Tuesday, November 7, 2023

More Made-Up Bullshit

Nonsense like this "political compass" are just someone's made-up bullshit.

As an expert bullshitter, I know bullshit when I see it.  And lately, it seems, people are enamored of this "political compass" which tries to pigeonhole people on some sort of two-dimensional "spectrum" - which is also the word du jour for the self-diagnosed autism set.

Why is it bullshit?  Because this isn't science, not even "Social Science" but just some idea that one guy came up with, without any vetting or analysis or testing or other form of validation.  And I suspect it is the work of a "Libertarian" which is not a politcal view, but a form of insanity.

Not only that, what's the point?  Suppose you "plot" your political views based on this flawed "compass" - what does this tell you?  What good does it do?  The answer is, of course, nothing.  It is about as illuminating as an Ouija board.

Supposedly there is a "questionnaire" attached to this nonsense, and based on the scoring on this questionnaire (apparently prepared by the one guy who created this "compass") you can plot yourself on this graph.  So, in other words, all this really represents is one man's opinion about where political views lie on a chart he invented.

It just smacks of a "personality test" or the Myers-Briggs nonsense which was long ago proven to be nonsense developed by two people (guess their names) who had no training or expertise in the area of "personality testing" (whatever the fuck that is) and created the whole deal from whole cloth.

Harmless parlor-game fun, right?  Well, no, as some companies and even government organizations have adopted "tests" like these and have ruined people's lives and careers with the dubious results from them.

It is not science, it is pseudo-science.

As both a Lawyer and Engineer, I am trained to rely on facts, not opinions or emotions.  You cannot go into court and say to a Judge, "Your honor, I believe my client is not guilty!" and expect the Judge to say, "Well, why didn't you say so before?  Not Guilty!  Case dismissed!"  Stupid, yes, but most "Lawyer" shows on television cater to this premise.  Even old Perry Mason dabbled in this nonsense, where legal procedures are thrown out the window and witnesses confess, on cross-examination, to the crime, and the accused goes free.  That happens all the time in court!

Similarly, in Engineering, you can't build a bridge truss based on belief, but careful calculation, testing, and more testing.  Even then, bridges collapse on occasion, usually when someone changes a design element and fails to consider the consequences.  You can't just make up some sort of "test" for bridges based on your imagination and belief.  That is not Engineering, it is not Science.

It is bullshit.

Sadly, it seems a lot of people cannot distinguish between Science and Bullshit. To them, the two are interchangeable. People today still believe in UFOs and Aliens visiting Earth, even as every bit of "evidence" (such as the pathetic papier-mâché "mummies" shown in Mexico) are proven to be hoaxes. But people believe and they think belief is as good as facts and science and reality.

When confronted with reality and facts, their response is always the same - "Well, you never know, in an infinite universe, anything is possible!"  And right there is the problem - people have no clue about the difference between possibility and probability - and we live in a world of probabilities, not possibilities.

Granted, you can argue things like Myers-Briggs or "Political Compass" are harmless parlor games that are not to be taken seriously.  But so many people do take such things seriously and even arrange their lives around them.  You probably know one or two people who think that the position of the planets at the moment they were born is the most important thing in their lives.  Myself, I am not so sure.  If you have induced labor or a C-section, should you consult with your horoscope advisor first to schedule a time for the procedure, so that the baby is born under a good sign?  Sounds like I am being sarcastic, but it is an honest question.

To many people, the world is a scary and unpredictable place.  They think emotionally and rely on belief - even thinking these things are an advantage.  I kid you not about this - I knew people who spend countless hours contemplating and trying to "understand" their emotions, which, as I have noted before, are like farts - transitional events based mostly on what you ate a few hours a go.  Similarly, people - particularly religious types - talk about how "beautiful" belief is, ignoring the fact that belief systems are not-so-beautiful for the apostates, heretics, or accused witches who are beheaded, stoned to death, or burned at the stake.  So beautiful!

But I get it - people use these things as crutches to prop up their lives.  Science is a mystery to them.  Mathematics is confusing and "hard."  Yet - as I noted before - if you really want to see the fingerprints of God on the Universe, take a course in Number Theory, not Theology.  You'll understand then why the SETI project, in its futile attempts to contact alien life, is transmitting a string of prime numbers.

We live in a scary, technological world, and most people have no idea how their smart phone works, even as they spend most of their waking hours looking at it.  It is the reason why we have these "back to the land" movements over time, as people try to eschew our technological society and retreat into superstition and belief.  It is comfort food for the brain.  And by studying a belief system (which isn't as hard as, say, Electromagnetics or Thermodynamics, because belief systems are all made-up) you can become an "expert" in something without all that hard work.

It is the same motivation driving conspiracy theory buffs - by studying the Kennedy assassination, they can become online "experts" and for once in their live know something instead of being the stupid kid who sat in the back of the class, confused and ridiculed by the other students.  They get to be in charge!

And so it goes for "political compass" nonsense.  The people who create this kind of crap and the people who follow and analyze it, can claim to have some sort of spurious "expertise" in a system that really tells you nothing about nothing, but provides the appearance of a system of categorization.

It is a way for people to delude themselves that they are accomplishing something without actually doing anything.  And sadly, today, it seems like an awful lot of people spend their lives doing just that.

Or, perhaps, blogging!  ;)