Patterico's Pontifications


Recommended Lieder Recording

Filed under: Music — Patterico @ 11:52 pm

I recently picked up the remastered EMI recording of Brahms’s Deutsche Volkslieder with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Great stuff, and quite inexpensive for two discs. My current favorite piece is “Wie Komm’ Ich Denn Zur Tur Herein?” Highly recommended.

Harry Reid, Howard Dean, and Oliver Willis Support Abortion of Black Fetuses??

Filed under: Abortion,Morons — Patterico @ 7:34 pm

Bill Bennett recently made some remarks criticizing the concept of abortion generally, and more specifically, the concept that we should abort black fetuses. Bennett called the latter idea “an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do.”

In response, Bennett received criticism from famous dummies like Harry Reid and Howard Dean, as well as from not-so-famous dummies like Oliver Willis.

I guess Reid, Dean, and Willis are in favor of aborting black fetuses.

This is perhaps not surprising coming from someone like Harry Reid, who has criticized Clarence Thomas for writing dissents inferior to the white Antonin Scalia — even when said Scalia dissents don’t exist. Nor am I surprised to hear such racist sentiments from Howard “Go Confederate Flag!” Dean. But from a black man like Oliver Willis? I’m very disappointed.


Allah Is Dead — Again

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 4:58 pm

What in the world is going on with Allah’s old site? (WARNING: The above link (at least currently) contains no pornographic pictures — but it does contain links to pornography, which are definitely not safe for work. Proceed at your own risk.)

Zombie’s “Anatomy of a Photograph”

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 3:57 pm

This post is one of the most awesome dissections of press bias I have seen in a long time. (Via Power Line via Instapundit.)

Rosa Brooks: Statistical Illiterate

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 3:35 pm

Rosa Brooks consistently writes the weakest and most poorly reasoned columns in the L.A. Times — quite a feat, to be sure. She does not disappoint this week with her laughable piece titled The dark side of faith:

IT’S OFFICIAL: Too much religion may be a dangerous thing.

This is the implication of a study reported in the current issue of the Journal of Religion and Society, a publication of Creighton University’s Center for the Study of Religion. The study, by evolutionary scientist Gregory S. Paul, looks at the correlation between levels of “popular religiosity” and various “quantifiable societal health” indicators in 18 prosperous democracies, including the United States.

It’s official: Rosa Brooks does not know what she is talking about. The study says nothing whatsoever about whether “[t]oo much religion may be a dangerous thing.” Here is a quote from the study itself (my emphasis):

This is not an attempt to present a definitive study that establishes cause versus effect between religiosity, secularism and societal health.

That’s because correlation is not causation. This is a concept I have flogged on this site so many times that my readers are no doubt sick of it by now, but no matter how many times I repeat it, some people don’t seem to get it. I’ll say it again: correlation is not causation! Not even a little bit!

The funny part is that Ms. Brooks actually mouths those words — but then makes it abundantly clear that she doesn’t have a clue what they mean:

Although correlation is not causation, Paul’s study offers much food for thought. At a minimum, his findings suggest that contrary to popular belief, lack of religiosity does societies no particular harm.

Wrong, wrong, and wrong! Brooks is just statistically illiterate.

According to Brooks, correlation may not be causation, but it certainly suggests the absence of an inverse causative effect. In other words, she admits that the fact that we have more of X and more of Y may not show that X causes Y. But (she says) it certainly suggests — at a minimum! — that less of X will not have any effect on the number of Y.

That is just flatly false.

Let’s take an example to make this less abstract. As population increases, you will see more doctors. As population increases, you will also see more sickness, because there will be more people — sick people and well people. In other words, you will see a positive correlation between the number of doctors and the number of sick people.

Does that mean that reducing the number of doctors will have no effect on how much sickness there is in the world? Not at all — and in fact, common sense tells you that quite the opposite would be true. But if you substitute “doctors” for “religious sentiment” and “sickness” for “societal problems,” you could easily see Brooks writing the following:

IT’S OFFICIAL: Too many doctors may increase sickness.

This is the implication of a study showing a correlation between numbers of medical doctors and numbers of sick people in 18 prosperous democracies, including the United States.

Although correlation is not causation, the study offers much food for thought. At a minimum, the findings suggest that contrary to popular belief, eliminating doctors will not cause there to be more sickness.

Why does this woman have a weekly column?

Yup, There’s Something Else Going on with Judith Miller’s Jailing

Filed under: Current Events,General — Patterico @ 12:43 pm

John at Power Line has obtained Scooter Libby’s letter to Judith Miller, in this post. He also has a letter from Libby’s lawyer Joseph Tate to the prosecutor, and a letter from Miller’s lawyer Floyd Abrams responding to the assertions in Tate’s letter.

I think the real news here is that the letters make it clear that something else is going on here.


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