Monday, February 10, 2014

Gene Callahan: tantrum when contradicted

Thin-skinned libertarians who cannot bear to have their pomposity and arguments opposed often think  excluding others from their blogs is the way to go.  Some, like Mankiw, simply don't allow comments at all.  Others, like Gene Callahan, are censors in their little blog puddles, and won't approve messages they don't like.

This post is for us to share stories of pathetic folks like Gene who cannot bear free exchange and ban folks on personal whim, rather than on publicly announced rules.

I wrote a comment at Noahpinion that Gene Callahan responded to by calling me a crank.

When I checked out his blog, I saw a his article Why Did Urban Crime Rates Drop the Last 20 Years?  It was a silly article, and I pointed out that he was making a just-so story.  He responded intemperately, and when I attempted to respond, wrote "I have a new hypothesis: my life would be much better if Mike Huben never appeared in it again.  I am going to begin testing it out... now."

In other words, the big baby could not stand by his writings, and had to resort to censorship in his blog.

Here's what I had attempted to post:

What you think doesn’t make something a hypotheses: it means you have chosen.  Perhaps among many stories, such as the numerous creation myths.

The word you used was “explanation”.  Explanations can be stories, hypotheses, theories or laws and those are not mutually exclusive categories.  If you had done any research on the term “just-so story”, you would know that it is commonly used in academia to describe hypotheses as bad.

Does the explanation “planners (mostly) stopped mucking about poor neighborhoods” really qualify as a hypothesis?  Maybe in the sense of “provisional conjecture to guide investigation”: but that’s not what you show.  You cite two people who do NOT mention crime rates and a temporal pattern.  You have a hidden assumption that urban renewal sustained or was the initial cause of high crime rates.  You lack the specific predictions and ideas for methodology that would help distinguish this “hypothesis” from other hypotheses.

You have a just-so story.  Raising it to the level of a hypothesis is work you haven’t done.

If government isn’t your favorite bad guy, who is?  Admission that something or person that  you dislike has done something good does not imply they are not your favorite bad guy.  You’re committing a basic fallacy there.  I’d be happy if you direct me to some place where you state your position on government: I have no desire to mischaracterize you.

By the way, reading the thousands of entries in your blog would be very time consuming.  If you are proud of your defenses of government, I twice asked you to recommend them to me (by email.)  And if you followed the link I sent you, Category:Gene_Callahan, you would see that I hadn’t noticed those.

As for “really killer” [sic], “harmful” is not the same as causing crime rate drop after cessation.  And in light of the lead theory of causation of high crime rates, a decrease in lead poisoning due to urban renewal might have mitigated or reversed the overall calculated harm from urban renewal.  That is a specific, testable hypothesis.

It’s obvious to me that you still need to read my “Parable of the ship” to understand why your thinking about this is so weak.

And really, I’d think you’d be a bit more self-aware than to qualify for Godwin’s Law with mention of the Holocaust.  My grandfather died in Buchenwald, and my grandmother survived another concentration camp.


Michael said...

I am on a mailing list where one of the moderators is a libertarian. He's threatened to kick me off a couple of times, since he disagrees with me. Luckily he isn't the only moderator. He once told me he wouldn't discuss "natural law" with me, because if I didn't believe in it I wasn't scientific.
He also once got into a discussion with a few people (me included) which ended with him telling us that he was putting us all in his killfile, because we were evil. Not kidding, at all, it was both childish and a bit paranoid.
Not that I ever expect anything else. Libertarianism truly is a cult.

Mordanicus said...

If you have good arguments, you do not need to censor your opponents. Moderations is needed only to keep out spammers and genuine trolls, not to abuse it in order to restrict discussion.