Forget polls–psychics call election for Obama

Unless you live in Antarctica and the satellite downlink is not working, in which case you probably aren’t reading this article anyways, there is an election in the United States between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. And unless you’re completely unaware of the news, you would hear that the election is close. 

Major election analysts, those with long track records in statistical analyses in election polls, are not seeing a close election, and as we get closer to the election date, the errors are becoming smaller, and the confidence in the predictions are getting stronger. Here are the three best:

  • Nate Silver, Five Thirty Eight–As of October 25, 2012, Obama has a 74.4% chance of winning, and leads the Electoral College (an antiquated way that the United States actually elects its Presidents), 295-243. 
  • Princeton Election Consortium–As of October 26, 2012, Obama has an 88% chance of winning, and leads the Electoral College, 297-241.
  • Votamatic–As of October 26, 2012, Obama has a >95% chance of winning, and leads the Electoral College, 332-206.

In other words, from a statistical standpoint, and because of the unusual way that the United States elects its president, the President is almost guaranteed to be reelected, barring some strange statistical anomaly or world event that dramatically changes the election scene.

But why use mathematics, when we have psychics and their pseudoscience to help us out, especially since the pollsters have “been universally negligent in addressing the fact that on November 6 at precisely 7:04 PM EST, Mercury goes into retrograde.” The Atlantic, doing yeoman’s service to the political world, has polled psychics to determine their predictions for the upcoming elections.

Now you would suppose that most psychics are New Age liberals, so there would be some bias in this polling. But The Atlantic believes that “they would act in the interest of establishing a record of accuracy, as opposed to saying what they hope happens. Letting personal political leanings interfere with the veracity of their professional analyses also must go against the code of the trade.” Obviously, this is a serious business.

Some of my favorite predictions:

  • “Mitt Romney will not win his home state of Massachusetts.” Well, that was a tough one. If that’s all I would need to do to become a psychic, I’m changing my career.
  • “It might even look like [Romney] will or could win. He may even lead in the poles. But on the day of the election Obama has enough of an astrological edge to beat out Romney.” Is that “poles” or “polls.” You never know. So, this prediction has enough fungibility, that whoever wins, it won’t matter, the psychic will claim that they predicted it. 
  • “In a survey of 172 psychics at Psychic Source71.5 percent saw Obama.” So there’s a poll of psychics. I wonder if Nate Silver incorporated that into his research. 

Well there you have it. Ignore the real scientific polling. The psychics are calling the election. And of course, since Obama is probably going to win based on real evidence, they’re all going to claim that they called it well in advance. Then you can call them up and find out how to win the lottery. Or if you’re going to meet the love of your life. Or when the world is going to end. Don’t waste your money. Please.

 

American attitudes about global warming

In most industrialized countries, global warming is considered to be a fact supported by not only personal observations, but also because of the scientific evidence. In fact, there is an overwhelming level of scientific consensus on this matter, including nearly every scientific organization in the United States. But the American mindset is quite different than the rest of the world. The reasons are many: conflating political debate with scientific debate, poorly understood economic trade-offs, badly written articles in online encyclopedias, reliance on confirmation bias, and just plain ignorance. Continue reading “American attitudes about global warming”

Mormons baptize Mahatma Gandhi–offensive in so many ways

I just wrote about Mormon’s baptizing Anne Frank, the young girl who hid from Nazis trying to murder her and her family during World War II, and who eventually died in a concentration camp.  Now another proxy baptism is reported–Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, was the founder of modern India, a great believer in non-violent protest, and a practicing Hindu.  Again, this is offensive for the same reasons why it was disgusting to baptize Anne Frank–Gandhi is a great human and symbol of India.  He was not, nor ever would have been, a Mormon. Continue reading “Mormons baptize Mahatma Gandhi–offensive in so many ways”

Mormons baptise Anne Frank–frankly, it’s disgusting

I lived in Utah during a couple of points in my life.  It is a beautiful state, with numerous outdoor activities available like hiking, fishing, rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking…I’m not being funded by the Utah Chamber of Commerce, so you get the point.  Living in Utah is an interesting proposition for someone like me who considers religion nothing more than myths carried from the Bronze Age (3000-500 BCE approximately), when human culture had barely left the last Glacial Maximum, and science was starting a fire.  Utah is essentially a theocracy, where government is mostly run by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (known as LDS or Mormons).  If you’re a non-Mormon (whom they call Gentiles) living in Utah, you sort of learn about the religion just by osmosis.  And you mostly ignore them (there is a de facto segregation of neighborhoods between Mormons and non-Mormons for a lot of complex reasons). Continue reading “Mormons baptise Anne Frank–frankly, it’s disgusting”