William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

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Notes On Our War. Never Give Up! Never Surrender! More Updates


We’re in the midst of a spiritual (call it political if you need to) war, one for which ultimate victory is assured, but one for which it is just as certain many battles will be lost. The two sides are (1) those who hold to human nature and (2) those who abhor it. If you have to ask “What does he mean by human nature?” or you say “There is no war” (see pic links), there is better than a good chance you side with the enemy.

Wars ebb and flow, sometimes growing hotter, sometimes cooler. Ours is growing hotter. It is not yet blazing. Wars are characterized by battles, and battles by whether both sides choose to engage or one opts to withdraw. But that is too simple. There may be battles within battles and within any melee there are ruses, delaying actions, feints, and false and true retreats. And there are charges, advances, forced marches, assaults.

We have to figure out where we are and what we’re going to do in the next phase.

No war is won by hiding behind fortifications. As the man said, “Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.” Yet this does not imply retreats are forbidden. There is no dishonor from tactically avoiding a vastly superior force. Retreats can be delaying actions. They give, or can give, time to recuperate and gain strength and avoid unnecessary causalities. But if retreats are central to a campaign, they engender atrophy, encourage apathy, and cause overriding fear when offensive measures are proposed. A retreat must always seen as the first phase of an attack elsewhere.

When the skirmishes we face break out into full scale world warfare—the war is already bloody in the Middle East, Nigeria, and other localities—we have to have some plan in place. One plan is ill-defined the “Benedict Option“. A retreat. And, from what I can gather, not a measured withdraw, but a drop-everything race for the hills. To a place where the mountains are high and the emperor far away. Appealing, that. Only, no such place exists any more. Antarctica, maybe. Anywhere else you go, they can find you.

We can’t retreat. Not all of us, not all at once. That would turn into a rout, where the stragglers are moped up and eliminated piecemeal. Never forget our enemy does not give quarter. And even if we all agreed on a retreat, some of us would have to fight a delaying action while others of us fell back to this remote preserve.

Of course, instead of retreating, we could out-and-out capitulate. Bye bye, Episcopalians (who’ll today vote for gmarriage). Sayonara, Bishop Cupich (his reaction to the gmarriage decision was to yell at faithful Catholics).

The other option is to fight like men. That’s also the opinion of our friends John Zmirak and Ed Feser. Zmirak first:

There is nowhere to hide, no ghetto so obscure that the gay totalitarians will leave you alone. Think of all the money that Germany spent persecuting a single homeschooling family. Laws like Germany’s are coming here soon, if we don’t fight them tooth and nail. Remember the thousands of bureaucrats who dutifully audited Tea Party groups for the IRS. Soon thousands more will be scrutinizing your church, its school and every Christian organization in the country. The Left has tasted blood, and intends to feed. Even if you piously decide to turn the other cheek, and congratulate yourself on being persecuted for Christ, you have no right to make that decision for your children or your neighbor.

Feser (for “Matrix theory” swap in “gmarriage”):

Suppose that as you look around, you notice that some of your allies are starting to slink away from the field of battle. One of them says: “Well, you know, we have sometimes been very insulting to believers in the Matrix theory. Who can blame them for being angry at us? Maybe we should focus more on correcting our own attitudes and less on changing their minds.” Another suggests: “Maybe we’ve been talking too much about this debate between the Matrix theory and commonsense realism. We sound like we’re obsessed with it. Maybe we should talk about something else instead, like poverty or the environment.” A third opines: “We can natter on about philosophy all we want, but the bottom line is that scripture says that the world outside our minds is real. The trouble is that we’ve gotten away from the Bible. Maybe we should withdraw into our own faith communities and just try to live our biblically-based belief in external reality the best we can.”

Never apologize for the truth. Show no weakness. It’s like blood in the water to starving sharks.


Update The video here is interesting.

Update Does the word “boycott” mean anything? Disney tells its Christian patrons, “We hate you.”

Update The Episcopal Church approves religious weddings for gay couples after controversial debate. As predicted.

Update Unnatural is the New Normal. From contraception (against human nature) to gmarriage.

Update Christian Preachers Beaten at Gay Pride Festival

Update Mark Steyn.

I started the day on Bill Bennett’s radio show, which is always fun. Jonah Goldberg was on before me, and advanced the proposition, after the Supreme Court’s almighty constitutional bender last week, that it wasn’t so bad; conservatives who just pottered around in their own world and tended to their families would still be able to lead lives largely unbattered by the forces of “progress”. A few minutes later, one of Bill’s listeners, Claudine, came on and said that’s what Germans reckoned in the 1930s: just keep your head down and the storm will pass. How’d that work out?

Satire Update

Update State Silences Bakers Who Refused to Make Cake for Lesbian Couple, Fines Them $135K. As predicted.

In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”


Cheating With Polls Down Under. Guest Post by Stephen Dawson


Today’s post is from our friend Stephen Dawson, who writes at hifi-writer.com. I scheduled this in advance, knowing I’d be suffering jet lag.

Professor Will Steffen from the Australian National University is one of the two or three most prominent climate scientists in Australia. The other day he lent his expertise to a current controversy in my home town, Canberra. We (lucky us!) are getting light rail. A survey shows the Canberra population leaning against it: 46.3% of Canberra residents are against it, versus 38.8% in support. But Dr Steffen and his colleague came to the rescue. In this oped they turned that opposition around, into 33.2% against, 51.9% in support, a clear majority in support!

He and Professor Barbara Norman (also an environmental scientist) from Canberra University managed this feat by a simple expedient: they excluded conservative voters from the sample (in Australia the Liberal Party is the relatively conservative one):

In our reanalysis, we used all the percentages reported in the Canberra Times article in terms of level of support for light rail according to intended voting patterns. We then removed the intended Liberal voters from the analysis, giving a total of 980 remaining respondents to the poll, comprising the categories Labor, Greens, Others and Undecided in terms of intended voting pattern.

Of course, they had solid statistical reasons for doing so.

The very low 15.9 per cent of intending Liberal voters who support light rail are indicative of an issue that has become excessively polarising along partisan political lines. Such a strong skew also has statistical implications for the poll itself, and can easily generate a misleading impression of what the poll numbers are actually showing. In particular, the overall result of weak support for light rail could be highly skewed by the view of intended Liberal voters, who make up slightly less than one-third of the total number of residents polled.

Got to get rid of those outliers!

We all owe these authors a debt. Normally statistical manipulations with a view to gaining a particular outcome are hidden. It’s rare for them to be laid out so obviously. Australia is in good hands as the good professor:

…is currently a Climate Commissioner with the Australian Government Climate Commission; Chair of the Antarctic Science Advisory Committee, Co-Director of the Canberra Urban and Regional Futures (CURF) initiative and Member of the ACT Climate Change Council.

Editor’s Note: Reader Michael Whelan fills us in on “climate” scientist Will Steffen, the man responsible for the statistics.

Will Steffen (born 1947) is an american chemist. He was the executive director of the Australian National University (ANU) Climate Change Institute and a member of the Australian Climate Commission until its abolishment in September 2013.[1] From 1998 to 2004, he was the executive director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, a co-ordinating body of national environmental change organisations based in Stockholm.[2]

This is a prime example of cherry picking data to confirm a prejudice, makes you wonder about validity of his climate research.

The Need To Believe In “The Solution” To Global Warming

Travel day, plus I wanted to have this on its own anyway. Speech given at the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change, June 12, 2015 in Washington, DC. The video and audio are somewhat sketchy because of my lack of editing prowess.

Reminder: Yours Truly is available for talks and speeches, even classes, of any kind.

Go the THE STREAM to read more!

128 Million Bigots (Including Your Mother): Gmarriage By The Numbers. Updates

A citizen undergoes treatment to remove his opposition to gmarriage.

A citizen undergoes treatment to remove his opposition to gmarriage.

Your Mother Is Evil

Latest Gallup survey showed about 40% of citizens did not support gmarriage. According to gmarriage supporters, those who oppose gmarriage are bigots. Since mostly older people and folks not in our great coastal cities support Truth, your mother and grandmother (if these sweet ladies, filled with non-governmental supplied dignity, are still with us), are almost certainly bigots. Good luck telling them so. According to many Tolerant on Twitter, no punishment is too harsh for them. (They were old anyway.)

Interesting (see below) that Friday nearly all major companies told a near, or in some cases even a full, majority of their employees that they hate them. The occupiers of the now Rainbow House told a large chunk of citizens its rules that there were bigots.

Watch the latest poll for support uptick sharply. It is now a crime, or rather it will be thought a crime, a thoughtcime, to hold to Truth. People are scared.

Gallup also says about 30% of citizens do not support divorce, either. But an increasing number, up to about 15% now, support polygamy. It’s coming. You bigot.

(Voting does not decide Truth, of course.)

Orwell & Persecution

How long before we’re all required the chant slogans like these?

Sodomy is Healthy1

Gay Marriage is Healthier Than Straight Marriages

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

George Orwell only partly guessed right. In 1984, the Party declared “2 + 2 = 5” a truth to which assent must be given—or else. Yet it was because the Party knew this to be false that it became a weapon, a tool to command obedience. This is not completely the case with gmarriage.

Many, but not all, in The Party today believes gmarriage to be a truth. Assent to it, like to “2 + 2 = 5”, will certainly, as everybody knows, be required. But in most cases it is because the Tolerant have a raging hatred against dissent. Those that don’t care about gmarriage, but who assent to it and are in positions of leadership, will insist others do likewise, but their hearts won’t be in it—unless they get something good out of it.

Orwell, though wrong in detail, nailed the spirit:

Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable — what then?

Why Persecution?

What everybody forgets is that marriage is not just a permanent bond between a man and a woman (only two)—this is the Truth—but an agreement or understanding between that couple and society. This is why the same-sex attracted fought so vigorously for the term “married”. After all, no one was stopping them from any “experiments in living” they imagined. They wanted acknowledged and affirmation that their actions were not sinful, and not just not sinful, but equal with Truth.

In order for a couple to be married, others must agree if society is to function. Since many do not agree with gmarriage, society will not be able to function harmoniously. Supporters of Truth must be made to put the pinch of incense in the fire or gmarriages won’t seem real. The government must supply and defend (artificial) Dignity.

Size Of Persecution

Persecution will arise largely from gmarriage “test” cases. How many will there be?

There are around 2% of citizens declaring exclusive same-sex attraction (many citizens, succumbing to relentless propaganda believe that number is 20% or higher). That’s around 6 to 7 million folks. Of these, maybe 60-70% are adults (limiting gmarriage to adults is an arbitrary prejudice, surely2), which gives maybe 4 million. Given cultural conditions and our knowledge of behavior of the same-sex attracted, maybe (at most) only half of these people would want a gmarriage ceremony.

That leaves 2 million. Since the government (so far) arbitrarily puts marriages at only two people, this makes only about 1 million possible ceremonies, a number which is probably on the high side (by twice?). And these ceremonies will be spread out over time. The rate depends on culture and how many same-sex attracted “come up through the ranks”, a number which must increase as the number of gmarriages occur (think of effects of adoption, enculturation, etc.).

Most of these ceremonies will be where most of the population is. More in San Francisco than in Butte Montana. Now, the majority of participants are not bug-eyed litigious Tolerant angry religio-phobes. The majority of any peoples just want to be left alone (but most want to be acknowledged). So we’re down to a few thousand Tolerant ceremonies, maybe 100 per annum, to the nearest order of magnitude. And from these the pool of “test cases” will arise. Since most threats of lawsuits go nowhere, we’re looking at roughly 1 or so newsworthy, important case per year.

Don’t forget it’s mostly the non-same-sex attracted who work themselves into a tizzy over thoughtcrimes. So any pair (only a pair!) of Tolerant people seeking gmarriage will always find an army of angry allies.

Kinds Of Persecution

Employers, when they think of it, will search prospective employee’s names, eliminating from consideration those who hold to Truth. There will be few or no open firings, but there may be secret ones. The Tolerant refuse to consort with their many enemies. The argument will be freedom of association, that business can hire whomever they want. And this is true. Discrimination is good. Most large corporations already told their faithful employees to stick it (by adopting the “rainbow” flag, etc.).

Private businesses will be banned from placing signs such as “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” (you know what I mean), because these are discriminatory. Businesses cannot not hire certain people nor deny groups inimical to their faith services. Discrimination is bad. The inconsistency will not bother the Tolerant, who let rage blind their reason. Bake the cake or lose your business. Many will voluntarily close up (consequently there will be many more large businesses and more people depending on government for support).

Government employees involved in gmarriage are in deep kimchi. They will either have to violate their consciences or quit. “Good riddance!” say the Tolerant.

Faithful adoption agencies will close. The Tolerant cannot abide that a (say) Catholic orphanage will only place children in faithful homes. (But this and this will not bother them.)

A Tolerant couple is bound to sue a church for refusing to service them. The grounds will be that since this church has agreed with the government to also administer the civil aspects of marriage, the church has no choice but perform the entire ceremony. The Tolerant couple, whatever their initial success, will lose. I do not think any church will be forced (from the outside) to change beliefs. Though smart money says that churches will lose the ability to perform civil duties, though this loss will be state by state and somewhat gradual.

Christian colleges and organizations with married housing or which now offer benefits to married students or employees will be hit hard and fast. Next 18 months. A Tolerant couple will sue, probably braced by the ACLU or similar big-money group. Depending on which state the first suits hits, the Christian organization will win or lose, so look for district shopping by the Tolerant. Either way, win or lose, the suit is bumped to a higher level. Now if this organization is, say, a nunnery, the faithful have a reasonable chance of beating the Tolerant, but if it is a hospital, school, charity, or the like, they will lose.

Churches proper, though I speculated otherwise before, I do not think will lose their tax-exempt status. Even the pathetic Justice Kennedy3 allowed for freedom of worship—though not, infamously, freedom of practice of religion. (See below about the law being mere words.)

Many churches will slip over the cliff, naturally. Look to Europe for plenty of examples. It’s only post-Christian nations in which gmarriage is legal, incidentally. This is why faithful churches will be largely left alone. There will be too few of them to bother with.

Most persecution will be soft, the worst kind. Why? Because ultimately it is souls that matter, and nothing else.

Look for lost friendships, associations, and the like. As in all Tolerant societies, silence will be inadequate; it will be noticed. And punished. “Sally must be one of those religious bigots. She didn’t contribute to Steve and Steve’s wedding card. I’m telling HR.” “Sally, this is HR, can you come by on Tuesday at 10 am? You have to attend our diversity training.” Alas, this one already happens. Tolerance is a willful cancer that must spread.

Fighting Persecution

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” —George Orwell

Some brave soul will push back publicly against the kind of bullying seen in HR departments. God bless her (I’m guessing it’s a lady). Others will write articles, which increasingly will have little effect. Many churches will eschew the topic, fearing irritating its diminishing members, always a losing tacit. But some, only a few, will become champions for Truth.

We must be reminded (as Father Z has done) that “No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman…” and “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law.” And

Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons.

Every is a strong word. Requires heavy lifting. Not all have the strength. Yet “clear and emphatic opposition is a duty.” Support is “gravely immoral.”

Nobody said life would be easy—or fair. It is folly to think the opposite.

The Law Is Mere Words

Don’t bother quoting the law. It is now only a rough guide. Words are meaningless, as Justice Scalia recently noted (in another case). The Law means what the powerful say it means.

Update Catholic Priest Reports Being Spit On At Gay Marriage Parade. Fr Jonathan Morris (I was on his show two week ago.) Also this:

Update Now’s the Time To End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions

Update Adults only: this gentleman did us the service of documenting San Francisco’s Folsom Street Fair over this weekend. E.g. this and this. And this. And this. Not safe for work.


1“Many same-sex attracted people do not engage in sodomy.” “Is the argument then, ‘Most people do not murder therefore murder is healthy’?”

2“Marriage requires consent. Children can’t give it.” “How do you know?” “It’s not in the nature of children to be able to.” “But it’s not in the nature of mankind to support gmarriage. If there is no human nature, all choices are by will alone.”

3If any a man, besides Yours Truly, needed our prayers, it is he.

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