RESUMING TOMORROW: Our own blue tribe says the darnedest things!


Case study resumes tomorrow:  Why in the world did she say it?

More specifically, why did the Washington Post's Michele Norris make the (ludicrous) highlighted claim?

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.

"A recent study of White medical students found that half believed that Black patients had a higher tolerance for pain?" That's what Norris wrote in this column.

In fact, the study in question reported nothing dimly like that! Indeed, as we explained in this report, it may be that none of the 222 (white) medical students ever said that they believed the highlighted claim!

"Half believed that Black patients had a higher tolerance for pain?" In fact, the UVa study in question claimed nothing dimly like that—but that claim was featured in that column in the Washington Post.

Alas! As we noted in this report, variants of this pleasing claim have become quite common within our blue tribe, even at the highest levels of assumed expertise. The claim has become one of our self-impressed tribe's long list of pleasing, self-defeating verities:

These White Medical Students Today! They believe the most racist things!

Why did Norris make that wildly inaccurate claim? How did she come to believe the claim—and why hasn't her bogus statement ever been corrected?

Tomorrow, we'll resume the case study in which we examine such questions. A welter of basic questions remain to be explored concerning the creation of this pleasing bit of inaccurate tribal belief.

No, Virginia! Half the group of (white) medical students didn't say that they believed the statement in question. As we've already noted, it isn't clear that any of the (white) medical students said they agreed with that statement!

How, then, did Michele Norris—a very high-ranking mainstream journalist—come to believe this false statement? This week, we'll finish our case study of that question—and we'll continue to wonder whether the Washington Post, or Norris herself, ever plans to correct the false statement in question.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our blue tribe is deeply flawed. We love, love, love, love, love, love, love the tribally pleasing claims we make, even when the claims we make are poorly founded, wholly unfounded, or are just grossly wrong.

In this way, we're like all the rest! According to disconsolate experts, our brains are wired this way.

Alas! According to these despondent scholars, we humans are wired to divide into tribes, then to start inventing claims about The Others. The claims in question don't have to be true, these top major experts insist.

Everywhere Franklin Roosevelt looked, he saw "one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished." Everywhere we look today, we see a red tribe driven by crazy beliefs—and then we see our own blue tribe in action.

Where did that bogus claim come from? With apologies for seasonal delays, our study resumes tomorrow.

Tomorrow: For starters, we click on Norris' link

This afternoon: For entertainment purposes only! Morning Joe, at it again, with two other treasured claims!


  1. "Everywhere we look today, we see a red tribe driven by crazy beliefs..."

    Hmm, what crazy beliefs, dear Bob?

    ...are you implying that your brain-dead tribe is not controlled by shape-shifting alien reptiloids? Oh dear. Hey, why don't you take the red pill next time?..

  2. Black people must have a high tolerance for pain: they’ve endured a half millennium of racism.

    1. Jews must have an even higher pain tolerance. We've endured two millennia of antisemitism.

    2. Before about 1000 CE it was just normal ethnic prejudice. In the medieval and modern periods it’s been especially nasty and especially focused. So I’d say a millennium of antisemitism.

  3. The 5 types of Somerby supporting “arguments”:

    Mao Cheng Ji:
    Thanks for documenting another dembot atrocity.

    Off topic commenter 1:
    Democrats are beholden to the 1%.

    Anonymice who criticize Somerby are totalitarians intolerant of other viewpoints. And my intolerance of their criticism is proof of my tolerance. I, a humble Bob-fucker, am genuinely concerned about our discourse, so that’s why I support Trump and the party of Marjorie Taylor Greene.

    Somerby argumentation technique:
    If you disagree with me, it’s your lizard brain talking.

    Off topic commenter 2:
    Pseudo liberals are so stupid believing the Russiagate crap.

    1. Anonymouse 10:11am, as usual, you put the distortion up, then you knock it down.

      I have no trouble with anonymices having differing views from every subject to Chanel Miller to Maus. If I don’t agree, I’ll counter you, rather than tyrannically telling what you “should” be saying if you were a human being, or more often, what you “really think” because you’re bad..

      How do anonymices know you’re bad? Because you don’t vote like they vote.

      Or you do vote like they vote, but have the temerity to like Bob and his blog.

      In the meantime you’re calling your contrarians Russian agents, a pedophile, racists, misogynists, faux woman, failures, faux attorney, and certainly liars and political impostors.

      You’re commanding them to leave a blog that you don’t own.

      Yeah. Anonymices are tyrants. Go out in the garden and eat worms.

    2. So defensive! You must care deeply what anonymice think.

    3. Is Rationalist still out there trying to find the Republican voter who isn't a bigot, or has he given up that lost cause?

    4. 10:11 Feel free to address the substance of today's post.

    5. The substance of today’s post has been dealt with at length the 5 or 6 times Somerby has posted the same thing over the past week, and two years ago.

    6. So in other words you made an off topic comment. The plot thickens!

    7. But they weren't stupid enough to believe Republican voters were economically anxious, so let's give Liberals some credit.

    8. What do you have to say about this? It directly contradicts your claim.

    9. I'd say Obama is mistaken.
      I'd ask Obama why supposedly economically anxious voters would cheer along as Trump gave a HUGE tax break to corporations and the rich. I'd also tell him my theory about Republican voters, and ask him to contrast that Republican reaction with their actions on 1/6/21--and point out how upset they were with "urban" vote counts.

    10. Whether or not you agree or disagree is not important. You were wrong in your claim "liberals weren't stupid enough to believe Republican voters were economically anxious".

      Would you like me to provide you with quotes from Hillary Clinton and dozens of other top liberals contradicting your claim?

    11. 4;44,
      I stand corrected.
      Liberals were certainly stupid enough to believe Republican voters were concerned with economic anxiousness.

    12. Lol. Just another of Obama's stupid political takes, right?

    13. Liberals were stupid enough to buy into the Russiagate bullcrap too. I mean pseudo liberals like yourself. Got taken for a ride by that one. It turned out to be completely false.

    14. Russiagate is real.

  4. anon 10:11, you left out the most significant one, that TDH mostly is dead right, based on facts. pointing out, in essence, that the king is wearing no clothes. For example, WAPO reporters like Norris in this instance.

    1. Thanks. I forgot one.
      Somerby is dead right. No need to justify my opinion. (This a corollary to Somerby “lizard brain” argument.)

    2. Anonymouse 10:23pm, you’ve distilled agreement with any of Bob’s contentions into five formulas.

      It’s you who are suggesting that any support for any of Somerby’s contentions is reflexive and reptilian.

    3. That a great example of Cecelia “logic.”

    4. “The 5 types of Somerby supporting “arguments:”

      Anonymouse11:50am, should I be pleased that my type of argument from “The 5 types of Somerby supporting “arguments” was the only one that was more than a single sentence?

    5. Reptilian? Bob is definitely a mammal.

  5. TDH, you could have said the same thing in 2 or 3 sentences.

  6. Somerby is phoning it in again today.

    OT: Today is National Science Fiction Day. Celebrate in your accustomed manner.

    1. I wear a top emblazoned with the term “grok”.

    2. I wear a red shirt in honor of the fallen.

  7. This is the tenth time I have posted the same thing in reply to Somerby’s repetitive posts about this topic:

    1. The study itself denies that the bias stems from racism.
    2. Norris does not say that white medical students are all a bunch of racists. Her concern is that black people are (or were) hesitant to get the Covid vaccine because they distrust the medical community. The study in question, along with other incidents, illustrates the problem.

    1. She misrepresents the findings of the study. And by doing so extends a liberal narrative about rampant racism.

    2. Could She possibly be misrepresenting
      the facts and common sense more
      grievously than Bob writing about

    3. @1:56 Somerby misrepresents the findings of the study in his descriptions here. For example, he has never mentioned the second part of the study, where the students with the most misinformation are also the ones who underestimate pain for black but not white patients. If you read only Somerby, you wouldn't know that the second half of the study exists.

      Norris's statement is trivial and is more of an oversimplification than an error. Go read the study yourself.

      And as mh stated, the liberal narrative is that misconceptions are common (not rampant) and can result in worse health care for black people, thus they should be taken seriously. As mh also stated, Norris is talking about greater reluctance among black people to get the covid vaccine. That observed reluctance is a fact, a statistic, and Norris didn't make it up.

    4. Here is a link to the study itself. I think Somerby forgot to include it today.

    5. Hi mh pretending not to be mh. Norris misstated the findings. Whether or not that was trivial is subjective.

    6. Norris did not misstate the findings. She reworded the research question and related it to an overall topic of pain undertreatment, which was the point of the second study (the one Somerby never mentions). She applied the statistic for a narrower question but she accurately took the number 50% from the research report itself, as mh quoted previously. Go read the study yourself. Somerby's nitpick is that he says she is reporting on a single question instead of overall findings across the survey, for which the 50% number is accurate, as mh correctly pointed out by quoting from the report.

      This is not one of Somerby's better efforts, because he has to ignore the study itself in order to make his nitpick of Norris plausible. If you and others here were not so lazy, and would look up the study and read it, you would see that you are defending someone who doesn't deserve it.

      Here are the goals of the study:

      "In the present work, we examine whether beliefs about biological differences are associated with racial bias in pain perception and treatment recommendations. Specifically, we test whether people—including people with some medical training—believe that black people feel less pain than do white people, and we test whether people with some medical training recommend fewer or weaker pain medications to black vs. white patients. In addition, the present work extends prior work in three important ways. First, it documents whether people with some medical training (medical students and residents who already treat patients) hold false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites in contemporary times. Second, it tests whether these beliefs predict racial bias in perceptions of others’ pain and racial bias in the accuracy of treatment recommendations among a sample of white medical students and residents. Third, it investigates whether racial bias in pain perception is related to racial bias in pain management. We focus on white participants given the historical context of black–white relations, particularly in the medical context (20–25). Analyses for nonwhite participants can be found in the SI Text for the interested reader."

      Notice that Somerby has repeatedly said that ONLY white participants were tested. That is contradicted by this quote from the study, and elsewhere in the paper where results for non-white participants are summarized.

      Here is what the study says about its findings:

      "About 73% of the sample endorsed at least one of the false items (i.e., indicated that an item was possibly, probably, or definitely true; Table 1). "

      "Simple slope analyses revealed that participants who endorsed fewer false beliefs (−1 SD) did not differ in their pain estimates for a black vs. a white target [β = −0.01, SE = 0.05, F(1, 85) = 0.02, P > 0.250]. However, target race did predict racial bias in pain ratings among participants who endorsed more false beliefs (+1 SD) [β = −0.14, SE = 0.05, F(1,85) = 9.78, P = 0.002, η2p = 0.10], such that participants who rated the black target reported lower pain estimates than did participants who rated the white target. Interestingly, among this sample, the bias emerged because participants high in false beliefs rated the pain of the black target lower and the pain of the white target higher than did participants low in false beliefs. In other words, relative to participants low in false beliefs, they seemed to assume that the black body is stronger and that the white body is weaker."

      [This is the part Somerby never mentions.]

      Study 2 is the one with medical students. It reports:

      "About 50% reported that at least one of the false belief items was possibly, probably, or definitely true (Table 1)."

      This is what Norris correctly said. Somerby pretended this was about only one question, not the overall study.

    7. Cont.

      The report continues: "These percentages are noticeably lower compared with those in study 1 (50% vs. 73%); however, given this sample (medical students and residents), the percentages for false beliefs are surprisingly high."

      "The simple slope analyses indicated that participants who endorsed more false beliefs (+1 SD) rated the black target as feeling less pain than the white target [β = 0.45, SE = 0.20, t(211) = 2.24, P = 0.026]. Conversely, participants who endorsed fewer false beliefs (−1 SD) rated the black target as feeling more pain than the white target [β = −0.48, SE = 0.20, t(211) = −2.34, P = 0.020]. "

      "Study 2 demonstrates that, similar to white laypersons in study 1, many white medical students and residents hold beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites, many of which are false and fantastical in nature, and that these false beliefs are related to racial bias in pain perception. Furthermore, study 2 also reveals that white medical students and residents who endorsed false beliefs showed racial bias in the accuracy of their pain treatment recommendations. Specifically, participants who endorsed more of these beliefs reported that a black (vs. white) target patient would feel less pain and they were less accurate in their treatment recommendations for the black (vs. white) patient. Although the effect sizes for these findings were not large (η2p = 0.03 and 0.04), the practical importance is significant: those endorsing more false beliefs rated the pain of a black (vs. white) patient half a scale point lower and were less accurate in their treatment recommendations 15% of the time."

      Somerby's objection to the rating scale has no bearing on the pain estimates and accuracy of treatment recommendations, with which the ratings were correlated. Those ratings only identify which subjects had higher or lower knowledge about black physiology.

    8. @4:12 -- mh always uses his nym. I know for a fact that I posted, not mh, because unlike you, I can tell the difference between us. When I post something, I do not use a nym (for good reasons). Someone who is anonymous is not pretending to be anyone else, nor are they pretending not to be anyone.

    9. I’m pretending not to be anyone.

    10. It's hard to keep up with. So mH is wrong that Somerby ever claimed that the study itself claims that the answers stem from racism. That's 100 ft tall strawman. And you are wrong that Norris did not misstate the findings of the study or that the belief the misstatement was trivial is relevant to anything. It's hard to keep up with the sheer stupidity of all of the different commenters here. How wrong you gang of idiots consistently are. It's almost like you're consistently wrong and making stupid claims as a way of trolling.

    11. Let me type this really slowly, 6:40.

      Nowhere did I say that Somerby claimed the study ascribed the bias to racism. But it is important to understand this fact about the study; he has never mentioned this fact. The study is adamant about this. What Somerby has done in previous posts is to call the study’s findings into question. Thus, he disputes that it shows any bias at all.

      Because of the study’s caveat, anyone using the study to claim that white medical students are a bunch of racists is wrong.

      But, he wants you to think that that is exactly what Norris did. Except she didn’t. She cites the study as evidence of bias that leads (or led to) black people being hesitant to get the vaccine.

      Somerby is trying to get his readers to associate the study and Norris’ report with the idea that white medical students are a bunch of racists.


    12. mh, it must be awful to be as ignorant as you are. I guess you're just doing the best you can with what you've been given though. Hopefully though you're just trolling. Have a good evening.

  8. Get vaccinated. Get boosted.

  9. Does Bob believe a dead horse may rise
    if beaten hard enough? Or does he just
    want to test all of our pain levels?

  10. Bob used to make the impossible charge that Liberals have less regard for Republican voters than Republican politicians do. Someone must have sat him down and explained how silly that is, so he stopped.

  11. "These White Medical Students Today! They believe the most racist things!

    Why did Norris make that wildly inaccurate claim?"

    Those words are not a quote of what Norris said, but they are Somerby's words. They he asks why she made that wildly inaccurate claim, as if he is referring to a quote from Norris, when he is not. She made an entirely different claim, which is mentioned in Somerby's previous essays but not this one. Instead, he italicizes a sentence that Norris did not say, and then asks why she said it, when she did not say it.

    This is how Somerby puts his thumb on the scales. This is fiction he has written. Norris did say something, but not what he attributes to her by juxtaposition and implication.

    Discussion of someone else's supposed error should start with a quote of what they actually said. What Somerby has done here is dishonest and it makes him untrustworthy as a source of information. And it is both unfair to Norris and mistaken.

    Somerby, this is a bad start to the new year.