What the best dressed Libertarian should be wearing this season.
Boatang and Demetriou visit some odd places. They have been to the blog of a software developer who knows as much about climate change as do any of those paid to study it by other climate changers (but who could probably write an actually functioning model) and who displays definite signs of Righteousness. Most of the blog is about software and I'm not going to comment on that because I know nothing about it. I also won't comment on the irony of someone involved in computer game development wondering why people are becoming obese because that is such an open goal. There's no challenge.
It's not a blog I'll visit often. Not for any malicious reason, but because software development is not what I do. Science is what I do and it's evidently not what he does.
Hence his experiment here, which follows the protocol:
1. I don't like libertarianism.
2. I will take the last five posts from the top 20 blogs to give me a sample size of 100 and read them.
3. I don't like them. I was right. QED.
From a scientific point of view, here are the problems.
1. This is neither a hypothesis nor a null hypothesis. The conclusion was determined before the start of the experiment. Nothing anyone wrote on any blog labelled 'Libertarian' would ever sway this guy. hence the experiment was pointless.
2. The sample size is not 100. The dataset consists of five samples each from twenty entirely separate subjects. Those samples were not selected at random but were the five most recent on each blog. Hence his surprise at finding Copenhagen and climate change is the most popular subject over the last five posts, and his amazement that libertarians aren't all bowing to the Green God.
3. See 1.
The lists of top 20 blogs of every type, every political persuasion, are subjective. They are voted on and then compiled. Some opted out. Taking the last five posts from the top 20 of such a list is like going to twenty neighbour's houses, taking the first five books you find and then basing a generalised view of all those neighbours on your analysis of those books. The twenty neighbours are individuals. The twenty bloggers are too.
And yet our Green God acolyte derives the following conclusion from his experiment:
But the posts I've seen were just so bad that of 100 I've checked I cannot point a single one that had any new insights or was interesting in any way. Few even pass basic sanity tests - not just by being contrarian - contrarian posts are much more interesting to read than ones that repeat the conventional wisdom - but by simply not having any idea what they write about.
You know, if I were to go and find twenty blogs on something i'm not at all interested in, or something I strongly disagreed with, and read the last five posts on each, I'd probably fail to find anything interesting either. It's so very likely, in fact, that there's no point in putting myself through the pain of reading all about dog hair removal or anchovy filleting or badger rotation or any other such thing. I don't visit ASH's website because I know I'm not welcome there and they aren't likely to say anything I'm ever going to agree with. An analysis of the last five posts on the ASH website would be entirely pointless because everyone -smoker and non-smoker - knows what those posts will be about and what they plan to do.
So, TAW took the top 20 libertarian blogs, found they are libertarian in nature, and since he already thinks libertarians are loons because they don't agree with him, he can declare them loons because he already knew that and just wanted to find something to point at and shriek 'See! See! They think differently to me! That proves they are insane'.
Believe whatever you like, TAW. Libertarianism allows that, in fact encourages it. Libertarians will not force you to think like them, act like them, eat like them, live like them. No libertarian blogger has, to my knowledge, declared their BMI as a qualification to talk about diet. When we do talk about diet, it's along the lines of 'if you want to get fat or be thin, your choice. Don't bother us with excuses, just get on and live how you want'.
Insane? Sure, if you like. If controlling everyone until they are all exactly the same is sanity, I want no part of it. If shouting down everyone who thinks differently is sanity, you can keep it.
If sanity means reacting to the word 'smoking' as if someone had just rammed a lit stick of dynamite up your backside, pass the straitjacket.
And the cigarettes.
Oh, and if anyone's wondering why I haven't mentioned whisky, it's because tonight I have been mostly drinking Napoleon brandy. Appropriate, as it turned out.