Rebirth of Reason

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadBack one pagePage 0Page 1

Post 20

Sunday, April 2, 2017 - 9:04amSanction this postReply

Just a correction, Steve. Newspapers do not "bury the retraction deep inside."  In the New York Times corrections appear on Page A4 (usually).  Find the most recent ones online here:


For example: "A version of this correction appears in print on March 26, 2017, on Page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Corrections." 


Requesting a Correction in The Times
Requests for corrections should be submitted to The Times atnytnews@nytimes.com. This office works outside the newsroom and has no say in whether a correction is offered, but please contact us if you are dissatisfied with the response you receive from The Times.

Please include the following in your e-mail to The Times ...  


Having been a newspaper page editor and feature writer, I know that most unhappiness among readers comes from emotional investment.  In your case, that stems from an intellectual investment. In my experience, however, that investment was monetary. It was over 15 years ago, but as I recall, I stated the facts correctly in the article and showed the right coin in the image, but in the cutline (what mortals call the "caption") I misstated the Mint mark. The dealer seeking to sell the coin for six figures was outraged; and a mere correction two weeks later "buried" on page 5 did not assuage his ire. 


In this case, I took just one of Steve's examples,  Trump's Treasury department eases sanctions against Russians.  I put the sentence in my search engine (Chrome) and read the Reuters and MSNBC stories. No surprise, the clip from USA Today was shallow, an echo of the headline. The details that the others published belied the glaring headlines. And Snopes sorted it all out, of course.  The facts are there for those who care. What you make of them is your choice. Trump's Treasury department eases sanctions against Russians is not fake news. Unlike Pope Francis's endorsement of Donald Trump's campaign for the presidency, the easing of sanctions really happened. 


Granted, on February 2, 2017, Nancy Pelosi said: 

Statement on Trump Lifting Sanctions on Putin’s Intelligence Thugs

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement after President Trump lifted sanctions on the FSB, the Russian Federal Security Service and successor to the KGB:

“U.S. intelligence agencies have thoroughly detailed the Russian security services’ brazen assault on American democracy in support of candidate Donald Trump.  Less than two weeks after walking into the White House, President Trump lifts sanctions on the Russian Security Service.  Vladimir Putin’s thugs meddle with an American election, and President Trump gives them a thank you present.

“I have been asking the same question for a while:  what do the Russians have on President Trump?  The FBI must accelerate their investigation into the financial, personal and political ties between Donald Trump and Russia.  President Trump’s reckless and dangerous agenda is jeopardizing America’s national security.

“With every day that passes, the need for a bipartisan, independent, outside commission to investigate Russia’s intervention in our election becomes clearer and more urgent.  We must understand how Russia hacked into our democratic institutions, and ensure it never happens again.”


However, as Steve inadvertantly nodded, just as Rep. Pelosi calls for fact checks, her statement was indeed checked and widely discounted.  The AP report was repeated in many newspapers on their websites.

Columbus Dispatch:


Seattle Times:


U.S. News and World Report



This all goes back to a very basic social fact: people make up their minds first, and then find the authorities that agree with them.  We do it here on RoR:  When Evidence is Not Enough.

Post 21

Sunday, April 2, 2017 - 10:11amSanction this postReply

Marotta says, "Newspapers do not 'bury the retraction deep inside.'"  Sometimes that is true.  Sometimes they don't retract false information at all.


I took a quick look at Snopes (who, by the way, is not the impartial arbiter of fact that it once was.  Ever since it became politically necessary to hate Trump, and ever since progressivism went into high gear, their 'truth-halo' isn't as shiny as it once was.)


Here is the link: http://www.snopes.com/trump-sanctions-russias-intelligence-agency-present-putin/

And here is their take on this story: "Mostly Fake"



The idea of "fake news" is that instead of reporting something that is new and of significance, and doing so in a way that is an objective rendering of the facts, a media outlet embellishes, slants, misstates, or totally makes up items for the purpose of supporting a political agenda.  To rise to the level of "fake news" as opposed to simply biased reporting the story has to be:

   A.) totally made up to suit some political agenda, or

   B.) it must totally misrepresent the news to suit some political agenda. 


The story about the Pope endorsing Trump would be totally made up.  The story about the Trump Treasury department easing sanctions was reported as having been done 'as a present to Putin,' or 'for the Russian secret service,' or in some other way as a claim to support the current progressive narrative that Trump is acting in collusion with Russia at the expense of America's interests and for some nefarious purpose.   That kind of slant makes it into fake news.  (It was actually an adjustment in trade regulations for American business to continue to sell to Russian consumers.  See Snopes.) 


It is wonderful that Marotta comes to us from some special place that none of the rest of us can find, to provide us with the truth when we, poor misguided souls that we are, as he says, "make up [our] minds first, and then find the authorities that agree with [us]..."

Post 22

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - 4:24amSanction this postReply

When Evidence is Not Enough


Archived on Mother Jones here:



OrgTheory is a blog written by pro-market sociologists. The blog is headed by Brayden King,  "the Max McGraw Chair of Management and the Environment and a professor of Management and Organizations" at Northwestern University.


If you put "Kahan" in the search box, it will take you to this article about the paper



Back in 2011 in the original post here on RoR about this paper, I wrote:

Originally published by the Yale Law School as "Research Paper #205: Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus by Dan M. Kahan, Hank Jenkins-Smith and Donald Braman," the paper can be downloaded without charge from the Social Science Research Network Paper Collection at:http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract#1549444


That link is no longer active.  By entering "kahan braman evidence" in my search engine, I found this archive:


Many other links about the research are out there, including a Wikipedia article on "Cultural Cognition."



In the OrgTheory write-up, Brayden King quoted the review on Mother Jones by Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science.

"Head-on attempts to persuade can sometimes trigger a backfire effect, where people not only fail to change their minds when confronted with the facts—they may hold their wrong views more tenaciously than ever. In other words, people rejected the validity of a scientific source because its conclusion contradicted their deeply held views—and thus the relative risks inherent in each scenario. A hierarchal individualist finds it difficult to believe that the things he prizes (commerce, industry, a man’s freedom to possess a gun to defend his family) (PDF) could lead to outcomes deleterious to society. Whereas egalitarian communitarians tend to think that the free market causes harm, that patriarchal families mess up kids, and that people can’t handle their guns. The study subjects weren’t “anti-science”—not in their own minds, anyway. It’s just that “science” was whatever they wanted it to be." (emphasis mine - MEM)


(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 4/05, 4:27am)

Post 23

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - 10:15amSanction this postReply

Marotta still doesn't get it. 


Here is a quote from Marotta's quote of Brayden King's quote of a Mother Jones article.

...people rejected the validity of a scientific source because its conclusion contradicted their deeply held views...

Notice that Marotta keeps citing studies where he quotes some authorites as they imply that they know the truth, and the rest of us are trapped in old belief systems, or are genetically impaired in some way that keeps us from accepting the truth... the truth that Marotta is trying to bring us with the words from these experts.


Back in 2005 Marotta believed that our belief systems were somehow genetically or biochemically determined.  He said, "I believe that some people are 'individualists' and many others are 'collectivists' for biochemical reasons of genetics. You can never convince the collectivists, any more than you talk someone 75 cm high into being 90 cm high." 


Somehow, these authorities that Marotta quotes, along with Marotta himself, are immune to this inability to reason past old beliefs or to get outside of their genetic/biochemical limitations. 


They are able to see the shining truth the rest of can't.  And they generously bring it to us poor blind folk. 


I have decided to call this the Bartlett Fallacy in honor of Fred Bartlett who wrote of it more than once.  In one post he said:


God, 'S'ociety, the Common Good, the General Welfare, the Social Contract, the perfect state of unbias behind a veil of ignorance that only Rawls can jarringly travel to, successfully pierce and speak for...


All safely beyond the horizon, out of the reach of we mere mortals, and yet, jarringly, requiring one of our peers to roll his eyes into the back of his head, have a vision, and speak for 'it.'


I do miss Fred.

Post 24

Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 3:55amSanction this postReply

Well, now we are down to name-calling.  The "creation science" fundamentalist says that the secular humanist "scientist" is denying true science.  Steve even quotes Fred Bartlett. Should I dig through the posts of TSI for a counter-argument? We would have our saints lined up in opposition, Aquinas versus Ambrose.  As long as we are laying our cards on the table, I play this trump:  "Cognitive dissonance" by Leon Festinger.  


(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 4/06, 3:58am)

Post 25

Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 9:48amSanction this postReply

Marotta, what are you talking about?  I reread my post.  I didn't call you any names.


What is wrong with quoting Fred Bartlett?  He was a brilliant fellow and I enjoyed his playful intellectual style.


What is TSI?  Perhaps something should come to mind, but it doesn't.


As long as we are laying our cards on the table, I play this trump:  "Cognitive dissonance" by Leon Festinger.


What does that have to do with anything in my post?  Marotta, I do believe that your last little post is one of the most disjointed replies you've ever made - and that is saying something.


Aren't you able to discern the argument I was making?  I'm saying that an implication in your argument is that YOU can see certain truths, but also in those arguments are implications that humans don't have the ability to see the truth (for genetic or biochemical reasons, or because they are blocked by existing belief systems, or because of cognitive dissonance?)   We know that you are a human, therefore we are presented with a contradiction.  Contradictions can't be true, so we have fallacy.


Because your last post was indecipherable, I can't tell if you simply don't understand what I'm saying, or you do, but you disagree.

Post to this threadBack one pagePage 0Page 1

User ID Password or create a free account.