Skeptics Aren't Skeptical, An Example

I recently saw this comment over at Climate Audit:

I recognized the commenters, Jeff Id, as a notable Skeptic who has shown up in various controversies (for example, being a person directly misrepresented by Stephan Lewandowsky in a scientific paper). Having not seen anything from him in a while, I was curious what he's been up to and clicked the link to his site. I quickly found this:

The irony hurts too much not to discuss.

For people who don't recall, earlier this year the Texan Secretary of State's office came up with a list of 95,000 people registered to vote in Texas who it said had been flagged to be checked to see if they were U.S. Citizens. It also said 58,000 of those people had voted in at least one election between 1996 and 2018. Jeff Id breathlessly reported on this issue, saying things like:

Liberal news papers love to make the claim that there is NO evidence of illegal aliens voting in large numbers — these claims are false.

You know when mainstream media speaks on political issues, there is a near certainty that you are being misled. Of the 15.8 million registered voters in Texas, how many of those weren’t dumb enough to self identify as illegal aliens!! These are literally the people who admitted to it in a government office!
...
What we have in Texas is evidence of MASSIVE fraud. Even if the number is only double what the idiotic self reporting illegals have listed, we have an enormous voter fraud issue.

I don't know how anyone could believe something this ridiculous. To be frank, I think some form of racism/xenophobia is the only answer because there is no rational way to reach these conclusions. How can one believe tens of thousands of people were "dumb enough to self identify as illegal aliens!!"? It seems to me the amount of contempt for the people in question can only arise from some form of bigotry.

Even if one thinks that level of contempt could somehow be justified, these beliefs contradict every piece of evidence available. That includes the very things Jeff Id cites. For instance, Jeff Id insults these people as being dumb enough to self-identify as illegal immigrants, yet the Washington Post article he cites about this announcement says this in its second paragraph:

In an advisory released Friday afternoon, the office said it was flagging people who had provided the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) with some form of documentation — including work visas or green cards — that showed they were not citizens when they were obtaining driver’s licenses or ID cards.

These people were flagged not because they were dumb enough to self-identify as illegal immigrants, as Jeff Id claims, but because they said they were not U.S. citizens while providing something like a green card or work visa, documents which say they were legally allowed to be in the country. People presented documentation which said they were legally present in the United States, and Jeff Id claims that means they were dumb enough to identify themselves as illegal immigrants!!

But it gets worse. The Washington Post article Jeff Id cites goes on to say:

It is possible that people flagged by the state — who provided the DPS with documentation that indicated they were authorized to be in the country — could have become naturalized citizens since they obtained their driver’s licenses or ID cards. A spokesman for the secretary of state said officials are “very confident” that the data received from the DPS is “current.”

In announcing the review of the rolls, Secretary of State David Whitley — who was appointed to the post last month after serving as deputy chief of staff to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — immediately handed the data over to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), who said his office will “spare no effort in assisting with these troubling cases.”

But without additional verification, one cannot say these individuals all engaged in illegal voting, said Chris Davis, the head of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators.

"People get naturalized,” Davis said. “It's entirely too early to say that.”

Meaning Jeff Id's own source pointed out potential concerns about these numbers, and he ignored them completely. No genuine skeptic would ever do that. Any real skeptic who heard such outlandish claims as there having been tens of thousands of fraudulent votes would have at least taken a moment to consider why such claims might be wrong. Jeff Id didn't. Even worse, he ignored it when other people did, citing them as sources while hiding the words of caution they offered.

Indeed, Jeff Id didn't just ignore the words of caution from the Washington Post. He ignored the words of caution from the Texan Secretary of State's office, which warned the matches in question were "WEAK" (their emphasis), meaning they couldn't even be sure they were matching names to the right people.

And while Jeff Id was unable to come up with any reason to express any skepticism of the claims (or even understand what the claims actually said), others found it easy. It took little time for errors in the list of 95,000 names to be found. By January 29th, the Texan Secretary of State's office was already acknowledging problems with the list:

Officials in five large counties — Harris, Travis, Fort Bend, Collin and Williamson — told The Texas Tribune they had received calls Tuesday from the secretary of state’s office indicating that some of the voters whose citizenship status the state said counties should consider checking should not actually be on those lists.

The secretary of state’s office incorrectly included some voters who had submitted their voting registration applications at Texas Department of Public Safety offices, according to county officials. Now, the secretary of state is instructing counties to remove them from the list of flagged voters.

“We’re going to proceed very carefully,” said Douglas Ray, a special assistant county attorney in Harris County, where 29,822 voters were initially flagged by the state. A “substantial number” of them are now being marked as citizens, Ray said.

No later than January 30th, specific errors were known. For instance:

Williamson County Elections Administrator Chris Davis said more than half of the 2,033 voters on his county’s list were being removed after the state’s revision, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Travis County Tax Office spokeswoman Tiffany Seward said 634 people the state identified for review, 14 percent of the county’s initial list, have been removed, the Morning News reported.

Within a week, it was known beyond and doubt the avisory Jeff Id cites as proof of voter fraud was horribly flawed. This led to lawsuits, and by April, the advisroy was rescinded (which is why I had to use a Wayback Machine archived copy when I linked to it) with $450,000 in feed being paid after a lawsuit over the advisory was settled.

Claims of voter fraud in Texas were horribly flawed.Within a week of them being made, it was already known, and confirmed, tens of thousands of names from the list of 95,000 shouldn't have been listed. Within months, the claims were rescinded because the people who made them acknowledged they were baseless. Yet Jeff Id, a notable Skeptic, not only failed to express any skepticism about the claims, he exaggerated them by falsely claiming they involved illegal immigrants as opposed to non-citizen residents. And he still stands by all this, failing to correct his errors even now. Yet he has the audacity to say:

I can’t understand how people can be so blatantly wrong and seemingly fail to recognize it. Everything in their perception has to be twisted into some kind of mobius truth so that the ends can match up. Schmidt was out there recently claiming that climategate was simply emails taken out of order. Somehow people seem to find ways to cram that bit of wrinkled logic into their reality. It’s like a psychological defense mechanism gone wrong.

The irony is painful. But perhaps, what's more painful is Jeff Id also said this in his blog post (my emphasis):

A lot of good folks died to give me the right to vote I’m told. The caviler attitude by the left with giving my vote to folks who have no right is beyond disturbing. It is in fact a line where violence begins to make sense. 70% of these illegal immigrants end up on welfare, stealing my money. They vote in vast majority for Democrats who promise them free everything – again stolen from those of us who have earned what we have.

Based upon nothing but his delusions, Jeff Id is suggesting violence is beginning to make sense. That's deranged. And unfortunately, it seems no Skeptic is willing to say so.

20 comments

  1. Ah, irony in the climate-o-sphere. Never seen that before!

    So many of the people who are heavily invested in the climate wars are also very heavily identified with a political ideology. Jeff is a great example.

    The signal is as clear as day, and not surprisingly, we can see a strong signal of association between views on climate and orientation along the political spectrum (particularly in the US).

    Of course, as could be predicted, often people who are heavily invested in the climate wars readily point to that association among people on the other side of the Great Climate Divide (and often assert a mechanism of causality), even as they display a propensity to overtly fail to control for their own ideological biases when they engage in political discussions in other areas, even as they mostly ignore or at least fail to address the political signal on their own side of the Great Climate Divide.

    It is such an obvious attribute of the Climate Wars, that it is truly a testimant to the power of motivated reasoning that so many people seem (imo) so oblivious to what is going on.

    That said, (you can do what you want on your own blog, obviously, but) I think it's not particularly productive to say that "skeptics aren't skeptical." First, because to follow up that headline with a post about Jeff, you'd have to quantify why he's a representative sample. But more importantly, IMO, since there isn't anything particularly unusual about "skeptics" in this regard (except that they self-identify with the term "skeptic" with a flair for unintentional irony), you may as well just observe that "humans aren't skeptical" (in particular on issues where they're heavily identified). IMO, that is more the useful point. If something productive might come out of highlighting this phenomenon, it isn't likely to result from focusing on "skeptics" or any other group in particular. IMO, in doing so, you are ikely to mostly just contribute to the phenomenon (e.g., reinforce the tribal mentality that underlies the identity-defensiveness and identity-aggression that are so apparent in Jeff's post and his reasoning contained therein).

    Of course, finding a productive way of discussing this issue is hard.

  2. Not sure why your getting so hysterical about this.
    Actually, I am sure..but thats another story 🙂
    Seems to have touched a nerve.?
    Is it because the Dems seen to sometimes rely on votes of dubious character..?
    Yet still manage to bumble it ..

    As Jeff said—–
    "..Why would democrats invest so much money to stop another voter investigation? Hmm….
    Why didn’t they want the data to be investigated thoroughly? Hmm.. Hmm….
    Shouldn’t a card carrying skeptic ask such questions? Hmm… Hmm.. Hmm….."

    You also remained quiet on the welfare claim...mmm
    At least you stooped and played the standard "racism/xenophobia" card.
    Well done..
    Do you guys ever respond to anything without playing that ?
    Jeff also responded on his web site and corrected what you are hyperventilating over..
    He is right..the situation is probably worse than the article is showing.

  3. Not sure why your getting so hysterical about this.

    Are you sure he was getting hysterical? Actually, I'm quite sure that his state of being hysterical is in your own mind...but that's another story. Perhaps Brandon touched a nerve?

    Is it because Pubz make the false argument that the only reason Dems care about migrants is because they tend to vote Democratic?

    As Jeff said—–
    "..Why would democrats invest so much money to stop another voter investigation?

    Ah, arguing from incredulity. Hmm. A sure sign of a faux skeptic.

    Why didn’t they want the data to be investigated thoroughly? Hmm.. Hmm….

    Ah, a straw man argument. Hmm. Hmm.

    Shouldn’t a card carrying skeptic ask such questions? Hmm… Hmm.. Hmm….."

    Actual skeptics don't argue from incredulity - they investigate possible answers. They also don't make strawman arguments, they make sure that they accurately represent arguments.

    You also remained quiet on the welfare claim...mmm

    Jeff is of the opinion that his money is being "stolen." I'm of a different opinion. What is the point in responding on that "claim?" Jeff is entitled to his opinion, no matter how histrionic it is.

    At least you stooped and played the standard "racism/xenophobia" card.
    Well done..

    What is the difference between pointing out that someone has made a racist argument, and playing the racism card?

    Do you guys ever respond to anything without playing that ?

    Do "you guys" ever explain that difference?

    Jeff also responded on his web site and corrected what you are hyperventilating over..
    He is right..the situation is probably worse than the article is showing.

    Does that you mean that Jeff's arguing that there are more illegal votes being cast by non-citizens than he originally claimed? And if so, you believe him about that? What is the evidence that supports your belief?

  4. I am tired of having my vote stolen by leftist fascist authoritarians who neither believe in the US Constitution nor understand it.

    Wow. Looks like Jeff's getting hysterical. I guess Brandon hit a nerve.

  5. Joshua:

    That said, (you can do what you want on your own blog, obviously, but) I think it's not particularly productive to say that "skeptics aren't skeptical." First, because to follow up that headline with a post about Jeff, you'd have to quantify why he's a representative sample. But more importantly, IMO, since there isn't anything particularly unusual about "skeptics" in this regard (except that they self-identify with the term "skeptic" with a flair for unintentional irony), you may as well just observe that "humans aren't skeptical" (in particular on issues where they're heavily identified). IMO, that is more the useful point. If something productive might come out of highlighting this phenomenon, it isn't likely to result from focusing on "skeptics" or any other group in particular. IMO, in doing so, you are ikely to mostly just contribute to the phenomenon (e.g., reinforce the tribal mentality that underlies the identity-defensiveness and identity-aggression that are so apparent in Jeff's post and his reasoning contained therein).

    I disagree. You refer to contributing to polarization like that's a bad thing, but I don't think that's true. Talking about human traits in general is not likely to change people's behavior, save in that it may encourage a bit of self-reflection in people who care about your opinion. Talking about the behavior of specific groups, on the other hand, will.

    That can be seen in this very example. Do I expect calling Jeff Id out to make him behave better? Of course not. I don't expect people who share his views to behave better either. But what about people who only know Jeff Id for other things, having never seen him say things like this? Some might choose to embrace what he writes, others might choose to be more cautious when thinking about what he's said on other matters. That may well contribute to polarization like you suggest, but I don't think that's a bad thing.

    As an example of why I think it's actually good, look at Jeff Id's latest post. In response to me calling out his behavior, Jeff Id doubled down. He's now gone further in staking his position. That makes it clearer just how extreme his beliefs are. That draws the lines betweem him and other people a bit thicker. That makes it a bit easier for people to see how they differ from him. That's a good thing.

    I can gaze at my navel talking about how humans are flawed beings from now until the end of time, but unless I have some new or special insight, or even just a funny anecdote, I don't see the point. I've said all I have to say about the generalities of the topic in the past. What would I accomplish by endlessly repeating myself?

  6. Mike Williams, somehow I don't think anyone will find your claim of me being hysterical to be believable. I also don't think anyone will find your attempts to argue through presumptive questions, rather than making actual claims, to be convincing. But honestly, I just wanted to respond to you so we could laugh about a comment you made at Jeff Id's place:

    I read his article..I thought I was on The Onion web site..At least he can get some traffic to his dead site from here….to help him reinforce his self importance..he always was a mendacious prat.

    I won't diispute this blog of mine is largely dead, but that doesn't mean much seeing as I've always said I didn't view it as a blog so much as a personal journal that I let people read. Regardless, what makes this comment of yours funny is Jeff Id's site has had ~10 comments in the last four months. That's way less than even my blog.

    The idea of poaching views from a site more dead than my own is amusing.

  7. As to the stupidity of some people, yes, that is what led to Dunning and Kruger's work on that very thing.

    http://awesci.com/the-astonishingly-funny-story-of-mr-mcarthur-wheeler/

    That's the story that apparently started D and K on their work. A man covered his face with lemon juice and robbed two banks. Lemon juice is used to make invisible ink, and so he supposed it would make himself invisible to security cameras. He smeared lemon juice on his face and went bank robbing.

  8. "What would I accomplish by endlessly repeating myself?"

    It seems that many people are moved by frequency of mention. It might even be normal behavior. A corollary to this is that failing to mention something regularly is presumed to indicate a cessation of the problem. This becomes a cycle; as Americans talk less about climate change, a presumption grows that there is no such thing, and as that presumption grows, less talk!

    Conversely; places, cultures or nations that talk about nothing else pretty soon have nothing else to talk about; they have become consumed by the gravitational pull of a single idea that shapes language and topics, which in turn strengthens the gravity of that idea.

    The result of either phenomenon is sorting; people sort themselves into bins and memes, embracing one idea while fighting against its opposite. Staying in the middle is unstable; lukewarmers (in any endeavor or system of beliefs) are despised by nearly everyone, or so it seems to me. But that too can become a comfort zone particularly for introverts. Please; despise me, for then I don't have to maintain my barriers, y'all will do that for me.

  9. Michael 2, I've always wondered about that story As far as I've been able to find, it was recounted by two police detectives who interviewed the suspect, with nobody having asked for his side of things. That makes me curious. Did anyone investigate the possibility the guy was suffering from some mental illness? If not, is the story really worth all the attention? It'd be a shame if this story has been going around for so long as little more than laughing at a mentally disturbed person.

  10. It could be difficult to determine; what exactly is mental illness as compared to mere deficiency? When I joined the Navy during the Vietnam war, the entry requirements were astonishingly low. In boot camp a perfect score on the GCT/ARI portion of the Armed Forces Qualification Test was 145 and we had a man from Louisiana with a 36. Yes, two digits, I did not inadvertently drop one. He was also the happiest man in our company of 72 men. So people do not "suffer" from Dunning-Kruger.

    I

  11. Michael 2:

    It seems that many people are moved by frequency of mention. It might even be normal behavior. A corollary to this is that failing to mention something regularly is presumed to indicate a cessation of the problem. This becomes a cycle; as Americans talk less about climate change, a presumption grows that there is no such thing, and as that presumption grows, less talk!

    That might be true, but even if so, it is also true that repetition can have the opposite effect. Repeat something often enough, and you can make people get tired of it and ultimately care less. In a case like this, I'm not sure either is true. Going on and on with the same basic points of human failings doesn't seem likely to change people's views in one way or another.

    Talking about the failings of specific groups/people seems likely to cause more change. Also, it's more interesting (to me) since it lets us talk about different things, reducing the amount of repetition.

    As a side note, it's worth pointing out talk of global warming has gotten more extreme over time, with global warming advocates now widely calling for measures that ten years ago few were willing to promote. Rather than repeat the same claims over and over, in view of the previous failures, advocates seem to be making new and more extreme ones instead. I think that does more to induce apathy than anything else.

    It could be difficult to determine; what exactly is mental illness as compared to mere deficiency? When I joined the Navy during the Vietnam war, the entry requirements were astonishingly low. In boot camp a perfect score on the GCT/ARI portion of the Armed Forces Qualification Test was 145 and we had a man from Louisiana with a 36. Yes, two digits, I did not inadvertently drop one. He was also the happiest man in our company of 72 men. So people do not "suffer" from Dunning-Kruger.

    IQ tests have little to do with being mentally disturbed as mental retardation and mental illness are very different beasts. That said, there's no chance that person would have scored a 36 on any modern IQ test. I don't know how different the test he took may have been so it's hard for me to tell what a score of 36 would mean. It'd be interesting to know what a comparable socre nowadays would be.

  12. Brandon -

    You refer to contributing to polarization like that's a bad thing, but I don't think that's true. Talking about human traits in general is not likely to change people's behavior, save in that it may encourage a bit of self-reflection in people who care about your opinion. Talking about the behavior of specific groups, on the other hand, will.

    This is a question closely related to something that I've been thinking a lot about lately in a broader frame. As just one other related example, I think of the discussions about the GND - with some saying that pushing a more radical approach to advocating for policies on climate change as an issue (and linking it explicitly with left wing economic policies) will only turn off those who are persuadable and less heavily invested, while others point to something like the Civil Rights movement or changes with gay rights, to say that over time, strongly voicing disagreements that target specific people will bring about change over time (for example, even by shifting the Overton Window).

    To bring it a little closer to home, I also think of the argument that I've run across many times at "realist" blogs, where when I speculate that polemical rhetoric that targets "skeptics" (or more likely the term "deniers" is being used) will have no net benefit as it will, in balance, only contribute to existing polarization. The counter argument that I've often seen (which in turn is often linked to analogies with the Civil Rights movement) is that by calling out people explicitly, "lurkers" or the undecided might come to disassociate with "skeptics"

    I don't really know the answer, in specific contexts or more importantly, as a general question - but I know that my preference, largely based on my experiences as an educator, is to approach this question in a more general frame where people aren't inclined to react defensively, and then provide them with the skills and opportunity to be reflective about the general principles.

    That can be seen in this very example. Do I expect calling Jeff Id out to make him behave better? Of course not. I don't expect people who share his views to behave better either. But what about people who only know Jeff Id for other things, having never seen him say things like this? Some might choose to embrace what he writes, others might choose to be more cautious when thinking about what he's said on other matters.

    I think that there's a lot of evidence that, particularly in contexts where people have some level of emotional investment, that the greater likelihood is that people will filter the information you're providing w/r/t/ Jeff's arguments so as to use that information to reinforce their existing beliefs. My sense is that on these issues, like climate and immigration, people first formulate an emotional alignment with a particular policy viewpoint, and then use evidence to justify and reinforce that emotional attachment.

    Of course, there may be people who are unaligned, and who might become more cautious about Jeff's opinions as the result of reading your critique. It's possible. But again, I don't think it's particularly likely - if only for the reason that it's hard for me to imagine that many people at all might stumble across anything that Jeff has written about climate w/o also seeing the strong political nature of his participation on the issue of climate.

    That may well contribute to polarization like you suggest, but I don't think that's a bad thing.

    I'm confused by that. I thought you were just explaining why it would, in balance, not contribute to polariation.

    As an example of why I think it's actually good, look at Jeff Id's latest post. In response to me calling out his behavior, Jeff Id doubled down. He's now gone further in staking his position. That makes it clearer just how extreme his beliefs are. That draws the lines betweem him and other people a bit thicker. That makes it a bit easier for people to see how they differ from him. That's a good thing.

    Perhaps - but by the same basic logic, then there would likely be people who have read what you've written in your interaction with Jeff, and see a thicker line drawn between you and them and become more closely attached to Jeff's ideological frame. My guess is that in reality there would be hardly anyone who would be moving in either direction - but to the extent that there might be, it would likely zero sum out.

    I can gaze at my navel talking about how humans are flawed beings from now until the end of time, but unless I have some new or special insight, or even just a funny anecdote, I don't see the point. I've said all I have to say about the generalities of the topic in the past. What would I accomplish by endlessly repeating myself?

    Again, referring to my experiences as an educator, (and as Michael 2 touched on upstairs), I think that there is often a kind of critical mass needed to push people into a new mindset. Many repetitions are sometimes needed to move someone into a new conceptual space. From the outside, it looks like each of those repetitions are having no impact, but over time there is a certain amount of information that leads incrementally to a developmental growth. Think of a small baby who drops her mother's keys over and over and over, but who eventually reaches a developmental stage where she has an intuitive understanding of gravity.

  13. Joshua:

    This is a question closely related to something that I've been thinking a lot about lately in a broader frame. As just one other related example, I think of the discussions about the GND - with some saying that pushing a more radical approach to advocating for policies on climate change as an issue (and linking it explicitly with left wing economic policies) will only turn off those who are persuadable and less heavily invested, while others point to something like the Civil Rights movement or changes with gay rights, to say that over time, strongly voicing disagreements that target specific people will bring about change over time (for example, even by shifting the Overton Window).

    Neither approach you've described matches matches what I"m doing so I don't know how I should respond.

    I'm confused by that. I thought you were just explaining why it would, in balance, not contribute to polariation.

    I can't begin to imagine what would make you think that.

    Perhaps - but by the same basic logic, then there would likely be people who have read what you've written in your interaction with Jeff, and see a thicker line drawn between you and them and become more closely attached to Jeff's ideological frame. My guess is that in reality there would be hardly anyone who would be moving in either direction - but to the extent that there might be, it would likely zero sum out.

    Again, referring to my experiences as an educator, (and as Michael 2 touched on upstairs), I think that there is often a kind of critical mass needed to push people into a new mindset. Many repetitions are sometimes needed to move someone into a new conceptual space. From the outside, it looks like each of those repetitions are having no impact, but over time there is a certain amount of information that leads incrementally to a developmental growth. Think of a small baby who drops her mother's keys over and over and over, but who eventually reaches a developmental stage where she has an intuitive understanding of gravity.

    People have been pointing out this aspect of human behavior for centuries. If this were a small baby, it'd have died a long time ago.

  14. Normally an open minded individual would at least look at evidence on the other side before attacking others.

    https://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Transcript-2017-JW-Voter-Fraud-Crisis-Panel.pdf

    American history is full of gross instances of voter fraud as described by Samuel Elliot Morrison, primarily in large cities where political machines were notoriously corrupt. Progressives used to want to clean up the voting process. Now they call reformers dirty names and feel virtuous.

  15. David Young, puh-leez. If you actually cared about open-mindedness, you wouldn't come here solely to post a derisive remark and share a link as though that somehow constitutes discussion. You didn't address a single thing I said in this post, you didn't offer a single thought of your own about the contents or the link you provided, and you made absolutely no attempt to explain how the link you provided in any way addresses, much less refutes, anything I said.

    Nobody will find that sort of behavior convincing. All you're doing is stoking your own personal biases. You're free to do that, but why bother involving other people in the process? If you have no interest in actually participating in discussions, it is incredibly rude to butt in and disrupt other people's.

    I don't understand why people bother commenting in ways that are objectively designed not to engage anything that's been said. It's so weird.

  16. By the way, the most obnoxious thing about comments like David Young's is the idea one can provide a link and demand other people investigate it to figure out what one's point is. That's saying, "I'm too lazy to make my own argument so I demand you figure it out for yourself." The worst part is people who do that often don't even read the source they cite. Because why should they? It's not necessary for anything they say.

    This sort of thing is lazy and intellectually dishonest.

  17. I'm not sure why I'm commenting on a blog no one reads. Perhaps because you used to do substantive posts and you are in my favorites list.

    It is you who is intellectually dishonest and lazy. The reference I posted is about something you referenced in your post and backs up Id's post. I've read it and its good. The panel involves academics who study the issue.

    There is still time Brandon to rescue yourself from the descent into irrationality, cynicism, and just nitpicking and unjustified emotional attacks on mostly upstanding people. That's what teenagers do. Have you sought professional help?

  18. David Young, if you've read the document you've linked to and think it is good, the normal thing to do would be to quote excerpts you think are relevant, or paraphrase/summarize things the document says and explain how they relate to things said in my post. You didn't do that, offering absolutely no insight as to why the document is relevant to anything I said. After I pointed that out, you chose to resort to a series of personal attacks rather than do the simple thing of explain why the document is relevant.

    You say you don't know why you post here. I have a guess. You like being an obnoxious prick, enjoying insulting people while being unable, or unwilling, to have anything resembling real discussions. That's not welcome at most places so you're forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel to get your kicks.

    The sad reality is not only had I already read the document you linked long before you directed me toward it, I have already discussed it, to the point of having communicated with people involved in some of the data it relies on (to correct a couple errors in it). If you had quoted, paraphrased or summarized the report to explain why you thought it was relevant to my post, we could have had a discussion. But when all you do is post a link with no explanation, there's no room for discussion.

    Also, I'll note you didn't comment on my latest post which actually discusses, in some detail, underlying material for that document. When I discuss the evidence you promote in some detail while you fail to discuss any details of it at all... well, your insults ring hollow.

  19. Brandon, My best wishes for finding happiness. Your current route will lead to alienating more and more people and increasing isolation. I won't engage further with you as its clearly a lost cause. You were the one who introduced the personal insults here.

  20. David Young, I have never had any problem with personal attacks. The problem is when all one has is personal attacks. I will call a person dishonest if they, like you, behave in a blatantly dishonest manner. However, I will do so while discussing the specifics of what they did that was dishonest. I'll also address any substantive points they may have made in addition to any insults I might level against them.

    You say Engaging with me is a lost cause. That might be true for you. However, engaging with me is only a lost cause to people who adamantly refuse to engage in actual discourse. You refer to isolation as though that is undesirable, but isolation from people who post solely to push their own echo chambers onto other people is something I'd consider good. After all, if people actively avoid contributing anything to the discussion, having them in the discussion won't help the discussion.

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