Lies, Damn Lies, and Scientific Findings

Lies are not just false statements; they are always social acts—usually acts of aggression.
by T.J. Nelson


L ying is not just making a false statement. It's always a social act: an act of aggression intended to change someone else's behavior. It's been happening since language was invented. Arthur Herman quoted Voltaire, for example, as saying he didn't believe in God himself, but hoped his valet did “so he won't steal my spoons.”

What's changed since then is that we now have political correctness. PC is another form of lying—pretending that everyone is the same when they're obviously not, pretending to be offended when no sane person would be, and so on. It's also a meta-lie: pretending that its purpose is to be polite. Even the government has started doing it; Charles Murray's latest book is really an admonition not to participate.

brain connections
Tangled web

Roger Simon says the proper response to it is what he calls the rotation method, which boils down to cultivating an appreciation for your enemy's unfathomable tears of frustration, as the great Eric Cartman puts it. The philosophy is essentially: stop validating their victimhood.

Example: last week a person of gender at Columbia claimed to be offended by Ovid, causing what might have been the biggest outbreak of mass facepalming in history.

That person's milliaggression was rapidly crushed by experts on classical literature across the Internet. But there's an easier way to tell when someone is denying reality: if they're proven wrong, they come back with an even more extreme viewpoint. The Columbia student, or someone like her, will be back.

When the meretricious mistresses of misandry discovered that their claim of 30% of college women being raped was being received with skepticism, they didn't say “Whoops, we got the decimal point wrong!” They expanded their claim. According to a report on Medical News Today, citing an article in Journal of Adolescent Health, the latest research now shows that the percentage of Brown University students who get raped or attemptedly raped in their first year of college is 15.3%.

If true, this would be a national catastrophe: if the statistic remained constant, it would mean that nearly half of college females are victims of rape or attempted rape over their four-year stay. A significant percentage would be victims two or three times over. (It's obligatory at this point to say that rape is indeed a terrible thing, we need accurate statistics on it, and the authors of this study undoubtedly were well intentioned.) Rape statistics
Number of rapes + attempted rapes per person, assuming 15.3% per year

However, the statistic here is compromised by the word ‘attempted’, which is a subjective judgment by the interviewee of the other person's intention. The real number, whatever it is, is apparently not scary enough to require immediate action, which is what the milliaggressors want. If history repeats, attempted rape will be considered equivalent to rape itself, and skeptics will once again be called ‘deniers’ to intimidate them into acquiescence.

It follows a now-familiar five-stage pattern:

  1. The statistic is based on a redefinition or equivocation of some commonly used term.
  2. The claim is such that if true, urgent action is needed to stop it. Since the true motivation for the claim is to elicit the action, the advocates feel justified in inflating the statistic.
  3. Overstating their case creates skeptics, who challenge the credibility of the claims.
  4. When challenged, the advocates do not re-evaluate the claim but repeat it with a bigger number, and attempt to marginalize the skeptics.
  5. Arguments about the credibility of the statistic follow political lines, and it degenerates into a lifestyle issue.

When Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream started giving us lectures about climate science*, you know it's reached Stage 5—something rich, privileged people use to trick the rest of us into believing, while they continue their extravagant lifestyle. They're trying to keep us from stealing their spoons.

Lies aren't cheap. One day you go along with white lies to be polite. Or you keep quiet, hoping someone else will discredit them. Next thing you know you have a president who actually believes them and your civilization is crumbling around you.

* h/t D. Allison

See also:

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