Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Paul Krugman & PZ Myers, The Stupidest Men Alive

Why is it that some of the best thinkers in their given discipline can't take their heads out of their asses when it comes to other aspects of their lives. Here's Paul Krugman being stupid:

We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before. And for those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist. (Her father says that “the whole Tea Party” was her enemy.) And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous “crosshairs” list.
The "odds are" it was political? Want to bet on that? Sure, bobbing-head Sarah Palin had her "crosshairs list," but so did brain-dead Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas. Does that mean the "odds are" both of these political hacks are culpable for this tragic incident? Of course not. Lougher was most likely loony-toons, crazy, bat-shit insane, and I've seen no evidence that a reduction in the rhetoric or extremism of political pundits would have had any effect on the deranged man's actions.

So we know PK is pretty stupid when it comes to things other than economics, but how does PZ Myers fare when he's not enlightening us in beautiful ways about biology or other cool developmental issues? It turns out he's pretty stupid as well.

PZ tells us that we have our own barbarian subculture, and says that "I'll take a wild guess here. The scumbag who committed this crime has been caught; I'll bet he'll turn out to be a Teabagger who listens to a lot of AM talk radio," implying a causal link.

PZ also tells us the following:
Now is the time to politicize the hell out of this situation. The people who are complaining are a mix of lefty marshmallows whose first reaction to the fulfillment of right-wing fantasies by a lunatic is to drop to their knees and beg forgiveness for thinking ill of people who paint bullseyes on their political opponents, and right wing cowards who are racing to their usual tactic of attacking their critics to shame them into silence.
Does it not matter whether politics actually had something to do with this? If there were some causal mechanism by which "lefty marshmallows" and "right wing cowards" could plausibly be held responsible, then fine, make it political. But there is no evidence that such is the case.

What is most plausible can be ascertained from those who knew Lee Loughner. As pointed out in the article, "former friends, co-workers and mental health specialists suggest a personality gone awry, a social outcast whose instability seems to have fallen through the cracks despite the fears of bewildered peers, bosses and educators." And incidentally (or not?) "During the past two years, Loughner’s behavior had gotten him fired from a job at a fast-food joint, booted from a volunteer post at an animal shelter and ousted from a community college."

Laughner ramblings don't uprear to fit into a clear left, right, or tee party category. Let's see what facts surface, along with at least the plausibility of a causal link, before we jump to conclusions.

BTW, is it ironic that Krugman now claims that "the crazies are coming out in force, and it’s all too likely to turn into a flame war?" It turns out that the crazies have come out, and they are Paul Krugman and PZ Myers.