October 7th, 2017

Gun control changer

Leah Libresco, who used to write for the statistics site FiveThirtyEight (headed by Nate Silver), describes how the more she studied—in the mathematical, statistical sense—about gun-inflicted deaths and gun control, the more she changed her mind on the subject:

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.

Libresco was brave to write her article. Gun control is one of the topics that rouses the most emotion of all, and that’s saying something. As a left-to-righter, I have become convinced (as Libresco has) that the statistics don’t generally support more gun control, although I wouldn’t oppose a few tweaks such as banning bump stocks.

Because Libresco is one of the somewhat small group of people who change their minds when encountering facts that contradict their previously-held opinions, I became curious about her. I discovered when I did a little research that this is not her first change experience. She’s written a book on her conversion from atheist to Catholic. That’s different of course, because she didn’t base it on the numbers—although in a strange way she did. This is one highly mathematical person. Here she talks about her experience:

42 Responses to “Gun control changer”

  1. Mac Says:

    I’ve run across her before. An interesting person. It’s pretty common for a conversion to Catholicism to be accompanied by a left-to-right political movement (it was with me and a number of people I know). There are a lot of reasons for that, but one factor I think is the functionally religious nature of contemporary liberalism. If you change your religion, you are necessarily more skeptical of your previous one.

  2. Dave Says:

    I am not a gun gun owner, and i ve never touched a gun ever. I just find the whole argument that because the government fails to protect its people by keeping guns from the wrong people, they have to punish the law abiding responsible gun owners too by taking away their rights to protect their families for the atrocities committed by a few. It makes no sense to me, it is as ridiculous as banning Quran just because a few terrorists were radicalised from reading it. There is no logic in banning something that is entirely legal just because some evil doers have abused it.

  3. Dave Says:

    We are going to take away your rights to protect you. Why not ban the dangerous abortion operations to protect babies and mothers, why not ban marbles to protect children from choking, why not ban swimming pools to protect children from drowning, no legal objects have ever be banned because of the potential causalities might be resulted by the objects being misused, why are guns different? why is this persistent effort to try to take guns away from people when there are millions things in the world that have caused way more death than guns are being ignored by the liberals?

  4. parker Says:

    People who believe a world without firearms will bring about a safe society never think rationally about this issue. They are willing to trade away freedom in the name of safety. Many of these same people whine that the evil right wants a police state, and they want the only people who should be armed are the agents of the state which in America is the best way achieve a police state.

    A certain minority commits a very large percentage of homicides every year. This has been true for decades. And these same people do not go through the legal process to possess their weapons. Address that problem and we will see a drastic reduction in per capita homicides

  5. TommyJay Says:

    What’s even more impressive is that she wasn’t even looking at the most relevant data.

    If one looks only at gun deaths, then you will miss all the data connected to non-fatal gun injuries, plus the mountain of data with non-injury discharges and stoppage of crime without a discharge. Plus, usually such gun-death analyses treat all deaths as being equally bad. A home invader killing a resident is not the same as a resident killing an invader. Just scratching the surface here.

  6. Gringo Says:

    A certain minority commits a very large percentage of homicides every year. This has been true for decades. And these same people do not go through the legal process to possess their weapons.
    Coincidentally, 538.com has an article that addresses that issue, though in terms of victims.Black Americans Are Killed At 12 Times The Rate Of People In Other Developed Countries.

    According to the CDC’s WONDER database, 5.2 out of every 100,000 Americans were homicide victims, on average, from 2010 to 2012. That’s not especially high by global standards; the median country had 4.7 homicide deaths per 100,000 persons over the same period,1 according to the UNODC data. The highest homicide rate in the world was in Honduras, with 87.9 homicide deaths per 100,000 persons.But the homicide death rate in the U.S. — as Obama intimated — is more unusual in comparison with other highly developed countries…
    Whether the U.S.’s homicide rate qualifies as an outlier depends on exactly where you set the cutoff for an “advanced” country. Among countries with an HDI of .850 or higher — these are the 31 most well-off countries in the world — the U.S.’s rate of homicide deaths, 5.2 per 100,000 persons, is easily the highest. The next-highest are Brunei (2.0), Finland (2.0) and Israel (1.9). And the U.S. homicide death rate is more than three times higher than neighboring Canada (1.5).

    Extending on an analysis by the academic Kieran Healy, I calculated the rate of U.S. homicide deaths by racial group, based on the CDC WONDER data.3 From 2010 through 2012, the annual rate of homicide deaths among non-Hispanic white Americans was 2.5 per 100,000 persons, meaning that about one in every 40,000 white Americans is a homicide victim each year. By comparison, the rate of homicide deaths among non-Hispanic black Americans is 19.4 per 100,000 persons, or about 1 in 5,000 people per year.

    Black Americans are almost eight times as likely as white ones to be homicide victims, in other words.

    So for white Americans, the homicide death rate is not so much of an outlier. It’s only modestly higher than in Finland, Belgium or Greece, for instance, and lower than in Chile or Latvia.

    Not only are blacks the prime homicide victims, they are the prime homicide offenders.

  7. T Says:

    In 2012, the most recent year for which I have statistics (from the Dept. of Justice), there were 28,000 gun-related deaths. Of those 19,000 (67%) were suicides; furthermore, most gun related deaths do NOT involve rifles (long guns) of any kind).

    Now assuming that the bandied-about number of 300 million guns in public possession is correct, that makes gun homicides for 2012 (28,000 / 300,000,000 = .0000093) or .093 deaths per 1,000 (i.e., 9.3 gun deaths per 100,000; 3 deaths per 100,000 if suicides are excluded)). These are the kind of statistics which confronted Libresco and it is to her credit that she neither shied away from them, nor dismissed them because they didn’t fit the narrative.

    Furthermore, as Tommy Jay indicates above (@ 4:22 pm): “. . . usually such gun-death analyses treat all deaths as being equally bad. A home invader killing a resident is not the same as a resident killing an invader.”

  8. DNW Says:

    Her remarks about Alasdair Macintyre are interesting. Aristotelian virtue ethics are the most rational form of non-arbitrary ethical theory.

    But, the rub is that immanent teleology eventually provokes the questions she posed about deeper or ultimate teleology … and even Aristotle arrived at some conception of “God”.

    The fact that she is a mathematical Plationist by disposition, instead of a dogmatic conventionalist, makes her move possible.

    Most ardent atheists see this danger in admitting mathematical realism, and strive to avoid it at all costs.

  9. DNW Says:

    Libresco, recounting he conversation with a priest …

    “Catholicism, I think it’s rather like a giant sphere where I’m not sure I live on it … but I agree that it works as a system unto itself”

    By this of course she could mean something merely analogous to someone who notes that the form of an argument is valid and that the conclusion follows from the premisses by the rules of inference … but she is not sure the premisses are sound.

    Or she , having read Lewis’ Mere Christianity as she explicitly mentioned, might also have had in mind his reference to Abbott and The Flatlanders.

    There, he attempted to describe how the justificatory morality of man in this world, limited as it is by perspective boundaries we cannot pass or even approach except by careful and exhaustive speculative inference [a la Aristotle or Plato], is a morality transcended by a lawgiver whose view extends through many more coordinates of time and space, than does ours.

    Flatland: “this poor ignorant Monarch…was persuaded that the Straight Line which he called his Kingdom, and in which he passed his existence, constituted the whole of the world…he had no conception of anything out of it….Outside his World…, all was non-existent ..”

  10. DNW Says:

    Have a nice weekend … what is left of it.

  11. Romey Says:

    Gun Control is not now, or ever has been about guns, Its about control. The same people who want to regulate firearms, want to regulate everything. Plastic bags, housing codes, CAFE mileage standards for vehicles, CO2 output. If you let them they would send all the cows to Midas for catalytic converters.

    Also the folly of trying to control something that exists in the hundred of millions is just silly. The Left says you can’t find and deport 11-15 million illegal aliens, but confiscating upwards of 300 million guns is possible. Molon Labe

  12. Ymar Sakar Says:

    One of the things the Missouri pro slave lords did was to disarm the abolitionist camp, and then kill them off or drive them off the land to get rid of them.

    It is pretty standard fare for neo fascists or totalitarian wannabes.

  13. Ymar Sakar Says:

    There is no logic in banning something that is entirely legal just because some evil doers have abused it.

    I think it is very logical. The more pretexts there are in the law for bans, the more federal agencies like the ATF are strengthened. The more ATF is strengthened, the more people they can execute without the public catching on.

  14. FunkyPhD Says:

    What a thoroughly delightful young woman. Intelligent and courageous: a rare combination. Thank you, neo, for sharing that.

  15. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Dennis Prager has cited the finest mathematical proof I’ve yet read of the existence of a creative intelligence;

    “Undeniable evidence in support of Intelligent Design:
    The current scientific consensus is that, “at the very least, the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned to allow for the possibility of life.

    It appears that we live in a “Goldilocks Universe,” in which both the arrangement of matter at the cosmic beginning and the values of various physical parameterssuch as the speed of light, the strength of gravitational attraction and the expansion rate of the universe – are just right.

    And unless one is frightened of the term, it also appears the universe is ‘designed’ for bio-genesis and human life.”

    “The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side.” Michael Turner, astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and Fermilab

    “The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge and would be total chaos if any of the natural ‘constants’ were off even slightly.” Paul Davies, professor of theoretical physics at Adelaide University

    Roger Penrose, the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, writes that the likelihood of the universe having usable energy (low entropy) at its creation is “one part out of ten to the power of ten to the power of 123.” That is “a million, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, zeros.”

    Steven Weinberg, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, and an anti-religious agnostic, notes that “the existence of life of any kind seems to require a cancellation between different contributions to the vacuum energy, accurate to about 120 decimal places.

    This means that if the energies of the Big Bang were, in arbitrary units, NOT:

    0000000000000001… there would be NO life of ANY sort in the ENTIRE universe.”

  16. John F. MacMichael Says:

    There is an interesting historical example of successful attempt at gun control recounted in the late Noel Perrin’s book “Giving up the Gun: Japan’s Reversion to the Sword 1543-1879” (1979).

    To give a necessarily oversimplified summary of Perrin book: Japan was introduced to firearms by Western traders (Portuguese and Dutch primarily). Japan then being in state of widespread civil war these new weapons were quickly adopted by the contending warlords. They imported them on a large scale and, in a familiar sounding process, learned how to make them, began manufacturing them in quantity and improved the design.

    When Japan was unified under the rule of the Tokugawa Shoguns one of the first national projects the new rulers undertook was the conquest of Korea. This proved ultimately abortive but while it was going on, firearms continued to be in high demand. Perrin quotes letters from Japanese commanders in Korea asking that more guns be sent as quickly as possible.

    Then the Shoguns gave up attempting to conquer Korea. They made Japan into a hermit kingdom. Now guns went from offering a key military advantage to posing a potentially deadly threat to the power of the samurai and the daimyo classes. What was the point of spending a lifetime perfecting one’s mastery of the noble Way of the Sword when some crude peasant still stinking of paddy mud could , given a musket and a few weeks training in how to fire it, kill even the most illustrious swordsman?

    So the Shogunate began restricting the making and possession of guns. These policies were, over time, so effective that when Commodore Perry and his contemporaries forced Japan out of its self imposed isolation the only guns left in Japan were relicts of no military significance.

    Now Mr. Perrin (a professor at Dartmouth by the way) saw this as an example of how to control nuclear weapons. As for myself, I think that any plan that begins “Step 1: Establish a world wide despotism.” is a bad plan. Of course, thats just me. I think that there are a lot of people out there who would find that very appealing.

  17. Oldflyer Says:

    Well, you learn something every day. I did not know that suicides comprised such a high percentage of gun deaths. When I went on line to check the facts, I learned something else; i.e. guns account for about half of the suicides. From that I infer that a person who intends to commit suicide will find a way, even if no gun is available. Gun control advocates argue that easy access to guns inflates the the suicide rate. (Of course many suicides would never choose to use a gun–too messy.)

    The stark truth is that, at this moment, statistics are meaningless. After Las Vegas, emotion will drive much of the opinion, and probably the actions as well.

  18. vanderleun Says:

    “Nothing Makes Liberals Angrier Than Us Normals Insisting On Our Rights – Kurt Schlichter When they once again say, “We must have a conversation about guns!” I still couldn’t agree more. And, since all we’ve heard is you leftists shrieking at us all week, I’ll start it off.

    You don’t ever get to disarm us. Not ever.

    There. It sure feels good to engage in a constructive dialogue.”

    Enough of this garble.

    Like the man says: “You don’t ever get to disarm us. Not ever.”

  19. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The Normals are getting quite uppity recently. It’s time for Trum to put them in their place with some PR or Alt Right firepower.

  20. n.n Says:

    Rights and responsibilities.

  21. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:
    October 7th, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    If you want to know more, look up Hugh Ross’ speeches on youtube.

    He’s been talking about it for… decades probably.

    It’s nothing new on the Christian front, at least. Well, christians are now the new muslims though, in terms of counter culture minorities.

    John F. MacMichael Says:
    October 7th, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    What they don’t tell you is that current modern day Japan, and to an extent China, have sword and firearm control acts. China controls and enforces laws via an imperial system, while japan has police boxes every block or so in cities. In farming villages, that would be every few miles.

    So for Westerners to think they could adopt the same laws as Easterners… first they have to look at how Singapore deals with violations of the law, and then implement a police state. Because Easterners have dual layers of law enforcement. THe clan enforces the laws first, not the city or the state or the police. So the police doesn’t have to get into people’s faces, the way Westerners have to do in ghettoes.

  22. Ymar Sakar Says:

    What Westerners know about the East, particularly Japan, can fill a needle point, but that is about it.

    Whenever some socialist or imperialist, tries to use foreign countries like Japan or Sweden, to make a point that Australia or the US should follow these days, it’s a kind of reverse chauvinism.

    How about Switzerland? That’s not as popular an example. It’s all politics, all Master Manipulators, as the term tends to be popular these days.

  23. Tim Turner Says:

    I doubt banning bump stocks would make America significantly safer. I’m not a gun expert, but it looks like a part that could be easily manufactured. Certainly, a rich madman wouldn’t have had much difficulty in getting one, and with the 3D printing industry becoming what it is, so could pretty much anyone else.

  24. AesopFan Says:

    TommyJay Says:
    October 7th, 2017 at 4:22 pm
    .. usually such gun-death analyses treat all deaths as being equally bad. A home invader killing a resident is not the same as a resident killing an invader. Just scratching the surface here.
    * *
    They also class suicides as gun deaths (noted above in a comment); and equate police killing a criminal-in-action* with a criminal killing anyone at all.

    *when it is an actual legitimate use of force, which occurs more frequently than “police gunning down innocent victims” despite the wailing of BLM activists.

    Powerline Blog has a good collection of cartoons on gun issues today.

  25. AesopFan Says:

    Romey Says:
    October 7th, 2017 at 6:45 pm
    Gun Control is not now, or ever has been about guns, Its about control. …

    Also the folly of trying to control something that exists in the hundred of millions is just silly. The Left says you can’t find and deport 11-15 million illegal aliens, but confiscating upwards of 300 million guns is possible. Molon Labe
    * * *
    The consistency that most people would find rational is absent from the universal set of Leftist positions.*




    *E.g., American / Christian & Jewish / white / male cishetero “defend the women and children” patriarchy = bad; pick-a-country / Muslim / brown / male mega-cis-hetero “FGM + burqa + honor killings” patriarchy = good.

  26. AesopFan Says:


    “History shows that an armed citizenry can, in fact, challenge a government it sees as unjust. Another sickening mass shooting, and another dispiriting round of debates about the place of guns in American life. And, just as many of the gun-control measures proposed are not germane to the events people wish to see stopped, neither are many of the arguments about gun rights generally.”


    “A response to the conservative New York Times columnist. ‘I have never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment,” writes Bret Stephens today. And then he proceeds to prove that. His column is not a rigorous one. Indeed, it is barely a column so much as it is a brusque list of ill-considered assertions that do nothing to grapple with the many arguments to their contrary.”


    “Stringent gun control advocates are fond of underestimating the possible importance of owning a gun. For example, a pair of anti-gun activists took to Politico in January to claim that the gun rights community is deluded about the likely number of defensive uses of guns by American citizens. Such defensive uses are known as DGUs (“defensive gun uses”) in the lingo.

    Many in the gun rights community believe that a privately owned gun is used in legitimate self-defense over 2 million times a year in America. This figure arose initially from the survey work done in 1993 by Florida State University criminologists Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz.”

  27. AesopFan Says:

    Guns are not necessary for killing people.
    Insanity and evil are.


    Bath School Massacre Memorial
    A park and memorial dedicated to the victims of the deadliest school massacre in American history.

    School shootings are often perceived as an evil of our current, plugged in, out of touch society, but sadly it has a longer history than many are aware of. In fact, the deadliest school massacre to date took place before semi-auto assault weapons were accessible, or even in existence. With a body count of 58, the 1927 Bath School Massacre remains the largest mass murder in a school in U.S. history.

    While neighbors watched for signs of self harm, Kehoe had quietly stockpiled explosives not only under his home, but under the elementary school as well. On the 18th, unbeknownst to his worried neighbors, Kehoe’s wife had already been murdered, and at 8:45 a.m., the entire community of Bath Township would be floored by the ferocity of his revenge.

    First, the house blew. Various incendiary devices obliterated the farm and several structures within the blast range. Within seconds, another explosion annihilated the north wing of the elementary school, taking the lives of 36 children and two of their teachers. The loss was immediate and horrifying—but Kehoe wasn’t finished.

    For months, Kehoe had been systematically planting dynamite and pyrotol around the school. As rescue workers frantically rigged (sic) through the rubble looking for survivors, he drove up to the school, ignited the literal time bombs under the rescuer’s feet with a timed detonator, and then in a dramatic finale, used a rifle to touch off the dynamite in his shrapnel-filled vehicle. The suicidal blast also killed several bystanders watching the disaster unfold, including the school superintendent.

    When the smoke had cleared and the bodies counted, 58 souls had been taken to the grave with Andrew Kehoe, 38 of them children. During the investigation of what remains the most “successful” attack on a school in US history, searchers discovered that the devastation could have been even more catastrophic—500 lbs. of undetonated explosives were discovered, intended to discharge along with the north wing explosion. Kehoe had attempted to completely obliterate the entire school.

    * * *
    An interesting sub-text running through many of these heinous crimes is the preliminary killing of their own family members, and that the killers intended to do much more damage than they actually accomplished.

    Small consolation, perhaps, to the dead and injured, and their families and communities, but it is still a consolation (and possibly a miracle, although not so overt as in the Cokeville case).


    On May 16, 1986, an elementary school in the tiny town of Cokeville, Wyoming, was held hostage by a married couple with a bomb. The miraculous events that followed transformed the lives of hundreds of people, including many who witnessed angels or received heavenly help from deceased ancestors. These are the true stories behind the hit film The Cokeville Miracle.

  28. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Aesop, remember when Missouri disarmed the Latter Day Saints then tried to exterminate them?

    A pretty interesting mark in pre Civil War 1 era, I thought. Something Americans don’t like to talk about. A “dark chapter”. Amazingly, same people keep lecturing the Japanese that they need to “teach” the real history of WW2.

  29. Frog Says:

    Well, the coming banning of bump stocks, which seems inevitable, based on one misuse, seems about as logical as banning steaks because wolfish eaters choke and die on a too-large piece. The Heimlich maneuver is done many thousands of times a year. So banning bump stocks is equal to doing Heimlichs.
    The evil-doers and the wolfish eaters will both always be with us.

  30. geokstr Says:


    I wasted several years of my retirement debating creationists on-line .Their entire argument boils down to one premise – Goddidit – for which their scientific evidence is zero, as in nada, zip, zilch, none. It’s all about faith, which I do not begrudge them having until they try to do their phony re-branding of YECism (Young Earth Creationism, where the universe is 4-10,000 years old and Adam and Eve had a pet Vegan T Rex) as so-called “Intelligent Design” and force it into the public school science classes as a “scientific” theory just as valid as evolution.

    The Discovery Institute (DI) is its biggest proponent. They’re really YECers (as opposed to New Earth Creationists, who accept the universe as 13 billion years old with God starting it, initiating evolution as a means of creating Man, then tweaking the whole thing as necessary). They had written a White Paper in the 1980s showing what they called “scientific” “proof” the universe was only 10,000 years old. The “proofs” were all wild fantasy, based on zero research, and forced to fit the Old Testament.

    After a series of humiliating court cases in the 1990s where they lost big, they stumbled upon a new “theory” that sounded at least plausible – that life was way too complex to have happened by random chance. They called it “Intelligent Design”, took the White Paper about creationism, and used the search/replace function to insert “Intelligent Design” instead of Creationism and voila! – a “new” theory that fits the bible.

    Most of their “arguments” and “logic” outdo science fantasy, and are laughable at best, with again no research to back up any of it.

    The “math” you refer to about how unlikely it is for the physics to be so perfect is a tautology – if the constants weren’t just right for life as we know it then we wouldn’t be here to ask “why are we here?”, now would we?

    But the key is as we know it, isn’t it? Also, is our universe the only one there’s ever been, or is it the only one that exists even now? What came before the Big Bang, a series of Big Bangs/Crunches where the constants weren’t just right for us but were for some forms of “life” we can’t even conceive of.

    If “God” made this universe, estimated to now be 150 billion light years across, for humans, why would he put a governor on it (speed of light) that means these humans who worship him will never be able to see or use much more than this little speck. Maybe the universe is filled with human life, but if it isn’t, Thy God is a very wasteful deity to put on a light show like this for us to see only through telescopes.

    One of the largest sites on the ‘net is devoted to crushing every one of these myths passed down by illiterate shepherds:
    Talk Origins Archive

  31. J.J. Says:

    A nerd reasons her way to Catholicism. Fascinating. Few of us can or would explain our path to faith in such a manner. Does.Not.Matter. Each of us finds our way to faith or no faith in different ways. Such is the nature of humanity. Finding a transcendental experience in a mathematics proof – why not? That she feels God’s love for her is what counts.

    Gun control. The issue is this: We allow our military and LEOs to be openly armed. Why? Because we expect them to use their weapons in defense of law abiding citizens. We allow law abiding citizens to own guns because we expect them to only use them legally. Why do private citizens own guns? Basically four reasons:
    1. Hunting.
    2. Target shooting.
    3. Collecting.
    4. Self defense.
    All uses that don’t harm innocent people.

    When criminals or crazy people get guns they use them to kill or harm innocent people. So, the goal should be to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and crazy people. How? Ah yes, that’s the 64 dollar question. There is no easy answer. And there lies the problem. Emotions say get rid of guns – that’s the easy answer. The facts argue otherwise. But for the anti-gun proponents, facts are not as important as feelings. The debate, as with AGW, will continue. Unfortunately.

  32. n.n Says:

    Both evolutionary (i.e. chaotic) and intelligent (i.e. designed) creationism are articles of faith. Neither hypothesis of human origin can be defended through observation and replication. Both are dependent on information inferred from a punctuated reconstruction of a signal (e.g. sampled below the Nyquist Rate), where accuracy cannot ever be improved in the scientific domain. Unfortunately, for both classes of faith-based belief systems, time and space are not progressive (i.e. monotonic) phenomena with single paths, past, present, or future; and our skill to reconstruct the signals is limited by the chaotic nature of the system. Hence the explicit description of a scientific domain, where accuracy is inversely proportional to the product of time and space offsets in an established frame of reference, which was supposed to reign in the ambitions of the atheists, theists, and agnostics, but has clearly failed to curb the secular appetites of this first group in progressive measure.

    It’s not a coincidence that evolutionary creationists, and progressive or reformed quasi-religious organizations, are predominantly Pro-Choice. Their departure from the scientific domain to the twilight fringe offers them secular comfort and rewards that a scientific threshold would deny and that an extra-universal entity withholds.

  33. Richard Aubrey Says:

    It’s hard to credit that gun banners actually think their proposal will do any good.
    It will not turn 300 million guns into piles of rust.
    It will not secure the borders against smuggling and it will not stop enterprising machinist against making them.
    See drugs…… And they’re consumables. You have to have a steady supply, which means the means are interceptible–to coin a phrase–unlike guns. When you have a gun….you have a gun. No continued visits to your dealer……
    So let’s presume there’s a certain cohort of gun banners who don’t have half the brains God gave a goose. Those people will believe anything as long as an authority figure said it’s a good thing to believe. And, having believed a Good Thing, they’re not likely to let it go and not be able to think of themselves as Good People.
    Okay. Then there are the others who know better.
    What’s with them?
    Control. But not control of everybody. Nope. What efforts have gun banners made in the direction of disarming illegal owners…? Right. Didn’t think so.
    Quite obviously, doing what they say disarms the legal owners–because The State Knows Who You Are–and not the criminals. Is that on purpose or did they just not think it through?
    $500 for On Purpose, Alex.
    Why? Crap, I don’t know. Maybe they think Cloward Piven is too wimpy.

  34. Ray Says:

    Wright and Rossi conducted a study for the National Institute of Justice and concluded that gun bans have little effect on crime or violence.

  35. rafe Says:

    I stumbled upon Libresco’s conversion story just last week and listened in my car as I drove to work. As a Catholic mathematician, I hung on every word as if I were speaking through her.

    And I choked up when she spoke of her moment of conversion: “I don’t know; I guess morality just loves me.”

    What a wonderful story.

  36. J.J. Says:

    Rafe, thanks for sharing that.

  37. Ymar Sakar Says:

    geokstr Says:
    October 8th, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    That’s nice, but I don’t see how Geo’s statements about his faith makes him superior to the other faiths…

    I wasted several years of my retirement debating creationists on-line

    And apparently nobody is stopping you from continuing this project of yours. The thing about atheists is that if they actually didn’t care about a creator, a god, or a number of gods, they would’t be hostile to the concept or to competing faiths. After all, who goes around online arguing about the existence and meaning of tooth fairies and Santa Clause? We need Santa Clause re education or not in school? If atheists didn’t believe in a god, why are they going to blame every single thing in existence on that entity? Even their own choices born of their free will, they’ll blame it on superior entities, even though they claim that they don’t believe in the existence of superior entities… maybe some of them aren’t quite as transparent as they wish.

    for which their scientific evidence is zero, as in nada, zip, zilch, none.

    It’s that old global warming non sense about there being a scientific consensus. There isn’t, actually, especially amongst astronomers, who lean towards theism while biologists lean towards the other one. There’s always going to be competing scientific theories and faiths. The problem is when one fanatical faction starts coming out and saying that the disagreements aren’t based on any evidence. This is a trial lawyer trick to dismiss a case before it gets to the court room or judgment.

    There’s also the question of IQ, which I don’t like to use, but arguing with people online is like arguing with double digit IQ people or Hugh Ross with his PhD arguing with the bachelor of engineering guy Bill Nye. Too large a gap. Btw, unless you are rated on an IQ test that is accepted by the High IQ societies, at 90% or above, you’ll be at certain disadvantage here against some of the commenters.

    People who have too large a disparity in IQ, tend to have difficulties communicating or even arguing about the same thing. Most people don’t know how their microwave works, let alone any of these “scientific theories” people fling around.

    if the constants weren’t just right for life as we know it then we wouldn’t be here to ask “why are we here?”, now would we?

    You actually may think that sounds smart, but it is actually pretty ignorant.

    Scientific research does not concern itself with studying “non existent realities and divergent events that don’t exist”. You can neither prove nor disprove something that not only never existed, but that people just made up out of thin air.

    So the primary focus will always be studying the existing universe and the current constants and mathematical models. Even if quantum physics and multiple parallel realities became intertwined and testable together, the observation box will still be in this universe and reality, not the other ones. What we know of this line of reality will always trump what people imagine is going on in other multiple worlds or dimensions or parallel worlds. Thus the evidence that exists in this World Line will always be superior to the evidence people extract from their parallel worlds and other imagined fantasies. Even if they could present proof, that proof is no where near as comprehensive a data model for observation and experiments, as what scientific experiments can produce using the data from this reality. Since currently, we cannot interfere with nor observe other realities, that’s not a problem yet.

    But the key is as we know it, isn’t it? Also, is our universe the only one there’s ever been, or is it the only one that exists even now? What came before the Big Bang, a series of Big Bangs/Crunches where the constants weren’t just right for us but were for some forms of “life” we can’t even conceive of.

    Pretty sure the thesis that silicon life is possible because “I don’t know how to create carbon or silicon life yet” is going to be thrown out of the academic committee. Are scientific experiments supposed to be based on “stuff we know exists because we haven’t seen it yet”?

    It is common sense and scientific orthodoxy, to test the data we have and that we know we have. We are not testing for “stuff we don’t know that we don’t know” nor “stuff that we imagine exists but we don’t know if it exists or not”.

    If you don’t know if it exists, then you should be finding data for it, not concluding your research “hypothesis” or your thesis just yet.

    If “God” made this universe, estimated to now be 150 billion light years across, for humans, why would he put a governor on it (speed of light) that means these humans who worship him will never be able to see or use much more than this little speck. Maybe the universe is filled with human life, but if it isn’t, Thy God is a very wasteful deity to put on a light show like this for us to see only through telescopes.

    I’m surprised somebody hasn’t poked holes in this narrative yet. Because I can pretty easily see 3 points of weaknesses.

    For one thing, the speed of light is not a constant any more, if ever it was. It is decaying or change, hence it cannot be a constant.


    It is appropros to use this line here. Condemnation before investigation is not wisdom, but it is perhaps academic pride.

    The conclusion is not conclusive nor a scientific “consensus” yet, but the data is pretty clear. Unless people now think atomic clocks are fantasies of religious fanatics… maybe they’ll have their scientific consensus experiments and orthodoxy heresy hunts on this soon.

    One of the largest sites on the ‘net is devoted to crushing every one of these myths passed down by illiterate shepherds:

    Atheists, at least, shouldn’t be proud of that. Since it’s the same as adults being proud of winning arguments against children over the existence of the Tooth Fairy…

    When you have to devote the resources of the entirety of humanity, to put up “the largest site on the net” to devote to crushing down a myth, that myth is more real than the fantasies of scientific consensus. Definitely more real than online arguments about the Tooth Fairy too. If enough people hate the Tooth Fairy and blame things on the Fairy, even I would have to consider whether the TF exists or not…

    Usually when atheists or at least intellectuals, talk down at people, I get the sense that they haven’t argued with anyone of their intellectual equals. Maybe arguing online has led them to believe everyone is an illiterate.

  38. R.C. Says:


    I largely agree with your assessment of Young Earth Creationism (YEC). And I’m not particularly impressed with Intelligent Design arguments, either, although they at least grant (rather than contradict) all the available physical evidence for the fossil record, age of the Earth, and so on.

    When it comes to dialoguing with Christians about the relationship between faith and reason (a subset of which is science), one has to be careful to find a certain SET of Christians. (Leah Libresco, clearly, is one of the right set!) If you find yourself entangled debating the wrong kind, the whole effort is likely to be fruitless and exasperating…as you seem to have discovered.

    In my experience, the right set of Christians to have fruitful conversations with are those with the following attributes:

    1. Regarding morals and theology, they need to fit well-within the norms of Christian belief, even conservative and traditionalist Christian belief. This means that, when they call themselves “Christian,” they mean something solid and well-defined by it, and it’s the same thing that Christians meant 200, 400, 800, and 1600 years ago.

    There’s no point interacting with a “Christian” who defines “God” as a psychological construct of the collective unconscious or some such rot. I suppose that such a person might still be construed a “Christian” in some sense of the word, but it isn’t the normative sense…and you can’t have a meaningful conversation with a person who reflexively thinks words don’t have meanings!

    2. They need to not be utter dimwits about the Bible. By this I mean that they need to show some awareness that the “Old Testament” table-of-contents was still in dispute during the life of Jesus, and that the “New Testament” table-of-contents only became fixed-and-settled among all Christians around 350 AD. They need to realize the implications of this: (a.) they’re trusting the persons who did the “fixing” to have gotten it right; and (b.) the several generations of Christians between Jesus’ time and the fixing of the “New Testament” canon didn’t “open up their Bible” to get answers to all questions. They had to appeal to “the Apostolic Tradition” because they didn’t yet have a “Bible” as such to consult.

    3. They REALLY need to not be utter dimwits about the Bible. By this I mean they need to show awareness of genre: That the book of Job, for example, isn’t a transcript from a telephone wiretap, but a sort of ironical drama about Theodicy. Or that the best modern match for the genre of the first few chapters of Genesis is not a science textbook, but a word-painting, like a 70’s-era Yes lyric, or the lyrics to McLean’s “American Pie.” To be sensitive to genre is to read the court-histories of the kings of Judah and Israel like court-histories, but to read Psalms like hymn-lyrics.

    4. They need to love science and math and philosophy without fear. The best sign of “without fear” is when they view every real, interesting scientific discovery as an “Oh that’s so cool!” kind of discovery. You’ll find them saying “God wrote two books, Scripture and Creation, and wants us to read both.”

    As I previously asserted, the girl in the video, Leah Libresco, is clearly the right type. Her Lutheran friend with whom she was speaking when she reasoned her way into believing in God seems also to have been that type. In my experience the right type are typically Catholics like Libresco, because the Catholic intellectual tradition isn’t afraid of philosophy or science. (Indeed the founding fathers of most branches of science seem to have been priests.)

    But you can also find the right sort among other kinds of Christians. The best Christian thinkers seem to somehow be “shared” amongst the various communions: All the Christians seem proud of Chesterton, of N.T. Wright, of C.S. Lewis, of J.R.R. Tolkien, not scrupling to distinguish much between the Catholics and the non-Catholics.

    I’m afraid, you’ll have the least luck with low-church “Bible Christians” of the very literalistic set. Ever since the early 20th century their churches’ seminaries keep getting taken over by liberal academics who scarcely believe in God, who excuse their own apostasy by fudging the definitions of words (much like today’s postmodernist secular academia). This is a constant struggle in some Christian groups to this very day.

    In reaction against this, the conservative laypersons insisted on being ultra-literalistic, even about poetical passages of the Bible, especially the Genesis creation story. For them, to admit that the creation of the sun didn’t happen in a 24-hour period feels like giving in to the heretical seminary professors. It feels like a slippery slope towards treachery.

    They’re often wonderful people in every other way. But because of their intra-denominational warfare against “liberal theologians” watering-down Christianity, they have an allergic reaction to anything that smacks of nuance.

    So, not the best conversationalists…on science topics, at least.

    But stick with the Libresco-esque set, and you won’t go wrong. They’re out there.

  39. AesopFan Says:

    Ymar Sakar Says:
    October 8th, 2017 at 12:45 am
    Aesop, remember when Missouri disarmed the Latter Day Saints then tried to exterminate them?
    * * *
    Well, I’m not quite that old, but I do know about it, since the persecutions of the Mormons is included in our history books and study courses.

    The most chilling aspect is that a US governor felt secure enough of his constituents’ support (and lack of intervention by a higher authority) to mandate the killing of US citizens on the basis of their religious beliefs.
    Today, we see the same thing in a secular guise, with governors and mayors essentially enabling the violence of Antifa Inc. against conservatives.

    Also note that one of the key aspects of the persecution of Mormons there and elsewhere included either forcible or voluntary disarming (the latter after assurances of protection, of course; that’s always the MO of the evil-doers).

  40. AesopFan Says:

    Ymar Sakar Says:
    October 9th, 2017 at 9:45 pm
    Maybe arguing online has led them to believe everyone is an illiterate.
    * * *
    Depends where online they are doing the arguing.
    Everybody here is almost frighteningly literate!

  41. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Great video

  42. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Today, we see the same thing in a secular guise, with governors and mayors essentially enabling the violence of Antifa Inc. against conservatives.

    I concur. One of the reasons why people didn’t believe my statement about CW 2 being inevitable in 2012, and the reason why I didn’t spread that statement online in 2007, is because there were certain points that needed to be connected first before people were ready and mature enough to absorb the conclusions. I had to wait for that crisis era and comprehension gap to be filled.

    Running around like what Hollywood movie depicts, that guy who always goes something like “You got to believe me, what I am saying is true, really true, not crazy at all, we have to do something!”

    There was no point giving people and the world the details when they couldn’t come up with the conclusion themselves. Things like Death squads, was predicted by me many years ago. But it is nearly impossible for people to believe in it.

    Connecting the mayors to the death squads of the Left, that is showing advanced progress for humans.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

Monthly Archives


Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge