

    DrNick,
    I agree with basically everything you said. I would just like to say that it’s important to note that you said selection bias CAN be correlated from state to state. Which I agree with, however it doesn’t have to be. Ccbowers said it’s not random and definitely is connected. Multiple times.

    While it is true that there is an argument to be made for this type of error this election in the midwest. It’s too soon to know for sure. Why didn’t the 2012 polling in the Midwest have this same problem and trend?

    For example:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election_in_Michigan,_2012

  106. steve12on 22 Nov 2016 at 2:33 pm

    BJ7:

    “I’m pretty certain they are not the same person. One has a childish “baby Jesus” view of religion that is truly embarrassing, the other actually has a more mature attitude that is at least non-denominational.”

    By design if he’s sockpuppeting.

    You can change big things like being Christian, but he can’t change the more subtle things. Many idiosyncrasies in how they make their “points” and how they write.

    And at their core is the same point – that materialism is to be replaced by “intelligence”. I’ve read Egnor try and make this point over and over using the word intelligence rather than Jesus.

    Then I’ve read HN say the same thing.

    I could be wrong, but I still think there’s a fair chance that I’m not.

  107. Unorganised resistanceon 22 Nov 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Hi Steven,

    Most of the talk that I’ve come across about why Trump won the US election seems to be focusing on how social media is helping to dumb down the social narrative, and how this influenced the outcome of the election. While I think that that is a worthwhile conversation I can’t help notice that no-one has mentioned the fact that Clinton was leading in the opinion polls in the weeks leading up to the election until the FBI re-opened their investigation into her improper handling over government emails. Whilst I’m not trying to start some sort of conspiracy theory it does seem that this had an effect on her popularity in the days leading up to the election, so it’s strange not to see any discussion about it at all.

    On the topic of the internet adding to the dumbing down of society, I’m not sure that you can entirely blame any type of media for that. It seems to me that what the internet really does is to speed things up, as well as creating the ability to reach more people. When you think about your blog, I wonder how much reach it would have had pre-internet. Your blog is the only one that I read with any regularity, but for a lot of reasons (mostly involving time pressures) I doubt that I would read it if it wasn’t online. Similarly, I wonder how often you would be able to update it without the help of the internet. This relates to the idea that scientific research is speeding up and will continue to do so in the future because of the help of computers.

    It’s disappointing to hear that your blog only has a reach of 1.1 million. However, there are always going to be less people willing to read high quality journalism. This is because processing the kinds of high level concepts you discuss in your blog not only requires effort, it also requires some familiarity with these concepts. This presents two barriers to readers who might be interested in trying to learn something in their spare time, but who don’t really know where to begin. Again, don’t get me wrong and think that I’m suggesting that you should should also dumb down your blog. I actually think that from this perspective 1.1 million people is an encouraging number considering that reading your blog makes people have to use their brains.

    Thanks for providing such interesting and thought provoking discussion

  108. ccbowerson 22 Nov 2016 at 4:16 pm

    “you did say they were off by a certain “amount,” I.e. A percentage. Like the +\- on every poll result. And there are no such “systematic” percentages that have been calculated from the polls.”

    You quote “amount,” which again I never said. If you are going to use quotes like that, then it implies I said those words. I did not say nor mean that. But at least we are in agreement about the basics idea.

    “The full data won’t be available for months. So there won’t be full analyses available till then.”

    I agree that there will be much more to tease out as the data are complete.

    “Polling error can be random from state to state. Even systematic errors can be random and cancel each other out. It is totally possible.”

    Polling errors can cancel each other out in the big picture, but because we have electoral college, this “cancelling out” doesn’t have meaningful results for anything other than total vote counts. But I don’t think you can argue that poll performance can be totally independent from state to state (avoiding the use of “error” to avoid terminology confusion) due to similarities between states and methodologies.

  109. ccbowerson 22 Nov 2016 at 4:36 pm

    “You cherry picked something and said slow progress is more likely than radical change. I even used the example of global warming to show how ignoring it won’t help, neither will slow gradual changes. Guess the Paris agreement is wrong then. We shouldn’t try our best to make pretty dramatic changes now.”

    Amazing that you can’t not misrepresent what I say. I never said that slow progress is “more likely” than radical change. And I even agreed that there needs to be people pursuing ‘radical’ change. I was just advocating for the impact of incremental change over time. It is underappreciated. Apparently that hurt your feelings, so you completely misread the argument to nearly the opposite of what I said, then add nonsequiturs about the Paris agreement. You seem incapable of separating arguments from other baggage.

    Listen, I am here to engage people in argument. I have engaged the Hardnoses of the world, but that can get old quickly (because of not being intellectually honest), and I’d much rather engage with Steve, BJ7, the other Steves , nybgrus (who doesn;t really comment here much anymore), plus many more of the regulars here how have contributed to fruitful discussions.

    If you fail to engage people with what people actually say, and not some reinterpretation you are making progress difficult. This is not a contest of who will win the argument, it is about which argument is best. Sure ego comes into play, but that is a problem to keep in check. I am not interested in engaging arguments that are fruitless. Therefore trolls are out, other than the occasional necessary rebuttal. This one is close to straddling the line for me, as most of this is clarifying misunderstandings that only you seem to have.

  110. cozyingon 22 Nov 2016 at 6:00 pm

    So in that link about how to argue in comments, it talks about not having semantic arguments, no bringing up fallacies all things you do. Also for every thing I write you write 6. Doesn’t seem very charitable to me. Flooding the comments doesn’t make you right.
    It doesn’t matter if you have been here for years.

    Yes technically you didn’t say the word “amount.”

    This is what you said: “If the OH polls were off in a certain direction, there is a good chance that that would be true for PA, or that that the errors in WI, MI, and MN would also be connected”

    Now any reasonable person would assume that by “polls were off in a certain direction” you meant an amount.

    I’m not going to have an argument over definitions of the word “amount” with you. If the polls weren’t off by an amount then what were you talking about? A non change? Nothing? Zero?

    At the end of that same sentence you even use the word “error” almost to refer to this ‘off-ness’ that you were talking about at the start of the sentence.

    Polls being “off” implies error and you specificed a direction. Error implies percentage. Like the +/- numbers that accompany literally every state poll. It’s not an unfair assumption. I’m not crazy here.

    I don’t have to exactly quote everything you say. I’m allowed to interpret what you say and talk about the implications of it. I didn’t exactly perfectly summarize what you said. Technically you didn’t use the word amount. But I accurately summarized what you said and your position. You are just trying to weasel out of it now.

    This is you now:
    “I never said that slow progress is “more likely” than radical change.”

    This is you then:
    “There is something to be said for persistence and chipping away. Sure there should be people pursuing “radical” solutions, but much of the progress will be incremental and seemingly slow, until one day we look back and see more progress than we realized.”

    It’s important to note that I didn’t horribly misrepresent your position. You did essentially imply that gradual change is more likely and even more important. The context matters here too. You were replying to a set of arguments I was making about how we need progressive thinking on certain problems. How it can fix the world to take global warming seriously and act now, instead of being conservative about the issue.

    Also keep in mind that you said that in response to something that I said which included a point on global warming. That’s why the Paris agreement matters. Because it’s an example of people getting together and proposing pretty radical solutions. Not ignoring and slowly chipping away at a problem. We need to act now.

    Moving on:
    “Polling errors can cancel each other out in the big picture, but because we have electoral college, this “cancelling out” doesn’t have meaningful results for anything other than total vote counts.”

    This sentence is completely meaningless for a couple reasons. Once again you are conflating polling with actual results. Polling data doesn’t equal actual results.

    The point everyone here and all over he media is making, and has been making since Brexit really, is that the polls are flawed. If they are flawed than they represent the actual results much less than they already poorly did.

    You also have a huge unstated assumption. You are assuming that the electoral college is what stops the cancelling out from having an impact. But that’s not what the statisticians are talking about. Not even close.

    What they mean by cancelling out is that the polls of one state have a systematic error, for example let’s say only old people have landlines anymore. If those older people live in higher concentrations in certain counties in a state, then depending on how the demographics of the poll is calculated, that could sway the results of a poll in one direction.

    But that same systematic error could have no effect or the opposite effect in a neighbouring state. The older people with landlines could be equally distributed in all the counties for example.

    Also I’ve been talking about state polls for days now. You still keep talking about total vote numbers (and national polls?) for some reason.

    In one of my first comments here I have a giant list of possible reason why Clinton lost. If you are wondering why she lost pick one. Their camp says it was the Jim Comey letter that screwed them over. You don’t have to make all these arguments about polling error. Polls have been broken for decades.

    I don’t have anything against you. I do find it interesting how someone, who says things in such imprecise ambiguous language, takes days to defend it. Like look at the grammatical structure of the first thing I quoted. Do you honestly blame me for assuming you meant an amount of polling error?

  111. hardnoseon 22 Nov 2016 at 6:14 pm

    The reason for using square brackets —
    Sometimes you want to quote something that has quotes in it. What can be done? Square brackets maybe?

    Mystery solved!!

  112. ccbowerson 22 Nov 2016 at 9:34 pm

    “Now any reasonable person would assume that by ‘polls were off in a certain direction’ you meant an amount.”

    Actually ‘direction’ means ‘direction.’ ‘Amount’ means ‘amount.’ Direction is like towards trump, or towards Clinton. Amount is magntiude. They are as unrelated as ‘North’ or ‘South’ (direction) and ‘2 miles’ or ‘5 miles’ (more like amount). The fact that I have to explain this is perplexing.

    “It’s important to note that I didn’t horribly misrepresent your position. You did essentially imply that gradual change is more likely and even more important. ”

    This is absurd. I’ve shown that you are either terrible at reading comprehension or just have this need to misrepresent arguments. I don’t think much is being accomplished here. I am pretty sure that I have gone out of my way to clarify your misunderstandings, but you seem to need to keep harping on the same misunderstandings that you create. I have not seen anyone else here struggle so much with this.

    ** I have shown you have misquote me switching ‘surprised’ for ‘shocked,’ ‘amount’ for ‘direction,’ saying ‘more likely’ when I didn’t even mention likelihood. Nearly every misunderstanding is you inserting words and statements i was not making. And then you double-down. Waste of time.

    “I do find it interesting how someone, who says things in such imprecise ambiguous language, takes days to defend it”

    Take some responsibility for the above. No one else is having your difficulty. It is not about my precision when you just insert your own words and paraphrase. Your interpretation and paraphrasing is what is imprecise. If I am not following the “how to argue” advice, because I am done with the idea that this can be productive anymore. I notice that you read that article not for your own benefit, but to throw it back at me. I am done explaining your misunderstandings. You are being obtuse, possibly willfully

  113. cozyingon 23 Nov 2016 at 12:15 am

    Except that a poll is a 0-100 scale with one dimension, and cardinal directions plus distance is two dimensional at least.

    These analogies you used are not reasonable.

    You can point north and mean nothing else. But on a one dimensional measure of two candidates, if you are saying that one person is less favoured you are by definition saying the other person is more favoured.

    I find this interesting:
    “No one else is having your difficulty.”

    If it’s true that you’ve been here for years. Then people just learned what I’m currently learning, to not argue with you. You won’t stop, you won’t admit to the smallest mistakes, and you push the argument into more ridiculous semantic squabbles every time. Look at your last comment. It’s exactly what we don’t do as skeptics, you made analogies and all these cute arrogant pedantic ramblings, and you attacked me personally.

    And guess what? You are wrong. You clearly said ‘errors,’ in the quote you are defending and those have an ‘amount.’

    Just because no one shows up and tells you to stop doesn’t mean you are right. I’m pretty sure if people put the time in to read our last few posts they would see you scrambling for anything to attack me with. And you just won’t admit to making basic mistakes.

    Look at this sentence:
    “If the OH polls were off in a certain direction, there is a good chance that that would be true for PA, or that that the errors in WI, MI, and MN would also be connected”

    You wrote that.

    You are defending that? Why? Pride is the only reason I can see.

    In that sentence you clearly use ‘errors’ to refer back to the “off-ness in a certain direction.” That’s what the words mean. The structure of the sentence and the context binds these things together and locks definitions in place. The sentence makes even less sense if you didn’t mean “errors” in that way. And errors have an ‘amount’ attached to them in polls. Which is the context we are talking about.

    You have been denying for many posts now that you didn’t mean error or a magnitude of error. And that I misquoted you. But the quote is right there for anyone to see. Most people would read it like I’ve described and justified so many times.

  114. Kabboron 23 Nov 2016 at 8:12 am

    cozying,

    Perhaps it is a simple failure on my part, but I simply do not understand your problem with this sentence:
    “If the OH polls were off in a certain direction, there is a good chance that that would be true for PA, or that that the errors in WI, MI, and MN would also be connected”

    All I am reading from this sentence is that if there is some pattern of bias it would reflect similarly in different states, so the results are not as mysterious as they first appear. I do not see the controversy over this statement. I don’t think ccbowers spent an hour labouring to craft the perfect sentence, but then I write in less precise terms then I otherwise could and I don’t lose sleep over it.

    Also, direction does not imply magnitude. Making an inference from an argument is fine so long as you are willing to accept a clarification that disabuses your inference. I don’t want you to feel ganged up on, but really I don’t think there is any particular reason for either side to be arguing at this point. The misunderstandings have been rectified and now it is unnecessary.

  115. cozyingon 23 Nov 2016 at 9:24 am

    I’ve explained it in detail quite a few times. He denied many times saying or meaning an amount of error. But it says “errors” right there at the end of the sentence. In polls, errors have magnitude. It’s actually completely meaningless to say a direction of an error without a magnitude in this context.

    If he didn’t ‘mean’ an amount of error that’s totally fine. It’s just that the words in the sentence clearly mean he is talking about an amount of error in the polls.

    In other contexts like physics, you can have a direction without magnitude. Once you involve other dimensions.

    You can face north without moving. I.e. Direction but no magnitude.

    That’s because direction and magnitude don’t have to be connected and canon independent of each other.

    This however is not what we are talking about. Context is everything.

    A poll is a one dimensional snapshot in time. Furthermore in this case you are talking about a system where only two candidates stood a chance in actually winning. So if one was down the other was up.

    If you only have one dimension: north to south for example. Then you can’t “face north,” independently of “not facing south.” By facing north you are negatively facing south. The magnitude of how much you are facing north is greater than the magnitude of how much you are facing south. The only way you can express “facing north” in a one dimensional system is with a magnitude. You have no other way to express it. On a line segment you can use arrows to express things but they don’t mean direction. They mean all numbers in a direction.

    None of this matters, look at what he said. “Polls were off.” Then went on to say “also the errors.” In the same sentence he was talking about polls of the candidates, then he talks about errors. He’s clearly talking about polling errors. All of which have magnitude and direction. He denied this for days now. It’s right there. Anyone can see it.

  116. ccbowerson 23 Nov 2016 at 9:34 am

    “Perhaps it is a simple failure on my part”

    No, it is pretty clear who owns the failure. I could probably improve that sentence, but it is clear enough and it is understood by others here.

    “Also, direction does not imply magnitude”

    Of course it doesn’t. Except for when cozying wants to fabricate a misunderstanding.

    “Then people just learned what I’m currently learning, to not argue with you. You won’t stop, you won’t admit to the smallest mistakes”

    I will admit to mistakes that I make, not mistakes that you make in your reinterpretation of my statements. No one here is shy at argument with me, or anyone else for that matter. We are all big boys and girls. How did you come to that conclusion? I change my mind all of the time. I make mistakes all of the time. Just not with what you are objecting to. Did you ever consider that you are wrong?

  117. cozyingon 23 Nov 2016 at 9:59 am

    As you look at the screen, try to turn your head left without simultaneously turning away from the right. The only way you can express left and right is by turning your head a set amount.

  118. cozyingon 23 Nov 2016 at 10:01 am

    You cannot express a direction in a one dimensional system without magnitude. A poll is not the cardinal directions plus miles. It’s 1-D. Your analogies are totally misleading and unfair.

  119. ccbowerson 23 Nov 2016 at 10:05 am

    “In polls, errors have magnitude.”

    I was never just talking about margin of error. You seem to be assuming that every time, despite being corrected by me and others. There are many potential causes for error in polls in predicting election results. Yes, errors have magnitude, but if you change “direction” to “amount” you are fundamentally changing what I said. I did not say that the magnitude or “amount” would be the same across similar states, but the direction in of the error would tend to be similar, i.e., a correlation between similar states. So If Trump outperformed the polls in one state, then he is more likely to outperform the polls in the neighboring state. Why is that difficult?

  120. ccbowerson 23 Nov 2016 at 10:06 am

    ..assuming important similarities in the neighboring state

  121. Kabboron 23 Nov 2016 at 10:51 am

    Just a quick example:
    In states A, B and C, the polls were off by 3%, 5% and 8% in favour of Clinton respectively. These share a direction but do not share a common magnitude.

    That horse died a long time ago but I’m pretty sure I can get a some more distance out of it.

  122. cozyingon 23 Nov 2016 at 11:07 am

    You were talking about polling. You said polls were off. That implies error. You even used the world “errors” at the end of the sentence.

    Context matters. I didn’t make any unfair assumptions. Polling errors have magnitude.

    You cannot say anything meaningful about a poll’s error without attaching a magnitude to what you are saying. It doesn’t matter if there are errors, if all the errors cancel each other out, (which I gave examples of), then it has no effect.

    It’s completely meaningless to say about a 1 dimensional measure: “it’s off in this direction (toward trump)” without specifying an amount. If the error you were talking about had no amount then it couldn’t move in a direction and it would not have a measurable effect.

    You made numerous mistakes. From claiming that polling error can’t possibly be random to denying over and over again things that are clearly right there for anyone to read, to false analogies., to attacking me personally. You also did just about everything Steven says not to do in the article you sent.

    Clearly you are 100% wrong about your analogies. Anyone can see that. It’s not up for debate.

    The other stuff gets more blurry because of the grammatical structure of sentence. Also about how when you try to defend it, you bring up tons of unrelated things and use very imprecise language.

  123. cozyingon 23 Nov 2016 at 11:14 am

    Kabbor,
    “In states A, B and C, the polls were off by 3%, 5% and 8% in favour of Clinton respectively. These share a direction but do not share a common magnitude.”

    I never said a single thing about how the magnitudes have to be the same across multiple polls.

    There is just a fundamental failure to communicate here.

    Clearly from everything I have been saying I’m talking about how you cannot say a poll in OH is off in a certain direction without specifying a magnitude.

    If a poll is not off by a set amount, then it’s not off.

    It has no error.

    The traditional polling error percentages is plus or minus. It actually only has magnitude because it points in both possible ways. Up or down.

    He said many times that magnitude and direction can be separate. That’s true in the false analogies he used but not in a poll.

  124. chikoppion 23 Nov 2016 at 11:38 am

    I think this thread has potentially reached the status of ‘sound and fury, signifying nothing.’

    Besides, I’m pretty sure that David Icke has revealed that the entire election was orchestrated by the lizard people (yes, both Hillary and Donald are scaled brethren!).

    There are numerous contributing factors to both the erroneous polls and the vote distribution. I am extremely skeptical of any attempts to reduce either to easily digestible narratives.

  125. Kabboron 23 Nov 2016 at 11:54 am

    cozying,

    I now see how you were interpreting ccbowers. You assumed he meant that there is direction with zero magnitude, rather than there being a direction with an unspecified magnitude. I’m certain that ccbowers does not mean that there is a direction with a zero magnitude, hence my responses. He is simply not stating a magnitude because they are most likely variable, he is merely stating the direction.

  126. cozyingon 23 Nov 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Kabbor,

    “I’m certain that ccbowers does not mean that there is a direction with zero magnitude…”

    I never said that. He freaked out at me for concluding he implied that the polls were off by an “amount.” Because he meant only “direction.”

    He stood by this claim. I presented evidence how you can’t separate the two in a one dimensional system.

    He even posed a semantical argument over the definitions of the words. And presented false analogies, which people agreed with.

    A poll cannot be off in a direction without there being a magnitude attached to that claim. That’s all I said.

    I don’t disagree that the magnitude can be different across multiple states.

    If he concedes that direction implies an amount when it comes to polling numbers, than he just wasted days defending his statements. All his comments and false analogies are then automatically wrong.

    It matters because this is how he chose to defend against pretty basic assumptions I made about his words. Instead of just admitting that he made a mistake and didn’t clearly express himself.

    That’s literally the only reason we are arguing about this.

    Also I presented many reasons why Hillary lost. I’m not trying to simplify or explain why the polling wasn’t working. If anything that’s what he did by conflating polling with actual results over and over again.

  127. ccbowerson 23 Nov 2016 at 3:21 pm

    “If he concedes that direction implies an amount when it comes to polling numbers, than he just wasted days defending his statements. All his comments and false analogies are then automatically wrong.”

    It is not a waste of time. It was due deligence in realizing what type of person I was communicating with. It is person who will manufacture disagreements, use quotes and change words, then ask the other person to defend arguments they never made. Saying that another person “lied,” instead of owning up to their own misunderstanding. Using quotes to words a person never said, and despite being the person who persisted in their own myths, blame the other person for wasting days. If I wasted my time, it was responding to your misrepresentations.

    It was a learning experience, but now I agree you are a waste of time.

  128. ccbowerson 23 Nov 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Kabboro- I appreciate your contribution to this ridiculous argument. It is nice to have a 3rd party perspective in these types of situations. Thankfully, I think we are done here.

  129. cozyingon 23 Nov 2016 at 8:45 pm

    In the quote you used it clearly says it’s only a waste of time if you concede on these semantic arguments you’ve been making for two days now.

    You said “it is not a waste of time” in response to that.

    Me: If A then B.

    You: No it’s not B! (No mention of A)

    That means you are accepting the conditional nature of my proposal. So you concede. You had to tacitly accept A to make that reply. That’s what the words mean.

    If you didn’t want to concede you would have said something like “no my analogies are correct, my definitions are right, polling error is never random, you can have a direction without a magnitude on a poll”.

    You once again abandoned your position. Without actually explaining why. Well I guess to attack me personally.

    This whole reliance of yours on needing other people to confirm what you are saying is troubling. It doesn’t matter how many people come in here and agree with your analogies about magnitude and direction. They are incorrect, look it up. You also said something about wishing there was social media instant feedback options? Yeah because that’s how you get the truth.

  130. ccbowerson 23 Nov 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Wow. Still at this nonsense? You misrepresent, misquote, argue about your own misunderstandings as if they are mine. You accused other commenters here of avoiding arguments with me, with no evidence and pretty much zero plausibility as I discuss topics all the time with others.
    But you are still at it. Fabricating nonsense arguments.

    “This whole reliance of yours on needing other people to confirm what you are saying is troubling.” No, it is troubling that you can’t imagine you are wrong. That’s a skepticism 101 fail. Kabbor had no trouble giving examples explaining the very obvious plain meaning of what I said. That was evidence that what I wrote was understood as I intended. There is nothing wrong with appreciating another’s perspective. You should try it sometime.

  131. arnieon 24 Nov 2016 at 5:50 am

    Cozy, CC conveyed his meaning in a very understandable way, even if not in an absolutely precise and complete way. If you did not understand his meaning, you might have simply asked rather than divert the post in such an apparently hostile manner, which, of course, you have the right to attempt to do. I do think, however, that your misunderstanding of CC’s meaning (which I rather doubt you actually did) was a more remarkable outlier than was CC’s original manner of expressing his point.

    Further, since when is appreciating another commenter’s affirmation evidence of “needing” or “relying on” their affirmation? I think you may have a problem with interpretation of what others communicate. Which is perfectly acceptable, of course, but using that as a foundation for simply (nit)picking fights, rather that requesting clarification of meaning, is not an appropriate way to join in the learning and exchange of ideas process of this blog, in my view.

  132. cozyingon 24 Nov 2016 at 8:45 am

    Cc,
    Skepticism 101 fail?
    Actually you are advocating for ad populum. You repeatedly appeal to other people and high five them, while ignoring my replies to your actual arguments. You could all be wrong about the analogies for example. Doesn’t matter.

    Arnie,

    I know it’s long and boring to read it all again. But I did. Every time I tried to make a basic point or something. I didn’t respond in a hostile or insulting way. He did. If you pay attention he uses a lot of matter-of-fact and condescending language, when he isn’t outright challenging my literary.

    Everyone who wrote that I didn’t understand what he originally “meant,” is 100% right. But go and look at the sentence and various other responses of his. That doesn’t make me stupid or illiterate, and it doesn’t mean my interpretation wasn’t reasonable. His words are not crystal clear.

    He wrote a very poorly crafted sentence about polling and errors. I made fair and basic assumptions about it. It doesn’t matter if that’s not what he meant. That’s what his words mean as he wrote then. He clarified fine.

    But then he made numerous incorrect and illogical claims: polling error is never random, systematic errors have to be connected, he kept conflating polling data with real results, he explicitly said magnitude and direction are not connected (which they are in a 1D measure), invented strawman arguments claiming I said magnitude has to the same across multiple states, made false analogies and attacked me personally over and over.

    You might think this is trivial. But we argued for days about how “direction” implies “magnitude” in a poll. Because he freaked out when I dared to assume he meant the polls were off by an amount. Then after my reply to he just dropped it.

    He’s abandoned his own lines of argument many times. Like the analogies for example. He’s definitely wrong about that. But he won’t challenge what I said to disprove it. This is a theme.

    Look at this latest reply. He uses a quote with a condition in it. If A isn’t true then B is false. He attacks B. Thereby implicitly admitting he was wrong. That’s the closest he has come to saying “look maybe I was wrong.”

    I learned a lot about stats and polling. Cc doesn’t like me. That’s okay. I’ll make friends one day.

  133. arnieon 24 Nov 2016 at 10:09 am

    Cozy,
    Ok, I also reread the thread and it’s true that it’s not quite fair to me to assert, or conclude that some of your remarks were hostile or “insulting”. That is still my impression, however, though not conclusion. Your original misinterpretation of his “direction” comment, while perhaps not totally off the wall, still strikes me as not very plausible and your unfounded interpretation that he “needs” affirmation plus your assertion that he “doesn’t like me” all lead me to sense a pattern here of a lot of interpretations without substantial evidence. Just sayin’………Time will tell….

  134. cozyingon 24 Nov 2016 at 10:47 am

    Arnie,
    Thank you for that consideration. However, for you to remark on the hostility of my comments and to make no mention of his, is unfair. Calling me a waste of time and implying I’m illiterate, is certainly insulting. It really shows more than a little bias on your part to make no mention of that. You would think that comparing the two writing styles would be a natural thing to do. I’m certainly much less insulting than he is, that’s very important to note.

    My interpretation of the “direction” thing matters. He defended it for two days. You can’t have a direction in a poll without a magnitude. I made a fair and reasonable assumption about what he said. He and others erroneously concluded that I was wrong by using an inequivalent analogy.

    You are right that he may not “need” affirmation. But he’s said multiple times things that imply that. He claimed he wished there was social media instant feedback options for people. He repeatedly ignored my arguments, choosing instead to high five other people who aren’t exactly agreeing 100% with him. Kabbor admitted to seeing what I saw. But cc said it was impossible and suggested I was willfully ignorant. I don’t know if he needs other people to tell him he’s right, but it certainty seems like it. It’s not unfair or illogical of me to make these connections. How would you feel if you made a counter to something your opponent said, only to be ignored while he high fives people?

  135. cozyingon 24 Nov 2016 at 11:20 am

    I also find it really interesting that you think it’s okay to say:
    “it’s true that it’s not quite fair to me to assert, or conclude that some of your remarks were hostile or “insulting”. That is still my impression, however, though not conclusion.”
    A statement that totally embraces subjectivity and the illogical. You can’t conclude it’s insulting and describe your impression with actual words and form a logical argument. But you want me to take it seriously and respect it. Which I do, I understand. I sound like a jerk and you just don’t like it. That’s fair.

    So if you acknowledge that you have this subjectivity, why is it implausible and ridiculous for me to have made the assumptions I made? Since I have subjectivity too. I have been arguing all along that I made pretty basic assumptions. It’s not insane to think that by “polls being off in a direction” he meant an “amount.” I’ve already explained in detail that it’s actually meaningless to say they were off without attaching a magnitude to that claim. If the polls were not off by an amount in a direction then they were not off at all.

    His subjectivity led to the strawman that I must have meant “polls in other states all being off by the same amount.”

    Just a thought.

  136. ccbowerson 24 Nov 2016 at 9:51 pm

    “I think you may have a problem with interpretation of what others communicate. Which is perfectly acceptable, of course, but using that as a foundation for simply (nit)picking fights, rather that requesting clarification of meaning, is not an appropriate way to join in the learning and exchange of ideas process of this blog, in my view.”

    Arnie- precisely. Not only that, but coying can’t imagine the he/she is wrong. Twists words to salvage lost arguments and then want to fight about it. This is not a sustainable strategy for productive conversation, and I hope this is specific to me, because if not it is a headache for many others.

    Cozy – this is not a fallacy ad populum. Other people’s perspectives are relevant to the question of understanding communication and reasonableness in response to misunderstanding. Even your latest comments are just more of the same. Misrepresenting arguments, and it frankly reads as dishonest.

    I’m sure you don’t think so, but your perceptions are not others and that should give you pause. I’m pretty sure most people bored enough to read the thread from the top will have a similar reaction. Someone who has difficulty understanding others should have more humility when misunderstandings happen. Instead there is belligerence.

    Yeah, my past few comments have pulled no punches and fairly assertive, but it progressed to that point with your continued misrepresentations (which I will no longer engage, because it is pointless, and is clear to anyone who bothers to sift through that nonsense) are not being corrected. I will not continue down the rabbit hole of your dishonest misrepresentations.

  137. ccbowerson 24 Nov 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Should read “I’m sure you don’t think so, but your perceptions are not (matching) others’ and that should give you pause”

  138. arnieon 25 Nov 2016 at 5:00 am

    “If the polls were not off by an amount in a direction then they were not off at all.” Obviously and necessarily true.

    “……it’s actually meaningless to say they were off without attaching a magnitude to that claim.” Not obviously nor necessarily true. Context dependent.

    “…..why is it implausible and ridiculous for me to have made the assumptions I made?” If your reread my comments, you will not find me calling you “ridiculous”. I’m sorry you perceived an attack or insult when none was made or intended by me toward you.

    We do agree that we both have “subjectivity”. That’s inevitable but doesn’t need to be a big problem when infused with a sufficient amount 🙂 of humility, right?

    Thanks for the exchange. I’m ready to move on………

  139. BillyJoe7on 25 Nov 2016 at 6:47 am

    cozy,

    Somewhere in there you might have a point, but you do yourself no favours by misquoting and misrepresenting what other commenters say. I think this is what irritated ccbowers and the conversation deteriorated from there. And now you put words into arnie’s mouth. And, on the other thread, you misinterpreted my use of a common emoticon as me being irritated by what you said, whereas the emoticon clearly depicts sadness, not irritation.
    Nobody takes kindly to being misquoted or misrepresented.

  140. cozyingon 25 Nov 2016 at 9:30 am

    Yeah I’m over this. Actually I didn’t misrepresent or misquote arnie. I never claimed that he said I was ridiculous or used quotes around it. A very important distinction. I was making reference to the numerous times ccbowers implied I was ridiculous for making basic assumptions. The sentence where the word ridiculous appears is a rhetorical question that stands alone, with no quotes or “you-saids” in it. So you are both wrong about that.

    Me and cc stopped having a conversation/argument about 2 days ago when he didn’t reply to my points on his inequivalent analogies and personal attacks.

    About the emoticons. Smileys were not loading for me. Sorry for being too old to know what you could have possibly been referring to.

  141. cozyingon 25 Nov 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Arnie,

    [“……it’s actually meaningless to say they were off without attaching a magnitude to that claim.” Not obviously nor necessarily true. Context dependent.]

    The sentences before and after your selected quote, numerous other comments of mine, and tons of examples I provided, clearly specified the context: a poll.

    It’s just excessive nitpicking at this point for you to say these things. It’s actually overly pedantic to the point of being flat-out wrong. You can’t be intellectually honest and still be making an argument about the context of “magnitude vs direction,” when we have been explicitly talking about polls for days now. His original quote is about polling, it’s about “errors” in the polls. My comments about it are about errors in the polls too.

    This absolutely matters because he claimed I was wrong, and attacked me personally, for daring to assume that by “off in a direction” he meant an “amount.” Go ahead and find a statistician, or an example from a textbook, that says you can describe a direction in a 0-100 measure without a magnitude. You can’t. Maybe in some theoretical mathematical model. But not with the type of stats used for polling a candidate.

    It’s really important to remember that a poll is a snapshot in time. It’s locked in. In the case of this election’s two-way matchup polls, there was only two likely outcomes, Clinton winning or Trump winning. Now there are three total responses you can make on one of these polls: undecided, Trump, or Clinton. (This example still holds for a four-way matchup, but let’s just focus on two). These are not other dimensions of measurement like the cardinal directions and distance. Theses are all things in the same number line segment, or pie chart. The key thing is that you need a majority to win. So whoever has the biggest slice of pie wins the poll. You cannot make one pie slice bigger or smaller, without affecting the rest or the pie. Even if you include a slice for “error.” If you claim that this collection of pie slices is “off” in a certain direction, you cannot make that claim without possibly meaning that the sizes have changed by an amount. So in the example of the election this would mean that the slice representing Trump was off, and should have been bigger. The only way to make his slice of the pie bigger would be to take from one of the other two or both.

    Or another example you can try right now. I challenge you to describe to me how you can know you that are turning your head to the left (direction) without actually actually turning your head even a fraction of a degree (amount). Go for it, I’ve only been asking for days, tell me how a poll on a scale of 0-100 can be “off in a direction” without it being off by an “amount in a direction.”

    Cc proposed that these are distinct things. He claimed, in a pretty condescending way, that you can have a direction: north, without a distance: miles. And unfortunately, other people agreed with him. Now, all of this is totally true in physics, for example with vectors. But that’s not what we are talking about. I never said anything about that. I always talked about polls and that’s also what he was originally talking about.

    Have you noticed that not a single person (especially cc) has challenged my claims that his analogies were inappropriate? Interesting huh?

    I find it really interesting that this is occurring in a comments section where people love to: nitpick definitions and context, take any opportunity to be overly pedantic, freakout about the difference between an exact quote and paraphrasing, and endlessly defend the actual meaning of one poorly crafted sentence.

    In the days since I challenged his false analogies and illogical arguments; none of you found something wrong with what I said?

    It’s interesting because if you don’t disagree, I can’t understand why I don’t see anywhere here, in all that time, anyone explicitly saying that I was right about the analogies.

    Even if you do find something wrong with my analogies now, it’s too late, or rather it says a lot about your priorities for the last few days. Since this is a point I’ve been repeatedly making and you haven’t acknowledged, you chose instead to nitpick about tone and quotes.

    If his analogies are wrong, then that whole line of his argument is wrong. Meaning my pretty basic assumption was fair and justified. All of that means of course; that he attacked me personally and made all those other mistakes based on a contextual error he, along with others, made. Not me.

  142. ccbowerson 25 Nov 2016 at 11:42 pm

    I have gotten into long, pointless drawn out arguments only a few times on this blog. Hardnose (who has done this dozens of times with others, and which I have learned to largely avoid), and a few commenters who were trolls that moved on. I think one was actually banned from this blog which is very rare as Steve takes a laissez faire approach to the comments. And now there is this.

    “Have you noticed that not a single person (especially cc) has challenged my claims that his analogies were inappropriate? Interesting huh?”

    No, it is not interesting, but it is just pointless to engage. But I’ll give it one last go. Kabbor addressed this issue a while back when he said:

    “You assumed he meant that there is direction with zero magnitude, rather than there being a direction with an unspecified magnitude. I’m certain that ccbowers does not mean that there is a direction with a zero magnitude, hence my responses. He is simply not stating a magnitude because they are most likely variable, he is merely stating the direction.”

    This is the very obvious answer and the fact that you are harping on this is perplexing. I objected you quoting me as saying “amount,” because I never said that. I did not say that similar states polls would be off by the same “amount,” but that they would tend be off (relative to actual results) in the same direction, i.e. towards Trump or Clinton. The actual magnitude of the differences I left unspecified because that is a much more specific claim that I was not trying to make. Why is this so hard for you?

    Ironically you then say that people have learned not to argue with me on this blog, which is not true. And this is coming from a person who does all of the above.

  143. BillyJoe7on 26 Nov 2016 at 3:16 am

    cozy,

    I think you need to acknowledge the following mistakes…

    – when cc was talking about “methodological errors” (Dr. Nick called this “selection bias”), you were hearing “sampling error”. So your criticism was based on your misunderstanding of what he was saying. I think you should admit that.

    – after cc has said several times that he was “surprised” but not “shocked”, you expressed incredulity that he was not “surprised”. Again, this was a mistake on your part and you should admit it.

    – when cc said the polls were off in a certain “direction”, you quoted him as saying the polls were off by a certain “amount” (even adding the quotation marks as if quoting him directly). Clearly polls can be off “in a certain direction” without being off “by a certain amount”. They could be off by different amounts. And he might just have been trying to make a point about “direction” without getting into a discussion about “amount”.

    – when, in response to someone saying that there needs to be “radical change”, cc said that there is “something to be said for persistence and chipping away” and that “sure, there should be people pursuing radical solutions” but that “much of the progress will be incremental and seemingly slow”, you interpreted that to mean that he favoured slow change, even criticising him for favouring, by implication, slow change in response to global warming. At the very least this is a strained interpretation of what he said.

  144. cozyingon 26 Nov 2016 at 1:36 pm

    I encourage everyone to look at cc’s reply. Such a great example of what I’ve been saying. He quotes me asking why no one challenged my critique of his analogies. Following this, he doesn’t address what the quote is actually requesting, but he claims to. He doesn’t say a single thing about how my analogies are correct and his were out of context and wrong. He also doesn’t try to defend his analogies a single time. Perfect example of how not to argue. If you want to cherry pick some quotes maybe choose ones that you can actually address in your reply.

    You chose to once again ignore my entire argument, and instead speak about “what you really mean” and what “I was incorrectly assuming or motivated by.” (Before you freak out again, those aren’t direct quotes they are a paraphrasing of consistent themes in your writing).

    This isn’t a conversation or an argument. You are not being intellectually honest. I’ve asked for multiple days for someone to disprove what I said about your analogies. You and others have had a chance to attack what I actually said on that topic and you haven’t. Even when you quote the actual request you can’t seem to get it right. I’m really sorry but that’s just embarrassing. Your opponent has been making one argument for days now, and time after time, you reply but you don’t acknowledge it? Even when you quote the specific request?

    All of that aside for now, I’ll address your new claims. So kabbor is wrong. Plain and simple. But this doesn’t even matter yet because you incorrectly claim that he addressed the issue. He didn’t. He didn’t say a single about my analogies versus yours. The issue is in the quote of mine you used right before this. You chose to ignore what the words actually say in the quote and instead focus on what they “really mean” or what’s “behind the words and what the words are actually making reference to.” But the quote can’t be clearer, it clearly says how come you won’t address the analogies. This is so dishonest of you.

    Now specifically, Kabbor is wrong in his categorization of my position. I never said anything about you claiming a direction with zero magnitude. I said that they can’t be disconnected. In a poll, you can’t say anything meaningful about a direction without a magnitude. If a poll isn’t off by an amount then it can’t be off in a direction. Days now, of the same simple little point I’m making that never gets across to your side.

    It’s important because this specific thing you attacked me on. You used false analogies and personal attacks to do so.

    After the kabbor thing your writing is a summary of various things you said in the last week, but it’s out of context and has strawman arguments in it. This is a misunderstanding that arose when I was talking about sampling error. I already admitted that we talked past each other and I haven’t made a single claim about polls of multiple states being off by the same amount for days. You and others really need to stop repeating this, it’s not true. It’s really ironic that as someone who polices quotes you keep repeating false claims. I’m pretty sure I originally said this days ago, you don’t have an excuse. You guys are just in an echo-chamber now. Cc you made the strawman first but multiple people since then have claimed that it’s something I said. And now here you are quoting kabbor who just repeated your mistake. It’s come full circle. Go and read my multiple replies to kabbor right after he posted those claims. At that time, Iclarified.

    At the end you do clarify what you originally meant. But you need to realize that the chronology of every argument is really important. You didn’t originally actually say what you are saying now. The original poorly crafted sentence that started all this mess was:
    “… because polling error is not random from state to state. If the OH polls were off in a certain direction, there is a good chance that that would be true for PA, or that that the errors in WI, MI, and MN would also be connected”

    DrNick and I both said that error doesn’t have to be connected. Sure I talked past you about sampling error. But I even went and explained how systematic polling errors can be connected but they don’t have to be. The same systematic error can affect be outcome of the polls of two neighbouring states in different ways. A systematic error refers to something that affects the results of one poll. When polls of different states are affected by the same systematic error in the same way this is referred to as correlation. I really wish that this is the kind of discussion we could have had. But this isn’t what happened.
    Here’s something you said:
    [“There is no good reason to assume the error isn’t random.”
    This is simply incorrect. There are many good reasons to believe that the errors of polling from one state are not random with respect to another. In fact, assuming this will affect a given model’s statistics and render them invalid. It is not just about sampling error, but errors that result from methodology.]

    Actually statisticians call systematic errors that make multiple states sway in one direction “correlation.” You read about systematic errors in an article by a statistician. They have a jargon term for it specifically in the context of polling, because they are aware of it. They do account for the possibility of errors being nonrandom. It doesn’t render their models invalid. The upshot article even does the math for you.

    All I’ve been doing for the last few days is defending my original assumption that by direction you meant amount. After my reply to that you made numerous arguments in the line “direction does not equal magnitude.”
    For example:
    “Actually ‘direction’ means ‘direction.’ ‘Amount’ means ‘amount.’ Direction is like towards trump, or towards Clinton. Amount is magntiude. They are as unrelated as ‘North’ or ‘South’ (direction) and ‘2 miles’ or ‘5 miles’ (more like amount). The fact that I have to explain this is perplexing.”
    [“Also, direction does not imply magnitude”
    Of course it doesn’t. Except for when cozying wants to fabricate a misunderstanding.]

    To ignore all of that, and conclude that you were right all along, and to now, with all this new information, reimagine and reinvent your original positions, is pretty unfair.

    You also say that I’m wrong when I claimed people just learned not to argue with you. Well here’s an example from this comment section of someone concluding just that:
    SteveA
    November 21, 2016
    “Ccbowers:
Referring back to your earlier post, it’s obvious that we have some differences of opinion that are too complicated to untangle in a series of comments, but I stick by my position that modern politics has not somehow been ‘subverted’ (not a word Steve used) by digital technology.”

    That’s someone saying that they agree to disagree and to stop engaging with you. After that he sticks by this sentiment and stops engaging with you.

    Billyjoe7,
    Your entire comment amounts to nothing more than cheerleading. Most of what you say is inaccurate, out of context, misleading and cherry picked. The entire thing is biased. For example, you don’t mention a single thing cc did wrong in your list of “mistakes” it’s just an attack on me. This Includes the personal attacks, which I made none.
    Your concerns in order:

    A) Incorrect and completely unfair. I addressed that we had a disconnect. I admitted that we talked past each other. I also clarified where my assumption came from. I brought up some very important points, most notably how cc continued to conflate polls with actual results, said errors cannot be random, all in an attempt to give a post-hoc explanation for polls and the election results. You like to make reference to dr nick, but you ignored everything he said that disagreed with cc, you also failed to mention that drnick never said it was insane/trolling for me to make the assumption I made. A theme in almost every reply cc made.

    B) Guess what? Surprised and shocked, are synonyms! When you look it up on thesaurus.com it connects the two in various different contexts. Well jeez, that sure blows a hole in your argument doesn’t it? Aww shucks, sorry about that. The words mean basically the same thing? Damn guess we can’t break out the dictionary.

    Cc claimed:
    “Actually I was following it closer than most, and that is why, although I was surprised, I was not shocked at the result.”
    And later:
    “I also though CLinton was likely to win, because Trump needed to run the table on the swing states, which he did.”

    Seriously now, if you pay attention to what I was saying during that surprised-shocked exchange, I was clearly talking about how it’s a little hard to claim you weren’t shocked, because you were informed. Because most experts were. Most people who went to school for statistics, who applied for the job, who did nothing for 2 years but crunch polling data in an attempt to predict the outcome of the election. Those people, they were shocked. Along with pundits from both sides. You know those people who do nothing else but engage on political issues? Those people too.

    Cc and other’s claimed that only the uninformed, people who didn’t follow the election closely, were shocked. They attempted to rise above it, and play it cool. I was simply pointing that out. I didn’t mean to end up in a conversation about the meaning of shocked vs surprised. I continue to believe that they were shocked. Especially if they are skeptics. The embodiment of uncritical thinking just got elected. Pretty shocking and surprising stuff.

    C) I’m honestly really sorry billy. It takes me long enough to write replies already. I can’t do this justice and address this in full, because I’ve been talking about this for days and your point shows that you haven’t understood or acknowledged a single thing I’ve said about it for days.

    I’ll just say this, you explicitly wrote: [“in a certain direction” without being off “by a certain amount”. They could be off by different amounts.] This is a reference to a strawman cc made about how my position was “polls of different states being off by the same amount” something I said about sampling error as an example but later clarified and haven’t mentioned anything like that since. I have been using the example of a single poll for days now, this matters because he countered and gave false analogies to what I said about a single poll. You cannot make a point about a poll being off in a direction without it being off by an amount in a direction. I’ve explained this in detail many times. He attacked what I said about this very specific point, by explicitly saying that yes you can and that it’s like north and miles. After I replied to his analogies he stopped. Never brought it up again. Despite the fact that he defended this line of argument fiercely for days, even high-fiving other people who agreed with his instance that magnitude doesn’t equal direction, while ignoring my counter. But right after my point about his analogies he never went and challenged what I said about it again, but he won’t stop talking about other closely related things. This is actually a consistent theme, he has abandoned many different lines of argument once they get countered hard. This is what people do when they just want to fight. I really believe that you can learn a lot by arguing and discussing stuff. I’ve learned a lot. I didn’t say abusive things and encourage cheerleading like he has. This isn’t a popularity contest for me. It doesn’t matter how many people continue to bash me without addressing the one point I’ve been making for days. Every single one of you to do that, is just exposing your bias and groupthink. I take what you say seriously and acknowledge the new arguments you make. When I’m done, I’ve asked one question, made the same request many times, and been ignored.

    If I’m right about how in a poll you can’t have a direction without a magnitude, then that means my original basic assumption, that started this mess, was fair and reasonable.

    D) Lol I love this point of yours, it’s too cute and it made me smile. So that “someone” who said there needs be radical change vs conservative thinking to tackle some issues, like global warming, was me! Surprise! Funny how everyone in here is policing me on exact quotes and you don’t even mention the author, when you are talking to the author. Hilarious.

    If you look at the context of what that whole thing was about it’s much clearer. I was replying to hardnose’s claims that there is no reason to assume that progressive ideas can change the world. I gave examples in favour of how sometimes you need radical change. How in the case of global warming, we should act before we have absolute certainty, because if we wait till then it will be too late.

    When you look at what I said and then cc’s reply it’s really obvious that he is undervaluing radical solutions in favour of chipping away at a problem. In context with my previous statement about global warming, I brought up the Paris agreement because it’s a recent example of people from different countries getting together a proposing fairly radical solutions instead of just doing nothing or moving slowly and steadily along.

    A consistent theme among the couple people replying is “interpretation vs actual meaning.” Actual meaning doesn’t really exist, all that I can do is read what you write try to understand what you are saying and fill in the blanks with basic assumptions. In this example you provided to expose me, you even conceded that: “At the very least this is a strained interpretation of what he said.” And I agree, you might say that. But I really believe that if you look at the context of the whole exhange: hardnose, me, cc, then me again, you will see it’s not strained at all, it’s within the context of the discussion. A good example of this is how Cc attacked me for bringing up the Paris agreement and said it was unrelated. But the thing he replied to specifically had global warming as an example of radical vs conservative thinking. So at this point both of you are advocating for short term memory and against context.

    I don’t expect that you would have understood these subtleties, at the time of your reply, because you didn’t even notice I was the “someone” who wrote the thing you were talking about. So I forgive you, and I don’t take it personally.

  145. tmac57on 26 Nov 2016 at 2:42 pm

    https://youtu.be/moSFlvxnbgk?t=58s

  146. BillyJoe7on 26 Nov 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Cozy,

    Just one thing to show how unreasonable your comments have been:
    When someone says they were “surprised” but not “shocked”, then “surprise” and “shocked” cannot be synonyms, no matter what your reference says.

    And, yes, it is time to let this thing go.

  147. cozyingon 26 Nov 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Keep ignoring everything I have to say to nitpick random points. That’s skepticism!
    syn·o·nym
    ˈsinəˌnim/
    noun
    1. a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language, for example shut is a synonym of close.
    Actually a synonym is always a synonym. I found so many things wrong with your reply before this one and expressed it. Here you are again ignoring me only to make another mistake. Checkmate, thanks for playing.

    What you must have meant to say is that clearly they were being used in different ways. But go and look up the words. And besides, my point was not to have this argument over definitions but to express that it is actually both shocking and surprising, no matter if you were closely following the election or not. Not just people who were ignorant of stats, but experts too.

  148. mumadaddon 26 Nov 2016 at 6:33 pm

    cozying,

    C’mon, surely you’re not saying that shocked and surprised mean the same thing? You must realise you’ve gone off the reservation by suggesting that.

    I didn’t read your massive [tl;dr] penultimate comment but I did note your defence of equating mayonnaise with hollandaise by quoting the definition of ‘accompaniment’ — again, you can see the problem with that, right?

  149. cozyingon 26 Nov 2016 at 7:27 pm

    mumadadd,
    Another perfect example of my point.
    Maybe don’t show up this late and comment if you aren’t going to read what’s going on? You can’t appreciate the context of the discussion and you are just adding to the confusion.

    Let’s assume you just read the previous two comments. There is enough information there to disprove what you are saying. Billy explicitly said: […then “surprise” and “shocked” cannot be synonyms, no matter what your reference says.].
    That’s absolutely incorrect. No question. The definition of the word synonym is right there. Words don’t stop becoming synonyms when you are trying to use two similar meaning words in different ways.

    Mayo and hollandaise are actually two different things. There are two different dictionary entires, wiki pages, there are (at least) two very different preparation methods, ingredients, one can be made with vinegar the other never is, one is usually served hot, the other cold. One is usually white, the other is yellow.
    Wait another inappropriate analogy? In this comment section?
    What’s next, you gonna tell me bearnaise is the same as aioli?

  150. mumadaddon 26 Nov 2016 at 7:52 pm

    cozying,

    “Billy explicitly said: […then “surprise” and “shocked” cannot be synonyms, no matter what your reference says.].”

    The full sentence was:

    When someone says they were “surprised” but not “shocked”, then “surprise” and “shocked” cannot be synonyms, no matter what your reference says.

    “That’s absolutely incorrect. No question. The definition of the word synonym is right there. Words don’t stop becoming synonyms when you are trying to use two similar meaning words in different ways.”

    Seriously? If I said I was warm but not hot, you think I’m saying I’m warm but not warm? I Googled ‘warm synonym’ and hot does appear — does that mean I win?

    http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/warm

  151. cozyingon 26 Nov 2016 at 9:04 pm

    mumadadd,
    If you just walked away, people could have potentially read what you said and interpreted it as a joke. But you just had to come back, after that culinary ass-kicking. What happened? You wrote hollandaise and hollandaise sauce into thesaurus.com and got no results? You googled it and learned that they are two different things? One predates the other by up to hundred of years, one takes practice and skill to make, is one of the mother sauces of a culinary system, and the other is a simple emulsion? Off to a new analogy then huh? Of course, without mentioning anything about what just happened.

    It’s not my fault if you don’t understand the definition of the word synonym. That’s on you and billy. You are both wrong in the most basically verifiable way. He explicitly said something that is unquestionably false and you continue to champion it.

    The original point I made about the shock/surprise of the election results had nothing to do with the definitions. It was about how it’s both, and how no amount of knowledge protected people from that, experts were shocked too.

    If you read what I’ve been saying for the last few days you would see you are proving my point for me.

    Here you are, just another person conflating things you don’t understand, ignoring the vast majority of what’s going on to cherry pick some stuff to throw in the mix, using inappropriate out of context analogies, denying basic definitions.

  152. mumadaddon 26 Nov 2016 at 9:15 pm

    cozying,

    You’re right, I’m not making any sense — please accept my apology.

  153. cozyingon 26 Nov 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Now I feel bad. I don’t need an apology, I wasn’t offended. And I hope I didn’t just like intimidate or exhaust you with stuff. Your reply was just a perfect example of themes in my comments.

  154. BillyJoe7on 26 Nov 2016 at 11:17 pm

    mumadadd,

    I’m surprised – but not shocked! – that you apologised.

    Actually, hold on, surprised and shocked are synonyms, so let me rephrase that…
    I’m shocked and surprised that you apologised.
    Hmmm…now I’ve committed a redundancy…how to correct that?

    Well, perhaps I’ll just apologise and get the hell outta here as well.
    Except, I’ll just leave this little hint for our mutual friend…

    Cozy,
    I didn’t actually mean they could not be synonyms.
    I meant that cc was clearly not using them as synonyms, otherwise he would not have said he was surprised but not shocked.
    Get it?

    And I hope you’re not going to tell me that you’ve never been surprised but not shocked.
    I mean I wouldn’t be surprised if you did tell me that, but I’d definitely be shocked!
    (Sorry, don’t try to work that one out – it’s a joke)

    Anyway…I’m outta here..

  155. cozyingon 27 Nov 2016 at 12:13 am

    Sorry to see you go. All I can say is that “the actual meaning” isn’t in what you said. Your words clearly express something that you apparently didn’t mean… a consistent theme among the commenters.

  156. BillyJoe7on 27 Nov 2016 at 1:09 am

    Cozy,

    I went for a run in the local hills this morning.

    The sun was shining, there were trees and vegetation all around me forming arches in places, and I saw many finches and cockatoos and a fair number of wallabies, and there were gullies and valleys below, and mountain peaks in the distance.

    I didn’t notice any dead animals or fallen trees.

    (Actually, there were a fair number of fallen trees which I noticed only because I had to climb over or under them)

  157. BillyJoe7on 27 Nov 2016 at 1:12 am

    PS: I was not surprised that you would want to continue this pointless exercise, but to say that I was not shocked would be a bit over the top. 🙂

    Have a nice day.

  158. Kabboron 27 Nov 2016 at 7:06 am

    “Kabbor is wrong”
    Wrong morally, like murder is wrong.

    “I never said anything about you claiming a direction with zero magnitude. I said that they can’t be disconnected. In a poll, you can’t say anything meaningful about a direction without a magnitude. If a poll isn’t off by an amount then it can’t be off in a direction. Days now, of the same simple little point I’m making that never gets across to your side.”

    This is a distinction without a difference. I thought we put that to bed, everyone knows what you meant and what cc meant.

  159. Kabboron 27 Nov 2016 at 7:36 am

    No one bothered to address the analogy thing is because it is not important. It doesn’t need addressing, hence the silence on the issue. I will try to put them into context so that we can stop hearing about analogies, and their relative merit.

    ccbowers analogy:
    “Actually ‘direction’ means ‘direction.’ ‘Amount’ means ‘amount.’ Direction is like towards trump, or towards Clinton. Amount is magnitude. They are as unrelated as ‘North’ or ‘South’ (direction) and ‘2 miles’ or ‘5 miles’ (more like amount)”

    The purpose of this analogy is to explain the fact that stating a direction is not making a magnitude statement. At this time ccbowers did not know precisely where the confusion lay with regard to his prior statements and this analogy does a reasonable job at differentiating the concepts of direction and magnitude. This analogy did not solve the particular misunderstanding, so it was not successful. I apologize on behalf of ccbowers for this (my Canadian superpower).

  160. BillyJoe7on 27 Nov 2016 at 8:15 am

    I am shocked, shocked I say, that you would apologise on behalf of cc.
    I could have said surprised but the would not have captured the full strength of my feeling.

    😉

  161. Kabboron 27 Nov 2016 at 9:20 am

    BillyJoe7,

    You were supposed to accept the apology on behalf of cozying. That would have tied things up nicely.

  162. cozyingon 27 Nov 2016 at 9:53 am

    Pretty convenient that your comment skips over the entire point of everything I’ve been saying. Stating a direction in the context of a poll cannot be done without magnitude. We were clearly talking about political polls for the candidates. The context was specified. I talked about a single poll, and gave many examples, to which he replied. Anyways go ahead and prove it. Show me an example of how you can say the numbers were off for trump in a direction, without those numbers not changing by an amount or without that error having an amount. Since you haven’t been able to do this for days now, despite multiple requests, even when you quote the actual request, let’s just agree that I made a basic and fair assumption connecting the two.

  163. cozyingon 27 Nov 2016 at 10:31 am

    “Kabbor is wrong”
    The implication of yours that I meant immoral is clearly incorrect. I hope it’s a joke. This is because to make that claim you have to ignore the context. You know that part where I explained in detail how you made incorrect assumptions, repeated a strawman fallacy and talked about things out of context? Here you go again. Advocating for short term memory and against context.

    Another theme here: repeatedly claiming that your opponent’s position is not to be taken seriously or doesn’t matter. How very illogical of you. I’ve taken new attacks seriously. Responded to them. Then highlighted my original concerns, only to be ignored over and over.

    I’ve also explained in detail, many times, why my position matters. If direction and amount can’t be separated in that context then I made a reasonable assumption. All this confusion comes from cc’s poorly written sentence. Instead of owning that, everyone argued clearly I’m the one that must be broken and illiterate.

  164. cozyingon 27 Nov 2016 at 10:52 am

    Billy,
    Congrats on the run. Your comment appears right after where I said the meaning isn’t in your actual words. I’m assuming your story is meant to illustrate that? The problem is that, it isn’t an appropriate analogy for the above.
    Surprise! Shocked?
    These are direct quotes:
    [When someone says they were “surprised” but not “shocked”, then “surprise” and “shocked” cannot be synonyms, no matter what your reference says.]
    And later:
    [I didn’t actually mean they could not be synonyms.
    I meant that cc was clearly not using them as synonyms, otherwise he would not have said he was surprised but not shocked.
    Get it?]
    I challenge anyone to tell me how the the meaning of the second quote can be extracted from the first. In the first he clearly says “…cannot be synonyms, no matter what your reference says.” In the second “I didn’t actually mean they could not be synonyms…”
    You also didn’t read or understand the definition of the word “synonym.” Words don’t stop becoming synonymous when you try to use them in different ways. Synonymy is independent and locked in, if not, thesauruses could not exist. When you try to use two very similar meaning words to describe degrees of an emotion, it becomes even more important to note the synonymy to avoid the confusion.
    Continuing to harp on this is incorrect because it’s out of context. This is never what I was trying to express in the whole exchange I had with cc. This is what he and others made it about. I was clearly talking about how his claim: “surprised but not shocked” and that only the ignorant were shocked, was incorrect, since experts were shocked.

  165. Kabboron 27 Nov 2016 at 12:14 pm

    A Kabbor is never wrong, unless he is, at which point it was a joke. The moral thing was a joke, don’t worry about it.
    Let me elaborate a little about something. The reason people are not addressing your point about the polls is that it has already been established that initially you and cc were simply talking past each other on this point. There is no disagreement on that point. This goes right back to my first post on this topic. I must be missing some fine point in this matter because you agreed that there was a slight misunderstanding at first. In more recent posts you seem to be starting the semantic argument over again and I am at a loss as to why.

    The cycle continues. Nothing I’m saying here should shock anyone… except BillyJoe. He is perpetually shocked by his eternal struggle with The Eel. You’ll take him down for good one of these days!

  166. cozyingon 27 Nov 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Guys when you prove I’m wrong I’m just gonna say it was a joke. Even if I didn’t say anything to imply I was joking. Since that’s what Kabbor does, apparently it’s cool. It’s not a perfect example of how not to argue, at all. Just like when Billy clearly says something that’s unquestionably false, he can then come back later and dodge that fact by claiming “that’s not what I meant.”

    Your words stand alone, apart from you and your internal struggles. All anyone has is what you say and write. If you answer a question on a test falsely, it’s done it’s over. You made a mistake. Get over it. You can’t, when presented with the correct answers and your exact logical errors, come back and try to rewrite history and reinvent your original position. You can learn from it and admit your mistakes, but you can’t expect people to honestly believe that what you “meant” wasn’t what your sentences clearly said/implied.

    I know you love short term exchanges and can’t seem to appreciate nuance, so this will be probably be wasted on you yet again. But your comments about no one addressing the analogies, completely ignore the chronology of the argument, including your own words at the time. It’s true that we talked past each other, I admitted that. But after this exchange occurred, is when the analogies argument happened, and they relate to a separate issue and whole other discussion. If you aren’t going to do this basic amount of work in verifying something so easy to see, maybe stop? What’s funny is that it’s your words up there agreeing with cc’s false analogies. You agreed with him and this all happened way after the talking past each other. You can’t even remember the chronology of your own comments. So yeah. It’s over, you lost.

  167. BillyJoe7on 27 Nov 2016 at 3:20 pm

    My meaning was perfectly clear:
    They words “surprised” and “shocked” could not have been synonyms…in the context in which cc used them (ie when he said “I was surprised but not shocked”…no matter what your reference says.
    I sincerely hope this is now crystal.

  168. cozyingon 27 Nov 2016 at 5:52 pm

    The definition of “synonym” doesn’t change when you are trying to tease apart the meaning of two similar meaning words.
    You keep making the same mistake over and over. A synonym is always a synonym.
    What you are trying to express is that he meant to use a word and it’s synonym in two different ways. I never disputed that, and my point was something completely different. You are using the word “synonym” incorrectly over and over again.

  169. Kabboron 27 Nov 2016 at 8:31 pm

    I’m just glad I “lost” so I’m out of the game. It occurred to me that cozying and I just have a fundamentally different way of thinking. No amount of discussion is going to bridge that gap it seems. This was crystallized for me when all my humor was met with actual arguments rather than a chuckle or dismissal. Even going so far as to effectively say I am infallible is not taken as humor. It was, but The Eel that routinely shocks BillyJoe7 is unfortunately all too real. The previous 6 BillyJoe’s are testament to his deadly effect.

  170. cozyingon 27 Nov 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Quite to the contrary, I find you very funny. Especially when you forget the chronology of an argument, and your own previous statements contradict your new arguments.

  171. arnieon 28 Nov 2016 at 5:29 am

    Cozy: “Quite to the contrary,….”

    Im trying to think of a good synonym for the descriptive phrase, ‘compulsive contrarian’, that wouldn’t be misunderstood as being an ad hominem insult…….

  172. tmac57on 28 Nov 2016 at 9:20 am

    Kabbor- “The previous 6 BillyJoe’s are testament to his deadly effect.”

    Actually…there were 7 past BillysJoe. The first being merely ‘BillyJoe’.
    I hope you admit your silly mistake so we can give proper respect for the shocking passing of ‘The Seven’.
    You lose again!

  173. tmac57on 28 Nov 2016 at 9:22 am

    Excuse my excessive boldness 🙁

  174. cozyingon 28 Nov 2016 at 9:26 am

    This will be my last reply here. Cc has had more than enough time, he’s replied to my actual challenge many times and quoted it. Somehow without challenging a basic point I made to defend a fair assumption.

    I’m not just saying I find him funny now. I said it before when he gave an inappropriate summary of the argument.
    cozying
    November 22, 2016
    “Okay so we talked a little past eachother fine.”
    ccbowers
    Paraphrasing: I never said amount.
    cozying
    [Yes technically you didn’t say the word “amount.”
    This is what you said: “If the OH polls were off in a certain direction, there is a good chance that that would be true for PA, or that that the errors in WI, MI, and MN would also be connected”
    Now any reasonable person would assume that by “polls were off in a certain direction” you meant an amount.]
    {{note: this is a point that I have never conceded, and that has never been actually appropriately challenged or disproven by your side, despite multiple requests. Even when you are talking about the request or directly quote it, you can’t seem to hold a candle to it. In a poll, how can you have a direction of error/change without an amount being attached to that claim?}}
    ccbowers
    “Actually ‘direction’ means ‘direction.’ ‘Amount’ means ‘amount.’ Direction is like towards trump, or towards Clinton. Amount is magntiude. They are as unrelated as ‘North’ or ‘South’ (direction) and ‘2 miles’ or ‘5 miles’ (more like amount). The fact that I have to explain this is perplexing.”
    cozying
    November 23, 2016
    (Numerous explanations of how his analogies are incorrect, again restating my point, how in a poll you can’t say off by a direction without an amount being implied/assumed.)
    Kabbor
    ***November 23, 2016***
    “Also, direction does not imply magnitude.”
    ccbowers
    [“Also, direction does not imply magnitude”
    Of course it doesn’t. Except for when cozying wants to fabricate a misunderstanding.]
    {{So as we can see kabbor replied the next day, after I already admitted cc and I talked past eachother. I was presenting a simple justification for my assumption. He agrees with ccbowers and his “actual meaning” of a poorly crafted sentence and basically defends his rewriting of history. He even chastises me for making a basic assumption.}}
    This is one of my replies to kabbor at that time:
[“In states A, B and C, the polls were off by 3%, 5% and 8% in favour of Clinton respectively. These share a direction but do not share a common magnitude.”
    I never said a single thing about how the magnitudes have to be the same across multiple polls. There is just a fundamental failure to communicate here. Clearly from everything I have been saying I’m talking about how you cannot say a poll in OH is off in a certain direction without specifying a magnitude. If a poll is not off by a set amount, then it’s not off. It has no error. The traditional polling error percentages is plus or minus. It actually only has magnitude because it points in both possible ways. Up or down. He said many times that magnitude and direction can be separate. That’s true in the false analogies he used but not in a poll.]
    Kabbor
    ***November 23, 2016***
    “I now see how you were interpreting ccbowers.”

    Okay now the kicker:
    Kabbor
    November 27, 2016
    “The reason people are not addressing your point about the polls is that it has already been established that initially you and cc were simply talking past each other on this point. There is no disagreement on that point. This goes right back to my first post on this topic. I must be missing some fine point in this matter because you agreed that there was a slight misunderstanding at first. In more recent posts you seem to be starting the semantic argument over again and I am at a loss as to why.”

    So yeah that’s funny to me. I even said as much:
    “But your comments about no one addressing the analogies, completely ignore the chronology of the argument, including your own words at the time.”
    “What’s funny is that it’s your words up there agreeing with cc’s false analogies. You agreed with him and this all happened way after the talking past each other. You can’t even remember the chronology of your own comments.”
    Kabbor originally agreed with cc about the false analogies, he eventually went on to say he understood where my basic assumption came from. Now he’s giving an inappropriate summary of the events and forgetting his own role in what happened. So yeah I’m just gonna agree to disagree. My words are right there, I’ve provided tons of examples to defend my analogies and basic assumptions of a poorly crafted sentence. Commenter after commenter just showed up to cheerlead and gang up on me. See the examples with billy’s cherrypicked quotes, and refusing to admit to a basic definition, or mummadad’s false analogy. Everyone trying to have a conversation about the meaning of shocked vs surprised is just committing reductio ad absurdum. My original comments had nothing to do with anything like that. I pointed out consistent themes, like how everyone here seems to think it’s okay to rewrite what they originally meant to say. Even when their words clearly mean something else as they are written. And when people are challenged they claim that it was just a joke.

  175. BillyJoe7on 28 Nov 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Well, let us just say that we will be shocked and surprised if anyone actually reads the above post.
    All seven or eight of me.

  176. chikoppion 28 Nov 2016 at 1:49 pm

    I believe context may have been lost in the tête-à-tête.

    It seemed pretty clear to me that ccbowers was referring to the bias of methodological errors, not actual polling numbers, when referring to the polls being off in a particular “direction” among demographically related states. Meaning, the flawed methodology was statistically more likely to underrepresent one candidate or the other among those states. That sort of bias is probabilistic and exists despite the magnitude of the actual polling outcomes.

    I didn’t scrutinize the subsequent exchange, so someone will no doubt correct me if I am wrong.

  177. BillyJoe7on 28 Nov 2016 at 3:13 pm

    “someone will no doubt correct me if I am wrong”

    Here comes another long pedantically semantic screed from our little friend….
    (which no one will read 😉 )

  178. ccbowerson 28 Nov 2016 at 9:32 pm

    Oh, wow. It’s been a few days and l see things continued without me for a while. I think this topic died along time ago, despite his/her demands to continue to engage his/her misunderstandings.

    “All this confusion comes from cc’s poorly written sentence. Instead of owning that, everyone argued clearly I’m the one that must be broken and illiterate.”

    Yet, you still can’t imagine that you have any responsibility in your confusion. Everyone else is wrong, because you can’t be.

  179. ccbowerson 28 Nov 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Some of the comments above were very funny. Not that I’m surprised, and certainly not shocked.

    “Im trying to think of a good synonym for the descriptive phrase, ‘compulsive contrarian.’ ”

    But a different type than hardnose, who is also a compulsive contrarian.

    “I apologize on behalf of ccbowers for this (my Canadian superpower).”

    It took me way too long to understand the “Canadian superpower” was his inability to not apologize. For a few seconds I was wondering why I was being called a Canadian superpower. I mean, I do live very close to Canada. =D

  180. arnieon 29 Nov 2016 at 5:57 am

    CC: “But a different type than hardnose, who is also a compulsive contrarian”

    I fully agree. HN type is more ideologically driven and thus more the intentional and virulent hijacker of the blog, IMO. A true troll and best ignored.

  181. SteveAon 29 Nov 2016 at 7:19 am

    “Now any reasonable person would assume that by “polls were off in a certain direction” you meant an amount.”

    I hadn’t been following the latter part of this thread with much attention, but, really? Is the above what all this verbiage was about?

    Who in their right mind would confuse direction with quantity?

    No. Don’t answer that.

    Jeez.

  182. Kabboron 29 Nov 2016 at 8:58 am

    ccbowers,

    I apologize about the confusion with regard to my earlier apology.

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