Category Archives: Mathematics

Logical Fallacy

In a review of a movie trailer (and a forties movie reviewer) by Lileks:

Let me just go on record as believing that it is not a good or necessary thing to make comedic action movies about 12-year-old girls who shoot people in the head. Because this is what I think of when I read a quote about the loss of dignity and importance – the way a culture, not individuals, loses its sense of dignity and importance by finding opportunities to leach the innocence from anything previously regarded as sacrosanct.

The comments on the HotAir thread are full of the usual scoff-talk – why, comics were once considered corrupting to children! Elvis was forbidden to be seen from the waist down! Piano legs were covered by Victorians! Christians chopped peeners off Roman statues! and so on. If there was once a standard now seen as silly and puritanical, it must mean our current standards are the same.

This is the same fallacy as that engaged by someone who, in response to a critique of his loony ideas cries, “They laughed at Einstein, too!” To which the rational rejoinder is, “They also laughed at Soupy Sales.” It’s an unjustified extrapolation, and a more robust defense is required.

It’s Really Quite Simple

I think I’ve found the pseudocode for Mann’s temperature charts:

input hockey_stick array
input year_data array
For each year (1000 - 2009) {
   while (year_data_of_year less than hockey_stick_of_year) {
      if (year_data_of_year less than hockey_stick_of_year) {
         year_data_of_year += 0.1 degrees
   plot year_data_of_year

See, nothing to it. Poor Harry wouldn’t have had so much frustration if he’d just stuck with the script.