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360 weeks ago @ - The Harper government ... · 18 replies · +9 points

Thanks for the kind words Wells. It's always a pleasure to read your columns and I'm glad to see you back in the comments again. Of course I often disagree with the conclusions you reach and the positions you espouse, but the art of journalism is an invaluable one and you do it credit. And the same goes for many on the Macleans masthead.

I love the dialectical fights one encounters here, and I prize the opportunity to challenge my worldview by diving into a comment board filled with those who see things from a vantage point drastically different from mine. One encounters all kinds of colorful characters, superb wit, and people from varying fields of expertise on these pages. Many might dismiss it as nothing more than an online comment board for attracting click-counts to Macleans webpages, but that overlooks the truly valuable contributions that many commenters provide to the articles. Not only that, where else does one get the opportunity to engage in dialogue concerning the issues of the day with one's countrymen from all walks of life and from every corner of our land? I think of it as the equivalent of an old pub at which all the townsfolk meet at the end of the day to enjoy each other's company and exchange ideas. (except that it doesn't serve booze - but alas, nothing is perfect)

I've noticed over the last couple of months that the tenor of the dialogue seems to have degraded somewhat. Of course there were always problems from time to time with the occasional flame-war, but I find that of late it's become more pervasive, to the point where even normally classy commenters have been affected. I also find that the "echo-chamber" effect has become more pronounced; there tends to be a piling-on for anyone who doesn't favour the majority opinion. Not (generally) a piling-on of reasoned rebuttals and argument, but rather a general "you and your thoughts are not welcome here" vibe.

So I've been considering it for some time, and I think I'm going to withdraw from commenting here for at least a while. Better for my serenity, quite possibly what the majority would prefer, and in any case I have a thesis to finish. I want to thank the many commenters who've led me to new insights, made me literally laugh out loud, and engaged in respectful debate. I want to apologize to anyone whom I've flamed or insulted, and ask for their forgiveness. For those with whom the experience has not been so pleasant, I'll pray for you, and if you're the praying kind I'd ask the same favour in return - in that way we will each help the other. And lastly for the conservatives on the site: We few, we happy few, we band of brothers... .... it has been my honour to stand back-to-back with you and face all comers.

God bless.

360 weeks ago @ - The Harper government ... · 0 replies · +5 points

CR, S_c_f, Be_rad, thanks for the kind words.

I think that everyone on the thread can agree that honestly, Gaunilon is kind of obtuse.

361 weeks ago @ - And now, algebra · 2 replies · -3 points

If the distribution is weighted, then that's the sampling bias issue everyone has already discussed ad nauseam. Yes, that would be a problem, but that's not the problem Moffat is addressing here.

"...a Census isn't really a Census if it doesn't receive a critical mass of responses. It's just an attempted Census."

It doesn't matter what the response rate is; all that matters is the total number of responses compared to the overall population. If you send it out to every household in Canada and get a 20% response rate, you've got the same efficacy as if you send it to 20% of households and get a 100% response rate (again, neglecting sample bias).

361 weeks ago @ - The Harper government ... · 0 replies · -1 points

Because I was being addressed by a self-described partisan Liberal. I rarely find myself persuaded by the allure of the "you're obtuse and dishonest" argument I often encounter. Granted, it's at least half true in my case, but somehow it just isn't very compelling as a "join our cause" sort of appeal.

361 weeks ago @ - And now, algebra · 4 replies · -3 points

There's a flaw in Moffat's logic, right here:
" But would anyone anywhere consider a 57% response rate to the voluntary census to provide useful data?"

Answer: yes, because 57% for y=0.33 would represent roughly the same number of responses as the 95% response rate for the y=0.2 case. In fact that's why it works out to the same time burden assuming x remains unchanged.

For the same sample size the time burden will be the same. If the time burden increases that will only be because the sample size has increased (assuming x remains unchanged) which will provide greater confidence - a benefit.

Of course, if the voluntary census becomes biased, that's a real problem that has been addressed quite thoroughly elsewhere.

361 weeks ago @ - Gun registry math (II) · 0 replies · +4 points

I missed that, and it's a very interesting addition. One wonders, actually, whether the RCMP study might have been contaminated by this internal political pressure or whether care was taken to make it entirely anonymous.

361 weeks ago @ - The Harper government ... · 3 replies · -1 points

"Two of the four reports did not contain any research. "

Again, not containing new data is not the same thing as not containing any research. Data analysis of prior data is research and is often published as such.

"In spite of my providing a link earlier which takes you to links of 30 or more studies..."

If you provided a link, it wasn't in this thread. I don't know what link you're talking about.

"Yeah, I have to say you are obtuse, and/or perhaps dishonest."

Well then I suppose there's not much point in continuing the discussion. On the upside, you can be confident that remarks like this are a surefire way to win people over to the Liberal side.

361 weeks ago @ - On the ‘mosque’ at... · 3 replies · 0 points

I find myself in the strange position of being further opposed to the Republicans than Parisella. His main thesis, as I understand it, is that both sides have a point, and perhaps there should be a compromise. His rationale is standard Leftist thinking: those who lost loved ones have strong feelings about it, and they have some right not to be offended.

There is no such right, Constitutional or otherwise. People have the right to protest the mosque, but there is no obligation on the part of the landowners to heed those protests. No one has the right not to be offended by others.

If there end up being any legal restrictions placed on the mosque due solely to the offense it causes to the majority of Americans, that will be a major violation of the concept that everyone is equal under the law, and that justice is blind. Feelings should not be a consideration. Just as the Left is wrong to favour prosecuting people for expressing offensive opinions, likewise the mosque-opponents are wrong if they want the mosque legally sanctioned because of the offense it may cause.

361 weeks ago @ - The Harper government ... · 13 replies · +1 points

"Except in this case, no research could be found that would do such a thing, and when they (they being the RCMP) tried they only ended up confirming the prior studies."

On the contrary, two of the four reports, according to Geddes, were "sharply critical".

"Also, I'm not sure where you get the idea that only Mantaner's group was researching this stuff. "

Also according to Geddes: "Health Canada provided funding to evaluate it as a sort of pilot project in harm reduction. Montaner’s centre took on the bulk of that research."

"No, you misunderstand me. I'd hate to think intentionally, but I did think I was clear in context."

Not only am I obtuse, but dishonest as well. Got it.

361 weeks ago @ - Gun registry math (II) · 0 replies · +8 points

(1) Hoeppner's claim that "this survey proves...[her position]" is bogus.
(2) As with the census, Wherry's marshaling of those opposed to the government's position is no substitute for actual argument.