Pons Asinorum: Resolving Opinions and Bias


BlaiseP is the pseudonym of a peripatetic software contractor whose worldly goods can fit into an elderly Isuzu Rodeo. Bitter and recondite, he favors the long view of life, the chords of Steely Dan and Umphrey's McGee, the writings of William Vollman and Thomas Pynchon, the taste of red ale and his own gumbo. Having escaped after serving seven years of a lifetime sentence to confinement in hotel rooms, he currently resides in the wilds of Eau Claire County and contemplates the intersection of mixed SRID geometries in PostGIS.

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7 Responses

  1. Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

    Hmmm… I think you should include a chart.Report

  2. wardsmith says:

    I like your thought here Blaise, but the reality is the maniacs /are/ the politicians (see my sociopath links from earlier OP’s). Not only will they lie, but they’ll cook the books on the assembled “experts” as soon as humanly possible. Then we’ll be in the unfortunate position of listening to different Nobel Prize winning economists completely disagreeing on simple and complex issues. Sort of like now only worse.

    I do believe that having actual factual debates following NFL rules (and I was an NFL member waaaay back in HS). I don’t believe in the things called debates that are televised with soap box commentators asking the “questions” at random and all sides ignoring the time limits and other rules. I suspect however that the sociopath politicians are going to simply refuse to show up for a legitimate debate, as it is each side negotiates for months concerning who is going to ask the questions, where the venue is going to be held and so on.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to wardsmith says:

      Ward, we get the government we deserve. We lie to ourselves therefore we can’t even imagine a political debate waged from the basis of facts and the rules of honest rhetoric. “The truth is out there” is a phrase now associated with a Teevee show about the paranormal.

      In like manner the Teevee Experts are contradictions in terms. A contentious issue cannot be explained in a few PowerPoint slides. Some hairsprayed idiot asks two stupid and leading questions of the Subject Matter Expert and steps on what little answer is given. This we are told is Hard-Hitting Reporting.

      Would that we were in the Unfortunate Position of listening to different Nobel Prize winning economists completely disagreeing on simple and complex issues! They’d be talking about their viewpoints on the facts, making points and counterpoints so we the non-experts could get a fuller perspective on the significance of the facts.

      Sort of like now only worse? Well sure it would be worse — for the simpletons who want Simple Answers to Complex Problems. Any position worth taking will attract controversy. Sorta like you and me, who somehow came to an understanding wherein honest men may disagree on the conclusions but have an abiding respect for the facts. Heaven forbid we might be obliged to stipulate to a few facts now and then.Report

      • Roger in reply to BlaiseP says:

        I’d certainly love to see this tried more. I agree there are a lot of problems that will need to be worked out, and perhaps they never will be. Still, I would try it and see how such a system could evolve.Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to Roger says:

          Absolutely. We’ve been conditioned to expect Permanent Solutions for ongoing Problems. Our entire society is this way: consider all these idiotic advertisements for medicines and suchlike: got a problem? Take our pill, smear on this salve, buy our motorised scooter and you’ll suddenly be transported to your grandchild’s wedding. Happiness awaits, for a low-low price!

          Taxes too high? Are your kids laying around the house with a mountain of college debt and no good jobs on offer? Wars abroad and crime in the streets? Vote for Buckaroo Banzai for Senator and under his wise leadership all these pesky issues shall be solved at once. He’s handsome and rugged and a man of the people. He’s an economist, a quantum physicist, a first-rate musician. He’s got the respect of the military, the peaceniks, too. Little children play with his action figure and the elderly bless his name. Yeah, buddy, elect Senator Banzai, your fridge will be full, your 401(k) too.

          Forensics has been evolving since the time of the Greeks, who put much stock in the art of rhetoric. As was said in the Six Million Dollar Man, “we have the technology.” Roberts’ Rules of order, the National Forensic League framework and the structure for thesis defence. Make these grubby little power-seekers submit papers ere we turn them loose on our nation of laws.Report