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Well, they should, anyway.

Too often, here at DailyKos, they don't.

Now, certain Conspiracy Theories (CT) have been banned. One can't allege that the World Trade Center towers collapsed due to controlled demolition, for example. There's evidence available that it wasn't a controlled demolition, so despite the fact that it might have looked, in some ways, like a controlled demolition, the evidence that it wasn't one is overwhelming! One can't assert that the Bush Administration let it happen on purpose (LIHOP). And that's because there's no evidence which would lead a sane, reasonable, and thoughtful person to believe that's the case!

But too often, people get their panties in a wad over an issue, and they allow their preconceived notions of how the world is to blind them to reality, and they leap to unsustainable conclusions, and then publish those unsupportable theories to others of a like mind here.

And what's even worse than CT's and other extraordinary claims without that requisite extraordinary evidence getting pushed here is that they regularly get enough recommends that they end up on the Rec List!

And that's a shame.

According to the founder of this site, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga (Kos),

The rule for posting such diaries is "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".

If you can't provide evidence to back up your claim, it is best not to post the diary. This guideline also applies to recommending extraordinary-claims diaries. If a diary makes an extreme claim with little or no evidence to back up that claim, it shouldn't be recommended, no matter what that claim is.

He suggested back in 2005 that DailyKos (DK) is a reality-based community, and that

Diaries advancing 'Conspiracy Theories' (should be) subject to ridicule and derision from the community at the very least.

But too often, that critical review of the diary's content doesn't happen.

I can give you a bunch of examples, but I'll stick with a couple.

Birds died in Arkansas about a week ago. Even Time Magazine covered it. And we had several diaries here that went off the deep end. One of them suggested that it was a possibility that the birds dying in Beebe, Arkansas could be linked to the fish kill 125 miles away on the Arkansas River. But, as I explained in that diary and in others on the same subject, these birds don't have home ranges that extend 125 miles. Their home turf is, at most, 30-40 hectares. They don't fly 125 miles to eat. And so, no, it's not a possibility, as a diary repeatedly asserted, that these birds could have been eating the dead/dying fish and then flown to Beebe to die.

A claim that the two events might possibly be linked needed to be supported by some evidence. Yet there was none. The diarist tried to use the fact that songbirds can fly fast enough to have travelled that distance as evidence that the birds could have fed there, then travelled 125 miles. But that's not evidence, since these birds don't travel that far to eat and then roost! Given that fact, the wildlife officials should have dismissed that possibility.  

And despite the clear and undeniable debunking of a linkage between the fish kill and these bird dying, the diary was never updated to reflect that refutation. That blatant rejection of reality that destroyed the diarist's assertion that it was possible that the birds dying and the fish dying could be related is problematic behavior!

And the diarist wrote

Isn't it a little unusual for "disease" to abruptly kill 100,000 fish and 6,000 birds in a single day, over a very limited geographic area?  Wouldn't we expect to see other deaths among the same species in other areas?

But, in fact, it's not unusual for disease to abruptly kill tens of thousands of a single species of fish, and for a few other species to be adversely affected by a massive fish kill. And it's not unusual for birds to be killed in large numbers either. As the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., said

"In the last 10 years we have logged 188 cases just involving birds with mortality exceeding 1,000 animals per event," the USGS expert told the WSJ.

Other experts echoed that opinion to the AP.

More evidence is surfacing every day that the reports of massive dead birds and fish that were found in Arkansas, Louisiana, Nashville, Tennessee and overseas in Sweden, Brazil, New Zealand and the UK are not unusual.


The diarist leapt to an unsupportable conclusion that this is an unusual series of events, and despite having it explained to him/her that it wasn't, he/she refused to acknowledge that.

The guesses by experts that it could have been lightning or hail that killed the birds were later ascribed to have been suggestions as to what did happen, rather than educated guesses about what might have happened. But they were realistic suggestions that were only proven to be incorrect when we had better info about when the birds died. The diarist and other posters continued to try to taint the statements of other users by alleging that they had bought into that possible explanation of the cause, rather than the reality that we were simply saying that it was a possibility.  

And the diary that was the main one on this topic has been updated with this commentary.

Original title:  Fish Die, Birds Drop From the Sky; Nothing to See Here

This originally was a serious diary, about the failure of government authorities to investigate mass wildlife kills in a way that proactively protects public health, does not arbitrarily close off potentially productive avenues of investigation and aims to produce results quickly, in case the cause poses an threat to the public.  Based on my experience as a WMD preparedness expert working with government agencies to identify and mitigate threats, these are reasonable expectations. In an age of terrorism, old assumptions are potentially deadly.

However, polite debate came to a screeching halt when a pack of individuals, working in concert, shut down meaningful discussion using the tactics typical of trolls:  personal attacks, false accusations, derision, long diatribes, unreasonable demands, and sheer nonsense.  This diary stands as testament to the power of a few individuals to stifle questioning of public health policies and to shut down useful debate.

But that's not really what happened. There was never any evidence that the government wasn't doing their due diligence in investigating this event. Skilled wildlife employees looked at the fish kill on the Arkansas River, and determined, using their experience and their training to determine that the likely cause of the demise of those fish was some sort of species-specific event. The diarist didn't understand that experts in this sort of endeavor can do this. They were going to do testing, but had come to preliminary determinations. This diarist was told that they didn't understand how long the follow-up examination and testing will take, instead suggesting that there was some concerted effort to delay further info until this fish kill had fallen off the radar of most people. However, there's no evidence of that. None. Not. One. Shred.

The diarist also tried to claim that there should be questioned raised about the concern that the officials had for the public's health because those who collected the dead birds and fish wore protective suits, but weren't telling the public that there was any danger. But the public officials and commenters in the diary fully explained why they would wear the suits even when they didn't believe that the public was at any risk! It never seemed to sink in though - the belief that there might be something nefarious here, despite a total lack of evidence of any of that, was unshakeable.

And when a group of people tried to explain to the diarist and his/her fans that this was the case, they were treated like trolls, like they were trying to stifle discourse. But, again, there's no actual evidence of that. That diarist claimed that she/he had been misquoted. But it didn't happen. When challenged to provide evidence of any misquoting, it never materialized. And that's because it didn't actually happen. The diarist twisted the words of others in order to continue to support his/her nonsense about there being insufficient thought/concern/investigation on the part of the wildlife people in  Arksansas before they made preliminary determinations. There's absolutely no evidence that those people didn't do what they should have done to protect the public's health. None. The diarist leapt to conclusions that weren's supportable given the evidence we had, or the more in-depth knowledge about the event that officials on the scene had. This diarist has supposedly seen unreasonable behavior on the part of public officials in the past, and so this diarist suspects everyone even when there's no evidence that there's reason to suspect them individually.

That's unsupportable in a reality-based community. That's an extraordinary claim without the requisite extraordinary evidence.

And that's the pushback that the diarist got. That's the pushback that Kos demanded, and said would be the minimum that anyone should expect when publishing a diary that made those extraordinary claims.

Here's another one. We had a diary back in the summer that pushed the unsupported accusations of a known liar and a banned contributor to DK about purported election fraud in Shelby County, Tennesseee (Memphis). The diary's title asserted that vote fraud had been "documented".

Except it hadn't been. Not at all. Not in any way, shape or form. Yet, rather than evaluate the diary, and look at the evidence, way too many people wanted to believe that the Republicans in the metropolitan Memphis are would be willing to commit vote fraud in order to win a local election. And so, without the requisite evidence of any fraud, the diary zoomed onto the Rec List, and stayed there for a long time.

{Now, I'm not saying that some Republicans might not be willing to commit vote fraud in order to win elections. I'm simply saying that there was no evidence of any fraud. And that's what we should be using when evaluating a diary - evidence. And an extraordinary claim of election fraud requires extraordinary evidence, which never happened in this case.}

And who provided that "evidence" of vote fraud that wasn't really evidence at all? Why, it was Bev Harris, of Black Box Voting (BBV). BBV and Bev Harris have never actually been proven right in any of their major accusations. The potential for election fraud and vote fraud has existed for a while, and that's undeniable. What they've done wrong is to assert that they've uncovered evidence of actual election fraud, when they have only ever uncovered the potential for election fraud.

Now, should we be concerned about plugging gaps that might allow those potential election fraud vulnerabilities to be taken advantage of? Of course. Without a doubt, without question - however strongly you want me to assert that I am not in favor of risking the impact of anyone's franchise, I'll do that.

But that doesn't mean that anyone should get their diary which states that vote fraud has been documented on the Rec List when there's no actual evidence of vote fraud having actually happened in this community. The fact that we need to be on alert for potential vote fraud doesn't mean that allegations that aren't supported by the evidence should be bought into by the DK community! But they were.

And those of us who railed against the diary's premise were called all kinds of names. Those of us who pointed out that Bev Harris wasn't a reliable source were told that we must not care about election fraud, or we must be unaware of how often it happens. But there's very minimal evidence in the last 30 years of any examples of any substantive election fraud going on.

Given the evidence we have now and we had back in August, there were no votes stolen in Memphis. There was no evidence of votes being stolen in Memphis. Yet the diarist said that there was - that it'd been "documented".

What had been documented? That there was a discrepency between the total votes showing in one list versus the total votes on a similar list. But there was no evidence that those two vote totals on those two lists should be exactly the same. As it turns out, there was a very simple explanation as to why those two vote totals weren't the same. And those arguments were made, in that diary, shortly after it was posted. I won't rehash all of it here, because my diary here isn't about rehashing that - it was already documented in that diary and 2 other diaries I published on this topic that BBV misinterpreted a simple, explainable discrepency and claimed it was evidence of election fraud.

There was also human error in that election. I expect that many elections have some human error in them. History tells us that almost all of the time, the small human errors are either caught or are negligible, and history also tells us that almost always, there were no nefarious motives behind those instances of human error! But that human error in that election in Memphis was deemed by Bev Harris, BBV, and the diarist in question to be prima facie evidence that there was a concerted plan to affect the election results.

But there was no evidence of any collusion, of any purposeful attempt to stop any voters from getting to cast their ballots. Not one shred of evidence. Not. One. Shred. And so, according to the way that I read the FAQ's and Kos' statements, the diary should have subject to "ridicule and derision from the community at the very least." Instead, it got pushed onto the Rec List, and those of us who challenged the credibility of Bev Harris, or who pointed out the lack of documentation the diarist advertised in the Diary title were scoffed at and worse.

And what happened later? Well, a Democrat in Shelby County, a member of the Shelby County Election Commission, Myra Stiles, stated categorically that

We have carefully considered all the charges contained in the complaints and are confident that no election fraud or conspiracy occurred.

I diaried on this topic, which got ignored. Now, I know, lots of diaries, even valuable diaries, get ignored. I didn't and don't take it personally. But my point is that a diary with actual evidence got ignored because the fact that vote fraud didn't happen doesn't get one's blood boiling like evidence that election fraud did happen should! But that other diary didn't have that evidence, and it was clear from a simple reading of it.

I later diaried about how the Shelby County election fraud case was thrown out of court. The plaintiffs, Bev Harris, BBV, and a couple of local Dems, made their case. The defense didn't even have to put on a case, although they were prepared to do so. Those who had complained that there was evidence of vote fraud totally failed to provide any documentation that there was actually vote fraud. It didn't exist. There were discrepencies in vote totals on two lists because the two lists weren't counting the same things! The election lawsuit was dismissed in a directed judgment. Independent auditors accounted for the vote discrepencies. That diary, too, got pretty much ignored. The only comments? That I must not care about election fraud, or that I don't care about vulnerable voting machines, or similar comments. People leapt to unsustainable conclusions about me or the diary because it was too important to them to back off their beliefs about the accuracy of that first diary!

And that's a bad way for this site to behave.

Originally posted to DollyMadison on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 12:30 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Once in a blue moon a CT fan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DollyMadison, BusyinCA

    is truly on to something.  Most of the time it's little more than socially tolerable paranoia.

    •  Yes, sometimes they are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But that should be couched in less-certain terms than the diaries we so often see here.

      •  IMO to some extent it's a personality trait (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        along the lines of the thinking v. feeling dichotomy as described in Myers and Briggs; the CT types, I bet, are  mostly "feelers," not "thinkers."

        •  Meyers Briggs, of course, being very, very (0+ / 0-)

          solid science

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt -

          by enhydra lutris on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:25:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I dunno who buys into it & who doesn't. (0+ / 0-)

            Tell us more. From what I know of it it seems to be a highly subjective classification scheme that probably shines some light on the subject it purports to cover, but it seems to me that strict objectivity is a little more difficult to obtain in dealing with the mind than it is with the hard sciences.  Look at the DSM, and psychological diagnosis in general; a patient not infrequently receives inconsistent diagnoses from his/her various treating sources.  I haven't studied Myers & Briggs and if you told me that they're now generally thought of as quacks, I'm in no position at the moment to prove you wrong.  Still, even if every personality is different (and most of us change through time), it would seem that some sort of classification scheme might be useful in some situations, such as task/job assignment and in guidance counseling.

            •  Can't agree, because I have seen so many examples (0+ / 0-)

              where it is ludicrous, and no evidence of scientific validity whatsoever. Heck, I'm not even convinced that their bogus categories "intuitive" mean much of anything either beyond the stipulative definitions they give them.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt -

              by enhydra lutris on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 08:44:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Totally agree. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm afraid this also won't get noticed today with the breaking news. I tried to cover similar ground today but nobody will be able to focus on that today.

    But I was thinking about one line from that bird diary:

    But, what if such an incident was a terrorism dry run?

    When we have real domestic terrorism around, that sort of false and distracting crap is appalling.

    La complessità dei viventi è un dato di fatto. --emmecola

    by mem from somerville on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 12:43:13 PM PST

    •  Yes, it likely won't get much attention (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mem from somerville, BusyinCA

      And I debated not posting it.

      But I'm fairly certain that it wouldn't get much attention anyway!

      It doesn't have the right title to inflame readers.

      Not like the one that stated that The Netherlands was threatened by an industrial fire, when, in fact, although there was some potential that a fire like this could have posed some danger to some residents of The Netherlands, there was no evidence whatsoever that the public was ever in any real danger, much less the whole nation.

  •  wah,wah......hey you're no fun, There you go (5+ / 0-)

    with all those gosh---facts and such. Killjoy.

    Don't you know that sometimes one just has to go  with the gut and truthiness as it tends to make life immeasurably more interesting.

  •  Tipped and Recc'd for the Title (5+ / 0-)

    Which is bang on!

    The content is pretty damned good too :)

    We do not forgive our candidates their humanity, therefore we compel them to appear inhuman

    by twigg on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 12:46:27 PM PST

  •  Everyone in the MSM would benefit from (4+ / 0-)

    seeing this diary.  Hope those with the necessary skills can forward it on.  :)

    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

    by Observerinvancouver on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 12:52:33 PM PST

    •  You said a mouthful there! (4+ / 0-)

      I abhor that kind of stuff!

      The other day, FoxRadio News had an update about the potential for the repeal of Obama's HealthCare Reform.

      They said "Dems claim that repeal would raise the deficit."

      No, they don't "claim" that it will raise the deficit. It will, undeniably, raise the deficit!

    •  MSM? Oddly, it was biologist (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      E.O. Wilson who day before yesterday blamed public interest in mass wildlife die-offs on the internet, NOT the mainstream media. So which is it?

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 01:23:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's both (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        As I explained to you and your buddies the other day, both the
        Internet and the news in general.

        Are you not aware that one one event makes the news, other seemingly similar events also then make the news in the immediate aftermath of that first broadcast? Things that wouldn't be noticed at all on any other occasion suddenly seem significant.

        And that's because humans, in general, don't understand coincidences.

        Some of us do understand that correlation is not causation, and that not all seemingly similar events are actually similar at all!

        If there's a flock that's suddenly startled, they will startle others in the vicinity, and that wouldn't happen in every location.

        I can think of about 2 locations in my community where the grackles and starlings congregate, and they'd die in massive numbers if that happened.

        Any other place in my community, and it wouldn't happen.

        With the Internet, a story like this, which would have raised eyebrows among only the local CT'ers, now inflames every person willing to believe in CT's all around the USA.

        It's not a flaw in my argument that you don't realize this!

      •  What Wilson said (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        indubitably, DollyMadison

        and that you are mischaracterizing:

        "This instant and global communication, it's just a human instinct to read mystery and portents of dangers and wondrous things in events that are unusual," Wilson told The Associated Press on Thursday. "Not to worry, these are not portents that the world is about to come to an end."

        Wilson and the others say instant communications — especially when people can whip out smart phones to take pictures of critter carcasses and then post them on the Internet — is giving a skewed view of what is happening in the environment.

        He's nicely saying that cranks making up shit like you are skewing the real story.

        Learn something from this.

        La complessità dei viventi è un dato di fatto. --emmecola

        by mem from somerville on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 01:46:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, the availability (0+ / 0-)

          of photographs live from a current Big News event are quite valuable in the overall free flow of information. Not the only valuable tidbits and the ability to beam them all over the place quickly, but fairly powerful for the purpose. Such tidbits can indeed help to draw general public attention to said event, or a string of ongoing events - as the wildlife die-offs represent. I'd bet if you did a street survey, not even 1 out of a hundred people would be able to tell you that mass wildlife die-offs happen "all the time," or cite any 'official' reason that this is so. Thus focusing of public attention on the events as well as the issue is a GOOD thing. Awareness is necessary if anything is to get done about those "human activities" Wilson mentioned that cause extinctions. It's gotta start somewhere.

          Why on earth would you think not so?

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:09:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            indubitably, DollyMadison

            I'd bet if you did a street survey, not even 1 out of a hundred people would be able to tell you that mass wildlife die-offs happen "all the time," or cite any 'official' reason that this is so.

            So what?

            Just because the public is clueless does not permit you to run around with your hair on fire. A significant fraction of people do not believe in evolution. That is not permission to speculate on intelligent design.

            La complessità dei viventi è un dato di fatto. --emmecola

            by mem from somerville on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:13:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, more lunacy - what a shock (0+ / 0-)

            The Internet does much good.

            It does make more information available to more people, and that's a good thing.

            But it also does harm.

            Why am I not surprised that someone with the inadequate reading comprehension and logical thinking skills that you've demonstrated would also suffer from black and white thinking?

            The fact that the Internet has made info gathering much easier is totally irrelevant to the issue that's being raised here - that the Internet can lead people to jump to illogical and illegitimate conclusions!

      •  I wasn't thinking about the particular details (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, DollyMadison

        of this diary when I made my comment.  I was thinking about how so many in the media parrot whatever they hear without making the slightest attempts at fact checking.  

        We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

        by Observerinvancouver on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 02:13:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course they do. (0+ / 0-)

          The diaries here were pretty much informational, though. I saw some speculation from officials repeated, and some commenters offered speculations for discussion. No conclusions were reached, far as I know. Just discussion of interesting events making news all over the planet, the causes of which remain at this point mysterious. Plus some bored trolls, of course.

          I'm sure people have been discussing these events from all over the world on the internet since the news broke (and keeps getting made with another die-off). I can't vouch for any possible firm conspiracy theories that might be out there somewhere. That has nothing to do with DKos or discussion of these events on this site. Which is the subject of this diary.

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:01:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The diaries here weren't, overall, informative (0+ / 0-)

            They were misleading.

            They were short on substantive information.

            They weren't updated when appropriate. They leapt to unsustainable conclusions without evidence to support those conclusions!

            There were conclusions that were reached, like the conclusion that it was possible that these birds might have eaten the fish. But it's not possible. Birds like this don't eat fish at this time of year, nor do they fly 125 miles after they eat to roost someplace else! The conclusion that the local officials had rushed to make unwise judgements also wasn't a reasonable conclusion.

            And there were no trolls involved.

            But please, keep making a fool of yourself.

            •  Not everyone hangs around (0+ / 0-)

              for the better part of a week in a diary whining about "updates" as the days have gone forward and more info comes in/events take place. Once a diary is off the list and draws no new comments, it's done. What a monumental waste of time.

              Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

              by Joieau on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:40:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  So what? (0+ / 0-)

                The fact that I am doggedly fighting against misinformation, delusions, unsupportable conclusions, and unsustainable accusations is not a bad thing.

                I never "whined about updates". I pointed out how the diarist wasn't honest, because when he'd be clearly and undeniably informed that something he wrote was wrong, while the diary was still on the Rec List, he refused to update the diary, an obligation for any diarist. That's not whining. It's not wrong to call someone to account for their behavior. And those who are called out aren't victims, just like convicted criminals aren't victims of the criminal justice system. The DA in Texas who kept going after Tom DeLay wasn't whining. Neither was I.

                The updates that should have been put in there should have been put in there when the diary was very active and still on the recommended list. I explicitly said that in my comments when the diarist tried to claim that I wanted the updates after it had come off the Rec List! So, yet again, you lie when you make these bogus claims about what I was asking for! Not a surprise.

                I understand that from your point of view, from the point of view of someone who was pwned, over and over and over again, that you'd have preferred that I not be so dogged and determined.

                Too bad, so sad. For you.

                •  Yet again, (0+ / 0-)

                  no one's here to appreciate your banality. And I don't care.

                  Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                  by Joieau on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 09:59:15 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah, right, you don't care (0+ / 0-)

                    That's why you posted in my diary in the first place, right? Because of how much you don't care?

                    I swear, do you even think at all before you put your fingers on the keyboard to type?

                    Of course you "care"! It's undeniable, yet you deny it.

                    You got pwned, repeatedly, in this diary, and in 3 other recent diaries on similar topics. Totally pwned. I understand that's not a comfortable feeling. Too bad, so sad. For you.

                    Get a clue. Get over it. Figure out how to avoid making a fool of yourself, and stop blaming those who point out that you're making a fool of yourself. You're not a victim.

  •  Let's Apply This to Both Parties' Economics nt (4+ / 0-)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 12:52:44 PM PST

    •  Yes, we should (0+ / 0-)

      It's not just applicable in diaries here at DK.

      It's useful in our real life, in our interactions with friends and family, and important in politics too!

      With economics, there aren't a lot of "facts" - there is strongly-held opinion and there are reasonable hypotheses.

      But there are easily-debunked things too - things that can't be supported, given the facts!

      Thanks for your contribution/suggestion.

  •  Now I'm confused. (0+ / 0-)

    Yesterday, in mem's 3-day old diary that people shouldn't "run with conclusions" (about the vaccine-autism scandal) - and after dogging me all that time with accusations that had nothing to do with my position or posts to the subject - you made your own conclusions point-blank:

    And, as I have already explained to you, when birds get used to a loud noise, it becomes less frightening to them. I doubt that anyone had ever used professional-grade fireworks around them, and so it shouldn't surprise anyone that it panicked them.

    Well, it shouldn't surprise any thinking, sentient, sane person, that is. I guess that's why it stuns you!

    Though in the original diary your conclusion at one point that the birds got sucked into a storm that didn't happen, to a most improbably altitude of ~25-35,000 feet to be pummeled to death by 'high-level hail' that never fell. At one point you bought the mass lightning strike speculation too. Anything coming from any interviewed 'official' that admittedly didn't know more than anybody else would do for the purpose of trying to shut down discussion of possibilities from interested commenters. Then, after falsely accusing me of asserting conclusions, I replied:

    I have asserted no conclusions. Nada. Zero. Zip. Zilch. None whatsoever. I have pointed this out to you and your fellow hijackers repeatedly, and it's as true now as it has been all along.

    To which you offered the following, mind-jarringly absurd response:

    You've come to the conclusion that it's too early and there's too little evidence to make a determination what happened.

    So. Your problem, apart from the fact that other people's diaries you don't like can get more recs than yours, is that some of us interested in discussing the die-off events weren't buying 'official' speculations on what remains to this moment unknown. That's entirely ridiculous. It is NOT a conspiracy theory to discuss newsworthy events, or to note that with investigation just begun, all speculations to cause are just that - speculation.

    Semi-amazing, certainly not humorous.

    Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

    by Joieau on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 01:51:45 PM PST

    •  What Joieau wrote: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      indubitably, DollyMadison
      * [Please see War on Error's current diary, Updated BREAKING NEWS: USDA Killing 1000s Birds for Years for yet another possible/likely explanation of what's going on, at least with the birds].

      Likely explanation of what's going on.


      La complessità dei viventi è un dato di fatto. --emmecola

      by mem from somerville on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 01:58:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, that diary is something (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mem from somerville

        War on Error didn't know on Tuesday that people had heard the birds and seen the birds falling from the sky, hitting a police cruiser, hitting a woman walking her dog, etc. Tuesday was the 4th, days after the event.

        Anyone who was trying to be well-informed on this topic knew these things.

        His claims had no evidence - in fact, most of his claims were disproven by the available evidence, yet he still made them, and got tons of approval from others.

        This site should be better than that.

    •  Well, I'm sure not surprised that you're confused (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That's been your near constant state from what I've seen.

      Yesterday, in mem's 3-day old diary that people shouldn't "run with conclusions" (about the vaccine-autism scandal) - and after dogging me all that time with accusations that had nothing to do with my position or posts to the subject

      Well, thanks for providing examples of me behaving this way - oops, that's right, you didn't provide a single example!!! Yeah, actually, I have never dogged you with accusations that had nothing to do with your position, and I've always made my replies to you direct responses to the things you've written.

      - you made your own conclusions point-blank:

      And, as I have already explained to you, when birds get used to a loud noise, it becomes less frightening to them. I doubt that anyone had ever used professional-grade fireworks around them, and so it shouldn't surprise anyone that it panicked them.

      Well, it shouldn't surprise any thinking, sentient, sane person, that is. I guess that's why it stuns you!

      Yes, I have reached the conclusion, as would any sane person, that a loud noise that they hadn't become inured to would scare a bird. As I have already explained to you in the past, there are known facts and known conclusions that one can come to right now - I've already provided a list of them, in fact! In fact, in the very string of comments you linked to above, I provided a link to that list! I swear, you keep digging the hole you're already in. You need to stop!

      Though in the original diary your conclusion

      I never came to that conclusion. You lie when you state that. And you've been repeatedly called on that lie - why are you repeating a lie that's already been refuted? My diary above points out this lie, this distortion of what happened - why are you so determined to document your ignorance that despite evidence, you'd still make this claim?

      At one point you bought the mass lightning strike speculation too.

      Nope, never happened. I also detail that in the diary above! I swear, what's your problem. Stating that it could be a potential explanation isn't the same as saying that it is the explanation! It is, in fact, the explanation for mass animal deaths at times!

      Your problem, apart from the fact that other people's diaries you don't like can get more recs than yours,

      Actually, no. It has nothing to do with my diaries. It has to do with diaries with theories that people are willing to buy into because of their preconceived notions get more recommends than diaries that actually hew to the truth. And that's a bad thing for a supposedly reality-based community! It's nothing to do with my diaries. Nothing whatsoever.

  •  um, red wing blackbirds are migratory... (0+ / 0-)

    not stationary.

    "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Charles Beard

    by poligirl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 02:06:09 PM PST

    •  No, they aren't, not in southern states (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larry Bailey, indubitably

      Really, if you don't know what you're talking about, you really shouldn't try to educate others!

      There are migratory red-winged blackbirds, and they flew to their winter locales already.

      And in their summer home ranges and their winter home ranges, they don't travel 125 miles to get food.

      By the way, I provided links to this info in the other diaries.

      This diary is not here, as I explicitly said above, to hash out the facts that were already hashed out in those previous diaries.

      But here's a map to show you that these birds in Arkansas don't migrate.

      •  well, it just seems as you are definitively... (0+ / 0-)

        stating that there is absolutely no possibility that the death of the red winged blackbirds could be related to the death of the drum fish.

        that's a pretty bold statement considering that not even the experts have figured out why they died, nor why the fish have died.

        and that statement is akin to those stating that the deaths are definitely related. yours is just the other side of the coin.

        "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Charles Beard

        by poligirl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:11:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Those birds were never near those fish (0+ / 0-)

          That's definite. These birds don't eat, then fly 125 miles away to roost.

          It doesn't happen.

          The fact that we don't know all the facts here doesn't mean that we don't know anything. We know lots of things. One of the things we know is that these birds don't fly 125 miles after they eat to roost!

          Those who say that the deaths may be related have no evidence whatsoever on their side.

          I have plenty of evidence, provided via links on other diaries, and easily found by you on your own if you actually cared about the truth, that would tell you that these birds have a very small home range, and don't travel very far to eat or roost.

          It's not a he said/she said issue here.

          Go back and read this diary again, and get a clue. The extraordinary claim that these animals' deaths are related requires extraordinary evidence, yet there's none. My basic claim, not an extraordinary claim, that these birds have a relatively small home range, doesn't require extraordinary evidence, and I provided multiple links to multiple sites that document the size of their home range.

          Really, if you don't know what you're talking about, you really shouldn't be trying to school anyone else!

          •  so it's not possible, that because one of the... (0+ / 0-)

            things red wing blackbirds eat is rice crops, that some of those crops may have had some sort of pesticide or genetically engineered component or something of that sort, that, because of the various rainstorms that have been in Arkansas recently, could've been swept down into the river that the fish died in?

            the fact that something could have been in the water, or could have been swept into a river/rivers (there are quite a few in Arkansas) makes me think it's possible. especially since the birds' nesting areas are in marshlands and rice paddies.

            just saying...

            but i suspect that you yourself are convinced that there is no possible way that they could be connected. it's an absolute impossibility to you.

            i guess i just don't judge so quickly that fairly unique wildlife deaths very close together in time and place could not possibly be related. i'd rather wait to find out what killed them before proclaiming the outcome. but that's just me.

            "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Charles Beard

            by poligirl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 08:58:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, it's not possible (0+ / 0-)

              The drainage from those crops wouldn't have done that. The sites are 125 miles away from each other, first off, but secondly, the site where the dead fish were found is upriver from where the birds died! If there were contamination in Beebe, that wouldn't flow into the Arkansas River and reach the part of it where the fish died!!!

              It's not possible. Toxic things don't act that way either - sparing fish and other wildlife along the way, then suddenly affecting only one species miles done the river!

              You're pushing a conspiracy theory without any evidence, and with plenty of evidence that it can't possibly be true.

              Read my diary - that's the same way that those who assert that the WTC towers came down due to a controlled demolition behave.

              They assert that because it looked like a controlled demolition, it might have been one. But in order to make that supposition, they have to ignore the known facts that tell us that it could not possibly have been a controlled demolition. People in the buildings would have seen the workers and the signs of that positioning of the explosives necessary to bring the buildings down, and the buildings came down directly where they were hit - no pilot flying 600 mph (way too fast to target any individual floor). Since the buildings came down right where they were hit, and no pre-set demolitions would have survived the hit from the planes, it's not possible that they came down due to controlled demolition!

              You're looking at only one variable, instead of considering all the variables.

              The local wildlife experts and officials consider all the variables. The CT diaries don't. You didn't.

              The local officials who care about environmental quality and wildlife have determined

              that the deaths weren't related to river pollution.

              Really, you're way, way, way over your head here. Drowning, in fact.

              •  oh, i'm not pushing anything Dolly... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                i'm simply saying that saying that something is impossible, when someone isn't a professional expert in the specialized field/s being discussed, is incredibly arrogant.

                most scientists won't even make that brazen of a statement until they know what caused the deaths. they may start ruling stuff out little by little, and they may say it's unlikely, but even most scientists aren't arrogant enough to pronounce something as fact before the actual cause is even known.

                so stop insulting me because i won't agree with your brazen assertion of "fact" before all the factors are known.

                "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Charles Beard

                by poligirl on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 02:30:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hey, not "insulting you" (0+ / 0-)

                  Simply stating the fact that you're saying that there's a possibility of something when it's not a possibility.

                  You're wrong.

                  If you don't like having your incorrect, impossible statements pointed out, then you need not make incorrect statements!

                  You aren't a victim here. No one made you make an incorrect statement.

                  There's no way that the drainage from any fields near these birds migrated to the fish. It's 100% impossible. One needn't be a scientist to know this.

                  See, the person who was unfairly insulted here? Me.

                  When you claim that my statement was "brazen", when you attempt to mock me for being right, because your feelings got hurt when your totally bogus assertion got called out, that's an insult.

                  Get a clue.

  •  I predicted the shooter would be white. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He's white.

    I predicted he'd be a nutjob.

    Saw it a mile away.

    he's a fucking nutjob, alright. Go see some of his fucking videos. Nuts as hell.

    Whine all you want: pattern recognition is not necessarily "jumping to conclusions".

    We'll see more, too.

    America legalized torture before they legalized marijuana.
    Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!

    by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 02:10:20 PM PST

  •  I will generally agree with some of this, (0+ / 0-)

    and have even drafted a diary about the whole "reality based" schtick that i will be posting soon. There is a problem, however, with "Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence", even though I go there myself. Two problems, actually.

    1 -  who determines that something is an extraordinary claim, and how?

    2 -  what is the objective standard for determining which evidence is and is not extraordinary?

    Perpetual motion is one thing, but I have seen people throw out that maxim when folks have stated things fitting patterns similar to "the government is lying/has lied about <insert subject>", a claim which is pretty much incapable of being extraordinary unless it relates to perpetual motion or some such.

    I am not, FWIW siding with the authors of any of the diaries you target.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt -

    by enhydra lutris on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 08:32:42 PM PST

    •  Extraordinary Claims isn't hard to define (0+ / 0-)

      It's a claim that is extraordinary.

      Like that the government secretly did something, and that others are covering it up for them.

      Like ideas that the seafood in the Gulf was really still contaminated, and not safe, and all the people whose job it is to test that seafood were willing to disregard their duties and were passing fish that was really contaminated!

      Like the claim by local wildlife officials and other experts who say that the fish kill in the Arkansas River wasn't due to pollution since it hit one species almost exclusively. A challenge to what experts say by a non-expert blogger requires extraordinary evidence to prove that the blogger's claim is more reasonable than that of the wildlife experts - that need for extraordinary evidence make the claim an extraordinary claim.

      And I think your premise has one other fatal flaw.

      "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" is hyperbole.

      What is seen in these cases is that these extraordinary claims don't actually have much, if any, evidence whatsoever! Extraordinary evidence demands that it not be contradicted by other evidence, yet you never see that in the extraordinary claims made by 9/11 truthers, for example. They assert that only a missle could have done that damage to the Pentagon, while ignoring that many witnesses have testified that they saw the plane fly low over a highway and then hit the Pentagon! Ignoring contradictory evidence is devastating to those arguments!

      It's not that hard to make that determination, actually.

      •  Well, we differ on many grounds. I'm almost 65, (0+ / 0-)

        so, to me,

        Like that the government secretly did something, and that others are covering it up for them.

        is only marginally extraordinary, remove the bit about "others" and it is utterly humdrum. Leave in the bit about "others", but make any of certain very specific groups, and it still wouldn't be at all extraordinary.

        Extraordinary evidence demands that it not be contradicted by other evidence,

        Throughout history, much of what we have learned has had evidence countering it, especially if what we have learned involves paradigm shifts.

        My mention of paradigm shifts was to highlight this very issue of "evidence against it". What is evidence for or against, as with what is or isn't extraordinary is quite often paradigm based. There was a time when even the most basic cosmology as we know it was "extraordinary". Just earth circles sun, moon circles earth and causes eclipses was unthinkable. Yet, hundreds of years earlier the Greeks in Alexandria knew better, even having damn good figures for the diameter of the earth and moon.

        Way later, when chemistry was supposed to be humdrum, Argonne National labs made Xenon Tetraflouride. This countradicted the established knowledge that the inert gases couldn't combine with anything and couldn't really be part of molecules. Yet, though it contradicted the established model, it was not "extraordinary".

        The difference was the degree to which the accepted paradigm had become entrenched as dogma. In the couple of years I have been here I have seen people hollering that this or that was an "extraordinary claim" merely because it ran afoul of some article of faith of theirs. Hence my initial challenge. You say it is a claim that is extraordinary, but that again simply raises the question of "to whom"?

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt -

        by enhydra lutris on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:03:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  As a skeptic says (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      On this blog

      Strictly speaking, all claims require exactly the same amount of evidence, it’s just that most "ordinary" claims are already backed by extraordinary evidence that you don’t think about. When we say "extraordinary claims", what we actually mean are claims that do not already have evidence supporting them, or sometimes claims that have extraordinary evidence against them. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence because they usually contradict claims that are backed by extraordinary evidence.  The evidence for the extraordinary claim must support the new claim as well as explain why the old claims that are now being abandoned, previously appeared to be correct. The extraordinary evidence must account for the abandoned claim, while also explaining the new one.

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