William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

What Went Wrong In Ireland, And What Will Go Wrong Here


What went awry in Ireland was not the result of the vote, a result which was, of course, the wrong decision. The offense was something much deeper, something basic. It was the vote itself.

That a people could think, could even let themselves imagine, voting for something fundamental and unchangeable as marriage was a collosal breach of civil order, an act that must presage greater disorders to come. And this would still be so had the vote gone the other way.

Voting whether to call marriage something other than it is, is like voting whether to expand triangularity to include objects with more than three sides (in the name of equality), or like voting to kill citizens whose lives have fallen below some utilitarian threshold (via, say, abortion). It’s like voting to call black white or up down or for anything which is impossible but which is desired. It’s like voting that everybody gets to go to heaven.

That people cannot see this is the cause of the problem. Of course it is! Folks in democracies have fallen victim to the propaganda that voting is a good, and since voting is a good, it is always good, and since it is always good, anything, anything at all, can and should, eventually, be voted upon. “Truth” can be discovered by voting. The “wisdom” of the crowds!

This must lead to tyranny. It already has. To be forced to call a thing which it is not is tyrannical.

Voting is a good and does have it uses, but under only very limited circumstances, such as in small groups where all share a common goal and where the consequences of a decision are largely uncertain, and when there is no leader to assume responsibility. Leadership removes the burden of voting. Captains do not ask the crew which direction to steer. Voting leads to shipwrecks.

Most people do not have the capacity to understand the uncertainties and complexities of major decisions, though they are easily manipulated into thinking they do. Most do grasp the consequences of simple decisions. A group of (similarly ranked) colleagues deciding where to go to lunch might successfully vote. But a nation of every citizen eighteen and up deciding fundamental questions of life and of death? Guaranteed eventual disaster.

Worse, egalitarianism insists that an ever greater fraction of people get to vote and get to vote on more things.

Now if you were among the minority in Ireland, you are likely already convinced about the dangers of voting. But if you are with the majority celebrating “equality”, that most dreadful condition, you might not be. Voting, after all, got you what you wanted. Consider California. That State voted to ban gmarriage (remember Prop 8?). Was that the right vote? Did voting, forever after, reach the truth?

If you say yes, because you’re determined to hold onto the principle of voting, then you cannot say California came to the wrong conclusion. You must agree that it was the right decision. Which means you must change your own belief and say with the majority, “Same sex marriage is wrong.”

But if you say California came to the wrong conclusion, you must then agree that voting can be dangerous. And if voting is dangerous, its use should be restricted.

And that’s what gmarriage supporters did. They eliminated the vote by appealing to State leaders, who by fiat ushered in gmarriage. Believe it or not, this is a better situation than if the citizens of California originally voted for gmarriage, because leadership in some form has been exercised. But it is still bad because the original vote imbued in (all) citizens the illusion they could decide Truth. (Of course, the situation in California is even worse than I paint it, because the leadership erred and now citizens must recognize four-sided “triangles.”)

Voting saps the energy of losers—I speak here of voting on Truth, on foundations, and not on situations where there is a general understanding of uncertainties—which is good when the vote has reached the correct decision, but awful when the wrong decision is made. The losers say to themselves, “The outcome is sad, but we must abide by the will of the people.” But there is no such thing. Thinking there is, and thinking voting is always good, in time compiles error upon error, until, as the man said, the center cannot hold.

Solution? If you’ve understood the argument above, you already know.


Something To Cheer The Irish (And The Rest Of Us)


Given the state of the world, and because this is a long weekend with scarcely anyone around, this picture. It is Bubba Anderson, a (then) girl who went to the same high school as Yours Truly, though a couple of years behind me.

She was a track star and the Otsego County Fair Queen in 1987. This is her official picture. The look upon her face could cheer even an Irish ‘No’ voter.


The Week In Doom: Nervous Sheep & Intolerant Irish

Return of the snakes

As of this writing, Ireland has voted 60%-ish to allow two men or two women—and only two at this point; arbitrary discrimination, no?—to pretend to be married. The final numbers come in around 11 am NYC time. See this for background.

Three things are clear: (1) The polls were about 70%, the vote tally about 60% (so far), meaning there might have been many frightened liars, which the press there called a ‘shy No'; (2) The 40% who retained their sanity will soon be forced to play along: will telling two (why two?) men they aren’t really married be labeled criminal “hate speech”?; and (3) St Patrick will be setting off for greener shores.

Richard Dawkins—yes, that Richard Dawkins—asked the best question of the day: “Majority of Irish ‘identify’ as Catholic. Yet most surely don’t support Catholic doctrine. So why ‘identify’ as RC?” We have no answer for you, Ricky, old boy.

Tim Stanley has some ideas, though: The Irish referendum on gay marriage was about more than just gay marriage. It was a politically motivated, media backed, well financed howl of rage against Catholicism.

Update Tallies as of 11:30 am ET: 62% yes, 13 out of 43 constituencies counted.

Update All in now 62% vs. 38%. This will be called “Ireland votes for same-sex gmarriage”, when in reality 38% of folks stuck to reality. Only Roscommon-South Leitrim was the no vote greater than 50%. Somebody please check this prediction: people from Roscommon-South Leitrim will be subject to any amount of abused; “backward people”, “homophobic”, etc.

Update Called it: “We are hameorragning young people from the county and I hope that doesn’t increase now because of this conservative opinion.

Nervous sheep

Sheep stay silent in war of words over whether animals can suffer verbal abuse. PETA lodged a complaint in Australia at a sheep sheering station at which a man yelled at a sheep.

“The basis for the concerns was the rights of the animals, that they might have been harassed by viewing things they shouldn’t have seen or verbal abuse by people using bad language,” he said.

“To my knowledge, there was no actual cruelty on the job.

“The allegation was that bad language was used by an employee on the property in front of the sheep, and that they could have been offended by the use of bad language.”…

Lynda Stoner, CEO at Animal Liberation NSW, agreed.

She said animals did not need to understand language in order to comprehend that a human speaker was frustrated or angry.”

After you have your chuckle, reflect. This was on ABC, Australia’s (just as leftist) version of the New York Times or CNN. Do you seriously think your (appropriate) laughter will be enough to slow this kind of mental rot?

In democracies, “truth” is decided by vote. Can that be repeated too often?

That’s offensive!

University students vote to ban Bibles from halls.

A motion passed at an Aberystwyth University Students’ Union meeting, called for an end to the tradition of having Gideon Bibles in students’ bedrooms, branding it “inappropriate in a multicultural university”.

A critic said the move “seems illiberal and intolerant.” Seems. The last sentence is a kicker: “In 2013 a company managing Huddersfield University accommodation called for Bibles to be banned arguing that it wanted its properties to be ‘ethically neutral’.”

Does it do any good to say there is no such thing as “ethically neutral”?

The answer is: no.

Nipple heads

Continuing a world-wide trend, female students at University of California, San Diego doffed their shirts this week to display their breasts in protest (no pics at the link; sorry), to the delight of many male students (and probably male professors, too).

The main complaint, as far as I could make it out, is that these ladies don’t like that they aren’t men. They discovered that men have nipples and that they have nipples, and that this led to a eureka moment where one lass said, “We both have nipples. Equality!” They then pretended walking around semi-naked allowed them to keep their sexual allure.

Who said that college education was too expensive?

Nipples heads redux

‘Men’s Lingerie’ Raises Question: Is Western Civilisation Over?. The answer is, surprisingly, not yet. But close.

They speak of a line of undergarments in Europe for men who have lost their masculinity, a larger and larger market. Unbridled capitalism at work—looks like Pope Francis was right!

Responding to this (in part) was Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky: “There’s no limit to our outrage. It’s the end of Europe. It has turned wild. They don’t have men and women any more. They have ‘it’.” God bless Russia.

It reborn

Transgender ‘Baptism’ Ceremony Is Now a Thing, According to the Church of England.

The Church of England is set to debate plans for a ceremony akin to a baptism for people who have recently undergone gender reassignment surgery…

The motion reads: “That this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.”

Does it do any good to say there is no such thing as “gender reassignment surgery” or “gender transitions”? Same answer as above. But this language does prove what I said yesterday: lunatics think abnormal (in the biological sense, of course) sexual preference turns you into non-human creatures. Why else would you need to be re-re-born?

This hasn’t been made canonical Anglican law yet. But would any of you bet against it?

Told ya so

Proving that what is demanded is complete and total submission comes this sad story: Canadian jeweler threatened for opposing gay marriage — after providing service to gay weddings.

A lesbian couple came into the jeweler’s shop looking for custom-made rings for their wedding. No problem, he told them. Later the couple recommended him to some friends, who dropped by — and noticed a sign on the wall that read, “The sanctity of marriage is under attack. Let’s keep marriage between a man and a woman.” The lesbian couple then decided they wanted a refund on their rings, the media picked up the story, and now the jeweler’s being threatened for his thoughtcrime. Of such things are the mileposts on the road to perfect tolerance made.

The man eventually refunded the money, but this—surprise—was not satisfactory nor sufficient.

Jardon said he’s getting a big backlash from social media.

“I had to shut down the Facebook page because of so many hate emails and phone calls and just, really nasty stuff,” he said.

Now everything I know about Canadian law I learned from the McKenzie Brothers, so I have no good guess what will happen. But isn’t it the case that you are allowed to offend no one but traditional Christians?


Gay-conversion Therapy Bans And The Origin Of Homosexual


When “gay” or “homosexual” meant somebody who predominately engaged in same-sex activities, the words had some use, but with an inherent and real danger that people, via this language, would come to assume that “gay person” or “homosexual person” was a real, distinct creature, something different than a “heterosexual person”, almost another species, which is impossible. People are now quite surprised when they learn, for instance, “homosexual” is a neologism only a century or so old. The OED reports 1892 for the first inclination, 1912 for the first creature. But why this innovation? Good question, that. Before answering, a short journey.

People now identify themselves, not as man or woman, the only biological possibilities (barring gross malfunction), these forming the (part of the) essence of human being, but as “gay” or “bisexual” or “hetero”, or one of a dozen, and growing, list of designators, and all “born that way”. (Don’t forget Yours Truly is created with inventing woofies, an untoward bit of satire that will probably turn around and bite him in the ass.) That this is proved false, not just by appeal to biology, which is sufficient, but by observing identical twins report same-sex attraction rates similar to non-twins, is everywhere ignored. If “orientation” were genetic, or people were “born that way”, both twins would report the same attractions; they do not, therefore, etc.

This proves the adage that when we lose our grip on language we lose the ability to think. Propaganda works. Consequences?

It is often observed, and therefore true, that some individuals engage in same-sex activities in their lives, usually in their youth or in prison or on a lonely mountain, only to turn later to wholly opposite-sex activities. People—many people—report, that is, being “gay” then not being “gay”. “Conversions”—itself the wrong word since it assumes “orientation” is a nature—happen. (Enter the distressing No True Gay-person fallacy: skip it.) The evidence for the fluidity in sexual behavior is overwhelming, and, anyway, used to be, for all of human history, common knowledge.

Before that common knowledge began to be banned, that is, in part because of the corruption of language. We have reached the point where to assert what is true is called “hate” or “hate speech”. Truth-sayers are routinely chased from society, hounded by spittle-flecked, shrieking mobs who belch, “Hater!” Hilarious, in its way. Words matter.

People have now become so frightened of being screeched at, that we have reached the point where this headline is not surprising: “Gay-conversion therapy ban to be introduced in House“.

The push to end so-called “conversion therapy” against homosexuality is expected to gear up Tuesday with the introduction of a House bill to ban the therapy nationally.

The bill comes a few weeks before a consumer fraud lawsuit described as a “David and Goliath” battle over the therapy begins in New Jersey, and in the wake of a request for a federal probe into whether the therapy’s marketing and practices are “deceptive” and “dangerous.”

Opponents of sexual orientation change efforts, such as Reps. Ted W. Lieu and Jackie Speier, both California Democrats, say being homosexual is not a disorder or illness, and efforts to change one’s sexual orientation are wrong and harmful.

See? It’s right there: “being homosexual”, as if this state represented a race or subspecies of humanity. So common is this locution that it’s almost impossible to see the truth behind it. And notice—particularly notice—that the discussion of whether same-sex acts are moral is missing in action. That is the only question of interest. It is. Just think: if all persons who claimed to be “gay” were celibate (and believed to be) then nobody would care one whit about what people called themselves or their reported unacted-upon desires.

What has happened with the corruption of language is that the morality debate has been bypassed: tacitly, folks believe that if people are “born that way”, then they have “no choice” but to engage in same-sex acts. Since that is an obvious fallacy, it is never stated. (If you don’t see the fallacy, apply the same argument to murderous psychopaths, woofies, etc.) People want same-sex acts to be moral, but don’t want to or don’t know how to say so, and so engage in this end-around. (Perhaps that accounts for why people wildly over-estimate the percent of people who engage in same-sex acts.)

It’s worth quoting another paragraph:

“I am ecstatic that the leader of the free world has called for an end to gay ‘conversion’ therapy. And I commend President Obama for recognizing ‘reparative’ therapy for the crappery that it is,” Mr. Lieu told a reporter for Frontiers Media on Monday.

Crappery. Get that man a pitchfork.

As said, “conversion” is the wrong word, and so is “reparative therapy”. They, too, are a diversion of the real argument. “Converters”, if you like, believe same-sex acts are immoral; “banners” believe they are not. It is Victorian-puritan squeamishness, I think, that accounts for the polarization and the creation of “homosexuals.” People who desired to engage in same-sex acts were forced into the word, so to speak, not so much by biology, but by rationally concluding they could get what they wanted were they to assume an identity. And don’t forget there are cultures (still!) where there are no such thing as “homosexuals”—mainly in Africa and remote South America where the squeamishness was never present.

Anyway, once these bans become common, how long before it is ruled illegal for a man to claim he is a “former gay” or to tell children they have a “choice”? Well, these are just the kind of things you can expect in a democracy. “Truth” is decided by vote.

Extra. A small article on the types of therapies: Show Us the Facts on Homosexual Therapy

Update This article has been reprinted at The Stream.

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