Friday, June 11, 2021

Coming Up

I am post-anesthesia, post colonoscopy today, while working on two posts.  Unfortunately, both of these require some thought, so I am being cautious.  When they say don't operate complicated machinery, I assume that means my brain, too.  I feel like I am smart as a whip right now, but I will bet a lot of people say that and are wrong.

To give you a preview, one is on Basque DNA and new support for an old idea that the language (and therefore the ethnicity), while it is considered an isolate and is certainly not closely related to any known language, may be distantly related to Sardinian, and there is even a whisper that it might be connected to the Dene-Caucasian family, a group most linguists deny is real, or at least not well-evidenced. The Russian linguists, who had better access to many small and puzzling languages in East Asia, tended in Soviet times to believe in deeper relationships between families than those in the West did. (There have not been many linguists from anywhere else until recently.) Sergei Starotsin developed this particular idea, though he did not include Basque. They did not receive a warm welcome in the west, but some took to their ideas.

The other post will be about Excess Mortality and more recent analysis. I have mentioned my belief from the start that there would be both undercounts and overcounts of Covid deaths and I will give evidence of both. My experience is that people badly want one or the other to be true and resist hearing otherwise.  These usually focus on the supposed motivations of those with different opinions in order to discredit the data.  It reminds me of the many years arguing with my namesake uncle about media bias.  He kept insisting that whatever data I was putting forward could be at best only marginally meaningful.  The large media outlets could not possibly be liberally-biased, because they were owned by Large Corporations, and it is of course well-known that those are hyper-capitalist and thus biased toward conservatism. Nothing could budge this idea. That large corporations become increasingly rent-seeking and thus more functionally socialist, because they can afford the initial costs of lobbying for the longer payout, did not penetrate in the least for him.  They were Big Business = Republican, a formulation that was decades out of date, if it were ever more than half-true. 

I see the same reasoning on both sides during Covid: those other guys must be presenting biased data because they have x incentive.  First catch your rabbit and show that the data is wrong.  Then we can discuss why it might be wrong.


Grim said...

Take your time, brother. The world can wait.

Korora said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Korora said...

"[T]hose other guys must be presenting biased data because they have x incentive."

I think that's Bulverism.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Good pickup