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Tuesday, October 16. 2018
I stumbled on an article about how people tend to disagree regarding facts. It was clear from the start the author was seeking to explain the hyperpartisan nature of our political divide. I wasn't too impressed with the outcome. The closing paragraph stipulates our liberal democratic institutions are designed for disagreement, but these disagreements hinge on agreeing upon facts, a process which seems straightforward, but which he implies is broken and liberal democracy cannot fix. I'm not sure I agree that the process of agreement is straightforward, and I do believe liberal democracy can fix the issue.
I, however, disagree with the closing paragraph. The problem, as stated, is incorrect. People tend to agree about facts, so the adjudication process remains adequate. The issue seems to be that few people want to agree, even when they know they are wrong and the facts have presented themselves. If you play poker, as I do frequently, you've probably seen exchanges like this. You have 2 Queens in the hole and one on the board. But there are 3 spades on the flop, and betting action convinces you that a flush is in play. You convince yourself the 3 Queens will hold, and shove all your chips in. When you lose, you blame the person with the flush for not folding to the clearly superior bet, rather than analyzing your decision to shove as a mistake in the face of the facts as they'd presented themselves.
I see this behavior all the time in poker. Literally. Just last week I had a fellow, whose chips I'd taken, complain that I'd bet into his two of a kind even as he was raising me...but I had a flush! "You didn't know if I had a full house based on my betting!" The desire to avoid responsibility for a decision, opinion, or choice is rampant in people today because they've been raised to believe there are no repercussions. If he had the full house, I'd have congratulated him and left the table.
Out political discourse today isn't broken because we disagree on facts. It's broken because some people just want to ignore the facts and rely on opinion. It is a fact, proven over many years and the rapid extensive growth of our nation, that free markets work. It is a fact that every other socialist nation in history has failed miserably, or (in the case of certain Scandanavian nations) scaled back their socialist tendrils significantly. Despite these facts we still get Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Occasional Cortex offering up their pablum of class warfare. It isn't that they disagree on the facts. They know socialism has never worked. They just believe their socialism is somehow different and better (what's the definition of insanity?).
The same can be said for the divide regarding race and gender. It's not that we necessarily disagree on facts. Women don't face the same difficulties they faced long ago in the workplace. Men acknowledge that bias existed, and still exists to varying degrees. We do disagree on how to manage and implement the changes necessary on overcoming the remaining bias and keep the ball moving forward. But the Identity Politics of the Democrats refuse to acknowledge any gains have been made, that in order to move the ball forward, we need to increase the unfairness so women are favored over men, and this will somehow magically 'fix' the remaining issues.
Ignoring facts and blaming other people for not ignoring them with you is not a disagreement on facts. Liberal Democracy fixes this sort of thing naturally, over time, as evidence of failures build up. It creates cultural dislocations not too dissimilar to what we're seeing now, or which we saw in the 1960's. These dislocations eventually resolve themselves. The process of reaching that resolution seems long, slow and painful. Mainly because dislocations like this are rare, so people who go through them haven't usually seen them before.
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I think when you have an agenda and are dishonest then you have no problem with denying facts, reversing the meaning or effect of facts and in general lying through your teeth. That is what we are seeing in politics today. We see congressmen/women screaming, acting out, walking out so they don't have to listen and then go before a camera and accuse the other side of exactly what they just did. This is what Russia and China does in world politics so it is disconcerting to see the Democrat party doing it in American politics.
"People tend to agree about facts"
Couldn't be more wrong. Is Justice Kavanaugh a rapist? Is the climate warming? Big current topics, but most people are not in a position to answer either factually.
Some are, but not enough.
While I don't know anything about Kavanaugh, I take the absence of evidence or corroborating witness accounts of his alleged crimes to establish, albeit tentatively, that he is not. And, lacking further info, I consider that a fact.
As for global warming, I myself have taken measurements which satisfy me about the answer. While I could be wrong, my methodology is at least scientific, and it has, I believe, established fact. It has the advantage that I don't rely on an appeal to authority (i.e., somebody else's guess), or on faith, or on a Ouija board; I get info about the real world directly from the real world. It's called "scientific method" and not everybody is qualified to do it.
In practice, facts - a simple concept - are actually in short supply.
But none of the things you mentioned (Kavanaugh, climate) can be factually ascertained. So agreement is impossible. For the most part, you can (as you did) develop an OPINION which you consider a "fact" but it's not. Like it or not, it's just not a fact.
Neither are the opposing views. There are facts in there, somewhere, and someone MIGHT be right about them. But nobody knows for sure.
Now, insofar as "Hillary lost the presidential election" is a fact - Democrats are not accepting this as a fact, saying "she won the popular vote" - which is true, but means absolutely nothing regarding her ability to reside in the WH. So they are rejecting the fact she lost and focusing on something which assuages their guilt in being wrong...but it's still wrong.
This is the kind of misguided behavior which I'm referring to. What you did with Kavanaugh and climate - it's the inability for people to recognize their views are just opinions that create wider divides.
The problem is that you think objective facts matter more than subjective opinions and other people feel the opposite. Nobody "feels" that facts matter more than opinions, nobody "thinks" that opinions matter more than facts.
Of course there's a little bit of feelings over-riding facts in all of us - ask the next ten people you meet from which direction the Sun rises in the Southern Hemisphere. See how many of them tell you that the Sun doesn't rise at all and that it's merely the revolving of the Earth that creates the illusion of a rising Sun. We know for a fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun but our own senses tell us that the Sun revolves around the Earth, a fact betrayed by our casual reference to sunrises and sunsets.
You imposed a feeling on me that I don't have, but that's ok.
It's not that I think objective facts matter more. They do matter more, if you're willing to accept that you can't let your feelings about them sway whether you believe the fact or not. That's why I used my poker example.
Your sun example is very good, too. The fact the sun doesn't rise at all is an objective fact, but if someone gets into an argument over it, this only means they have a feeling which is tied to a feeling or opinion regarding that fact - in other words, "the sun DOES rise, and even thought earth does revolve around the sun so it's not rising at all I PERCEIVE it to be rising so even though you're right, I'm more right because of what I could see every day if I took the time to go watch it rise."
I always tell my boys that while most people think perception is reality, I prefer to believe that reality exists and it's our job to work through our perceptions regarding that reality, setting aside our feelings about what we perceive, and focus on the reality to determine how to best move forward.
Too many people today simply rely on the "the feels". Feelings have a place, sure. But not when it comes to dealing with facts.
Is Khashoggi dead? Yes. Did the Saudis kill him? Sure does seem like it. Beyond that, we start getting into perceptions and opinion:
-What should we do about that? "it was a vicious murder, so boycott, ban, freeze assets, cancel contracts" or "it was a mistake, and we'll just slap them on the wrist and move on."
The fact is, he was killed. The next 'fact' will only be how we feel about that fact.
That's where the deep disagreements start to take hold. But that's also what liberal democracy (mainly free speech) is good at helping to overcome.
Normal people have tripped all over themselves for the last 50 years trying to be nice to the false notions of postmodernism. It began innocently enough, with the idea that reality was individually held in perception. Assuming the mind is that perceptive device, this statement is true enough in a sense, although only as an aside or a device. Obviously a lunatic's perceptions are not those of a truly sane man which leaves reality as a free-standing phenomenon.
Where it got off the rails - and where normal people went running after it unwisely as if to show it some civility or reason - is where it then subject reality to perception, making perception primary and reality secondary.
From this falsehood rose the "narrative", that utterly false belief that all opinion was equal, or at the least, deserved some place in the firmament of truth.
Well no, it decidedly, unequivocally, certainly does not make all thought equal. In fact, 90% of belief is faulty, to pick a large random number, and therefore deserves no place at the table whatsoever.
Does this create another problem, a messy one, one of managing information, learning and demanding logic, seeking truth, being responsible, correctly forming debate, and generally seeing to civilization? It sure does, but all postmodern rule really ever did was interrupt that anyway because it's always been the standard, to one degree or another.
You can easily argue that that was the intent of postmodernism, which is ultimately to say, evil is evil regardless of form or appearance and especially, regardless of era or trend. Subverting truth is, to paraphrase Lewis, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled.
The lie is always the lie. Perception is not reality.
Jerryskids: See how many of them tell you that the Sun doesn't rise at all and that it's merely the revolving of the Earth that creates the illusion of a rising Sun.
it's merely the revolving rotation of the Earth ...
At the risk of being even more pedantic than the kiddiez...
move in a circle on a central axis.
"overhead, the fan revolved slowly"
synonyms:go around, turn around, rotate, spin
"a fan revolved slowly"
tom swift: As for global warming, I myself have taken measurements which satisfy me about the answer.
What measurements did you take that concern the global mean surface temperature anomaly?
The warmest period in recorded history was in the period around 1100-1250 AD. Much warmer than today's temperatures. Was it an "anomaly' ? There have been other cyclical warming cycles in recorded history as well as other cooling cycles. All of them were normal, cyclical and hardly an anomaly.
This very minor warming cycle (which by the way seems to have ended) is different in that the far left communist/socialist have decided that it is useful in pushing their far left agenda. If they play their cards right they could acquire massive political power AND massive revenues from increased taxes. THAT alone is the entire purpose of the great AGW hoax. The left is desperate to continue the hoax and acquire massive worldwide power and revenues.
For those who are paying attention, the left tried this in the 50's and 60's but we were in a minor cyclical global cooling cycle and they declared the world would end and an ice age would begin UNLESS we raised taxes and gave them full control over our lives... Have you ever wondered is there any problem that the left can't fix with higher taxes and more regulations???
"the left tried this in the 50's and 60's"
..and again in the 70s with "Limits To Growth" and various other doomsday predictions, none of which happened...
OneGuy: The warmest period in recorded history was in the period around 1100-1250 AD.
tom swift is older than he looks if he took measurements in the year 1100.
OneGuy: Much warmer than today's temperatures.
That's not supported by the evidence. Europe was quite warm, but the global mean temperature was not as high as today's global mean temperature. See Moberg et al., Highly variable Northern Hemisphere temperatures reconstructed from low- and high-resolution proxy data, Nature 2005, which found that the high Medieval temperatures were similar to 20th century temperatures before 1990.
OneGuy: Was it an "anomaly' ? There have been other cyclical warming cycles in recorded history as well as other cooling cycles.
What will those crazy climate scientists come up with next?!
OneGuy: This very minor warming cycle (which by the way seems to have ended)
Selective data, Gasbot.
And again, Gasbot. Why, it almost looks like 1100-1250AD was indeed pretty darn hot, if a degree C in anybody's book is hot.
What are you going to believe? Raw data, or data that's been adjusted, interpolated, modified, straightened, folded, spindled, mutilated, and coerced through various mathematical tortures to support the 'proper' point of view?
You should believe the kiddiez because they're soooo smart.
And honest too.
All assertions are equal, JL, or so they tell me.
JLawson: What are you going to believe? Raw data, or data that's been adjusted, interpolated, modified, straightened, folded, spindled, mutilated, and coerced through various mathematical tortures to support the 'proper' point of view?
If you are referring to the surface data, independent statistical analysis of the raw surface data found the same trend as analysis using the older technique of homogenization. See Rohde et al., A New Estimate of the Average Earth Surface Land Temperature Spanning 1753 to 2011, Geoinformatics & Geostatistics 2013.
More selective data, bud.
Until corrected you used to go on a lot about "first principles", your obviously unscientific notion that data should follow premise.
Now you go on about stratospheric cooling as the inverse for surface temperature - or whatever - however that phenomenon is anything but confirmed as related to AGW.
Nor have you regarded the primary drivers, volcanic aerosols and solar cycles.
Once adjusted for those eruptions there is no trend.
Yes we often do disagree on facts, but that is not the dividing line. I think most Republicans have noticed that we seem to speaking a different language than Democrats do. It's a constant "but don't they understand, or know...? Shelby Steele explained many times, but nailed it in a recent WSJ column "Why the Left is Consumed With Hate" (readily available at the Hoover Institution's Defining Ideas under Shelby Steele) He said that in the '60s, America finally accepted that slavery and segregation were profound moral failings. That imposed a new moral imperative --America would have to show itself redeemed of those immoralities. The Left identified itself with that goal. They put themselves in charge of America's moral legitimacy, and would deliver America from shame --- leading to the greatest array of govt. sponsored social programs, and they had a long list of failings to rectify -- hence the current statues being torn down and buildings renamed. While we are talking Capitalism and taxes and such, they are talking and acting in another separate realm, an urgent moral one, which is why the most qualified candidate for the Court ever, got blindsided with moral accusations. We are not speaking the same language.
I respectfully disagree. The left is made up of special interest groups each seeking something of value from the government. They may be seeking special privileges, political power, money, exemption from laws, special treatment under law, etc. It isn't about slavery that ended 150 years ago or bad treatment based on race, religion or country of origin. It is about how can we use these issues to get our free stuff and to deny those on the right their constitutional rights. If tomorrow we stopped being influenced by these bogus race, gender, and sexual preference arguments the left would simply come up with new arguments that could continue to support them trying to get their hands in the pie and get your hand out of the pie.
"In science, 'fact' can only mean 'confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.' " — Stephen Jay Gould
Bulldog: It is a fact, proven over many years and the rapid extensive growth of our nation, that free markets work.
Though it is worth noting that the most successful economies are mixed economies, with robust markets, independent regulatory regimes, and social safety nets.
Bulldog: Women don't face the same difficulties they faced long ago in the workplace.
Bulldog: Men acknowledge that bias existed, and still exists to varying degrees.
Some people, not all.
Bulldog: But the Identity Politics of the Democrats refuse to acknowledge any gains have been made
The vast majority of Democrats recognize the great strides that have been made, women's suffrage and the civil rights movement being held up as historical icons. Rather, the problem is the inevitable three-step dance of progress; two steps forward, one step back.
Bulldog: I, however, disagree with the closing paragraph. The problem, as stated, is incorrect. People tend to agree about facts, so the adjudication process remains adequate.
Then you seemingly disagree with the preceding paragraphs as well, which argue that people may disagree on facts because of the precepts that underlie their reasoning.
A prominent Democrat recognizes the great strides that have been made.
Because they marched, America became more free and more fair, not just for African-Americans but for women and Latinos, Asians and Native Americans, for Catholics, Jews and Muslims, for gays, for Americans with disabilities.
America changed for you and for me...
To dismiss the magnitude of this progress, to suggest, as some sometimes do, that little has changed -- that dishonors the courage and the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march in those years. — President Obama