You Are Doing Skepticism Wrong @NRA @Obamaskeet @Obamashoots @Obamascores

President Obama, who is all scared of guns.

Of course when the President said that he enjoyed shooting skeet at Camp David, the reaction was predictably stupid. Irrational hatred of the President has led to such knee-jerkism as this National Review post arguing that Obama is wrong, Wrong, WRONG! about the ‘senselessness’ of Nazism. It’s breathtaking while being dully stupid, which is not a good kind of achievement.

Still, it’s not as terrible an achievement compared to the people who believe that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was a hoax as they have managed to actually lower the bar below the behavior of the Westboro Baptist Church without having to actually become literal necro-pedophiles. Yet they get so close to it that they have found a new degree of depravity in which to wallow, an undiscovered country of filth to fling at the memories of murdered children, with untold acres of sinful whispers and satanic thoughts to entertain the imaginations of these explorers of the darkest abysses of the soul. It’s definitely not the good kind of achievement.

Skepticism is not contrariness, open-mindedness is not a rejection of fact, and in fact, rejection of fact is the first clue that you are wrong, Wrong, WRONG! Learning that is a good achievement.

4 Responses to “You Are Doing Skepticism Wrong @NRA @Obamaskeet @Obamashoots @Obamascores”

  1. Anyone (with a cool head) can see that an awful lot of false and misleading information was deliberately put about on the net regarding Sandy Hook in order to encourage certain ‘conspiracy theories’…. only to then debunk them spectacularly.

    The most dangerous thing for any ruling class is when the mainstream population starts to listen seriously to a growing number of people who are questioning their rulers (and yes, engaging in a bit of conspiracy theorising, too…). This is especially dangerous to the ruling classes if that population is also armed.

    Let’s not foget the most dangerous and destructive and vile conspiracy theory of recent times was the conspiracy theory about Saddam Hussein conspiring with his military to manufacture WMD’s. This conspiracy theory, as we all know, turned out to be a lie. And a million people are dead as a result of it. Thousands are wounded and mentally scarred. The economy is reeling as a result of it. And rather a lot of ‘military indiustrial’ companies made an absolute killing on the back of it.

    Just saying.

    Sandy Hook seems to have had three main effects

    1. It has traumatised the nation (again). Mass trauma is well known to decrease a population’s ability to think critically and keep a level head. Trauma makes people suggestible. Trauma also increases our feeling of helplessness which gives rise to a tendency to look for ‘leaders’ for help

    2. It has increased the justification for state forced gun confiscation (at least in some people’s minds anyway)

    3. It has helped to demonise so called ‘conspiracy theorists’ who for the most part (and for all their flaws) just want to know the truth. In fact it has divided the population into ‘waring factions’ with everyone at each other’s throats and full of emotion and often hatred.

    FWIW I do not pretend to have any idea what happened at Sandy Hook, I’m not on any ‘side’. I’m just observing the wider social knowck-on effects, that’s all.

    Here’s a excellent antidote to all the anger and resentment flying about…… it’s a video going through the actual statistics of gun violence in the US… it’s a revelation, and a good reminder to stay calm and rational in spite of all the charged feelings flying about the place 🙂


    • To “Abandon TV”

      I wholeheartedly agree with your call to calm and rational discussion. But I question much of what you write. I question some of your conclusions and other bits I simply disagree with. So in the spirit of calm and rational discussion I offer what follows.

      Your first sentence begs for clarification. When you say false and misleading information was “deliberately” put on the ‘net, I wonder what “information” you think was put there and how you are certain that it was done deliberately. Also, to what end?

      I agree wholeheartedly with the second and third paragraphs where you discuss the ruling class’ reaction to an informed populace. I also agree that the WMDs in Irag shenanigans were one of the great and tragic con jobs in History.

      But I wonder what point you are trying to make. You say later in your piece that you are not on any ‘side’. That you are “… just observing the wider social knowck-on (sic) effects, that’s all.”. But this statement seems disingenuous at best. However, I acknowledge that you may in fact not be on a “side”. If not, I apologize for doubting your veracity.. In either event, permit me to address the conspiracy theory. Even if one accepts the outrageous premise that Sandy Hook was a set-up, the results are far from clear. I don’t have the statistics in front of me, but the NYT ran an article yesterday (I think it was in their Sunday Magazine.) describing the leap in sales of military style semi-automatic rifles. In particular the AR-15, which I’m sure you know is the rifle that was used at Sandy Hook. Anecdotal evidence supports this article. I live near to a very large firearms store and shooting range. I drive by it several times a week and on almost every Saturday morning. They have had to increase the size of their parking lot. By my guess, there are 3 times as many cars in their lot at any given time than before the shooting in Newton. So, at least in the short term, firearms manufacturers and firearm related PACs like the NRA are reaping rewards from the reaction to the shootings in Newton.

      Much has been written about the governmental reaction to Sandy Hook so I won’t repeat it here. Obviously, some think it was created as an excuse to limit our access to firearms. But, it does seem that if Sandy Hook were a set-up, both sides of the “gun argument” would gain; to think otherwise is naïve and ignores reality. Also, just a simple thought about all that would have to go into such a production. It is pretty easy to summon a WMD site out of the vastness of the Iraqi desert. But thinking that situation like Newtown or Aurora Colorado, or any of the other shootings across the country was orchestrated or was a performance of some sort is simply not rational. For anyone with questions about what happened at Sandy Hook and in the immediate aftermath, I would suggest the generous application of Ockham’s Razor. Indeed, the simplest solution is usually the correct one.

      So, you say you aren’t taking sides and I’ll take you at your word. Thank you for indulging my intellectual exercise and my meager attempt to respond to the conspiracy theories. (Seriously, I’m not being pedantic or overly modest, I mean it.)

      Now, on to your three effects of Sandy Hook:
      1. Indeed, it has traumatized the nation. I agree that this causes heightened emotions within a populace and yes, it causes folks to look outside themselves for guidance. But when you say “leaders” who do you mean? Certainly many think more highly of Wayne LaPierre of the NRA than they do of President Obama. It seems to me that you are only talking about the government; probably because of your second item.

      2. I agree that some people are more interested in gun control now than before. However, it isn’t like Sandy Hook created the issue. Many people, religious leaders, candidates for many different offices have had gun control on their minds long before. I think Sandy Hook just sent us to critical mass. So, I agree with you in part, but I think you are over simplifying things and ignoring important facts.

      3. Item number three is the one that I disagree with most strongly. In fact, it is the response that moved me to write this response. To think that all “‘conspiracy theorists’ simply want to know the truth” is again, either disingenuous, naïve or a dangerous combination of both. Many of the zealots on BOTH sides of this argument are simply making things up out of whole cloth in order to support their arguments. They seem to think “Facts be damned, what is important is being right and getting what we want.” To my mind, it seems like vast majority of the fabrications and outright lies are coming from those who want absolute freedom to bear arms.

      As for your video; If one decides to watch it, I would encourage them to try as I did to count and identify the logical fallacies in his arguments. I very quickly lost count and his “blame the victim” attitude and thinly veiled racism quickly made me ill.

      A few days ago, the President made a wonderful statement about this issue, In it, he chastised those of us who favour gun control as well as those who oppose it. And I think his comments are the perfect coda for our discussion. (and coincidently echo my opinions as well as increasing my respect for and appreciation of our President.)

      In an interview with The New Republic, he said:

      “Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas. And if you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were ten, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family’s traditions, you can see why you’d be pretty protective of that.
      So it’s trying to bridge those gaps that I think is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months. And that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes.”

      I pray we all start listening, or more tragedy will certainly follow.

  2. Jeez, took me an hour to write that. I need a hobby!


  3. Kenny
    Thank you for that. I’m busy at the Clown Factory this week.

    ‘Abandon TV’-
    I think you should read Kenny’s words closely and with an open mind. He is a very wise man who can be trusted.

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