November 2012 Open Thread

It’s a new month!


  1. #1 Wow
    November 16, 2012

    “Four – and perhaps eight – years of Romney would have been a disaster,”

    Bill, you’re an ignorant fuckwit.


    You might as well have said “Beelzebub coming to earth to unleash horrors would be far worse”.

    It’s true, isn’t it?

    You have to actually take for granted this would happen, though.

    Which is why you and the other beggers for evil are desperately trying to avoid acknowledging.

    You have to take for granted not voting for the lesser evil means the greater one gets in.


    to make that assertion.

    Because there are people out there just like yourself being told “You mut vote for our candidate Romney because otherwise Obama gets in”.

    They have EXACTLY as much reason to vote for Romney as you.

    But you’re “the good guys” right?


    You’re just a weaksauce evil.

  2. #2 chek
    November 16, 2012

    “But you’re “the good guys” right?”

    Before we go too far in implying moral values, can we mutually define ‘good guys’ in this context as those wishing to see at least a move toward serious concerted action to deal with carbon emissions?

    Because it seems to me that in the event of a Romney victory, the EPA would by now be putting its office furniture into storage and its staffers would be out busking on the streets of Washington in or out of Santa Claus costumes, rather than working to regulate CO2 emissions.

  3. #3 Lotharsson
    November 16, 2012

    You don’t admit its existence.

    ROFL! Classic denialism in action, complete with a beautiful projection pirouette!

    Of course I don’t admit its existence (i.e. as a predicate for my argument, which is the context here). That’s because it doesn’t exist as a predicate for my argument, a fact that I previously demonstrated by providing a logical argument that does not rely on the predicate you claim I relied upon.

    Asserting that I relied upon the predicate in question is clearly not your best work. This ought to be a teaching moment, but sadly I fear it will not prove so.

  4. #4 Olaus Petri
    November 16, 2012

    You are such a sweetie Wow. 🙂

    The agony of possible good news.

  5. #5 Lotharsson
    November 16, 2012

    Explain how NOT VOTING votes in the greater evil without that predicate?

    Er…I already did.

    You haven’t rebutted it. You merely argue that it is invalid because you assert that it relies on a predicate that it clearly does not rely upon. Doesn’t that remind you of a classic denialist maneuver?

    But here’s a thought that may help you get unstuck.

    It seem likely to me that your argument is predicated on getting no-one to vote for a candidate that you assert is “evil”. Hey presto, evil candidates never get elected and the problem is solved, right?!

    If that is accurate, I will leave the problems with that argument – in terms of real world facts, real world implementation issues including locus of concern exceeding locus of control, and logical coherency based on facts you yourself have already asserted – as an exercise for the reader at the moment.

    You just want to feel better for selling out.

    I claim the mindreader gambit on my denialist bingo card!

    FWIW, apart from your epic mind-reading fail here (which one suspects has some interesting predicates of its own), I am not eligible to vote in the US Presidential election so your assertion is counter-factual on at least two counts.

    You ought to be taking a step back at this point and assessing why my denialist bingo card is rapidly filling up as I read your comments. The smart money says you’ll double down instead, but I’d love to lose that bet.

  6. #6 Lotharsson
    November 16, 2012

    People aren’t voting for them because they want the GREATER evil to win.

    I don’t recall anyone here arguing or implying that people chose to vote for what they perceive is the greater evil because it was the greater evil.

    I don’t even recall anyone here arguing that people chose to vote for what they perceive is the greater evil for other reasons either.

  7. #7 Lotharsson
    November 16, 2012

    You have to take for granted not voting for the lesser evil means the greater one gets in.

    Binary thinking – BINGO!!!!

    FWIW, both my and bill’s argument does NOT “have to take [that] for granted”. It’s a probabilistic argument – as can be clearly seen if you carefully revisit the earlier comments. And the probabilities in question strengthen the more people who assess evil the way you do decide to follow your purity principle and refrain from voting for the lesser evil.

    And it’s worse than that – as far as I can tell your proposed remedy requires much wider participation in order to have any chance of being effective. If you recruit large numbers of people who perceive evil as you do then you increase the chances of more evil being elected – that was my original point.

    Furthermore arguing that other people perceive the levels of evil differently than you does not seem to rescue your argument or your proposed remedy. That merely whittles down the electorate to those that are unable to perceive evil in at least one candidate – and by definition that candidate is evil in your eyes. Therefore a candidate you see as evil still gets elected.

    And all of that is without getting into the multi-variate nature of the situation which seems to be ignored in your analysis – politicians are generally more or less evil/good/useful/crap on multiple different criteria. If people tried to apply your principle in the real world they would generally find no candidate who did wasn’t “unacceptable” on at least one criterion.

  8. #8 MikeH
    November 16, 2012

    “‘The people’ aren’t good, and maintaining that they would be if they were properly-informed is the greatest illusion of all.”

    I disagree. It is not a question of good and evil. People ultimately act in their own best interest. The fact that people often vote or hold opinions against what an objective observer would see as their self-interest is precisely because they are not as you put it “properly-informed”.

    It does not matter what society you live in – the USA, Australia or Iran – people are bombarded daily from birth – from parents, teachers, friends, the media etc – with the prevailing orthodoxy as defined the ruling elites. Most people are politically passive, busy getting on with their lives no matter how difficult. It is no coincidence for example that the introduction of university fees in Oz requiring most students to work part-time has seen a dramatic reduction in student radicalism. It is very difficult and time-consuming to swim against the tide.

    A few years ago I was following an ABC thread on advertising. One clever young thing proudly announced that he was never influenced by ads. An ex-advertising guy responded with much hilarity that he had heard the myth that such people existed.

    The question really is how do people become “properly-informed”. Marxists call it becoming “class-conscious” – ie. becoming aware of your self-interest.

    Major social change has always occurred as a result of community based activism. I have been involved in a few campaigns and it is amazing to see how quickly ordinarily passive but discontented people from the suburbs become opinion leaders rather than opinion consumers.

    The Work Choices campaign was the latest example here – Howard had a lock on his so-called battlers – but the aggressive campaign by the unions and the mobilisation of their membership transformed that in a very short space of time resulting in the toe-rag losing his own seat.

    Despite its limitations the Occupy movement transformed the political debate almost overnight. Suddenly commentators who were terrified of being accused of class warfare were talking about the 1% or more accurately the 0.1%.

    So in respect of the US elections – I agree with Jeff’s characterisation of Obama but disagree with any analysis that suggests it was a victory for the right. It would only be so if the activists who supported Obama were under the illusion that his victory meant that they could retire to the couch for the next 4 years. I just do not get that sense from reading the US climate blogs – the disappointment with his first term seems almost universal.

    In Australia I am a bit more circumspect. A victory for Gillard in next year’s election would be a huge kick in the teeth for the flat earthers. But I would not be all that concerned if Abbott won. It seems to me the lack of activism around climate change here – 2 poorly organised demos by the clicktivist group GetUp in the last 4 years – is in part because all the environment groups are too focused on Canberra and not focused enough on community organising.

    Dave Spratt at Climate Code Red had a good series of articles on the “BrightSiding” of climate change.
    “The change we need is not going to happen without mass civic participation and a people power’s movement for transformation. We must all help to build these. It is here that the big advocacy groups are already facing a stark choice: to stay inside the Canberra beltway, do make-a-video-tick-a-box-send-an-email-give-us-money but fail to empower their membership and supporters or, on the other hand, put serious resources into supporting community organising, spend less time competing as brands in the climate advocacy supermarket, and share resources to help build mass civic participation.”

  9. #9 Lionel A
    November 16, 2012

    WRT OPining’s latest:

    Fellas, what shall we do about this?

    Well first you tell us what YOU think is the message therein.

    Hint, some answers at RealClimate, if you can raise your head that far.

  10. #10 Lotharsson
    November 16, 2012

    Can’t remember whether Judith Curry got a mention here recently, this comment about Curry’s opinions re: Arctic sea ice – and the moderator’s response to it – at the new ClimateDialogue site is pretty telling.

  11. #11 MikeH
    November 16, 2012

    @Lionel A
    Do you have a link to the RealClimate discussion.

    The fuckwittery have read the headline on this article, exercised their much vaunted skepticism and concluded that humanity will never ever face a drought again. If you google the title, Graeme Lloyd in The Oz, Bolt in the Hun plus every denier with a 2-bit blog has passed their eye over the abstract and concluded that this is the greatest piece of science since man discovered fire.

    JoNova actually reproduces the abstract and the associated diagrams – she is obviously too tight to pay for the article , something to do with the price of gold.

  12. #12 chek
    November 16, 2012

    @ MikeH “something to do with the price of gold.”

    …or tungsten!

  13. #13 Olaus Petri
    November 16, 2012

    Dear MikeH, fortunately I have access to the article through my job. And after reading it I didn’t conclude “that that humanity will never ever face a drought again.”

    Perhaps you have the same reading disability as Jeff? 😉

  14. #14 chek
    November 16, 2012

    Lionel A already asked you what you did conclude, dimwit, not what you didn’t conclude.

  15. #15 MikeH
    November 16, 2012

    Dear Olaus
    I read the article and did not come to that conclusion either.

  16. #16 Olaus Petri
    November 16, 2012

    Good the hear Mike! 🙂

  17. #17 Wow
    November 16, 2012

    “The question really is how do people become “properly-informed”.”

    And it doesn’t come from “Vote for the lesser of two evils”.

    Because that’s used by normal ordinary people voting for what you see as the greater evil.

    How is that?

    Because the perceptions of what is important are different.

    And promotion of “The worse one might get in!” is not informing, it’s scaremongering.

    And it DEFINITELY is wrong to claim “Not voting for the lesser evil is doing the opposite of what you want”.

  18. #18 Olaus Petri
    November 16, 2012

    Dear chek, lovely as ever. 🙂

    My conclusion is that it might not be “worse than we thought” and that science might not be settled.

    If you weren’t som disturbed by the fact that there is a black man in the white house, you could reach that conclusion too.

  19. #19 Wow
    November 16, 2012

    “I agree with Jeff’s characterisation of Obama but disagree with any analysis that suggests it was a victory for the right.”

    Well, given that in any sane social structure, Obama is right of centre and Romney far right, Obama winning IS a victory of the right. 😛

  20. #20 Wow
    November 16, 2012

    ” “You have to take for granted not voting for the lesser evil means the greater one gets in.”

    Binary thinking – BINGO!!!!”

    Yup, you’re guilty of binary thinking.

    “FWIW, both my and bill’s argument does NOT “have to take [that] for granted”.”

    It does, otherwise your claims of, variously, how bad a Romney/Ryan government would be is orthogonal. It has as much validity in the contention of not voting for the lesser evil as claiming that a Beelzebub/Saville government would be bad.

    Or the claim that it would be the opposite of the intent? Requires

    a) that Romney/Ryan actually be the greater evil (a matter of perspective, even if I agree with it)
    b) that not voting for either evil means that everyone is going to be voting for the greater evil anyway.

    If you vote the lesser evil, then all they need to do is be *just slightly less evil* than the other guy.

    And as they shift more evil, you match step with them.

    Oh, isn’t that this:

  21. #21 Wow
    November 16, 2012

    “You merely argue that it is invalid because you assert that it relies on a predicate that it clearly does not rely upon.”

    And you merely argue that no such predicate exists ergo it is valid.

    Not proven.

    If “Vote for the lesser evil” stops, then neither evil gets votes.

  22. #22 Wow
    November 16, 2012

    “can we mutually define ‘good guys’ in this context as those wishing to see at least a move toward serious concerted action to deal with carbon emissions?”

    I’m not tying it to anything other than personal definition.

    EVERY SINGLE rank-and-file voter thinks they are voting for the better guy.

    They are “the good guys”.

    Heck, Hitler thought he was the good guy.

    Because he was a nutter doesn’t stop him thinking that.

  23. #23 chek
    November 16, 2012

    Olapdogs’s (lack of) comprehension and inferential skills applied to what he reads are a wonder to behold. And probably very typical of his ilk.

  24. #24 chek
    November 16, 2012

    “I’m not tying it to anything other than personal definition.”

    Which is why I believe that the context is important to what otherwise becomes a philosophical debate, and action on climate is the relevant topic pertaining to this forum.

  25. #25 Wow
    November 16, 2012

    However, even a normal person who had never been confronted with someone willing to point out all the information there can still retain the idea that AGW isn’t really proven to be a problem.

    And that leads to “Why does the Left (TM) want it? Must be to install a social order worldwide!”. Ergo the LESSER evil is Romney.

    Yes, there’s Ryan there too, but Romney isn’t going to die anyway and Romney is not going to sell out to the UN, is he. Not like Obama (remember: they’re told Obama is bowing down to the UN. They don’t know any different).

    But, like those listening to Lionel saying “Vote for the lesser evil”, these people think they are voting the lesser evil. They would MUCH prefer a non evil option.

    But there’s no need for a less evil option whilst “But you HAVE to vote for $Lesser_evil or $Great_big_evil gets in!” is in charge.

    The overton window moves because of the lesser evil.

    Obama’s weaksauce presidency is because of the lesser evil . He’s told that it just won’t fly with a public option on healthcare. He’s not shown the polls about how many want it. He’s shown that if he tries for a public option, it will NEVER get passed, so if he’s going to pass anything, it can’t have the public option. And so it does. For the “Greater Good”.

    But that good is no longer so great.

    And after being made lesser, it then goes and gets more chopped off because the republicans know that they can just demand 200% of what they want and whine when they get less than 120% of what they want about how Obama is a big bully.

    So our Greater Good is now a Bugger All.

    All starting from “Well, the lesser of two evils…”.

    The USA would have survived 4 years of Romney/Ryan. The survived Shrub’s 8. But some think it would have been a wake-up call and maybe weaksauce democrat would rethink their abasement to the thugligans.

    A greater harm can be said to be Obama winning on weaksauce.

  26. #26 Wow
    November 16, 2012

    “Which is why I believe that the context is important”

    It is.

    But you have to remember your context belongs to you alone.

    Even hitler thought he was doing god’s work and therefore the good guy.

    Look how concentration camps went from permanent internment (like Gitmo) to torture (like Gitmo) to death camps (not [yet] like Gitmo).

    Because each step was a lesser evil than what HE perceived as the greater evil.

  27. #27 Lionel A
    November 16, 2012

    November 16, 2012

    @Lionel A
    Do you have a link to the RealClimate discussion.

    The reference to Hoerling et. al (2012) JOC is what Pilke Jr is slavering over and is discussed in:

    Extreme metrics starting here,

    There have been been some critiques of Hansen et al. worth addressing – Marty Hoerling’s statements in the NY Times story referring to his work (Dole et al, 2010) and Hoerling et al, (submitted) on attribution of the Moscow and Texas heat-waves, and a blog post by Cliff Mass of the U. of Washington. *

    Although I am having a little trouble with the response time at this embedded URL to a PDF
    Hoerling et al,not sure what the hang up is, maybe Pielke has caused a rush of visits.

  28. #28 Lotharsson
    November 17, 2012

    And promotion of “The worse one might get in!” is not informing, it’s scaremongering.

    ROFLworthy bullshit.

    That the worse one might get in is a distinct possibility, especially in the context of the US where (a) voting is not compulsory and (b) the popular vote is consistently split fairly evenly and it doesn’t take a large shift to change the election outcome.

    Are you operating from a personal definition of “scaremongering”? Or are you denying that the worse one might actually get in?

  29. #29 Lotharsson
    November 17, 2012

    Yup, you’re guilty of binary thinking


    You do another primary school level “says you”, fail to demonstrate that I am actually engaged in said binary thinking and … then proceeds to double down on your binary thinking:

    It does, otherwise your claims of, variously, how bad a Romney/Ryan government would be is orthogonal.


    Try reading the argument again. You clearly haven’t grokked it. Come back when you do.

    Hint #1: your (b) is not necessary to my argument, no matter how many times you assert that it is.

    Hint #2: your assertion that my claim says “it would be the opposite of the intent” is inaccurate and embodies your binary thinking. There’s a key difference between asserting an outcome will occur and asserting that its probability will be increased. The latter is clearly not binary thinking – no matter how much snark you put into your claim that it is.

  30. #30 Lotharsson
    November 17, 2012

    And you merely argue that no such predicate exists ergo it is valid.

    Sigh. I need a new denialist bingo card.

    Try reading it again.

    Hint: I did not argue the “ergo” you claim I did, for starters.

  31. #31 Lotharsson
    November 17, 2012

    If “Vote for the lesser evil” stops, then neither evil gets votes.

    Repeating rebutted claims – see above – does not unrebut them.

  32. #32 Bob
    November 18, 2012

    I am eagerly awaiting the videos of the 24-hour WUWT anti-Gore marathon of BS to appear on youtube. Guaranteed hours of (mostly unintentional) lulz.

  33. #33 chek
    November 18, 2012

    According to John Platt at Mother Nature Network

    “As the 24-hour events concluded, [Al Gore’s] the Climate Reality Project broadcast had exceeded 15.7 million views. The Watts Up with That broadcast totaled just over 16,000.”

  34. #34 Wow
    November 18, 2012

    ” “If “Vote for the lesser evil” stops, then neither evil gets votes.”

    Repeating rebutted claims ”

    They haven’t been rebutted, just refused.

    “Lalalalala! Not listening!” is not a rebuttal.

    Neither are we in a Monty Python sketch, so “no it’s not” isn’t good either.

  35. #35 Wow
    November 18, 2012

    “That the worse one might get in is a distinct possibility, ”

    Since that is only really true if you believe those voting for Romney know they are voting for the greater evil, that’s bollocks:

    either completely content free (i.e. “Well, the vote changes pretty much 50:50 split each time”) or insisting malice without proof.

  36. #36 Wow
    November 18, 2012

    “There’s a key difference between asserting an outcome will occur and asserting that its probability will be increased.”

    Well you need to state your mechanisms by which the probability would be increased.

    After all the chance of having rolled a tails is 100% or 0% depending on what you rolled. So AFTER the event, you can of course claim that doing it again slightly differently would change THOSE chances.

    But would that change the chances PRIOR to testing?

    Assertions you make time and time again but are, still, calling out complete scarmongering bullshit.

    Because you don’t want to feel that you’re voting evil in.

    Well, guess what, dickhead, YOU ARE.

  37. #37 bill
    November 18, 2012
  38. #38 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    They haven’t been rebutted, just refused.

    Well, I certainly agree you have refused denied they are valid, but you haven’t given a coherent reason why.

    “Lalalalala! Not listening!” is not a rebuttal.

    Agreed. But then again, it is not even vaguely descriptive of my rebuttal – and is a pretty good description of your own “refusals”. You don’t seem to realise that you’re projecting like crazy.

    And in addition you still insist you know my mind better than I do in Epic Fail #N+1:

    Because you don’t want to feel that you’re voting evil in.

    Look, sometimes you make very incisive and perceptive comments. This isn’t one of them. And since “the obvious” apparently isn’t obvious to you here, let me make it very clear.

    A) I know I’m voting for someone who I think is at least somewhat “evil” in any election where I assess all candidates to be at least somewhat “evil”.

    B) I also know that means someone who is at least somewhat “evil” will be elected.

    C) I’m quite happy to characterise the result of (A)+(B) as “I feel that I’m voting evil in”. (Just as I’m also quite happy to characterise the result of me choosing not to vote as “I feel that I’m allowing evil to be voted in – and increasing the chances of ‘more evil’ prevailing over ‘less evil’.)

    D) Furthermore I acknowledge all of those things! The only one in this discussion who doesn’t is the fantasy Lotharsson living in your head – and that person isn’t real, and isn’t actually writing comments. So please don’t write any more comments on their behalf and pretend they are from me, OK? (And while we’re at it, ponder why you keep returning to your fantasies about how I feel when voting…)

    So, given that yet another of your assumptions is proven false, NOW will you go back and re-evaluate my actual argument instead of tilting madly at the strawman you’ve constructed in your head?

    I suspect not, far better to “refuse” with prejudice:

    Well, guess what, dickhead, YOU ARE.

    Ever wondered why you have an online reputation as someone better ignored than engaged with? This whole exchange illustrates it perfectly.

  39. #39 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    Well you need to state your mechanisms by which the probability would be increased.

    I thought my previous description was sufficiently obvious for people of reasonable intelligence, but as this indicates, you probably didn’t understand:

    Since that is only really true if you believe those voting for Romney know they are voting for the greater evil, that’s bollocks…

    WTF?! I have previously pointed out this is not necessary to my claim. I guess you “refused” that point.

    You keep floating betweeen referencing your own judgement of which candidate is worse and how other voters answer the same question, depending on what claim you’re currently trying to support. Perhaps that explains your confusion.

    So let me take it really slowly and with much more precision. Remember, this is ultimately an argument about the differential outcome of one or more voters replacing their existing voting strategy with a new one, so first we have to set up the initial scenario.

    1. Imagine an election P for an official position.

    2. Let V(P) be the set of voters v eligible to vote in election P.

    3. Let C be the set of candidates c. To simplify things let C be {c1, c2, c0} where c1 and c2 representing actual candidates and c0 represents a non-vote.

    4. Let s(v,P) be the voting strategy used by individual voter v in election P to select a member of C (i.e. to select a candidate to vote for, or choose not to vote). Similarly let S(V,P) denote the collection of strategies across all voters in election P.

    5. Let c(v,P) be the member of C selected by applying s(v,P). Note that s(v,P) might be (and is often) known only to v, but c(v,P) must ultimately be revealed during voting if not elsewhere.

    6. Let e(v,c) represent voter v’s assessment of candidate c’s level of “evil”, ranging from 0 (not evil) to 1 (supremely evil). Furthermore let w(v,C) be the real candidate (i.e. excluding c0) which has the maximum value of e(v,c), and similarly b(v,c) the real candidate with the minimum value of e(v,c). These are (from v’s perspective) the ‘greater evil’ and ‘lesser evil’ respectively.

    7. Define W(v,S,P) as the pre-election assessment by voter v of the probability that w(v,C) will be elected, which translated loosely into English is “v’s assessment of the chance that the ‘greater evil’ as defined by v will be elected”. Note that:
    a) This uses v’s own definition of ‘greater evil’.
    b) This is v’s own assessment of the probability in question.
    c) This is probabilistic because v will generally need to assess it before the election results are revealed (i.e. particularly when v decides which s(v,P) to use).
    d) This is necessarily probabilistic because v is not privy to definitive values of s(v’,P) or c(v’,P) for large numbers of other voters v’.
    e) Extending the same probability calculations to the other candidate allows v to calculate the expectation EE(v,P) of the amount of evil (as assessed by v) in the candidate that will be selected in election P.

    Now we start the differential analysis. Let’s first begin with a single advocate choosing to change their own strategy in order to promote their goals.

    8. Let v_A be a specific voter who advocates replacing an existing voting strategy with a new one in order to aim for a specific election outcome G(v_A,P). In particular let v_A argue that changing from s(v_A,P) to new strategy s_G(v_A,P) will help achieve that. (Further generalisations will be made later.) Note that thus far both G() and s_G() are functions of v_A. In other words, they are goals and judgements from v_A’s perspective to be promoted by actions taken by v_A.

    9. Specifically, define G(v_A,P) as the goal of electing a candidate that v_A assesses as having ‘less evil’, with the ideal amount of evil being zero.

    10. Specifically, let s(v_A,P) be “select the candidate from {c1,c2} which has the minimum value of e(v_A,c)” and let s_G(v_A,P) be “Select the candidate from {c1,c2} for which e(v_A,c) is zero, and failing that select c0”. In English the advocated change in strategy is “When both candidates are at least somewhat evil, rather than voting for the ‘lesser evil’ don’t vote at all”. Note that:
    a) IIRC this seems to match your original advocacy on this thread which was directed to people who appear to currently “vote the perceived lesser evil”
    b) IIRC this seems to match your original advocacy on this thread which, from the context, was directed at those who presumably shared your view of which candidate was the lesser evil.
    c) Later on the thread you brought up the concept of voters who don’t share your perspective of evil. This will be addressed below.

    11. Now let S'(V,P) equal S(V,P) with s(v_A,P) replaced by s_G(v_A,P). In other words, replace whatever strategy v_A may have used in the previous analysis with “don’t vote for any evil” but leave everything else the same.

    12. Prepare to compare W(v_A,S’,P) and with W(v_A,S,P), which requires the following analysis:
    a) We can rule out cases where s(v_A,P) already led to a non-vote, because v_A advocates a change in voting strategy as an improvement.
    b) Given that v_A is demonstrably concerned with the amount of elected evil we can presumably rule out cases where s(v_A,P) selected w(v_A,C) (the ‘greater evil’ from v_A’s perspective) – and you appear to be insisting that voters pretty much never do this.
    c) Given those considerations, s(v_A,P) must have been to vote for b(v_A,C) (the ‘lesser evil’ as seen by v_A).

    13. Given that s(v_A,P) was for b(v_A,C) and s'(v_A,P) is ‘no vote’, then under S'(V,P) w(v_A,C) receives exactly the same number of votes as under S(V,P) and b(v_A,C) receives one less. (The ‘lesser evil’ receives one less vote than before, but the ‘greater evil’ receives the same number.) Thus W(v_A,S’,P) > W(v_A,S,P). In other words, from v_A’s pre-election perspective changing from “vote for the lesser evil” to “don’t vote for any evil” enhances the chances of the “greater evil” being elected in the upcoming election, because the chances are higher that the new ‘greater evil’ vote count exceeds that of the new ‘lesser evil’ vote count.

    Which was my initial point way back up the thread.

    Now you may firstly object “I wasn’t advocating a change to my own strategy because I already do this. I wanted others who (a) share my assessment of which candidate is worse and (b) currently vote ‘lesser evil’ to adopt my strategy.”

    OK, but that means the same analysis applies, except that (10) now does not apply to v_A but does apply to larger numbers of voters. That change to the analysis flows through (11)-(13) where the differential analysis finds a larger loss of votes to the ‘lesser evil’ without changing the vote count of the ‘greater evil’, and hence the probability of the ‘greater evil’ being elected is even higher. As my original point pointed out…

    Now you may secondly object “No, I wasn’t advocating towards only those who share my assessment of candidate evilness, I wanted ALL voters to adopt my strategy”, and (as you appear to have done up thread) argue that if that were the case then ultimately no-one who is even somewhat evil would be elected. However “no-one evil” is a viewpoint-specific judgement. Presumably since you are making this statement, you are presuming your own viewpoint so let us proceed on that assumption. Your argument might be that if both candidates are evil then no-one will be elected. However as you already pointed out, in any real world set of voters V of reasonable size, different assessments of evilness will exist – and therefore in large enough voter sets it is almost certain that at least one voter will perceive no evil in at least one candidate. Therefore one of the candidates will be elected. In other words, from your point of view an evil candidate was elected, so your advocated strategy fails to achieve your goals as assessed from your viewpoint. As I have earlier pointed out…

    Now you may thirdly object “I am prepared to risk a ‘greater evil’ being elected in order to eliminate evil candidates altogether”, and you might argue that could be achieved by invoking the possibility that no evil candidate gets a vote from any voter, thus no-one gets elected, and next time around non-evil candidates magically appear on the ballot. The previous paragraph already indicates the folly of that argument, as I have earlier pointed out…

    Or you may fourthly object “I am prepared to risk a ‘greater evil’ being elected in order to eliminate evil candidates altogether”, and you might argue that could be achieved by invoking the possibility that evil candidates get less votes and those putting candidates forth somehow figure this out and accordingly select non-evil candidates. Apart from the obvious problems – those putting candidates forth have a clear and distinguished record of post-hoc rationalisation for disappointing – there are more. Firstly, if you imagine this only applied to voters who share your assessment of ‘less evil’, as demonstrated above the strategy results in the ‘greater evil’ getting relatively more votes. It would not be surprising if party officials inferred from this that “more evil wins more votes”. Ooops! (As I already pointed out).

    So perhaps you want all voters to apply this strategy, even if they perceive evil in candidates differently to you. Now pretty much all bets are off – you don’t know how many voters ALREADY thought ‘their guy’ was ‘not evil’ rather than the ‘lesser evil’ so you can’t predict which candidate will lose the most votes from your strategy, and as shown above you certainly cannot argue that no candidate gets any votes. Furthermore it’s not at all clear how you persuade people who don’t share your assessment to follow your strategy when most of them are disinclined to see things from your worldview, let alone trust you – and many of them are smart enough to figure out that if their ‘side’ changes to no-vote their candidate more widely than yours does, that they disadvantage ‘their side’. And you’ve still got that nasty post-hoc rationalisation problem to contend with…

    Or you could be arguing something different that you still haven’t managed to clearly express, in which case feel free take a stab at expressing it in terms of the 13 point framework above.

  40. #40 Bernard J.
    November 19, 2012

    Changing the subject entirely, and mostly aimed at the Australians here, has anyone caught an earful of Amanda Vanstone interviewing herself on Radio National’s Counterpoint, with the occasional assistance of the weekly guests?

    She’s dangerously anti-intellectual, hair-trigger on the right-wing generalisations, and cemented in the 1905s paradigm of family, religion, and capitalism.

    I’m vomiting a little bit in my mouth just listening to her.

  41. #41 Bernard J.
    November 19, 2012

    Erm, …1950s

    Although 1905 might be a closer to the mark given her dinosaur right wing views.

  42. #42 bill
    November 19, 2012

    Bernard – Counterpoint bring pain. Must avoid Counterpoint.

  43. #43 Wow
    November 19, 2012

    “WTF?! I have previously pointed out this is not necessary to my claim. I guess you “refused” that point”

    WTFF? I have previously pointed out that your assertion was merely stated not proved.

    “1. Imagine an election P for an official position. …”

    Followed by a load of hopeful bollocks.

    Obviously you’re not smart enough to have read this and internalised it (probably because your sense of self-worth is dependent on not understanding it: the source of projection on to others).

    Not voring for one person is not voting for one person.


    And not voting because “the other guy may get in: vote for the lesser of two evils” is bollocks, BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT ROMNEY SUPPORTERS ARE BEING TOLD.

    Do you get it now?

  44. #44 Wow
    November 19, 2012

    In short your complete bollocks maths leaves out the very thing you assert: “Vote for the lesser of two evils”.

    You neglect to remove that from ALL VOTER preferences.

    You’re like those idiot deniers who go “You can’t prove that this weather was made by AGW!” when the fact is that it DEFINITELY affected it and those effects are ones that make that sort of event more likely and more extreme.

    You’re PRECISELY like they are

    And for the same reasons: you have invested your sense of self worth into the fact that if you didn’t vote “the other guy” gets in.

    Bollocks to this “lesser evil” shite. Because voters for that other guy ARE NOT voting for the greater evil. They’re DOING THE SAME DAMN THING.

    And so not only can they both move closer and closer to extreme evil (since they’ll get votes anyway and as a bonus all those benefits of abusing power), it entrenches the two-party state that is now really just one party with two faces.

    YOU are the reason why america has two options:

    Even Shiter

    And you hate the realisation that that was your fault.

    So you deny.

  45. #45 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    I have previously pointed out that your assertion was merely stated not proved.

    You keep insisting that you are correct without showing why anyone should believe. Isn’t it funny how unsupported assertions are not persuasive to other people?

  46. #46 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    Not voring [sic] for one person is not voting for one person.



    What a lovely goalpost shift. Did you actually think anyone had forgotten you wrote shortly after the appearance in this thread of ‘lesser evil’:

    the lesser of two evils is still evil.

    And choosing it is only tenable if you do so whilst enacting a change so that there is no such similar bad choice again.

    I.e. a known temporary extent of the lesser evil.

    “Not possible!” you say? then don’t vote for either evil.

    Earlier-Wow is clearly talking about more than “Not voting for one person. NOTHING MORE.” In fact most of the whole “lesser evil” vs “not voting” discussion has been about “not voting for anyone” in preference to “voting for the lesser evil” in order to achieve certain outcomes (sometimes expressed implicitly as a “tenability” requirement).

    But wait, there’s more. In response to my observation that not voting for anyone instead of voting for the lesser evil (you know, what you suggested in that quote) is also a moral choice that unfortunately has the effect of promoting the chances of the greater evil being elected, Earlier-Wow also wrote:

    It promotes your intention not to vote in evil.

    How can that be? Current-Wow just said “not voting for one person is nothing more than not voting for one person”. But here Earlier-Wow says there can indeed be an explicit intention behind it!

    And wait, there’s more. Even Current-Wow is saying – in the very same comment – that there’s more going on in real life than just “not voting for one person. NOTHING MORE.”:

    And not voting because “the other guy may get in: vote for the lesser of two evils” is bollocks, BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT ROMNEY SUPPORTERS ARE BEING TOLD.

    Who wins when Wow disputes Wow?

    And can either of the Wow’s clarify what they mean in that last quote by “is bollocks”? Because “bollocks” in this context is more than a little bit ambiguous.

  47. #47 Wow
    November 19, 2012

    “What a lovely goalpost shift.”

    Nope, not a goalpost shift.

    Do I have you refer the right dishonourable gentleman to this earlier comment:

    “November 14, 2012

    …then don’t vote for either evil.

    …except that that is also a moral decision, but it promotes the opposite outcome to your intentions”

    The intent is NOT TO VOTE FOR EITHER EVIL.


  48. #48 Bernard J.
    November 19, 2012

    World Bank warns of four-degree temperature rise

    One of the economic world’s most conservative agencies has joined what it calls an ‘unprecedented consensus’ among scientists, to warn that climate change is on course or catastrophic levels this century.

    The World Bank today issued its assessment of global warming, and it’s devastating. The bank president Jim Yong Kim warns that ‘time is very, very short’ to address a crisis that he believes could see the planet warm by four degrees by the 2060s.

    Hardly a hotbed of lefty treehugging hippies…

  49. #49 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    In short your complete bollocks maths leaves out the very thing you assert: “Vote for the lesser of two evils”.

    I had thought you were somewhat smarter than average, but the amount of evidence that points the other way continues to mount.

    Firstly, “Vote for the lesser of two evils” was something you asserted as a strategy, not me. I merely analysed the effects of what I understood you to be advocating, whether that understanding was correct or not, and then you rapidly turned shitty in response.

    Secondly point (12c) explicitly includes “Vote for the lesser of two evils” for voter v_A. To be precise, it demonstrates that this strategy was included (for voter v_A) in the initial scenario of the differential analysis, and then changed by v_A for the first differential scenario.

    It’s hard to see how you can deny this, although previous comments suggest you find it eminently feasible. However giving you the benefit of the doubt leads to presuming that your objection was really this one:

    You neglect to remove that from ALL VOTER preferences.

    So … the aforementioned evidence mounts further…

    Let me take this slowly.

    In the first instance of differential analysis, I did not remove that from ALL VOTER preferences – by design. That is because:

    a) It is simpler to first establish the analysis for one single voter abandoning that voting strategy, and then move on to cases where more voters do so – as I did.

    b) Your initial prescription for action did not include prohibiting all voters from voting for ‘the lesser evil as they perceive it’ (although you seem to vaguely imply it much later in the thread – but if that was your intention you haven’t communicated it very clearly).

    c) But more importantly even if it did, there is no viable enforcement mechanism and not even any agreement about what the aims of the strategy are because “evil” is subjective. Whilst it may be an interesting thought exercise, anyone seriously proposing a strategy that requires this to be adopted by ALL VOTERs in any real world election needs their head examined. (Especially since the subsequent analysis showed that in cases – such as you raise – where both parties think the other party’s candidate is the ‘greater evil’, then the party whose voters adopt it more than the other party’s voters do loses out.)

    Now turning to your full claim, it is clearly counter-factual. My paragraph beginning “Now you may secondly object…” analyses precisely what you claim I did not analyse. A huge clue was probably the part that said (speaking on your behalf) “…I wanted ALL voters to adopt my strategy” and then goes on to analyse what happens in that case, on the presumption that you had a specific goal to achieve via that strategy. It does so via the standard technique of by referencing that first analysis that I have just discussed, and modifying it somewhat. (One hopes you are not juvenile enough to be obliquely objecting to the lack of mathematical terminology in that paragraph and the rest. I had thought the translation into the mathematical framework I specified would prove straightforward for reasonably intelligent readers. If this was too difficult for you then mea culpa and I will translate if you wish.)

    It is a fairly plain objective fact that your claim is counterfactual. I’m impressed – in the negative sense – that you’re denying it, and I’ll be even more impressed if you continue to deny it after your denial has been pointed out.

    And then there’s the paragraph that begins “So perhaps you want all voters to apply this strategy,…” and proceeds to analyse the consequences of ALL VOTERs applying the strategy in the light of some objectives you might hold. Furthermore, since it appeared to me that this paragraph was the most likely one to embody your position, it and the following paragraph were clearly (and explicitly) intended to leave it open to you to clarify (a) if this is how you saw things (or not – so that you could clarify the differences), and (b) argue from there why this would be a good thing or what positive outcome you expected.

    Finally, I’m not sure if anyone has told you this in the past but responding to people clarifying their positions and asking you to clarify yours by dubbing those comments “complete bollocks” and resorting to name-calling makes you look like a ten year old throwing a tantrum. (And this might be why other people regularly find your online presence obnoxious. You may imagine it’s because you’re always right – but you’re not, and it’s not.)

    Now the ten year old tantrum might be the vibe you’re going for – if so, keep working on it because you’ve just about nailed it, but in that case it’s time for me to go play with some grown-ups.

    But if you’re really going for a grown-up intelligent discussion vibe, you need to grow up fast. You might want to begin by noting that when they express puzzlement with or misunderstand your communication or put a fair amount of evident work into attempting to clarify the situation, the problem often lies with your own communication and the adult thing to do is to clarify what you meant – without the signature ten year old flourishes.

  50. #50 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    YOU are the reason why america has two options:

    You are reiterating your denial of what I previously pointed out? That I’m not eligible to vote in America, and therefore this claim is false?

    And you’re doing so with a claim that is not solved by the widespread adoption of the voting strategy that you’ve been advocating?

    Your screen name is indeed well chosen. I find myself routinely uttering it in response to your assertions.

  51. #51 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    The intent is NOT TO VOTE FOR EITHER EVIL.

    Really? Now you claim that’s your only intent, and you’re advocating this for no other reason?

    Pull the other one.

    See, I could have sworn you produced a whole bunch of comments where (a) you responded to people talking about their intents and the merits (or otherwise) of voting for the lesser evil so other intents were already part of the conversation, (b) you didn’t make it plain that your only intent was to not vote for either evil, even though two straightforward clarifying sentences would have done it – one if you edited it well, and (c) at least one of your own earlier comments suggested it was “tenable” to break this limited intent for some other reason which suggests that you consider other intents valid.

    Look, if that were truly your only intent (and you don’t care about any other outcomes, short or long term, detrimental in your sight or not) I would have no objection with you doing that. I might call it naively idealistic, but a valid choice – but I would still point out that it increases the chances of whatever you consider the greater evil.

    But that’s clearly not how you positioned it. Feel free to clarify if that’s your position now and you disavow any earlier comments to the contrary.

  52. #52 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    Wow, you wrote:

    Voting for the lesser evil shows that evil will still get its way.

    Do you concede that a reasonable interpretation by someone else reading that statement is that one of your intents when ‘not even voting for the lesser evil’ is to thwart ‘evil getting its way’, and success for that intent might reasonably be interpreted as “no-one who is evil gets elected” (perhaps with the caveat: if not now, in all future elections starting not too many elections hence)?

    And is that in fact one of the intents you apply your voting strategy for? Or do you disavow that as an intent?

    (And if you disavow it you could have simply clarified it way back then…)

  53. #53 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    Bernard, unless I’m very much mistaken the World Bank is almost as economically unhippy as one gets…

  54. #54 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    One more question for Wow.

    Presuming for the sake of argument there I were actually eligible to vote in US elections, then if this were indeed accurate:

    YOU are the reason why america has two options:

    Even Shiter

    …how does that comport with your assertion that (at least from your own point of view):

    The intent is NOT TO VOTE FOR EITHER EVIL.

    See, I would think most readers would see you making those two statements and say to themselves “It seems highly likely that Wow ALSO intends by not voting for anyone evil to not be responsible for ‘America having two choices: shite and even shiter’. If he was only concerned about not personally voting for evil, then that intent is satisfied regardless of how shite the candidates are.”

    (I’m not going to go into the fairly obvious analysis that suggests that in any 2 party political system the choices are almost always going to devolve to “shite and even shiter”, regardless of how people vote. The previous analysis that shows that even if everyone does not vote for what they consider evil it does not eliminate what you consider evil from candidates is already sufficient.)

  55. #55 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    Crap. Sorry – messed up a closing tag.

  56. #56 Wow
    November 19, 2012

    ” ” You neglect to remove that from ALL VOTER preferences.”

    So … the aforementioned evidence mounts further…”

    Evidence of what? Your insanity?

    Voters voting for republicans are voting even when they don’t like the republican leader because the meme “you have to vote for the lesser evil”.

    That changes your probabilities.

    UNLESS you insist that those voting for republicans are knowingly voting for the greater evil.

    And NOT voting for either evil is ONLY not voting for either evil. The intended consequence is ONLY that there is no vote for those evils from you and the intended final result that evil doesn’t get votes from otherwise rational and normal people.

    Indeed NOT voting for either people has happened en masse.

    Guess what, idiot boy?

    Romney/Ryan didn’t win.

    Evidence against you, however, is ignored like the good little denier you are.

  57. #57 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    Guess what, idiot boy?

    Well, well, you ARE operating at the level of a ten year old! And casting aspersions on my age instead of my intellect. Not a very smart move, that.

    Romney/Ryan didn’t win.

    ROFL! After all that careful explanation from me, do you really think that proves something you are claiming or disproves something I claimed?! I must remember in future that your powers of comprehension are surprisingly limited.

    My analysis did not require Romney/Ryan to win. It wasn’t even tied to this US election – nor even any US election. It was a generic analysis. Do you grok what “generic” means in this context?

    Voters voting for republicans are voting even when they don’t like the republican leader because the meme “you have to vote for the lesser evil”.

    That changes your probabilities.

    No, it does not. Not even if you repeat the claim.

    Firstly, note (as above) that my analysis was for a non-specified generic election, not this particular one.

    Secondly, my probability calculations are differential – and they don’t even compute the absolute probabilities for either component scenario (initial and differential)! That kinda sorta really truly does mean you have to be able to point to a potential difference between two scenarios (whether either scenario was instantiated in the real world or not) in order to run the calculations. You have not done so with this claim.

    Thirdly, should you care to attempt to apply my analysis to this most recent election then you have two choices (remember, it’s a differential analysis):

    1) Work “forwards” from the election: take the actual votes as defining the initial scenario, and analyse the effect of some specified set of voters incrementally applying your strategy as the differential scenario. Then analyse the difference.

    2) Work “backwards” from the election: specify the votes that were compliant with your strategy as (part of) the definition of the differential scenario. Presume that some subset of those voters followed your strategy but would otherwise have voted differently, and use those presumptions to specify the initial scenario. Then analyse the difference.

    If you choose (1) then those Republican votes you mention are already embedded in (4) by definition of s(v,P). You will note – if you read carefully – that s(v,P) is not defined in the starting scenario for the set V_R consisting of Republican voters (nor indeed for any voter).

    If you choose (2) then those Republican votes you mention are already embedded in the appropriate definition of s'(v,P) for those voters in the differential scenario. As indicated above you can work backwards by defining the “initial scenario” as a “backwards difference” from this differential scenario (i.e. positing voting strategies that would otherwise have been used by whatever subset of voters you care to specify) … but once you’ve defined both an initial and differential scenario you’ll end up with the same logic once you do the differential probability calculation. (Unless of course you confuse yourself with an inappropriate a posteriori viewpoint. The analysis does not require the outcome of the analysed election to currently be unknown, but only to have been unknown to voters when they chose their voting strategies.)

    UNLESS you insist that those voting for republicans are knowingly voting for the greater evil.

    This is not necessary to my analysis, nor do I insist on it – or insist on its opposite – and even if I did neither case would “change my probabilities” because it’s a differential analysis. That is, it analyses the change in probabilities brought about by a change in voting strategy for some set of voters. More specifically S(v,P) may happily remain entirely undefined over the set of all voters who do not change their strategy between the initial scenario and the differential scenario in question.

    Evidence against you, however, is ignored like the good little denier you are.

    What movie are you currently powering at your local theatre? You must save them a lot in electricity expenses.

  58. #58 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    The intended consequence is ONLY that there is no vote for those evils from you and the intended final result that evil doesn’t get votes from otherwise rational and normal people.

    So…you admit there are at least two intended outcomes. (That great big “ONLY” is looking bit out of place there.)

    However, as I have pointed out repeatedly in slightly different terms, your strategy may prove disappointing (depending on how you define “otherwise rational and normal people”). If any of them view a candidate as ‘not evil’ in elections where you view both as ‘evil’, then (from your point of view – which is implicit in your use of ‘evil’ here) the strategy does not succeed in achieving the second intended outcome.

  59. #59 Wow
    November 19, 2012

    “So…you admit there are at least two intended outcomes”

    I admit that there could be a secondary one, but that cannot be anything other than a wish.

    Just like going and working in a soup kitchin is intended primarily to feed the people.

    That person may also intend that this be a good deed and rewarded in heaven.

    However, even the most idiotic xtian would acknowledge that god would be the arbiter in that and therefore, though it is a HOPED FOR consequence, it is outside their control.

    Likewise how OTHER PEOPLE vote is nothing I can or should be able to affect.

    Or are you considering that you should have a recorded public vote?

  60. #60 Wow
    November 19, 2012

    “your strategy may prove disappointing”

    The strategy is nothing I can force.

    I CAN ensure I’m not part of the problem by not engaging in EITHER EVIL.

    Unlike you, I don’t consider the half of the people in my country evil idiots.

  61. #61 Wow
    November 19, 2012

    What will happen you billious toad if someone doesn’t buy your scaremongering and DOESN’T vote for either evil BUT ***YOU*** continue to spout the “Vote for the lesser evil, lest the greater one win!!!” is that other idiots will continue to vote for an option THEY DO NOT WANT.

    However, that would only be because you enable that sort of thinking.

    You not only move that overton window, not only enable evil to reign, not only ensure that good doesn’t get a look-in, but are continuing the very thing you’re blabbling chicken-little all about: “The greater evil winning”.

    If you stop pissing about with this, even if a Romney/Ryan win happens next time, you’d not be perpetuating the caustic environment that ensures your only two options are two demons.

  62. #62 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    I CAN ensure I’m not part of the problem by not engaging in EITHER EVIL.

    Well, it’s great that you feel all happy and self-righteous about your personal purity in that respect, but it’s a shame that your method of achieving it tends to shift the ‘evil’ cost onto society instead. To put it another way I think we have adequately established that you’re happy to let the perfect be the enemy of the better-than-otherwise-might-be as long as it means you don’t have to get your own hands dirty.

    But you sure have worked up a high moral dudgeon about the people who don’t share your view of what the moral choice is.

    Unlike you, I don’t consider the half of the people in my country evil idiots.


    I must thank you for proving that my capacity for astonished amusement is much higher than I had thought, although it saddens me that it comes through a series of assertions about me that are so detached from reality that I wonder whether you are suffering from deeper issues. I had suggested you stop attributing words and beliefs from your fantasy Lotharsson to the real world Lotharsson, but apparently that didn’t sink in.

    Let me first make some things clear seeing you’re still quite confused about me.

    1) I don’t think that “half of the people in my country are evil idiots”.

    Not even if you say I do.

    2) I don’t think that voting for the lesser evil makes one evil.

    Not even if you say I do.

    3) I don’t think that voting for what I think is the greater evil makes one evil either, unless the intent is to increase the amount of evil. And given that I cannot reliably discern intent, let alone whether other voters even possess the necessary perception of evil, and given that there are a host of other valid reasons for voting for one candidate over another, I can not and do not consider those who vote for what I think is the greater evil to be evil themselves.

    Not even if you say I do.

    4) As I have explained – from within a moral framework that you presumably simply don’t grok, which I suspect is the root cause of our different views here – choosing to not vote for anyone with any level of evil in the name of personal purity, rather than fully weighing the available choices, is a moral choice. And under my moral framework such an abdication increases the chances that more evil will gain power than otherwise – and accordingly is the less moral choice in the moral framework I am operating under. I would say that I either have a wider definition of what I am responsible for than you do, or I have a different evaluation function for short term costs that may (or may not) bring long term benefits.

    5) I fully accept that you’re operating under a different moral framework which produces different moral assessments. I don’t think that makes you evil.

    Not even if you say I do.

    Given your repeated statements after being invited to clarify your position, then it is difficult to conclude anything other than you think that I and zillions of other voters are evil. You keep asserting that I am “part of the problem” and “responsible” for the situation where the choices are between “shite and even shiter” – because I would choose to vote for the lesser evil. So perhaps this statement is ironically accurate:

    Unlike you, I don’t consider the half of the people in my country evil idiots.

    Perhaps instead you consider all of the voters in your country evil for choosing to vote for candidates you reject.

    Projection much?

  63. #63 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    What will happen you billious toad…

    Ironically, and surely you are conscious by now that you are pretty much clown trolling, the only one spewing bile here is yourself.

    But if you’re going to interact at a ten year old level and affect a twelve year old vocabulary, perhaps you should engage in a little spell checking. I hear that it is integrated right into browser software these days.

  64. #64 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    …if someone doesn’t buy your scaremongering…

    Given that I haven’t scaremongered, it’s hard to see how anyone can “buy it” from me.

    Heck, we’ve already established that the concern in the last US election was valid from at least one of the two major viewpoints and that arguably that viewpoint was strongly congruent with reality – therefore it’s not scaremongering to take that concern into account in that instance.

    Well, those of us in the reality based community have established that, at least. Perhaps you’re labouring under a misapprehension about the definition of the word?

    But more directly than that, I’m pretty confident that I haven’t advocated that anyone vote according to any particular strategy in the recent US election, which is the one you seem to be most exercised about. Feel free to quote me refuting myself on that point. I have, however, analysed in generic terms the effect of changing from certain voting strategies to certain others.

    Aren’t you concerned about your online reputation suffering because you keep making false claims about me?

    …if … ***YOU*** continue to spout the “Vote for the lesser evil, lest the greater one win!!!” is that other idiots will continue to vote for an option THEY DO NOT WANT.

    You should probably begin to factor into your thinking the fact that (a) candidates are singular indivisible entities and (b) voters have preferences on multiple grounds. That leads inexorably to the conclusion that in almost every election almost every voter cannot purely vote for ONLY what they want.

    Or to put it in your terms, and using your style of emphasis – practically EVERY VOTE CAST is a vote for an option that the voter DOES NOT WANT. EVERY TIME! Even the “other idiots” – and that is your blanket assessment which I do not share – understand that. If no-one votes for WHAT THEY DO NOT WANT, democracy ceases to function because no election can fill the position at hand.

    You not only move that overton window, …

    Er, no, I don’t move it.

    Moving the Overton Window brings hitherto unacceptably extreme policies into the public discourse. This is typically achieved by discussing even more extreme policies that are not expected to garner acceptance at the time, but whose discussion is intended to legitimise the hitherto unacceptable policies by comparison.

    It’s difficult to see how you think that applies to me – especially since my whole freakin’ analysis is generic, and it is about a strategy for voting rather than advocating any specific policies – but I’m sure you have a way to pin this on the fantasy Lotharsson currently residing in your head.

    …not only enable evil to reign, …

    I’ve established and you have denied that voting or not-voting both “enable evil to reign” in the sense that you mean. I’m quite confident now you’re not going to support your denial with an actual argument, so I merely expect reiterated denial from now on.

    (And if you really want to stop evil reigning, abstaining from voting is a blunt and very soft instrument and you’d be better off focusing your energies elsewhere – in particular, seeking to influence the candidates who will be put forward during the candidate selection process and perhaps even beforehand.)

    …not only ensure that good doesn’t get a look-in, …

    It’s clear by now that there’s little point in reiterating that I find your reasoning on that front entirely unconvincing.

    …but are continuing the very thing you’re blabbling chicken-little all about: “The greater evil winning”.

    ROFLMAO! Now this is truly Sunspot-worthy – up is down, black is white.

    I have demonstrated that your abstention strategy improves the chances of this outcome in any specific election. And it is blindingly obvious that actually voting for the lesser evil reduces the chances of “the greater evil winning” in any given election. You don’t demonstrate that the analysis is wrong. Instead you handwave assertions that not voting will lead to non-evil candidates on the ballot via some mechanism that you can’t quite elucidate, especially since (on average) voters for both major parties differ about who/what is evil in the first place.

    There’s no point discussing this with someone this loosely attached to reality. Thanks for playing.

  65. #65 Lotharsson
    November 19, 2012

    This may also help:

    Voting for a candidate is NOT and never has been an expression of pure WANT for that candidate or their entire set of policies.

    Voting is an expression of PREFERENCE for that candidate (and set of policies) OVER the others offered.

  66. #66 jp
    November 20, 2012

    Wow has lost the plot. I usually have to go to a denier site to read such a load of illogical crap.

  67. #67 bill
    November 20, 2012

    If you haven’t already caught David Attenborough’s ‘Death of the Oceans?‘ documentary, which features Ove Hoegh-Guldberg’s acidification research undertaken on the Great Barrier Reef, you’ve got 4 more days to catch it on SBS On Demand.

  68. #68 Jeff Harvey
    November 20, 2012

    Given what’s now happening in Gaza, with Obama’s unstinting support for the regime carrying out the atrocities, one should wonder how much of a lesser evil his administration is than a possible Romney-Paul administration. My view remains: the system is broken, and both parties are beholden to Wall Street and the corporate sector. Either way the general populace is screwed.

    Chris Hedges is correct in my opinion when he says the thrust of the debate – that a lesser evil is a better option than a greater evil – shows how utterly bankrupt the liberal class in America has become. Instead of fighting at the grassroots level for real change from being shackled by a corporate system, the so-called liberals have continued their recent history of back-peddling to support the administrations of Clinton and Obama whose policies it should be clear are a continuation of those first implemented under Reagan. On the foreign front they are committed to expansionist wars and the suppression of real democracy that threatens the interests of ’empire’.

    Yes, the liberal class in America is dead, or at least in its death throes. And you can be sure that the elites are laughing all the way to the bank.

  69. #69 Lotharsson
    November 20, 2012

    Jeff, I agree with most of your last comment – although I’d add that both candidates are also significantly beholden to the US military-industrial complex, and if we’re pointing out continuation of previous administration’s policies then Obama has extended several of the significant George W. administration policies in additionally detrimental fashion.

    I’d also like to point out that I’ve not been discussing less vs greater evil because that’s “the thrust of the debate” that Chris Hedges is discussing, but because once it comes to elections those are the choices presented to voters.

  70. #70 Wow
    November 20, 2012

    “one should wonder how much of a lesser evil his administration is than a possible Romney-Paul administration”

    Only just as much “less” as is needed to remain less.

    99 kilonazis compared with 100 kilonazis is enough.

    But those whining about letting the “greater evil” in, merely let this happen.

    40 years ago (heck, 20 years ago) Obama WOULD be the greater evil doing what he is doing today.

    But these whining little shites going “Oh, a Romney/Ryan would be worse” are in deep denial about how their spinelessness and fear have caused a Romney/Ryan ticket to get nearly 50% of the votes.

    They’re enabling evil in the same way as allowing racist or sexist jokes in the workplace enables sexism or racism at work.

    They’re enabling as much as the shock jocks Beck and Hannity enable those nutters to go out and shoot doctors and police officers.

    And just like those people who “don’t see the harm”, they refuse to look at what they’ve done.

  71. #71 Wow
    November 20, 2012

    Jeff, there’s no need to lay the blam at “liberals”. They’re cowed by the establishment who maintain the mantra “better we get in than the others” (in an almost identical way to what “the others” are doing to their base).

    Those on here continuing to paint disaster if “you don’t vote for us” browbeat and shame and ostracise those who do not do as demanded.

    They bear the brunt of the blame.

  72. #72 bill
    November 20, 2012

    Yep, ‘whining little shites’ who voted for Obama are identical to ‘the shock jocks Beck and Hannity [who] enable those nutters to go out and shoot doctors and police officers.’

    There’s a hell of a lot of them about, then.

    Over-wrought, much?

  73. #73 chek
    November 20, 2012

    As Gore Vidal (amongst others) pointed out many years ago, the U.S. is governed by the Property Party, of which there are two wings. Either way, the policies of its global empire are not up for or open to debate. So while I see what Wow is getting at, I can’t see any practical means of enacting it short of the hard slog of establishing a political base and working up from there. But then again, ask the Green Party or Ralph Nader how that’s working out for them.

    The lack of a proportional representation system also skews the likely outcomes. So I have to agree with Lotharsson when he points out that the best is the enemy of the good, and that in practice a least worst outcome is the best that can be hoped for.

    On a somewhat related point for those who remember a flustered Rove’s incomprehension on election night that Ohio had been called for Obama, this amongst other surfacings of the story may provide a clue to his consternation.

  74. #74 Lotharsson
    November 20, 2012

    Over-wrought, much?

    Yea, verily.

  75. #75 Lionel A
    November 20, 2012

    Digging into that link from chek here is the nub of the Ohio election question:

    Did Anonymous stop Karl Rove from Stealing Ohio again?

  76. #76 GSW
    November 20, 2012

    Oh come on Watermelons, if you’re done with the Obama bashing, any chance we can get back on the CAGW/”End of the World is nigh”/regulate & tax comedy rants that you are better known for.

    I’d suggest you step it up a notch, it’s all getting a tad boring here and you’re being out done by the efforts of others.

    Armstrong & Miller – Climate Change


  77. #77 bill
    November 20, 2012

    Australia is governed by the two wings of The Property Party, as is Britain, but both of these states still have a (nominally) left faction that, for historical reasons, at least pays lip-service to its Social Democratic inheritance – and occasionally actually does something halfway sensible, for a complex nest of reasons, not the least of which is its actually hard to be stupid forever.

    So hooray for us, and long may we celebrate the piss-weak faction in its unholy alliance with the wicked proportional-representation-enabled Greens continuing to stumble along in power as long as that’s the best we can realistically hope to achieve.

    All else is sulking.

    Had Romney won, the EPA would have been clearing its desks as we speak. So hooray that he bloody didn’t, and when are the Yanks going to do something about the institutionalised corruption and routinised disenfranchisement of their electoral system? As long as they keep rabbiting on sententiously about being the World’s Greatest Democracy, probably never…

    So, in the meantime, thank your Deity of Choice – or none, for small mercies, eh? Actually, large mercies, when you think about it…

    I look forward to Rove’s long-overdue Treason trial, but the sound you’re not hearing is me holding my breath. The GOP has been routinely fiddling the electoral system across the 21st Century, particularly after their nascent efforts in 2000 met with such resounding success and were of such little interest to a ‘balance’ obsessed media (pointing out that one side is actively, um, cheating is gauche, don’tchaknow?) Romney was actually so soundly thrashed that even their cyber-goons and caging-list cadre couldn’t put the fix in for him. Colour me relieved.

    And clearly, the troglodyte wing of The Property Party, far from smugly assuming that it can relax as it owns the game anyway, thinks this is all a very big deal indeed, which should be a warning to all of us.

  78. #78 bill
    November 21, 2012

    More on the anonymous story (Salon). If they really do have any evidence, I sincerely hope they will present it to the relevant authorities. However, it’s hard to believe anything that beautiful could actually happen!

  79. #79 Jeff Harvey
    November 21, 2012


    It is better to be known for comedy rants than the rank ignorance you expound here. Your vacuous arguments – e.g. Polar bear demographics, amphibian declines etc. – have been comprehensively debunked on a regular basis so all you are left with is some rather shallow quips.

    Get lost. Take your lunacy elsewhere.

  80. #80 bill
    November 21, 2012

    Also, Mitchell and Webb are funny;

    Let us enjoy the full-majesty of your uninformed ad hoc reckon by going to – all one word – clicking on ‘what I reckon’, and then simply beating on the keyboard with your fists or head…

    It’s like he knows you, GooSey Wuh! And all your little Denialist airhead mates…

    Armstrong and Miller, on the other hand, are just the kind of banal philistines whose ‘humour’ is most likely to appeal to Daily Mail readers…

  81. #81 chek
    November 21, 2012

    “Watermelons” (and how I’d love to see Monckton & Co.go down Brixton market and start an anti-watermelon rant) would include such lefty hippy organisations as the World Bank warning against the consequences of a 4C rise, and the IEA, worrying about a 6C rise this century.

    But you know things are really going pear-shaped in bobbleheadland when even the GWPF (inadvertantly?) has an article advocating decarbonising the economy.

  82. #82 chek
    November 21, 2012

    Hmmph – further to above post, World Bank report

    and GWPF article.

  83. #83 Lionel A
    November 21, 2012

    The Daily Kos has the Anonymous story too , with a long, long tail of comments.

    I too am waiting for any evidence to see the light of day, but I am not holding my breath.

  84. #84 chek
    November 21, 2012

    I’ve also been pondering the question of evidence re. the Anonymous claim, but given my total ignorance of hacking, not getting very far.

    It would seem to me that at that level, what evidence could there be? Hacking server time stamps and activity logs would not be impossible, and even screenshots could be faked, so we’re left with the circumstantial evidence such as Rove’s incomprehension captured on-air , Romney’s not even having prepared a concession speech, the ‘fortuitous Ohio setrv er crash at 11.13, and the ‘apparent’ ineptness of even a simple IT application such as ORCA.

    It may be that waterboarding Rove would be the only way to get to the bottom of it. I’d give the fatf*ck an endurance of <20 seconds.

  85. #85 GSW
    November 21, 2012


    In your last post, I think there is some endorsement of Mitchell and Webb. Mitchell is one of you lot after all, driven by an unshakable belief in the precautionary principle as fundamental tenet in his journey thru life.

    As far as I am aware there was no follow up video on “Fire proof underpants” based on the same reasoning.

    But I do object to Armstrong and Miller being referred to as “banal philistines”. Exploring the issues/attitudes of the day thru humour can often be quite revealing, as well as entertaining. The Climate Change link above for example, more political than sceptical I would have thought. Many here have expressed/acted upon opinions as to who is, or is not, allowed to speak in an attempt to constrain the views of others and influence “policy”. Simply a case of art shining a light on the absurdities of the real world surely.

    Armstrong & Miller do this very well. Another example that predates the BBC’s current difficulties.
    Art (Blue Peter)

    Real world (Blue Peter)

    Real world CBBC Apology (Shown on childrens TV)

    Both sets of “Double acts” entertain, I enjoy both, you can’t pick one over the other because of a belief in CAGW or whether they might appeal to Daily Mail readers.

  86. #86 chek
    November 21, 2012


  87. #87 Lotharsson
    November 22, 2012

    As far as I am aware there was no follow up video on “Fire proof underpants” based on the same reasoning.

    …and there’s a very good reason for that, but one that you will not allow yourself to grok (if only because it would undermine other parts of the very same comment).

  88. #88 Jeff Harvey
    November 22, 2012

    “Mitchell is one of you lot after all”

    Yes, he is; our ‘lot’ consists of every Academy of Science in every nation on Earth, the vast majority of statured scientists (of which I am one) as well as the empirical evidence.

    Your ‘lot’ consists of very few statured scientists, the right wing blogosphere, an army of Dunning-Kruger acolytes and of course the fossil fuel lobby and other industries that are pathologically concerned only about short-term profits. And oh, of course, let me also add that your side is not supported by the vast amount of empirical evidence.

    In other words, the two sides are very uneven when it comes to the science and to the intellectual level of those involved. That is exactly why people like you, GSW, are best ignored.

  89. #89 Wow
    November 22, 2012

    And, unlike the denialist side, “our lot” are quite open when we disagree with each other, but “the cause” for the denialists is far far FAR more important than any possible disagreement on anything else, so they ignore the disagreements, lest their “message” become diluted.

    Rather morally repugnant, isn’t it. And rather like the stalinist system where you conformed or were ostracised.

  90. #90 Wow
    November 22, 2012

    bill the constant refrain of “But Romney would be worse!!!” is a whine. And those continuing are whining little shites.

    Either get a new tagline or live with the aphorism “if the shoe fits, wear it”.

  91. #91 GSW
    November 22, 2012

    Thanks Jeff, I’ll take issue with,

    “your side is not supported by the vast amount of empirical evidence”

    I’ll assume by “empirical evidence” you mean real world observations rather than dubious model outputs (i.e. the correct meaning). looking at a couple of metrics, SLR and Global temp anom.

    SLR from satellite data is ticking over at ~3mm/yr, tide guages a little less, If this continues, by 2100, sea level should be about 10-12 inches higher than now, i.e only a couple of inches more than we saw during the previous century. Whether this would be a problem or not is a value judgement – I’d say no.

    Global temp anom increase, from the turn of the century is indistinguishable from bugger all. Gavin’s yearly observations vs models should be interesting next year with the real world data “bibbling” around the lower bound of the model forecasts. The 6C and 4C figures (by 2100), mentioned by someone above, from the ever more questionable models are just fanciful, certainly compared with what we are observing now. We saw ~0.7C increase over the last century, that plus a few extra tenths of degree would’nt appear to be that much of a problem.

    So as for your “let me also add that your side is not supported by the vast amount of empirical evidence”, that’s just plain wrong. Bad models are not a basis for “alarm” and poor policy decisions- I’m sure you would agree, let’s keep it empirical.

  92. #92 Jeff Harvey
    November 22, 2012


    Out of more than a thousand peer-reviewed articles published in the empircal literature no more than a few contradict the hypothesis of AGW. This explains why the vast majority of the scientific community is in agreement that humans are forcing climate. If you were correct, which of course you aren’t, then there must be some huge left-wing global conspiracy explaining why every Academy of Science on Earth is in agreement on this issue.

    You clearly reveal your scientific illiteracy and ignorance when you say that the warming since the turn of the century is ‘bugger all’. As I and many others have explained numerous times, 12 years is insufficient for a largely deterministic system where short term fluctuations can mask longer term trends. I wouldn’t expect to find changes in most ecosystem properties in response to abitoc and biotic shifts in that time, let alone in biomes, covering vastly larger scales, and certainly not in processes occurring at the global scale. What is clear to scientists who study processes at variable scales is to better understand when stochastic processes can become deterministic. You aren’t trained in this at all (this became clear to me early on) and, in combination with your political ideology, this bastardizes your view of climate science. I might as well apply this to the other bunch of deniers who have written in here from time to time. None – NONE – have any training in a scientific field where scale is involved. To be honest, I would cringe when reading your comments if they weren’t spewed out ad nauseum by people on blogs who also camoufalge their political affiliations in scientific mumbo-jumbo but who, like you, don’t know a thing about scale.

  93. #93 Jeff Harvey
    November 22, 2012

    As a final point: GSW tried to give the impression of a scientific community that is split more-or-less down the middle on the issue of AGW. Of course it isn’t: not even close. Then he tries to take the scientific high ground and give the impression that, despite the views of the vast majority of scientists, that somehow a loose band of skeptics, most of whom are on the academic fringe, have somehow got the science right in this case.

    The only reason that these pseudos are making such an impression has nothing to do with science. That battle was lost years ago .lt is based on money and power. Who controls the global economy and in what direction they wish to take it. This is where the discussion of Obama et al. is profoundly important. But the scientific discussionn is nothing but a smokescreen. The deniers will never win the debate on that score: as I said, that was lost some years ago. But they certainly can win the economic war (at least in the short term until our global ecological life-support systems respond quite dramtcially as they already are). Given the power of the transnational elite, and their control over many of the so-called ‘democracies’ in the west, this is their main strategy. At the same time, they are terrified of public opinion, and must placate the masses through the media and through various other forms of mendacious propaganda. This is where the think-tanks, blogs, PR groups and lobbying groups become important. Hence the war is not about science and never has been: its an economic battle being fought through various channels in order to ensure that capital flows remain largely uni-directional.

    This explains why its a waste of time engaging people like GSW. He and his ilk want to drag the discussion down to the lowest common denominator. At the same time he is just one of many in the army of the ignoranti who have been suckered in by a veritable tsunami of propagandathat would make Orwell proud.

  94. #94 Lotharsson
    November 22, 2012

    If this continues, by 2100, sea level should be about 10-12 inches higher than now,…

    Here’s a scenario that illustrates GSW’s head in the sand.

    My car is doing 60 km/h and accelerating at 2kmh/min. If this continues, even though it is headed over the edge of a very very high cliff, it should be nothing to worry about.

    Global temp anom increase, from the turn of the century is indistinguishable from bugger all.

    And my car’s engine bay is on fire and large amounts of heat energy is accumulating there – and the physics and chemistry all tell me that the accumulation MUST continue whilst the process continues – but really, that’s no problem because the temperature in the cabin has increased bugger all over the last few minutes, and besides, that physics and chemistry you talk about is just “bad models”.

    Are you really this illogical or are you merely mendacious?

  95. #95 Lotharsson
    November 22, 2012

    Speaking of “Of course it isn’t: not even close.”, someone posted this brief indicative analysis somewhere the other day. Someone else (Mashey?) posted this summary and said it wasn’t worth spending time on denialists any more other than pointing them at it.

    And then on GSW’s argument that surface temperatures haven’t warmed enough lately to indicate a problem, apart from the well-known large accumulation of heat in the oceans during the period in question that GSW either doesn’t know about or denies, there’s this analysis.

    I’d bet that none of this will make any difference to GSW, because it seems clear that s/he did not form an opinion based on the best inference from all the evidence – if only because cherry-picking seems to be necessary for GSW’s “arguments” – and presumably GSW isn’t about to start now.

  96. #96 bill
    November 22, 2012

    I vote for ‘merely mendacious’.

  97. #97 Lionel A
    November 22, 2012

    GSW is a fool with the climate science knowledge of a two year old, well that is how he comes across. Heck those grandchildren of mine under ten can grasp more than s/he shows.

    Cherry pick your way out of this GSW:

    CO2 Hits New High; World Could Warm 7°F by 2060, I do wish Americans would get used to temperature in degrees C at least as this dichotomy has been used by the delayers and deniers to obfuscate.

    What you need to grok here GSW is the inertia in various components of the Earth’s systems which causes a delay between a given increase of GHGs and the resultant warming.

    The climate changes (read up on climate types and how they occur if bothered by the plural there) we are already experiencing [1] is happening because of the elevated CO2 levels as of about fifteen years ago (and because of how water stores up heat energy – look up heat capacity and latent heat). So the big thing to know is that even if we reduce emissions to zero from tomorrow then warming will continue until the Earth’s total energy balance reaches equilibrium. It is facts such as this that the likes of Richard Lindzen try to keep from their unsophisticated audiences. The strange thing is that Lindzen et. al. (Michaels, Christy, Spencer, Plimer) never go head to head with those that can undermine their arguments. This is no surprise considering how Pat Michaels came off against Ben Santer in 2010. Think about that GSW.

    The other big idea is understanding the difference between sensible and insensible heat and why this matters. Rising Temperature alone does not quantify the heat energy of a system. Consider ice and water at the same temperature – there is a big difference in calorific value between the two. Do you know how to quantify this? Come on do you?

    [1] And yes this is extreme weather, one event of which looks set to be quickly followed by some more on an already well soaked land, but more frequent bouts of extreme weather are a symptom of climate change and in this case is the result of a much activated hydrological cycle combined with polar influenced meteorological conditions ensuring the extra water in the atmosphere dumps on Britain. As you should be aware (short of having your head up ‘seventh rock from the sun’) Britain is not alone in experiencing such weather.

    The other extreme is being more commonly experienced elsewhere on the globe.

  98. #98 Lionel A
    November 22, 2012

    And despite all the warnings about the effects of heightened CO2 levels it seems that many don’t care . And no Gina we don’t want any of your dirty s*** here but I am sure GOsborne is thinking about it, its all about the money with him and his ilk, who may have been trying to undermine wind behind the scenes.

  99. #99 GSW
    November 22, 2012


    I thought we were keeping it empirical! your first link

    “CO2 Hits New High; World Could Warm 7°F by 2060”

    The obvious fail here is the word “could”, there’s nothing empirical about that. What the world may or may be in 2060 is not an observation.

    Thanks also for your second link to some pictures of what the UK looks like when it rains. We’ve had flooding here to, I don’t know where you hail from Lionel, but if you’ve ever spent any time over here and not seen flooded out roads before, then you’ve spent too much time hiding under the stairs.

    Also this amused me ” look up heat capacity and latent heat”, we did it at school when I was about 12, but thanks for the pointer to what passes for “Leading edge Physics” in your part of the world.


  100. #100 Lotharsson
    November 22, 2012

    And…right on cue:

    The obvious fail here is the word “could”, there’s nothing empirical about that.

    The Epic Fail in your objection is illustrated by my analogy about the car about to drive off a cliff.

    What the world may or may be in 2060 is not an observation.

    What speed the car may or may not be going 30 seconds from now (and in which direction) is not an observation either. But only an idiot would chant “that’s not an observation” in response to someone pointing out the likely range of future trajectories as if that would make them go away.

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