Category Archives: Science

Can science tell us who will become a mass shooter?

From Bruce Bower at Science News:

A dearth of research means the science of rampage shootings simply doesn’t exist…

Nor does any published evidence support claims that being a bully or a victim of bullying, or watching violent video games and movies, leads to mass public shootings, Winegard contends. Bullying affects a disturbingly high proportion of youngsters and has been linked to later anxiety and depression (SN: 5/30/15, p. 12) but not to later violence. In laboratory studies, youngsters who play violent computer games or watch violent videos generally don’t become more aggressive or violent in experimental situations. Investigators have found that some school shooters, including the Newtown perpetrator, preferred playing nonviolent video games, Winegard says.

Still, a small but tragic group of kids lead lives that somehow turn them into killers of classmates or random strangers (SN: 5/27/06, p. 328). If some precise mix of, say, early brain damage, social ineptitude, paranoia and fury over life’s unfair twists cooks up mass killers, scientists don’t know the toxic recipe. And it won’t be easy to come up with one given the small number of mass public shooters to study. More.

The main problem here is precisely as noted by Bower: “the small number of mass public shooters to study,” who live scattered over large regions. For example, suppose three out of sample of ten shooters are one of a set of identical twins, or left-handed, or adopted. A great deal of socially useless or harmful nonsense could be generated on those subjects because they are already subjects of research interest. But in the larger sample that we are thankful not to have, that bias would likely be engulfed.

A couple of other thoughts: Many parts of the world are more violent than, say, North America or Western Europe. Mass shooters are considered a huge public problem in Canada. But elsewhere, in the midst of a civil war or ethnic cleansing they might not even stand out. We don’t know because we have no generalized sample of the human race.

Also, in a disturbing number of cases, the shooter turns out to have been a known public danger but authorities did nothing and/or law enforcement was badly bungled.

Law enforcement personnel are much more numerous than mass shooters and typically have a more normal psychological profile. Why not then invest more research money in studying 1) remedies for the problem that nothing is done about a clear and present danger and 2) why so many interventions go so wrong? – O’Leary for News

See also: Was Anders Breivik not insane?

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Stephen Hawking’s ‘breathtaking’ final multiverse theory completed two weeks before he died

A final theory explaining how mankind might detect parallel universes was completed by Stephen Hawking shortly before he died, it has emerged.

Colleagues have revealed the renowned theoretical physicist’s final academic work was to set out the groundbreaking mathematics needed for a spacecraft to find traces of multiple big bangs.

Currently being reviewed by a leading scientific journal, the paper, named A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation, may turn out to be Hawking’s most important scientific legacy.

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Biology is real, if not popular: Lone scientist squares off with social justice warriors

Heather Heying

Remember Heather Heying, wife and co-belligerent of Bret Weinstein in the science vs. snowflakes wars? Guess what happened when she tried saying in public what everyone knows?

Daily Wire:

On February 17, Portland State University held an event to discuss viewpoint diversity moderated by PSU philosophy professor Peter Boghossian, with a panel including former Evergreen State biologist Heather E. Heying, writer Helen Pluckrose, and former Google engineer James DaMore, who was fired in 2017 after writing a memo about the biological differences between men and women. When Heying spoke of the simple biological differences between men and women, some leftist activists hilariously threw a fit, rising up in protest and sabotaging the sound system as they exited.

Heying answered, “James argues, accurately, that there are differences between men and women. This is a strange position to be in, to be arguing for something that is so universally and widely accepted within biology. What is not as widely accepted is that culture is also evolutionary; but I’m going to argue that both biology and culture are both evolutionary. Let’s look at differences between men and women that are explicitly anatomical and physiological; are men taller than women on average? Does anyone take offense at that fact? I would say you could be irritated by it; you could be irritated by the fact that women have to be the ones who gestate and lactate; you could be irritated by a lot of truths—”

At that point a young woman with green hair stood up and led the protesters out. [20 min:] More.

Because the green-haired protestor’s war, like that of all post-moderns, is with reality itself.

Wouldn’t it be nice if big science boffins recognized that the squall of toxic snowflakes reported here (future leaders?) are a much more serious threat to science than whatever Florida parents want. If not, others will need to dig out the snow shovel but the results will not be pretty.

Meanwhile, spare a thought for Heather Heying: The worst position to be in is hers: She is an xx but an actual scientist, not a pussyhat for science, a parasite demanding the resources of the body to feed itself while contributing little but demands and gripes. That wouldn’t be so bad except that the gripes are so often about the nature of reality. And science can do nothing but accurately reflect reality, not change it to suit them.

See also: Jordan Peterson — Do the Stitches Hold? Peterson became a public enemy to Correct, evidence-free Opinion for saying things roughly similar to what Heying did. I was surprised by the extent to which Peterson understands that the post-modern aversion to objectivity, which is killing the social sciences, is seeping into the harder sciences as well, offering the same promise: Social peace in exchange for intellectual suicide.

Biology prof Bret Weinstein’s persecutors face sanctions from Evergreen State College

and

More scientists wanted in government – but only if they are Democrats (progressives). One result of politicizing science like this is that the doubts raised are not an instance of the public “fearing” science. They’re what happens naturally when we begin to realize that the advice we are getting comes from an interested party…

The toxc snowflake squall begins at 20 min:

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More scientists wanted in government – but only if they are Democrats (progressives)

Alex Berezow

Science journalists are actually fun— provided they are not just a flock of page boys for science boffins: This, for example, from Alex Berezow at ACSH:

314 Action’s stated mission is laudable. It includes, among other things, a desire to “elect more leaders… from STEM backgrounds” and to “strengthen communication among the STEM community, the public and our elected officials.” One would be left with the impression that the mission is bipartisan, which would be outstanding.

Unfortunately, it is not.

The leadership are all Democrats. All the candidates 314 Action has endorsed are Democrats. The site’s news page refers to Republicans as “anti-science denialists,” and one of the endorsed candidates refers to a GOP politician as “science’s public enemy number one” — a perfectly noble term, but one that should be reserved for somebody who deserves it, like anti-vaxxer Andrew Wakefield or public health menace Joseph Mercola.

Perplexed, I contacted 314 Action’s Executive Director, Joshua Morrow. I asked what criteria must be met in order for a candidate to receive an endorsement. In addition to having a background in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), he or she had to be running a serious campaign and actually trying to get elected. Mr. Morrow added that the candidate also had to be a Democrat. More.

Imagine. Someone raised the political skew as a question, not as an Answer.

However, we will answer with another question: Given this skew, why should Florida parents take seriously what scientists are concerned about with respect to their proposed education changes? In the context, doesn’t that just mean what the U.S. Democratic Party strategists are concerned about?

One result of politicizing science like this is that the doubts raised are not an instance of the public “fearing” science. They’re what happens naturally when we begin to realize that the advice we are getting comes from an interested party…

And, as noted earlier:

Their worrying about what is happening in Florida classrooms is offputting when they cannot endorse the practices at most science journals – about which they should have more control if they are worth listening to in the first place.

See also: Historic journal Nature is freaked out over American public school science classrooms – again. Idea: Why don’t we wait to see whether the new standards are more rigorous? For decades, the United States has spent more on education and got less for it than most Western nations. We can afford a bit of time to seeing whether a new broom sweeps cleaner.

and

If science journals can’t solve their own problems, why are they dictating to Florida parents? At NPR: “Another concern is that today scientists are judged primarily by which journal publishes their work. The greatest rewards tend to go to scientists who can get their papers into major journals such as Science, Nature and Cell. It matters less what the actual findings are.” Perhaps it is no surprise that with all this stuff crying out for reform, major science journals that are implicated would rather worry about science education in Florida, over which they have only elite opinion influence.

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World’s Largest Science Organization Gives Top Honor To Conspiracy-Monger Michael Mann

If you need another example of scientific establishment’s deteriorating credibility since the election of Donald Trump, here it is: The world’s largest science organization is bestowing a top honor on a climate propagandist who spends lots of his time making hateful, inflammatory comments about the president, his family, his administration and GOP lawmakers on social media.

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The Ocean Floor Is Sinking Under The Water Weight From Melting Glaciers, And It’s As Bad As It Sounds

So much extra water is being added into the world’s oceans from melting glaciers that the ocean floor is sinking underneath its increasing weight. This ocean floor deformation also means we have miscalculated just how much ocean levels are rising and the problem could be far worse than previously believed.

h/t Mom, RM

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