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Thread: 2 good articles in "Skeptic" magazine

  1. #1
    Regular Member Eeyore's Avatar
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    2 good articles in "Skeptic" magazine

    I had never heard of this organization or its magazine, but I came across it in a B&N the other day. According to their website, "The Skeptics Society is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) scientific and educational organization whose mission is to engage leading experts in investigating the paranormal, fringe science, pseudoscience, and extraordinary claims of all kinds, promote critical thinking, and serve as an educational tool for those seeking a sound scientific viewpoint. Our contributorsóleading scientists, scholars, investigative journalists, historians, professors and teachersóare top experts in their fields. It is our hope that our efforts go a long way in promoting critical thinking and lifelong inquisitiveness in all individuals."

    True to their self-professed mission, these articles appeared balanced and well-researched for the most part, and I was surprised to find the full text online. The online comments are mostly well-reasoned and -supported as well, although there are a few of the usual "everyone knows" fallacies. http://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/...y-hook-effect/

    Similarly, another article in the same issue, http://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/...urder-problem/ focuses primarily on the mental health aspect of violence. I can't say I agree with all the author's proposals (e.g. mandatory annual mental health screenings), but at least he's focusing the debate where it beongs: on the mentally ill, not LACs.

    Bottom line, these look like good sources to point to when debating with ill-informed antis. Enjoy.
    Guns don't kill people. Drivers on cell phones do.

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    Regular Member mobiushky's Avatar
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    I was relatively impressed with him up until he said that limiting magazine capacity is a good way to reduce mass killings while completely ignoring the VA Tech mass killing where 10 round mags were used.

    He also completely ignored the 2A argument that we have the right to defend ourselves not only from crime, but from our own gov. He focused only on the "safety" aspect and how to reduce gun violence. Which is to completely blind yourself to an entire aspect of the debate. He tried really hard, but was not very successful in being "reasoned."

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    In the third paragraph Shermer gives scant credit to Nassim Nicholas Taleb and his The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. For the purposes of OCDO, Taleb denies the efficacy of frequentist statistics for event types that cannot be repeated or under controlled conditions. Taleb in stead advances Bayesian inference. Mass shootings fit a Pareto Distribution much as mass extinction events.

    Shermer is a glib self-promoter, not wrong but not altruistic (follow the money). Believe nothing that one reads or hears without verifying it oneself unless it fits your preexisting world view.

    Here Shermer provides his review of Taleb's Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder. (New York: Random House. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4000-6782-4) http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/13-01-09/

    Shermer does not touch Taleb's professional technical oeuvre http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_31...hl=en_GB&pli=1
    Last edited by Nightmare; 06-26-2013 at 05:56 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobiushky View Post
    I was relatively impressed with him up until he said that limiting magazine capacity is a good way to reduce mass killings while completely ignoring the VA Tech mass killing where 10 round mags were used.

    He also completely ignored the 2A argument that we have the right to defend ourselves not only from crime, but from our own gov. He focused only on the "safety" aspect and how to reduce gun violence. Which is to completely blind yourself to an entire aspect of the debate. He tried really hard, but was not very successful in being "reasoned."
    I don't care if 250 rd mags increase violence or not - its an irrelevant examination. Barring them is a violation of the 2nd amendment..period.

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