Interesting stuff – 2016-10-03

Some of what I found interesting this week.

A UofT prof has gone on record in opposition to all this transgender political correct madness. The video is part 1 of 3. I expect part 2 will be recorded during his trial and part 3 will be recorded from his jail cell. Welcome to Canada, where we respect all freedom of speech except for the stuff we disagree with.

Who is this Jordan Peterson anyway? It’s not like he has a PhD in… oh, um… his PhD is in clinical psychology. Ok, so he’s got a PhD in a relevant field, but it’s probably from some back country community college like… um… oh, it’s from McGill University.

Right, fine; but he hasn’t worked anywhere respectable like… yeah… ok, so he taught at Harvard for a while. I guess that counts for something. And he currently teaches at University of Toronto which probably isn’t all that bad either.

He almost reminds me of Dr. Paul McHugh who spoke out against the whole transgender movement as well. He is a psychiatrist who has studied transgender people for about 40 years. In fact, his former employer, Johns Hopkins Hospital pioneered sex-change surgeries before eventually scrapping the practice.

But why would they cease to perform sex-change surgeries? Simple; they don’t work. They make the person appear to be of the other sex, but the underlying issues that inspired the person to seek that option never go away.

Ok, but these guys are just a couple of outliers; everybody else is on board with this politically correct view of things, right? Wrong. As Dr. Peterson shares in his video, he has spoken with a number of other colleagues of his (not all conservative, I might add) who are flat out scared of the current state of affairs. Scared to the point of considering a career change in some cases.

The thing I find most fascinating in all this is that I don’t get the sense that Dr. Peterson is religious motivated. I poked around his wikipedia page and his website and I just don’t get any “religious right” vibes. No references to Jesus or the Bible. Dr. McHugh is Catholic according to Wikipedia, but even with him you get the sense that his research led to his conclusions, not his religion.

His religion just happens to teach the same thing that the best available scientific evidence points to.

Another politician affirms that he wants to be on “the right side of history.” This time, about climate change.

That totally brought to mind this video…

Any guesses how many Albertans have taken advantage of the lack of any law in the land with respect to assisted suicide in the past roughly three month? About two dozen. That’s, “as many as four Albertans every week.”

Based on the experiences of other jurisdictions that have legalized having somebody else kill you, any guesses whether that number is likely to go up or down with time?

If you guessed up then you’re right.

Do you remember all the hoopla about stem cell research from about a decade ago? Whatever happened to that? Why don’t we hear much about that debate anymore? It was such a monumental debate between backwards pro-lifers, and the more progressive and compassionate pro-science crowd.

Here’s a really good summary of the situation, with a bit of a surprise ending. Well, I guess it’s only a surprise if one assumes that being pro-life is to be inherently anti-science.

Andrew Coyne observes that an unelected senate should also be unpowerful. Seems reasonable. After all, without any direct accountability to the general public it makes sense to put some boundaries on their power.

I wonder if the same would apply to the Supreme Court?

Some new research suggests that porn may not actually be all that harmful for couples. Huh? Even the article and the study’s authors admit that this defies the consensus of other research that has been conducted on the subject.

When research is done on sociological subjects it is quite common to find the occasional outlier. It’s important that these exist because it means that the answers depend on the questions. How was the question different this time compared to other times, and what does that teach us about the subject? Those anomalies bring insights to the discussion that the consensus studies do not.

However, when the overwhelming majority of the research points in one direction, and a small handful of subjects point in the other direction, it’s also important not to hitch your wagon to the anomalies. While we can learn from the anomalies, we must avoid the temptation to conclude that all the other research has been “overturned.” Hardly.

If you want a brief overview of what the overwhelming majority of research actually says, here’s a good place to start.