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Immigration and Clear Thinking

I get a lot of "reader comments" on the issues I choose to write about. This is a good thing for my editors since this means more readers and more readers mean more advertising revenue. It is good for me too in the sense that I do get some of the greatest writing topics from readers who write me. It can also be a bad thing?sometimes a very bad thing.

What I enjoy are those readers' comments in which readers will take the time to attempt to offer me counter-arguments to the particular position I take in the op-ed pieces I write. What I mean is that there are some readers who realize that the process of clear and linear thinking is not an easy task. It takes work-hard work. One is not always successful-especially your humble columnist.

And, when a reader takes the time to carefully craft and linearly constructed counter-argument, I appreciate it to no end. I appreciate the effort. I enjoy the challenge.

However, most readers' responses I get are NOT carefully crafted, well-constructed counter-arguments. Without fear of contradiction, the vast majority of readers' responses I get are not just poorly constructed but are not counter-arguments at all. Let me give you an example. Here is someone who was attempting, and I credit her for the attempt, to challenge some pieces I wrote on the illegal alien issue:

"And by the way, everything - the numbers, and the data I stated here - I can prove to you if you want me to. It is all true."

This person believed that if she backed the dump truck up, pulled the lever, and dumped a deluge of "stats and facts" that this would constitute "proof" for her Minuteman Project position. She apparently believed that the "preponderance" of "facts" she could provide me constituted "proof" that she was right and I was wrong.

Let me say that I did appreciate this person's attempt. Never once did she resort to the usual fare I encounter: threats to my life, wild profanity, ad hominem, asking what rock I crawled out from under, etc? She tried.

The problem with her reasoning, and which vexes me that Americans do not seem to be able to engage in critical thinking to see this, is that she really sincerely believed her own self-proclamation, "It's all true".

A proclamation of something being true does not constitute proof of a claim. This person is assuming that her evidence is so overwhelming that only a nimrod, a ding-dong could doubt the claims she is supporting with "the data". However, unless this person's "data" can be shown to be the result of the "test of experimentation" then it would be mere speculation and thus the reader would be committing the fallacy of "Selective Use of Evidence".

The issue I think the Minuteman folks seems to miss completely is that when they attend their conferences where their gurus stand before them to rally the forces how do they know whether they are being fed correctly obtained data? How do they know when they are being told the truth and not rehashed rhetoric that is committing the "selective use of statistics" error in critical thinking?

This is a hard question and it is a hard thing to solve.

How do we know that we are using proper and honest statistics in the point we are trying to prove or in the axe we are trying grind? My Minuteman Project readers often miss this point entirely in that they kept sending me e-mail after e-mail with attachments, texts, and entire PDF e-books from so-called experts.

I couldn't possibly read them all!

Those I did read were mainly the rehashing of the same quoted truckload of unproven claims. And they were all some form or another of a work by an "expert" with more degrees behind their names than the weather.

What was lacking in the stats sent to me was the "test of experimentation". And when there were studies quoted there was a total absence of "peer review". In other words, no one replicated (or was able to replicate) the studies.

"The secret language of statistics, so appealing in a fact-minded culture, is employed to sensationalize, inflate, confuse, and oversimplify," warns Huff.[1]

Frankly, I do not believe my Minuteman Project readers get that point at all. Nor do I believe that my Minuteman Project readers understand that because someone is an M.D. or a Ph.D. that they are immune to biases and even dishonesty. Even so-called experts can and do have ulterior motives in reporting "studies" in an attempt to support their biases.

The example I reported is that the Minuteman and their kind will tell you in no uncertain terms that all of America is on the verge of being wiped out of existence by tuberculosis. Yet, when I contacted the CDC, they were not of that opinion.

The Minuteman will use quotes from degreed individuals but who never cite the studies from which they originated nor the "peer reviewed" studies and subsequent results. This is so vital that I cannot risk overstating it:

Honest scientists INSIST upon repeatable experiments! This means that properly conducted experiments have to be able to have their steps repeated by objective third-party scientists-who have no axe to grind--who will come up with the same results in order to establish REAL facts and not just speculations!

You cannot have the PROPER use of statistics if you do not have PROPERLY OBTAINED statistics to quote. Proper stats are the direct result of the properly constructed TEST OF EXPERIMENTATION!

I honestly do not believe that the Minuteman and all their kind get that! Maybe they never will. If they are committing themselves to the Proper Use of Evidence then they should be able to show how that evidence was obtained! They should be able to show, from start to finish, the test constructed to obtain the data, the replication studies, what the result could or could not mean, etc?

To date I have seen nothing of the kind!

[1] America's Anti-Mexican Xenophobia, by Doug Bower

Freelance writer, Syndicated Columnist, and book author, Doug Bower, has written a compelling new book titled, AMERICA'S ANTI-MEXICAN XENOPHOBIA. Have you wondered if the Minuteman Project is really on the "up and up"? Have you wondered if they represent all that is good and right with America-paragons of patriotic virtue? Doug Bower may have the answers you've been looking for. FREE CHAPTER:

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