A friend of mine mentioned the Scientific Method today, in a Facebook post, regarding the political left and right, and supplied the below diagram to illustrate how the scientific method is supposed to work.
In a nutshell, the scientific method starts with an inductive theory someone thinks explains something about the world, or universe, around us. This leads to deductive reasoning, in the form of testable predictions, aka hypotheses, that stem from the theory. Experimentation is used, and the observations found through experimentation either support the hypotheses (and the underlying theory), or they refute it. When hypotheses are disproven, inductive reasoning is used to either reject, or to modify the original theory, based on the data, and then the whole process starts over again.
I mentioned how science can be used as a political weapon by those who do not really care about the scientific method, and I mentioned the Ahnenerbe as an example of that. The Ahnenerbe were a group of ‘scientists,’ hired by Heinrich Himmler’s SS, to ‘scientifically prove’ the superiority of the Aryan race.
Note what the Ahnenerbe were told to do: they started with a theory – that the Aryan race is superior to all other races – and their job was to use ‘science’ to prove this theory. If they used the scientific method, they might have started with the same theory, but they would have then created testable hypotheses that could either support, or reject that theory. Rejecting the theory, was, however, off the table. Himmler hired them specifically to ‘prove’ the theory, and if a ‘scientist’ in the Ahnenerbe brought up data that invalidated the theory, that scientist risked being sent to Dachau (a concentration camp primarily used for political dissidents).
When a supposed ‘scientist’ starts with the presumption that a given theory must be true, and then conducts ‘research’ with the stated goal of proving that theory (disproof being taken off the table), that’s not science. There was nothing scientific about what the Ahnenerbe was doing. The Ahnenerbe, rather, was a pseudo-scientific weapon that could be used to label anyone who questioned the superiority of the Aryan race, as ‘unscientific’. The Ahnenerbe had one purpose, and one purpose only: to justify racist policies to the German masses.
We all know that the Ahnenerbe were not really scientists (in spite of the many credentials members of the Ahnenerbe held), and since their methodology was flawed, we all reject their ‘findings,’ but we also have to ask ourselves if the Ahnenerbe were unique, or if other groups have used similar, flawed, pseudo-scientific methods, for nefarious purposes.
The answer is that today’s political left is swimming with Ahnenerbe wannabees.
We know, from scientific research on the numbers of mass shootings around the world, that 31% of all mass-shootings take place in the United States, in spite of the fact that the United States only has 5% of the world’s population. We know this because of research from Adam Lankford, published in 2016, where he looked at all of the incidents of mass shootings, all over the Earth (171 countries), from the past 47 years. His study is used continuously by gun-control advocates, as his research proves that the kind of mass-shooting gun violence plaguing the United States has no precedence anywhere else on Earth. This is, of course, undisputable scientific fact.
What if I told you that Langford never published his data? Adam Langford has written extensively about his data, but the data itself has never seen the light of day. Langford’s methodology has never been verified, and his results have never been repeated.
John Lott did a similar study (which you can download here), and unlike Langford, Lott published all of his underlying data. The first thing John Lott found is that data is not available from 171 countries, and particularly not over a 47 year time frame. What is available is 15 years worth of data from about 90 countries. Whereas Langford claimed that there were 90 mass shootings in the United States, out of 292 total worldwide, the truth is that there were fifteen times that many mass-shootings, worldwide, over just the past 15 years (much less 47 years). In other words, Langford made his numbers up, without any data, or research, to back them.
Langford claimed that the United States makes up 31% of all mass shootings (with only 5% of world’s population). The truth is that we only account for 1.43% of the world’s mass shootings, and that on a per capita basis, someone is 45% more apt to be in a mass-shooting in Denmark or Norway, than in the United States.
Langford claimed that the United States stands in first place, in terms of per capita mass shootings, but the truth is that we come in 56th place, out of less than 90 countries, and that we have fewer mass shootings than most other nations. And if you exclude gang-related mass shootings, we fall much further down that list.
John Lott, like Adam Langford, looked only at mass shootings. If one looks at mass killings in general (including those who are killed by something other than a gun), the United States looks even better, as evidenced by this piece about Britain’s mass killing problem.
Was Adam Langford conducting real science, or the same kind of ‘science’ the Ahnenerbe conducted? The answer to this question is painfully obvious, and yet the political left uses his ‘science’ as if it were gospel.
How about climate change? I’ve written about the ‘science’ behind climate change alarmism here, so I’m not going to go into depth about that (though if you click that link, you’ll get an in-depth look), but suffice it to say that the science is only ‘settled’ if you are a member of the Ahnenerbe. The left uses garbage ‘science’ here too.
What does the research say about the differences between men and women? I’ll let Jordan Peterson explain the actual science here. The left? Once again, they sound like the Ahnenerbe.
Another technique of the Ahnenerbe was to misuse Pareto distributions for political purposes, and I can illustrate this with the following Pareto chart. For the purposes of this example, assume that the frequency in the chart refers to the number of people who died from that mistake.
Let’s say that I told you we had a real problem with unauthorized drugs being taken, and I had a plan to completely solve it. You might be very interested in that plan. My plan would also double the number of people missing doses, but in acting like a leftist, I’m not going to tell you that.
As an alternative, let’s say that someone else had a plan that would cut the number of people missing doses in half, but would cause a five-fold increase in the number of people taking unauthorized drugs.
If you did not look at the chart before deciding which of these solutions to implement, you might decide that completely solving one problem was the right course of action to take. You would have saved one life, but by doubling the number of people missing doses, you would have caused 92 deaths. Had you implemented the other solution, you would have saved 42 people, at the cost of five other people.
The left misuses Pareto distributions all the time. What percentage of the world’s plastic pollution comes from plastic straws in the United States, for example? We really are killing the world’s oceans, but 60% of the waste going into the oceans comes from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. The United States accounts for an infinitesimally small amount of that waste, and plastic straws account for an infinitesimally small amount of America’s plastic waste. In the meantime, plastic waste in the six countries that are killing the oceans is expected to increase by 80% over the next six years. Do liberals call for China to stop polluting? Of course not. That might actually solve something, and if we fixed the problem, what excuse would there be to ban plastics?
Getting back to guns… The proportion of people killed with so-called ‘assault rifles’ is infinitesimally small. The vast majority of people killed with guns are killed with handguns. When I was a kid, mass shootings occurred at fast food restaurants and post offices (hence the phrase ‘going postal’). Did the left take steps to stop mass shootings at fast food restaurants and post offices? Ironically, they kind of did, but not intentionally. The left made schools ‘gun free zones,’ and overnight, all of the mass shootings migrated from fast food restaurants and post offices, to schools. Had the left used a Pareto analysis, that would never have happened.
Were the left interested in addressing gun deaths, there are things they could do. 71% of all gun deaths, for example, are gang-related. Most gang members have criminal backgrounds and cannot legally own a firearm. We could solve gang-related gun violence tomorrow, if we were serious about reducing gun deaths, but then if we actually solved the problem, what excuse would we have to disarm law-abiding citizens?
How about homelessness? What is the primary cause of homelessness? Poverty? No. Try mental illness. Does the left call for changes in how we handle mental illness, as a means of addressing homelessness? Of course not! How would the left rail against income inequality if there were not pictures of homeless people to pass around in the media?
The left does not solve problems, and is happy to see people suffer, when that suffering can be used as a political weapon against the right.
There are people on the right who have views that are not scientific too, but then the vast majority of Americans are not trained on the scientific method, and don’t really have the background to know what is, and what is not, actual science. Like lambs led to the slaughter, many of these people – on both sides – follow what it purported by those who should know real science, out of a fear of being called anti-science.
The most important questions any American can ask, in today’s political landscape, is whether they are following real scientific research, or some version of the Ahnenerbe. There is one easy give-away: anyone who claims that ‘the science is settled’, is definitely following the Ahnenerbe. Science is never truly ‘settled’.
Another clue is the use of phrases like, ‘97% of scientists agree’. What if the claim ‘97% agree’ comes from the Ahnenerbe, when in fact the majority of climate scientists do not believe mankind’s impact on the climate to be in any way significant (which is, in fact, the truth)?
The left has no shortage of ways to weaponize the word ‘science,’ and they show no regard for the scientific method when they do so. I don’t blame everyone on the left for these kinds of blatant Ahnenerbe-like techniques, but the people doing the pseudo-science trumpeted by the left know exactly what they are doing, and, at some level, so does the left’s leadership.
It’s time for conservative America to call foul, and to realize that, by and far, actual science is on our side.