I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means


Zach Beauchamp has an error-filled post over at Vox claiming that leftist professors are more likely to be fired for political speech than conservatives are. He cites the data an conclusions from a Canadian study showing that between 2015 and 2017 three times as many leftist profs were fired for their speech than conservatives.

When dealing with probability, something is considered more likely if the odds of its occurrence are higher than another event. If there are roughly ten times as many leftists professors as there are conservatives (and that’s close to the Real World average) and only three times as many are being fired, then the odds that any given conservative will be fired are roughly three times greater than that happening to any given leftist. The exact value will depend a bit on the size of the population of profs. Math is hard, but that doesn’t change the meaning of likely.

Beauchamp uses his erroneous conclusion to spin up an attack of the actions some states legislatures have taken to protect free speech on public college campuses. As organs of the State public schools are constrained by the First Amendment.

In Wisconsin, the strictest of these states, rules drafted by the state university’s board of regents allow students to be expelled if they are found to have disrupted the speech of other students three times.

Protecting free speech on campus by expelling students for their political activism: just what the First Amendment’s drafters intended.

Well, yes, that’s exactly what the Founders intended. The right to peaceably assemble implies the right not to have that assembly disrupted. Violence and intimidation are not protected forms of speech.

Beauchamp seems to have trouble with both probability and civics.

The Evolving Universe


Astronomers have assembled one of the most comprehensive portraits yet of the universe’s evolutionary history. It’s based on a broad spectrum of observations by the Hubble Space Telescope and other space and ground-based telescopes. In particular, Hubble’s ultraviolet vision has been used to track the birth of stars over the last 11 billion years, going all the way back to the cosmos’ busiest star-forming period about 3 billion years after the big bang. This composite image encompasses a sea of around 15,000 galaxies widely distributed in time and space. About 12,000 of them are undergoing star formation. This mosaic is 14 times the area of the Hubble Ultra Violet Ultra Deep Field released in 2014. Right click on the image to embiggen it.

Image Credits: NASA / ESA / P. Oesch (University of Geneva) / M. Montes (University of New South Wales)

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


During the summer of 2015, Bill Schmalfeldt filed LOLsuit V: The Final in Maryland. After his In Forma Pauperis petition was challenged and other irregularities came to light, he panicked and dropped his case. Three years ago today, I took note of his capitulation in this post titled The Cabin Boy™ Throws in the Towel.

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He’s filed this motion to dismiss his LOLsuit against Patrick Grady and others.

UPDATE—IANAL, so this isn’t legal advice, but <em>murum aries attigit</em>.

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In his rush to get out from under the problems he was creating for himself, the Cabin Boy™ voluntarily dismissed his LOLsuit with prejudice. Dismissal with prejudice has the effect of granting the defendants a win based on the merits of the case. In other words, the Cabin Boy™ admitted his case was baseless. That should mean, for example, that he admitted Roy Schmalfeldt did not defame him by calling him a rapist.

That’s not exactly the same thing as admitting to being a rapist. IANAL, but it also seems to me that it doesn’t provide grounds for anyone else to call the Cabin Boy™ a rapist. However, it it truthful to report exactly what happened in LOLsuit V. Anyone learning those facts is free to form his own opinion concerning them.