Bad Delete: Justfacts presentation
February 4, 2013 10:36 AM   Subscribe

I understand the post was removed for the reason that it seemed likely to start fights. However, I'm not sure this post calling the banners for BDS activity against Israel, or this post attacking the Daily Express, or this I-hate-the-rich post wouldn't also qualify. What is the standard for what makes a post contentious, and is the standard lower for minority-view postings?

Sidenote: I can understand that a possible reason for deletion could have been that the post was too thin, only citing one site, but that was not the reason stated.
posted by corb to MetaFilter-Related at 10:36 AM (154 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

The deleted thread.
posted by lalex at 10:38 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm definitely not a mod and I don't know but it seems possible that part of the problem is the specific poster; wolfdreams has lost the benefit of the doubt (from me if not from the mods) and it's a little harder for me to believe his post was in good faith than if it had been from a different user.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:45 AM on February 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


The link in the Daily Express Post is actually pretty interesting. Not sure why it is lumped in here.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:45 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The posts you list are (a) a post about a thing that happened, (b) a post about a cheeky analysis of newspaper headline patterns, and (b) a post that is quoting from the the editorial it links to. In that last case it's actually annoying that the quotation wasn't clearly indicated with quote marks or italics, but people tend to flag the hell out of apparent editorializing in post text so it appears they by and large figured out what was going on there.

None of those are isomorphic with the post this morning, which reads like a personal blog entry by wolfdreams01, which is the primary problem with it in my eyes. That it also went ahead and suggested that here finally are the real facts about guns and economics and climate change was just frosting. There might be a good way to make a post about the linked site but this wasn't it; that's not a minority-view issue, it's a posting-badly issue.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:45 AM on February 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


I didn't even notice the name of the poster and I already knew it was a bad thread for MeFi. It presented as a trolling thread just to get people's hackles up. Good deletion.
posted by arcticseal at 10:46 AM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


It was a bullshit post about a bullshit website, so there was no reason for it to stay.

Had the post been about the rise of fact checking in the digital era or how rigorously fact checking occurs, that would have been fine. But this post linked to only why site and highlighted several ridiculous claims from said site. There was nothing to do be pee all over it and MeFi doesn't need that low of a bar.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:46 AM on February 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


My hunch is that one of the standards for "what makes a post contentious" may be "it has already started a heated argument within only 20 minutes of existance."

I will admit I flagged it, but I will add that that is the reason I flagged it; I had no objection to the post itself, but I saw that nine out of ten of the comments in that site were all "right-wing bias omg" and figured it needed mod attention of some point to keep things from spiraling into a huge shitshow.

Sometimes a ruling that a post is contentious doesn't have as much to do with the content of the post as it does with the character of crowd in here, I'm afraid...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:46 AM on February 4, 2013


(b) a post that is quoting from the the editorial it links to. In that last case it's actually annoying that the quotation wasn't clearly indicated with quote marks or italics, but people tend to flag the hell out of apparently editorializing in post text so it appears they by and large figured out what was going on there.

Oh, sorry, that one is on me, I didn't realize that it was quoting from the editorial, because what I thought was editorializing in post text irritated me so much I didn't actually dip too deeply there.
posted by corb at 10:49 AM on February 4, 2013


It wasn't my delete but here are my feelings

- there is a difference from saying "here are the things this website is saying about people/ideas" and "here is a thing this website is saying about people and ideas and they're correct" this post was the latter
- a bunch of hot button topics all rolled up together with very little awareness shown by the poster that was what was going on. We are fine with people talking about touchy "the things you think are true are wrong" topics but care should be taken to make those posts into something that would be a good discussion not a "you're all sheep" shot over the bow.
- coming on the heels of the Epic Cracker MeTa thread where the OP of that post was involved in a lengthy back and forth about who was more rational, who was letting their biases get in the way, and who was arguing in not-so-great-faith the post seemed, to me, fairly stunty. That has nothing to do with why it was deleted, but it may have had something to do with why so many people flagged it so quickly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:50 AM on February 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


because what I thought was editorializing in post text irritated me so much I didn't actually dip too deeply there.

Yeah, to be clear, that's the sort of thing where if I saw it at the time I'd immediately check it against the source to see if it's a quote and if it was a quote I'd toss in italic tags myself, and if it wasn't a quote it'd get deleted faster than you can say SILENCED ALL MY LIFE.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:51 AM on February 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


what I thought was editorializing in post text irritated me so much

It's weird then that you're upset about the JustFacts post deletion.
posted by lalex at 10:51 AM on February 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't think the fact-check website was particularly well done. The writing isn't great, the focus was decidedly partisan, and some of the analysis seemed flawed. There is smart conservative stuff out there, but it isn't at that link. So, lots of heated issues were raised, but the post and the underlying website didn't provide a frame or reference that would lead to an interesting discussion.
posted by Area Man at 10:52 AM on February 4, 2013


It's a pseduo-intellectual piece of libertarian bullshit being churned out by a... lone wolf... conservative.

I'm sure it's a bastion of ethics.
posted by Talez at 10:56 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well now. This is a meTa, isn't it.
posted by rtha at 10:58 AM on February 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


there is a difference from saying "here are the things this website is saying about people/ideas" and "here is a thing this website is saying about people and ideas and they're correct" this post was the latter
- a bunch of hot button topics all rolled up together with very little awareness shown by the poster that was what was going on. We are fine with people talking about touchy "the things you think are true are wrong" topics but care should be taken to make those posts into something that would be a good discussion not a "you're all sheep" shot over the bow.


*nods* So, say...a post commenting on the prevalence/rise of "Fact-checking" websites, with some contentious (and perhaps competing) claims from each would stand, as long as no one was claiming to be the One True Website?
posted by corb at 11:00 AM on February 4, 2013


I just thought it was crap analysis on dubious data, based on decades of training and experience reading medical and scientific literature. The author of the article cherry-picked writing from 1982 - 2000 in order to present a seemingly tight story on the self-defense value of guns; but each datum comprising that puzzle was of limited value on its own, and no publication shows such a stark "guns good" picture.
posted by Mister_A at 11:02 AM on February 4, 2013


So, say...a post commenting on the prevalence/rise of "Fact-checking" websites, with some contentious (and perhaps competing) claims from each would stand, as long as no one was claiming to be the One True Website?

If it were also not a crappy post, sure. I'm not even about to rubber-stamp said notional post without seeing the actual draft, though, because there are all sorts of ways it could be done badly.

Generally speaking, a post [about x] could stand if it's done well, for literally any x, but there's also lots of ways to fuck up a post and some values of x are trickier on that front than others because of how charged some topics can be.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:04 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Someone should now make a post about the letter X.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:08 AM on February 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ugh. That I/P post is still a trainwreck in progress. Saw it over the weekend and then decided not to comment after watching the whole "Anti-Zionism is Antisemitism" conversation develop.
posted by zarq at 11:08 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, say...a post commenting on the prevalence/rise of "Fact-checking" websites, with some contentious (and perhaps competing) claims from each would stand, as long as no one was claiming to be the One True Website?

We do not play this game here. Anyone is welcome to try to make a better post than this one.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:09 AM on February 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


[quoting from the deleted post] In this era of polarized debate, few people actually fact-check anymore, instead choosing to believe whatever "their own side" tells them without fact-checking the data.

Wasn't a whole lot in support of this assertion, ironically.
posted by carsonb at 11:10 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The true challenge is to make a worse post than this one.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:10 AM on February 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


I should clarify, not trying to get a rubber stamp, because anything could be done badly, just trying to figure out where the boundaries are - especially on charged topics.
posted by corb at 11:11 AM on February 4, 2013


o yikes that thread is like a pile of dynamite to go off. and not in the happy way.
posted by angrycat at 11:11 AM on February 4, 2013


From the "about" section of the website:

James D. Agresti, the president and primary researcher, holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University and has worked as a designer of jet aircraft engines, a technical sales professional, and chief engineer of a firm that customizes helicopters. He is the author of Rational Conclusions, a highly researched book evidencing factual support for the Bible across a broad array of academic disciplines.

I will let that speak for itself.
posted by TedW at 11:13 AM on February 4, 2013 [18 favorites]


The guy who has actually registered the domain (the guy's dad? brother?) owns two other domains: webkey.com and smartdevice.com. Only one resolves.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:14 AM on February 4, 2013


Personally, a post like this doesn't have to be fair and balanced -- this is not Wikipedia nor the NYT -- but if it claims to be The Truth it better damn well be. Even just looking at the above the fold presentation you can tell this just the same old rightwing propaganda dressed up as objectivity, no different from linking to Conservapedia.

(Incidently, while of course there is leftwing or liberal propaganda sites as well, these are much more likely to be openly partisan or explicit in discussing how their ideology can explain Foo or Baz. Read Socialist Worker if you want an example.)
posted by MartinWisse at 11:14 AM on February 4, 2013


just trying to figure out where the boundaries are - especially on charged topics

When someone says they're looking for the boundaries, you can be assured that what that actually means is that they're looking to push those boundaries. In this case, it sounds like prep for an axe-grindy political post and not an unbiased review of the fact-checking phenomenon and the false equivalence found almost universally in the media (especially US media).
posted by zombieflanders at 11:17 AM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'll speculate that if the FPP had been...
The mission of Just Facts is to research and publish verifiable facts about the leading public policy issues of our time.
...it wouldn't have been deleted.

Now, I'm not actually proposing that as an FPP, because I think it would be a bad one. But I don't think it would have been deleted. This deletion makes sense to me.
posted by cribcage at 11:18 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Incidently, while of course there is leftwing or liberal propaganda sites as well, these are much more likely to be openly partisan or explicit in discussing how their ideology can explain Foo or Baz

The problem is that you then run into conservatives who state that FactCheck.org is left-leaning.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:21 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


The problem is that you then run into conservatives who state that FactCheck.org is left-leaning.

Reality has a well known liberal bias.
posted by Talez at 11:23 AM on February 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


The problem is that you then run into conservatives who state that FactCheck.org is left-leaning.

Well, and isn't that the point? Any factchecking website is going to be leaning in one direction or another, because the people who create it are likely leaning in one direction or another. And even if they're not, the perception of it is enough to create skepticism.
posted by corb at 11:25 AM on February 4, 2013


That website was kind of terrible to look at or get any data out of.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:27 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The problem is that you then run into conservatives who state that FactCheck.org is left-leaning.

And then we all cry tears of blood.
posted by Phire at 11:27 AM on February 4, 2013


[tagline claimed]
posted by Burhanistan at 11:28 AM on February 4, 2013


Any factchecking website is going to be leaning in one direction or another, because the people who create it are likely leaning in one direction or another.

No shit, Sherlock.

My own rules are "Never play cards with a man called Doc; never eat at a place called Mom's; and never trust a website called Justfacts."
posted by octobersurprise at 11:28 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


In this era of polarized debate, few people actually fact-check anymore, instead choosing to believe whatever "their own side" tells them without fact-checking the data.

I agree wholeheartedly. I too long for a return to a more civilized time, when all persons of good conscience sought out the facts, double and triple checked, ruthlessly scourging themselves of any preconceived notions or faulty logic. I've resigned myself to double or triple checking checking one piece of "knowledge" a day, why just today I stepped outside and reassured myself that the sky is indeed blue. I am open to counterarguments however.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:29 AM on February 4, 2013


What about a place called Dad's, run by a woman called Doc?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:29 AM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


corb: "Well, and isn't that the point?"

You can only press your thumb down on the scale for so long.
posted by boo_radley at 11:29 AM on February 4, 2013


Brandon Blatcher: "What about a place called Dad's, run by a woman called Doc?"

If it's a barbershop, yes. If it's a diner, only on Fish Fry Fridays. You can trust Doc's catfish recipe.
posted by boo_radley at 11:30 AM on February 4, 2013


Well, and isn't that the point?

No. FactCheck looks at factual claims in e.g. political speeches, ads, national debates, etc. and looks to see whether those factual claims are backed up by data. It's like Snopes.

The site linked in the thread in question was an attempt to explain The Truth About Big Issues using various data sources, like an encyclopedia of political issues. You see this sort of thing in editorials all the time. And, as in editorials, the data sources cited (and those left uncited) goes a long way toward presenting the 'facts' you'd like to present as true.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:32 AM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


What about a place called Dad's, run by a woman called Doc?

They can change my oil and rotate my tires.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:32 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am open to counterarguments however.

Is it really blue, or do you eyes just tell your brain it is blue? And what is blue really? How do I know the blue you're seeing isn't, like, green to me, man? It's like ... the words we have for things ... only describe the things we think and not the actual thing itseCOUGHCOUGHHACKKKKCOUGHOUGH itself.
posted by griphus at 11:34 AM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I stepped outside and reassured myself that the sky is indeed blue. I am open to counterarguments however.

The sky above this thread is the color of television, tuned to MSNBC.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:34 AM on February 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


I should clarify, not trying to get a rubber stamp, because anything could be done badly, just trying to figure out where the boundaries are - especially on charged topics.

I think the best way to create posts about charged topics is to do so dispassionately and with a minimum of editorializing and hyperbole. Researching them well to provide more than one point of view doesn't hurt, either. The links you choose also matter a great deal: editorials or sites with a significant bias can derail a thread quickly. So can one outspoken person with a strong opinion.
posted by zarq at 11:34 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


why just today I stepped outside and reassured myself that the sky is indeed blue. I am open to counterarguments however.

The sky is blue only because it's noon. If you look closely at the color of the sky you'll see that it changes throughout the day at dawn and at dusk, can differ still from day to day due to moisture in the air and can sometimes be a rainbow of all the different colors after a rainstorm.
posted by Talez at 11:38 AM on February 4, 2013


corb: ,eM>“Any factchecking website is going to be leaning in one direction or another, because the people who create it are likely leaning in one direction or another.”

Sorry, corb, but it was a terrible post, not least because it misrepresented the site it was linking to in an inflammatory way. For example: the post text claimed that "proponents of Keynesian economics may learn that it has never actually been implemented the way it is intended - at only one period in the past 40 years has federal revenue outstripped spending." But if you look at the page where that chart occurs, it's... well, it's not really saying that. Maybe it wants to indicate that, but there's no explanation even remotely like the one wolfdreams01. There's a more basic version of that page, but even it doesn't give the explanation in the post.

And, yeah, I agree that this site is a rightist national-debt blog, and I don't know that I trust it much. But, having made myself a little familiar with it, I can't even recognize it in the post. That's pretty weird. It really seems as though the post was constructed to create what one might call 'vibrant discussion' – meaning, yeah, fights.
posted by koeselitz at 11:47 AM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh my favourite part is where the wolfdreams01 throws out the "proponents of Keynesian economics may learn that it has never actually been implemented the way it is intended".

Libertarians and conservatives gang up to beat the everloving shit out of the economy through criminally unnecessary tax cuts to the top end, hand us a box of bandaids and then yell at us for both not being able to fix it using the available bandaids and trying to use bandaids to fix it.
posted by Talez at 11:50 AM on February 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


When someone says they're looking for the boundaries, you can be assured that what that actually means is that they're looking to push those boundaries.

I'll push your boundaries if you push my hot button.
posted by carsonb at 11:53 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll push your buttons if you'll get my goat.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:01 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


This hide isn't going to just chap itself, people.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:04 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Guys, let's cut wolfdreams01 some slack. Just because he debates like a Russian is no reason to write him off as a human being.
posted by Nomyte at 12:05 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Assless chapped hide?
posted by zombieflanders at 12:05 PM on February 4, 2013


I feel that I should explain my methodology here. Before I posted the FPP, I was skeptical of it (since the head researcher has a book related to Biblical stuff, and I am strongly opposed to organized religion) and did some digging. Besides, it would be hypocritical not to fact-check the fact-checker.

To my surprise, multiple google searches indicated positive or neutral reviews, with no negative results popping up in any of my searches (which I rephrased multiple times). This is usually not the case with websites that claim independence but have a right-leaning bias (often you get a ton of complaints on discussion forums about their bias). I then selected a handful of random facts cited in the website and double-checked them independently to make sure that the sources were indeed accurate (they were). At that point, I consider myself to have done substantial due diligence. I'm rather surprised at the pushback my FPP got, considering that the site simply tries to present data (citing relevant sources with full transparency) and generally stays clear of drawing conclusions from said data. I suspect a certain amount of the pushback might stem from people's unhappiness that much of the data does not jibe with the view of the world that is commonly presented here - which is exactly why I thought the link would be useful.

That said, I must reluctantly agree with Cortex's assessment that the way I framed the FPP was perhaps a bit too confrontational, and could have been done better. I'm OK with the mod's decision to take it down.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 12:06 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guys, let's cut wolfdreams01 some slack. Just because he debates like a Russian is no reason to write him off as a human being.

Debates like a Russian? He debates like some kid from Boston who thought Atlas Shrugged was a terrific read.
posted by Talez at 12:07 PM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm sure woldreams01 is an excellent replicant.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:07 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I suspect a certain amount of the pushback might stem from people's anger that the data does not jibe with the view of the world that is commonly presented here - which is exactly why I thought the link would be useful.

And here we have the pointing out at the sky with "IT'S MOTHERFUCKING BLUE YOU STUPID LEEBRULS!"
posted by Talez at 12:08 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I feel sorry for assless chaps. It's nice having an ass!
posted by Mister_A at 12:08 PM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I mean, you've always got somewhere to sit!
posted by Mister_A at 12:09 PM on February 4, 2013


I'm the kind of chap who revels in his god-given ass, is what it is.
posted by Mister_A at 12:09 PM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


To my surprise, multiple google searches indicated positive or neutral reviews, with no negative results popping up in any of my searches (which I rephrased multiple times).

There are all kinds of topical sites out there that get very little attention, good or bad. It's very likely that the reason you saw little criticism was because this site has gotten some positive word of mouth from a small group of fellow travellers, or the once over from content farms. If this site ever gets sustained attention like it got on the front page ever so briefly today, I suspect your Google results would be quite different.
posted by maudlin at 12:12 PM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Mister_A: "I feel sorry for assless chaps. It's nice having an ass!"

Assed chaps are called pants.
posted by boo_radley at 12:14 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


He debates like some kid from Boston who thought Atlas Shrugged was a terrific read.

Six of one...
posted by griphus at 12:17 PM on February 4, 2013


Assed chaps are called pants.

On the other hand, sometimes a chapped ass is just a chapped ass.
posted by Nomyte at 12:18 PM on February 4, 2013


No. FactCheck looks at factual claims in e.g. political speeches, ads, national debates, etc. and looks to see whether those factual claims are backed up by data. It's like Snopes.

And both of these sites actually do have problems other than made up claims of being biased towards "the left" because they refuse to kern Obama's birth certificate or whatever. A slight tendency towards false balance frex, a habit perhaps, especially earlier, to balance Republican outrages with Democratic ones, even if there are none, that sort of thing.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:20 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't believe any of you. My new working hypothesis is that the sky turns green when I am not observing it.

I was just admiring that sentence. It implies so much. It implies that there were other eras without polarized debate just as if I say "jeans are allowed on friday" I am implying that they are not allowed any other days. It implies that polarized debate and not fact checking are somehow intertwined. It implies that everyone fact checking is somehow preferable to believing other people, since polarized has negative connotations.

Society works through shared context and knowledge transfer. Humans are social creatures, so this is an argument with human nature, not just metafilter.

None of this is bad, just worth noting since we are questioning everything.

Also chaps are by definition assless. No True Chaps have an ass.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:21 PM on February 4, 2013


No True Chaps have an ass.

Nonsense. Women aren't the only ones with asses.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 12:23 PM on February 4, 2013


No True Chaps have an ass.

You calling me a bird?
posted by Talez at 12:25 PM on February 4, 2013


Does this ass make my ass look ass?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:26 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I guess that since I can't check I'm going to have to believe you.

At least until JustFacts weighs in.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:28 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


To my surprise, multiple google searches indicated positive or neutral reviews, with no negative results popping up in any of my searches (which I rephrased multiple times)

Next time, check out the people behind the website. The main researcher's book is linked with other conservative tomes on Amazon.com.

Or just Google his damn name, it's unique enough.

Come on, this is not rocket science.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:28 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Assless chaps are worn without pants, thus lacking the ass-covering talents of the latter, thus they should be called "Holy Shit There's An Ass Hanging Out Here Where Everyone Can See It Oh Please Won't Someone Think Of The Horses And Children?" chaps.

But by the time you've said that, it's too late and there's rampaging horses and corrupted children and moral turpitude everywhere.
posted by maudlin at 12:28 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does this ass make my ass look ass?

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

So there.
posted by Talez at 12:29 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Assless chaps is also funner to say than just chaps.
posted by rtha at 12:31 PM on February 4, 2013


Taintless chaps are a separate piece of tack, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:31 PM on February 4, 2013


I then selected a handful of random facts cited in the website and double-checked them independently to make sure that the sources were indeed accurate (they were).

And yet you somehow missed, say, the fact that the gun control link was derived from self-reported surveys as opposed to actual crime statistics, or that the climate change data was severely cherry-picked, or that the Keynesian link didn't actually say what it claimed.

At that point, I consider myself to have done substantial due diligence.

This must be some new interpretation of "substantial" that means that one did not actually read the source data or delve anywhere past what the page directly endorses.

I'm rather surprised at the pushback my FPP got, considering that the site simply tries to present data (citing relevant sources with full transparency) and generally stays clear of drawing conclusions from said data.

Transparency and drawing conclusions being in the eye of the beholder. For instance, the climate change page fails to note that the oft-mentioned IPCC report was noted to be quite conservative in it's estimates and that it failed to take into account a number of major factors such as accelerated polar ice sheet melt. And it's quite clear what conclusion the site expects the reader to take, they just don't come out and say it so that it gives people that link to it plausible deniability.

I suspect a certain amount of the pushback might stem from people's unhappiness that much of the data does not jibe with the view of the world that is commonly presented here - which is exactly why I thought the link would be useful.

So you thought the link would be "useful" because it was supposedly a challenge, not necessarily that the data was correct but rather that it would start fights. This is why it was and should have been deleted.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:34 PM on February 4, 2013 [21 favorites]


isomorphic? MY ass. Big word, no cattle.
posted by JohnR at 12:35 PM on February 4, 2013


Next time, check out the people behind the website. The main researcher's book is linked with other conservative tomes on Amazon.com.

Or just Google his damn name, it's unique enough.

Come on, this is not rocket science.


Yes, I did that, and I got exactly the same results you did - indicating that the author is conservative. The difference is that unlike you, I don't believe that being conservative automatically discredits somebody. In any case, I think that the structure of the website itself - with citations given for absolutely everything - makes it child's play to identify and account for subconscious bias, if that's indeed your true concern. Even if you don't agree with the political alignment of the site owner, I think there's a lot of value in that kind of full transparency.

The author's conservative leanings did raise red flags - hence the reason I did a more thorough fact-check than I normally would - but, as mentioned, a detailed search did not turn up anything to discredit the website in any way, nor any of the facts and figures referenced.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 12:40 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The main researcher's book is linked with other conservative tomes on Amazon.com.

From the reviews of that book: This book systematically takes the reader through the major points of evolution, and explains step by step why these points are less believable than creationism.

JUST FACTS
posted by shakespeherian at 12:44 PM on February 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


JohnR: "isomorphic? MY ass. Big word, no cattle."

Can you even raise cattle in portland?
posted by boo_radley at 12:44 PM on February 4, 2013


What about being a raving crank? Does that discredit somebody?
posted by octobersurprise at 12:44 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Get yer goddamn cows offa mah isolines!
posted by Burhanistan at 12:46 PM on February 4, 2013


Yes, I did that, and I got exactly the same results you did - indicating that the author is conservative. The difference is that unlike you, I don't believe that being conservative automatically discredits somebody.

So conveniently forgetting to mention this while constructing the post is just some sort of misunderstanding? Yeah, no.

In any case, I think that the structure of the website itself - with citations given for everything - makes it child's play to identify and account for subconscious bias, if that's indeed your true concern.

Yes, it is child's play. So how did it manage to slip by you, or alternatively how did you manage not to engage in a concerted effort to follow up on some of the basics?

The author's affiliation did raise red flags - hence the reason I did a more thorough fact-check than I normally would - but, as mentioned, a detailed search did not turn up anything to discredit the author in any way, nor any of the facts and citations referenced.

A fact-check means you check the facts, not do 15 seconds of Googling on whether or not the author is conservative knowing that you will later leave that out of the post and the MeTa follow-up until called out on it.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:49 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


This book systematically takes the reader through the major points of evolution, and explains step by step why these points are less believable than creationism.

Which would be a great point if we were discussing the book itself, or even the author. But we're not. We're discussing the website.

What about being a raving crank? Does that discredit somebody?

If that raving crank can produce fully transparent citations and a credible explanation of how the data was analyzed, then no, it does not discredit them at all.

Again, I'm really surprised by all the ad hominem attacks going on here. Once you start saying somebody's research is automatically discredited because of their political leanings, or because of something they wrote which is completely irrelevant to said research, what's next? Will you discredit people's data because they're not very likable, or because you saw them kick a kitten once?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 12:51 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I suspect a certain amount of the pushback might stem from people's unhappiness that much of the data does not jibe with the view of the world that is commonly presented here - which is exactly why I thought the link would be useful.

Oddly enough, corb, the creator of this MeTa, has pulled the "look at this unbiassed info that challenges your world view and learn something" schtick several on the site. It didn't work then either.

The difference is that unlike you, I don't believe that being conservative automatically discredits somebody

1. It's boring how you choose to not mention the other link I provided, where the author's book was noted, on Amazon.com, is noted as being bought by the people who buy "The Dark Side of Charles Darwin" and "The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas"

2. The link you did choose to pay attention to notes that the author felt the mainstream media wasn't getting out "substantive information", which reeks of conservative bias.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:53 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think it is perfectly reasonable to question's someone's concept of a "fact" (and the website they built to showcase them) when they're using them to "meticulously demonstrate the truthfulness of the Bible."
posted by griphus at 12:55 PM on February 4, 2013


Why can't we be done here? I don't mean the thread should be closed; I mean – isn't this whole furore wrapped up by now? wolfdreams01 has said he agrees with the deletion. That's pretty much it here, isn't it? It's a crap conservative site. There's not much more to say.
posted by koeselitz at 12:59 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


(That's not a dig at religious folks. The author of the website about facts doesn't believe in dinosaurs, which really goes well, well beyond the theism/atheism debate.)
posted by griphus at 12:59 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


a detailed search did not turn up anything to discredit the author in any way, nor any of the facts and citations referenced.

So let's say that you were prepared to accept solid arguments against the credibility of this site if they came from sources you considered reliable and transparent. Did you find any major, credible, "objective" or left-leaning site giving justfacts.com any positive or neutral reviews? Or did you find, as I just did, results from some right leaning blogs, examiner.com and what seems to be a high schooler's review site and not a single hit from any major, credible, "objective" or left-leaning site?

A lack of attention, negative or positive, from non-conservative sites does not mean that justfacts.com passes muster as a reliable source of information. Christ.

On preview: Oh! Look! A hit from The Economist! Oh -- look: it's a rambling, white-space-free comment from some guy, not a writer for the magazine.

On preview again: The dude wrote a crap book about evolution. You said that "a detailed search did not turn up anything to discredit the author in any way", but in your most recent comment, you backtrack to "Which would be a great point if we were discussing the book itself, or even the author. But we're not. We're discussing the website."

You brought up the credibility of the author yourself. You don't get to take it off the table now.

Anyway, can a girl get a reply here, please? I see you responding to everyone else and ignoring my points about the absence of negative reviews.
posted by maudlin at 1:00 PM on February 4, 2013


Will you discredit people's data because they're not very likable, or because you saw them kick a kitten once?

I will distrust someone as a potential cat-sitter if I saw them kick a kitten, that's for sure. If I saw them argue with a straight face that creationism is more rationally plausible than scientific theory, I would not let them babysit my facts.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:02 PM on February 4, 2013 [81 favorites]


The author of the website about facts doesn't believe in dinosaurs

TEACH THE CONTROVERSY
posted by shakespeherian at 1:05 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Again, I'm really surprised by all the ad hominem attacks going on here.

I'm sorry the facts aren't fitting your perception of reality.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:06 PM on February 4, 2013


Nor your ass, nor your chaps, nor your neighbor's ass. [Response to this]
posted by Mister_A at 1:06 PM on February 4, 2013


or because of something they wrote which is completely irrelevant to said research

You think a belief that the literal truth of the Bible can be proved rationally and scientifically is completely irrelevant to the rest of an author's research (and I use that term loosely)?

Then make that argument and stop moaning about being oppressed.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:10 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, this went downhill fast.
posted by zarq at 1:15 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love that all the positive reviews on that Amazon page say, more or less, 'This book must be right because it has lots of citations!'
posted by shakespeherian at 1:15 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Then make that argument and stop moaning about being oppressed.

I told you. We're in an anarcho syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week. But all of the decisions of that officer have to be ratified by a special bi-weekly meeting by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs but by a two thirds majority in the case of more major affairs.
posted by Talez at 1:16 PM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Very good, Billy. Now, can you use the word "disingenuous" in a sentence?
posted by Curious Artificer at 1:18 PM on February 4, 2013


Now, can you use the word "disingenuous" in a sentence?

This is a sentence with the word "disingenuous" in it.

-Billy
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:20 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


disingenuous buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo
posted by shakespeherian at 1:21 PM on February 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


Well, this went downhill fast.

That's just liberal propaganda.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:21 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I still have time left to fix a typo, and I'll tell you it's SO tempting to change the requested word and then rub the wrong answer in IRFH's face.
posted by Curious Artificer at 1:22 PM on February 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Look, I don't see why this is so hard to parse. There's a website. It gives interesting facts. The facts have citations given at every stage to explain where the data was acquired (and most seem to reference credible sources like the Library of Congress), and they all seem to check out under scrutiny. That was my only concern in terms of fact-checking.

I didn't mention the author's religious leanings, his political views, or his book about creationism because I genuinely don't see how they are relevant to the facts and citations he mentioned. If the author was gay, heavily liberal, and had published a book about group sex, would you consider a website more or less credible for that? Would you expect full disclosure about an author's belief in Zoroastrianism, or partner-swapping?

I can understand why my post was taken down - certainly it could have been phrased in a less confrontational way. I could also understand if people took issue with some of the citations being incorrect, or the data being mishandled - that would certainly be a valid point. What I can't understand is why anybody expects me to defend the author's published work about creationism, when it is completely irrelevant to the website. If I published a terrible cookbook (for example), it would be pretty stupid to argue that said cookbook reduced my credibility with regards to my research on economics. Those of you who seem willing to discredit the message based purely on the identity of the messager are simply revealing the depth of your own inherent prejudices.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:23 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


But his book on creationism is apparently chock-full of CITATIONS and RESEARCH, just like his WEBSITE. It would seem a good indication that he is not entirely credible with citations and research.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:26 PM on February 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


interesting facts.

You keep using those words but I'm not quite sure you know what they actually mean.
posted by Talez at 1:27 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm really surprised by all the ad hominem attacks going on here

I'm not seeing any of this in the MeTa. The challenge is that you didn't research your FPP properly. The author's standpoint on creationism has bearing in that it belongs to a standpoint that is typically poorly researched and shall we say, economical with facts.
posted by arcticseal at 1:27 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


What I can't understand is why anybody expects me to defend the author's published work about creationism, when it is completely irrelevant to the website.

If I say it's true that one eye, one horned flying purple people eaters live among us and then turn around and say I'm writing an unbias website with just facts, there's no rational reason why people should believe that I'm being utterly factual.

If you can't understand that, I strongly suggestion you refrain from posting material like the deleted post, as you'll just wind in this same position.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:28 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you published a terrible cookbook I would not consider you a good source for information on the fine wines of Italy. If you publish a book showing that you have a certain bias and unwillingness to look at scientific facts if they don't agree with your beliefs, I would not want to use you as a source on anything that required research and understanding what you read.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:30 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


That FPP was so transparently an attempt to get this very MeTa started that I'd like to vote for the deletion of this MeTa as fruit of the poisoned tree.
posted by Etrigan at 1:30 PM on February 4, 2013 [29 favorites]


are simply revealing the depth of your own inherent prejudices.

Yes, it's true; my prejudices against cranks who believe they can prove the Bible with SCIENCE! are practically bottomless. I wouldn't trust them to tell me the correct time.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:31 PM on February 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Someone who claims to be the person who should be deputized to tell me "just the facts" when there is a huge internet out there where I can try to ferret out facts on my own, should have some sort of reason why their own filtering of "the facts" is any more worthwhile than mine or anyone else's that I trust. If the only reason I'm supposed to trust them is because of some sort of allegation that I only believe "my own side" I would tend to argue that I'm a librarian and my side is, actually, facts. Unlike this guy.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:31 PM on February 4, 2013 [33 favorites]


If I published a terrible cookbook (for example), it would be pretty stupid to argue that said cookbook reduced my credibility with regards to my research on economics

Actually, it would be perfectly reasonable to make that argument if your cookbook was shown to be terrible based on crap research. That would suggest to the discerning reader that your research into economics should also, at an absolute minimum, not be taken at face value.

Especially given that recipes are far more easily researched than economic theory. If you can't even manage to publish a decent cookbook, I'm sure as heckfire not taking your word for how to fully bake a fact.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:37 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


From wikipedia:
Ad hominem arguments work via the halo effect, a human cognitive bias in which the perception of one trait is influenced by the perception of an unrelated trait, e.g. treating an attractive person as more intelligent or more honest. People tend to see others as tending to all good or tending to all bad. Thus, if you can attribute a bad trait to your opponent, others will tend to doubt the quality of their arguments, even if the bad trait is irrelevant to the arguments.

In this case, the author's past publications relating to creationism are the bad trait you are attributing. If you have a problem with the facts in the website I linked to, fine - attack the facts themselves. That would certainly be a fair criticism. But nobody in this thread has done that - all these attacks are attacks against the author's credibility based on his past publications. That's the very definition of Ad Hominem, and criticizing me on that basis is unfair.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:37 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


attack the facts themselves.

Several people have already pointed out how a lot of his data is cherry-picked. And, for like the 85th time, it's not ad hominem to say 'This guy has a history of distorting information to meet his own agenda, I do not trust the information he is currently presenting.'
posted by shakespeherian at 1:39 PM on February 4, 2013 [17 favorites]


Are you surprised at my tears, sir? Straw men also cry... straw men also cry.

-A. H. Eominem
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:44 PM on February 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


But nobody so far has done that - all these attacks are directed towards the author based on his past publications. That's the very definition of Ad Hominem, and criticizing me on that basis is unfair.

You said you researched him and found him to be on the up and up. Yet you knew of his book, public affliction with the conservative party and choose to to not mention any of.

That marks you as a terrible researcher with huge blind spots and are not to be trusted at all on any citation of facts. In fact, if you champion any particular, ideology or website, it's immediately suspect, because of your poor citations here and inability to understand why they are poor.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:44 PM on February 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


> Especially given that recipes are far more easily researched than economic theory

I studied economics in college, yet went on to factcheck recipes. This thread is the first time my professional trajectory has ever made sense.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:45 PM on February 4, 2013 [23 favorites]


From your own Wikipedia citation:

...perception of one trait is influenced by the perception of an unrelated trait...

It would be ad hominem to say "This guy has a funny nose, and I don't like people with funny noses, so he must be wrong".

It would be ad hominem to say "This guy once tipped less than 8% and ergo he is a terrible person, so he must be wrong".

It is, fortunately, not ad hominem to say "This guy has in the past shown an utter disregard for all principles of scientific inquiry and research, so I have no interest in perusing other 'research-based' works of his that claim to be The Only Truth That Everyone Else Magically Overlooked". Believe it or not, "past research about science" is indeed related to "current research about [economic and political] science".
posted by Phire at 1:46 PM on February 4, 2013 [13 favorites]


And, for like the 85th time, it's not ad hominem to say 'This guy has a history of distorting information to meet his own agenda, I do not trust the information he is currently presenting.'

Actually no, you're wrong - that is a specific type of Ad Hominem attack called "abusive ad hominem."

From Wikipedia:
Abusive ad hominem (also called "personal abuse" or "personal attacks") usually involves attacking the claims of an opponent trying to invalidate their arguments, but can also involve pointing out true character flaws or actions irrelevant to the opponent's argument. Equating someone's character with the soundness of their argument is a logical fallacy.

So yes, he's distorted information in the past (no arguments there!), but suggesting that all his other work is forever tainted by association is Abusive Ad Hominem.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:46 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Will you discredit people's data... because you saw them kick a kitten once?

Anyone who kicks a kitten is an asshole, everything else they ever do is totally worthless. All I can think about right now is kitten-kickers, and I'm seeing red. I want to throw them down the stairs. Furthermore, using kitten-kicking as a rhetorical flourish is pretty fucking low. I'm unhappy with this sort of thing.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:46 PM on February 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


If you have a problem with the facts in the website I linked to, fine - attack the facts themselves. That would certainly be a fair criticism. But nobody in this thread has done that

Several people including myself have done exactly that. The fact that you pointedly refuse to address it does not mean it does not exist.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:47 PM on February 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


How is distorting research in the past irrelevant to current presentation of research?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:48 PM on February 4, 2013 [13 favorites]


Distorting information in the past is not a character flaw or action irrelevant to the opponent's argument. It's a logical and procedural failure directly relevant to their arguments going forward.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:50 PM on February 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Ugh, you know what? We're going in circles. Just forget it; I'm done with this thread. (Although you're all free to overanalyze at length, as I'm sure you will.)
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:51 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


You can't fire me, etc.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:53 PM on February 4, 2013 [16 favorites]


wolfdreams01: "But nobody in this thread has done that - all these attacks are attacks against the author's credibility based on his past publications. That's the very definition of Ad Hominem"

I'm not sure this is entirely reasonable. The crux of the matter is discernment of the factual. The author has a prior work regarding creationism and a rebuttal of evolution. That prior work would also seem to be engaged in discernment of facts from evidence. If it's reasonable to say that the author drew bad conclusions from evidence cited in prior works, it is reasonable to suspect that he might draw bad conclusions in subsequent arguments.
posted by boo_radley at 1:53 PM on February 4, 2013


Come back! What'll we do wiv all these beans?
posted by Mister_A at 1:53 PM on February 4, 2013


No, you're going in circles.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:53 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


whatever nerds I'm hitting the gym
posted by theodolite at 1:54 PM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


And more on topic - again, I had no familiarity with the author's prior works, his current ineptitude as displayed in the content of the post we're talking about here was enough evidence for me.
posted by Mister_A at 1:54 PM on February 4, 2013


Furthermore, using kitten-kicking as a rhetorical flourish is pretty fucking low. I'm unhappy with this sort of thing.

What about orc kicking?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:54 PM on February 4, 2013


you're all free to overanalyze at length

Pointing out the flaws in your argument is "over" analysis? Seems like exactly the proper amount of analysis for someone purporting to expose truths. In fact, that's pretty much the basis of the scientific method. By which we learn whether to promote claims to facts.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:56 PM on February 4, 2013 [15 favorites]


Orcish babies are brought up with tales of the cruel iniquities of humans, which are used as blandishments to get them to eat their human eyeball stew. So leave off the orcs mate!
posted by Mister_A at 1:56 PM on February 4, 2013




wolfdreams01: "From Wikipedia:
Abusive ad hominem (also called "personal abuse" or "personal attacks") usually involves attacking the claims of an opponent trying to invalidate their arguments, but can also involve pointing out true character flaws or actions irrelevant to the opponent's argument. Equating someone's character with the soundness of their argument is a logical fallacy.

So yes, he's distorted information in the past (no arguments there!), but suggesting that all his other work is forever tainted by association is Abusive Ad Hominem.
"

An abusive ad hominem in this case would be, ex, "Jerry is a Catholic, therefore I can't trust him to give me a good exercise routine". Jerry's religion is apart from his routine.

In this case, the prior work is exactly relevant to his argument, viz. that he is reliable in discernment.
posted by boo_radley at 1:56 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


What about orc kicking?

Yes, of course. All the more so.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:56 PM on February 4, 2013


Richard Feynman used to strangle a guinea pig every morning. That poor guinea pig!
posted by Mister_A at 1:59 PM on February 4, 2013


Yes, of course. All the more so.

DWARF LOVER
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:00 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Disngenuousness.
posted by dirtdirt at 2:01 PM on February 4, 2013


Oh, well hell. Good luck with your, whatever, situation, I guess.
posted by boo_radley at 2:02 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Tune in very soon for another installment.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:19 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


> ... two other domains: webkey.com and smartdevice.com

Oh bloody hell ... webkeys are the most repugnant and wasteful things ever. They're freebie USB things given out at conferences. They look like USB memory sticks, but they're actually a keyboard emulator that pretends you've typed "Open Internet Explorer" + "Go to this address". Anything even peripherally (see what I did there?) related to these things we should kill with fire. Ack.
posted by scruss at 2:22 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


My boss is convinced that this one vendor is the ONLY VENDOR that is allowed to produce webkeys in our industry. When I produced counter-examples he still clung to the notion. Still don't know why he's so het up about webkeys to begin with.
posted by Mister_A at 2:30 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can we close this up?
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:36 PM on February 4, 2013


In general parlance, we are conservative/libertarian in our viewpoints, but unlike many organizations and media outlets, this does not mean we give preference to facts that coincide with our opinions. Quite the contrary, we are committed to objectivity and will report any fact that meets the criteria below, regardless of the implications.

Just facts, heh.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:37 PM on February 4, 2013


As the OP, I'd say so. But I'm not the vote that counts.
posted by corb at 2:37 PM on February 4, 2013


wolfdreams01, you are half wolf. If I may make a suggestion for your future posting here, perhaps you could make FPPs about baby wolves. Baby things are instant crowd pleasers. Here, I'll get you started.
posted by phunniemee at 2:38 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, wolfdreams01, I think you're ignoring the word "irrelevant" in that definition of "ad hominem." And possibly the word "abusive" right at the beginning.

Plus, the author of that website is making exceedingly broad claims for himself, which in itself going to invite people to broaden their scrutiny.
posted by BibiRose at 2:38 PM on February 4, 2013


corb: "As the OP, I'd say so. But I'm not the vote that counts."

Seconded. Can we take this post upstate? To the farm?
posted by boo_radley at 2:40 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Man, based on the evidence presented here, wolfdreams01, I do not believe you to be the hyperlogical mathematically-oriented person that you claim to be.
posted by KathrynT at 2:41 PM on February 4, 2013 [16 favorites]


Can we close this up?

Yes, we can.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:43 PM on February 4, 2013


A big issue is that it's easy to mislead using "facts" and citations. For instance, you (the generic "you," not any of you lovely people) can fail to provide facts that challenge your favorite interpretation of the data. You can also use citations to make an opinion look less speculative by citing sentences out of context, especially from more handwavey parts of a research article like the intro and conclusion, or by citing information that is correct but that only relates to part of your chain of reasoning. The overall effect is something that achieves the tone, but not the substance of rigor.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:44 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


This seems to have come up several times in the past few weeks, seems worth raising the ad hominem fallacy fallacy:
The mere presence of a personal attack does not indicate ad hominem: the attack must be used for the purpose of undermining the argument, or otherwise the logical fallacy isn't there. It is not a logical fallacy to attack someone; the fallacy comes from assuming that a personal attack is also necessarily an attack on that person's arguments.

Actual instances of argumentum ad hominem are relatively rare. Ironically, the fallacy is most often committed by those who accuse their opponents of ad hominem, since they try to dismiss the opposition not by engaging with their arguments, but by claiming that they resort to personal attacks.
But really anyone who denies dinosaurs starts out at the very bottom of my "bad" list (above, and below cat kickers, really, co-equal with them).
posted by infinite intimation at 2:45 PM on February 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


How about cat kicking dinosaurs?
posted by arcticseal at 2:46 PM on February 4, 2013


If the poster doesn't have more questions and this is going to be just yet another argument with wolfdreams, in absentia or otherwise, then yeah, I don't see a real good reason to keep this going.

And please, everybody, don't let your cats kick dinosaurs.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:47 PM on February 4, 2013 [22 favorites]


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