Skip to content
Skip Slider
February 16, 2019 | 3 Comments

This Week In Doom — Opioid Marketing Edition

Item Accused NY Murderer Gets Charge Dropped Thanks To New Infanticide Law

But part of the new infanticide law that Governor Andrew Cuomo just signed “removes abortion from the state’s criminal code and puts it into public health law.” This was the stated reason the District Attorney gave for dropping the second charge.

Demons exist, and the matriarchy must be taken down.

Item Association of Pharmaceutical Industry Marketing of Opioid Products With Mortality From Opioid-Related Overdoses

Key Points

Question To what extent is pharmaceutical industry marketing of opioids to physicians associated with subsequent mortality from prescription opioid overdoses?

Findings In this population-based, cross-sectional study, $39.7 million in opioid marketing was targeted to 67?507 physicians across 2208 US counties between August 1, 2013, and December 31, 2015. Increased county-level opioid marketing was associated with elevated overdose mortality 1 year later, an association mediated by opioid prescribing rates; per capita, the number of marketing interactions with physicians demonstrated a stronger association with mortality than the dollar value of marketing.

Now I don’t buy their analysis, which is the result of an over-complex unnecessary statistical model (“adjustment for county-level sociodemographic factors…” etc.) which relies on wee p-values for confirmation.

We don’t need the model, because it is obvious the ads work. If the ads pushing docs to prescribe certain meds didn’t work, they’d stop running the ads. As the study says, they’re expensive (the ads).

What’s more important is that this paper is almost admitting the ask-your-doctor-if-this-drug-is-right-for-you advertising works, too.

I was at an Internal Medicine conference once and this was the subject of some eminent speaker. I asked about these kinds of ads and the possibility of over-prescribing and he dismissed the idea completely. Apparently (some) doctors don’t like admitting patient desire can sway their treatment decisions at this level.

Here, this looks like a paper lawyers who are suing over an opiod-caused death will use to ask docs “Did you ever see this ad? Did it influence you?”

Item Harvard’s Clear Identity: How Kristina Olson’s TransYouth Project is overturning expectations about gender

In the United States, the importance of a child’; sex seems a given. Parents-to-be consider whether or not to find out if their baby is a boy or a girl, and often the first words spoken after the birth are “It’s a girl!” or “It’s a boy!” Children who identify differently are thought to be confused or oppositional. Olson has found that the reverse is true.

Olson is satanic. As is Harvard, a place of evil. Do not let your children go there.

Item Man wants to sue his parents for giving birth to him ‘without his consent’ as part of ‘anti-natalist’ movement that says having children is morally wrong

A man is planning to sue his parents in India for giving birth to him ‘without his consent’.

Raphael Samuel said he had a ‘great relationship’ with his parents but has compared having children to ‘kidnapping and slavery’.

The 27-year-old from Mumbai is an ‘anti-natalist’ who believes it is wrong to put an unwilling child through the ‘rigmarole’ of life for the pleasure of its parents.

The anti-natalist movement is gaining traction in India as younger people resist social pressure to have children.

You have to hand it to this guy. Inventing a new form of insanity in such a crowded field is no small achievement.

Item State bill would outlaw Confederate displays on public [and private?] property

New legislation in Georgia would outlaw any symbols, monuments, memorials or other dedications to the Confederacy on public property.

Under HB 175, the only exception to the ban would be at museums, Civil War battlefields, 11Alive reported.

Even flying a Confederate battle flag on private property might be outlawed.

The bill would also make it illegal to display symbols of the Confederacy at a residence, store, place of business, public building or school. That law includes inside or outside those buildings.

It will be like the Confederacy never even existed. The past must become the future!

There are already denial laws , why not acknowledgement laws?

Item Oxford University’s Classics degree to be overhauled in bid to boost number of female students getting Firsts

One of Oxford University’s oldest degrees is to be overhauled in bid to boost number of female students getting top grades.

Classics dons who marked last year’s exam papers said the gender gap is “very troubling”, adding that it must be addressed as a matter of “urgency”.

More than double the number of men were awarded first class honours in their Finals last year than women, with 46.8 per cent of men achieving the top grade compared to 12.5 per cent of their female peers.

Academics noted that the gender gap in Finals – which was “already very noticeable” – had “dramatically increased” in the most recent cohort of students due to an a record number of men taking Firsts.

Meanwhile, in second…

As we have discovered multitudinous times, Diversity and Equality always lead to a lowering of standings. Absolutely always.

We may now suspect the women being given degrees are not as good as the men, whereas before mandatory quotas, we could not make that assumption.

February 15, 2019 | 5 Comments

Woke Science: Diversity In Physics

“Physics is the least diverse of the sciences,” begins our article, a signal that we start in the depths, and have no choice but to begin the labor of digging our graves deeper.

Physics is the least diverse of the sciences, rivaling mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering for the least diverse fields within all of science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM). Groups underrepresented in physics include Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, and women of all racial/ethnic groups. Barely 5% of physics Ph.D.’s are granted annually to those identifying with an underrepresented racial/ethnic category; women earn only 20% of physics Ph.D.’s. The origins of these vast representation gaps are complex and include inequitable educational access from an early age, implicit bias in the classroom and research laboratories, deterrents to continuation for underrepresented groups (e.g., departmental climate and disciplinary culture), and stereotype threat. Expanding gender and racial participation in STEM is important for the development of a robust domestic scientific workforce…

This is the peer-reviewed opening of “Typical physics Ph.D. admissions criteria limit access to underrepresented groups but fail to predict doctoral completion” in Science. Rather, the full and perplexing name of the journal is Science Advances. Advances, I emphasize. Where is it going? Let’s see.

It doesn’t matter who wrote the paper: some group of earnest social justice foot soldiers, we can assume.

We can also imagine their statistics are correct, more or less. I accept there are more white males in the upper echelons of physics than diverse folks.

Now in saner times these statistics would be taken as proof that the group at the top are, somehow, better at physics than those not at the top. How else did these fine fellows get to the top if they didn’t have soaring abilities? Being at the top defines what’s best, n’est-ce pas? They certainly seem to have been demonstrating their superior abilities, judging by the output of physics this last century.

There are other explanations. It could be those at the top really weren’t best, but that a neglected pool of diverse folks were actually better. Perhaps a secret cabal of non-diverse physicists have been scanning diverse resumes over the past century, and when they spied potential diverse top performers, they sent out agents to convince these diverse persons to become dentists or accountants instead.

Lot of sneaky people out there, so this could have happened.

It’s not clear how they’re still hiding and carrying on their nefarious work, though, not when dedicated SJWs patrol school hallways from Kindergarten on up, handing out awards aplenty to diverse (and non-male) hopefuls. But that’s the thing about secret cabals. They’re secret. And cabals. So there’s no amount of mischief they can get up to.

Anyway, it appears our authors believe the solution to quantum gravity would be had sooner if those working on it were diverse. They may have a point. The non-diverse have been grappling with the problem for some years now, and all we hear about are multiverses held together by strings. Next thing you know these guys will claim we’re living in a hologram.

So let’s let the ladies in!

Alas, say our authors, we cannot. It seems “nontrivial barriers impede admission to Ph.D. programs for some demographic groups.” Nontrivial barriers are the worst kind of barriers, too. What’s needed are trivial barriers. Don’t know if we’re gonna get ’em, though.

Ready for the worst news? Here it is, with my emphasis, “Undergraduate grades, college selectivity, and GRE scores are the three criteria that best predict admission to U.S. graduate programs, but these parameters are not evenly distributed by race and gender.”

More doings of the cabal, I’ll bet! I’ve heard—we’ve all heard—of “redistribution”. Well, here it is in its ugliest form. Somehow portions of scores are being taken away from the diverse and being given to the non-diverse!

Friends, we can no longer allow this. Not if we are to achieve Entropy. There is nothing more important than Entropy. Think of the work that will get done with full Entropy kicks in!

Sorry: make that Equality.

Let’s be honest. We all know the true and only solution to achieving Equality is. Quotas. We need to promote people based on the diverse characteristics. No other mechanics but enforced quotas will do the job.

February 14, 2019 | 2 Comments

On The Death Of New Atheism, And What Became Of it

Looking back, we can now see the definition of new atheism was progressivism. There wasn’t anything in (the then) new atheism that differed in any way from progressivism, except for its strong focus on scidolatry. Oh! Science! How I love thee!

It had its heyday when it seemed daring, provocative, and transgressive. These are all destructive, leftist activities, and once it became obvious progressivism was everywhere triumphant, it was realized there wasn’t much left for the new atheists to tear down. Besides, science—real science, that is—is hard and no more than a handful of people will ever be good at it.

The initial ardor faded, and the personalities driving the moment died, got old, or diverted their activities into politics. Some even drifted into the right, and in doing so gave up their old labels. All that remains of new atheism is the “I f—ing love science” soyboy neck-beard fedora-tipping crowd, and intellectual giants like Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is ever announcing gems like there is nothing scientific about beginning our calendars on 1 January.

It’s not that atheism didn’t win: it did, even among the religious. Only a remnant in the elite (there are many more among the powerless) remains convinced the supernatural is real, active, and of more importance than the natural.

You’d think, though, in reading two recent articles about new atheism that the battle has only just begun. The first is What Was New Atheism?, and the best summary is that new atheists still have not given up on their fear of George Bush, whom they imagine was a man of the right.

They were also deeply unhappy Christopher Hitchens became a neocon, as if most neocons weren’t always atheist or non-Christian. Sam Harris is judged too anti-Islamic and insufficiently anti-Christian for their tastes.

PZ Myers, the effeminate champion of Evolution!, has called his own movement a “train wreck“. He was hoping for more trans rights, wanted less “Islamophobia”, and was deeply concerned about climate “deniers”. Myers represents the branch of new atheism that became redundant.

Which is perhaps why he is outraged over those who fled the movement and morphed into “a shambles of alt-right memes and dishonest hucksters mangling science to promote racism, sexism, and bloody regressive politics.”

There may be more than a tinge of jealously to all this. Myers never became a household name, and never will. He cries “who put Dennett, Harris, Dawkins, and Hitchens in charge?” Sorry, old boy, but no one wants to rally behind a man calling himself pee-zee.

Some in the old movement, as the other article acknowledges, did wake to the idea that science does not dictate progressive politics. As Myers suspected, they became rightists. After all, it is a scientific facts that non-procreative sex-like simulations are medically dysgenic. Nothing moral or ethical flows from that fact, or from any scientific fact. Science has nothing on those subjects: it is eternally mute.

But there were among the few who recognized those scientific facts, and many other facts like them (of the kind decried by Myers), men who held to the old morality. These men are still atheists, and like the new atheists they too falsely believe their morality and ethics flows from science, only theirs flows right and not left.

Tom X Hart calls this group the Cold School (there is much more to Hart’s essay than we can tackle here).

This viewpoint emerges from studying reality through the most disenchanted, cold, and scientific lens possible. The Cold school is atheistic even about atheism. The 18th century atheists allowed themselves to believe that their view had attained a certain reason about the universe. The Cold school disdains this attitude: the atheism of humanism is merely a secular religion constrained by evolution, cognitive biases, and the desire to signal social status. It presumes, quite falsely, that works in a linear fashion towards the progress of man, though there is little to no evidence to support this proposition — it is mere Christianity without Christ. The Cold school, by contrast, holds that humans are predictably irrational and imperfect: evolution made us so.

Hart contrasts this with the Metaphysical School of the right, men who also acknowledge the same scientific facts, but who realize that if evolution made us think the way we do, then nothing matters: there is no truth, only opinion. This being both absurd and impossible, only God can be the answer.

The dissident or reactionary right is a melding of those who follow Nature or Nature’s God, Gnon, as our friend Nick B. Steves quipped. For now, it is a happy society, since there are far more and more virulent enemies to the left to worry about. It won’t and can’t last, though, unless, as many in the Cold school themselves openly acknowledge, religion is restored to preeminence.

But that is a story for another day. So is the story of what progressive atheism turns into.

February 13, 2019 | 9 Comments

On Over-Certainty In GMO Beliefs

Only a minor point about GMOs today. Here’s how the Ars TechnicaOn GMO safety, the fiercest opponents understand the least” opens: “Science is our most effective means of understanding the natural world, yet the public doesn’t always accept the understanding that it produces.” (Thanks to Ken Steele for the tip.)

If we start with scientism, as we do here, we’re not likely to escape from it. Here we have the implicit premise that whatever scientists say about the “natural world” goes, and how dare you not accept their word for it. This implies we need to know who is a scientist and who isn’t.

Researchers have been trying to figure out why there’s a gap between science and the public for decades, an effort that is becoming increasingly relevant as the US seems to have a growing discomfort with facts in general. In some cases, the issue is clearly cultural: politics and religion appear to have strong influences on whether people accept the science on climate change and evolution, respectively.

The writer is either ignorant that disagreement among scientists on these topics exist, and therefore it is difficult for a citizen to know what to believe if all he has to go on is the words of disagreeing scientists, or the writer knows full well about the disagreements, but chooses to dismiss those scientists who do not agree with him as not real scientists. The No True Scientist Fallacy.

Enough. The writer is of no use in outlining the problem of uncertainty in GMOs, except where he points us to the Nature: Human Behavior paper “Extreme opponents of genetically modified foodsknow the least but think they know the most” by Philip M. Fernbach et al. Abstract:

There is widespread agreement among scientists that genetically modified foods are safe to consume and have the potential to provide substantial benefits to humankind. However, many people still harbour concerns about them or oppose their use. In a nationally representative sample of US adults, we find that as extremity of opposition to and concern about genetically modified foods increases, objective knowledge about science and genetics decreases, but perceived understanding of genetically modified foods increases. Extreme opponents know the least, but think they know the most. Moreover, the relationship between self-assessed and objective knowledge shifts from positive to negative at high levels of opposition. Similar results were obtained in a parallel study with representative samples from the United States, France and Germany, and in a study testing attitudes about a medical application of genetic engineering technology (gene therapy). This pattern did not emerge, however, for attitudes and beliefs about climate change.

This member of “humankind” (i.e. me) realizes this is yet another survey trying to be passed off as science, and so will be filled at least in large part with opinion masking as indisputable fact. If we removed surveys from the armamentarium of researchers, journals would be drained dry.

Skip that and let’s think about arguments and evidence for and against GMOs.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is agin them. Speaking about their (and other) potential evils, he and some pals said, “It is at the core of both scientific decision making and ancestral wisdom to take seriously absence of evidence when the consequences of an action can be large.”

I publicly teased him about this absurd stance, saying that if his proposition were true then we should marshal all of mankind to protect against Black Swans From Outer Space. There is a complete absence of evidence such Black Swans exist, yet if they did, they would certainly peck every man, woman, and in-between, to death. This pecking would be a mighty large consequence. Send your donations to the Stop the Swans today. Your ancestors demand it.

Taleb’s argument is the core of the so-called precautionary principle, which is the last refuge of the busybody who wants to ban or regulate something without having to point to evidence of the real need of the ban.

Now Taleb’s error does not mean GMOs are safe in every potential aspect. Indeed, his argument says nothing about GMOs, or about anything else, either, and can’t, because whatever the thing is can’t have any evidence for it, or even against it. The precautionary principle is ever empty.

The authors of the Nature paper say “Genetically modified (GM) foods are judged by the majority of scientists to be as safe for human consumption as conventionally grown foods”. This sentence is consistent with saying some scientists judge GMOs as unsafe for human consumption.

Very well, some scientists say yes, others now. How then does a civilian pick whom to believe? Should he trust the majority of scientists running around waving their wee p-values at us, or should instead trust Mary Shelley?

The authors of the paper are on the cheerleading side of science, naturally enough. They remember all the good things scientists have done, and there are many, and forget the bad. Some civilians are gloomier and recall all those ads for drugs that seem to spend an inordinate amount of time warning of side effects, effects which invariably include a worse state of the disease the scientific marvel was supposed to cure, ads followed seconds later by ads for lawyers: “Call us if you’ve taken this pill.”

It can’t be that scientists at this point understand all the long-term consequences of GMOs, for the pretty reason that we haven’t got to the long term yet. This is no argument against GMOs, but if we accept that scientists make mistakes, and that the corporations who push these things want to make a buck, then caution is in order. Add to that all the dietary advice scientists have given us over the years that turned out to be absolute inversions of the truth. But then add to that the many benefits to farming and food production.

Point being, it’s not absurd to take either side in this.