How to always be right- By Godless Teen

December 5, 2012 in General, Politics, School

Today I’m in something of an annoyed mood. No, I haven’t gotten a reply from AiG (I don’t expect to, either). I found myself starting off the morning dealing with a troll over on JT’s blog, by the name of “Uncle Bobolink”. To be quite frank, he was a real pain (fortunately, he got a nice dosage of humiliation served to him later). I then headed off to school, where I spent most of the day either bored to death, extremely tired (I did a 16-page, 159-problem packet as review for my math finals last night. That was fun), or pissed off. Pissed off, for the most part, because of multiple political discussions that took place throughout the day. Starting in my engineering class, I had to spend a whole hour and a half listening to some kid rattle on about how Obama supposedly raised taxes on him and now they’re, like, dirt poor.

… Riiigggghhhhhttt…

And I keep asking him for more details, but he just repeats over and over again that Obama raised taxes on his family and caused them to lose a ton of money. I’m not kidding: I’ll ask him by how much his taxes increased, how he knew Obama was to blame, what he thinks tax rates are right now, etc., but he literally just repeats that Obama raised taxes on his family.

This bugs the hell out of me.

Fast forwarding through the day, I spent another hour and a half engaged in a class discussion about gun politics. Where I live, most people heavily support much less restrictive gun laws. In other words: I spent an hour and a half listening to ten or so kids endlessly rattling on and on about how people should be allowed to own more guns, blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah… You get the idea.

I’m pretty sure my IQ would’ve fallen off a cliff had I not been trying to sleep the whole clas period.

Neither of those things, however, annoyed me too much; they were minor, short-term nuisances, for the most part. But what did annoy me, and continues to annoy me, happened during lunch today.

So, I’m sitting across the table from two of my closest friends. I know they’re Republicans, so I decide to have a little bit of fun with them, and showed them this. To be fair, I was the one who started this conversation. I’ll basically paraphrase it below, and name my friends *Ritchie and *Megan to protect their identities.

Me: “Do you know what ACORN is?”

*Ritchie: “Um… No.”

Me: “Oh, ok.” (shows him article) “What do you think of this?”

*Ritchie: “Oh… I’m sorry, but I highly doubt that this is true. I bet if you searched the Internet, you could find 20 sources saying that this is true and saying that this isn’t true.”*

Me: “This isn’t the only source it’s been confirmed by…”

*Ritchie: “I haven’t even heard of this organization before, so it probably never existed.“**

* I typed in the keywords “republicans ACORN 2012 election”, and went through the first six pages of all of the results that I received. Unless I got something wrong, none (read as not one, none, zero, 0) denied the statisticians’ claims as well as the accuracy of the study. Not only that, but just because some sources believe that the statisticians’ claims are wrong, does not render that true. I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t see any sources within the first six pages of results deny that claim, then there aren’t any such reliable sources.

**This is just a flat-out lie. First of all, not hearing of something beforehand does not mean it doesn’t exist. Not knowing whether or not it exists does not mean it exists. Ignorance is not an excuse for nonexistence. But either way, it did exist, and that’s just the plain truth. There’s nothing more to it.

I decided to run a little test. I went straight to the Washington Post, and found the first political, statistical-claim-making article that I could find. The article basically stated that a poll found that blame would fall heaviest on Republicans if we fell off the fiscal cliff. This is how my next exchange went:

Me: “Here’s an article. It’s titled ‘Poll: Fiscal cliff blame would fall heaviest on Democrats’ . It comes from the Washington Post. Do you think it’s accurate?”

*Ritchie: “Yeah, that sounds about right.”*

*Megan: (agrees)

Me: “Ok, actually, that’s a lie. The article is actually titled ‘Poll: Fiscal cliff blame would fall heaviest on GOP’.”

*So much for “OH YOU CAN FIND LIEK 20 SOURZES CONFORMING OR DNYING THIS FACT”

At this point, my friend ended up babbling off some useless rant.

If you didn’t understand the point of my experiment, here it was: I wanted to see how heavily my friends’ bias towards Republicans actually affected his blaming Democrats. Simply by changing the word “GOP” to “Democrat”, the article went from totally unreliable to completely trustworthy. Yet, once I told him that the wording was that the blame would fall on the GOP most heavily, its trustworthiness suddenly jumped to zero.

In conclusion: my friend has a bias that can only be confirmed, rather than contradicted, by evidence.

He’s willing to blame a hell of a lot on Democrats. He’s willing to blame me of lying if it contradicts his viewpoints. It’s an unfalsifiable hypothesis: the only acceptable data is the data that supports it.

And I absolutely despise that.

I’m not sure what kind of friend accuses you of lying whenever you bring up data that makes Republicans look not-so-squeaky-clean-and-perfect any more, but, in my honest opinion: that was a pretty unfriendly move.

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