Logical Fallacies

Just came across this website (which might have some relevance to some recent discussions in comment threads).  A funny look at all the different types of logical fallacies we see in arguments.  Many of you will really enjoy this– it’s pretty awesome.

Photo of the day

Ahh, more North Korea photos:

A guide shows the way in front of a portrait of late North Korea leader Kim Jong Il in the lobby of a factory making fruit juice, near the Daedonggang Fruit Farm, on the outskirts of Pyongyang, on April 10, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip)

Liberal and conservative minds

Chris Mooney is at it again (damn, this guy sure knows how to do an all-out multi-media assault for a new book– perhaps I should take note), yesterday with a nice Op-Ed in the Post.  This particular version concentrates on a couple of “Big 5” Personality traits and how they are related to political ideology.  I found this particular part most interesting:

Perhaps most important, liberals consistently score higher on a personality measure called “openness to experience,” one of the “Big Five” personality traits, which are easily assessed through standard questionnaires. That means liberals tend to be the kind of people who want to try new things, including new music, books, restaurants and vacation spots — and new ideas.

“Open people everywhere tend to have more liberal values,” said psychologist Robert McCrae, who conducted voluminous studies on personality while at the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health.

Conservatives, in contrast, tend to be less open — less exploratory, less in need of change — and more “conscientious,” a trait that indicates they appreciate order and structure in their lives. This gels nicely with the standard definition of conservatism as resistance to change — in the famous words of William F. Buckley Jr., a desire to stand “athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!’ ”

I read this and thought, “whoa, that’ s not me” for the liberal description (and anybody who knows me well would surely think the same thing).  Generally, I don’t like change.  I find something I like and I stick with it.  Perhaps, this is why I’ve always felt like I was a liberal with a conservative personality.  Anyway, a little more investigation of this “openness to experience” dimension and some on-line tests, and I’m actually above average after all.  Looks like I get credit for liking new ideas and culture in general (e.g., books, art, etc.).  I guess I’m more open to experience than I realized.  I’m just not the least bit spontaneous and it really depends upon the experience.

Political Science and the Tea Party

So, spent a few days in Chicago for the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association.  A good time was had by all.  I was on a really interesting panel (not because of my paper) about the Tea Party and public opinion.  A really impressive paper (not yet publicly available– I’ll definitely blog on it when they get it up on the website), found voluminous and persuasive evidence for racial resentment in driving the political opinions of Tea party supporters.  My favorite example: under George Bush racial attitudes had no relationship at all with opinions on the deficit.  Under Obama, racial opinions suddenly strongly predict your opinion on the deficit if you are a tea party supporter.  Hmmmm.  On another panel I heard about a list experiment where95% of tea party supporters endorsed the statement “Obama is deliberately trying to ruin America.”  Yowza.

Also found time to enjoy Chicago and the fabulous Shedd Aquarium.

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