Kahan on the Need for a Science Communication EPA

From a talk Dan Kahan gave this past spring, summarizing his views about science communication:

99 Responses to “Kahan on the Need for a Science Communication EPA”

  1. shcb Says:


  2. shcb Says:

    I know it is tough to have the village idiot from Colorado tell you this global warming scare is all about socialism and then have Barry Kripke here clear the bar to communism without batting an eye, but I’ve gotten some mileage out of it anyway. This thing has went a little viral amongst my friends. We really like the part where he berates the audience for laughing when he insists on the need for a thought police. Stalin must have looking been down nodding his approval.

    Oddly he isn’t booed off the stage, good to be in front of the home crowd I guess

  3. jbc Says:

    It’s funny that you think Kahan is calling for communism, given his oft-stated admiration of Karl Popper’s conception of liberal democracy and the “open society”, which are explicitly anti-Marxist. If you were to read more of Kahan’s writings you might actually find some of his views compelling. For example, he recently wrote the following:

    “The mode of knowing distinctive of science is possible only in a state that denies any institution the power to resolve by authority questions that admit of engagement by reason.”

    See http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2012/11/21/the-liberal-republic-of-science-part-4-a-new-political-scien.html

    …though it might make more sense if you read the first three parts in that series first.

    I don’t think that’s a view that either Marx or Stalin would have been willing to endorse in even the slightest degree.

    You (shcb) are kind of an interesting test case in terms of the Liberal Republic of Science that Kahan is arguing for. If a method or methods could be found to help you do a better job of overcoming your cultural biases when assessing expert opinion, I think we’d really have a useful tool.

  4. shcb Says:

    He might be absolutely rational in every other aspect of his life and thought, but as I have said before this has become a religion to people. I’ve never heard of this guy before so I don’t have a clue what else he has written, but I do know what he said, he wants a governmental agency to restrict what people say about a subject. He wants a governmental agency with the force of law up to presumably imprisonment to restrict what people say about a theory of science. That is the communistic thought police if I have ever seen it. This is probably why you hear the nervous laughter in the crowd, they probably weren’t expecting it from him if he is as libertarian as you say. Go back and see the fire in his eyes when he berates the crowd for laughing, then he goes soft again, he had regained control.

    Now this was a prepared speech, his calling for an “EPA” was no coincidence, he doesn’t want the thought police to restrict other areas of science, just environmental issues. Remember, the EPA restricts what people do, not what they think or publish. There is a place in government to protect people from what others do, there is even a small area where government has a place protecting people from what people say, yelling fire in a crowded building, liable etc. but this is a long, long way from that.

    Better look in the mirror big guy, you are about to cross a line you might not want to cross.

  5. shcb Says:

    “If a method or methods could be found to help you do a better job of overcoming your cultural biases when assessing expert opinion, I think we’d really have a useful tool.”

    Maybe a reeducation camp?

  6. shcb Says:

    Another assumption is the thought police would limit the publishing rights of a group after the consensus of the competing group got to a certain, point. That point, who is in each group, where the dividing lines of the factions of the competing groups etc are yet to be determined, but never mind, we are really just talking about silencing a single group on a single issue, our or your future or present enemies on other issues won’t use this new law. But, what if there had been a thought police when only Mann, Jones and a couple dozen scientists were calling global warming a threat when established scientists were calling the threat global cooling? Would you have wanted their work censored?

  7. jbc Says:

    I think I misled you by giving the post the title I did. Kahan is not calling for a government agency akin to the EPA that would be charged with enforcing conformity with the views of a central authority as to scientific truth. Indeed, as the quote I already gave in my earlier comment says, such an agency would be the exact opposite of how a liberal democracy (in Popper’s sense) is constitutionally bound to operate.

    To the extent Kahan referred to an EPA for science communication, I believe he was being metaphorical. In the video he is addressing a group of science communicators (i.e., scientists, science-associated PR people, and science journalists). The point I believe he was making is that a science communication environment that is free of the “pollution” of conflicting culturally-derived interpretations of scientific findings is a public good, and deserves to be protected in the same sense that clean air and water deserve to be protected. But it would be the people he’s talking to (science communicators), not a government agency, that would be responsible for making sure individual citizens were well-informed about what scientists actually believe, and that that information is delivered in a context that is free from antagonist cultural meanings, so that they (the citizenry) can come to their own judgements free of that sort of pollution.

    Again, it’s amusing to me how you take a small piece of the puzzle that you think you understand, and just extrapolate the rest of the picture without bothering to actually investigate. It’s not surprising that the result matches your expectations, since that’s really all you’re looking at: a version of reality that was spun from your own expectations. It’s also not surprising that you find confirmatory evidence to support your interpretation: Confirmatory evidence for many interpretations (including false ones) isn’t hard to find, as long as that’s all you are looking for, and if you’re agile enough at ignoring and special-casing away discordant data.

    That approach is not science, though. It’s pseudo-science. It’s like astrology. To qualify as science, your conjectures need to be falsifiable, and you need to actually look for disconfirming evidence, and modify your theory to account for it if it’s there. And in this case, that disconfirming evidence is very much there.

    This whole disagreement we’re having really is a fascinating issue that goes right to the heart of what Kahan is talking about. See, for example, this recent post of his:


    If you read that carefully, you’ll find statements in which Kahan is scrupulously elevating your “side” in the climate change debate to that of a valid player. In Kahan’s conception, your side shares my side’s view that science is the appropriate tool to use to evaluate the risks represented by climate change. He doesn’t dismiss your side as anti-scientific. Indeed, he argues that my side’s propensity to dismiss your side as such is itself a mistake, and is in fact a more-harmful mistake than your side’s erroneous conception about what climate scientists actually believe.

    I really think you should dig into this deeper. There are some surprises waiting.

  8. jbc Says:

    So, I rewatched the video, including the part of it where Kahan called for an EPA-like treatment of science communication pollution. And yeah, I can see where you got the idea that what he was actually calling for was a government agency to certify scientific truth. But I don’t think it’s as simple as you are interpreting it.

    The example he gave was one in which a drug company, pursuing its own self-interest, conducted advertising intended to promote its product (an HPV vaccine) as an appropriate thing to give 13-year-old girls. But the result of that was cultural polarization on the issue — especially after people like Michele Bachmann got involved and started being reported in the media with she-said/he-said stories not grounded in reality, but irresistible to the media.

    I think Kahan’s call for a science-communication EPA was intended to be provocative to the people in the room, and maybe in pursuit of that he stated it in a way that was stronger than he normally would have, or at least that raised the risk of his being interpreted the way you have. But I know (from reading other things he’s written) that an agency that performed some centralized role of certifying what is and isn’t scientific truth would be incompatible with the kind of government he is very much in favor of. Instead, I think what he’s advocating is the use of science to study the process of science communication itself, and to use the results of that study to discourage actions that would predictably pollute that environment with culturally-based belief that would frustrate the public’s ability to determine what experts actually think.

    It might be worth taking this question up with him directly, though, since his remarks in the video could reasonably be taken the way you’ve taken them. And he actually does interact with people who comment on his blog. This whole 4-part series of posts he’s put up recently were prompted, at least in part, by a question I asked about what he meant by “The Liberal Republic of Science.”

  9. shcb Says:

    He’s interesting, I’ll read more later. I think the telling point is when the audience laughs, a nervous laugh, he doesn’t smile like someone that is kidding in any way. Now a smile comes naturally to him it seems, and yet there is no smile just a “why are you laughing?” Sorry I don’t see it any other way, he really wants the government to somehow silence people who have a different idea on this subject. Without reading a lot of his writing and cataloging the progression of his thoughts the following is just a guess, but I bet this is something he has decided over a period of time, finally deciding the risk if the thought police in this are are worth the risk of the TP getting into other areas of science. I might be wrong, he might change his mind but that is the way I see this 15 minutes of fame.

  10. jbc Says:

    Oh, and I didn’t respond to it explicitly, but your previous comment about how having thought police censoring dissenting views once scientific consensus had reached a certain point: You’re exactly right. That is exactly the danger of having the government certifying truth or falsity on questions that are amenable to being decided based on scientific inquiry. Which is a point that Popper makes repeatedly, with that position of Popper’s being cited approvingly by Kahan several times in his recent blog posts. So that’s why I think it must be wrong to interpret what he said in that video to mean he was endorsing such a role by a “climate science communication EPA”.

    But I’m interested in hearing what he’d have to say on that question.

  11. enkidu Says:

    Maybe a reeducation camp?

    any education would be an improvement
    it needn’t be a camp or cabin
    Bringing the whole thing back to Socialism!
    and FEMA re-edumacashun camps!!! priceless

    The government already does regulate or ‘police’ some quackery. For one example, think of the legitimate function of the FDA. If the EPA needs to assess the science and adopt a specific set of science-based policies, by all means let’s do that. Using, you know, science. So far most of the science appears to point in an ominous direction. Perhaps we should adopt policies which have been assessed to address the problem(s) in the most cost-effective manner. (/captain_obvious)

  12. shcb Says:

    I read your correspondence and the four parts of the blog posts along with most of the links. As I was reading through them all, one thought started to form. Kripke is going on and on about what should take place in his Utopian world where politics and science harmoniously coexist and is trying to tell us why it doesn’t happen, people have biases, of course his biases are correct, others aren’t. But the thing that kept popping into my head is what is he going to do with those people that just won’t stand to reason, that won’t be taught, not can’t but won’t. What is he going to do with them?

    Now we know what he wants to do, he said it in his speech, he wants a government agency to regulate communication. I know you have tried to sugar coat it John, but that is what he said, the audience reaction and his reaction to the audience I think solidify that observation. Back to the 4 post series, he rambles on and on sounding quite libertarian, which he might be, libertarianism is an odd duck, it has a liberal and conservative faction. But the last paragraph of the 4th segment I think sums it up

    …aimed at equipping democratic societies with the knowledge, with the institutions, and with the mores necessary to sustain a deliberative environment in which culturally diverse citizens reliably converge on the best available understandings of how to achieve their common ends.

    “culturally diverse citizens reliably converge…to achieve their common goals” what would make him think people have common goals? What if they don’t? What is going to make them reliably converge? Converge to what? Reliaby of course is the key word. Is Kripke going to converge to my views on gun control? You (JBC) have tried for how many years to convince me I’m wrong about AGW, you have tried shaming me, calling me an idiot, being nice to me, studying me, telling me my sources are wrong, and guess what, nothing has worked. So what is left if people like me need to reliably converge and won’t? What institutions will be required to insure we reliably come to Kripke’s conclusions?

    He knows, he has thought this through, it will require a communication EPA, a governmental entity that will decide what should be published and what shouldn’t. It will start with scientific journals, then only information entered into congressional record will he allowed to come from these “cleared” sources. But voters are still being fed a diet of “wrong” information, what shall we do? Well, expant the powers oc the CEPA. Kripke isn’t going to admit that is what he wants, but that is the only way he is going to reach his ends.

    I know you have a great respect for Kripke, you think alike, he uses the same phraseology. I don’t have much respect for him, he is what is wrong with inteligencia, at some point they think they know so much they not only have the ability but the duty to take care of those not as fortunate as they, you know, the stupid people. The stupid people are just there for amusement or to be studied, but at some point they become tedious and maybe a little dangerous and need to be controlled so we use tools like the Communication EPA when that happens.

    You think he is speaking metaphorically, I think he is dead serious. It’s a brave new world, you guys are in charge and you are coming to people like this for guidance.

  13. Anithil Says:

    Yeah, Kripke’s pretty cool, because he talks like me and uses the same phraseology!
    But hey I should probably watch out, I wouldn’t want to come to intelligent people for guidance. Let’s instead, go to the politicians for guidance. _Especially_ the politicians who have no idea what they’re talking about.

    What kind of idiotic person would go to intelligent people for guidance? What is this world coming to?????


  14. shcb Says:

    I have no problem with intelligent people I are one. I do have a problem with fellers that want my opinion supressed, or my ability to learn as I see fit. In a time past it was called freedom. You should strive to be led by those smarter or better than you, but not at the cost of an opposing opinion.

  15. jbc Says:

    I think that kind of sums up your whole epistemological approach. You apparently have 3 rules:

    1. You have an absolute right to your a priori opinion.

    2. You believe you should try to be led by the opinions of those who are smarter than you. But…

    3. If someone smarter than you happens to disagree with the opinion you already hold, then Rule #2 is trumped by Rule #1.

    Do you not see the problem with your approach? This set of rules, consistently applied, will result in someone who is righteously, crankishly wrong, asserting opinions that contradict those of experts who have actually studied the field in question, since in any case where his a priori opinion happens to be incorrect, he will be unwilling to change that view (since doing so would conflict with Rule #1). This isn’t just a theoretical observation; your history of statements here lends empirical support.

    It’s not surprising your educational career ended as early as it did. It must have seemed like a real waste of time to go to all that trouble to put yourself in the presence of people who ostensibly knew more than you about (whatever), and have to sit there and listen to them and take notes and subsequently demonstrate that you had internalized the knowledge they were trying to impart. Since, to the extent they ever tried to teach you anything that conflicted with what you already believed, they were by definition wrong, and you were right.

  16. enkidu Says:

    It’s like Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics (Republibots?) But instead of (generally) being constrained to selfless do-goodery, Republibots are angry crankish misanthropes with ‘issues’ and a fossilized worldview.

    I’ve generally stopped using the abbreviation for wrong wing nut job, as the new era of Civility First! demands a less snarky approach to ‘debate’.

    How many times does Lucy have to snatch the ball away before Charlie Brown realizes this is *never going to change*. shcb is happy to pontificate and pat us poor lil libs on the head. But once you realize someone’s worldview and actions are flibbertigibbet, what do you do? Engage in further fruitless debate? Shovel yet another mountain of science and data and rationality at the (happily, if crankishly) malformed? I’m all for letting fools speak loudly, but they need to be drowned out by a chorus of reason, not a babble of bullshit . You can gish gallop all over this site or any other, but you can’t change the facts. Facts is facts. Up is up.

  17. shcb Says:

    I’m not sure you can have an a priori opinion. You might have an opinion that is based on some a priori elements but when you express an opinion you are not only using facts, however they are classified, and then mixing them with your own goals and values. Do I have a right to my opinion, yes, is my opinion subject to change? Again, yes.

    If someone smarter than me happens to disagree with an opinion I already hold, rule 2 is not trumped by rule 1 because while my right to my opinion is absolute so is my right to change that opinion. To change my opinion new facts would have to come to light, and in science there are new facts constantly, that is what Popper said, right? So, new facts could change my opinion or new goals, or new facts change goals.

    So your two last paragraphs are moot since the 3 rules are wrong, the last paragraph is quite wrong, but we won’t dissect it here. They may be the way you see things about me, but they are wrong. I just haven’t seen anything new come out of the Global Warming congregation in the last couple decades, let alone something that would make me change my mind. But there sure has been a bunch of information from the anti AGW side in that time.

    I really don’t care one way or the other, I don’t have a preconceived notion or opinion on the subject as you seem to believe, you just haven’t sold me the product. Just like socialism, show me where socialism has worked and maybe I’ll be a convert, but I’m not going to change my opinion because one more expert says yea instead of nay.

    I have an opinion but it wasn’t preconceived, in the beginning of AGW hype I believed it, experts said it was so, who am I to argue, but then slowly other experts started to poke holes in the theory. What I noticed was the AGW experts really didn’t say the other experts were wrong in their assessments, they and you just said we are the experts, those other experts are false experts, believe us, not them. Then the only solution was worldwide socialism, that’s when you lost me.

    So yeah, I’m pretty entrenched on this subject, it would take a lot to get me to change my opinion, but it could be changed, hell, I got a flu shot this year, anything is possible.

  18. knarlyknight Says:

    Lorry shcb, the things you say sometimes. It’d be easier to get Clint Eastwood to support abolition of gun ownership than to change your opinion on this.

  19. shcb Says:

    Not at all, you just have to give me something that makes sense. I tossed three weeks of work away yesterday, not because my design didn’t work, it worked great, passes all the tests with flying colors, but it was going to be a little expensive. Now I could have held on to my design but at some point I had to let it go even with all that work in it. I came up with a different way of doing it by the time I left work yesterday.

    Point is, in my line of work you have to be able to let your idea go at some point, and I do. I just haven’t seen it here.

  20. shcb Says:

    It seems the Europeans are a bit ahead of Kripke in the controlling of how information is distributed, in England they are once again trying to regulate the press. The sentiment of The Spectator is fine, Nelson says “That is to say: we would not attend its meetings, pay its fines nor heed its menaces.” Good for them, but then he says “We say in our leading article that we would happily sign up to any new form of self-regulation which the industry proposes, no matter how onerous.” Bam! the government just controlled you Fraser, when you have given up “no matter how onerous” you have lost. the government will then have the Fascist upper hand, “we won’t regulate you if your do…” they will say. They have control even if they technically don’t have control.

    Now in America we have the Bill of Rights, so Congress can’t pass a law taking away our right to free speech, since they can’t take that right away from us the threat of do what we say on your own or we will pass a law rings a little hollow. So what is one to do when a subject is too complicated for normal people to understand. We are told that science is to complicated (a scathing indictment of American education) and that Global Warming or Climate Change when it unexpectedly decides to cool, is too important. we can’t pass law so let’s make an EPA of Communication, that way we can regulate the correct thought without making it illegal.

    So how does this new regulatory body work? Well we limit it to scientific matters like Global Warming and gun control (oops, that’s for later) things that are to difficult to understand but are driven by facts that we don’t know enough about to predict with any certainty (oops again, damn it). Now it seems perfectly reasonable that people that are muddying the waters, such a small percentage of people, should somehow be regulated, maybe a licence should issued to those that really know the truth of things like AGW and gun control. Then we don’t tell people what they can say and what they can’t say, we just limit who gets a licence. An unelected agency is put in place to determine the criteria of expertice of every aspect of our lives, then only works by those licenced can be introduced  in Congress, grant money will only go to those with a licence, what is taught in government schools, K-12 first, then state colleges, but the first amendment is still intact, thank God! So how do we know who knows and who doesn’t? Guess it depends on what party is in power. That is probably why the laugh in the audience was nervous, they know something Kripke doesn’t, the power they use today can be used against them tomorrow. But hey, you guys are in power.

  21. shcb Says:

    Ah, another example of how this might work, we’ve now moved past the scientific limits of the Communication EPA to fiction in EuroSocialism Europe. Even fictional characters are not exempt. It seems the Welsh government doesn’t like to be criticized, so they want this fictional episode not replayed because “The BBC’s editorial guidelines are clear that programmes are expected to ensure
    that ‘controversial subjects’ are treated with due impartiality in all their
    output. We do not believe this to be the case in this instance.” They replayed it anyway, good for them. But what good is a law if no one abides by it?  

    The BBC’s editorial guidelines are clear that programmes are expected to ensure
    that ‘controversial subjects’ are treated with due impartiality in all their
    output. We do not believe this to be the case in this instance.

    Now this show did offer a balance, but of course balance is subjective, just as scientific interpretation of data is subjective. When it comes to freedom this is a moot point, the folks across the pond gave up their freedom of speech when they agreed that fictional characters, or any characters must provide balance, the other side of the debate is charged with offering balance.

    I found this on a post by Natalie Solent you remember her, she was one of those “reasonable conservatives” on Samidata you guys were all fawning over a while back.

  22. Anithil Says:

    A lay-person’s interpretation of scientific conclusions is subjective. Scientific interpretation of data is decidedly not subjective.

  23. shcb Says:

    Really? Well, maybe we have found the problem! Isn’t that why they are called scientific theories? Two fellers look at the same bunch of data and one says it means this and one says it means that. The holes left by the lack of data, the errors in measurement or just plain randomness leaves plenty of room for opinion. That opinion should be based on similar circumstances but even those circumstances have holes in them from errors, lack of data and random things running around in the mix.

    Now the data isn’t subjective, it may be incomplete but it isn’t subjective, but the interpretation is subjective. The interpretation becomes less subjective the more times the theory is tested but it is still just someone’s opinion.

  24. enkidu Says:

    shorter shcb:
    argle bargle global warming socialism static model gun control re-edumacashun camps information police!!1!1!!!

    I think your tin foil hat is on a bit too tight.

  25. Anithil Says:

    What you just said is true, albeit not actually disproving my statement at all.

    Holes in data, or lack of data, do not equal data. By definition. Misinterpretation of lack of data has nothing to do whatsoever with the fact that data that is there is not subjective.

    Errors in measurement: this is why there is peer review. Don’t wanna rely on just one feller’s interpretation of the data? By golly, let’s get two fellers on it. Or five. or seven fellers. Not enough you say? Ok, well, how about we get the _entire scientific community_ on it. That’s more than two fellers. And yup, I’ve heard the “well aaactually it’s only 60/40” or whatever, but that’s just wrong. Haha.

    Just plain randomness: this is why we repeat studies. I’m assuming you’re familiar with the ideas of statistics. Let’s say you have a set of data. 90% of the data points towards one conclusion…under all interpretations. 10% of the data points towards another conclusion…under all interpretations. Now, this depends on what your level of significance and such are, but in general, “just plain randomness” is used to explain deviations from the statistically significant result.

    Your rehtoric is nice, but vague. And mostly incorrect.

  26. knarlyknight Says:

    “Your rehtoric is nice, but vague. And mostly incorrect.”

    This is true about just about every shcb post, except often the rhetoric is too specific – but same conclusion.

    shcb dismisses such oft stated opinions of his erroneous beliefs, citing his accomplishments or life experience as evidence that he’s on the right track. He does not recognize his observation of that evidence is relative to the fishbowl that he inhabits.

  27. shcb Says:

    The holes in the data and the error factor of the measurement are the cause of the subjectiveness. When I said error of measurement I’m not talking about human error, peer review should catch that, I’m talking about the error intrinsically built into the methodology or the equipment. At some point someone has to made a subjective choice, do I use the high, low, or middle number. Then we test, adjust our methodology and equipment, test again, refine and repeat. But at every step a subjective decision is made regarding the interpretation of the data. That is just reading the data. The parameters of the tests, the selection of samples, those are all subjective. The peer review process itself is subjective, if it weren’t only one reviewer would be needed.

  28. knarlyknight Says:

    Again, nice rhetoric as your argument could very well apply to people using crude instruments to measure a selection of precise items (i.e. sloppy work.)

    However, your rhetoric is false for people using proper scientific method and using precise instruments to measure random samples of discrete items taken from a large population of items.

  29. shcb Says:


    Read what you just wrote.

    Proper method and the precision of instrumentation are relative. The number of samples are finite depending on a number of factors. There is just the number of samples, how many years have we been chasing hurricanes with airplanes for instance, the number is finite, there is only so many years we have had the technology. There are a finite amount of monies for a particular study, only a finite number of researchers available, subjects or samples etc. All these things are finite and subjective decisions have to be made to determine how to best utilize these resources. The scientific method just means we are using the best known, underline known, methods, not the best methods.

    This is an interesting discussion because I think we are seeing how people like Anithil and maybe you have the idea that if the scientific method is used the results must be correct. But of course that is completely at odds with the whole idea of science. There is never an end, the results are never perfect because there is always going to be a new way found to do something or measure something. The only way to even conceive of that new way is to try several and see which works best, the only way to know which works best is to test, all things have a level of subjectivity to them. Rarely does one of those possible methods of improvement absolutely fail or absolutely succeed, usually they all have some good and bad points and someone has to make a decision on which one to sink all the above finite resources into.

    Now of course you all know all this, I think this is where the CAGW people fall off the scientific wagon a bit, they think if the scientific method is used the results must not only be correct but also final. I think they feel this way because it fits their political motivations. The problem is that there is no way to run an empirical test except wait until next year and next year and on and on to see if a theory works. Sure you can model all you want but the only way to see if it really works is wait until next year. You can’s line up a bunch of interns with jars of fruit flies and run a hundred tests of 12 theories at the same time. They have convinced themselves that The Cause is more important than proper scientific method. They are willing to make a final determination while still in the early phases where the subjectiveness is still quite large.

  30. Anithil Says:

    If you are concerned that I blindly follow the scientific method or am somehow practicing blind science, please be rest assured that this is not the case.

    Again, your statements are vague. Again, you are saying nice, vague rhetoric, that can sometimes generally be true, but is no way true in all situations. They are just nice-sounding words and overarching statements about the “whole idea of science.”

    But okay, I’ll play along although it is a waste of time. I don’t feel like writing an abstract at the moment anyways. And because you seem so fond of using your life experiences and anecdotes to make points, I’ll respond in kind.

    “The results are never perfect because there is always going to be a new way found to do something or measure something”.

    Okay, let’s run with that one for a second. I am going to use one single example that will illustrate why allowing this idea (which has some truth in it) to dictate the actual scientific decisions we make would kill, yes _kill_ science as we know it. Thank goodness everyone doesn’t feel the same way.
    A western blot is a very commonly used bio research method for determining the identity/size of a particular protein. Bands of protein travel down a gel based on their respective structures. It is a staple in pretty much all biological research.
    Western blots are sometimes cantankerous. The bands are too blurry, the protein doesn’t travel correctly, the gel itself just falls apart…whatever the reason, these blots are not necessarily the best method for protein determination. It is entirely possible that a better, more fool-proof method of doing this type of assay will be invented/discovered. Until then, we have these westerns.
    Despite the inherent problems that can pop up with western blots, we continue to use them. In fact, we continue to base many important discoveries upon their use. A paper recently published in the Netherlands has come up with a promising way of treating neurodegenerative diseases (i.e. Huntington’s Disease). At least half of all their data is from western blotting techniques. And guess what, their results _work_…at least, on a cellular level. They’re most likely moving to mice soon. All based on this imperfect way of measuring that has not yet been improved.
    If we do not rely on this type of measuring, biology research would completely stand still. No more new drugs, no more flu shots, no more fundamental research. Now, imagine that there is an impending health disaster, say, some kind of contagion-type thingy. 90+% of protein biologists say that data based on western blots show that this contagion will be caused by some kind of human activity, which can be partially mitigated at the best, merely prepared for at the worst. Less than 10% of protein biologists point out, “well, no, see, western blots can’t be completely correct, because they aren’t perfected ways of studying. What if the antibodies aren’t binding with equal affinity?? Blah blah blah.” They suggest not spending money on mitigation and making it national policy, because we just _can’t be sure yet_. Any, I repeat, ANY scientist in their right mind would go with the 90% when the cost is this high.

    Also, imagine that it’s been found that some of those 10% of scientists have conflicting interests. But you’ve already heard this, it’s nothing new to you.

    Is this entire story related to the AGW topic? Nope. Not any more than your stories are.

    I recognize your concern that I’m falling off the scientific wagon. You can go ahead and sleep easy, I know how science works.

  31. knarlyknight Says:

    In related news, some Republican Congress members are awaiting more data and more conclusive scientific results before accepting that the alleged age of planet earth exceeds 6,000 years.

  32. enkidu Says:

    Can we please just pause for a moment to reflect that there is really only one party in America that rejects:
    – reality
    – evolution
    – the big bang theory
    – the geological record
    – modern physics
    – arithmetic
    – climate change
    and of course…
    – higher learning (beyond GED)

    I could go on and name a few others that are less science-based:
    – public schools
    – human rights
    – a woman’s reproductive rights
    – gay equal rights
    – taxes of any kind on the obscenely rich
    – etc

    But ya’ll DO believe in:
    – trickle down economics
    – sky fairies
    – Rush (not the band)
    – speaking in tongues (see directly above)
    – taxamagical nonsense
    – skewed polls
    – welfare queens is stealin mah tax muny!
    – thinking with your gut
    – Algore claims to have invented the internet
    – voter fraud (grrrr ACORN stole the election! again! durp)
    – Obama was born in Kenya
    – Sarah Palin is qualified for office

    and finally…

    – evil lib scientists are hoaxing ‘global warming’ because socialism
    (makes perfect sense, if your head is full of nonsense and bullsh!t)

  33. knarlyknight Says:

    Add that they live on a different planet where the countries have the same names but are in different locations: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/in-the-loop/post/romney-wont-give-on-iran-syria-route-to-the-sea/2012/10/23/690639c0-1d1d-11e2-ba31-3083ca97c314_blog.html

  34. shcb Says:

    Thanks for the story Anithil, I learned something from someone smarter than me and liked it! I’m really not talking in rhetoric here, the subject matter was general so my answers were general. Now in the periphery is the CAGW issue, it’s always there, we all know it, but my tack was general.

    On to western blots, an item I was blissfully unaware of until yesterday (I could never be a biologist, too many squishy things). You just made the only point I was making when I said interpretation of data is subjective. The western dot isn’t perfect, you know it isn’t perfect, but it’s all you have so at some point you make an educated guess at where in the range of accuracy the data point you are going to put in your formula lies. The folks in the Netherlands now have the option of testing the imperfect data on as many rats as they can catch in the streets of Amsterdam, we simply can’t do that with climate science, we only have one test sample.

    Now am I advocating that we stop research? Of course not! You do the best you can with what you have, if you don’t you will never develop the next generation of equipment and techniques. My issue is it seems scientists are making exceptions to their own rules with this subject, they are making final determinations based on incomplete testing because they feel the risk is so high, which I gather from the last part of your story/analogy. Something to toss into you contagion-type thingy analogy, don’t forget to add a collateral damage aspect if we do what the 90% want to do.

    Back to AGW, part of the issue is that for some reason it seems scientists have become activists more than normal with this issue and are letting that cloud their scientific advice to those that make national policy. Two recent examples on this site, somewhere in Kahan’s four part series he mentions that some scientific issues are too important bla bla bla. He mentions global warming and gun control how in the world is gun control a scientific issue? It may be an important issue to him and it may be something he would like to use his status to promote but it isn’t a scientific issue. In the “Talking about Sandy and Climate Change” (I think) one of the links, I believe it was Kerry Emanuel, determines the severity of Sandy by the insurance estimates, that has nothing to do with atmospheric science!

    A couple days ago Tony Watts has a piece that was talking about ocean rise caused by global warming, man made or not. The scientists in the group are of course blaming it on man, but (according to Watts), they have only had the technology to accurately measure the ocean level with satellites for a few years, they don’t have the equipment installed yet to provide a baseline for these satellites and yet they are declaring that man is causing ocean rise and loss of ice definitively on man made global warming. This is what makes us lose faith in scientists of global warming. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t understand science or don’t value science, these guys are just not acting like scientists. There was one area of ice loss where the measurement was 1/3 the margin of error. That data point is basically useless but it is being used as proof by these scientists.

    In your contagion-type-thingy (I like that) scenario I would expect those biologists to give the policy makers a real, rational estimate and explain in laymen’s terms what the probability is, if the western blots are 70% accurate so we run x amount of tests to bring that to 85%… That is fine, they are doing the best they can, I just don’t think that is happening in this particular case. And it is being allowed to happen in the scientific community because they are in the mode you are describing in your story, this is a super crisis Oh My God! And for some reason people have bought into it. I’m sure you are a fine scientist and very good at what you do, I just don’t see scientists acting like scientists in this instance.

  35. knarlyknight Says:

    Good luck sorting through those cobwebs of reason Anithil.

    Just a couple notes –

    – they must have had satellites to measure sea levels and ice cover 12,000 years ago or else how could scientists know of such things like the land bridge across what is now the Bering Strait.

    – the response of people and the overall impacts on society can be predicted, especially for larger groups of people, with great degrees of certainty by science, so long as those predicting the outcomes are not afflicted with political bias. So science can in fact predict outcomes of gun control (or lack thereof) on such measures as the incidence of violent crime in different socio-economic groups, gun related accidental deaths of children in the home, incidents of armed robberies, even feelings of safety and security. So I’d guess the gun control point was something along the lines that NRA opinions exist notwithstanding scientific fact.

  36. shcb Says:

    So you don’t think the NRA uses statistics?

    Have you heard the claim that you are more likely to be killed by your own gun than to kill an intruder? The only way you can make that claim true is use the FBI data and include suicide, now there is some good science! But the statistic (science) (data) is true. Another example of how the interpretation of data is subjective.

  37. knarlyknight Says:

    “you are more likely to be killed by your own gun than to kill an intruder” sounds like a political talking point.

    As such, it supports my assertion that “impacts on society can be predicted, especially for larger groups of people, with great degrees of certainty by science, so long as those predicting the outcomes are not afflicted with political bias

    We aren’t arguing gun control here. You asserted that gun control is not subject to science (your words: how in the world is gun control a scientific issue?.) I call your bullshit for what it is. Science has a valuable place in rational public policy. Your problem is that America is not rational enough to use science properly.

  38. shcb Says:

    Yeah there is probably some context needed here. If you had read Kahan’s four part post and listened to his speech you would see his theme is that science has gotten so complicated that mere mortals can no longer understand it. This is a sentiment held by people like. Anithil and JBC. Kahan then goes into great length trying to explain how they come to the conclusions they do, cultural bias being the prevailing theory. Of course the unwashed masses’ opinion is wrong (never mind that the people that agree with him but are in the same level of knowledge aren’t wrong but I digress.)

    Now people like JBC seem content to try and change the minds or ignore the nonbelievers, maybe study them, but for the most part they leave us alone. The people in the audience of Kahan’s speech seem to be in agreement with JBC based on Kahan’s early comments. But Kahan wants more, he wants government to step in, not to spread false information or squash dissent like communist countries, just sort of filter the edges until people that don’t think right do. The problem isn’t that people have thought this through and come to their own conclusion you see, they have been misled by false communicators. We want people to come to their own conclusions, they just need to listen to the right people so their own conclusions are correct.

    So what does all this have to do with gun control? Remember the premise is the subject is too complicated so we should blindly follow people like Kahan. I agree with him to a point on CAGW, I think it is too complicated for him to understand. Digressing again, but gun control isn’t that complicated, it’s just statistics, and not very complicated statistics at that!

    People like Kahn lumping then together as a need for a thought police is what make people like me believe there is more on the agenda than science or saving the planet.

  39. knarlyknight Says:

    If you are concerned about this kind of “agenda” a.k.a. conspiracy, there may be more important places to focus your energy, e.g. refer to copyright and internet censorship articles on boingboing.

  40. enkidu Says:

    I look forward to shcb’s wwnj gibberish, er I mean analysis, on quantum physics being some sort of lib plot to er, uh, because socialism. Also, gun control, re-education camp, information police, blue helmet gobbledegook hurp durp

    If you are diagnosed with cancer, you don’t just keep going through doctors and doctors and more doctors, ok now some more doctors. All of whom diagnose you with cancer, but you keep looking further and further afield until you find some quack someplace who says, you’re fine! If 97 out of a 100 doctors diagnose you with cancer, perhaps you should listen to them? No, shcb is sure, yes, sure! it’s all a lib plot to er, uh, because comoonism!

    You don’t go to a backhoe operator or a florist or a machine shop maven for brain surgery. You go to a surgeon. You go to the best surgeon you can find. Not some quack who says ‘you don’t have cancer! your chi flows aren’t aligned. also sociamalism!’

    In other news 2+2 still equals 4. This comes as a surprise to right wingers everywhere who claim that math is skewed towards facts.

  41. shcb Says:

    By his own admission Monckton has been bad again

    An eco-freako journalist, quivering with unrighteous indignation, wrote that I had been “evicted”. Well, not really. All they did was to say a cheery toodle-pip at the end of that day’s session. They couldn’t have been nicer about it.

    The journalist mentioned my statement to my fellow-delegates that there had been no global warming for 16 years. What she was careful not to mention was that she had interviewed me at some length earlier in the day. She had sneered that 97% of climate scientists thought I was wrong.

  42. enkidu Says:


  43. shcb Says:

    I find it fun(ny) that I get lectured in these “debates” about how I am not using science. You know, 2+2=4 type thing, and then the response to a post chock full of scientific data that can be refuted easily if incorrect is a comedy act about Lord Monckton’s rugged good looks.

  44. enkidu Says:

    ‘Lord’ Monckton is your ‘chock full of scientific data’ source?
    Thanks for the laugh shcb, you never fail to amaze and astound.
    And of course you just don’t get the crux of what is funny about the video (it’s not his ridiculous looks, it’s his ridiculous wwnj nonsense)

    What’s next, Ronald McDonald’s take down of quantum theory?

    Will your florist be giving us their considered opinion on gene therapy?

    I just heard from the backhoe operator working outside my office that Descartes’ theory of mind is bunkum: according to this right wing worthy, it’s turtles all the way down. hurf durf

  45. enkidu Says:


    Let’s wait to hear what ‘Lord’ Mockton has to say! Will it be as ridiculous as his claims that the Hitler Youth were a liberal, lefty, ‘eco-freako’ green organization? Or that he is a Nobel Peace prize winner? How about his miracle cure for all kinds of Bad Things?

    This is the way the right argues nowadays: bullshit, bluster, bonkers and a gish gallup over anything that doesn’t respect their authoritah.

  46. shcb Says:

    Am I missing something? Looking at this graph I show a 1.69 cm per decade rise from 1880 to 2010, 13 decades. A 1.45 cm/decade rise for 1880 to 1915, 3.5 decades and a 1.63 cm/decade rise for 1980-2010, 3 decades. I don’t know where the 3 cm per decade comes in to play, nor the acceleration, there is some, but very minimal, probably within the margin of error. Not on the chart(s) this person is referring to anyway, I followed the links on the link and it didn’t lead to anything that showed anything close to 3 cm. Most information I have seen shows something closer to 1.1 cm/ decade and really, really consistent. Can you ‘splain it to this ole farm boy?

  47. knarlyknight Says:

    Three centimeters per year:

  48. knarlyknight Says:

    typo, sb 3mm/yr or 3cm per decade

  49. shcb Says:

    I see now, they filtered out 10 or 12 years of flat sea levels in the ’80s and picked the absolute low point for the starting point. Makes sense now. The reality is there isn’t any significant acceleration, just cherry picking of stats.

  50. enkidu Says:

    good link knurly – note the comments: #27 has a typical wwnj “agwnonsense”

    agwnonsense at 11:43 AM on 7 February, 2012
    I am expecting the same as global warming a ZERO rise not panic over incidental variations that have no relevance on a global scale.

    Moderator Response: [Rob P] – please note that nonsensical assertions do not constitute earnest discussion. Either contribute to the discussion, supported by peer-reviewed literature or find an alternative blog suitable for the airing of unsubstantiated non-expert opinion.

    Please make yourself familiar with the comments policy. Any further breaches will result in the deletion of offending comments.

    If you can’t back up your opinion with facts, then it doesn’t belong in a discussion of facts. boom! No re-edumakashun camp necessary: you are simply ejected from the public square. Go babble your bullshite elsewhere.

    Of course I’m pretty sure shcb here doesn’t read this as denier garbage: you eco-freakos has simply picked the lowest point… etc. The wwnj is right as usual!

    Up is up. It isn’t flat or down or taxamagical nonsense. What would the wise ‘Lord’ Mocktoon say? Flibbertigibbet my boy, flibbertigibbet.

  51. knarlyknight Says:

    If you say so, Chief.

    (aka shcb speaks so it must be false.)

    Did you notice that the 1990’s was the start of the satellite data? That’s a more realistic explanation than your conspiracy theory of filtering out data.

    Plus, the 1980’s were not flat. Just less of an increase, so over thirty years we have got ten years of one thing and twenty years of another, and the twenty supports the trend of the longer term. Simple to ballpark where the truth lies in that. So, the 1980’s were filtered out, yea right.

    It’s crazy that you can focus so intently on the occasional downward steps on a quickly moving up escalator. Also, it is hard to see how anyone but a zealot could cherry pick the 1980 and claim that it represents a long term trend…

  52. enkidu Says:

    btw wwnj, what do you have to say to the chart at comment #3 (posted by a denier, it pretty well makes the case that sea levels are going ___ (two letters, rhymes with pup, come on you can do it! reality beckons!)

    Then look at comment #4 – lol!

    comment #16 has an amusing animated graph – look it’s going down, move along nothing to see here folks, move along move along

  53. enkidu Says:

    knarly – go visit your skepticalscience link and scroll down to #16
    the animation pretty much encapsulates wwnj ‘thinking’

    Seriously, is there any point at which wwnjs actually intersect reality?

  54. shcb Says:

    I’m not denying anything, using this data you are absolutely correct, from 1993 to 2011 sea rise is somewhere about 3 cm per decade and what I said is absolutely correct as well, using your data, add another 10 years on to that timeframe and it is basically the same as the last hundred and thirty years. Take my snide remarks out of the equation. That is just what it is.

    The problem with satellite measurement at this point is “spurious” TRF error (NASA JPL’s words) that will be fixed as much as we can if and when GRASP is instituted which of course encompasses GNSS, DORIS, SLR and VLBI. So we have some work to do. Now the data we are collecting now should be valuable at that time, it just has some issues at this time.

    If you look at the levels in places like Wismar, Germany, one of the most complete records of sea level in the world from about 1850 it shows about a 1.4 mm per year rise, with pretty cyclical oscillations. This has a error of +-0.1 mm/ year. Just what it is.

  55. knarlyknight Says:


    Good job finding a data set (Wismar) that fits your pre-concieved notion! That’s got to be truly inpirational for cranky old men everywhere.

    However, I’d prefer to look at what the scientists have to say rather than focus on a data set that happens to match your contrarian opinion and assertions. For instance:

    “Locally, sea level changes can depend also on other factors such as slowly rising or falling land, which results in some local sea level changes much larger or smaller than the global average.”
    from: http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/2012climatechange.html

  56. knarlyknight Says:

    The 1980’s appear like a downward step on the up elevator, one that’s going faster in the last two decades.

    So adding 1980’s into the scope of data in order to negate the observation that the rate of SL rise is increasing, appears disengenuous. If you are going to add in the 1980’s, why not add in the 1970’s too? Over those 40 years clearly the rate of SL rise is increasing relative to the historical norm. That’s 3 of the last 4 decades increasing. Add in the 1960’s and it levels out a little. You can monkey around like that all you like, but it will not change the fact that the sea level graph is starting to look like a jet takeoff trajectory from an aircraft carrier.

  57. knarlyknight Says:

    wwnj, You mentioned this:
    The response to that statement is this: Adam Lanza.

  58. shcb Says:

    I don’t understand the connection between our conversation back then and this shooting. We were talking about the manipulation of statistics, now I used an example that was related to gun control but that was in reference to home defense, not the annihilation of yet another soft target.

    Question: how long does it take to kill 26 people?

    Answer: as long as it takes for law abiding citizens to arrive with the means to protect the sheep. Too bad the heroes that were already there weren’t given that chance.

  59. enkidu Says:

    So… you don’t understand the connection between (in your own words no less) “Have you heard the claim that you are more likely to be killed by your own gun than to kill an intruder? The only way you can make that claim true is use the FBI data and include suicide, now there is some good science!”

    Currently, reports indicate Adam Lanza murdered his mother with her own gun.

    The Wingnutoverse must be a horrible place.

    And your solution is to add more guns? Of course. That’ll sure fix it.

    The heroes were the people you and your ‘party’ despise: the teachers. It would have been much much worse if there weren’t people like Victoria Soto who (reportedly) blocked a door without a lock with her body. She sacrificed everything for her pupils. Oh wait she’s part of a union so you and all the rest of you wwnjs hate her.

    Go. Fuck. Yourself.

  60. shcb Says:

    First, we don’t despise teachers, just their union. Second, how much more effective would have Soto been had she been armed? How many would have been alive had he been met with a woman bent on protecting those kids and the tools to do it. Not more guns, just guns where they are needed. You guys have produced soft targets and a bunch of kids without disopline, don’t spank Billy! My chiild is my best friend! Liberals, here you go, you made this mess, maybe someday adults will once again become adults and clean it up, for now all you can do is kill these little assholes.

  61. knarlyknight Says:

    Just a reminder, shcb thinks its okay to beat his dog until it pisses.

  62. knarlyknight Says:

    Some tweets I’ve read:

    In 1996, Australia banned semi-automatics. In the 18 years before, there were 13 mass shootings. Since then, none.

    In 1791 the Founding Fathers created the 2nd Amendment. It took a good 15 seconds to load 1 bullet (musket ball) then

    NY Times: In past 6 months, more Americans killed by guns than COMBINED total of dead Yanks in Iraq, Afghan & all terrorist acts of past 25 years.

    If only the first victim, Adam Lanza’s mother, had been a gun owner, she could have stopped this before it started.

    A country that officially sanctions horrific violence (invade Iraq, drones kill kids, death penalty) is surprised when a 20-yr old joins in?

    I hate to say it, but killing is our way. We began America w/ genocide,then built it w/ slaves. The shootings will continue- it’s who we are

    The long term solution to reducing gun deaths is to change our society from one of perpetual war and fear to one of peace and tolerance.

  63. enkidu Says:

    Actually Knarly, wwnj beats his dog until it soils itself. He doesn’t just think it like closet sociopaths everywhere, he actually (by his own statements) savagely beats his dog and is proud of it, proud enough to trumpet it on the Al Gore’s Amazing Information Superhighway.

    Liberals made this mess? Adam Lanza’s mother was a big ‘shooter’, had a handful of high tech boomsticks, hand cannons and dUr dispensers. She and her kids enjoyed ‘gun sports’. Yet we made this mess because we didn’t spank Billy? Well, I suppose Billy should count himself lucky crazy ol uncle ricki didn’t beat him so savagely he soiled himself. Lucky Billy.

    And you lil ricki, you stay the fuck away from Billy or you’ll find out just how ‘soft’ we ‘sheep’ really are.

  64. enkidu Says:


  65. knarlyknight Says:

    You’re starting to talk in a way that might make the crazies take notice. Ridicule and logic sort of bounces off them, but that last sentence might get through. Sort of like the warnings they’d have heard just before a “good” beating from their Pa, it might get their attention for a minute.

    The rest of us should stop fooling ourselves and face the fact that these idiots who support public ownership of assault weapons are also actually supporting mass slaughter of our 6 year olds. They’re just too stupid to realize it or too insensitive to care, or both.

  66. knarlyknight Says:

    “But in a sign of the political difficulties that lie ahead, since the Sandy Hook shootings last Friday both the NRA and all pro-gun Republican senators and congressman have remained silent.

    The NBS’s influential “Meet the Press” program said it had contacted 31 pro-gun senators last weekend, but all had declined to appear. ”

    Lyin’ low ’til the storm blows over, the chickenhawk cowards.

  67. knarlyknight Says:

    One failed attempt lighting a shoe bomb on an airplane and everyone has to take their shoes off, on-going slaughters of school kids with assault weapons and nothing changes.

  68. shcb Says:

    And we should make changes, allow teachers to arm themselves and school shootings by amateurs will stop. Shootings by amateurs won’t stop, there are deeper problems that need to be addressed, they will move to the next soft target but at least kids will grow up.

    Next will be school shootings by professionals, but one thing at a time.

    Of course if you make everything a soft target there are no soft targets so taking guns away from law abiding citizens would solve that problem

    By the way, there was a kid in Arizona that shot an intruder yesterday and probably saved his three younger siblings. A few days before the Connecticut shooting a 22 year old young man drew down on a shooter in a gun free zone in a mall in Oregon, that and a jammed gun kept the death toll to 2. A few years ago a woman in Colorado Springs put enough holes in a fellow to keep his death toll to only 2 as well.

    According to John Lott with the exception of the Giffords shooting every killing of more than three people in the US since at least 1950 has happened in a place where guns are banned.

    I was reading an article where neither the writer nor the researcher he was quoting could fathom why violent crime has decreased in recent years but mass murder has gone up. For some reason it was impossible for them to fathom that in places where we have let people protect themselves the bad guys leave us alone, but where we tell them we are sheep they attack, huh, who would have thunk it.

  69. enkidu Says:

    Perhaps your wwnj ‘news’ sources didn’t report this but Mrs Lanza had a small arsenal, was a doomsday prepper and was shot. by. her. own. weapon.

    It is pathetic that you hold up a small number of unverified (and I’m not going to bother, I’ll just go with Knarly’s Law: if wwnj says it, it’s probably bullshit) cases where a Bad Guy was thwarted by a Good Guy with his own boomstick. But of course, you fail to mention the far far greater number of times each and every day that Americans are killed by guns, theirs or others. John Lott is about as credible as ‘Lord’ Mocktoon (mmm hows that sock puppet taste?)

    School shooting professionals? Are you really that insane? Evidently.

    Get out of the public square, you and your gang of racist trigger happy birther bircher teabagger nitwit zealots need to go galt immediately to Somalia. Just go. I’ll start a kickstarter to fund tickets, maybe a slow leaky boat.

  70. shcb Says:

    Why do we have to leave? We have the guns!

  71. enkidu Says:

    You need to leave the public square because you clearly do not intersect with reality. Just go Galt already, please! I hear Somalia is nice this time of year, bring all your boomsticks, you’ll need them. Ya’ll want to Secede, just go! But the normal folk aren’t going to let you moochers steal any of America. Ya’ll tried it a few years ago and we’ll repeat the process if you insist. But this time we’ll kick your Johnny Reb asses back to the stone age. Forget reconstruction, you lot didn’t learn a damn thing.


    executive director of Gun Owners of America, last seen telling gun control advocates “they have the blood of little children on their hands,” argued that we are “less free without automatic rifles,” and need to stay prepared.

    Matthews, who loves nothing more than hurling himself through cracked-open doors like this, was all too happy to oblige with a “prepared for what?”

    Pratt: “To take on our government. [And this] government has gone overboard.” He continued that it’s time to take action “when elections are stolen.”

    Funny, when George W Fuckup stole the 2000 election I don’t recall Dems calling for insurrection and secession. When ya’ll stole Ohio and the 04 election I don’t recall an upsurge in left-wing militias (is there even such a thing?) talking nutty on my TV. But here we have yet another racist trigger happy birther bircher teabagger nitwit zealot barfing up wwnj nonsense ad nauseum on the idiot box. Get over it! Obama kicked your racist asses twice. Your corrupt candidate lost 51 to 47% this time around. That. is. reality.

    47%! lol

  72. knarlyknight Says:

    LOL “And we should make changes, allow teachers to arm themselves and school shootings by amateurs will stop.” RFLMAO
    Why stop there, if you are giving the teachers guns then please arm the students too.
    Also, I am curious about who you think the school shooting professionals might be. If you could provide a couple examples, lease? Do tell.

  73. shcb Says:

    You don’t think terrorists aren’t paying attention? Shoe bombs don’t work because common citizens attack you, but taking a school like they did in Russia a few years ago… a bunch of teachers or students, if they are old enough, probably wouldn’t have much of a chance with Smith and Wessons but it would be better than tossing their ipads as CU is telling its students.

  74. shcb Says:

    We really don’t want to leave Enky, and we don’t want you to leave either, we need you to be targets. What we need to do is figure a way to coordinate our response to being shot at. We need everyone that is for gun control to run one direction so the shooter knows for sure who is unarmed. Now of course he won’t know who is armed in the group that is against gun control until we’ve cleared leather but at least he will have targets until we do.

  75. knarlyknight Says:

    So Chechen rebels is your example of a “professional” threat to American students? You sound about as delusional as it gets.

    Gun control might not fix the problem, but it will mitigate and it is a step towards a saner culture while you work on the real problems that result in so many people “going postal” in your society.

  76. shcb Says:

    Who said Chechen rebels? Terrorists in general, they have a few, publicly well documented examples to study the targets are very high value and poorly defended, and there are many of them, making it difficult to expend resources to adequately defend them. It seems like a perfect target to me, it’s just a matter of time.

    At least the last part of your post had some logic. The problem is I don’t think you can mitigate it enough, I know for a fact I’m not going to give up my guns if they become illegal, I’m sure the crooks aren’t going to and the insane boys that shoot up these schools commit suicide so I don’t think the threat of a fine is going to deter them. On the other side, the violet crime concealed carry is mitigating will go up. Doesn’t seem a good trade.

  77. enkidu Says:

    OK wwnj, let’s game out your plan. America wakes up and decides we just don’t have enough guns! We arm every teacher (hello gun co. welfare – go long on gun mfgr stocks today!), every principal, every librarian, art teacher and custodian. I read a stat that said something like 1.6% of mass shootings were halted or prevented by a armed civilian. So you think with these millions of extra guns floating around the schools, there won’t be any accidents? No false positives (eeek ya’ll! a dark person! BLAM! ooops, mailman). No ‘I was just cleaning it/showing them gun safety?’

    Maybe if we repaired some of the damage Saint Raygun did to our mental healthcare ‘infrastructure’ we’d prevent more deaths. But spreading even more guns around just means more bullets through bodies. Less ‘safety’ more wingnut gunporn fantasies.

    Didn’t take you even a day to start blaming libs for this. Because spanking.

    Let’s get this straight, as evidenced by your posts you are just shy of being a lunatic. You are armed (you’ve stated you carry a loaded pistol on your person). You are violent (you’ve beaten your bitch so severely she shat or pissed herself). You are a seething kettle of rage against anyone who disagrees with you (insert homey anecdote here, chuckle! head pat, repeat). And we’re supposed to listen to you? Name one thing you’ve been right on. Just one. Stupid, wrong and violent is no way to go thru life son.

    I’m done with this Politeness First stuff.

  78. knarlyknight Says:

    Being polite with a lunatic is only helpful for getting them into a straightjacket.

  79. enkidu Says:

    well said

  80. knarlyknight Says:

    “NY Times: In past 6 months, more Americans killed by guns than COMBINED total of dead Yanks in Iraq, Afghan & all terrorist acts of past 25 years.”

  81. shcb Says:

    how many of those were suicide?

  82. shcb Says:

    BTW I know :-)

  83. knarlyknight Says:

    So suicides with guns is somehow okay? I thought Republicans were against suicides, even Dr. assisted suicides are a huge taboo in your wwnj culture. Some consistency might help others to take you seriously.

  84. enkidu Says:

    reality based answer

    In the United States
    annual firearm homicides total
    2005: 10,158

    annual firearm suicides total
    2005: 17,002 (out of 32,559 total suicides ’05)

    wwnj answer: more guns! hurf durf! because spanking! stoopid libs!

  85. knarlyknight Says:

    Cool site enk. My first comparison: http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/compare/194/rate_of_gun_homicide/31,93,113,141,177,199,66

  86. shcb Says:

    Logic defies you guys doesn’t it?

  87. knarlyknight Says:

    Nope. Why does Mexico have such a high homicide rate?

  88. shcb Says:

    I don’t know.

  89. enkidu Says:

    wwnj, you forgot the “anything”
    place between the know and the period
    there, fixed that for ya
    hurf durf!

    from wikipedia on gun violence in the US:

    The incidence of homicides committed with a firearm in the US is much greater than most other advanced countries. In the United States in 2009 United Nations statistics record 3.0 intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants; for comparison, the figure for the United Kingdom, with very restrictive firearm laws (handguns are totally prohibited, for example) was 0.07, about 40 times lower, and for Germany 0.2.[43]

    For another comparison, Switzerland has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world, with somewhere between 1.2 to 3 million guns in the private residences of its approximately 8 million citizens. In 2006 there were 34 recorded murders or attempted murders with a gun, representing a firearm homicide rate of 1 per 250,000.[44]

    facts is so dang lib!

    hey wwnj are you going to post another Christmas eve barn burner? (note, do not actually burn a barn) Another raging screed of wrong wing nutter craziness that really puts us stoopid libs in our sheep-like place? Why don’t you just let all the racism, sexism, jingoism, stoopidism and so forth just flow (as usual). It really says something when you take the time on Christmas eve to misspell another load of fucked-in-the-head wrong wing gibberish.

  90. knarlyknight Says:

    The firearm homicide rate in the USA is virtually identical to that of Palestine and considerably worse than Khazakstan.

    And the wwnj answer is “more guns!” It would be funnier that so many Americans actually listen to those idiots if it wasn’t also so sad and pathetic.

  91. knarlyknight Says:

    p.s. I’m looking forward to reading the wrong wing Christmas eve screed again too. I’m expecting something like a rant against some Obama conspiracy to undermine people who are against people who are fighting back against those rebelling against gun control because of spanking and socialism and terrorists.

  92. shcb Says:

    Well sure, if it helps let’s put more guns in the hands of lawful citizens. look at McCardle’s graph “assault deaths per 100k population”, it is dropping, what happened to make it drop? The answer is concealed carry laws were liberalized. Enky says the number of deaths from firearm homicides in 2005 was 10,158, in 2011 there were 8,583 (FBI), Enky says there were 17,002 suicides by gun in 2005, in 2009 there were 18,735 (CDC). so we’ve had an almost 15 percent drop in gun related homicides in those few years in large part because people could shoot back! The suicide rate is similar so that probably isn’t going to change, if you take guns away the people bent on suicide will just find another method, and for the most part they aren’t hurting anyone else, that is why you don’t include the suicide number in these sensationalized statistics.

    Who cares what the ratio is between murders in America and the deaths of soldiers in Iraq, why not compare it to Gettysburg? Why not the first Gulf war?

  93. enkidu Says:

    “because people could shoot back!”
    utter nonsense

    Selected 2005 from that page because it easily answered the question. homicides, suicides, suicides by gun. A direct comparison.

    But here is what debate has come to with wwnjs: you can’t even do basic math. Knarly put up a stat that happens to be, you know, true. As in reality. The first gulf war was less than 25 years ago. It directly stated that was part of the comparison. But you can’t even parse simple factual statements. This is less than that. 2+2=4


    Look it up.

    No one is going to take away your lil boomstick lil ricky, but there might be some common sense approaches we might want to try to reduce the likelihood of military grade weapons being used for yet another tragedy. Just saying…

    But your argument boils down to "BOOM! ratatatat! scary! also, spanking! because socialism! durp"

    $10 sez Mrs Lanza was a Republican. Current reports are that she was getting close to $250k a year in alimony (that puts the husband at around twice that? mb less?) She was a doomsday prepper (how many Ds or Is fall for that Glenn Beck bullshit? no one. zero.) She had at least 4 guns. She enjoyed shooty 'sports' (but not hunting, I'm ok with hunting sustainably and lawfully). Her love of the wwnj gun culture got a lot of people killed. Oh, wait, he was a vegan (citation pls?)

  94. knarlyknight Says:

    If this were 30 years ago and we were talking about smoking shcb would be arguing with talking points provided by the tobacco industry.


  95. shcb Says:

    the Iraq stat Knarly cited is only true if you add suicides

  96. shcb Says:

    good for the NRA, I have 3 guns, none registered, no one is taking them from me… ever.

  97. knarlyknight Says:

    I wish I had a gun.

  98. knarlyknight Says:

    …it’d eliminate bank lineups.

  99. enkidu Says:

    Ever feel claustrophobic in a tight crowd? Here’s a simple solution: start making retching sounds, loudly, then in a muffled-just-barely-holding-it-in voice “gonna be sick! look out! sick! urrf! gonna be sick!” The crowds part like magic.

    Another way to make crowd situations less tense is to moo loudly.
    Always gets a laugh, defuses things.

    so wwnj, you have three guns, how many times do we have to repeat no one is coming in the black helicopters to take them away. Although judging by your posts, you are mentally unbalanced and have decidely violent rhetoric (insert homey anecdote her, chuckle! head pat)

    If the laws change and your unregistered assault weapon is at that point illegal, you would be obligated to turn it in (in Australia the gov bought em back, a good investment imho). If you don’t turn it in and you use it, even to defend yourself, I would support mandatory sentencing for use of illegal guns. Yes, even for self defense. You don’t need an assault weapon and full body armor to scare off a burglar.

    Just curious, but did you use the stock of your boomstick to savagely beat your dog? You should be sure to put the safety on, wouldn’t want any accidents to happen while you abuse your animals. You should also consider taking the round out of the chamber. Just some friendly suggestions for the next time you beat the crap out of your dog.

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