Ben Carson: A case study on why intelligent people are often not skeptics

As a surgeon, I find Ben Carson particularly troubling. By pretty most reports, he was a skilled neurosurgeon who practiced for three decades, rising to the chief of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. Yet, when he ventures out of the field of neurosurgery—even out of his own medical specialty—he routinely lays down some of the dumbest howlers I've ever heard. For example, he denies evolution, but, even worse, he's been a shill for a dubious supplement company, Mannatech. Worse still, when called out for his relationship with Mannatech in the last Republican debate, Carson lied through his teeth about it. The pseudoscientific views he relates have been so bad that he led me to resurrect some old schtick that I had abandoned years ago about physicians denying evolution leading me to put a paper bag over my head in shame for my profession. I'm also reminded of it not just by media stories about Carson's latest verbal gaffe but because I work within easy walking distance of the Ben Carson High School of Medicine and Science, a STEM-related high school designed to encourage high school students to pursue careers in the sciences.

Most recently, video of a commencement speech he gave in 1998 was unearthed, and in it Carson contradicted the consensus among historians that the Egyptian pyramids were built as tombs for pharaohs and stated that he believed that they were, in fact, built by Joseph to store grain. (On the plus side, at least he said he didn't believe that aliens had anything to do with their construction.) His reasoning was—shall we say?—not convincing.

As a physician and a surgeon, I never cease to be amazed at how brilliant physicians, who are so knowledgeable and skilled at medicine, can be so irredeemably ignorant about topics not related to medicine, and even, as was the case with Ben Carson's dubious cancer cure testimonial for Mannatech, medical topics not related to their specific specialty. Indeed, Andy Borowitz nailed it well when portrayed Carson as "shattering the stereotype about brain surgeons being smart."

Or did he?

I was prodded to revisit this topic in a more general fashion first by Ben Carson's latest bomb of uncritical thinking (which shows that he's been the way he is for a long time, as the speech was from 1998), but also because Steve Novella brought it up as well. (It also helps that my last two posts have gotten crazy traffic for some reason, and I need, as Mr. Creosote was offered, a little wafer to cleanse the palate.) As much as I respect Steve, who, as usual, makes some most excellent points, as he asked (and tried to answer) the question, "How can one person be undeniably brilliant in one sphere of their intellectual life, and shockingly ignorant and anti-intellectual in other spheres?" regular followers of this blog know that there's always more that I can add when the mood takes me.

Before I begin, let me just say that I'm aware that, because of Carson's reputation as a brilliant neurosurgeon, certain activists on the left have been trying to discredit that reputation by dredging up malpractice cases that Carson has been involved in over the years. I've described these articles on Facebook as a cheap shot and intellectually dishonest, because they are. They examine Carson's record and compare it to physicians in general. Yet, according to a recent New England Journal of Medicine study, the most sued specialty is neurosurgery, with 19% of neurosurgeons per year being involved with at least one malpractice suit and roughly 99% of neurosurgeons being sued at least once before they retire. Comparing Carson's record to the record of the average doctor is a purposely deceptive comparison of apples and oranges. Carson's record should be compared to the records of neurosurgeons practicing in urban areas and doing high risk surgery of the sort that Carson did. Also the article only tells one side of the story, the plaintiffs', taking advantage of the fact that the hospital and Carson can't comment because of patient privacy concerns.

End of diversion.

Let's get back to the question of how someone as brilliant as Carson, who went to Yale University and attended medical school at the University of Michigan Medical School, followed by a neurosurgery residency at Johns Hopkins, can be so dense about so many things.

Steve is correct that Carson's brilliance as a neurosurgeon is not a contradiction, that we all share cognitive blindspots like his. All of us believe things without evidence, things that we find hard to let go of, even in the face of disconfirming evidence. This is undeniably true. I wouldn't, however, agree that Carson is a "perfect representation of humanity," for the simple reason that I think he represents an outlier, someone way on the end of the bell-shaped curve if you will. Most people don't hold dogmatically to so many bad ideas, or at least assert so many demonstrably incorrect ideas. Those who do tend to fall prey to crankery, like antivaccine activists, creationists, quacks, anti-GMO activists, and anthropogenic global climate change denialists. Carson clearly falls into this category, but why?

There appear to be two reasons, which Carson seems to exhibit in abundance. First, of course, is the Dunning-Kruger effect. This is a phenomenon in which humans with low expertise in a subject tend to overestimate their expertise in the subject and exhibit undue confidence in that expertise, which tends to be in marked contrast to real experts, who tend to underestimate their expertise on the subject and acknowledge a lot more uncertainty because, well, they know the limits of their knowledge. Physicians tend to be very prone to the Dunning-Kruger effect, for many reasons. Think about it. Medical school is very difficult to get into; so most doctors were excellent students all their lives before they became doctors. Once they get into medical school, they are not infrequently told how they are the "best of the best" and how they represent the future of medicine. I share one trait in common with Dr. Carson, and that's that I, too, graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School, and I still remember being told that on day one. I'd say that in some ways it's getting even worse. There was no such thing as a "white coat ceremony" at my medical school when I started, but these days most medical schools have a ceremony where the new class of students don their white coats as a symbol of the profession they are about to enter. I've never liked white coat ceremonies. Add to that residency, which, even after the 80 hour work week restrictions, is still like boot camp, designed to emphasize that we are tough enough to be physicians, and the sense that we are somehow "better" than the rest of society is reinforced.

Another issue is the privilege of physicians. Medical students might be at the bottom rung of the totem pole in the hospital, but they are told that they will soon be top dogs. And so they become top dogs. It's true that medical practice has become more collaborative over my time practicing surgery. Doctors are no longer the unquestioned kings (and queens) of the roost. However, they still hold enormous power and privilege in the hospital. That's not even counting the privilege that we as physicians are granted to probe the deepest secrets of our patients, administer medicine, and even, as surgeons do, forcibly rearrange people's anatomy for therapeutic intent. We get to see the innermost recesses of our patients' bodies. It's an incredible privilege that society has granted us. That privilege is reinforced by our being consulted not just for our expertise but by the assumption held by many that because we are experts in medicine we must be experts in a lot of other things too.

It's not surprising, then, that physicians might come to overestimate their ability to master another discipline, at least well enough to pontificate confidently on it. Of course we can! We're doctors! We made it through the ringer that is medical school, residency, and board certification. Just give me enough time and enough Google and we can learn anything! Is it any wonder that physicians are particularly prone to the Dunning-Kruger effect? Not to me, at least not any more. The same seems to be true of many other high-achieving people. There's a reason that most leaders in the antivaccine movement tend to be affluent, highly educated people. J.B. Handley, for instance, is a successful businessman who has basically said that he doesn't need to listen to us pointy-headed scientists and physicians; he's learned what he needs to learn about vaccines causing autism himself.

It's also correct that holding conspiracy beliefs and believing in pseudoscience do not mean that a person is stupid. Most people who hold such beliefs are not. In fact, thanks to the phenomenon of motivated reasoning, in which attacks on people's beliefs result in their clinging to them more tightly and where facts and evidence are used not to find the truth but to protect pre-existing views, it is often very intelligent people who are the most vocal proponents of pseudoscience. Their intelligence gives them a more potent skill set to protect their pre-existing beliefs against refutation than possessed by people of average or lower intelligence. Indeed, many of the people most invested in "integrating" alternative medicine (i.e., quackery) into medicine are incredibly intelligent physicians.

Every human being on the planet has the potential to believe the same nonsense that Ben Carson believes, and, make no mistake, his mass of pseudoscientific and conspiracy theory beliefs is enormous. In addition to his belief in Mannatech quackery, Carson believes that Barack Obama is part of a Communist conspiracy to bring down America, that gay rights is a Communist plot, and, of course, that the theory of evolution comes from Satan. Skepticism begins with recognizing this and having the humility to recognize that we all believe things without evidence. That's part of being human. Fortunately, once we recognize this, we can begin to test our beliefs against evidence and science and determine which ones are supported and which ones aren't. Most importantly, this testing must involve seeking out disconfirming evidence; otherwise we risk devolving into motivated reasoning, cherry picking evidence that supports our beliefs and discounting evidence that does not. We must be willing to change our minds when the evidence does not support our beliefs. It's a continuous, lifelong process.

Indeed, what disturbs me the most about Ben Carson is not that he holds these beliefs, although that certainly does disturb me. It's that he doesn't show any evidence of being willing to examine his own beliefs critically. He dismisses expert opinions and, when questioned, doubles down on previous inane statements. The only time he seems to change his mind is to pander, as he did when he reversed his support for school vaccine mandates at the first Republican debate. None of these are characteristics I want in my next President, regardless of politics. I've often quoted Dirty Harry that "a man's got to know his limitations." Think of skepticism as a tool to help us know our limitations with respect to knowledge and science.

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Could it be that exposure to brain tissue during surgery provides a path for a currently unknown pathogen to infect neurosurgeons, producing a dumbing-down infection?

This would explain not only Ben Carson, but also Michael Egnor and Russell Blaylock's forays into inanity.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

With the recent report on CNN that Dr. Carson may have fabricated important aspects of his childhood, I have to wonder what might happen if he actually gets to be president. The thought makes me cringe.

I understand about false memories and that he may not be lying, but, perhaps instead, this may be a form of confabulation, but he is way over the top with everything that is disturbing about human personalities.

I have the same feelings about most of the rest of the republican field and about everyone who has a prayer of getting the Republican nomination.

By Michael Finfe, MD (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

This is why everyone needs statistics. Statistics, used properly, is a tool to help you see what's really there instead of what you want to see, to get around the human brain's tendency to imagine patterns where no patterns truly exist.

Of course, knowing how to do statistics, even knowing it well, isn't enough. You also have to choose to critically examine your own beliefs. While it's not practical to examine every belief you hold all the time, definitely do it when you realize that a large number of relevant experts disagree with you.

By Young CC Prof (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

If you want to know the solution to ALL the worlds problems, spend some time in a hospital doctors dining room. Dunning Kruger indeed.

By Mark Crislip (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

A politician, intelligent or not, must pay attention to numbers. And skeptics are a tiny minority. Even in science, most people are guided by authority, not reason. I know a surgeon who is proud of having co-authored a paper in NEJM, even after it has been shown to be meaningless.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

My wife and I went to listen to Dr. Carson at a college in PA a few years ago. He was fire and brimstone. He talked about institutionalized racism and how minorities were at a continuous disadvantage in many settings no matter how hard they tried to work. Yes, he hit on a lot of conservative ideas that were far-right, but he was also far-left in others.
I have the feeling that he is playing to the crowd, and I probably am not far off given how other presidential candidates behave in the primaries. As a middle-of-the-road voter, that is what turns me off about politics. That they are willing to lie, cheat and steal to win is very telling.
He's campaigning on not being a politician, but he's very much getting on-the-job training as such and is basically applying for a job as one. He's all cool, calm and collected right now because that seems to be what far-right voters want to see in a Black man. Raise his voice and attend a social rally and he's a "community agitator" like Obama. Stay quiet and with a calm demeanor and he's a "real Black man" according to Rupert Murdoch.
Finally, in my current adventure of trying to get this doctoral degree, I have met some very brilliant people who have some weird ways of looking at the world and/or say the most dumbfounding things. The ability to earn and hold a degree, and work on a brain, doesn't mean that your judgment is not subject to all the fallacies of being human.

If you want to know the solution to ALL the worlds problems, spend some time in a hospital doctors dining room. Dunning Kruger indeed.

Yes, it would be so much easier if the powers that be just turned over the running of the world to physicians. We can fix it better than Jeb. :-)

Ren also makes a good point. For whatever reason, Carson has apparently decided that there is no penalty for lying. He told the most blatant lie when he said he didn't have a relationship with Mannatech, and, other than Politifact calling the statement false and some grumbling here and there, he was right; he did suffer no penalty.

I believe that Carson once may have been an intelligent man, but he isn't any longer, and hasn't been since probably 1990. I suspect he may have dementia, or the tension of holding religious beliefs while trying to be scientific finally broke him, as it will break many other doctors and scientists.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

"It’s also correct that holding conspiracy beliefs and believing in pseudoscience do not mean that a person is stupid."

Orac, I really appreciate that you made this point in the last few paragraphs. It's very easy for us, the scientific practitioners who enjoy and learn from this blog, to ridicule the quacks and fearmongers that we are up against. So much better to get inside their thought processes and egos, and explain in a fact-based manner that they are wrong. Thanks for helping me understand this apparent paradox. Maybe

By KidsDrDave (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

Orac, I think that intelligence and skill or expertise (knowledge) are two very different thing. You can learn a whole lot on a topic and master it but be the dumbest of the dumb. Worse, i can lead you to the the arrogance of ignorance as you said (because you are good at something, you must be good at everything).

Education is one thing, but admitting that you don't know is way harder. It's way, way harder. And, in my opinion, it's where intelligence is : when you know that you don"t know and then that you have to think about it. It allow you to have no prior bias, and then you can think critically.

You can be brillant in one field, but that's not what makes you intelligent (it makes you good at it). You can be good student and not be intelligent

So people like Carson are dumb because they don't know that they don"t know. We are all a bit dumb (more or less), but when you add the fact that you are brillant at something you might became even more dumb.

"...the opinion of experts, when unanimous, must be accepted by non-experts as more likely to be right than the opposite opinion" - Bertrand Russell
Unanimity is unlikely in practical terms so I am happy with overwhelming (or even significant) consensus. And real experts by the way, no Google scholarly opinions count.

@ Chris Hickie:

I never knew that that pyramid was lit like that and was actually shocked when I flew into LV at night!

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

Chris@1: And they have this handy parking spot for their flying saucers nearby. I've never seen that pyramid at night (the only times I have ever been in Las Vegas was to change planes), but it is visible from at least one of the concourses at McCarran International Airport.

I've heard a couple of notions as to where Dr. Carson may have gotten the idea that the pyramids were for grain storage. One is that medieval scholars, who didn't know better (archeology hadn't been invented yet), thought that was their purpose. The other possibility is that Dr. Carson has spent too much time playing video games: in Civilization II, if you build the Great Pyramids wonder, you get a free granary in all of your cities.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

Unfortunately it is not head scratching claims such as those noted above by Orac but the fact that he lied about being offered a scholarship to West Point that will get people's attention.

With the recent report on CNN that Dr. Carson may have fabricated important aspects of his childhood

Yes, there is the fact that none of the people who knew the young Ben Carson could corroborate any of the stories he told about his "wild youth."
There are the numerous things he's said about evolution, the Big Bang, homosexuality, and history, that are easily shown to be completely false with under ten minutes of checking.
Now we know he made up his story about the offer of a scholarship to West Point.
The answer to his question "Do you think I'm a pathological liar?" would seem to be obvious.

@Dangerous Bacon #2:

Could it be that exposure to brain tissue during surgery provides a path for a currently unknown pathogen to infect neurosurgeons, producing a dumbing-down infection?

That's an interesting hypothesis. Of course, you would only be able to test it by taking several samples from the brains of each of the people you mentioned. In the interests of science, I think they should volunteer to help.

By Rich Woods (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

@ Eric and Denise #14/15: I thought all the grain was for when the dead rose and were all really hungry entombed pyramid-dwelling zombies just waiting for Brendan Fraser to free them. That's a long time and how sad they weren't left a more paleo diet for the last few thousand years

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

@Eric Lund #15:

The other possibility is that Dr. Carson has spent too much time playing video games: in Civilization II, if you build the Great Pyramids wonder, you get a free granary in all of your cities.

By Civ IV, it changes to grant knowledge of all forms of government and the ability to swap from one to another without penalty. It doesn't seem to have been working for Cairo these last few years...

By Rich Woods (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

Carson believes that Barack Obama is part of a Communist conspiracy to bring down America, that gay rights is a Communist plot, and, of course, that the theory of evolution comes from Satan

I am not convinced that Carson believes, in a meaningful way, in anything. He is not concerned with the truth or falsity of statements, only in their operational value -- what does the audience want to be told?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

A politician, intelligent or not, must pay attention to numbers

Really? A number of presidential candidates -- Carson among them -- have spoken on taxation and budgetary issues, and it became clear that they do not pay attention to numbers; they have only contempt for numbers.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

I agree withthis thesis and I would direct everyone's attention - including our author - to the work of Micheal Shermer Who in his book and talks lays bare this phenomenon. And there is a subset of why very smart people can believe very wierd things. It goes along to what I think are the self-imposed limits of intelligence - the amazing ability of very smart people to convince themselves of very wierd and sometimes very dumb things. They are literally smart enough to baffle themselves

By Chet Morrison (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

I am not convinced that Carson believes, in a meaningful way, in anything. He is not concerned with the truth or falsity of statements, only in their operational value — what does the audience want to be told?

I disagree. There's plenty of evidence that Carson believed wacky conspiracy theories before he ever decided to run for President—and that he really believes them:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/09/ben-carson-conspiracy-theor…

I think there is one very point that Dr. Novella makes clear in his blog post that Orac hints at, and that is the fact that well all suffer from Dunning-Kruger. It is easy for those of us who identify as skeptics to think that only other people are bad at assessing their knowledge of a subject, but we all have a tendency to fall for these errors of thinking. Skepticism and science are the best tools we currently have to fight these cognitive biases.

"Hints at"? I downright said that all humans suffer to varying degrees from D-K and that I just viewed Ben Carson as an outlier on the bell-shaped curve of D-K tendencies in humans. :-)

"With the recent report on CNN that Dr. Carson may have fabricated important aspects of his childhood"

There are also questions being raised over his West Point story.

With the recent report on CNN that Dr. Carson may have fabricated important aspects of his childhood

I’ve heard a couple of notions as to where Dr. Carson may have gotten the idea that the pyramids were for grain storage.

But what was the sphinx for?

Not that anybody really has a definitive answer to that one. However, it is right there, smack-dab on the Giza plateau, cheek by jowl with the pyramids.You kind of can't miss it, in fact. And it's just not very obviously explicable in the context of grain storage.

I believe Carson stated he was offered a scholarship to West Point. In reality a cadet is not on a scholarship but is appointed to the academy. If you accept the appointment you are then a cadet officer in the army. Carson is old enough that if he had accepted the appointment; he would have had a obligatory term of military service (type on whether he graduated or not). Now days the obligatory service takes place after your second year.

But what was the sphinx for?
To scare giant mice away from the granaries.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

Personally, I don't think Carson is lying about this. I think he really remembers it this way. Memory, as we have learned, is not like a movie of the past, It's easily molded and distorted by later experiences. What I suspect happened is that Carson really did meet Gen. Westmoreland and was thinking about applying for West Point but for whatever reason never did. Then, over the years, he forgot that he had just considered applying and came to remember that he had applied and been offered a scholarship. It happens all the time because our memories of events are easily molded and frequently evolve over time.

If you want to know the solution to ALL the worlds problems, spend some time in a hospital doctors dining room. Dunning Kruger indeed.

No. My husband belongs to a country club. There are plenty of non-physicians there who are capable of solving all of the world's problems too.

Also, too, Jacob-Kreutzfeldt.

Orac apparently is a surgeon specializing in oncology and also has a PhD in cellular physiology.
Yet he seems to present himself as an expert advocate in OTHER areas - such as evolution, climate change, GMOs.

Make me think of a quote I saw recently:

“I make a distinction between intellectuals and people of intellectual achievement. . . .
An intellectual feeds on indignation and really can’t get by without it. The perfect example is Noam Chomsky. When Chomsky was merely the most exciting and most looked-to and, in many ways, the most profound linguist in this country if not the world, he was never spoken of as an American intellectual. Here was a man of intellectual achievement. He was not considered an intellectual until he denounced the war in Vietnam, which he knew nothing about. Then he became one of America’s leading intellectuals. He remains one until this day, which finally has led to my definition of an intellectual: *An intellectual is a person who is knowledgeable in one field but speaks out only in others.*”
-Tom Wolfe

By See Noevo (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

There are also questions being raised over his West Point story.

It's possible that he met with Westmoreland when he says, but it doesn't appear likely.

Other than that, looks to me like the questions have been settled. His campaign concedes that he did not apply to West Point, wasn't offered a scholarship to attend it, and couldn't have been offered a full scholarship, because West Point doesn't offer them.

I don't think he's really trying to get elected president anyway. But if he were, this would be a problem for him.

It’s possible that he met with Westmoreland when he says, but it doesn’t appear likely.

I'm given to understand that the Pentagon records show Westmoreland to be somewhere other than Detroit at the time.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

Can anyone out there help me with something that’s in the news about Ben Carson - specifically, where it was that he ever stated that he had *actually applied* to West Point?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

@Orac --

I don't think he's wittingly lying about any of it. He probably just sees conversion/redemption myth as a higher form of truth than truth. So that's the truth he tells.

But exaggerating your military credentials is politically problematic. So while the West Point thing is not fatal, it's also not great.

In conventional terms, anyway. But these days, who knows.

@hdb --

Well, OK. Fine. But what about the aliens? Why did they build the sphinx?

SN find Carson's autobiography

Yet he seems to present himself as an expert advocate in OTHER areas – such as evolution, climate change, GMOs.

Except that I never presented myself as an expert in these areas. I have, however, become about as knowledgeable in some of them as a non-expert can become. Because of that, I know what the scientific consensus is on these issues and a fair amount about why the consensus is what it is. I also accept the scientific consensus because it is more likely to be closer to the truth than the opinions of cranks.

See:

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/12/27/skepticism-and-the-scienti…

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/03/24/hostility-towards-a-scient…

I know a person who spoke at some length to Carson at a Washington gala fundraiser, or something, before he became famous. This person is an extremely intelligent and accomplished black intellectual.

His verdict was that Carson is "an idiot" in any field of knowledge outside of his subspecialty.

By palindrom (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

@#38 --

He said, repeatedly and unambiguously, in print, that he was offered a full scholarship to West Point, as you can see for yourself right here.

No school offers scholarships to students who haven't applied. Furthermore, West Point does not charge tuition.

Still yet furthermore, no candidate, however ideal, can be certain of acceptance to West Point without applying and being accepted. It has an acceptance rate of 9%. So his confidence in that is a little unseemly, as well as more than a little disrespectful to those who were accepted and did attend, and serve.

Shorter version: Even if he's never explicitly said that he applied, it wouldn't help him. What he did say would still be both false and inaccurate.

If what he meant was that he could have gotten a service nomination to West Point via ROTC, but chose not to pursue it because he wanted to be a doctor, he could have said so.

Being a physician and/or scientist lends a degree of crediblity to one's statements on medical/scientific matters outside one's field of expertise ONLY to the extent one uses understanding of the scientific method and critical thinking skills to analyze those matters.

It always amazes me how alties readily dismiss a vast array of educated, expert analysis that runs counter to their beliefs, yet worship at the altar of the "expert" credentials of a handful of people who agree with them.

"Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon, so he's gotta have the dope on all these other issues!"
"Suzanne Humphries is a nephrologist, so she knows all about vaccines!"

Nope. When you don't use your brains outside that one narrow area, you might as well be Mike Adams.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

Carson claimed he was told people would arrange for him to "get a scholarship" at West Point. A spokesman for West Point points out there is no such thing as a scholarship to West Point.

Carson and his supporters say that sometime between May 23rd and 26th, 1969, he met with General William Westmoreland.
Army records show that General Westmoreland was not in Detroit during the time the claimed meeting occurred. He was there in February.
This, with his other lies, especially his blatant lies about never having a relationship with Mannatech, should be enough to trash him with his supporters. But, since they are tea baggers, like the resident troll sn, lies don't matter when they come from their people, only when they imagine others have told them.

As a physician who shares Orac's specialty, I also share his amazement and embarrassment that such people as Carson can have been so skilled (evidently) in his chosen field and so clueless in virtually everything else. Further, it's remarkable that of the many Republican physicians in Congress, virtually all are climate change deniers, rejecters of evolution, and, in the case of one, claimers that science is from the gates of hell.

I understand the connection between right-wing extremism and religious fundamentalism, but I have a hard time understanding how a physician can so fundamentally misunderstand what the scientific method is all about. I've concluded that one can get by in medicine, even to a fairly high level, with rote knowledge alone. I can memorize the Krebs cycle, for example, without either understanding or caring how it was discovered and confirmed.

By Sid Schwab (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

You know, I was invited to apply to West Point on the basis of my PSAT scores in such flattering terms that it made admission seem all but guaranteed.

I don't know if colleges still even send letters like that. However, they did then. And that was the very first one I ever got, so I was thrilled I had someplace to go.

But do you see me going around saying I was offered a full scholarship to West Point? No, you do not.

And you know why? Because I've learned something about the world since I was 16.

Yet, the virtuous, wise, responsible and trustworthy Ben Carson is trying to lay all the blame for his blatantly false statement on the media. And his base is eating it up.

Always the victims, it's never their fault.

Sorry.

/off-topic.

Every time Carson opens his mouth, the wacky gets turned up a notch. The latest is his response to the question of whether someone with no experience in politics or knowledge of it's inner workings, is qualified to be president. Carson's replies were blatant defences of the Dunning-Kruger effect AND the omnipotence of surgeons.

On DK: "It is important to remember that amateurs built the Ark and it was the professionals that built the Titanic."

On surgeons: "Neurosurgery is considerably more complex than politics... They’re not even close in terms of the things that are required in order to be able to do them. You don’t need to know nearly as much to be able to maneuver in the political world as you do in the operating room inside of somebody’s brain. "

Pundit Jonathan Chait has tried to resolve Carson's apparent super-smart/super-dumb contradictions by positing he's brilliantly scamming the Teapers, having no desire to actually become President, but rather to establish his 'brand' as a richly-compensated conservative-media superstar (e.g. Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich...): "the most likely explanation for his behavior is that Carson himself is in this thing to make a lot of money." That's possible, I suppose, but I doubt it. Methinks Chait doesn't get the 'surgeon effect' thing.

Re: #47 --

I don't want to misspeak. It might have been an invitation to consider applying, technically. I just remember that it flattered me into thinking I'd get in.

You know, I was invited to apply to West Point on the basis of my PSAT scores in such flattering terms that it made admission seem all but guaranteed.

Yah, I recall at least a letter from Annapolis, but after I took the ASVAB, a number of recruiters came calling, so I don't know at this point whether there was anything more on that front.

@sadmar --

That he's got a business rather than a campaign manager is suggestive. But the fundraising is closer to telling. So while it's not 100% conclusive, I'm inclined to agree with Chait.

It's not an unprecedented thing. Ron Paul did it repeatedly. I mean, he was definitely building a political organization. But his campaign slogan practically could have been "I turned down the pension, now invest in my retirement." He wasn't really running for president.

Ann @47:
I got some letters like that (never form West Point) when I was applying to colleges. "Come pick your room!" Places I'd never even heard of, let alone applied to. It's very flattering when you're 17, but I wouldn't ever say that it means that I am a brilliant adult or professional.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

@JustaTech --

As you say.

For one thing, there's a reason why West Point has a much higher drop-out rate than Yale. So even if he had been somehow been certain of acceptance, he still shouldn't be talking about it like it proves he has the right stuff.

Plus his stated reason for not going is somewhat less than rock-solid. Some graduates do go straight from West Point to medical school. So he could have been a doctor. He just avoided having to serve as one.

Don’t forget that Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist, and a devout one at that. Do some reading on that church and you’ll have a better idea of what a disconnect there is for any fundamentalist/doctor to live in both of those worlds.

Once anyone buys into fundamentalist religion (or any religion sometimes), they are capable of constructing almost any kind of belief system that hits their radar. They are taught to ignore what they hear in science class and just regurgitate the “lies” for the test.

By darwinslapdog (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

Enjoyed very much the movie made of Carson's life a few years back. But seen in light of his political office bid, I see it for the slick propaganda piece that it really is.

By Imnobodywhoru (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

JustaTech@52

I got some letters like that (never form West Point) when I was applying to colleges. “Come pick your room!”

I actually chose my school based on a phone call. They didn't promise a scholarship but said I would most likely get the highest academic scholarship they had, so that kind of thing isn't too far-fetched. What I actually cared about was that they didn't require an essay ;)

My brother and sister had the same experience with getting letters. Nothing to brag about, I think it's just what happens for anyone with good ACT or SAT scores.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

The Carson case is trending in Canada. Incredibly, he continues to believe the great pyramids of Egypt were built by Joseph as graineries:

"My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain," he told the audience. "Now all the archeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs' graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don't think it'd just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain."

Like the founders of Andrews University, Carson is a Seventh-day Adventist. He also appears to favour a literalist view of the Book of Genesis, in which Joseph, one of Jacob's 12 sons, stores enough grain to feed Egypt during seven years of drought.

Carson said that the design of the pyramids is evidence they were intended to store grain for a long period of time, as Joseph may have done in the biblical story.

Asked by CBS News this week if he still believes the pyramids are ancient grain silos, he said, "It's still my belief, yes."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/trending/ben-carson-pyramids-for-grain-not-phara…

By Lighthorse (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

To ann #43:

“No school offers scholarships to students who haven’t applied."

Really?
So, when, for instance, multiple college recruiters descend upon the home of a high school football star offering him the “world”, including, of course, a “full ride”, they do so ONLY after the kid has duly completed applications to each of their schools, some of which he may never have heard of?

I’ll ask again, can anyone out there help me with something that’s in the news about Ben Carson – specifically, where it was that he ever stated that he had *actually applied* to West Point?

“Still yet furthermore, no candidate, however ideal, can be certain of acceptance to West Point without applying and being accepted. It has an acceptance rate of 9%.”

I think the acceptance rate would be a lot higher for the individuals who *West Point approaches*, as opposed to the individuals who approach WP.

“So his confidence in that is a little unseemly, as well as more than a little disrespectful to those who were accepted and did attend, and serve.”

So, Ben Carson now disrespects the military! Well done, ann.

“Shorter version: Even if he’s never explicitly said that he applied, it wouldn’t help him. What he did say would still be both false and inaccurate.”

Highly arguable that it was false and inaccurate. But speaking of false and inaccurate, can you or anyone out there direct me to the scathing ScienceBlog articles attacking Hillary Clinton’s many lies, including, off the top of my head:
-Her explanation for why she was named “Hillary” (hint: Think the guy who mounted Everest six years after Hillary was born.)
-Her brave landing under a hail of sniper fire in Bosnia in 1996 (Seems to be a hard thing to mis-remember, don’t you think?).

By See Noevo (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

This here statement from a West Point spokesperson...

"I wouldn't find that odd, that a general would pursue a discussion to kind of talk to him and say, 'Do you know what West Point would offer you?' And if you're using general terminology to a 17-year-old, I could see how you would call them scholarships. We don't use that terminology, (but) I could see how that could occur," Brinkerhoff said.

...is the closest thing to an honest defense that can be made.

But as I said, if those are the terms, I'd be fully entitled to say "I was offered a full scholarship to West Point. I didn't refuse the scholarship outright, but that's because I was too busy lying around putting tiny art-deco appliques on my fingernails and listening.to Bootsy's Rubber Band."

Or words to that effect. And the reason I don't is that as an adult, I'm sufficiently oriented to reality and worldly wise to grasp that I was not (in fact) offered a full scholarship to West Point, as well as honest enough to care.

He can keep pitching you're-not-being-fair fits whenever it comes up. But that hardly makes him look more like a responsible grown-up. There is simply no way it's not a false, misleading and inaccurate statement. He was not offered a full scholarship to West Point.

I didn't see that SN had posted before I submitted that.

It's not a response to him. I'm not reading or replying to his comments.

Or this thread. Zero tolerance.

I actually chose my school based on a phone call.

When it came down to the last two of those which accepted me, I chose based on the conflicting recommendations of two English teachers.

The loser was the one who thought that The Lord of the Flies was really deep. The winner had us reading Antigone.

Given all the main stream media’s distortions and lies about the West Point thing, perhaps Ben Carson’s “trustworthiness” numbers will drop.
Before this week, I think Ben’s were at or near the top,
while Hillary Clinton’s were at the bottom.
In fact, I think Hillary was in negative territory, with a glaring 24-percentage point gap between those saying she’s NOT trustworthy/honest and those saying she is (i.e. 59% vs 35%).

Do any of you foresee Ben dropping to Hillary levels?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

What a "nuanced" difference a couple hours can make.

Politico’s headline at 11:29 this morning:
“Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point scholarship”

Politico’s UPDATED headline at 5:32 this evening:
“Exclusive: Carson claimed West Point 'scholarship' but never applied”

By See Noevo (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

I'm just suspending my flounce for long enough to add that he's given at least five different accounts of that time he went to stab a guy and broke the blade on his belt buckle.

In the three where he stabs his friend over a fight about radio stations, the differences are comparatively minor. But in the other two, he either stabs a stranger who was pestering him for racial and socioeconomic reasons, or a classmate who came up and started ridiculing him when he was minding his own business.

And that's just not the same story.

Needless to say, when questioned about this, Carson says:

Waaah! I know you are but what am I? Backsies!

Sorry. I meant: When questioned about this Carson says:

“Those claims are absolutely true,” Carson told Kelly of both the stabbing story and a separate incident in which he says he tried to hit his mother with a hammer. “This is simply an attempt to smear and to deflect the argument to something else. Something that we’ve seen many, many times before. I never used the true names of people in books, to protect the innocent. That’s something people have done for decades, for centuries.”

He added that he’d spoken to “Bob” today and “they were not anxious to be revealed. It was a close relative of mine. I didn’t want to put their lives under the spotlight.”

Which would make perfect sense if only (a) people who changed identifying details to protect the innocent didn't, out of integrity, disclose that they were doing so; and (b) it was necessary to conceal the identity of your close relative by turning him into a random stranger who was harassing you for racial and socioeconomic reasons.

As it is, not so much.

I'm now re-flouncing.

He can keep pitching you’re-not-being-fair fits whenever it comes up. But that hardly makes him look more like a responsible grown-up. There is simply no way it’s not a false, misleading and inaccurate statement. He was not offered a full scholarship to West Point.

Correct - especially when a spokesman from West Point has stated they don't offer scholarships.
Carson is simply used to never being questioned on his lies, because the people to whom he appeals don't care about them.
It isn't that this story is the first massive lie he's told, because 30 seconds of fact checking his other statements shows he's been telling whoppers for several years. It's caught attention because it involves the military. In a sane world it would be enough to damage him - but in a sane world his previous behavior would have prevented him from being considered a viable candidate.

See Noevo is kind of adorable, actually, mainly because he seems to think that a man with absolutely no tether to reality, no actual knowledge, and no experience will take the White House. I look forward to seeing Hilary (one L, btw) womp whichever Know Nothing moron people like SN think best represent them. The general election is there for a reason.

Regarding that whole email/private server thing with another candidate…

“… I have been advised that any breach of this Agreement may result in my termination of my access to [Sensitive Compartmented Information or SCI] and removal from a position of special confidence and trust requiring such access, as well as the termination of my employment or other relationships with any Department or Agency that provides me with access to SGI. In addition, I have been advised that any unauthorized disclosure of SGI by me may constitute violations of United States criminal laws, including…”
Signed,
Hillary R. Clinton, 1/22/09

http://freebeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/HRC-SCI-NDA1.pdf

Whew! Thank goodness it didn’t say a breach would terminate her dreams of the presidency!

By See Noevo (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

In France, Ben Carson's CV would require hard work, manual skills, a lot of energy, boldness, and the ability to manipulate people, but does not require intelligence, consistent with Palindrom's account. And politicians are better at manipulating people than at using their intelligence to address questions.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

Re #66…

ann, archbishop of Flounce, has spoken.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

To damien of Reality #68:

“I look forward to seeing Hilary (one L, btw)…”

In what reality is that one-L Hilary?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

"You all should stop pointing out how Ben Carson lied because Hillary lied too!" See Noevo shouts at the spectators. "And besides! Where does he say 'Me, Ben Carson, actually applied to West Point" Nowhere! That's where! So his admission that he was misspoke means nothing! He's never lied! Never!"

From the Wall Street Journal:

In his 1990 autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” Mr. Carson writes of a Yale psychology professor who told Mr. Carson, then a junior, and the other students in the class—identified by Mr. Carson as Perceptions 301—that their final exam papers had “inadvertently burned,” requiring all 150 students to retake it. The new exam, Mr. Carson recalled in the book, was much tougher. All the students but Mr. Carson walked out.

“The professor came toward me. With her was a photographer for the Yale Daily News who paused and snapped my picture,” Mr. Carson wrote. “ ‘A hoax,’ the teacher said. ‘We wanted to see who was the most honest student in the class.’ ” Mr. Carson wrote that the professor handed him a $10 bill.

Then she took him to a magical land with tap-dancing penguins where they rode on a merry-go-round and ate ice cream.

She has since passed away and the photographer has been missing at sea for more than thirty years. So you'll just have to take Carson's word for that.

No photo identifying Mr. Carson as a student ever ran, according to the Yale Daily News archives, and no stories from that era mention a class called Perceptions 301. Yale Librarian Claryn Spies said Friday there was no psychology course by that name or class number during any of Mr. Carson’s years at Yale.

Yeah, but he just spoke to "Perceptions 301" today, and it was not anxious to be revealed.

Plus, it's difficult to see how such an incident would demonstrate honesty.to begin with. But never mind.

Damien @#68

HRC’s name definitely has TWO l’s.

By darwinslapdog (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

Motivated reasoning is so attractive -- and so easy if you compartmentalize. Acquiring and developing intellectual virtues and applying them to every aspect of your life is quite another thing altogether.

I suspect that early on Carson made a simple error in his approach to learning that has grown into the weirdness we now see playing out on the national stage.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

ann@75
I never knew his autobiography was titled "Gifted Hands". Talk about pompous.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

Allow me to put on my Liberal/MSM/MSNBC tin foil hat…

Orac and ann and all these other white people here attacking black Ben Carson.
Obviously, racism is at play.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

Thank you, SN, and thank you DL, for correcting me. My beliefs were demonstrably wrong, and now, having been shown the error of my ways, I will conform my beliefs to what the evidence shows.

SN, you care to join me? Or are you still preeeeeetty sure that Ben Carson was offered a scholarship to a school that doesn't offer scholarships by a man who wasn't even in his state at the time?

To Damien #80:

No, I won’t join you.
A “scholarship” is just a word for a college or college sponsor providing a student partial or full tuition coverage.
Prior to this week, if you had asked me whether West Point provided scholarships, I probably would have said ‘I think so. Why not?’ As would the great majority of Americans, I think.

The fact that WP doesn’t actually provide “scholarships”, but rather provides “appointments”, doesn’t take away from the fact that the appointment is a “free ride”, just like a scholarship.

And if you have a perfect memory of the conversations, events, and timing of things that happened nearly 50 years ago, congratulations. Maybe YOU should run for president. Or for God.

Are you preeeeeetty sure that 2-L Hillary wasn’t lying/fabricating about landing under a hail of sniper fire in Bosnia in 1996? Seems to be a hard thing to mis-remember, don’t you think?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

Sn, the only thing that can be said about you is that not only is your own ability to tell a lie amazing, your ability to lie about the lies other creationists say is amazing.

No intelligent person would conflate the operating model for West Point with a scholarship. You are pathetic.

That's wringer not ringer. You might want to change that. God help us, it'll be tow the line next. :-)

To BobM #83:

An innocent mistake by Orac, I’m sure.

But it’s somewhat emblematic of a consistent trait of liberals: Lack of attention to detail. Or more precisely, deliberate disregard of detail that damages their dogmatic tales (e.g. on biological evolution, cosmological evolution, socialism).

Oh, occasionally some of the more ethical ones will fess up, when it’s unavoidable (e.g. http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2015/11/03/leading-theory-for-h…)

But usually not.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

capnkrunch @78 ---

I never knew his autobiography was titled “Gifted Hands”. Talk about pompous.

HIs hands apparently were extraordinarily skillful. His head, eh, maybe not so much.

By palindrom (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

It's pretty stunning that he was able to stand there at that press conference accusing the press of not asking why Obama's college records are sealed and righteously demanding that they tell him where the equivalence is when the answer to that is:

The equivalence is that we're also not asking why your college records are sealed, the reason for that being that everybody's are.

In short: He still lashes out when he gets angry, but not with hammers.

palindrom@58

HIs hands apparently were extraordinarily skillful. His head, eh, maybe not so much.

I don't doubt that, I just think it's rather narcissistic to go around calling yourself gifted. On second thought though, I think it's possible the editor or someone comes up with the title. But, it does fit it with the whole 'when everyone tells you you're this sh!t you start to believe it' idea.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

Did you hear me say anything remotely defensive of HilLary Clinton? She lied about that for no reason, and it was reasonable to hammer her for it....eight friggin years ago. please tell me if I'm wrong, but Ben Carson's lies, stupidity and borderline mentally ill pronouncements have nothing whatsoever to do with Hillary Clinton's lies, whatever they may be.

I'm not thrilled with her, by any stretch, but at least she's not going to be making policy based off the latest insanity from the voices in her head.

I don't know if you can understand this, but this lie about his "scholarship offer" from Gen. Westmoreland, and the other fabrications, aren't disqualifying on their own. It's his tenuous-at-best grasp of what qualifies as knowledge vs. what's delusion.

I think what you've missed is that while the stupid party has been galvanizing two demented amateurs for their standard-bearers, Democrats are at least fielding two if not three professional, capable candidates who will absolutely demolish the Republicans.

If you don't see that, then I suppose it's not merely Dr. Carson who needs a new tether to earth.

I don’t know if you can understand this, but this lie about his “scholarship offer” from Gen. Westmoreland, and the other fabrications, aren’t disqualifying on their own. It’s his tenuous-at-best grasp of what qualifies as knowledge vs. what’s delusion.

To me, the really serious problem is that he's insisting his informal association with West Point isn't an exaggeration (because media smear) but that his informal association with Mannatech is (because media smear).

It's also complete lunacy to claim that Obama and/or Hillary and/or anybody running for president isn't subjected to the same degree of scrutiny. The only difference is that most presidential candidates have a history of running for elected office and have been raked over the coals already.

They also usually have professionals vetting them in advance.

The real anomaly is Donald Trump. He can get away with anything, evidently. But he's practically never done anything except say whatever completely untrue thing crosses his mind. I think people are probably just overwhelmed.

It's also not great that he's completely unprepared for totally predictable challenges in an adversarial situation.

Given the job requirements of the presidency.

but Ben Carson’s lies, stupidity and borderline mentally ill pronouncements have nothing whatsoever to do with Hillary Clinton’s lies, whatever they may be.

I’m not thrilled with her, by any stretch, but at least she’s not going to be making policy based off the latest insanity from the voices in her head.

Didn't we just talk about this kind of thing?

On second thought though, I think it’s possible the editor or someone comes up with the title.

Sure; books publishing has a number of steps from acquisitions to production. But nobody's able to force a title on an author (and Gifted Hands was ghostwritten by Cecil Murphey in any event).

Just imagine what the subtitle might have been if it were Skyhorse.

Prior to this week, if you had asked me whether West Point provided scholarships, I probably would have said ‘I think so. Why not?’ As would the great majority of Americans, I think.

I'm not quite seeing how Carson is exonerated by the plausibility of his fabrication, or the number of people it would have fooled.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink
Prior to this week, if you had asked me whether West Point provided scholarships, I probably would have said ‘I think so. Why not?’ As would the great majority of Americans, I think.

I’m not quite seeing how Carson is exonerated by the plausibility of his fabrication, or the number of people it would have fooled.

This is spectacularly brain-dead even for S.N. What part of going to West Point is joining the Army is likely to be unrecognized by "the great majority of Americans"?

To Damien #88:

“Did you hear me say anything remotely defensive of HilLary Clinton? She lied about that for no reason, and it was reasonable to hammer her for it….eight friggin years ago. please tell me if I’m wrong, but Ben Carson’s lies, stupidity and borderline mentally ill pronouncements have nothing whatsoever to do with Hillary Clinton’s lies, whatever they may be.”

So, while you acknowledge Hillary lies, and lies while in a position of governmental power, you don’t have a problem with the lying, but rather have a problem with this stupidity and borderline mental illness, which you allege Ben suffers from.

What might be a policy decision of Ben as president which would be impacted by his “stupid/mentally-ill” views on pyramids, evolution, etc.?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

Haven’t read the body of her latest posts yet, but I see that
ann, archbishop of Flounce, is re-flouncing with a vengeance.

ann of a thousand words, but not ann of her word.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

It is a little amusing to see the defenders of carson, including the local completely inept troll sn, flail around in their attempts to change the subject to anything else: claims that other candidates haven't been put to the same scrutiny, or that the fact that a post about Carson's repeated blatantly false stories doesn't include equally scathing comments about (fill in the blank) means that the people discussing Carson must support (fill in the blank).

There is a very simple way around having the Republican candidates called on their repeated lies: select candidates who don't lie, whether it is about science, history, or their own personal history, as Carson has been doing.

As far as the blatantly stupid comment @95 goes: the point, which I will assume you aren't capable of understanding, isn't that Carson is so willing to lie about things that are so easily checked (because, in the right wing world, fact-checking is something that shouldn't be done), it is because on those rare times when he has been asked serious questions, he shows himself to be so out of touch with the topic he can't even dance around them gracefully. The thought of a person with no knowledge of international relations, or, it seems, the Constitution, having access to the presidency, should be concerning to everyone. (It isn't to you because you are even less knowledgeable than Carson.)

In #75, ann of Flounce fame quotes from the WSJ:

“The professor came toward me. With her was a photographer for the Yale Daily News who paused and snapped my picture,” Mr. Carson wrote….
No photo identifying Mr. Carson as a student ever ran, according to the Yale Daily News archives, and no stories from that era mention a class called Perceptions 301. Yale Librarian Claryn Spies said Friday there was no psychology course by that name or class number during any of Mr. Carson’s years at Yale.”

Questions I have for the WSJ:
-As a general rule, does every picture taken by a paper’s photographers appear in the paper?
- Might the class have been called something remotely *similar to* Perception 301?
-Did they try to locate the names of the psych professors Carson had and see what the names of the courses were which they taught? If the profs are still alive, did they try to locate and question them?
-Do you believe current absence of evidence of something is proof the something didn’t happen?
- Do you really consider this story anything more than a hack job worthy of People magazine?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

Questions I have for the WSJ

Perhaps you should pose your questions to them rather than ass-spraying them here.

To capnkrunch #87:

“I don’t doubt that, I just think it’s rather narcissistic to go around calling yourself gifted.”

That Ben Carson was highly accomplished as a surgeon, on a world-renowned-type of scale, is unarguable.

For him to call himself “gifted” is more an act of humility, for he’s saying his indisputable medical skill was not completely of his own making but rather a gift (i.e. gift from God).

Conversely, that Barack Hussein Obama is highly accomplished as a president of the U.S. is most certainly arguable.
Do you doubt that it’s rather narcissistic for Barack to essentially call himself perhaps the greatest president in the last 150 years?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhJNJgjpuWk

By See Noevo (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

I’ll ask again, can anyone out there help me with something that’s in the news about Ben Carson – specifically, where it was that he ever stated that he had *actually applied* to West Point?

I'm not sure whether this "reasoning" from S.N. is novel or just trending (emphasis added):

"And the Church does not hold that the earth is NOT 6000 years old.
There are many like me. But among today's billion or so self-identified Catholics, we're a relatively rare breed. A hundred years ago, a thousand years ago, we would have been the status quo."

To herr doktor bimler #93:

Me: “Prior to this week, if you had asked me whether West Point provided scholarships, I probably would have said ‘I think so. Why not?’ As would the great majority of Americans, I think.”

You: “I’m not quite seeing how Carson is exonerated by the plausibility of his fabrication, or the number of people it would have fooled.”

And I’m not quite seeing how Carson in any way fabricated anything about West Point, and I’m not seeing how he was trying to fool anyone.
The plausibility of his account is high. I wouldn’t be surprised if Carson, like me and many others, didn’t know, before the last week, that West Point didn’t provided “scholarships”, per se.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

To ann, archbishop of Flounce:

I’m taking the liberty of trying on the mentality of your mitre, and…
EPIPHANY! : If I am a misogynist, as you have claimed, then you have demonstrated here you are a racist.
..................
You can have your hat back now.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

The plausibility of his account is high. I wouldn’t be surprised if Carson, like me and many others, didn’t know, before the last week, that West Point didn’t provided “scholarships”, per se.

Yah. I'm sure everyone will be fascinated in what you learned about career paths in the military during your time as an ROTC star.

His hands apparently were extraordinarily skillful. His head, eh, maybe not so much.

Not really relevant, but this reminds me of a joke I heard between 2 surgeons who got on an elevator with me back when I worked in the OR. One of them stuck his foot in the door to keep it from closing, and the other said "you can always tell the surgeons because they always stop the door with their feet, not their hands." To which the first surgeon responded, "Except for the orthopedic surgeons - they just stick their head in the door."

At the end of the day, SN, Ben Carson is a brilliant surgeon with a well-deserved international reputation in that arena.

But Hillary Clinton actually has helped shape policy, to instigate world-wide betterments, and she has been part of two hugely successful presidencies. She knows the people, the mechanisms, and the processes for getting things done in both congress and the White House. Ben Carson can barely handle the science that drives biology, let alone the complex international relationships that he would have to navigate, and given his clear inability to learn (wet-foot dry-foot, anybody? When you're speaking to a Cuban-dominant audience?), marks him unworthy of holding the office.

The man can take in a billion dollars from the ignorant, and you can attack Hillary for whatever you want, but at the end of the day, Ben Carson will fail, and you can gnash your teeth and tend your garments as the adults deal with things. I'd pat you on the head to make this even more patronizing, but I think the fact you're backing a guy who couldn't tell you the difference between the sixth amendment and the sixth fleet is just adorable enough on its own.

Yeah. My understanding is that orthopods are not known as the intellectuals of the surgical world.

Though I have to love my orthopod many years ago who showed me the X-ray of my broken collarbone, with the ghostly shadow of a calcifying bridge starting to join the widely-separated ends -- "God, I love bone!" she said.

I think she was in the right specialty.

By palindrom (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

"By Civ IV, it changes to grant knowledge of all forms of government and the ability to swap from one to another without penalty."

Rich Woods - this was the ability it had in Civ1 as well (and I remember that, which must mean I'm old). The argument made for changing it for Civ II was that it was too powerful that way, and I agree. (Although why anyone would want to switch from monarchy until they have a decently sized empire is beyond me, but that's another story.)

By dedicated lurker (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

The plausibility of his account is high. I wouldn’t be surprised if Carson, like me and many others, didn’t know, before the last week, that West Point didn’t provided “scholarships”, per se.

We seem to be back with the idea that although Carson's account of events is impossible, it is nevertheless superficially plausible so he might have convinced himself that it did happen. That is, "It's not a lie if you believe it yourself".

Personally I do not choose national leaders on their capacity for self-deception. But the career (or rather, the careers) of Reagan suggest that Americans rate that capacity more highly. Fortunately it is not my election and I'm just here to point and laugh.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

To herr doktor bimler #109:

“…although Carson’s account of events is impossible…”

Ridiculous. Are you on drugs, dok?

“Fortunately it is not my election and I’m just here to point and laugh.”

Don’t despair, dok. Here in America even dead people vote, usually in Democrat precincts.
So, even if you’re, say, a German citizen, I’m sure Hillary’s campaign can figure out a way to record your vote here in 2016. Sieg Hill!

By See Noevo (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

“God, I love bone!” she said
This sounds familiar from a Ray Bradbury story.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

The creep keeps writing stuff more ridiculous that what I could ever come up with...

But seems it is determined to provide enough material for a full sequel. Maybe next week, once this weekend's time festivities are over.

weekend's time consuming festivities, that is.

gaist, I was wondering about what that meant: here in the US of A, the time festivities werwe last weekend.

By Bill Price (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

Poo, I fat-fingered "were", didn't I. Keep the extra 'w' for whatever use it might have for you.

By Bill Price (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

Carson, and sn, behave like 5 year old children when called on their lies: "I wouldn't have to lie if you didn't ask about the truth."

Orthopod jokes!
What's the difference between an orthopedic surgeon and a carpenter?
A carpenter knows more than one antibiotic!

Another orthopod joke which TBruce might appreciate:

How many neutrophils does it take on frozen section to establish whether joint tissue is infected?

(there's no punch line, but it's a joke anyway)

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

The orthopod jokes have convinced me I should continue to delay having knee replacement surgery.

It is a little amusing to see the defenders of carson, including the local completely inept troll sn, flail around in their attempts to change the subject to anything else: claims that other candidates haven’t been put to the same scrutiny, or that the fact that a post about Carson’s repeated blatantly false stories doesn’t include equally scathing comments about (fill in the blank) means that the people discussing Carson must support (fill in the blank).

They deflect and smear, in other words.

I really don't know why they didn't also have proxies ready to go, so they could give a friendly news outlet the phone number of someone who knew him growing up that was willing to say, "He had a violent temper, I saw it myself." Or what-have-you.

I mean, that's probably not possible in every case. But some of those anecdotes ("Perceptions 301"; his bad temper; his actions during the MLK riots) would not be all that much work to corroborate, with his cooperation.

They're going to have to it eventually anyway, assuming it can be done. Because by itself, the "How dare you question my character?/It's a secular progressive plot" approach to campaigning does not win undecided hearts and minds. And the support of 29% of Republican voters is not enough to give him a lock on the nomination. Let alone the presidency.

That assumes he's actually trying to win, though. If he's just running as a way of getting fools to part with enough money to establish himself as a national political brand, he's doing great..

.

To Damien #107:

“But Hillary Clinton actually has helped shape policy, to instigate world-wide betterments, and she has been part of two hugely successful presidencies. She knows the people, the mechanisms, and the processes for getting things done…”

You forgot ‘she’s flown millions of miles as Sec. of State’.

You should consider joining her campaign, specifically, to help Hill develop some rational, convincing rat-a-tat-tat bullet points of her actual accomplishments.
Because she struggles with this so.
And evuh budy know. It be a runnin’ joke.

“It was a simple question to someone accustomed to much tougher ones: What was her proudest achievement as secretary of state? But for a moment, Hillary Rodham Clinton, appearing recently before a friendly audience at a women’s forum in Manhattan, seemed flustered…
But her halting answer suggests a problem that Mrs. Clinton could confront as she recounts her record in Mr. Obama’s cabinet before a possible run for president in 2016: Much of what she labored over so conscientiously is either unfinished business or has gone awry in his second term.

"From Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the grinding civil war in Syria to the latest impasse in the Middle East peace process, the turbulent world has frustrated Mr. Obama, and is now defying Mrs. Clinton’s attempts to articulate a tangible diplomatic legacy…”
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/17/us/politics/unfinished-business-compl…

When looking to her past, all you see is… bad baggage.
(You can start at page 1 and work forward, or page 16 and work backwards.)
http://conservativeamerican.org/the-hillary-clinton-lies-list/

By See Noevo (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

(there’s no punch line, but it’s a joke anyway)

No. Freakin'. Kidding.

As someone who did apply for an appointment to West Point (but did not attend) I have concluded:
- Is it possible that someone did offer Ben Carson a scholarship to West Point? It seems unlikely.
- Is it possible the people in the army did suggest he should consider attending West Point, pointing out that there would be no tuition and fees as well as other benefits? Absolutely.
- Is it possible that 17 year old would interpret a general recruiting message of that sort as "I was offered a full scholarship to West Point"? Absolutely, though as an adult writing his autobiography I'd like to think he'd have thought through what really happened and worded it more precisely.

IMHO, though, this incident is a performance of Shakespeare in a device used to serve hot liquids.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

Gee - all of these grsat intellectuals and self congratulatory academics here and all using a quickly debunked Politico story as "evidence" that Carson is a serial liar and unfit to be the President. I am agnostic and believe that I will never be able to prove or disprove the lack of a higher being simply because the sheer number of people who DO believe IS a foundation of "evidence" when it relates to historical evidence. Atheists attack with the same venom and lack of perspective that they accuse the fundamentalists of.

I ntlligence and "smarts" are generally accepted as different. I know many, wildly intelligent individuals that struggle to fit in to society or channel that intelligence into a productive endeavor. I have engineering degrees and business degrees. I grew up in a devout Catholic family and knew ew at a relatively early age thaI didnt have "faith". I have siblings with similar degrees and education and working in scientific fields that are still very grounded in their faith and use it effectively as a moral guide. What is wrong with that?

I am labeled a "science denier" because I think man's impact on the environment is somewhat trivial due to the sheer amount of "pollution" caused by volcanoes alone every year. I also believe sabotaging our economy or picking winners and losers in the energy sector is silly and even if the US goes to ZERO carbon based impact - it will have less than a trivial effect compared to aggressively growing, far less sophisticated economies such as China or India (woth respect to pollution). Does that mean we should rape and pillage with wreckless abandon...? No. But the solution has to be economical and sustainable or the result will be a collapse and a far more aggressive polluting populace.

Do I agree with everything Carson says? Absolutely not. Do I believe he is grounded, principled, and respects his talents and the opportunities that put him in the place to run for POTUS...? Absolutely. All the hand wringing, slander, baseless attacks, and condescending BS won't change the way the majority see him. This guy disrupted his entire life/retirement and ran because he was asked to serve. Hewas and is still a very reluctant candidate. That was what the founding fathers envisioned. Serve your country and go back home.

As far as those assuming "Gifted HAnds" is sheer arrogance - the gift he is referring to comes from God. The gift to overcome, the gift to change, the gift to excel, the gifts of opportunity, the gift to serve, etc. He believes he was bestowed upon with many gifts and that faith allowed him to recognize and seize those opportunities accordingly. Is that reall such a bad message especially compared to the welfare/nanny state where whole cultures have become systematically dependent on the system and see no way to break the cycle (except for more money for edcuation, more opportunity, etc)? Opportunity exists everywhere and those from better backgrounds certainly have more. But I have seen few people throughout my years that have ever been exceptional when it comes to seizing opportunity and taking risks.

Fnally - where is the barometer when compared to Obama? Long time member of a Church whose pastor routinely blasts America and his despise of it; a wife who was embarrassed and ashamed to be an American until her husband was elected; a mediocre student it seems at best despite the opportunities that were presented to him, NO track record of accomplishment in the private or public sector prior to running for President; his only "job" was a community organizer and his time in the Senate is punctuated by a no vote for Iraq (which the current progressive front runner cant even claim) ?

I was also told I could get a full ride at West Point a long time ago. A classmate a year ahead of me got the appointment and the same sponsor spoke with me personally and since I was from a very low income family - he stressed the economic impact of having that full ride. I havent though about this for 25 years or more but if someone had asked - I porbably would have described it as being a full ride or full scholarship. It is semantics. The same individual who morivided the appointment for the guy ahead of me was speaking to me I never applied as I wanted a different direction but certainly woukd have described it as such. I had the test scores, was the valedictorian, athlete (not quite D1) and had a strong servie and work background. I never had a violent past but I also never grew up in that environment where violence was a common resort (and worse today -Detroit is a festering shithole).

I just find it unfortunately remarkable that so many "intelligent" men and women on here are so closed minded and willing to accept "proof" that the guy is not worthy while accusing his supporters of the exact same thing. The irony is not lost nor will it be truly examined by most on here. Worse, he is being crucified for these "lies" when the current President and liberal front runner have a long running history of blatant lies that are well documented (and not semantics or creative quoting) that had REAL impact on everyday Americans . You have managed yourself to be Grubered right along with the "dumb" and low information voters you so clearly desoise and hold contempt for.

Too much typing on a small phone to continue. Also a waste of time due to the effect so eloquently described prior of allowing bias effect change.

I dont expect him to win the nomination but I will take his resume, demeanor, beliefs, and even those I think are in left field due to his convictions than another Clinton whose contempt for the commoners cant even be disgusied by her handlers or the MSM

By Chris Wahl (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

But Hillary Clinton actually has helped shape policy, to instigate world-wide betterments, and she has been part of two hugely successful presidencies.

Well....I don't know about the worldwide betterments or two hugely successful presidencies. It's true that Carson can't make those claims in a general election and that Hillary can, though.

The thing is that in order to get to the general election, a candidate has to be able to win primaries in blue states as well as red states, which becomes a handicap and not a strength the second they're nominated.

So maybe Rubio, I guess. But who knows?

Whoever runs, I think the real problem for the GOP vis-a-vis Hillary is that unless they have something truly lethal in reserve, they're already into the zone where continued attacks will just help her and hurt the attacker. I mean, that Benghazi hearing was a gift.

So they need a strong candidate. And that's their other real problem.

.

Pyramid granaries make perfect sense to me. You need to make it smaller on top than at bottom so it's easier to fill. And who wouldn't sheathe a granary in marble? If we had done it with all those vacant grain elevators they wouldn't be eyesores. An opening at the base for filling, and more important removing, is de rigeur. It keeps more people employed, and if you need the grain dragging it through the narrow corridors of a maze prevents mad scrambles for everyone to get their share. Of course to protect that grain you also need to have blind passages and seal up some empty chambers.
But most of all, you have no style if you don't put in a dead pharaoh and a big pile of treasure to guard it all, because that will keep all those grain robbers out.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

The simple truth about the service academies is the cadets don't pay for anything - tuition, books, housing, uniforms, meals, you name it. Everyone gets a "free ride" except dropouts, who have to pay back by serving in an enlisted rank for some number of years.
If we did otherwise we'd have a military like 19th Century Britain, divided between officers nearly entirely from wealthy families (and usually a second or later son) and "other ranks", who were recruited from the poorest, most desperate, or most gullible. Officers, especially engineering officers, who rose on ability alone were always reminded that they were social inferiors to the other officers.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

To Mephistopheles O’Brien #125:

“Is it possible that someone did offer Ben Carson a scholarship to West Point? It seems unlikely.”

Right. Even though Ben was the top ROTC student in Detroit, with grades good enough to be accepted at Yale, and a hot enough prospect to West Point that Westmoreland and other WP reps met personally with Ben.

P.S.
Sorry to hear you were rejected by West Point.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

IMHO, though, this incident is a performance of Shakespeare in a device used to serve hot liquids.

Pretty much any one incident is, by itself. It's more that he can't take the heat. "Thin-skinned" and "quick to anger" just don't win elections

Plus, this pattern actually started back with that stick-up-robbery-at-Popeye's anecdote that police don't have any record of. Not that you can really convict anybody based on the word of the Baltimore police.*** But even still. After a while, it starts to add up.

***Figuratively speaking.

To Chris Wahl #126:

Great post. Thank you.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

I am labeled a “science denier” because I think man’s impact on the environment is somewhat trivial due to the sheer amount of “pollution” caused by volcanoes alone every year.

The USGS thinks otherwise. They estimate that fossil fuel use releases 100x the carbon dioxide that volcanoes do annually.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

sn, Westmoreland did not meet with Carson - Westmoreland was nowhere near Detroit when Carson says they met. You are as much a liar as Carson, but we already knew that.

In #127, ann the inveterate re-flouncer writes

“Whoever runs, I think the real problem for the GOP vis-a-vis Hillary is that unless they have something truly lethal in reserve, they’re already into the zone where continued attacks will just help her and hurt the attacker. I mean, that Benghazi hearing was a gift.”

Oh, the Benghazi hearing was a gift to willfully deaf dumb and blind liberals, considering the main stream media’s colorful wrapping and pretty bow (i.e. Hill handled herself so well. So cool, and presidential. Not an awful hairdo, either!’).

It was a gift to ann and the others here who don’t unwrap the gift.
Because if they DID, and looked at what’s inside, at the substance, they would have seen that it was at that Benghazi hearing that proof was given that Hillary had LIED about the youtube video causing the attack. Proof she LIED to the American people and LIED to the families of the fallen. But not to Chelsea on the night of the attack. And not to Prime Minister of Egypt the next day.

Ah, nothing lethal.

This woman shouldn’t be running for president. The bitch should be behind bars. #69 redux:

“… I have been advised that any breach of this Agreement may result in my termination of my access to [Sensitive Compartmented Information or SCI] and removal from a position of special confidence and trust requiring such access, as well as the termination of my employment or other relationships with any Department or Agency that provides me with access to SGI. In addition, I have been advised that any unauthorized disclosure of SGI by me may constitute violations of United States criminal laws, including…”
Signed,
Hillary R. Clinton, 1/22/09
http://freebeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/HRC-SCI-NDA1.pdf

By See Noevo (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

I am labeled a “science denier” because I think man’s impact on the environment is somewhat trivial due to the sheer amount of “pollution” caused by volcanoes alone every year.

Yes, exactly so. The reason is because science disagrees with what you think. It's not even close. You are denying the scientific consensus; so you are a science denier.

The bitch should be behind bars.

Classic.

Fnally – where is the barometer when compared to Obama?

Compared to not only Obama but also every other successful candidate for president from either party for the last forty-plus years, Carson's barely been scrutinized or attacked at all.

It just seems worse because he handles it so poorly.

Classic.

In more ways than one.

Objectively speaking, that hearing helped her. Having tantrums about it is not going to change anything, except for the worse.

You'd think they'd never tried viciously attacking a Clinton before. But some people never learn. Too emotional, I guess.

sn, you keep claiming crimes committed by Hilary, but nothing actionable has turned up in the hearings. If the evidence were as overwhelming as you (and your fellow mouthbreathers) claim, do you think there would be the resounding legal silence there actually is? (Of course you do, because of some asinine conspiracy you dream up but which also doesn't exist in the real world.)
If you would deal with facts you could find many things to be unhappy with about her, as many of us do. Your substanceless accusations, and links to right-wing conspiracy sites, are worthless. Just like everything else you say.

Why is it that me not liking Carson means I automagically support Clinton? Why is the best response to Carson's lies is "but Hillary's are worse"? Why is Ben Carson referred to as 'Carson" and Hillary Clinton as "Hillary"? Inquiring minds want to know.

Ben Carson is a liar and an idiot and whatever Hillary Clinton is has no bearing on that whatsoever.

@Chris Wahl
For an agnostic you sure sound quite churchy. In any other environment calling yourself gifted is an act of arrogance, not humility. Think of it this way. It reads much more like " I am God's gift to the Earth" than "thank God for providing me a skill for helping others".

This is all subjective of course. But since you seem to be unable to evaluate people other than by comparing them to Democrats, consider the title of Obama's autobiography Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. See, it is possible to title an autobiography without praising yourself. Who knew?

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

On second thought allow me to correct myself. That's very Republican of Chris Wahl, not churchy. Unless you're apologizing for someone, I think even religious people would agree that referring to yourself as "gifted" is rather pompous.

What's up with See Noevo's assumption that Orac has no African American readers? Part of me wants to say that's a somewhat racist assumption itself but rational me say "nope, See Noevo is just and idiot".

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

Dean... remember, he/she is still waiting for the head of Planned Parenthood to be indicted.

"...churchy..."

Republican = Church of Our Lord Reagan and Faith-Based Systemics

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

remind me not to go to you as a surgeon - or the other person that posted MD by their name. You clearly do not believe in evidence based research (the westpoint thing) - and I certainly would not want you operating on me.

Secondly, why do you criticize one's religion? I am not a religious person - but who really cares what he believes about pyramids. All I care about is someone that can add 2 + 2 and get 4. I think he is the only candidate that will be able to do so.

Jill: The problem is that when Ben Carson adds two and two, the result he gives is whatever he thinks will get him elected.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

Secondly, why do you criticize one’s religion? I am not a religious person – but who really cares what he believes about pyramids

I am wondering to whom Jill's question is directed, and where she is seeing the atheistic agenda. Certainly not the original post, which mentions religion approximately nowhere.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

I wonder how much Hillary will try to distinguish herself, even distance herself, from her former boss Barack - one of the greatest presidents in the last 150 years, in his view (ref: #100 above).
[I’d argue he’s by far the worst.]
Barack certainly doesn’t seem so great at least from the standpoint of strengthening his political party.
Under his leadership Democrats have lost about 910 state legislature seats, 12 governorships, 69 House seats, and 13 Senate seats.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

"but who really cares what he believes about pyramids"
I do. I don't want as president someone who has no understanding of science, a complete disregard for overwhelming evidence elucidated by hundreds and thousands of scientists who have devoted many years and much effort, who rejects basic biology, and thinks that all of geology and history and cosmology took place in the last 6000 years, before which there was nothing.
I don't want him to have any say over scientific research priorities, conservation, global warming remediation, national defence, you name it and his beliefs come up short.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

@Orac "Yes, exactly so. The reason is because science disagrees with what you think. It’s not even close. You are denying the scientific consensus; so you are a science denier."

Im ok with that label. Im not ok with specifically pulled data, assumptions made based on favorable subsets, gross extrapolation, ignoring certain cycles in favor of others, etc. The money can be followed on both signs. The same science alarmists were also predicting we would be in a horrendous ice age in the early 2000's (now) back in the 79's and 80's (once can still find the article via Newsweek). It went from an impending free, to global warming, and now just the ubiquitous "climate change."

When you all get done patting yourselves on the back for how smart you are, please figure out how yoh make the entire world succumb to the same stifling regs on energy as proposed and being enacted in the US. We wail and they laugh.

By Chris Wahl (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

@ Chris Wahl:
You might be interested in reading this article from Wikipedia*:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling
It's pretty clear that Global Cooling and fears of a coming ice age were never predicted by more than a small minority of scientists. Interestingly, Global Warming (= Climate Change) is denied by no more than a small minority of scientists today.

* BTW, why is Wikipedia often written as W___pedia?

ignoring certain cycles in favor of others, etc. The money can be followed on both signs. The same science alarmists were also predicting we would be in a horrendous ice age in the early 2000’s (now) back in the 79’s and 80’s (once can still find the article via Newsweek).

You're really not very good at this, and I strongly suspect that nobody's interested in yet another AGW crank.

@Chris Wahl:

Im ok with that label. Im not ok with specifically pulled data, assumptions made based on favorable subsets, gross extrapolation, ignoring certain cycles in favor of others, etc.

Then why do you disbelieve that humans are causing Global Warming to a potentially catastrophic degree? It is the deniers who are, in your words, "favorable subsets, gross extrapolation, ignoring certain cycles in favor of others, etc."

The money can be followed on both signs.

I assume you mean "sides". And you're wrong. The denialists are massively funded by fossil fuel interests. Who funds the scientists who overwhelmingly agree with Anthropogenic Global Warming?

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

From today’s NBC’s “Meet the Press”:
When asked if the scrutiny of Ben Carson is OK, Dem Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said

“I think it might be a better — idea I know it’s a crazy idea — but maybe we focus on the issues impacting the American people and what candidates are saying rather than just spending so much time exploring their lives 30 or 40 years ago. I think the reason so many people are turned off to the political process has to do with the fact we’re not talking about real issues impacting real people.”

By See Noevo (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

Why is Ben Carson referred to as ‘Carson” and Hillary Clinton as “Hillary”?.

Because of ex-President Bill.

To TBruce #156:

“* BTW, why is Wikipedia often written as W___pedia?”

I don’t know for sure.
Maybe because they feel they’re not allowed to write W_holelotofbiasedliberalbullsh*t_pedia.

I’ve always detected a liberal slant to wiki articles that are on subjects that are even remotely political/philosophical/religious (e.g. evolution “science”, global warming “science”, Planned Parenthood). I see similar slants with Snopes.
Obviously written by liberals.

And I seem to recall seeing more stuff lately about tendentious editing issues at wiki. I’ll be using wiki much less in the future, and certainly wouldn't rely on it for their “Global_cooling” piece.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

And the hits just keep coming.

Ben Carson has now posted a clip from the Yale Daily News describing a student prank announcement that a series of Psychology 10 exams had been destroyed, which caused "several" students to show up and take a test for no reason, along with a note saying:

On Saturday a reporter with the Wall Street Journal published a story that my account of being the victim of a hoax at Yale where students were led to believe the exams they had just taken were destroyed and we needed to retake the exam was false. The reporter claimed that no evidence existed to back up my story. Even went so far as to say the class didn't exist.

Well here is the student newspaper account of the incident that occurred on January 14, 1970.

Will an apology be coming. I doubt it.

Considering that the class didn't exist and that the incident described doesn't include 150 students walking out, leaving Carson to be photographed and rewarded by the professor with a ten-dollar bill for being the most honest, I kind of doubt that too.

If anything, it actually makes him look like he fell for a hoax in 1970 and still hasn't managed to reconcile himself to it yet.

But maybe he just read about it and decided it would be a better story if it was little bit more about the splendor of Ben Carson.

Either way, wow. He's really not all there.

ann: "But what was the sphinx for?"

Condiments

Thanks for nothing, SN.

Jill wrote: "Secondly, why do you criticize one’s religion? I am not a religious person – but who really cares what he believes about pyramids."

Because he says this belief is Biblical, but the Bible says nothing about the pyramids being grain stores. And having been inside of the pyramids, we *know* they aren't grain stores. There'd be no rational reason to build gigantic pyramids with only a tiny amount of storage capacity, when it would be far easier to build many small stone or mud brick huts in which to store smaller quantities, in a more distributed fashion.

If he wants to say that his belief about the pyramids is Biblical, he'd best write his own unique Bible that includes that part. Because the bibles everyone else has access to don't.

"Please, media, lay off the stories that might knock Carson out of the Republican primaries while he is still accomplishing damage".

Bernie Saunders is no fool.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

@152

"I am wondering to whom Jill’s question is directed, and where she is seeing the atheistic agenda. Certainly not the original post, which mentions religion approximately nowhere."

Well, I for one, would prefer a president who doesn't take direction from imaginary friends but that's never been an (obvious) option on the ballot.

All this intense Main Stream Media focus on Ben Carson’s personal history, and especially on Ben’s recollection of his pre-college years, reminds me of all the attention the MSM paid to Barack Obama’s personal history when Barack was first running for president.

Remember all those extensive MSM investigations and headlines about Barack and
His socialist father
His socialist mother and grandparents
His father-figure, communist Frank Marshall Davis
Communist Dr. John Drew at Occidental
Marxist mentor and professor Charles Ogletree at Harvard
Radical Reverend Jeremiah Wright
Radical Bill Ayers
Radical Bernadine Dohrn
Obama fundraiser, real estate “buddy”, and felon Tony Rezko?

Remember all the MSM focus on these relationships?
I don’t.
……………..
Barack, himself, doesn’t always perfectly remember long-ago things, either.

“He doesn’t remember the names of a lot of people in his life,” said Ben LaBolt, a campaign spokesman.”
-From the NYT article titled
“Obama’s Account of New York Years Often Differs From What Others Say”
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/30/us/politics/30obama.html?_r=0

By See Noevo (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

All this intense Main Stream Media focus on Ben Carson’s personal history, and especially on Ben’s recollection of his pre-college years, reminds me of all the attention the MSM paid to Barack Obama’s personal history when Barack was first running for president.

Who could have foretold S.N.'s bumbling into a defense of Barack Hussein Obongonana?

(Continuing from here)

"Can we just leave?" the spectator asks, already standing up.
"Hell no!" his companion. "After everything you told me about the last performance, I have to witness this myself."
"You really don't".
"Sure I do. Nobody can be that stupid, really."
The spectator sighs, and sits back down. "You just wait..."

Other audience members are already sifting uncomfortably in their seats, glancing at their watches, chatting on their phones, ignoring the stage.

"Fine" says See Noevo. "I can see you are overwhelmed by my mastery of YouTube videos. Fine." He looks around, a hopeless expression on his face, desperate for something that would grab the audience's attention. Not seeing anything else around him, in desperation he squints at the screen until he notices youtube advertising a news clip about Ben Carson.

"This whole West Point debacle is ridiculous!" he postulates. "I've never seen Ben Carson state he (See Noevo makes scare quotes with his hands)actually applied(again, scare quotes) to West Point, so it must not have happened. Preposterous to even think that."

(pause).

"But he said he was offered a scholarship" says a helpful voice from the audience.
"Exactly!" See Noevo exclaims, jumping up. "Nowhere!"
"What?" says someone from the audience.
"So it must be true! Ben Carson never lies, because Christian faith denounces liars. Carson for president!"
"But West Point doesn't even offer scholarships!" adds another voice.
"Scholarships Shmolarships. I bet you're a liberal racist, piling your hate on Carson like that!"

"Oh. My. God." whispers our spectator's companion.
"Told yah." sighs the spectator.

"And hideous Hillary lied too! About many things! Many!"
"So? What does that have to do with Ben Car-"
"She's a filthy lying bitch I wouldn't tap even if she begged me on her knees, clad... only in fur bikinis... and chained to the floor... hair done up like Princess Leila..."
"Leia"
See Noevo snaps out of his reverie. It takes a moment for him to collect himself, by practicing golf swings.
"Like I said. A horrible lying liberal cunt who's not fit for presidency."
"Because she lied?" asks someone from the audience.
"That's right. The bitch should be behind bars." See Noevo says.
"So if you lie you're not fit to be president?"
"What are you, stupid?" See Noevo snaps. "That's what I said?"
"So if Ben Carson were to lie..." the someone from the audience asks, leaving the sentence hanging.
See Noevo turns red. "You are just like the others!" he screams, "swinging wild unfounded accusations and smearing the good Christian people everywhere with your slanderous libel! Liberal fiend!"

(silence)

"You're all liberal fiends if you don't agree with me!" See Noevo shouts, his arms flailing wildly.
"Didn't he stab someone when he was a teenager?" asks a random spectator.
"Of Course he didn't!" See snaps. "You're nothing but a racist, you see a black man of course you think he stabbed-"
"He even wrote about it in his autobiography!"
"He didn't! You lie! He wouldn't... really?"

(pause)

See Noevo turns to his computer and types frantically.

(pause) His lips move as he reads.

"You still think he's presidential material?"
"of course he is! I want him to be president, so he should be president!"
"You think someone who tried to stab a guy for changing the channel is fit for duty?"
"It says here he was bullied in class and tried to defend himself!" See exclaims, triumphant. "You're spreading malignant lies!"
"He wrote about changing the channel in his books."
"Says here he was provoked!" See says, pointing at his screen. reads "I told him to back off, but he wouldn't quit pestering me. There! Vindication!"
"You think someone who resorts to lethal violence is presidential material?"
"I, uh... Of course he is! It's... It shows the grace of God!"

(pause)

"And besides! That Muslim foreigner Obama lied!"
"About what?"
"Whatever! He lies! Constantly! And evuh budy know. Him be a runnin' joke." See says.

(shocked silence)

"Fucking Half-nigger, should have known his place." See mutters to himself, forgetting he is wearing a button microphone.

(shocked silence)

See Noevo pretends to laugh. "A joke you progressive secularists obviously didn't grasp..."
"What would that even have to do with Ben Carson's violent past?"
"Are you on drugs?" See Noevo answers, waving his hand in dismissal.
"As always, liberal atheists can't even respond properly to any of my masterful arguments."

(stunned silence)

It isn't often you see someone state they completely reject reality and prefer their own fever dreams as the one in post 161.

@ dean

What was the Fox News motto, already? Something like:
"It's not me who is beyond the sanity horizon, it's everybody else who is liberal"

Eh, it's on par with Ben Carson. If the whole "pyramids were Joseph's granaries" episode is not a textbook case of delusional beliefs, bordering on clinical insanity, I don't know what could be.
I mean, the pyramids are just there. Millions of people have visiting them, starting with tomb raiders within a few decades after the pyramids' completion. You just have to go over there to check if the pyramids are fit to hold grains.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

gaist and dean – my biggest fans. Or should I say stalkers?
In either case, obsessed with me.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

I thought the telemarketers selling See Noevo merchandise were supposed to pretend I wasn't there?

I only bother to address your posts if I think they're idiotic and incoherent enough to be made fun of. If you think I'm stalking you, I'd recommend toning down the stupid, or finding alternate venues for your outbursts - I'm so obsessed with you to have never replied to any of your no doubt inane musings outside Respectful Insolence, and often enough not here either.

As a matter of principle, I don't sacrifice more than a waste-able coffee break on any troll-feeding post, yours included, and only two or three of those a week at that.

But it's flattering that even with my unedited, unrevised skits written in third language, you recognized yourself in them. It's a point of pride that my characters are true to life, after all.

It isn’t often you see someone state they completely reject reality and prefer their own fever dreams as the one in post 161.

Ditto for #168.

The three stories on that list that aren't deranged conspiracy theories -- Ayers/Dohrn, Rezko and Wright -- all received months of coverage; he was questioned about them repeatedly during debates, press conferences, etc.; and all three were broken by mainstream media outlets.

The birther and actually-a-muslim stories also received mainstream coverage in 2008, as did the claims that John McCain had an illegitimate black child and that Sarah Palin's daughter was an unwed teen mother.

The last proved to be true! The other three were debunked. The degree of scrutiny Carson is getting is routine. For Obama, it was actually much worse. His campaign eventually had to put up a "fight the smears" website to deal with it all. And (as I recall) not all of it originated on the right. Some of it came from the Clinton campaign.

The only thing that distinguishes the scrutiny of Carson from that of any other candidate is how badly he's handling it. Unless he's just running for the donor cash. In that case, he's doing great.

The only thing that distinguishes the scrutiny of Carson from that of any other candidate is how badly he’s handling it. Unless he’s just running for the donor cash. In that case, he’s doing great.

The amazing thing is that he has, apparently, decided that the fact he managed to overcome the massive difficulties of a childhood in poverty to become a very talented and successful surgeon is not enough of a background to get the right wing to take him seriously. I find that bit of his story truly amazing. The only reason I can think of that he (and his handler, the truly awful Allen West) realize that having a candidate whose mother received public assistance and food stamps wouldn't be taken well by the tea baggers who call the shots for today's Republicans, so they have to cast him as being a victim of the left not just now but his entire life. (Note: Carson has been very open about his mother receiving assistance and hasn't shied from it in the past, so I assume the pressure to do so now comes from others.)

The McCain's-adopted-daughter-is-actually-his-mongrel-bastard-child story emerged and got media coverage during the 2000 primaries, and came from the Bush camp. (Nobody is better at negative than Karl Rove.)

It came up again in 2008, but on reflection, I'm not sure that it again got mainstream play.

The point still stands, though. This stuff is routine.

(Note: Carson has been very open about his mother receiving assistance and hasn’t shied from it in the past, so I assume the pressure to do so now comes from others.)

He also admits that he has affirmative action (euphemistically referred to as "special consideration") to thank for his admission to Yale, and that it worked so well for him that by the time he was accepted for neurosurgical residency, "no special consideration was needed."

But he's against affirmative action.

Wait. I only just now realized that's why the right -- including Carson -- is always carrying on about Obama's college records and asking how he got into Columbia: affirmative action.

Hm. Columbia wasn't nearly as hard to get into before it went coed as it is now. So maybe, maybe not. But what hypocrites, either way.

Jill:

Secondly, why do you criticize one’s religion? I am not a religious person – but who really cares what he believes about pyramids. All I care about is someone that can add 2 + 2 and get 4. I think he is the only candidate that will be able to do so.

Thing is, his wacky belief about the pyramids makes me seriously doubt his ability to add 2 + 2 and get 4. It's a classic loony claim on par with the flat Earth and the Moon hoax, so if he think its holds water, he demonstrates himself to be prone to believing anything presented to him in a sufficiently flattering way. Or, in a way which flatters one of his preexisting viewpoints.

Look, I am a Christian myself, and I have no quarrel with any particular religion. Believing that a deity creating the world and wants us to be nice to each other and gave us some guidelines for accomplishing that is not a bad thing. But believing any damn fool thing that comes along demonstrates a lack of judgement. I can't go test whether Moses really parted the Red Sea, or whether people really do reincarnate after death as part of a long march towards Nirvana. But the pyramids would make pretty pathetic granaries, and there's quite a lot of contemporary documentation (the Egyptians did keep records of their own) showing their funerary purpose. It's just stupid. It doesn't even bolster what he thinks it does (that Joseph convinced Pharoah to store grain against a coming famine, which I'm not sure is anything worth arguing about anyway given famines did happen from time to time in the ancient world and people weren't idiots and did know that stocking up was a good idea -- it's not like this could even remotely be the One True Piece of Evidence that the Bible Is True).

It's up there with chemtrails and HAARP as far as I'm concerned. It's baloney, and that he embraced it is a red flag. I don't care that there's a religious connection to this particular bit of balderdash; that's irrelevant.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

ann@178

He also admits that he has affirmative action (euphemistically referred to as “special consideration”) to thank for his admission to Yale

It's funny that is something that needs to be 'admitted'. Must be hard to be a success story of a policy that your party forces you to oppose.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

Calli Arcale@179

Believing that a deity creating the world and wants us to be nice to each other and gave us some guidelines for accomplishing that is not a bad thing.

Well put. Actually reminded me of a YouTube video I came across the other day and had meant to post as a response to See Neovo.

https://youtu.be/FHKQHL8gkQE

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

It’s funny that is something that needs to be ‘admitted’. Must be hard to be a success story of a policy that your party forces you to oppose.

I hesitated over that, but couldn't think of a more neutral word.

"Acknowledges" is one, though.

Gaist,

Well I for one greatly enjoy your skits. It makes me think there's a troll shaped gap in the canon that needs to be plugged up with the panache of a talented humorist. Something dealing with weaponized stupidity and demagogues...

Speaking of Carson, pictures of his house suggest that, as one wag put it, he shares interior decorators with Saddam Hussein. Personally I'm not sure which I like more, the painting of a smiling Jesus presenting his best bud Ben to the world, or the lofty one of Carson positioned to gaze down upon unsuspecting supplicants as they approach an alter-type arrangement.

Holy crap on a cracker, that man is tacky.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

Well put. Actually reminded me of a YouTube video I came across the other day and had meant to post as a response to See Neovo.

Yeah.

At this point, it's maybe hard to remember that the whole Benghazi thing actually started because the Christian right made a video that was so virulently offensive to Muslims that it triggered anti-American protests, flag-desecration, and other assorted acts of mayhem (including a suicide-bombing in Afghanistan that killed nine people) in Egypt, India, Pakistan, Tunisia, Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon, and elsewhere, thus making the world a less safe place for Americans, generally.

That having started on the same day as the Benghazi attack, there was widespread speculation that they were related.

So when Clinton made her remarks about Benghazi (in which she attributed the attack to a "small savage group" of "heavily armed militants" who did not represent the people or government of Libya), she also said:

Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet. America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear -- there is no justification for this, none. Violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith. And as long as there are those who would take innocent life in the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace.

That's what they really have a problem with. So they're pretending that there's no conceivable reason why, when speaking in public in front of the whole wide world, the Secretary of State might choose not to immediately name armed violent suspects who were still at large before anyone was really certain where they were, who they were, what they were up to, how dangerous it was, and to whom.

What she said to her daughter (the attack was by "an al-Qaeda-like group") and the Prime Minister of Egypt (then-current intelligence indicated it was unrelated to the video and pre-planned by Ansar-al-Islam) is not inconsistent with what she said in public.

So unless they're too stupid to grasp that what she says in private to her daughter and the prime minister of Egypt doesn't have the same potential to put American lives at risk as what she says in her televised remarks, they're just pissed off with her for doing what she could to put out a fire that they started by denouncing the video..

Nothing's ever their fault.

by denouncing the video..

I guess that should be "implicitly denouncing." Calling it "inflammatory" is hardly a denunciation. She was actually making it clear that the protests in Cairo (which were a response to the video) were on the protesters.

/off-topic.

So unless they’re too stupid to grasp that what she says in private to her daughter and the prime minister of Egypt doesn’t have the same potential to put American lives at risk as what she says in her televised remarks, they’re just pissed off with her for doing what she could to put out a fire that they started by denouncing the video..

Simpler than that: many of them have spent over 20 years railing against the "evil" Clintons, and they were sure the hearings would show to the world that they were right. When that didn't happen all that was left to do was plow on insisting they were correct even though evidence shows otherwise. IOW, dishonesty as usual for them.

First, I'd like to thank ORAC for a thoughtful article. I think his point of Dunning-Kruger, and motivated reasoning are spot on.
Two additional points I'd add as possible explanations (or perhaps clarifications) are:
1) Very intelligent people (interestingly males more than females) tend to 'think outside the box.' They tend to look for alternative solutions to problems, rather than using traditional methods. This is a twist on Dunning-Kruger. They are more likely to challenge assumptions - even assumptions of the 'experts' or just because they are a 'scientist.' For example, nobody told Carson how to separate the twins. He had to trust himself to literally 'make this up' from internal understanding that he trusted.
2) During residency especially, a physician tends to learn that the textbook doesn't necessarily contain the answers. This is both because the textbook is incomplete (e.g. it doesn't answer what is correct for 'this' patient in front of you), but also that it is often incorrect (e.g. it was written by someone else with failings, and may not be as smart as you anyway). This later effect is important because it causes the person to come to conclusions by thinking for themselves, rather than relying on others to provide answers.
These points are notably relevant because the tone the article was that Dunning-Kruger is creating 'incorrect' beliefs. I would correct this to say 'beliefs' that ‘_I_ don't understand.’ At the risk of losing the audience here - They may or may not be incorrect.
I personally think his assumptions about pyramids, for example, are ... well... 'hard to understand'. At the same time, I am no more an expert on pyramids than he is, and his belief in pyramids is largely independent of issues I care about. For me, debate of such points is just falling into 'motivated reasoning' without even thinking ‘do I really care?’ But, even for issues that might have more importance if you discount at the level of 'That's just stupid, 97% of ... agree - He's just an idiot' - please remember that at one time 97% of ... once believed the earth was flat. At the time “it was 'obvious'”.
Also, this is quite relevant to the extensive discussion in the comments because it demonstrates that the same things going on in the participants. On both sides, you all probably fancy yourselves as 'smart', try to 'think for yourself.' But it’s clear that many all are stuck in the 'motivated reasoning' part. You came with an idea that you were right and will use any attempt to belittle the other side to prove your point! It sounds like most of you wouldn't even _consider_ listening to a reasonable argument from the other side. You all are way too busy attempting to 'prove your point', to acknowledge insight or truth.
For example, It’s clear that 'gaist' and others have flipped the bozo switch on 'see noevo' and vice versa. We tend to believe anyone that thinks differently is a 'bozo.' Don't flip the bozo switch (look this up if you don’t know what that means)!
First, _sometimes_ the bozo has important insights even while they may have difficulty expressing them. If you listened with attempt to understand them, you are likely to learn something, even if they are ‘crazy’. Listening doesn't have to mean you are persuaded, but you’ll be more likely to learn if you simply ask ‘why do you believe …’ rather than attacking with ‘you’re an idiot if you believe…’ .
Second, if your attempting to hone your arguments, you'll be more effective at actually persuading someone if understand where they are coming from (e.g. which arguments are weak to them and why, which are strong and why). You will almost certainly put someone else into a ‘motivated reasoning mode’ if you call them names or tell them that they are 'stupid' for believing something. When you do this, you are defeating your own cause. We are all familiar with rational for 'our side'. But we feel uncomfortable reaching out to others and understand 'their side.' But, if you are not intent on understanding the other side first, I would suggest you are getting yourself in a tizzy for nothing. You are not convincing anyone but yourself, because you don't even understand that you don't understand. If your intent is to convince, you need to clarify where the gap in understanding is, and _lead_ from that gap to your point instead.
For example, I liked ORAC's point about malpractice. He is correctly pointing out that this is a weak argument - showing that he is at least attempting to listen to alternative points of view.
We are all biased by the backgrounds we come from. For example, it's relatively easy to predict political positions based on zip code alone, or what channel they watch. This is because of the crowd we talk with and _listen_ to.
So with that soap box intro – I’ll shut up and listen.
For starters, I’ll tell you that I am a physician with an EE background (I tend to understand science and medicine pretty well and, I’m brighter than ‘average’). I am able to understand good arguments, technically an ‘independent’ (I don’t care for either of the political parties) but tend to think conservatively. For example, I’m very much a small government kind of guy, mainly because I believe that government tends to screw up most things it touches. I’ve experience that first hand, and see a lot through that lens. Also, I’m Catholic and believe that life begins at inception. I grew up in Nevada and parts of the Midwest. You get the picture.
So I’ll start with the folks on the left side (I’ll call this voting ‘D’). Carson isn’t my favorite candidate, but he does indicate agreement with some stuff I like (e.g. small gov, balanced budgets, anti-abortion, etc). I believe he currently is being treated unfairly by the press, because IMHO there is little to no evidence that ‘lied’ or ‘fabricated,’ and that ‘to bear false witnesses’ is wrong. I’ve reviewed the facts of the stories.
You might call me an ‘idiot,’ but instead clarify how my thinking unclear, and how you so sure that you know better than I do?
Currently you are losing my vote. Why do you think you are convincing me – e.g. vote ‘D’ (or for that matter anyone else who wasn’t just going to vote ‘D’ because they always vote ‘D’)? Hint, you’ll never sell me based on an argument like ‘97% believe…’ because I don’t ‘just accept’ arguments that are ‘simple appeal to authority.’
But, you might sell me on arguments like ‘evidence xx would support a conclusion of yy‘ because I can break that down into ‘we agree/disagree on xx’ or ‘we agree/disagree on the word supports’. Based on this we can explore if this is a disagreement in facts, or disagreement in interpretation of them. Both are focused on an objective of better understanding each other and finding truth – not necessarily ‘winning.’
By the way – same questions for the folks on the ‘right’ (I’ll call this voting ‘R’). So far you are winning me personally, but that is probably in large part because of my starting bias. Your clearly loosing most other participants here. Why do you think you are convincing to somebody who is currently anticipating to vote ‘D’? Do you even have clarity over what their concerns are?

Obstreperous Applesauce @ 183

Carson is nothing if not a model of Self effacing humility.

The picture with Jesus is a winner.

By Roger Kul (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

Larry @187:
I would love to respond to your comment, but the total absence of paragraph breaks makes it impossible to read. In the future, please consider adding some white space to your comments.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

Carson isn’t my favorite candidate, but he does indicate agreement with some stuff I like (e.g. small gov, balanced budgets, anti-abortion, etc). I believe he currently is being treated unfairly by the press, because IMHO there is little to no evidence that ‘lied’ or ‘fabricated,’ and that ‘to bear false witnesses’ is wrong. I’ve reviewed the facts of the stories.
You might call me an ‘idiot,’ but instead clarify how my thinking unclear, and how you so sure that you know better than I do?

I'm not sure I know better than you. Like you, I try to arrive at my conclusions via the best argument I can muster. Like you, I have biases. Like you, I try not to be blinded by them.

FWIW, I'm not a big fan of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, and I think Dr. Carson has an appealing personality and a number of admirable achievements to his credit.

I actually agree that there's little to no evidence that he "lied" or "fabricated." But that's usually the case. Conscious intent to deceive is an inherently difficult thing to prove.

To me, your thinking is unclear in the following ways:

(1) If the candidate is running on his biography, it's not unfair for the media to question it. In fact, it's unfair for the candidate to refuse to provide answers. I mean "Ben Carson for President: Just Take His Word for It!" is not the direction I want to see the country going in

(2) That he wasn't prepared for this is just bonkers. And it does not attest well to either his capacity to lead or his capacity to unite that he wasn't.

Furthermore, it's extremely likely that both the Yale anecdote/high school race riot story in the WSJ and the West Point thing on Politico were fragging from his primary competition, and highly probable that the CNN thing on his childhood violence was, too.

So. Maybe he's just pretending not to know that. But that secular-progressive-plot stuff is, in itself, not exactly a testament to his powers of discernment.

(3) Whatever his intentions may be, his statements are frequently factually inaccurate, embellished, exaggerated, or false in a way that invariably works to his advantage, personally and/or politically.

For example:

It's flatly not true that he had no involvement with Mannatech.

It's also flatly not true that everybody who signed the Declaration of Independence had no experience in elected office.

People do not go to prison straight and come out gay.

Pediatricians have not cut down on the number and proximity of vaccines because they realize there are "too many in too short a period of time."

It's not true that his tax plan wouldn't leave the federal government $1.1 trillion in arrears.

The US Constitution does not make everything except for a flat tax un-American.

It's somewhat misleading to assert that "scientists" think the pyramids were built by aliens.

And same goes for his having been offered a full scholarship to West Point.
______________

Everybody does it. But that's immaterial.

Seriously. If he wanted to run on policy, he could have written a book about it. Failing that, he could get some more proposals up on his website. There's not a lot there, and most of what is doesn't make sense.

I mean, that's he in favor of a balanced budget amendment doesn't mean much unless he has a plan for getting one passed and the skills to make it real. Right?

I was sorely, sorely tempted to post a comment humorously juxtaposing Larry's assertion that he is brighter than average with some of the funnier of his mistakes in usage and spelling, but ann has set a better example.

JustaTech@189

In the future, please consider adding some white space to your comments.

In Larry's defense, he did include single line breaks and that is generally acceptable as a paragraph break (I think). It's also much closer than some get. But you are right that in this format there really needs to be actual whitespace for readability's sake.

The content needs to be reworked too. The whole 'D' and 'R' thing is overly convoluted. There's no penalty for saying Democrat and Republican. I'll give Larry the benefit of the doubt and assume that the defense of See Noevo is simply due to lack of familiarity.

For example, nobody told Carson how to separate the twins. He had to trust himself to literally ‘make this up’ from internal understanding that he trusted.

Not entirely true. He didn't start from scratch. Not to diminish the achievement but he didn't pull it from thin air, there was our knowledge of human biology guiding him, not just God's will or whatever.

At the same time, I am no more an expert on pyramids than he is, and his belief in pyramids is largely independent of issues I care about.

Yes, but that doesn't mean that there aren't any experts on pyramids. And when you're not an expert it is generally a good idea to defer to an expert rather than another non-expert.

The difference between flat earthers is that there was evidence supporting the spherical model. Before such evidence existed claiming the Earth was round would actually have been crazy and only correct by coincidence. There is no such evidence for the grain storage hypothesis.

The pyramid thing really doesn't have much play on current issues but it reveals (at least) two things I don't want in our leaders.

1. Failure to recognize his own lack of expertise.

A very important part of leading is properly delegating tasks. You need to know what you don't know and surround yourself with people who do.

2. Inability to change dogmatic beliefs in the face of opposing evidence.

Yes, in your flat earth analogy Carson is a flat earther refusing to accept overwhelming evidence that it is in fact round. The Bible says so is not good evidence; it's pure dogma.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

capnkrunch @ 192:
I remember reading the very long article in the Baltimore Sun about the separation of those twins (I was supposed to be using the newspaper to protect the floor from a crafting project and got distracted). While Dr Carson was certainly the lead and a very important part of that surgery, he also had a huge team working with him, and they did a *lot* of planning.

That's hardly "making it up".

By JustaTech (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

The Bible says so is not good evidence;

Especially because the Bible does not in fact say that Joseph built the pyramids for grain storage.

it’s pure dogma.

Not even. There is no part of Seventh-Day Adventism that says "We believe that Joseph built the pyramids for grain storage."

He's just using magical thinking, either because it tickles him and he likes it or because that's just his natural default setting.

ann@194

Not even. There is no part of Seventh-Day Adventism that says “We believe that Joseph built the pyramids for grain storage.”

Ah, gotcha. So it's like young earth creationism; purely rectally sourced but guised as supported by the Bible.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

Currently you are losing my vote. Why do you think you are convincing me – e.g. vote ‘D’ (or for that matter anyone else who wasn’t just going to vote ‘D’ because they always vote ‘D’)?

Why do you think anyone is trying to convince you or anyone else how to vote? It was S.N.'s pathetic need for attention that injected Clinton into the comments.

Larry...

1) Very intelligent people (interestingly males more than females) tend to ‘think outside the box.’

I'm curious as to your source. I don't necessarily disagree with you, but I've heard pretty much the same thing said about females more than males, gays more than straights, those with X mental condition over neurotypicals and so on and so forth, a statement like that has little value without evaluating the source (if then). But I digress...

They are more likely to challenge assumptions – even assumptions of the ‘experts’ or just because they are a ‘scientist.’

Possibly, but there is no intrinsic worth in challenging assumptions, just for the sake of thinking 'outside the box'. That is Dunning-Kruger.

e the tone the article was that Dunning-Kruger is creating ‘incorrect’ beliefs. I would correct this to say ‘beliefs’ that ‘_I_ don’t understand.’
I didn't read it like that, although without a comprehensive discussion on an issue it might be hard to identify those who have arrived at the 'right' conclusion due to 'wrong' reasoning, so examples are usually about 'incorrect' beliefs. Dunning-Kruger isn't about being right or wrong, in my opinion, but about evaluating your opinion as evidence...

Which brings me to

I personally think his assumptions about pyramids, for example, are … well… ‘hard to understand’. At the same time, I am no more an expert on pyramids than he is, and his belief in pyramids is largely independent of issues I care about.

What with visiting inside two different pyramids, knowing a little of the methods they used to build them and the tools and materials those ancient Egyptians had at their disposal, and actually studying architecture for a bit, I'd say I'm more of an expert than Ben Carson is (while fully admitting that I'm no expert at all), I think his assumption is not based on facts or anything else than motivated reasoning and ignorance or dismissal of easily verifiable facts.

And, like others have said, it doesn't speak well for his willingness or ability to consider and evaluate evidence, and to familiarize himself with basic facts before making up his mind. This, or his stubbornness to admit being mistaken, regardless of evidence. Neither is a good trait for the President of USA to have.

It sounds like most of you wouldn’t even _consider_ listening to a reasonable argument from the other side.

Based on what? I think most people here actually explain their reasoning when they disagree with someone else's view.

And if you're thinking of me, I still disagree. My only 'expertise' is in a very narrow niche of the art world, and I assume on any other subject, I'm in the presence of people who know more than I do about the subject. I listen to what information they provide, and try to form checkable assumptions. Then I check them. I've changed my mind even here on RI, several times, when presented with new evidence, and I'm willing to do it again, if a persuasive enough argument or point of view is presented.

It’s clear that ‘gaist’ and others have flipped the bozo switch on ‘see noevo’ and vice versa. We tend to believe anyone that thinks differently is a ‘bozo.’ Don’t flip the bozo switch

I don't think I have 'switched the bozo bit' on See Noevo, at least on principle. I might be biased against him, based on his past performance here, but like I said - I make fun of him when I think his posts deserve it. I evaluate. If I ever find him making a coherent and persuasive point, I'll consider it as thoroughly as I'd consider the same point coming from anybody.

And for what it's worth, I actually believe my skits are getting through to him more than any post I wrote where I tried reasoning with him. If you're interested further, search Respectful Insolence for antiabortion and see the comments for yourself. I personally think he's not interested in exchange of ideas.

And coming back to the 'bozo bit', I'd like to take the wordplay a little further. Rather than the colloquial usage, I'd like to pretend you used it in the original meaning. Think of my satire (such as it is) as the weakest level of protection against See Noevo's posts infecting spreading outwards.

^ Oh, and...

please remember that at one time 97% of … once believed the earth was flat. At the time “it was ‘obvious’”.

Leaving aside what the ellipsis dots are doing there, the assertion is a stereotypical falsehood.

Also, and claiming at least a modicum of expertise on visual arts - jumping Jesus on a bogo-stick, Ben Carson sure likes looking at himself.

Not entirely true. He didn’t start from scratch. Not to diminish the achievement but he didn’t pull it from thin air, there was our knowledge of human biology guiding him, not just God’s will or whatever

I also expect that state of the art imaging studies were also helpful.

Is Ben Carson intelligent? He's good at memorizing facts and cutting. That's what people who graduate medical school are good at. (At this point I'm starting to wonder if he actually did graduate med school) But is the ability to memorize lumps of info actually intelligence? It requires no reasoning or logic. Personally, I've got some serious doubts about Dr Carson. At the very least he's willfully ignorant. Personally, I think he's a habitual liar who isn't used to getting called on his BS.

By Peter Pan's Shadow (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

People who were educated have known the Earth is round, and its approximate size, since the third century BC. People who weren't didn't usually spend time thinking about it. I don't think there's ever been at time where 97% of humans total thought it was flat.

By dedicated lurker (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

The idea of seperating craniopagus conjoined twins has existed for a long time, and the theory is simple enough, but the potential for blood loss has been so great that it was only first attempted in 1951. Even now most times it's been done one twin has died or suffered brain damage. (This does include at least one of Carson's cases, but it's such a difficult operation that I have respect for anyone who can complete it.)

By dedicated lurker (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

ann #175 writes
“For Obama, it was actually much worse. His campaign eventually had to put up a “fight the smears” website to deal with it all. And (as I recall) not all of it originated on the right. Some of it came from the Clinton campaign.”

Do you (or anyone out there) recall any of the smears coming from the Main Stream Media or liberal websites?

I don’t.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

I’m curious as to your source.

I am too.

I'm aware of research suggesting that men are likelier to be perceived as outside-the-box thinkers than women.

But that's due to inside-the-box thinking on gender by both men and women. I've never heard that either is categorically less box-bound than the other.

Re: JustaTech # 189
Sorry, I could have spent more time preparing. Sorry that you had difficulty. Will try to use more spacing next time.

Re:JP #191.
Also, Sorry. Spelling and grammar was never my strong suit. For what its worth, my point on 'brighter than average' was only that I have capacity to understand. If you think that my intelligence is 'below average,' so be it. I am comfortable. I concede that you are 'brighter than I am'. Your English is perfect. Congratulations.

You didn't convince me of much, however. And, your comment speaks volumes about your general attitude toward others. You appear more interested in making someone else feel small, than in engaging, attempting to understand, or helping. You are all about making yourself look 'smart,' because god forbid they see the real you. Your smart - OK. I care more about caring and compassionate. Unfortunately, that is exactly the impression I get from many on the left. You all talk about 'compassion', but you act differently. Underneath you act condescending, arrogant, and hypocritical. You reinforce the image I hoped might change.

Re: Ann # 190.
Thanks for your response. I agree that it is fair to address Carson on his bio in general. I also agree that he has made a number of questionable statements, and that the proposals on his website lack substance. Those are legit issues to raise. Of course we shouldn't 'Just take his word for it'. I would never say that we should. Again, he isn't my favorite candidate, but honestly, I could make the same statement about almost any candidate. Finding flaws is easy. I agree that that 'a plan to getting on passed and skills to make it real' would be nice. But, you and I both know this is an unrealistic standard. The democratic candidates don't appear any stronger with respect to any of the issues, but we probably just disagree on that. And even with respect to your true statements in #3 (with exception of the 'full scholarship'), there are similarly dumb things, or flat lies coming out of more or less all the front runners. By this comparison, IMHO, Carson looks the least of evils.

I disagree with the assertion of CNN and Politico (also the WSJ piece) are even about his biography, however. To me these seem like pure 'Hit' pieces. For example, Carson didn't ever state that he ever applied to West Point, only that he got an offer, and even their own materials they call this 'scholarship'. He was off on his recording the date, but it sounds very probable that that an offer was actually made. To say that Carson 'fabricated' this is at best sloppy journalism, and at worst completely dishonest. Similarly, regarding the CNN piece, I have no idea what he did or didn't do at age 15, but would never be persuaded because somebody went and talked to a few folks in his hometown that 'knew' him, but didn't know what happened in some rage of anger. There is simply _nothing_ here other than slander. And to me it doesn't matter that he was/wasn't 'prepared' for slander (I suspect he was expecting something), or that he could answered (IMHO he did answer). Slander is just wrong.

Do you (or anyone out there) recall any of the smears coming from the Main Stream Media or liberal websites?

I don’t.

Does Fox count?

Ann #184:

“At this point, it’s maybe hard to remember that the whole Benghazi thing actually started because the Christian right made a video …”

That’s odd. That’s not what Sec. of State Hillary Clinton thought:
1)Email from Hillary to Chelsea 45 minutes after Hillary had issued a statement blaming YouTube-inflamed mobs: “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-like group.”

2)Hillary to Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf the night of the Benghazi attack: “We have asked for the Libyan government to provide additional security to the compound immediately as there is a gun battle ongoing, which I understand Ansar as Sharia [sic] is claiming responsibility for.”

3)Hillary phone call the next day, 9/12, with the Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil: “We KNOW that the attack in Libya had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FILM. It was a PLANNED ATTACK—NOT A PROTEST.”

By See Noevo (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

You didn’t convince me of much, however.

I wasn't trying to convince you of anything; where do you get this idea that anybody here is? I can't help it if I find the notion that "life begins at inception" to be interpretable in some pretty entertaining ways. I generally aim to entertain. Just ask my students.

And, your comment speaks volumes about your general attitude toward others. You appear more interested in making someone else feel small, than in engaging, attempting to understand, or helping. You are all about making yourself look ‘smart,’ because god forbid they see the real you. ... I care more about caring and compassionate.

Your seeming belief that a single comment can tell you much of anything about somebody's general level of compassion or comfort with letting other people see the "real them" speaks volumes about your general attitude toward people.

Your smart – OK.

Yes. I am.

Unfortunately, that is exactly the impression I get from many on the left. You all talk about ‘compassion’, but you act differently. Underneath you act condescending, arrogant, and hypocritical. You reinforce the image I hoped might change.

Who is this "you all" that you think you're talking to? Do you think that everybody who posts here is a liberal or a leftist or whatever? I can assure you that this is not the case. The OP wasn't even about Carson's politics, for Pete's sake. Besides all that, for all you know, I could be a Republican or a Libertarian or not even a resident of the US.

life begins at inception
It was a good film, but let's not go overboard.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

To ann #184 (continued):

“… a video that was so virulently offensive to Muslims that it triggered anti-American protests, flag-desecration, and other assorted acts of mayhem (including a suicide-bombing in Afghanistan that killed nine people) in Egypt, India, Pakistan, Tunisia, Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon, and elsewhere, thus making the world a less safe place for Americans, generally.”

Anti-American protests, mayhem, and suicide-bombing across the Middle East and Africa?
Didn’t such things happen regularly, and usually daily, *before* the subject video hit the internet.
And haven’t anti-American protests, mayhem, and suicide-bombing across the Middle East and Africa happened regularly, and usually daily, *since* the time the subject video hit the internet three years ago?

If all this is video-driven, then I guess videos similar to the subject video must be getting released about daily for the last couple decades.
…………………
“That’s what they really have a problem with. So they’re pretending that there’s no conceivable reason why, when speaking in public in front of the whole wide world, the Secretary of State might choose not to immediately name armed violent suspects who were still at large before anyone was really certain where they were, who they were, what they were up to, how dangerous it was, and to whom.”

No. What they (and me) have a problem with is that there’s a VERY conceivable reason why:
It would put the lie to the Obama re-election bid platform (i.e. ‘GM’s alive and Bin Laden’s dead! Terrorism is on the run!’)
......................
“So unless they’re too stupid to grasp that what she says in private to her daughter and the prime minister of Egypt doesn’t have the same potential to put American lives at risk as what she says in her televised remarks…”

No. Hillary put American lives at risk with or without “video” remarks. She wasn’t protecting American lives, she was protecting a prevaricating progressive presidential re-election campaign.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

See, you know where the Bible says: "Do not give false witness."? Does it also say "unless your political rivals do so as well."? Is there some exception to one of God's highest commands that I am aware of?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

He was off on his recording the date, but it sounds very probable that that an offer was actually made.

For certain values of "offer" and "actually." If rephrased as "it sounds plausible that somebody at some point suggested that he apply to West Point," I don't think you're going to find much of anybody to argue with.

The idea of seperating craniopagus conjoined twins has existed for a long time, and the theory is simple enough, but the potential for blood loss has been so great that it was only first attempted in 1951

I was under the impression that one aspect of Carson's multiple contributions was his confidence that techniques in body cooling and hypothermic arrest had advanced enough that the surgery had real prospects of arrest. Is that a fair comment?
I have also gained the impression that a key requirement for a successful neurosurgeon is the confidence and willingness to take chances with someone else's brain.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

Is Ben Carson intelligent?
Of course. He would never have accomplished anything without constantly learning, constantly keeping up with a scientific / technical literature.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

Ahem.

The three stories on that list that aren’t deranged conspiracy theories — Ayers/Dohrn, Rezko and Wright — all received months of coverage; he was questioned about them repeatedly during debates, press conferences, etc.; and all three were broken by mainstream media outlets.

The birther and actually-a-muslim stories also received mainstream coverage in 2008,

And speaking of inside-the-box thinking.

If the mainstream media really was part of a secular progressive plot, the last thing it would effing want to do is discredit Ben Carson.

In order to get enough delegates to win the nomination, he would have to beat Cruz and Trump in at least some states where race is an issue and also Bush and Rubio in at least some states where most Republican voters are moderate and non-evangelical.

Pretty much the only way a Carson candidacy could happen would be a brokered convention.

But (1) secular progressives would be delighted by that; and (2) either way, it would still be in their best interest for him to stay in, drawing as much money, support and attention away from others and causing as much division and strife in the party as possible.

The stories in the WSJ and Politico were almost certainly planted there by oppo researchers for one of the other Republican candidates. And the CNN story probably was.

Why?

(a) Because the other Republican candidates are the only people who'd benefit by getting him out of the way now.

(b) The West Point story probably wasn't all that labor-or-work intensive, but flacking for the right is Politico's bread-and-butter. That's where they get all their good stories. It's what they do.

(c) It's not like the WSJ has a Detroit bureau, or can afford to send shoe-leather reporters to Michigan looking for people who survived high-school race riots with Ben Carson and were willing to talk about it on a whim. That kind of work is time-consuming and expensive. They are also a conservative publication.

(d) CNN would be very unlikely to make that kind of investment in a story with no natural TV-friendly values, especially far enough in advance and without knowing what kind of answers they'd get. They also virtually never do that kind of reporting and probably don't know how.

(e) Jeb can fix it! (This is how the Bush family campaigns. Has been for decades.)

(f) Conspiracy theories work much better and reach more people on the internet anyway. So quit whining.

and finally:

(g) Just because you don't remember it doesn't mean it never happens.

John Kerry lost an election because of attacks on the things he said and did forty years earlier, all of which received extensive mainstream media coverage.

Al Gore got branded as the guy who boasted about inventing the internet, when that was not actually any more accurate than branding Ben Carson as a guy who boasted about getting into West Point would be.

Hillary Clinton had a scholarly article she wrote about children's rights under the law in 1973 minutely examined by media outlets all across the country, and she wasn't even running. She was just married to someone who was.

Every one of those is more closely equivalent to what Carson's enduring than some demented rumor about how Frank Marshall Davis is Obama's true father, or how sis grandmother was a socialist/bank vice president and his grandfather a socialist/WWII vet/furniture salesman.

It's routine. Get over it.

"I was under the impression that one aspect of Carson’s multiple contributions was his confidence that techniques in body cooling and hypothermic arrest had advanced enough that the surgery had real prospects of arrest. Is that a fair comment?"

To a degree, yeah. He was also willing to do some riskier surgeries in his career, which in many cases turned out well.

By dedicated lurker (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

To Larry:

Just a heads up on something gaist told you in #197:

“I don’t think I have ‘switched the bozo bit’ on See Noevo… If you’re interested further, search Respectful Insolence for antiabortion and see the comments for yourself. I personally think he’s not interested in exchange of ideas.”

I think you’ll see that I’m quite interested in exchange of ideas. See for example the exchanging on this 2,100+ comment thread:
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/07/27/when-the-antiabortion-move…

By See Noevo (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

I think you’ll see that I’m quite interested in exchange of ideas. See for example the exchanging on this 2,100+ comment thread

I think that's the second attempt I've seen by S.N. at this specifc and wretched form of attention-whoring.

Again, he isn’t my favorite candidate, but honestly, I could make the same statement about almost any candidate.

And you would be speaking for me if you did.

Finding flaws is easy.

But finding nine people who knew Ben Carson in elementary school and junior high who are willing to talk about him to the media is hard. Most people dislike and distrust the media.

It's also time-consuming and expensive.

A good way to avoid having people focus on your flaws is to make a habit out of thinking about whether you're confident that the things you say in print and circulate widely are true before you say them..

I agree that that ‘a plan to getting on passed and skills to make it real’ would be nice. But, you and I both know this is an unrealistic standard.

WRT a balanced budget amendment, that's definitely true.

That being the case, however, that Carson favors one ceases to be a reason to vote for him.

If he had a plan that would reduce or eliminate the national debt, it would be a different story. But he doesn't. He has a plan that would increase it by $1.1 trillion.

Furthermore, it's not actually clear that he knows what the national debt is or how it works.

Besides which, people who have (for example) governed states demonstrably have the skills and know-how to make and realize plans in the political arena. So it's not totally unrealistic in all regards.

The democratic candidates don’t appear any stronger with respect to any of the issues, but we probably just disagree on that.

I vote for the candidate that's less likely to pack the Supreme Court with people who will saddle the country with decisions like Citizens United.

Because I'm never going to be crazy about anyone who's actually electable. But it's not just my country alone. So I'm okay with that.

And even with respect to your true statements in #3 (with exception of the ‘full scholarship’), there are similarly dumb things, or flat lies coming out of more or less all the front runners. By this comparison, IMHO, Carson looks the least of evils.

Honestly, I don't see how. They're all against abortion and in favor of small government. Per your estimation, they all say dumb or untrue things. The only criterion that leaves is that you support him because you think the press is being unfair.

And that makes no sense. Plus if you wait a little while, it'll be Rubio's turn any minute now. (Jeb. Don't count him out.)

JP #210 reprimanding Larry:
“Who is this “you all” that you think you’re talking to? Do you think that everybody who posts here is a liberal or a leftist or whatever? I can assure you that this is not the case.”

Well, I think it’s *virtually* the case.
Like “97%”, colloquially speaking.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

To ann who never addresses anyone #217:

“If the mainstream media really was part of a secular progressive plot…”

Well, “plot” is a pretty powerful word, kind of like “conspiracy”, and would imply a formally communicated and orchestrated plan across all the mainstream media outlets.
I’m not saying that.

But do you believe the mainstream media does NOT lean secular progressive?

And do you believe the mainstream media does NOT try to protect secular progressives?

“The three stories on that list that aren’t deranged conspiracy theories — Ayers/Dohrn, Rezko and Wright — all received months of coverage; he was questioned about them repeatedly during debates, press conferences, etc.; and all three were broken by mainstream media outlets.”

Two points on that:

1)There can be a very big difference between a) breaking a story and “coverage” of it, and b) objective, in-depth, unbiased reporting (i.e. *truthful* coverage).

2)Which mainstream media outlets broke which stories?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

Okey-dokey.

1) Very intelligent people (interestingly males more than females) tend to ‘think outside the box.’

I’m curious as to your source.

Source was an anecdotal reference I have overheard generally by a couple of teachers I have known – I wasn’t trying to be specific, but for instance there is something out there to support this: htp[]s://research.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/publications/2012/7/researchreport-1992-2-sex-differences-problem-solving-strategies-sat-math.pdf

So, basically 14.5 pages (N = 58) that are 23 years old about people who scored above 650 on a specific mathematical-skills testing instrument, and this is what you use to defend your sweeping generalization?

"High-scoring females, as a group, seem to be somewhat
more conservative in their strategies, sticking to methods
they were taught in school. This may be caused by a lack of
confidence or interest, or because of the way they learned
and think about mathematics."

To ann who never addresses anyone MEEEEEEEEEEEE

FTFY

I forgot:

To me these seem like pure ‘Hit’ pieces.

If the press makes a diligent effort to consider and report both sides of a disputed story fairly and it's newsworthy by a generally accepted standard -- ie, legitimately in the public interest in some way -- it's not a hit piece.

By those parameters, the West Point story as it appeared in Politico was a hit piece, imo.

However, the West Point story as it appeared in most of the outlets that picked it up once it broke was, in most cases, simply a story that was unfavorable to Ben Carson primarily because his response was angry, disorganized, and heavy on the fingerpointing and complaint.

If he had just said, "Believe me, to a kid living in poverty in Detroit, there's not a lot of difference between a full scholarship and free tuition. West Point calls it that in its promotional materials. And I made it perfectly clear that I only applied to Yale. I'm not going to dignify it with further comment," it would not have outlived the 24-hour news cycle.

The other stories are a little harder to address, but they're not impossible. What made them seem like 'hit pieces" was his failure to respond in a way that gave him the last word and closed the door on the subject. Or at least appeared to do so.

But that's not the media's fault. They gave him the opportunity. He decided to get outraged and storm off. That's on him.

There is simply _nothing_ here other than slander. And to me it doesn’t matter that he was/wasn’t ‘prepared’ for slander (I suspect he was expecting something), or that he could answered (IMHO he did answer). Slander is just wrong.

It would actually be libel, not slander. But it can't be either one unless (at a minimum) they knew that what they were saying was false and defamatory and/or they recklessly disregarded the possibility that it was.

And that was not the case. He said stuff. They accurately reported that he said it and raised questions about its veracity. He didn't answer them well or -- in most instances -- at all.

Again, that's not the media's fault. He should have been prepared for it.

^ I'm going to go ahead and try to fix the the triple-blockquote on this one.

-----
Okey-dokey.

1) Very intelligent people (interestingly males more than females) tend to ‘think outside the box.’

I’m curious as to your source.

Source was an anecdotal reference I have overheard generally by a couple of teachers I have known – I wasn’t trying to be specific, but for instance there is something out there to support this: htp[]s://research.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/publications/2012/7/researchreport-1992-2-sex-differences-problem-solving-strategies-sat-math.pdf

So, basically 14.5 pages (N = 58) that are 23 years old about people who scored above 650 on a specific mathematical-skills testing instrument, and this is what you use to defend your sweeping generalization?

“High-scoring females, as a group, seem to be somewhat more conservative in their strategies, sticking to methods they were taught in school. This may be caused by a lack of confidence or interest, or because of the way they learned and think about mathematics.”

To ann who never addresses anyone MEEEEEEEEEEEE

FTFY

The "do not call list" certainly seems to need more frequent updating.

Re Narad #228
Again, this was intended to be a completely unsupported statement. I'm in no way trying to defend a 'sweeping generalization' by making a comment in a blog. Thus, my comment 'I overheard...', and 'this is anecdotal'

Take it for what its worth. For absolute clarity - some folks (non-specifically, and without any actual experimentation) have independently noticed this and made offhand comments to me as in 'humm isn't it interesting that ...'. Without much effort I was able to google and find that there is at least some evidence that the observations are not completely without merit. I didn't do exhaustive research on this topic, and I don't know if there is other evidence to support it or not. I suspect that there may be other weak studies, but that there is probably no RCT trial that would satisfy your desire to show this is a 'proven fact' with extensive footnotes. On the other hand, there isn't evidence for parachutes, and all sorts of other things. The fact that there isn't a large RCT or met-analysis for something does not indicate that something is false - it indicates unknown. And, in the absence of established high quality studies, weak data is generally better than no data.

It's an 'interesting' potentially explaining observation. That is ALL. Weak data, but better than no data.

But, if the OP or you are speculating on what makes Ben Carson or anyone else tick, I doubt that we'll ever get much beyond completely unsupported 'sweeping generalizations' anyway.

To ann who never addresses anyone #217:

I'll make an exception.

“If the mainstream media really was part of a secular progressive plot…”

Well, “plot” is a pretty powerful word, kind of like “conspiracy”, and would imply a formally communicated and orchestrated plan across all the mainstream media outlets.
I’m not saying that.

That's a fair point.

But do you believe the mainstream media does NOT lean secular progressive?

Well. The press is a secular institution. For a reason. And this is it:

If they want to stay in business, any news outlet that has a big enough audience/readership to be called "mainstream" can't lean a lot further to the left or right than most Americans who get their news from whatever part of the media marketplace that outlet is in. And they also can't offend their advertisers.

In practice, that means (a) secular/ecumenical; (b) most of the demo is always unhappy with something but rarely so disgusted that they quit reading/watching; and (c) except for very, very infrequently, neither of is going to see our political views being embraced by the mainstream print and broadcast media.

The main way that they're liberal is that to reach a lot of people they have to be inclusive wrt diversity of belief and lifestyle. But that's not really motivated by politics. It's just show business.

The exceptions on the right (eg, Fox News, the WSJ, the New York Post) tend to be more uncompromisingly on the right because Rupert Murdoch is willing to plow money into them even when it's unpopular.

MSNBC has to keep it within limits that advertisers and viewers will accept. And the news pages of the New York Times are not all that liberal. They just hew definitively left for opinion/editorial and the "[whatever] of the Times" sections.

(^^I mean "by the standards of most people." I realize that you don't see it that way. And I'm not arguing with that. I'm just using the terms "left," "right," "liberal," and "conservative" as they're conventionally understood by most people on both sides.)

And do you believe the mainstream media does NOT try to protect secular progressives?

I believe that all institutions try to protect themselves. And institutional self-interest isn't usually as straightforward as that. George W. Bush just about crushed the mainstream media and then ran back and forth over its flattened corpse for his entire first term. And the NYT was at the head of the pack saying, "Please, sir, may I have another?"

Because that was the mood of the country. C'est la vie.

But (to be fair), they're almost always generally respectful of authority once someone's in office.

“The three stories on that list that aren’t deranged conspiracy theories — Ayers/Dohrn, Rezko and Wright — all received months of coverage; he was questioned about them repeatedly during debates, press conferences, etc.; and all three were broken by mainstream media outlets.”

Two points on that:

1) There can be a very big difference between a) breaking a story and “coverage” of it, and b) objective, in-depth, unbiased reporting (i.e. *truthful* coverage).

SN, I know you hate Obama. But "objective" and "unbiased" means you can't say he's in the thrall of radical left-wing terrorists unless there's objective unbiased proof that he is.

It also means you have to acknowledge that they haven't committed any acts of radical left-wing terrorism since he was eleven years old, and that all charges against them were dropped, and so forth and so on.

Because whether you like it or not, all those things are objectively true. Same for whether you personally think they're pertinent truths or not. And there's no amount of in-depth that can change that. The only way to change it is to persuade the majority of the American people that you're right to see it the way you do and they're wrong.

Or overwhelming force. That would also work.

In any event. That aside, I agree. There can be a big difference.

To the best of my recollection, Rezko/Obama got in-depth coverage in the major dailies but not on TV, because it's kind of a weedy story.

But Wright and Ayers both got deep wide coverage everywhere. That's why he had to throw Wright overboard. Just saying "I condemn this, I strongly disagree with that" and changing the subject didn't do it.

2) Which mainstream media outlets broke which stories?

Ayers/Dohrn -- ABC News; Rezko -- the Chicago Sun-Times; Wright -- ABC News.

Rezko actually went national because Hillary brought it up during a debate.

__________

I noticed after posting that every single person I listed on the smear list at the end of #216 -- ie, Kerry, Gore, Hillary in '92, and Carson -- was running against a member of the Bush family.

Man, is it gonna be ugly if we end up with Bush v. /Clinton 2.0 (1.6.)

Stupid html tags. I meant:

But do you believe the mainstream media does NOT lean secular progressive?

Well. The press is a secular institution. For a reason. And this is it:

If they want to stay in business, any news outlet that has a big enough audience/readership to be called “mainstream” can’t lean a lot further to the left or right than most Americans who get their news from whatever part of the media marketplace that outlet is in. And they also can’t offend their advertisers.

In practice, that means (a) secular/ecumenical; (b) most of the demo is always unhappy with something but rarely so disgusted that they quit reading/watching; and (c) except for very, very infrequently, neither of is going to see our political views being embraced by the mainstream print and broadcast media.

The main way that they’re liberal is that to reach a lot of people they have to be inclusive wrt diversity of belief and lifestyle. But that’s not really motivated by politics. It’s just show business.

The exceptions on the right (eg, Fox News, the WSJ, the New York Post) tend to be more uncompromisingly on the right because Rupert Murdoch is willing to plow money into them even when it’s unpopular.

MSNBC has to keep it within limits that advertisers and viewers will accept. And the news pages of the New York Times are not all that liberal. They just hew definitively left for opinion/editorial and the “[whatever] of the Times” sections.

(^^I mean “by the standards of most people.” I realize that you don’t see it that way. And I’m not arguing with that. I’m just using the terms “left,” “right,” “liberal,” and “conservative” as they’re conventionally understood by most people on both sides.)

And do you believe the mainstream media does NOT try to protect secular progressives?

I believe that all institutions try to protect themselves. And institutional self-interest isn’t usually as straightforward as that. George W. Bush just about crushed the mainstream media and then ran back and forth over its flattened corpse for his entire first term. And the NYT was at the head of the pack saying, “Please, sir, may I have another?”

Because that was the mood of the country. C’est la vie.

But (to be fair), they’re almost always generally respectful of authority once someone’s in office.

“The three stories on that list that aren’t deranged conspiracy theories — Ayers/Dohrn, Rezko and Wright — all received months of coverage; he was questioned about them repeatedly during debates, press conferences, etc.; and all three were broken by mainstream media outlets.”

Two points on that:

1) There can be a very big difference between a) breaking a story and “coverage” of it, and b) objective, in-depth, unbiased reporting (i.e. *truthful* coverage).

SN, I know you hate Obama. But “objective” and “unbiased” means you can’t say he’s in the thrall of radical left-wing terrorists unless there’s objective unbiased proof that he is.

It also means you have to acknowledge that they haven’t committed any acts of radical left-wing terrorism since he was eleven years old, and that all charges against them were dropped, and so forth and so on.

Because whether you like it or not, all those things are objectively true. Same for whether you personally think they’re pertinent truths or not. And there’s no amount of in-depth that can change that. The only way to change it is to persuade the majority of the American people that you’re right to see it the way you do and they’re wrong.

Or overwhelming force. That would also work.

In any event. That aside, I agree. There can be a big difference.

To the best of my recollection, Rezko/Obama got in-depth coverage in the major dailies but not on TV, because it’s kind of a weedy story.

But Wright and Ayers both got deep wide coverage everywhere. That’s why he had to throw Wright overboard. Just saying “I condemn this, I strongly disagree with that” and changing the subject didn’t do it.

2) Which mainstream media outlets broke which stories?

Ayers/Dohrn — ABC News; Rezko — the Chicago Sun-Times; Wright — ABC News.

Rezko actually went national because Hillary brought it up during a debate.

__________

I noticed after posting that every single person I listed on the smear list at the end of #216 — ie, Kerry, Gore, Hillary in ’92, and Carson — was running against a member of the Bush family.

Man, is it gonna be ugly if we end up with Bush v. /Clinton 2.0 (1.6.)

Again, this was intended to be a completely unsupported statement.

Which, one may recall, was set forth as follows:

Very intelligent people (interestingly males more than females) tend to ‘think outside the box.’ They tend to look for alternative solutions to problems, rather than using traditional methods. This is a twist on Dunning-Kruger. They are more likely to challenge assumptions – even assumptions of the ‘experts’ or just because they are a ‘scientist.’ For example, nobody told Carson how to separate the twins. He had to trust himself to literally ‘make this up’ from internal understanding that he trusted.

It took you a while to backpedal to what you "intended":

Source was an anecdotal reference I have overheard generally by a couple of teachers I have known – I wasn’t trying to be specific, but for instance there is something out there to support this....

To ann who still doesn’t address anyone #231:

“The exceptions on the right (eg, Fox News, the WSJ, the New York Post) tend to be more uncompromisingly on the right because Rupert Murdoch is willing to plow money into them even when it’s unpopular.”

So, I guess Fox News and the WSJ are unpopular, losing business ventures kept afloat only by madman Murdoch.

“MSNBC has to keep it within limits that advertisers and viewers will accept.”

Now THAT is one that seems to be kept afloat regardless of its dismal ratings.

“And the news pages of the New York Times are not all that liberal.”

Not all that liberal? Yea. Just kind of liberal.
Why should they be liberal AT ALL? How about NEUTRAL? You know, objective/unbiased/truthful/just-the-facts-ma’am?

“George W. Bush just about crushed the mainstream media and then ran back and forth over its flattened corpse for his entire first term. And the NYT was at the head of the pack saying, “Please, sir, may I have another?””

I mustn’t have heard that right. Could you repeat?

“George W. Bush just about crushed the mainstream media and then ran back and forth over its flattened corpse for his entire first term. And the NYT was at the head of the pack saying, “Please, sir, may I have another?””

I guess I DID hear that right.
???????????????????????????

“SN, I know you hate Obama. But “objective” and “unbiased” means you can’t say he’s in the thrall of radical left-wing terrorists unless there’s objective unbiased proof that he is.”

Correct, you wouldn’t report in the *straight news* pages that he’s *in the thrall of* radical left-wing terrorists.
However, you MIGHT report his upbringing by, and frequent association with, radical left-wing, er, “socialist” types like his mother, grandparents, his father (FROM whom he got his dreams), his father figure Frank Marshall Davis, John Drew, Charles Ogletree, Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn. Or with felon Tony Rezko.
You MIGHT report how his upbringing, and frequent associations, are consistent with his “transformative” statements like “spread the wealth around” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoqI5PSRcXM

By See Noevo (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

Take it for what its worth. For absolute clarity – some folks (non-specifically, and without any actual experimentation) have independently noticed this and made offhand comments to me as in ‘humm isn’t it interesting that …’. Without much effort I was able to google and find that there is at least some evidence that the observations are not completely without merit.

Which I for one didn't challenge, at all. I pointed out there is at least some evidence to the contrary, and beyond.... So any postulating about what might result from such a discrepancy in thinking processes, is opinioning.

Your original didn't read it as such, but I appreciate the clarifications, while adding that one shouldn't extrapolate from math problems to challenges a practicing doctor might face. Couldn't locate the study but I remember reading a couple of newspaper articles about one that said basically the opposite of your anecdote, that in demanding professions women were better at out-of-the-box improvising and challenging past experiences, whereas men were faster in their decision making and relied more on past experience and individual skill. But, until I bother trying to locate it (read the articles 6-10 years ago, possibly from Sweden) this is purely anecdotal also.

there is probably no RCT trial that would satisfy your desire to show this is a ‘proven fact’ with extensive footnotes. On the other hand, there isn’t evidence for parachutes,

There is, in fact, evidence for parachutes (me for one, having survived not one but two exits from a flying airplane) but not RCTs. While randomized controlled trials are the gold standard for many types of studies, they are not the only sort of evidence, and often enough, not the only sort of absolutely convincing evidence, as in the case of parachutes.

/pedantry

The fact that there isn't a large RCT or met-analysis for something does not indicate that something is false – it indicates unknown.

False. There are other, often more appropriate study designs, providing equally rigorous and convincing evidence. I shouldn't have to explain this to someone who is "a physician with an EE background (I tend to understand science and medicine pretty well and, I’m brighter than ‘average’)".

And, in the absence of established high quality studies, weak data is generally better than no data.

(See Noevo in #220) I’m quite interested in exchange of ideas. See for example the exchanging on this 2,100+ comment thread:

Which is the same thread I (and I believe others here) would offer as evidence that See Noevo isn't.

Why should they be liberal AT ALL? How about NEUTRAL? You know, objective/unbiased/truthful/just-the-facts-ma’am?

Says the man who uses Breitbart as a news source.

Also, the "And, in the absence of established high quality studies, weak data is generally better than no data." shouldn't be there, as it's a discarded part of a quote from Larry's post.

Why should they be liberal AT ALL?

The media industry seek to attract and retain customers. Some will cater to a specific base, but those who seek a larger audience will try to appeal to common emotions.
Plus, there is something known as "don't shot the ambulance". Most news anchors/editorial boards don't want to appear as insensitive assh0les.

So they will run their story trying to factor as much sensationalism and human factor as possible. So they will talk about unfairness, poverty, loss of a social situation (jobs, fame...), people helping one another (or not), the brutality of society in general, little dogs and cats ran over by cars...
For some, these are all "liberal" topics or point-of-views.

In reality, mainstream media are not so much liberal as they are a mix of distorted romanticism and black-and-white humanism. And as ann pointed above, media who want to address a large base have to be as much all-encompassing as possible. Which means talking about all forms of religions, sexual orientations and so on in a non-negative way (except in cases of extremism/belief-guided crimes).
Which again, for some people, is a "liberal" point-of-view.

These people ask for neutrality but nothing short of a judgemental report.will be neutral enough. Because they regard any accepting/sympathetic point-of-view as already a biased point-of-view.
They are not completely wrong. True neutrality doesn't exist. As Frank Herbert said, there is no way to transmit information without judging it. Just by reporting it, you give it value.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

gaist@236

Which is the same thread I (and I believe others here) would offer as evidence that See Noevo isn’t.

How deluded do you need to be to think otherwise? The constant stream of "I'm not talking to you" and then "see? No one can challenge what I'm saying" is rather contrary to exchange of ideas.

This is also the same thread where See Noevo emitted this gem:

How about the possibility that homosexuality is evil?

Yup, See Noevo is hateful, bigotted, and absolutely entrenched in his far right beliefs. I say far right because it's not about religion for him, religion is just a tool to justify his beliefs when they happen to coincide. Also in that thread was See Noevo claiming to know better than the pope.

Sometimes writing someone off as a "bozo" is a useful shortcut. You can sift through the sh!tstream looking for good ideas but the return on inveatment is so low your time is probably better spent elsewhere.

By capnkrunch (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

So, I guess Fox News and the WSJ are unpopular, losing business ventures kept afloat only by madman Murdoch.

No, they're both profitable. Fox has also been innovative and influential. And the WSJ has actually done better since the Newscorp acquisition, although that's not because of politics, it's because they dragged themselves into the 21rst century and built the brand online.

That's not what I meant. The key words were "even when it's unpopular."

That's always been the case for the New York Post. It's not profitable. But they just keep doing what they're doing anyway. Same for Fox News. For the first eight years or so, it was not a success. Now it is. But whether their numbers are declining or increasing, they just keep doing what they're doing.

That's unusual in the United States; less so in the UK. But the whole picture is different there, because they have state-sponsored media. So everybody who's not that is frankly partisan.

In short: That wasn't an insult.

What I was trying to say is that the media outlets you regard as "liberal" aren't the way they are because they have a political agenda. They're that way because they have to cleave more or less to the political middle of their audience/readership, which shifts over time.

Murdoch, on the other hand, sticks with Murdoch's politics no matter what. So does Mort Zuckerman with Mort Zuckerman's politics. But US News and the Daily News aren't much of a media empire. And neither they nor he is very left-wing. There isn't really an equivalent to Murdoch on the left.

Why should they be liberal AT ALL? How about NEUTRAL? You know, objective/unbiased/truthful/just-the-facts-ma’am?

As most people understand those words, they are.

However, you MIGHT report his upbringing by, and frequent association with, radical left-wing, er, “socialist” types like his mother, grandparents, his father (FROM whom he got his dreams), his father figure Frank Marshall Davis, John Drew, Charles Ogletree, Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn. Or with felon Tony Rezko.

As I noted earlier, the three of those that aren't deranged conspiracy theories did get reported. In an objective, unbiased and factual manner, as those words are understood by just about everybody who uses them.

What you want is something else. An objective, unbiased report on Tony Rezko's association with Obama would have to note that he hosted a multi-million-dollar fundraiser for George W. Bush, which is -- by an objective, unbiased standard -- more than he did for Obama. For example.

Why? Because it says something that's objectively important about Tony Rezko. That's why. Just saying "Obama! Felons! Corruption! Burn him!" as if he were the only one would be biased.

Ummmm, Ann, we do not have state sponsored media here...

Ummmm, Ann, we do not have state sponsored media here…

Huh? What about the BBC?

Sorry for Wiki, but:

The BBC is established under a Royal Charter[9] and operates under its Agreement with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.[10] Its work is funded principally by an annual television licence fee[11] which is charged to all British households, companies, and organisations using any type of equipment to receive or record live television broadcasts.[12] The fee is set by the British Government, agreed by Parliament,[13] and used to fund the BBC's extensive radio, TV, and online services covering the nations and regions of the UK. From 1 April 2014 it also funds the BBC World Service, launched in 1932, which provides comprehensive TV, radio, and online services in Arabic, and Persian, and broadcasts in 28 languages.

These people ask for neutrality but nothing short of a judgemental report.will be neutral enough. Because they regard any accepting/sympathetic point-of-view as already a biased point-of-view.
They are not completely wrong. True neutrality doesn’t exist. As Frank Herbert said, there is no way to transmit information without judging it. Just by reporting it, you give it value.

I have heard of a few places have judged if they are getting reasonably close to neutral when each side lodges nearly equally passionate complaints about how biased the report is for the other side.

The if you get equal but opposite letters to the editor you are doing your job appropriately thing.

If Obama's responsible for his parents' beliefs, then Dennis Wilson is a mass murderer.

By dedicated lurker (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

The BBC is supposed to be neutral, and generally achieves this IMO. It isn't state mouthpiece in that sense. We have other TV companies, of course, but I can't think of any TV station that I think of as having a particular political bent as Fox does in the US - even Sky tries to offer political bias. Newspapers are different, with clear political affiliations.

Incidentally, I wonder what overlap there is between the various understandings people here have of what "liberal" means.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

To ann #241:

“What I was trying to say is that the media outlets you regard as “liberal” aren’t the way they are because they have a political agenda. They’re that way because they have to cleave more or less to the political middle of their audience/readership, which shifts over time.”

You present a one-way street:
The liberal audience/readership drives the media outlets to become liberal.

I suspect more of a two-way street to some extent; a ‘vicious cycle’ to some extent:
An *already* liberal media influences an initially less-liberal audience/readership to become *more* liberal; the media-caused increasing liberality of the audience/readership inspires the media outlets to greater heights, and disclosures, of liberality. Whether a vicious cycle or “positive” feedback loop, the media becomes *more* liberal, or at least becomes more likely to admit the liberality that was always there.

P.S.
I wonder if any surveys have been done of MSM newsroom political donations. I have a feeling that, as with academia, the overwhelming majority of the newsroom folks’ money goes to Democrats.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

Sheesh - "even Sky tries to avoid political bias" - I can't even blame autocorrect, just my brain.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

"The BBC is supposed to be neutral, and generally achieves this IMO."

There is no such thing as a news media outlet that is "neutral" or "objective", whether state-run or not. As long as human beings are involved, the idea is a joke.

Recently I was reading "The Fiery Cross", a history of the Ku Klux Klan and an excellent book. A reviewer blurb on the back calls it "an objective history". Of course it isn't (it contains scathing condemnations of the KKK and its leaders) nor could an accurate history of the organization ever be "objective".

The most we can ask of any news organization is balance within reason, which does not include giving equal time or sometimes any platform at all to destructive loons.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

Part of the problem is that many accusations of bias are about someone reporting facts that are inconvenient for one's side. For example, our local newspaper got a scathing letter for daring to report the number of casualties from the second Iraq war.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

ann wrote
“The main way that [mainstream media is] liberal is that to reach a lot of people they have to be inclusive wrt diversity of belief and lifestyle. But that’s not really motivated by politics. It’s just show business.”

It's just show business. Definitely some truth in that.
And those in “show business” are almost invariably liberal.

Speaking of the treatment of truth in media coverage, here are some interesting bits from show business, from the movie “Absence of Malice”:

Sarah Wylie: I need to know how to describe your relationship with Gallagher. Mac said to quote you directly. You can say whatever you want.

Megan Carter: Just... say we were involved.

Sarah Wylie: That's true, isn't it?

Megan Carter: No. But it's accurate.
…………….
Here’s another scene:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SGe-IywHXg

By See Noevo (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

The BBC is supposed to be neutral, and generally achieves this IMO. It isn’t state mouthpiece in that sense.

I (and I think ann) hadn't meant to imply that it was a "state mouthpiece," only that it is "state sponsored" in the sense that it is publicly funded. In fact, I think ann was saying that that makes it more likely to be more-or-less neutral than privately funded media.

The US has a similar thing, if much smaller and worse funded, in PBS and NPR. These are in fact believed to be strongly "liberally biased" by many - I'm curious, do right-wingers in the UK feel the same way about the Beeb?

I'm a great fan of the BBC World Service, incidentally. It plays on the local public radio station at night.

To Krebiozen #247:

“Incidentally, I wonder what overlap there is between the various understandings people here have of what “liberal” means.”

On the flip side, Jay Nordlinger wrote a piece yesterday titled “What Is Conservatism?”
I posted the following comment to it:

[At a top level, I’d say “conservatism” is a belief in *conserving* the things and principles that are good - more specifically, the things and principles which have been shown to work well in upholding the inherent dignity of human beings and in bettering the human condition.

At a more detailed level, Jay provides a pretty good summary:
“I believe that to be a conservative is to be for limited government. Personal freedom. The rule of law. The Constitution, and adherence to it. Federalism. Equality under the law. Equality of opportunity. Relatively light taxation. Relatively light regulation. Free enterprise. Property rights. Free trade. Civil society. The right to work. A strong defense. National security. National sovereignty. Human rights. A sound, non-flaky educational curriculum. School choice. A sensible stewardship over the land, as opposed to extreme environmentalism. Pluralism. Colorblindness. Toleration. E pluribus unum. Patriotism. Our Judeo-Christian heritage. Western civilization.

I want to throw in, too, the right to life. (I have said, over the years, “Show me where a man stands on abortion and Israel, and you have shown me all I need to know.”)”]

By See Noevo (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

It is amazing sn how few of those "items of conservatism" you have shown yourself to possess (as we reflect on the racism, bigotry, misogyny, hatred of other religions, and your lack of education).

It is also amusing how you try to paint President Obama as a communist terrorist when it was the previous president's policies that destroyed the economy in the early 2000s with his foolish tax cuts and refusal to pay for 2 wars (and inability to execute either of them in any meaningful way).

Your ignorance and personal lack of being tied to reality are both boundless.

"Reality has a well-known liberal bias." - Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report

By JustaTech (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

Sure, neurosurgeons can believe dumb stuff, just like anyone else. But I have one question… how many neurosurgeons continually recall their lives in 'parables', ans have giant paintings of THEMSELVES hanging in their hallway… one of which features them standing next to Christ, in matching beards, clothes and even matching complexions (just in case you didn't get the 'inference')?!

By Ming On Mongo (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

Continuing with the concepts of media and liberalism…

here’s an interesting 6-minute bit on media coverage, recorded at one of the wackiest and least-free spaces in America – the typical college campus.

The woman heard in the beginning and then seen at the end shouting
"Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here. I need some muscle over here!"
is Melissa Click. Melissa’s a Mizzuo professor who teaches about things like Lady Gaga and “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/11/who_is_melissa_click_mizzou_me…

I could probably title this “Where liberalism is headed”.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

I've had enough of SN for this round. He's gone back into the Do Not See bin.

Melissa’s a Mizzuo professor

Since you're merely link-spamming, it shouldn't be too hard to at least make an attempt at spelling.

And the WSJ has actually done better since the Newscorp acquisition, although that’s not because of politics, it’s because they dragged themselves into the 21rst century and built the brand online.

The WSJ just did a rather scathing examination of some of Ben Carson's stories.

^ BTW, Cynthia Parker is also a resident of Columbia, MO. And I have a friend who's trapped in that hole as a result of a custody agreement with her philandering ex-husband.

The BBC is supposed to be neutral, and generally achieves this IMO. It isn’t state mouthpiece in that sense.

"State-sponsored" was intended as a value-neutral term.

My point was that countries (such as Great Britain and France) that have ...I don't know what to call it besides "state-sponsored" news media typically also have newspapers that are frankly, comfortably partisan. Because the "neutral, objective" slot is already filled.

The concept of compulsory objective newspaper reporting for all newspapers because that's what newspaper reporting is, objective, is an American thing.

Murdoch comes from a different tradition. That's all I was saying. I didn't mean one was better or worse than the other. It was just an observation.

I declare this derail over.

(Meaning: I'm sorry I made an exception.)

(You're in luck See, two days in a row... I like being paid overtime to wait by the computer.)

"Had your fill yet?" The spectator asks his companion. "We might still catch a movie, or something..."
"Absolutely incredible." the companion says.
"You want to stay? Really?"
"No. No!" the companion looks shocked. "nooo I don't."
"Thank God" the spectator whispers, standing up.

"You look familiar..." See Noevo says, squinting over the stage lights.
Realizing See is addressing him, the spectator turns to look at him with a pained expression. "We've met." he hesitantly admits.
When See Noevo continues squinting at him, the spectator adds "I suffered through your last show, at least until you stormed off, after which you came pestering me at the bus stop..."

(silence)

"Doesn't ring a bell." See says, finally.
"I missed my bus trying to help you find Darwin four afterwards..."
"What do you mean?" See hisses vehemently, "Darwin's not missing!" See pats the plushie monkey tucked under his belt. "He's right here!"
"Umm..." says the spectator. "Ooookay..."
"So you must have been mistaken." See reasons.
"I certainly hope so..." the spectator says. "I gave you back your judgmental See-puppet..."
"You!" See suddenly shrieks, pointing the spectator with an accusatory finger. "You! You... stalker! You're obsessed with me!"
"What? No, I tried to avoid you, rememb-"
"A-ha! Too cowardly to have a real exchange of ideas!"
"You're the one who started listing people you'd ignore from now on because they had arguments you couldn't refute."
"And for good reason!" See snaps back, "pretending they didn't recognize my greatness, petty whining cowards, getting stuck in minor irrelevant details, like the main stream media with good doctor Carson, weak angry writing hit pieces, trying to ruin America..."
"I don't think they're hit pieces" says someone from the audience. "I think his possible lies ought to be investigated, like everyone else's."
"Never!" See shouts. "Liberal mainstream media is out to smear him! Ruin him! They're nothing but lies designed to turn us into liberal communists!"

(silence)

"Mainstream media like Fox?" someone says.
"I doubt the Wall Street Journal has a communist agenda..." someone else adds, sending See Noevo into another fit of rage.
"Fox and Wall Street Journal are liberal mouthpieces for Obama and his criminal thugs! Hating honest Christian values like the ones I personify! They must hate me most of all, that's why I can't remember a single news I didn't disagree with."
"That doesn't even make sense..."
"I'm a threat to secular progressive movement, like Ben Carson, em dee, that's why they fear and hate me..."
"Don't be ridicu-"
"I know what media is like! I've seen a movie about it, they're all liberals, hating the Constitution and human rights and toleration! Equal rights for all! Everything conservatives stand for! " See Noevo nods at his own words, appreciatively. "Ruining our youth with Lady Gaga and Fifty shades of liberalism."
"Conservatives like you?" asks the spectator.
"Indeed!" See nods, thumbs hooked into belt loops.
"So equal rights and liberties for everybody?"
"Certainly."
"Gays too?"
"Don't be an idiot, everybody knows faggots are evil!"

(silence)

"I rest my case." the spectator says, sitting back down.
"I thought you wanted to leave?" the companion whispers.
"What's the quote... All it takes for evil to triumph..." the spectator whispers. "It's a shitty job but someone's gotta-"
The companion points at several lights being held up here and there in the audience, bluish rectangles casting a faint glow on several faces.
"Cameras..." the companion grins. "At least he's making a fool of himself in public. A cautionary tale."
On stage, See Noevo is fuming, more so as he realizes the spectator he was just castigating isn't paying attention to him. In what he thinks is a a solemn, accusatory tone, he says "I bet you're some sort of deviant baby-killing Palestine-loving anti-semitic queer, aren't you... I can tell these things, it's a gift I have..."

I (and I think ann) hadn’t meant to imply that it was a “state mouthpiece,” only that it is “state sponsored” in the sense that it is publicly funded. In fact, I think ann was saying that that makes it more likely to be more-or-less neutral than privately funded media.

Yes. Exactly. Well said.

(Missed it before.)

Let’s watch Ben Carson & company in the debate tonight on Fox Business Channel!

I think the focus will be on economic issues.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact may be one of the subjects. And today, President Obama seemed to be encouraging you and me to read the TPP:
"Along with the text of the agreement, we've posted detailed materials to help explain it. It's an unprecedented degree of transparency — and it's the right thing to do… And I expect that, after the American people and Congress have an opportunity for months of careful review and consultation, Congress will approve it, and I'll have the chance to sign it into law."

So, I may be away from here for the next couple months, reading the thing.
I wonder if any of the debaters tonight have read it? It’s pretty big, according to the pic in this Tweet:
https://twitter.com/senatorsessions

By See Noevo (not verified) on 10 Nov 2015 #permalink

He just hit it out of the park on his first question.

Could not have been better.

So, I may be away from here for the next couple months, reading the thing.

Hey, don't hurry. You want to make sure you read it thoroughly. Take a year or two. We're okay with that.

JP,

I (and I think ann) hadn’t meant to imply that it was a “state mouthpiece,” only that it is “state sponsored” in the sense that it is publicly funded. In fact, I think ann was saying that that makes it more likely to be more-or-less neutral than privately funded media.

I wasn't really disagreeing with you or ann, I'm just never quite sure how people see the UK and a "state-sponsored media" has a faint Orwellian ring to it :-) Since the BBC is at the mercy of government to some extent, I imagine there must be some motivation not to bite the hand..., but it isn't as obvious, to me anyway, as something like Fox News' biases. I don't think you would find the BBC biased towards AGW denial for example.

The US has a similar thing, if much smaller and worse funded, in PBS and NPR.

Thank FSM for NPR and PBS; the paucity of an liberal/independent US (and global) media is troubling. I haven't spent much time in the US, but find the TV fascinating when I'm there. A foreign culture that speaks a language I am more or less fluent in - what's not to like for an amateur anthropologist like myself? That said, much mainstream USian culture is hardly foreign to Brits (or anyone else but North Koreans, I guess).

These are in fact believed to be strongly “liberally biased” by many – I’m curious, do right-wingers in the UK feel the same way about the Beeb?

Probably, though I don't know too many right-wingers. I hear more complaints that the BBC is too right-wing and pro-government, with perhaps some justification. The BBC is generally uncontroversial, which inevitably p!sses some people off.

I’m a great fan of the BBC World Service, incidentally. It plays on the local public radio station at night.

And I'm very happy to pay for part of it with my license fee :-) (though I think overseas sales of Doctor Who funds most of it). I think it's still true that the BBC radio (but not TV) archive is open to anyone (works using a Canadian VPN anyway) - beware, it's a serious time sink but there's some really good stuff there.

Years ago, I found myself stranded in the Sahara for a few days with some nomads (a long story I have related here before), one of them told me he listened to the BBC World Service, which I assume broadcasts in Arabic (I doubt it does Berber). The only English words he knew were "hello, how are you? very pleased to meet you" (or words to that effect), but his accent was impeccable, which was amusing, coming from a guy who looked like he had stepped out of the Arabian Nights.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 11 Nov 2015 #permalink

My rough ratings of last night's performances:
Cruz: A
Fiorina: A
Carson: B+
Rubio: B+
Trump: B
Paul: B
Bush: C
Kasich: C-

By See Noevo (not verified) on 11 Nov 2015 #permalink

I don't think Dunning-Kruger (which I remember by thinking of convicted pseudoskeptic Brian Dunning and Freddy Kruger) is the only explanatory factor. I think that there's a related issue.

It's the fallacy of false appeal to authority, but looking at that fallacy through the other end of the telescope, the false authority thinking he's an authority outside his field, rather than the actual appeal.

By SocraticGadfly (not verified) on 13 Nov 2015 #permalink

Thank you for contributing to the body of works which examine current political issues without insult, name-calling, or bombast. And even your comment train doesn't descend into the mud; remarkable.

One tiny tip from a person old enough to remember my mother's hand-cranked washing machine: you went through the wringer, not ringer, of internship. (4th paragraph from the end). A more vivid image that way, isn't it?!

By J E McCombs (not verified) on 15 Nov 2015 #permalink

you went through the wringer, not ringer, of internship. A more vivid image that way, isn’t it?!

I would rather not revive mental images of de-gloving injuries

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 15 Nov 2015 #permalink

herr doktor:

Remember that one of the most frequent causes of degloving injuries is a finger ring being forcibly removed by getting caught on a fence or in heavy machinery. "Ringer" might not be so incorrect after all.

Hmmm, when my then five year old sister got her hand caught in a washer wringer, my mother reversed it to get her out, and then sought out a medical clinic in a Spanish speaking city where we had lived in for less than a month (Caracas, 1968).

With help she found one, and it turned out my sister had no broken bones but lots of bruising. We attributed it to her tiny hands, and not forcing it out of the wringer. Then it was on to the next problem of that little girl thinking she would walk through glass sliding doors, again saved by being tiny and someone nearby to drag her away.

Descriptions of de-gloving by vivid imagery-conjurer Stephen King, gave me a case of the horrors for weeks.

At any rate speaking of horrors, I had the dubious pleasure of listening to Mike Adams's 12 minute diatribe
( @Natural News) in which he narrates why his town would be immune to events such as those which have just transpired in Paris.
It so typifies his methods- opportunistically using tragedy to further his own despicable aims.

Right, guns are the solution. Ignorant fool.

By Denice Walte (not verified) on 15 Nov 2015 #permalink

Then it was on to the next problem of that little girl thinking she would walk through glass sliding doors, again saved by being tiny and someone nearby to drag her away.

There is a story (which MAY involve baby Jamie) behind why the sliding glass front doors at my maternal grandmother's house have some little pictures of pears and birds affixed to them.

I ran through a floor-to-ceiling glass window when I was eight. I went right through it and fell flat on my face. The top half of the window then came down like a guillotine blade. Fortunately I was out of the way. The weirdest thing was I ended up with only a few superficial cuts on my hands.
I have no idea why I am still alive.

Oy - that's lucky. I was small enough, clumsy enough, and slow enough that I just repeatedly (not sure how many times) kept trying to walk through the glass doors and smooshing my face into it. My grandma was a pretty fastidious housekeeper, I guess. Those Norwegians.

JP: "... have some little pictures of pears and birds affixed to them."

These doors had decorative stencils already affixed. It did not matter to that little girl who seemed to like to do things at lightening speeds. As it turns out she did run track later in life, when she had also gained a bit of safety sense.

I was small enough, clumsy enough, and slow enough that I just repeatedly (not sure how many times) kept trying to walk through the glass doors and smooshing my face into it.

Sheesh, all I did was get up in the middle of the night and consume MSG straight from the canister of Accent.

I suppose I once had to crawl into a log while being pelted with rocks, and there were all the 120 V electrical shocks,* but still.

* Also, papas, please teach your kids what the clutch is for before having them test out second-hand riding mowers.

Sheesh, all I did was get up in the middle of the night and consume MSG straight from the canister of Accent.

I was known to shake the "steak seasoning" salt stuff out into my hand and eat it. And also munch on dry spaghetti. Actually, one of the favorite snacks of my brother and I was crushed-up dry ramen with the season packet sprinkled on it. (We were often more-or-less unsupervised, especially in the summer.)

In fact, as a toddler, I apparently had quite a taste for dry cat food. I am tempted to say that I was like a little stoned person, just wandering around and enjoying any sort of sensual experiences I came upon, but it may well just be that I inherited my father's enthusiastic enjoyment of pretty much anything edible.*

Speaking of lawn mowers, there is a story about how I was none-too-bright operating one one time, and could have lost some fingers if I wasn't lucky. (I don't remember it altogether, but something about a grass block in the blades, and not turning it off beforehand or something.) "Awful smart about some thing and awful dumb about others," as they used to say.

*I have heard stores about "food" that he prepared at logging camps.

^ some things.

Just to be clear, I wasn't reaching to where the blades were or anything; there was a rubber grass-trap type thing that I was emptying.

I have a story, or more correctly two.
Years ago, my parents' house was being remodeled. I hadn't moved out. I was jogging though to my room, it was dark and I didn't realise the sliding doors were closed.
BUMP! Ooof! Clatter.
I ran head first into the glass panel (which thankfully was armoured glass), and fell backwards, knocking over something. My parents hurried through to check. I was sore, but otherwise fine.
A few years later, my father walked into the exact same door. It also didn't break, but he got a lovely black eye. It was his birthday a few days later, so my mother bought him a birthday card that had a picture of the Blue Hole, a marine sinkhole.
The door in question now has stickers on it to prevent a recurrence.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 15 Nov 2015 #permalink

Ah, the politics of news. This is stuff I know, as it was a core topic of my PhD studies, and a case study therein was my original plan for a dissertation topic. (I changed it, but still had a couple chapters that dealt with news.)

DB: 'Balance' is always a crock, as is the notion of 'objectivity' that governs it. Obedience to these principles has done more to obscure truth in news than any overt partisan bias. In practice, both principles are fundamentally conservative, in that they inevitably function in favor of the reigning powers-that-be. The most we can ask of journalism is 'fairness' in its subjectivity.

The whole 'liberal media' thing is also a crock, based on nonsensical definitions and the worst sort of cherry picking of evidence. The definitional issue is a crude false dichotomy: if a news source does not fit the pundit's definition of 'conservative', it is considered to be 'liberal'. The cherry-picking is a focus on the reporters of the high-circulation 'prestige' publications and networks. If you look at ALL of the 'MSM' – including the regional newspapers and local broadcast stations (especially radio, which is filled with syndicated far-right talk shows)– and ALL of the decision-makers, including editors and publishers, factoring for relative power – to the extent news has any ideological tilt, it lands on the right-hand side of the political divide.

But the larger flaw in this thinking, in critiques of news mounted from both left and right, is the assumption that news has some hidden partisan content, that it's fundamentally ideological in nature. Over all, news is more anti-ideological, subverting any political agendas in favor of empty spectacle and sensationalism. It destroys sense more than it creates sense one way or the other.

ann: The good thing about state-sponsored media is that it's LESS likely to be 'neutral' than advertising-supported news. That is, to the extent publicly funded media IS 'neutral' this is typically achieved by including different perspectives over the range of programming as a whole. There is much less demand that each individual program, journalist or story must be 'neutral' in the sense of framing within 'objectivity'.

'Objectivity' in news is a late 19th-century innovation, that only became a norm in the early 20th century. It's origins were all about sustainable profit – 'objective' coverage pisses off the fewest advertisers, generating higher ad revenue for a mass-circulation publication directed at an audience with some diversity of viewpoints. (See Michael Schudson, Discovering The News.)

What has happened over the last 3-4 decades is a decline of all forms of mass-circulation media as cable TV and the internet have enabled advertisers to target fragmented segments of the buying public with messages that fit whatever political or a-political bubble they may inhabit. There's no longer as compelling a need for a content environment congruent with 'appealing to everybody'.

In general, the wider the audience-base, the more 'inoffensive' the content. Murdoch's NewsCorp has massive holdings, and plays the game well at every level. While he's best known for his Tory tabloids and Fox News, the majority of his profit still comes from international news services that largely avoid controversy, and suck at the teats of whoever is in power in the markets at hand, regardless of what Rupert may think of their ideology...

Orac,

I found your article pretty entertaining. As a relatively well educated person, I have often found myself guarding against the Drummer-Kruger effect, though I didn't know it had a name before reading this article. In fact, occasionally I try to find new ideas to add to my knowledge base which is why I stumbled upon your blog. I disagree with pretense of this statement, " Indeed, many of the people most invested in 'integrating' alternative medicine (i.e., quackery) into medicine are incredibly intelligent physicians." I'm not trained in alternative medicine, but I don't think you can dismiss it all as quackery.

Three points:
A. Many starting points for medicines (and other uses) have been based on natural sources, so on a viewpoint that X has A, and A is biologically active, these things can have therapeutic value.
B. Non-small molecules (DNA, RNA strands) can have interesting activities that are difficult to isolate and subsequently quantifiy. Just because you cant find an active small molecule doesn't mean there isn't activity in some component that is difficult to find.
C. Synergistic effects are important, but very difficult to quantify. Ask honeybees. However, they aren't native to the US, and we all know, "If you aren't from here, you can get out!" Ask honeybees in Europe.

Many starting points for medicines (and other uses) have been based on natural sources, so on a viewpoint that X has A, and A is biologically active, these things can have therapeutic value.

Which is of course why there's an entire field of evidence based medical research dedicated to identifying the active ingredient A natural source X might produce--it's called pharmacognosy, and there's nothing alternative about it. It allows us to produce drug products that are free of contaminants and contain a known dosage of the active ingredient that's beneficial. There's a reason, after all, we've moved to taking aspirin tablets for headaches and no longer rely on willow bark tree.

Just because you cant find an active small molecule doesn’t mean there isn’t activity in some component that is difficult to find.

The problem isn't that it's difficult to detect and isolate an active components from natural product remedies, but that with rare exception ( e.g. willow bark tea again) those remedies themselves do exhibit the activity claimed.

Just because you cant find an active small molecule doesn’t mean there isn’t activity in some component that is difficult to find.

First, of course, you have to demonstrate that the effects exist before you would bother trying to determine which component produces the effect.

Synergistic effects are important, but very difficult to quantify.

While there certainly can be synergistic effects, there's a need to actually prove that such effects exist before claiming them.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 20 Nov 2015 #permalink

I disagree with pretense of this statement, ” Indeed, many of the people most invested in ‘integrating’ alternative medicine (i.e., quackery) into medicine are incredibly intelligent physicians.” I’m not trained in alternative medicine, but I don’t think you can dismiss it all as quackery.

... I think you meant "premise", possibly? Rather than "pretense"?

I think Orac is engaging in a bit of hyperbole through simplification with the phrase "alternative medicine (i.e., quackery)". The literal meaning of "i.e." would translate this statement to "all alternative medicine is quackery". Even if we employ the principle of charity and allow quackery to simply mean "medicine without actual value", and not require the implication of anyone's conscious fraud, we still can't state definitively that there is no value anywhere in alternative medicine.

Here's the thing, though: we also cannot state that there is value anywhere in alternative medicine. Some people think that because there have been some cases where a substance or practice recommended by "ancient wisdom" turned out to have value (not always the value that was claimed for it, or anything near) that means that there must be other such cases just waiting to be discovered. This logical-seeming premise is wrong. If you reach into a jar and draw a large number of white pebbles and one black pebble, is there any guarantee that there are more black pebbles in the jar, waiting to be withdrawn on future turns? No, there isn't. For all we know, we've already drawn the last.

Considering that no one has a crystal ball capable of giving us absolutely accurate answers from the future, I think Orac's assessment must be taken as a hyperbolic expression of a true fact: very little real actual medicine has come out of "alternative medicine", and the amounts only get smaller the more dubious alternative practices you allow under the "alternative medicine" banner.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 20 Nov 2015 #permalink

Matthew: "I’m not trained in alternative medicine, but I don’t think you can dismiss it all as quackery."

List the ones that are not quackery. Not in generalities like "natural sources", "non-small molecules" and "synergistic effects", but actual names of the particular "alternative" medicine.

Would it be turmeric, vitamin C, colloidal silver, homeopathy, acupuncture, or what? Though before you post with those details, be sure to see if they were discussed here earlier by using the handy dandy search box on the upper right of this page. Thank you in advance.