Sunday, November 21, 2021

Dynomight dot net

I have been enjoying a website I stumbled across. One example of the writing HERE


Broad culture war questions are irresolvable mind-killers, but we can’t simply give up rational discussion of huge realms of human life. Statistics might not be able to answer those questions. What it can do is find the effect of interventions: What happens after you do something? We should skip the broad culture-war, and ask “if we push this policy lever, what are the effects?” At the same time, we should try to deflate the culture-war by skeptically evaluating all broad claims. Studying interventions is less controversial, more grounded in evidence, and must happen eventually anyway. Directly fighting the culture war is like a frontal assault on Rabaul.

The writer reminds me of a beagle. He/she doesn't care where the data leads. He doesn't care whose ox is gored. He does not seem to be conservative or progressive. He sees data. He thinks about it in an organized and methodical way. He writes. He is able to explain his use of statistics and make them clear and understandable...and that is a rare gift.

It is going to take me a while to get through his archives. His writing is "chewy" in the sense that it provokes thought and not just "ditto, me too" thinking.


  1. I went and read some of it. Yes, it is thought provoking. However, I can't help but wonder about those people who unnecessarily allude to things that no-one in the normal world would have a cue what they are talking about. As in "Rabaul". I had to look it up as I'm sure everyone else that read this also had to do. So is the point "see how smart I am", or " if you don't know this you are an ignorant Deplorable" when there are countless other equally appropriate similes more well known. Pickett's Charge would have worked. I donno, maybe I'm being judgmental or hypersensitive but academic elitism is getting tiresome. ---ken

    1. I guess to understand the writer's analogy, one might have had to have a passing familiarity with the history of World War Two. So most millennials probably wouldn't get it.

    2. Tastes differ.

      I thought he did a nice, eight-sentence thumb-nail sketch of the importance of Rabaul at the start of the piece.

      If we are in a cultural war (and I believe we are) then looking at battles from physical wars is a decent strategy. Frankly, I can relate to island-hopping better than stories of battles from Iraq or Afghanistan.

      Not to be snide, but the academic elites don't bother reading history because "everything is different now".

    3. I didn't read the start of that piece, I read what I saw first on the site. My error.--ken

    4. I think you're in my age cohort and I don't know about you, but the history of World War Two and some of it's main battles were taught in Jr. High School and High School, late 60's, early 70's IIRC. Of course, having a teacher who survived Pearl Harbor and fought in the war, taking the time away from our math studies to tell us stories of his service gave us a better grasp of the trials and tribulations our parents and grandparents went through.

      Or it could just be that I went to school in a city with several large military installations nearby, Navy and Marine bases. San Diego, where I was born and raised, is home to the Pacific Fleet. Also home to what was once Marine Corps Recruit Depot for the western side of the Mississippi River. (Recruits from east of the Mississippi, went to MCRD Parris Island in South Carolina. The Marines that went through MCRD San Diego were derisively called "Hollywood Marines" by their counterparts from Parris Island.)

      My dad worked at MCRD as a civilian employee for 18 years after he got out of the Navy. Me and my brothers saw first hand what Marine recruits went through on a daily basis. Probably why I chose the Air Force and my brothers chose the Navy after high school.

      I meant no disrespect towards Ken48. Different parts of the country might have had other priorities in education. I know when we moved from San Diego to Western North Carolina for my senior year of high school, it was totally different than what I had in San Diego.

  2. No offense taken, Mike. We grew up in very different environments. I grew up in the margins of a rural/industrial area. A blend of farmers and factory workers. Very blue collar and no military bases. My dad was in the Pacific in WWII but neither he nor his brothers who were in Europe, the navy and coast guard would ever talk about their experiences. I have no idea where he went . When the draft board sent me a summons in 1966 I flunked the physical due to asthma and allergies so I know nothing about the military other than what my friends and cousins told me about Viet Nam and those stories aren't good. Anyway I live near a small town which has become a suburb of a university and I get bombed constantly personally and in local news with libtard versions of history and it's application to today. I had a guy in a bar recently telling me that the BLM riots are like the Carthaginians fighting the Romans. I don't even go to most of my favorite lunch/watering holes anymore because that crap is all I hear. Hence my reflexive response to Raboul. I just finish my beer and leave. ---ken

  3. Skimmed through the link. What I think he is missing is that he seems to assume everyone wants the same result; thus his advocacy for intervention-based resolutions.

    There are plenty of people out there who just want to watch the world burn.

    1. One thing he claims is an advantage of intervention based resolutions is that the parties have to define the desired endpoint.

      It is not enough to say "We want justice for X" A successful intervention requires that "...justice..." be defined with objective metrics. How will we know if "justice" is achieved when it is not defined.

      To quote Lord Kelvin: “When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science.”


Readers who are willing to comment make this a better blog. Civil dialog is a valuable thing.