The truth about the Douma Report

Peter Hitchens helps two whistleblowers publicize their critique of the document that was used to justify US and British bombings in Syria:

The investigation report is a bait and switch tactic that creates the illusion of a report about a breach of confidentiality, when in fact it is little more than a public defence of the scientifically questioned Douma Report. Ironically, the defence, from a highly technical and scientific body, is not founded on science or logic, but on ad hominem attacks on two of its former inspectors, who had raised concerns about the scientifically indefensible manner in which the Douma investigation was conducted. It is classic ‘if you can’t get the ball, get the man’.

In another classic ruse, the Technical Secretariat tries to distract from the serious concerns of A and B, by trying to portray them as “individuals who could not accept that their views were not backed by evidence”. This is demonstrably false and conspicuously the report never says what those ‘views’ are supposed to have been. As a technical body the TS will be aware that inspections, verification, or investigations are never about ‘views’. Views are subjective by definition. They are not the currency of scientists and engineers who (should) only deal in facts, evidence and hypotheses.

It is about the suppression and cherry-picking of these facts and evidence, and the refusal to test alternative hypotheses, which is scientifically questionable, that Inspectors A and B have raised concerns with senior management. These concerns are not exclusive to A and B. Other inspectors involved in the Douma investigation have the same, but because of their contractual relationship with the Organisation are not free to raise them without fear of repercussion.

It’s a brutally-effective fisking. As usual, the Official Story and the mainstream narrative are both false.

Scientistry is fake science

Even without taking the reproducibility crisis into account, it is becoming readily apparent that “published, peer-reviewed science” is not the ultimate arbiter of the truth. Or even a moderately reliable proxy for it. From a 2019 paper published in Science and Engineering Ethics called “Assessing and Raising Concerns About Duplicate Publication, Authorship Transgressions and Data Errors in a Body of Preclinical Research”:

Authorship transgressions, duplicate data reporting and reporting/data errors compromise the integrity of biomedical publications. Using a standardized template, we raised concerns with journals about each of these characteristics in 33 pairs of publications originating from 15 preclinical (animal) trials reported by a group of researchers. The outcomes of interest were journal responses, including time to acknowledgement of concerns, time to decision, content of decision letter, and disposition of publications at 1 year. Authorship transgressions afected 27/36 (75{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3}) publications. The median proportion of duplicate data within pairs of publications was 45{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3} (interquartile range 29–57). Data/reporting discrepancies [median 3 (1–5)] were present in 28/33 (85{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3}) pairs. Journals acknowledged receipt of concerns for 53{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3} and 94{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3} of publications by 1 month and 9 months, respectively.

After 1 year, journals had communicated decisions for 16/36 (44{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3}) publications. None of the decision letters specifically addressed each of the concerns raised. Decisions were no action, correction and retraction for 9, 3 and 4 publications, respectively: the amounts of duplicate data reporting and data/reporting discrepancies were similar irrespective of journal decision. Authorship transgressions affected 6/9 (67{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3}) publications for which no action was decided. Journal responses to concerns about duplicate publication, authorship transgressions, and data/reporting discrepancies were slow, opaque and inconsistent.

Translation: you know that “science is self-correcting” idea? It’s completely and utterly false. It’s nothing more than propaganda for scientistry.

I blame galactic warming

It should be interesting to see how the globalists attempt to make use of the possibility that Betelgeuse will go supernova in the near-future:

Betelgeuse is a gigantic red supergiant star that was the 10th brightest star in the sky as recently as 2019. But over the past few months it has dimmed so dramatically it’s now ranked 24th, and it has astronomers wondering if it might be ready to burst in a spectacular supernova explosion.

Edward Guinan and other astronomers from Villanova University shared a brief update on Betelgeuse over the weekend, reporting it’s now about one full magnitude fainter than it was in September. Magnitude is the scale of brightness astronomers assign to objects in the night sky. Put another way, this change in scale means that Betelgeuse was about 2.5 times brighter in September than it is right now.

“The most recent photometric observations indicate that Betelgeuse is currently the least luminous and coolest yet measured from our 25 years of photometry,” the astronomers write.

It should be amusing to hear the Gretard ranting about how everyone ruined her childhood, her dreams, and her night sky.

Making the omega

It’s interesting to see how social scientists are stumbling, slowly, toward recognizing the socio-sexual hierarchy:

There is also a dark side to the social world of middle school, as anyone who has been through it will remember. Sixth graders who do not have friends are at risk of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. About 12 percent of the 6,000 sixth graders in Juvonen’s study were not named as a friend by anyone else. They had no one to sit with at lunch and no one to stick up for them when bullied. Of that group, boys outnumbered girls nearly two to one, and African American and Latino students were more likely to be friendless than white kids.

Inspired by the University of Chicago social psychologists John Cacioppo and Louise Hawkley’s work on perceived social isolation and the sense of threat that comes with it, Juvonen and her student Leah Lessard investigated whether perceptions of social threat could explain the mental-health difficulties that beset friendless middle schoolers. Their hypothesis was that not having friends in sixth grade triggered a greater sense of threat in seventh grade, which led to increased internalizing difficulties, such as depression and anxiety, by eighth grade. Their research confirmed that theory: It wasn’t friendlessness alone that created problems, it was the resulting sense of threat.

Then there is bullying, which Juvonen has studied extensively. “Friendships take place in this larger context where there’s a status hierarchy,” she told me. “Kids know very well which kinds of kids are friends with one another and where they stand in that overall status hierarchy.” Most of the time, bullying is a very strategic effort to gain and maintain status, she said.

Omegas are those who retreat from the hierarchy or are rejected by it. Gammas are those who manage to stay inside the hierarchy by strategic alliances with “friends” who are not actually friends. That is the primary dividing line between the two.

Atheism is genetic

Or is, at the very least, a developmental disorder linked to genetic causes:

The largest genetic sequencing study of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ever conducted has found 102 genes associated with autism, a major step towards an eventual cure, which may involve genetic manipulation. Most of these 102 genes were expressed in the brain, and affect synapses or regulate other genes. This means they have important roles in switching other genes on and off.

Furthermore, 49 of these genes are also linked to other developmental disorders, underlining the fact that the neurobiology of many such conditions are likely to overlap.

I first postulated my hypothesis concerning a link between the autism spectrum and atheism back in  2007 in response to a post by PZ Myers at Pharyngula in which he and other atheists were bragging about their relatively high Asperger’s Quotient scores. I wrote: “Obviously, more comprehensive and scientific tests would be advised before any definite conclusion can be reached, but these initial observations do appear to indicate a possibility that atheism could be nothing more than a minor mental disorder.”

Since then, at least two scientific studies that were directly inspired by my hypothesis have found that there is a statistical correlation between atheism and the autism spectrum.

This new study indicates – it does not yet prove, but it indicates – that scientists will eventually be able to find a link between those 102 genes and atheism, which suggests that it is atheism, not religion, that will one day be cured by science. One should note that this genetic link also explains why atheism has never propagated very successfully from one generation to the next, as atheists tend to be very unfit in the evolutionary sense of natural and sexual selection.

So, don’t be bothered by your shower-averse, science-loving, fedora-sporting acquaintance who insists on quoting Richard Dawkins at everyone apropos of nothing. Just assure him that he does well to trust in science, as one day science will cure his genetic developmental disorder.

Falsifying the NPPN hypothesis

Here is a thought concerning the oft-expressed assertion that an overrepresentation in the number of Nobel Prizes awarded to individuals of Jewish descent is an indicator of Jewish intelligence, or what may be described as the Nobel Prize Per Nation (NPPN) hypothesis. What got me thinking about this was that on Russia Today, it was pointed out by a Los Angeles film critic that the film Jojo Rabbit, which has been nominated for six Oscars, is an average film that would never have been nominated for an award if its subject matter was not the Holocaust.

So, it should be possible to count up the number of Oscar nominations awarded to Holocaust-related films, then compare the Oscar nomination/Holocaust film ratio to the ratio of Oscars nominations given to all non-Holocaust films. My hypothesis is that the Holocaust film overperformance will actually exceed the reported statistical Nobel Prize overperformance of 99,900 percent, and thereby add additional weight to my statistical demolition of the ridiculous “115 average IQ” rhetoric.

I am not going to bother testing the hypothesis for the obvious reason that a) I have already proved what I wanted to prove to my own satisfaction, b) I don’t care who is, on average, smarter than whom, and c) I really don’t care about prizes, Hollywood, or Hollywood prizes. But if some film buff feels like putting in the effort, tell me how it works out and I’ll post the results here.

Of course, the most obvious disproof of the NPPN hypothesis is to simply turn the argument on its head. If it is true that a high ratio of Nobel Prizes per nation is a proof of high average national intelligence, then a low ratio of NPPN  must be a proof of low average intelligence. Since China only has 11 Nobel Prize winners despite having a very large population, (6.9 percent of its statistical share) and India has only 10 despite a population of 1.2 billion, (6.6 percent of its statistical share), the NPPN argument rests upon the idea that the Chinese and Indian people are considerably less intelligent than most of the nations on Earth.

It is also worth noting that although Jews are said to have won a total of 41 percent of all the Nobel Prizes in economics, there is no Nobel Prize in economics. It is actually the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, a prize that was established in 1968 by a donation from Sweden’s central bank, the Sveriges Riksbank, on the bank’s 300th anniversary and is not one of the prizes that Alfred Nobel established in his will in 1895.

Anyhow, the Nobel Prizes awarded to Barack Obama and Bob Dylan should be more than sufficient to demonstrate the total absurdity of the hyphothesis. The NPPN hypothesis is no more credible than the argument that the three greatest science fiction novelists are Lois McMaster Bujold, NK Jemisin, and Connie Willis because they have won the most Hugo Awards for Best Novel.

Neither credentials nor participation trophies are indicative of intelligence.

A linguistic blow to multiculturalism

It is becoming abundantly clear that not only is it impossible for people of different cultures to successfully live together, it is not possible to correctly understand cross-cultural communication even when both sides think they are speaking the same language:

Many languages have words whose meanings seem so specific and nuanced that there’s no way to translate them; they can only be imported wholesale. Consider the German “schadenfreude,” the pleasure derived from another’s misfortune, or “sehnsucht,” a sort of deep yearning for an alternative life.

Those kinds of emotion words often feel rooted in the culture from which they emerged, said Asifa Majid, a cognitive scientist at the University of York in England. She pointed to the feeling of “awumbuk,” which Baining people in Papua Guinea experience when their guests depart after an overnight stay. It leaves people listless, she wrote in a commentary that accompanies the study, something akin to a “social hangover.”

Yet many languages also have words that English speakers might think of as “basic” emotions — love, hate, anger, fear, sadness, happiness. Early theories, influenced by Charles Darwin and pegged to shared biological structures in humans, suggest there are certain universal emotions that serve as the source material for all others, as primary colors might be blended to create many new shades.

But just as later work has suggested that different cultures do not always categorize color in the same ways, there’s a growing understanding that even those supposedly “primary” emotions may hold their own meanings and nuances in different cultures that aren’t directly translatable.

Good fences make good neighbors. And strong borders make friendly relations possible.

Corporate junk science

It’s observably even worse than the coin-flip that is professional peer-reviewed science:

Three years ago, I put my faith in a 23andMe DNA test and got burned.

While most of my results initially checked out — about 50 percent South Asian and what looked like a 50 percent hodgepodge of European — there was one glaring surprise. Where roughly 25 percent Italian was supposed to be, Middle Eastern stood in its place. The results shocked me.

Over the years, I had made a lot of the Italian portion of my heritage; I had learned the language, majored in Latin in college, and lived in Rome, Italy, for my semester abroad. Still, as a rational person, I believed the science. But my grandmother, whose parents moved from Sicily to Brooklyn, where she was born and grew up speaking Italian, refused to accept the findings.

Fast forward to this summer, when I got an email about new DNA relations on 23andMe and revisited my updated genetic results, only to find out that I am, in fact, about a quarter Italian (and generally southern European). But it was too late to tell my grandma. She’s dead now and I’m a liar.

Nonna was right to reject the “science”. The science, as is all too often the case, was flat-out wrong. Logic and evidence now dictates that if the science smells off, that’s probably because it is.

The complete failure of science

It’s a good thing everyone ignored Richard Dawkins when he urged the replacement of eyewitness testimony with that infallible metric of truth, SCIENCE! Can you imagine the miscarriages of justice that would have taken place if science had been installed as the basis for our legal system back when Dawkins was calling for it?

We tend to think of science as a dispassionate (impartial, neutral) search for truth and certainty. But is it possible that we are facing a situation in which there is a massive production of wrong information or distortion of information? Is it possible that certain scientific disciplines are facing a crisis of credibility? Mounting evidence suggests this is indeed the case….

In 2011, researchers at Bayer decided to test 67 recent drug discoveries on preclinical cancer biology research. In more than 75 percent of cases, the published data did not match their attempts to replicate them.8 In 2012, a study published in Nature announced that only 11 percent of the sampled preclinical cancer studies coming out of the academic pipeline were replicable.9

In the prestigious Science journal, in 2015, the Open Science Collaboration10 presented a study of 100 psychological research studies that 270 contributing authors tried to replicate. An astonishing 65 percent failed to show any statistical significance on replication, and many of the remainder showed greatly reduced effect sizes. In plain terms, evidence for original findings is weak.

A discovery in physics, the hardest of all hard sciences, is usually thought of as the most reliable in the world of science. However, two of the most vaunted physics results of the past few years—“cosmic inflation and gravitational waves at the BICEP2 experiment in Antarctica, and the supposed discovery of superluminal neutrinos at the Swiss-Italian border—have now been retracted, with far less fanfare than when they were first published.”

This link is from 2016. The situation has since only gotten observably worse.

That’s NOT a defense

If your argument that the science is wrong and women are too funny relies upon Sarah Silverman, then you’ve got no chance at all:

We then calculated sex differences on the combined sample and found that men were, overall, rated as funnier than women. How big was the difference? In statistical technical terms, the effect size was 0.32, or roughly one-third of the standard deviation. In plain English, this means that 63 percent of men score above the mean humor ability of women. This is considered a small to medium difference.

We also looked for a long list of possible confounding variables that might explain the difference. The countries where the data come from, the sex of the authors doing the research, age of participants, whether there were more men or women judging the humor—none of it made a difference in our analysis.

What does it all mean? It means that to the best of our knowledge, on average, men appear to have higher humor production ability than women. Note that I emphasized the word average because the study does not mean, as Christopher Hitchens famously proclaimed, that women are not funny. The fact that men, on average, appear to be funnier than women, does not imply that every single man is funnier than every single woman. There are many great female comedians such as Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey, Ali Wong and historically, Lucille Ball, Joan Rivers, and many, many more. All these great comedians are funnier than 99.9 percent of all men.

As a general rule, men perform for women rather than the reverse. So it should hardly be surprising, or controversial, that the average man’s ability to do so is considerably more honed than the average woman’s.

Needless to say, female comedians are taking it well.

“I really think it’s unnecessary to do this study,” Marina Bye, a female comedian, told BBC. “They could have done something progressive.”