Skip to main content

View Diary: Twit Watch: Dylan Byers at Politico tries to kiss up to Nate Silver; Silver tells him to take a hike (246 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  it's time to dispose of "pundits." (42+ / 0-)

    Blowhards with a title that traditionally referred to "wise men" back in the day when "men" was the usual generic noun used for anyone who worked outside the home.  Who needs 'em?

    It's time to not just throw them in the dustbin of history, but see to it that the dustbin is emptied on schedule, its contents packed in with those of a few hundred others, and then trundled off to a landfill to be buried under a couple of feet of earth so rats can't dig up any of it and drag it back into public view.  

    Last night was the turning point into a future with a future.  

    Pundits are part of a past that has been surpassed.

    And the only person on the media scene who isn't a statistician by profession and who appears to have called it right, including the number of electoral votes, is our very own Markos, who I would respectfully advise to reject any attempt to christen him a "pundit," and instead stick with a term such as "political journalist" or "political analyst" or something along those lines.  

    Karl Rove was once famously reported to have said something along the lines of "we make reality, and while you're studying it rationally, we're making another new reality."  Well, reality just bit Karl on the butt as well.

    This time, reality is in charge, and Democrats are in charge of getting America to face reality rather than escape it.  

    And as Byers and his fellow twits just discovered, reality is usually describable to a high degree of accuracy via the use of statistical methods.  

    Thou shalt not vote on machines with invisible parts.

    by G2geek on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 01:34:14 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Works for me: (13+ / 0-)
      ....reality is usually describable to a high degree of accuracy via the use of statistical methods.
      Provides highly accurate views of the past, and a precise predictive technology for the near future -- with a correlation to economic trending, of course.

      But Rove was right about one thing:  We make reality. Any time humans decide to shrug off fear, superstition, and their lust for intervention -- divine or military -- and take their rightful position as gods, the future will no long be up for grabs.


      A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

      by Pluto on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 01:59:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Provides highly accurate views" (8+ / 0-)

        I'd choose "Statistically significant", and of course within that statement "significant" needs to be defined first anyway - kind of like the difference between "accurate", "precise"  and "exact".

        And, of course, from a quantum standpoint all reality is statistical. There's some chance I could break my leg going to get a cup of coffee, but so far the probability has been low....

        Without geometry, life is pointless. And blues harmonica players suck.

        by blindcynic on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 02:37:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unless we collapse the waves of probability: (5+ / 0-)
          And, of course, from a quantum standpoint all reality is statistical. There's some chance I could break my leg going to get a cup of coffee, but so far the probability has been low....
          Once humans evolve consciously, consensus reality can become a major factor in future outcomes. In the meantime, watch your step; you don't want to trip over Schrodinger's cat ;-)


          A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

          by Pluto on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 03:06:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Have to Look (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bob Johnson, Pluto, kyril, G2geek

            Of course, the trigger is taking the time to actually investigate the phenomena.  The measuring collapses the wave.

            "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

            by PrahaPartizan on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 03:43:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The measurement collapses the wave function... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bob Johnson

              ... which is the mathematical description of the probability of a particle having certain observable characteristics.  But the tradeoff between one measurement for another, for example between measuring velocity and mass, is not equivalent to the assertion that other sets of characteristics are affected in exactly the same way by the same measurement.  

              This election was the turning point toward a future with a future.

              by G2geek on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 07:26:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  defining statistical significance... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bob Johnson, Pluto

          ... is usually left to the experimenter to set before performing the experiment, subject to various conventions of the field in which s/he works.  In the human and social sciences, p < .05 is usually sufficient.  In the physical sciences, one can add a few more decimal places.

          The phrase I originally used, "...to a high degree of accuracy..." is technically correct, since it expresses in the positive, what is usually expressed in the negative as the probability that the apparent support for a hypothesis is actually in error.

          This election was the turning point toward a future with a future.

          by G2geek on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 07:23:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  "In the province of the mind, what one believes... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pluto

        ... to be true either is true, or becomes true, within limits to be found experientially and experimentally..."  -John Lilly

        But while we can make and remake our mental and by extension our social and political realities, all of these and particularly our economic realities are still subject to the same laws of nature.  

        And the law of nature we have most flagrantly disregarded, but for which we are presently in the process of being pulled over and written the expensive ticket of all time, is that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible.  The fact that we still conceive of our economic landscape as an infinite plane with room for infinite growth, does not comport with the fact that our physical landscape is wrapped around a Euclidean solid with measurably finite surface area.

        So Job One is to recognize that a finite world can only be home to a finite material existence for a finite number of people, and that testing that premise to its experimental and experiential limits is the short path to a footnote in the history of natural selection.

        The reality of the climate crisis, and the necessity for social justice* combine to the inevitable conclusion that we must transform our economic landscape in its entirety.

        ---

        *"Social justice."  I've lately been told that this phrase has been hijacked by neo-Maoists of one stripe or another, and used as a complex equivalent for a compressed set of ideological memes.  Needless to say I reject that hijack attempt, as with the attempt to redefine "life" as a zygote with a mind in the absence of a brain, and the attempt to redefine "intelligent design" as something other than smart engineering performed by humans.  

        This election was the turning point toward a future with a future.

        by G2geek on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 07:18:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The music of logic (0+ / 0-)
          And the law of nature we have most flagrantly disregarded, but for which we are presently in the process of being pulled over and written the expensive ticket of all time, is that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible.
          It's a sound we hear infrequently over the crashing waves of denial. But if you play logic out, it will show you your current destination as well as the key to controlling it.
          The reality of the climate crisis, and the necessity for social justice combine to the inevitable conclusion that we must transform our economic landscape in its entirety.
          Or we may not transform anything in the allotted time.

          Nowhere is it written that homo sapiens ends up as the dominant conscious species on this planet.


          A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

          by Pluto on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 10:14:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Won't happen... (9+ / 0-)

      It is much cheaper to pay some hack to come on and 'express an opinion' then it is to engage in real journalism and fact checking.  How expensive is it to maintain a bureau in Africa or Asia compared to just paying some schlep to spew hot are?  Plus, facts often piss off your corporate sponsors.

      Why is Mitt Rmoney so happy that an American embassy was attacked? Why does he hate America?

      by RichM on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 02:32:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The last mostly I think, since acedemicians are us (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Johnson, Karl Rover, kyril

        ually cheaper by the hour than Barbies and Kens.

      •  no pre-emptive defeatism. (0+ / 0-)

        If people had the "won't happen" attitude yesterday, we would not be looking at a second Obama term plus a bunch of wins in the Senate and on ballot measures today.

        Never say never.

        Social conditions are not physical laws.  

        This election was the turning point toward a future with a future.

        by G2geek on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 07:28:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's not so much about canning all pundits (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        samanthab

        and replacing them with statisticians. It's about getting intelligent people on the air. Rachel Maddow; Melissa Lace-Perry; Chris Hedges -- these people are no slouches, and they don't necessarily have postgraduate degrees in mathematics. What they do is to avoid making irresponsible predictions -- and to arrive at their analyses via careful consideration of the historical evidence.

        I just want to avoid coming to the conclusion that reams of numerical data are the only means through which intelligent political analysis can take place.

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 05:44:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I totally agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Johnson, sethtriggs, kyril

      They are of no use in the current climate, because their opinions matter more than facts and their ideology or bend toward one party or another skews all their opinions. At this point, armed with polls and facts, I can make up my own opinion of how I want to vote or how I think a campaign is doing.

    •  We should have a rating system for pundits the (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto, Bob Johnson, kyril, IM, sunnyr

      way Nate and others empirically rate polls.  

      E.g.: G.Will... wrong 80% of the time, right 10% bc no one can be wrong all the time, and the other 10%... he's just blathering his brains out his arse.

      •  YES that would be a good thing. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Johnson

        Various skeptic organizations routinely issue report cards on the predictions of celebrity fortune-tellers.

        We should be doing the same with regard to pundits.

        Treat them as celebrity fortune-tellers.  

        Issue report cards.

        Percentages would be a good way to do that.

        This election was the turning point toward a future with a future.

        by G2geek on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 07:31:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your idea would put Fox and MSNBC off the air. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Johnson

      Does either network have a news show, you know, with actual news stories and reporting of facts?

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site