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« A draw in the “asymmetry thesis meta-analysis” steel-cage match? Nope. It’s a KO. | Main | Dewey on curiosity & science comprehension »
Monday
Dec042017

Hey, want to know someting? Science curiosity is a culturally random variable!

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That looks a lot like "no relationship" to me - which is quite really good from a culture-war standpoint.

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterdypoon

Dan did you ever post anything on whether SCRD and curiosity are correlated? I find myself asking the question and don't remember if you already answered it..

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterdypoon

@dypoon -- Help me out here--SCRD?

December 4, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Dan,

Could you show, for each of the 4 graphs above, the area under the curve in each of the 6 SC x-axis partitions?

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

link drop:
https://phys.org/news/2017-12-exploring-ideological-antecedents-science.html

mostly MTurk, but some ISSP.

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

IMHO, the above result ought to inspire some curious questions as to what the confounding variables might be.

It seems to me that it is well established in anthropological/historical/sociological investigations that there are, indeed cultures that frown quite severely on individuals or subgroups that ask questions like: Why? or "Is that really true?" and discourage tinkering with matters outside the existing order of things. I believe that cultural examples can be found that cross cut the designations above. These could be for example, feudal societies, but they could also be tribal. Thus, I think that it seems likely that the results would validate the idea that perhaps the x-y plane above does not represent human cultures well.

Additionally,I do not believe that it has been demonstrated that there is much relationship between the "SC" metric, having to do with a reading selection of a science article from what the public may or not recognize as a mainstream science oriented journal, and the actual actions of being curious about the surrounding world. Maybe they are just searching for a politically correct authority.

In my opinion, the headline above "Science curiosity is a culturally random variable!" is not yet justified.

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

SCRD - the "unreasonable fear" Scaredy-Cat Response Disposition to falling elevators, airplane crashes, strikes of lightning, bacterial pathogens, etc. The one that also is zero-mean and nonpartisan? I think you called it something else.

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterdypoon

@Gaythia

'...indeed cultures that frown quite severely on individuals or subgroups that ask questions like: Why? or "Is that really true?" '

All strong cultures have policing mechanisms that maintain a social consensus regarding their central narratives, and so discourage any questions that challenge these narratives (this may be more or less subtle, the degree depends on variables like the general strength of the culture within the host society). But this is universal cultural behavior (so doesn't matter what the culture is, because they are all maintained via the same social mechanisms). As far as I know cultures don't generally proscribe questions that are not challenging to their core narratives. So curiosity would be steered off 'dangerous' ground, rather than prohibited.

Dan is testing for a particular flavor of curiosity, i.e. science curiosity. So for the rather limited cultural axes he's testing on within the developed US (I presume), there is huge acceptance of science which crosses all mainstream political shades (parties may reject the science they don't like and embrace the science they do like, as Dan has previously shown, but they all embrace the principle of science and don't consider it 'dangerous'). Hence one wouldn't expect any generic limit for SC in any quadrant (Dan is not testing for particular sub-topics).

One could potentially get such a limit in unusual cultural circumstances. For instance all science (and so SC too, by the kind of measure that Dan uses, or whatever means would be equivalent a hundred years back) might be rejected by say a recently colonized African country, because it is all perceived as culturally identified with the invader and hence by definition (along with Western religion and much else) may be rejected as incompatible and aggressive to the native culture and its narratives. I say 'by the kind of measure Dan uses', because even in such a case it could be that there is some genuine native science (and hence encouraged SC too) that could be missed by the measurement system (e.g. some that filtered in over previous centuries from Arabic culture). So the measure has to be appropriate to the populations measured.

I'm rather glad Dan's initial result shows this. It would be a massive challenge to think of an evolutionary reason why curiosity might have strong cultural dependence (many animals display curiosity, goes back a very long way). And even for the narrower context of the generic SC flavor, if it cannot be explained by something like the exceptional cultural scenarios above, it would be a similarly difficult challenge I think.

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

I would find it surprising if religious orthodoxy did not correlate with significantly lower SC. Religious orthodoxy is probably spread out over Dan's cultural axes, but I doubt uniformly.

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

link drop:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/12/04/anti-vaccine-parents-have-very-different-moral-values/

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan -

Although the vast majority of parents across the country vaccinate their children and follow recommended schedules for this basic preventive-medicine practice,...

So if the "vast majority" of Americans have no problem with their children being vaccinated, isn't it dubious to try to associate anti-vax attitudes with a moral profile? If researchers find that vaccine rejection is associated with a certain moral profile among those who reject vaccinations, wouldn't there be far, far more Americans with the same profile who have no problem with vaccinating their children?

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"I would find it surprising if religious orthodoxy did not correlate with significantly lower SC. Religious orthodoxy is probably spread out over Dan's cultural axes, but I doubt uniformly."

Previously discussed here:
http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2016/1/28/ccpannenberg-ppc-science-of-science-communication-lab-sessio.html

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Jonathan -

Did you miss this one?

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0146167217741314

And related to the question of religiosity and science curiosity (whatever that means) - there is some stuff in that study.

Religiosity, alongside moral purity concerns, best predicts vaccination skepticism. GM food skepticism is not fueled by religious or political ideology. Finally, religious conservatives consistently display a low faith in science and an unwillingness to support science.

My guess is that it would be dubious to draw a connection between religiosity and scientific curiosity (whatever that means) across all subject area domains. My guess is that associations between religiosity and curiosity - and if you believe it as a coherent and distinct sub-category (which I don['t find very compelling), scientific curiosity - would vary across different topics.

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@Jonathan--- by "area under curve," do you mean something like this?

Or like this?

if former, how about draw me a picture of what you have in mind & how one interprets it.

Unfortunately, don't have Scaredy Cat & Science Curiosity Scale in same data set.

December 4, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Dan,

By "area under curve", I meant numeric data, not more graphs. So, it would be the % in each of the 6 SC partitions (<-2, -2..-1, -1..0, 0..1, 1..2, >2) for each of the 4 graphs.

Another interesting thing to see would be what the graphs look like (and the % in each of the 6 SC partitions again) if you collapse Hierarchy and Egalitarianism together, so only showing combined Individualism vs. combined Communitarianism. And similarly collapse the other way, so only showing combined Hierarchy vs. combined Egalitarianism.

December 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan -

You might find this interesting:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-017-0021-9

December 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Hmm. Try this link

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-017-0021-9.epdf?referrer_access_token=2UrlkQbL-gOmfu0HdOCArNRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0NJ2dqegAz3p7E3aD97CVMYRpo3jUuKM0t0ltFscsE-UaV7YH7_DVbpwjjflslA42TBaj9dxXSiujiAdgiMluSFzVIEcAh78WonplI0PqOu53uiO39maX9dqeT7RcUr9uQOhSW4guJaoJ0U8rqErkiWDJzp3hFPV_fHeGaGuvcavhaqnQF5IFsW0-hkp_dHMSgKscUaQxwlIu_UCzlDvwxOzRVXHKBVGEwcjnuss3dbkO3CEYWPZaqzIz6sZ1Z_Sks%3D&tracking_referrer=www.vox.com

December 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

From David Roberts' discussion of that article:

And as I said in my original piece (full disclosure: The authors cite me saying so!) there’s just not a lot of good science on how emotional dispositions evolve over time and lead to action. We don’t know much about these “temporal dynamics” and so we just don’t know what kind of downstream effects an emotional experience will have.

Which is why I look askance, at theories of causality in opinion formation in the climate wars, that are speculatively based on cross-sectional snapshots of data - and in a particular if those data are from a more experimental intervention as opposed to real world observations.

A good example might be the oft' seen (and confidently asserted) argument that "skepticism" about climate change is significantly magnified by the tone of messaging, such as "consensus-messaging".

Bottom line - beware just-so (reverse-engineered) stories about evolution and opinion formation.

December 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Sorry - the David Roberts link.

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/12/5/16732772/emotion-climate-change-communication

Long live longitudinal data!

December 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

The IAT gets meta-wacked again:
https://qz.com/1144504/the-world-is-relying-on-a-flawed-psychological-test-to-fight-racism/
https://osf.io/b5m97/

Oh - and the Quartz article links to this longitudinal (4 decade!) study, Joshua:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2947027/

December 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

@Jonathan--

<<So, it would be the % in each of the 6 SC partitions (<-2, -2..-1, -1..0, 0..1, 1..2, >2) for each of the 4 graphs>>

You realize that the scale on x-axis is continuous, right? There aren't *6* partitions; there are scores of them. Some sort of binning strategy is required to report data like that; both the historgram and the kernel density plots are such strategies

What inferenes are you expecting these numbers to support?

December 5, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Jonathan -

Interesting article, thanks.

December 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"A good example might be the oft' seen (and confidently asserted) argument that "skepticism" about climate change is significantly magnified by the tone of messaging, such as "consensus-messaging"."

So do the experiment. Find some sceptics, measure the intensity of their scepticism, give them a thorough "consensus messaging", and then measure it again. Count how many of them are *less* sceptical because you've told them "97% of scientists say: "Not doing it will be catastrophic. We'll be eight degrees hotter in ten, not ten but 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals. Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living in a failed state - like Somalia or Sudan - and living conditions will be intolerable. The droughts will be so bad there'll be no more corn grown. Not doing it is suicide."".

I know you know where to find plenty of sceptics. I'm sure they'd be happy to help you with your experiment. I look forward to you reporting back with the results! :-)

Or more seriously, find 20-30 people who don't know a huge amount about climate, ask for a show of hands, then give them the "97% of scientists" message, and ask again. Then show them the data which reveals the actual figure was 82% and the 97% number was a weasel-worded lie, and see if that magnifies the scepticism, or if people don't care. It's an easy hypothesis to test.

December 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Dan,

Some sort of binning strategy is required to report data like that How about just quartiles?

What inferences are you expecting these numbers to support? Mostly that my eyes are not deceiving me when looking at the graphs. I guess your point is that all four graphs are roughly bell curves, roughly centered at 0. But they look different, and I'm trying to figure out how different.

December 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

@Jonathan

For sure my point isn't that there is no practical difference between the types; rather it is that the most straightforward way to gauge the difference would be to use some graphic reporting strategy that defensibly lumps observations into roughly equivalent bundles in relation to x-axis.

I still think something like this is up to the task. It can be used to measure relative density of observations for each group at any particular point along x.

December 6, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@Jonathan-- is more like what you had in mind? the "means" are the percentage of subjects within indicated group who score 90th percentile or above on SCS

December 6, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

NiV - the skeptics personally known to me have been hard at work mining bitcoins

https://grist.org/article/bitcoin-could-cost-us-our-clean-energy-future/

So the experiment you suggest has a short time window for implementation, before either the 97% OR the 82% statistic becomes utterly irrelevant.

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Dan - financial modelers learned the hard way that economics isn't physics

https://ofdollarsanddata.com/beyond-all-expectations-e93b358eb4f1

Your axes here refer to variables even fuzzier than P/E ratios, and I simply don't see how you can say anything about what may be happening under the main portion of these distributions - never mind at the extreme tails - based on these results.

Since you (occasionally) give lectures to audiences familiar with the classics I hope an old observation I heard from Paul Samuelson will help: he sometimes lamented (whether that is included in his writings I don't know) it was maddening to work for months on some problem only to discover some Greek had stated the end result many centuries ago. So here is the specific quote on the "expect the unexpected" conclusion of the link just posted:

Fragment 18 :

Clément, Stromates, II, 24, 5.


ἐὰν μὴ ἔλπηται, ἀνέλπιστον οὐκ
ἐξευρήσει, ἀνεξερεύνητον ἐὸν καὶ ἄπορον.

(If you have no positive anticipation, you will not find the unexpected - it is undiscovered and there is no road leading to it.)
http://philoctetes.free.fr/heraclitefraneng.htm

Pattern recognition with Bayesian adjustment, from 25 centuries ago,

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Dan,

Yes, that table (and others like it). Based just on that table, it looks like SC is slightly correlated with respect to the grid. For example, if you had an audience that was very interested in some pretty esoteric science documentary, it looks like this audience would contain roughly twice as many egalitarians as hierarchists (assuming the overall population from which the audience formed has about the same number of egalitarians as hierarchists).

If this correlation exist, however, it might just be due to the 'science' part of SC, not the 'curiosity' part - since science is often portrayed as an egalitarian initiative. Similarly, science is often portrayed as a communitarian initiative. Or, maybe this is all my own bias. It might be worth asking people which way they think science skews on your social grid. I'm pretty confident (because bias) it would skew egalitarian-communitarian, but maybe not much. There'd be a pretty big individualist contingent (the lone scientist with vision to see through the communitarian fog types), but maybe less so these days than historically. As for hierarchical, that's harder to interpret. Some might see science as a historic hierarchy - maybe with such luminaries as Aristotle near the top, etc. Others might see Aristotle as important only historically, and now considered a mostly wrong relic.

Anyway, if science is seen as skewing egalitarian-communitarian, that might be enough to explain all the skew in your graphs. And that might be motivation to find something other than 'science' on which to test 'curiosity'.

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

some asymmetry in the latest Quinnipiac poll:
http://time.com/5049665/republicans-democrats-believe-sexual-assault-accusations-survey

The differences between the parties are even more dramatic when the question turns directly to politics. Most voters in both parties agree that a Democratic congressman accused of sexual harassment should resign from office (71% of Republicans and 74% of Democrats). But when the accused congressman is a member of the GOP, just 54% of Republicans demand a resignation, compared to 82% of Democrats. These findings are consistent with a November Quinnipiac poll, which found that 62% of Americans would definitely not vote for a candidate who has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, but Republicans are divided: 42% say they would consider voting for the candidate and 41% said they wouldn’t.

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

well, that's actually 2 separate polls - Time/SurveyMonkey vs. Quinnipiac.

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan - forget polls, there is a real time experiment going on in Alabama. Election is on the 12th

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oejIhcxfTc

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

link drop - "Science’s virtues are being wielded against it.":
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-easiest-way-to-dismiss-good-science-demand-sound-science/

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Ecoute,

"...forget polls..." - Actually, I bet that the high relevance of the Alabama race is distorting those Time/SurveyMonkey & Quinnipiac polls. For the Dems, the stakes are lower (Conyers and Franken are in states with Dem govs, hence will likely be replaced by Dems).

I would love to see a similar poll from the days when Bill Clinton was accused of such things. So, my "asymmetry" declaration is contingent.

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Good graphs. Keep showing more (truthful) ones like these.

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAlan E. Dunne

Jonathan -

Actually, I bet that the high relevance of the Alabama race is distorting those Time/SurveyMonkey & Quinnipiac polls.

Not just Alabama. As you for sure remember, we've seen a parallel and probably connected change in views among evangelicals after the election of Trump. The % of evangelicals among Republicans in Alabama is extraordinarily high.

As for asymmetry, (probably not surprisingly) I think the asymmetries would likely be superficial and context influenced. Is there some long term analysis of differences in the types of people that Pubs and dems elect over time? Methinks not. People's "values" on these issues are probably quite malleable and situational, IMO.

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

W/r/t the malleability of "values," consider that Bannon joined McConnell and the RNC (both of whom Bannon has attacked non-stop for months) to endorse Moore, who McConnell and the RNC had previously said should withdraw from the race.

Not makeupable.

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Jonathan - do you read the links you post? If you did, you would know that Oreskes states (inadvertently) the truth, climate change has nothing to do with science, it is about "values".

You can't make the stuff up. As to Moore, I think he will win. How much are you willing to bet on the opposite outcome?

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Ecoute,

I think there were a few links in the past that I didn't read fully before posting, but I also think I said that when posting the link. I did read this 538 link. My interpretation of Naomi Oreskes' quotes is that they were about motivations and roles of people, not about the issue facts. I get that feeling from what was said earlier in that paragraph about tobacco companies:

The dispute over tobacco was never about the science of cigarettes’ link to cancer. It was about whether companies have the right to sell dangerous products and, if so, what obligations they have to the consumers who purchased them. Similarly, the debate over climate change isn’t about whether our planet is heating, but about how much responsibility each country and person bears for stopping it.

The placement of dangerous, and the use of Similarly combine to give me the impression that this opinion (if it is Naomi Oreskes, as she appears first later in that paragraph) is that the science that tobacco is dangerous similarly climate change is real is for this point agreed upon sufficiently universally for the real matter to pass on to the issue of roles (govt, companies, customers) and motivations - hence values.

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

"My interpretation of Naomi Oreskes' quotes is that they were about motivations and roles of people, not about the issue facts."

In a sense. The problem is that both sides in any debate are selective about how they interpret data, because of those differing values. Science demands critical challenges and high standards to counter that. And both sides are equally selective about how they interpret the challenges.

If you've carefully warped the science to support your political position and introduce (or block) regulation, you don't like it when the other side use those scientific safeguards against you, that you yourself have previously used against them.

The problem with most these campaigning articles citing the way people are biased in their interpretation of science is that they always do so in a biased way. It is always the *other* side using uncertainty and doubt to push their agenda, never themselves. They never seem to realise that research pointing to a general human characteristic to interpret science in the services of one's own political or commercial biases must apply equally to them as well.

So people who want to ban something interpret the evidence to emphasise the dangers. For example the article mentions how "A 1992 Environmental Protection Agency report identified secondhand smoke as a human carcinogen". But I've got a scientific report identifying seven of the ingredients in cabbage as carcinogens, and the EPA didn't propose to ban cabbage! The article concludes "Science matters, and we need to do it as rigorously as possible. But science can’t tell us how risky is too risky to allow products like cigarettes or potentially harmful pesticides to be sold — those are value judgements that only humans can make." The problem is that cabbage and many other vegetables contains a multitude of potentially harmful pesticides, all entirely natural, and many of the same people who want to ban smoking also think people ought to eat more vegetables!

The article also mentions the "Precautionary Principle", (or Pascal's Wager as I prefer to call it). The idea of this rhetorical technique is to identify an unquantified *potential* danger, and use the severity of the potential impact to override any calls for evidence. We don't know what long-term carcinogenic damage the allyl cyanide in cabbage might be doing, so we ought to ban it just in case.

Because absolutely *everything* has associated unquantifiable potential dangers, if you really took it seriously, you would wind up banning everything! But it's not a serious principle, it's just a rhetorical technique. So you deploy it only against the targets you want to ban, and not all the other stuff. In fact, if some representative of the cabbage industry, whose community and livelihood you are threatening with your campaign, were to turn the rhetorical tool around and demand that cabbage bans be banned until it could be *proven* that they do no harm, you would no doubt get political articles whining about how the precautionary principle was "being turned against itself" by those "Big Farmer" industry shills, enabled by the Trump administration, and the real question is whether farmers should be allowed to sell dangerous products, poisoning our kids in the name of their own profits? What are our values?

Or is it not really about our values either, but about how our values can be harnessed (like the science itself) in the service of the campaign's political demands?

The point about sound science is that it is immune to such attacks and distortions, such techniques, because it only became sound science by surviving them, by facing them and defeating them. Sound science can't be turned against itself. Scientific principles can only be turned against bad science, so if you're finding a problem with demands for solid evidence that you can't meet, you need to have a closer look at your own position, and remember the symmetry thesis. We're *all* human. We're *all* subject to bias. Only the demands for irrefutable evidence from the people who disagree with us can enable us to eliminate it, and we should be *very* suspicious of anyone calling for that to end.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

".......Big Tobacco and Big Energy sought to create uncertainty and doubt about the science, in order to diminish public support for meaningful regulation (and keep consumption high). Their goal, ultimately, was to prevent the government from regulating their industries. The sugar industry, by contrast, wasn’t just interested in creating uncertainty. It explicitly sought to villainize fat, and to place sole blame on it for coronary heart disease. In doing so, it was looking to reshape the scientific discussion, but it was also, ultimately, trying to enlist the government to carry out its work, by reshaping Americans’ diets........"
https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/a-big-tobacco-moment-for-the-sugar-industry

The anti-tobacco and anti-fossil fuels fanatics have not gone after the food industry. Are the obese a protected group? They do overlap with protected groups - blacks, non-white hispanics, low-income persons, so maybe that is where the protection comes from.

But I do not accept that NiV's elegant epistemological explanation (blindinly obvious as it is) explains the attempt to mobilize government against smokers - the 1992 EPA passive smoking study was a monstrous abuse of statistics - or the persecution of fossil fuel companies. They can only be attributed to crass dishonesty on the part of the SJWs. Stupidity is the only alternative, and doubtless applies to some, but clearly not to all.

I will believe these activists are honest on the day they advocate prosecuting manufacturers of all sugar-containing foodstuffs, starting with baby formula and continuing with soft drinks, sugars added to everything from bread to ham to tomato paste, and on, and on.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

The article also mentions the "Precautionary Principle", (or Pascal's Wager as I prefer to call it). The idea of this rhetorical technique is to identify an unquantified *potential* danger, and use the severity of the potential impact to override any calls for evidence. We don't know what long-term carcinogenic damage the allyl cyanide in cabbage might be doing, so we ought to ban it just in case.

Because absolutely *everything* has associated unquantifiable potential dangers, if you really took it seriously, you would wind up banning everything! But it's not a serious principle, it's just a rhetorical technique. So you deploy it only against the targets you want to ban, and not all the other stuff...

That's funny. I always thought the thing about Pascal's Wager that makes it so attractive is that it -would- be sound logic were it not for the fact that the incidence of a matchlessly angry God is inestimably negligible. Pascal's Wager is a rhetorical technique for shoehorning an argument about God into the shape of a risk management decision. I think it's incorrect to compare all risk management decisions made under the precautionary principle to Pascal's Wager.

Does the precautionary principle make efficient policy? No, by definition. What it does is hedge against the risk that actual harms are worse than expected/known. So is it responsible for government to use it, despite inefficient? Quite debatable on a case-by-case basis.

December 9, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterdypoon

I will believe these activists are honest on the day they advocate prosecuting manufacturers of all sugar-containing foodstuffs, starting with baby formula and continuing with soft drinks, sugars added to everything from bread to ham to tomato paste, and on, and on.

You clearly don't hang out with the same people I do. I hear such sentiments all the time. They move for local taxes on sugary sweetened beverages (SSBs) and think it's just the beginning. Some smart-aleck analyst will come out with an analysis propagating the costs of increased obesity due to added sugars to harms suffered by the government and claim that the government would be right to impose a tax, or sue for creating a false presumption of safety, or determine that sugars in "certain foods where they don't belong" be considered adulterants. Just you wait.

They're honest, all right, and misguided as heck...

December 9, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterdypoon

Dypoon - babbling inconsequentially is all your friends appear to be doing. Possibly they are honest, since you say so, but it must be clear to you that expecting the government to do anything about the problem is absurd as long as arbitrage possibilities exist.

You are undoubtedly correct though when you say I don't hang out with the same people you do. My friends instead advocate measures much more drastic than taxation. Look at this brief video on slaughterbots:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HipTO_7mUOw

No, nobody is advocating releasing minidrone swarms to exterminate the obese - for one thing, clearing up the bodies would present logistical challenges, and then there would be legal objections to deal with. But hacking into the now ubiquitous CCTVs (see IoT) and then posting on social media images of every single fat person buying a bag of chips or a quart of ice cream presents no difficulties. And, once a face is matched to a name, tracking online orders is easier still.

Those unwilling to switch to a diet of lean meats, fish, and carrots, will then be driven into the dark web, already crowded with drug dealers, pornographic videos, extreme right-wing types, even hit men for hire - though most of the latter are actually feds - and where untraceable cryptocurrencies are the coin of the realm. In case you wondered about the sudden rise in the price of bitcoin, you see the connection now :)

December 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

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