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Author: Briggs

March 31, 2018 | 4 Comments

An Easter Gift Not Rejected — Guest Post by Jim Fedako

Christmas may be the day we reserve for exchanging gifts. However, Easter has its gifts as well.
First, there is the gift of eternal salvation for all who believe Jesus Christ resurrected after shedding His blood as propitiation for our sins: eternal salvation for all who accept, yet rejected by most.

Then there are other gifts from God, gifts that also go rejected. However, one of those gifts will bless my Easter.

My wife has a good friend who is just a few years older than she is. Sometimes he calls her to share details of his life, the ups and downs we all face. Other times he calls to make plans for us to watch his basketball games or schedule that never-yet-held camping trip.

Now he has some quirks, we all do. For example, I tend to chew my fingernails down to the quick, which is probably least of my traits that go unrecognized by me. Certainly, no one is perfect.

Our friend, who I will call Joe, occasionally calls to invite himself over for a holiday meal. Sure, we call to invite him at times, but one of his quirks requires him to initiate the request.

A week ago, Joe called to invite himself over for Easter. So, on Sunday, my oldest son will drive him to our church and, afterwards, to our home for a small meal. His presence will bless our family, though he will not stay long. Within an hour or so he will become antsy and begin asking to be driven home—just one of those personal quirks.

But it is the essence of Joe, his uniqueness, that brings light into our home. We all will share stories, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company. My family and I will see life from a different perspective and grow as a result. You see, Joe’s life and presence is a gift from God. However, to many, since Joe is intellectually disabled, his very existence is deemed a failure, something to be rejected.

I grew up in a time when euphemisms changed as the intellectually disabled were, when able, moved from institutions to public schools. These gifts from God were “mainstreamed” back into the lives of everyone else. They benefited, but so did we. Their humanity was restored in our eyes. A worthy end.

However, while today no one would publicly belittle Joe as a person, many still dehumanize him as a class. In Western Europe and the US, babies who test positive for certain genetic conditions, including Downs Syndrome, are aborted so that—as the argument goes—people like Joe will not have to suffer, nor will society have suffer. However, a glance through my kitchen window on Sunday will show no suffering, whatsoever.

These folks speak of eradicating Downs Syndrome as if by vaccination, when they really mean they are engaging in euthanasia to lop off the left tail of the bell curve—their rejected tail that comprises the lives of folks we know and love. This they call progress.

Yet, in a day when so-called progressives demand self-affirmation and the end to dehumanization, they have no qualms counseling others to rid the world of future Joes. And these progressives are becoming more successful in their endeavor. So much so that, in Iceland, a positive prenatal test for Downs Syndrome leads to counseling that is almost 100% effective in another child being aborted.

While folks on the left dredge the past for any transgression of the current PC code, they justify a crime they will have to atone for when that code changes in the future. They may pretend to champion those with special needs in public, but we know what they are whispering in private.

My family will enjoy Joe’s presence this Easter. His life is a gift from God, regardless of who rejects his humanity.

March 30, 2018 | 8 Comments

Sweet Jesus: Demonic Hot Fudge, Or A Bad Joke?

The Canadian ice cream chain “Sweet Jesus” was seeking to sneak across the border when some folks caught sight of their name. “Are they really calling themselves that?” they asked?

Yes, sir. They sure are. The name-spotters complained, but the company says its not going to change it for anybody. Sure, its blasphemous. But it’s all in good fun, they say. Plus, why should this poor ice cream company be picked on? There’s lots of blasphemy about these days. And doesn’t the thought of gooey caramel sauce make you smile?

Maybe we should forget the name. Most of us can’t be stone throwers here anyway, not when phrases like that have slipped past our own incisors. Mea maxima culpa. Forget what they call themselves. It’s the ads that creep you out.

New & Improved Satanism!

They often feature an upside down cross for the “t” in Sweet, and sometimes a devilish lighting bolt for the first “s” in the name of our Lord. A cup on one ad featured just these two tokens alone inside a blooming black rose, complete with thorns.

Another cup features them on the back of shaking hands. Bowels come emblazoned with the inverted cross, bolt, pyramids, and all-seeing eyes. The signs—sigils?—are on a coffin, too, with a hand slithering out.

It’s only a coincidence, perhaps, that you should click here to read the rest.

March 29, 2018 | 4 Comments

Thou Shalt Not Seek The Wee P

Because some readers may think the crusade against the wee p is mine alone, sinner that I am, or that I somehow represent an obscure shady suspect intellectually insufficient movement, I present to you quotations from three prominent individuals who recognize that time for p-ing is over.

I do not, of course, necessarily agree with the proposed solutions offered by these fine gentlemen. For that solution, which avoids all problems which can be avoided (many cannot), see Chapters 8-10 of Uncertainty: The Soul of Probability, Modeling & Statistics. See also the book page for details, and the on-going classes where examples are given. I recommend the predictive approach, which is pure probability from start to the finish where each user makes their own decisions.

Valentin Amrhein, Professor of Zoology, University of Basel, writing that Inferential Statistics is not Inferential:

Statistical significance and hypothesis testing are not really helpful when it comes to testing our hypotheses.

But I have increasingly come to believe that science was and is largely a story of success in spite of, and not because of, the use of this method. The method is called inferential statistics. Or more precisely, hypothesis testing.

The method I consider flawed and deleterious involves taking sample data, then applying some mathematical procedure, and taking the result of that procedure as showing whether or not a hypothesis about a larger population is correct…

In 2011, researchers at CERN worked on the so-called OPERA experiment and sent neutrinos through the Alps to be detected in central Italy. The neutrinos were found to be faster than light, even when the experiment was repeated. This was surprising, to say the least, and the p-value attached to the observation was smaller than the alpha level of p=0.0000003 that is required to announce a discovery in particle physics experiments involving collision data.

Although the researchers made clear that they were still searching for possible unknown systematic effects that might explain the finding, the news hit the media as: “Was Einstein wrong?”

A few months later, the researchers announced the explanation for the surprising measurements: a cable had not been fully screwed in during data collection.

Bad ps found in bad plumbing?

Frank Harrell, Statistician, Vanderbilt, A Litany of Problems With p-values:

In my opinion, null hypothesis testing and p-values have done significant harm to science. The purpose of this note is to catalog the many problems caused by p-values. As readers post new problems in their comments, more will be incorporated into the list, so this is a work in progress.

The American Statistical Association has done a great service by issuing its Statement on Statistical Significance and P-values. Now it’s time to act. To create the needed motivation to change, we need to fully describe the depth of the problem….

A. Problems With Conditioning

p-values condition on what is unknown (the assertion of interest; [null hypothesis]) and do not condition on what is known (the data).

This conditioning does not respect the flow of time and information; p-values are backward probabilities.

I cut Harrell off at the p. He has many, many, many objections.

John P. A. Ioannidi, Physician, Stanford, The Proposal to Lower P Value Thresholds to .005:

P values and accompanying methods of statistical significance testing are creating challenges in biomedical science and other disciplines. The vast majority (96%) of articles that report P values in the abstract, full text, or both include some values of .05 or less. However, many of the claims that these reports highlight are likely false…

P values are misinterpreted, overtrusted, and misused. The language of the ASA statement enables the dissection of these 3 problems. Multiple misinterpretations of P values exist, but the most common one is that they represent the “probability that the studied hypothesis is true.”…Better-looking (smaller) P values alone do not guarantee full reporting and transparency. In fact, smaller P values may hint to selective reporting and nontransparency. The most common misuse of the P value is to make “scientific conclusions and business or policy decisions” based on “whether a P value passes a specific threshold” even though “a P value, or statistical significance, does not measure the size of an effect or the importance of a result,” and “by itself, a P value does not provide a good measure of evidence.”

It goes p-p-p-ing along like this for some length.

I have the solution (it’s not mine: it’s old). A glance is here in the JASA paper A Substitute for P-values, Uncertainty has all the proofs and philosophical arguments, and I’ll have more papers coming out soon with expansions and clarifications.

March 28, 2018 | 6 Comments

Chemical Castration As Conception Prevention

Men, how would you like to inject yourself regularly in the pertinents so that your testosterone levels plunge to levels as if you were castrated?

Don’t answer yet! There are “benefits” you might not have considered. Such as undergoing this prickly delight will result in the production of low to no sperm. You will then be able to engage in sexual intercourse and avoid the positive consequences of that act.

A modern-day Dr. Moureau thought up the injection caper, but—and here is the big surprise—he couldn’t find a pharmaceutical sponsor.

Sharper Than a Knife

His efforts must however have been noted. For chemists secreted themselves inside labs and tried to discover a formula for father-prevention in pill form. Early efforts resulted in liver damage in the victims, which is to say, in the test subjects.

But news was announced that a new formulation might provide men the chemical castration they seek without side effects. Or without many side effects. Or with possibly long-term side effects. Actually, the word on side effects is still out.

The new pill, called dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU), is a two-for-one deal. It contains a chemical to block testosterone production. But because of the importance of this crucial hormone in men having male characteristics, the new drug also contains an androgen (a male hormone), which they hope mimics all the effects of testosterone. Except the “unwanted” effect of making sperm.

They Said What?

Specifics of the study are not yet available. The results so far are in the form of a press release and a presentation given at a scientific meeting. It appears about 25 men were given placebos (“sugar” pills), and about 58 men were given the new drug in various forms for only 28 days.

The result was that “At the highest dose of DMAU tested [in ’12 to 15 men’], subjects showed ‘marked suppression’ of levels of their testosterone and two hormones required for sperm production.”

If that is the “good” news, what is the bad news?

The researchers say that “Despite having low levels of circulating testosterone, very few subjects reported symptoms consistent with testosterone deficiency or excess.” Which is also admitting that some subjects reported symptoms consistent with testosterone deficiency or excess. And since only 12-15 men saw “marked suppression” of testosterone, a “few” experiencing side effects is a large percentage.

The press release also admits men on the pill gained weight and had decreases in HDL, the good cholesterol. About whether sperm production ceased or slowed, they do not say.

Toxic Anti-Masculinity

What might we guess about other effects of long-term blocking of testosterone?

Well, you can click here to read the rest.