EppsNet Archive: Facts

A Lot of Controversies Are Spoiled By a Guy Who Actually Know What He’s Talking About


I saw this headline today on theroot.com: A Judge Asked Harvard to Find Out Why So Many Black People Were In Prison. They Could Only Find 1 Answer: Systemic Racism The author of the article is someone named Michael Harriot, whose bio describes him as a “world-renowned wypipologist.” (Look it up.) The section that caught my attention was where the author proposes and rejects other explanations for the number of black people in prison. An excerpt: “White people make up roughly 74% of the Massachusetts population while accounting for 58.7% of cases in our data,” the study explained. “Meanwhile, Black people make up just 6.5% of the Massachusetts population and account for 17.1% of cases.” Of course, that could only mean that Black people commit much more crime, right? Nope. That’s it. No further explanation. No link to relevant data. Just “Nope.” I added a comment to the article: “Of… Read more →

Traffic Stops and Swimming Pools


We know that people can maintain an unshakable faith in any proposition, however absurd, when they are sustained by a community of like-minded believers. —Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow When I was younger (we’re all very well-behaved now 🙂 ), I had several friends and family members who had unpleasant run-ins with police, where they were cuffed or arrested or beaten, the common thread being not that they were black (they were all white), but they were all wise-asses who didn’t respect authority and couldn’t find it within themselves to be compliant to a police officer. One day my 9th-grade gym teacher told us (again, all white boys) to be excessively polite to police officers — yes sir, no sir — have your day in court if it came to that, but better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6. In my experience, the narrative that only… Read more →

Fact Checking the Fact Checkers


PolitiFact has a article headlined “Donald Trump’s NRA speech, fact-checked”. Here’s a sample: “African-American unemployment has reached another all-time, in history, record low … And the same thing with Hispanic American unemployment, which is also at the lowest level in history — unemployment, lowest level in history. And women’s unemployment — women, many women — is at the lowest level in almost 20 years. Think of that.” The “fact check” starts out like this: As far as the numbers go, Trump is correct. It then goes on for another five paragraphs to say that Barack Obama deserves “at least as much” credit as Trump for low unemployment. That’s a fact check?! Trump didn’t even say anything about who deserves the credit, although the listener is invited to make a favorable inference. Had he added “. . . and I deserve all the credit,” it would be fair in that case… Read more →