THURSDAY, JANUARY 5, 2023
Commenter Perry pretty much misses the point: We've lost a chunk of time today. At the point of subjecting the reader to boredom, we'll comment on a pair of comments to the post by Kevin Drum which we reviewed this morning.
Drum's post produced very few comments. One commenter started like this:
PERRY (1/5/23): I agree that it would be a good idea for Kevin Drum never to cite this study. He doesn't have any idea how to critique this study and he knows nothing about pain studies. He doesn't know the literature in this area, showing undertreatment for pain for various minority groups, including women and infants, not solely black people. Earlier studies showed undertreatment for people of various ethnicities, such as Eastern European immigrants.
This is not a valid criticism:
"The problem with the study is that after presenting the results of the survey it immediately dives into a long and messy bunch of weird measurements and unclear statistics."
This only reveals that Drum, like Somerby, doesn't understand what the study is analyzing. Like Somerby, Drum largely ignores the treatment task and focuses on the false question ratings, which only serve the purpose of classifying those subjects with misinformation about black physiology. The relation of that misinformation to the pain treatment portion of the study is the whole point, yet Drum brushes those significant correlations aside.
How much does Drum know about pain studies? We have no idea. That said, it seems it would be a valid criticism of any study to say that it involves "a long and messy bunch of unclear statistics."
As he closes, the commenter offers this:
PERRY: I think this incompetent analysis by Drum and Somerby's more specious criticism both come from untrained non-researchers who don't know what they are talking about. These are the critiques that can be safely ignored.
The commenter says that Drum's analysis is incompetent, but that our criticism is even more specious than that. It seems to us that the commenters may have missed the point of our own extended Case Study.
We do understand what the UVa study is attempting to analyze. That said, our own interest in the study concerns the talking-point about (white) medical students which has emerged in the mainstream press as a result of the study.
We're interested in the way this study has fueled a talking-point which reinforces a very significant type of blue tribe Storyline. At this site, we focus on the mainstream political press corps, not on the nature of pain treatment for various groups, an important topic concerning which we have no knowledge and no expertise.
The commenter Perry goes on from there, but he never seems to understand the nature of our interest in this particular study. Meanwhile, someone else appended this comment to Perry's original comment:
RZM (1/5/23): Somerby has become a bore and his style of argument is tedious, but the starting point for his comments was an opinion piece in the WAPO:
NORRIS (12/9/20): We are not just tussling with historical wrongs. A recent study of White medical students found that half believed that Black patients had a higher tolerance for pain and were more likely to prescribe inadequate medical treatment as a result.
Is that an accurate statement about the study?
Also, the fact that the questions leave no "I don't know" option seems like a meaningful design flaw, doesn't it?
We'll offer this possible translation:
It seems to me that Somerby has been making some valid points. But before I say that, I understand that I must say that he's a tedious bore.
Top experts have offered this provisional assessment:
We're all inclined to cling to our narratives, and perhaps to keep ourselves safely in line with prevailing views of the tribe.
Views of those experts notwithstanding, we're inclined to say that, once he got going, RZM went on to make some halfway decent points!
“The only noticeable effect is that S&Rs [white medical students and residents] who hold a lot of false beliefs tend to have higher assessments of pain in white people.”ReplyDelete
Which means that they have lower assessments of pain in black people.
This indicates that even Drum finds that the study leads to a valid and noticeable result.
How can the study therefore be scam-adjacent?
"We do understand what the UVa study is attempting to analyze."
They don't attempt to analyze anything, dear Bob. They, and the good-decent Norris, all of 'em dembots, they simply produce dembottery. And dembottery has nothing to do with analyzing. It's a different category. Okay?
Mao , you are mailing it in, boring to the point of inducing brain deadness. Over and over again, day after day, on an apparently deranged mission to get under the hated libs skin. Oh well, nuff said,etc. ctc.Delete
Pick on someone your own size.Delete
Thanks for reading, mein Herz.
Mao was funnier when he cosplayed as someone who disliked the Establishment elite. Now he's just another lazy, mouth-breathing moron, like the rest of the Right.Delete
Mao is a gay man living in an area where they don't accept that kind of lifestyle. As such, Mao is under tremendous daily pressure to hide his true identity, let's cut him a little slack. (some say that's what his partner calls his penis - "little slack")Delete
"That said, it seems it would be a valid criticism of any study to say that it involves "a long and messy bunch of unclear statistics."ReplyDelete
No, this is not a valid criticism of a research study. Statistics are evaluated based on whether they are an appropriate way of answering research questions and whether they are technically the correct way to analyze data based on the research design and the type of variable at hand. The results need to be accurately stated, but clarity for an ignorant reader is not expected, not even desirable since varying from the standard way of reporting statistical data can itself be less precise and confusing to technical readers.
This is Somerby expecting everything to be made crystal clear for him, from Einstein's theories to Godel's theorems, even though Somerby has not training and background in such subjects. That isn't required in research. If you read a report and do not understand it, it is up to you to contact someone who does and get an explanation.
Journal space is costly. Before the internet, there was a premium placed on being concise in reporting scientific findings. Conciseness is required. Explaining things that are standard in statistical analysis and scientific research is not required because the reader is expected to know such things -- or to find out for himself. Neither Drum nor Somerby did that, based on their confusions. And failure to over-explain would not be considered a flaw by peer reviewers of any scientific paper. It would be a flaw in an introductory textbook, but that is not what PNAS is, nor any other research journal.
Somerby complained about a book by Einstein which was intended to explain relativity to laymen. Somerby, a college-educated layman, is qualified to evaluate Einstein’s attempt at popularization.Delete
To be fair, 4:42, he was widely mocked in comments for misunderstanding Einstein.Delete
As far as Gödel, perhaps you may recall how he tried to ridicule Gödel (he went crazy at some point, he supposedly was a mathematical “Platonist”), all while pretending he was merely talking about a book about Gödel.
Somerby should have been able to understand the book.Delete
And why is that not Somerby’s deficiency? Members of the general public are not all alike.Delete
If Somerby is not motivated to understand, his IQ & education won’t matter.
The book Somerby complained about discussed time dilation and length contraction, both of which would have prevented Somerby from offering his dumb assessment about the train example.Delete
Somerby is coy about what he knows in order to promote his agenda of manufacturing ignorance.
Somerby is a bitter old man, who has trafficked only in hate for the past decade or so, along with his moronic and equally bitter and racist buddy Drum.
Somerby's original complaint was about the survey testing for misinformation about black physiology. Somerby complained about the rating scale, because it had two classifications: "possibly true" and "possibly false". He asserted, without any justification, evidence or scholarly source, that the two were logically the same. This is an empirical questions, but many previous studies show that logically equivalent decisions are not treated as equivalent by human beings making judgments. That is because negative framing and positive framing produce different judgments, even when the outcome is the same. There are judgment biases that are part of the research literature. I cited sources for that, which Somerby didn't read and thus ignored.ReplyDelete
You could take the survey and recode the responses so that a subject got a 1 for endorsing a correct statement or rejecting a false statement, a 2 for giving a "possibly true/possibly false" answer (Somerby insists this means "I don't know", and a 3 for endorsing an incorrect answer or rejecting a true statement. Definitely true and probably true would be treated as the same answer, while definitely false and probably false were treated as the same too. You could then use a median split to form two groups of subjects, one consisting of more correct subjects and the other consisting of less correct subjects. That would form two categories. You can then do a two-way chi square analysis, using the target (white/black) as the second variable. The dependent variable (measurement) is the pain rating. The result would most likely still be significant, but all of the nitpicks and complaints raised by Somerby and Kevin Drum would be eliminated.
The more complicated statistics used in this study arise because the researchers are interested in many more subtle questions than the overall one of whether misinformation results in different pain treatment for white versus black patients. For example, does length of medical training affect treatment? Somerby keeps saying no non-white subjects were tested, but they were, and that is another analysis the researchers performed, although it yielded no difference and thus was considered unrelated to the main question and reported in a different section, one that Somerby never bothered to read, and then denied existed.
This kind of analysis described above is one that an undergrad could have done. Somerby and Drum's insistence that research be reported at an undergrad level is insulting to the research community. And why conduct an expensive and time-consuming study to only test one question? If you're going to do the work, it is better to gather more information and better knowledge, than what would earn a passing grade for a student project? Simply so that Kevin and Somerby can read within their comfort zone?
This is foolishness on a par with the Golden Fleece awards that Proxmire used to give out monthly. He gave one to a paper whose author has been awarded a Presidential National Medal of Science for his work -- Duncan Luce. It was a mathematical paper and Proxmire had no idea how to read it. Does that make it a waste of money or time, as Proxmire always claimed? Of course not. Neither is this paper flawed simply because Somerby and Drum cannot read it closely and understand the results. They are not qualified to do that because they don't have the training. I wouldn't trust either of them to administer pain meds in a medical setting either, but it is somehow easy to understand that doctors need to know what they're doing when it concerns medicine instead of social science. And that makes these two men idiots.
Somerby is shifting his goalposts a bit. First away from Norris and onto the study, then when his criticisms there were addressed, back to Norris again, even though several people here pointed out that Somerby did not accurately quote Norris and that Norris did accurately quote the study itself.ReplyDelete
This is like a baseball player in a rundown between bases. Somerby is wrong on both counts.
I have explained several times now why Somerby's point about the rating scale is incorrect, specious (which means superficially plausible, but actually wrong). It is only plausible to people who do not know much about scaling (the design, construction and scoring of surveys using rating scales). I cited the relevant literature showing why Somerby is wrong in his complaints. He didn't read any of it and he kept on saying wrong stuff, because he doesn't read his comments -- only Kevin Drum's apparently). That doesn't make him right by default. It makes him dishonest.
That may be enough to satisfy AC/MA, but it isn't how discussions go in scientific circles, which is just more evidence that Somerby has no standing to object to this UVa study or anything else he attempts to critique along such lines. He only wants to talk. He won't listen to what people say in response. He never learns. He is a waste of everyone's time, including his own.
Yes, it’s strange that Somerby reads Drum’s comments but not his own.Delete
Somerby suffers from the same fragility that all right wingers suffer from, which is why he won't read the comments on his own blog.Delete
One reader says "you don't understand," Somerby replies "Yes, I do." Somerby doesn't address any criticisms and he continues to write wrong stuff. How does that show that he understands what he claims he understands? It doesn't.ReplyDelete
This is childishness on the level of "Does not...does too...nuh unh...uh huh...well you're wrong...no I'm not...with no way of resolving the dispute because Somerby won't engage. And that makes him nothing but a propagandist and I suspect that he is a bigot too. Not because of this but because of other statements he's made, such as his total unwillingness to consider the qualifications of the black woman just appointed to the Supreme Court.
Well, to be fair, he also tells you it’s your lizard talking if you disagree with him. A real winner of an argument, that. Never mind that it shows either immaturity, bravado, or narcissism.Delete
The lizard pops up when Bob knows his argument is weak.Delete
If you don't have the chops to understand data analysis, you shouldn't pretend you do. Kevin Drum is making a fool of himself by backing Somerby's play.ReplyDelete
Note how careful Bob was to define the study question as mean "on average".Is this what the question was supposed to mean? Who knows?ReplyDelete
To see how important this flaw is, suppose the question were about the statement, Whites are taller than blacks? This is true, IF one interprets it to mean "opn average" and "to any extent." But, it's false under a more common sense interpretation.
David, this comment may be right, but could you clarify it?Delete
Tallest people in terms of average height:Delete
"The Netherlands 72.36 inches.
Montenegro 72.13 inches.
Denmark 71.89 inches.
Norway 71.81 inches.
Serbia 71.65 inches.
Germany 71.26 inches.
Croatia 71.06 inches.
The Czech Republic 70.97 inches."
Notice that black people are not among the top, so how then would common sense tell us that they are taller than whites in the US?
Are you suggesting that when black person is mentioned what comes to mind for most people is basketball player? If so, that is a racial stereotype and definitely untrue because most black people are not basketball players. Automatically thinking about sports when someone mentions black people is an aspect of racism, in my opinion.
I will try to explain better. Consider three statements:Delete
1. Whites are generally taller than blacks
2. Whites are taller than blacks on average by a substantial mount
3. Whites are taller then blacks on average by at least a small amount
Number 3 is true. The other two are false.
My criticism is that the questionnaire's statement about white and black pain pain sensitivity is ambiguous. It could be interpreted in at least 3 ways.
Are you sure all 3 interpretations aren’t false?Delete
Response 1 includes 2&3. Why be needlessly specific about the amount taller? It makes the question harder to answer correctly.Delete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Look, if you want your comment responded to I guess you should leave it in Kevin Drum’s comment section. Bob’s attention is now firmly fixed on the horrors white AmericansReplyDelete
experience through bigotry and prejudice.
His daily obsession with this story
resembles the Republicans who
won’t vote for McCarthy.
Yes, this one eight year old study and a two year old opinion piece have above all else worked their woke evil on oppressed white medical students. It’s prima facie evidence of liberal deceit. Or something.Delete
"oppressed white medical students"
Whoa, a liberal making fun of "oppressed". Nice.
...when of course the real evil is WHITE SUPREMACISTS oppressing the "blacks" by depriving them of lucrative Oxy prescriptions.
Republicans should vote for Hakeem Jeffries.Delete
I see what you did there Mao, you turned it around on us. Now contemplate your triumph with a long walk down a short pier.Delete
RZM says: "Also, the fact that the questions leave no "I don't know" option seems like a meaningful design flaw, doesn't it?"ReplyDelete
No, because that objection by Somerby was discussed extensively in comments. RZM may be hearing about this second-hand at Kevin Drum's blog, but that doesn't mean he couldn't read the running dialog in comments at this website.
Those of us who have taken this argument seriously shouldn't have to keep repeating our own points over and over, simply because Somerby never addresses them.
TDH doesn't recognize that "Perry" is the same uber-critic of him who constantly posts here as an anon (and previously as Corby?), and has made several anon posts here saying the same thing she said to Drum. Maybe if he read his own band of followers here he'd have noticed that, though I realize doing so could be dispiriting.ReplyDelete
Yes, Somerby doesn't seem to realize the commenter in question "pretty much misses the point" every day for years on his very own blog!Delete
I rather enjoyed Corby’s comments. Corby always tried to have a real discussion and respond to the critics. Unlike the Somerby fanboy idiots who say “you’re stupid” or “iknowyouuarebutwhatami.”Delete
Corby/Perry et al is obsessed with a tribal narrative that keeps them safely in line with the prevailing views of the tribe. It comes from daddy issues ultimately.Delete
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.Delete
The Perry commenter on the Drum post is Corby etc. The years running, multi-nymed psycho troller of the Howler. They called themselves Perry here for a while. What a moronic loser.ReplyDelete
“Psycho”..good one! Real substantive.
On the other hand, taking Somerby’s advice, you should never trust your favorite journalist. Or blogger. Including your idol Somerby, who sits atop his moral high horse, accusing others of being on their moral high horses.
And he has an agenda, always seeking to validate his own view of liberals, (the UVa study is an example), so you have to be extra mindful of trusting his views implicitly.
Pretty much missing the point of every post for years is psycho. Cheers!Delete
The point being whatever you think it is. No one is allowed to see any other point. How do you know whether your point is even Somerby’s point? I’ll bet it isn’t, given that you’re not as smart as he is, or “psycho”.Delete
My brilliant nerd and I’m sticking to him.Delete
Most nerds, especially brilliant ones, understand Einstein’s explanation about relativity, and understand the importance of Gödel’s theorems.Delete
Or pretend that they do.Delete
How would you or Somerby know the difference?Delete
I know you’re pretending.Delete
2:15 says the commenter who is not female, not a woman, not married...Delete