Survivorship Bias – FT#89

Survivorship Bias – FT#89

Show Notes

The Survivorship Bias Fallacy is committed when someone makes an argument based on a biased sample that only includes items that have survived some kind of selection pressure.


We started out with this clip of Trump literally talking to a group of survivors:

We followed that with this Trump tweet:

And finally we talked about this hugely irresponsible take on natural immunity from Nancy Mace:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about the various views MPs expressed after Theresa May survived a vote of no confidence.


Fallacy in the Wild

In the Fallacy in the Wild we looked at this clip from Pirates of the Caribbean:

Then we discussed this clip from The Wrestler.

And finally, we talked about Abraham Wald and how maths and logic saved lives in WW2.

Fake News

Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:

  1. Well, he doesn’t not agree. I mean we had a long talk.
  2. There’s no way that you can’t look at this and say it wasn’t a hoax. A totally untrue hoax.
  3. Anybody that doesn’t think there wasn’t massive Election Fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election is either very stupid, or very corrupt!

Click below for the answer

Mark got it right again this week, and is on 52%


Omicron is not a logical fallacy

We talked about all the crazy conspiracy theories about the Omicron COVID variant.


The stories we really didn’t have time to talk about

  • Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is about to go through some things. The House voted last night to hold Meadows in contempt of Congress and refer him to the Justice Department for a potential criminal charge. The vote was, shockingly, largely along party lines with only Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger joining the Democrats, and the rest of the Republicans remaining staunchly pro-obstruction. Meadows went on Sean Hannity’s show and claimed “This isn’t about me, it’s about continuing to go after Trump!” Yeah, no shit. Because Trump’s actions caused January 6th, and you refuse to tell everyone what happened.  Well, that’s not entirely fair. Meadows has been quite open in his new book about the fact that Trump tested positive for Covid three days before his debate with Biden and lied about it, meeting with around 500 people in the next few days including Gold Star families who Trump later implied gave him Covid. Meadows claims that this was in fact a false positive, and that it’s pure coincidence that a week later Trump was rushed to Walter Reed Medical Center. According to the book, while in Walter Reed his oxygen levels dropped to 86%, which is not great for an old obese guy like Trump, and it coincided with Trump’s physician Sean Conley telling everyone he was doing great.
  • Here at Fallacious Trump we never tire of hearing about the devoted and meticulous work of the monitoring authorities tracking down voter fraud and other deliberate attempts to undermine the US election system, especially when the frauds being discovered are those for Trump and even better when they are registered Republicans, and the cherry on the top it’s in Florida; Trump’s backyard. Some of Trump’s fellow septuagenarian retiree community Joan Halstead, Jay Ketcik, and John Rider all voted in person and then by mail absentee vote from out of state. Even calm moderate progressive centrist Ron DeSantis’ office had to admit “Multiple voting is unlawful, it isn’t a crime to be registered to vote in more than one state, as long as you only vote in one.” And so Joe wins again… by even more! And of course the Republicans can’t call off the election investigations in case they come across that massive cache of thousands of lost votes for Trump Rudy’s always banging on about – classic gamblers addiction – you could probably get treatment for that under Biden’s increased care package!
  • Before deciding to get all contempty, Mark Meadows provided the Jan 6th committee with a few documents that have been making the news a bit this week. The first was a Powerpoint laying out various plans for stealing the election from Biden by decertifying the results. We saw a lot of it in the John Eastman memo to be honest, but I expect the Powerpoint version had some cool animations and clipart to keep Trump entertained while they explained it to him. Also released, and recently read aloud by Liz Cheney, are multiple text messages from people like Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Brian Kilmeade, sent during the insurrection, begging Meadows to convince Trump to tell his people to go home and stopping attacking democracy. If only they had some other way of getting a message to the then President who was definitely glued to the coverage on Fox at the time. Instead, they all spent the following year claiming it wasn’t that big a deal, it was nothing to do with Trump, and most of them were probably Antifa, or BLM or FBI agents anyway. Marjorie Taylor Greene has since claimed that all these people begging Trump to step in proves he’s innocent of any wrongdoing, which… I mean… huh? Even Don Jr texted Meadows to say “He’s got to condemn this shit ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.” Frankly, I’m surprised that Don Jr even realised it was bad, and not at all surprised to learn he doesn’t have his Dad’s cellphone number.
  • Increasingly-on-the-hook-for-millions-in-lawsuit-damages surreal-undercover-performance-artist Alex Jones shouted the weather on his show yesterday. “So, they just think you’re stupid and they don’t want you knowing they are doing all of this, and they’ve got carbon systems they are putting in, that big, huge geoengineering systems, terraforming systems that are sucking carbon dioxide out of the air when it’s a trace gas that we need, and was hundreds of times higher millions of years ago than it is now. That’s why plants and animals were so much bigger and healthier. But we’ve adapted to live in less air. This is insane, ladies and gentlemen.” Whilst it sounds terrifically Trump-like in it’s assertions, it at least contains one truth; it is insane. Amusing but insane. Though to be fair, to be able to grab something as abstract as the weather and twist it sufficiently to be the fault of the government –  along the lines of “How could the government forecast deadly tornadoes with such accuracy if it didn’t know they were coming?” well that’s genius – er no I take that back cos Marjorie Taylor Greene says the fire that burned down Paradise in 2018 – remember Trump visited and bemoaned that the terrific town of Pleasure had been incinerated? – apparently that was caused by a space laser involving the Rothschilds to build a high speed rail system.’s Brian Khan muses on how he would use such weather weapons for good – whereas I’d use them to blast a biiiiiig light behind Jones and Greene to shine through their skulls and show just how empty of anything except narcissism they are.
  • While the Supreme Court is still deciding whether to effectively overturn Roe v Wade, California Governor Gavin Newsome announced at the weekend a plan to test their resolve by crafting a new gun control bill allowing Californians to sue “anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts” for damages of at least $10,000 plus court costs. Well, that’s a novel mechanism that means the Supreme Court definitely won’t be able to enjoin the law even if it is totally unconstitutional, right?  Yeah I’m glad someone’s giving it a go, but I kinda feel they’ll manage to find a way round the obvious hypocrisy of it all. Watch this space to find out exactly how this one weird trick will fail.
  • Robin Abcarian in the LA Times notes that Devin Nunes, the thin-skinned dairy farmer who has filed defamation lawsuits against the Washington Post, CNN, Hearst, NBC, McClatchy and someone pretending to be his cow on Twitter, is quitting Congress to run former President Trump’s new social media company. “Recently,” wrote the man who co-sponsored the “Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act, “I was presented with a new opportunity to fight for the most important issues I believe in.” What might those be? He didn’t bother to say. Robin’s guess is there are only two: 1) the restoration of the Trump administration; and 2) maintaining employment, since he may be redistricted out of his comfortable Republican seat and actually have to work for votes, something he has not had to do much in recent years despite having not held a town hall debate in over a decade!
    Perhaps we don’t know something Nunes does but giving up the possibility of chairing the Ways and Means Committee if the Republicans win back the house next year to work for Trump seems a little … bold? shall we say. Knowing what we do know, that Trump is a litigious sonofabitch with a record of stiffing creditors, and that Nunes is going to work for a guy whose post-presidency blog, “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” flamed out after a month because no one read it, we are trying our hardest to stifle laughs behind our hand as we wave Devin goodbye!
  • A judge in California has ruled that school holiday displays can include Christmas trees but not menorahs, as Christmas trees are no longer a purely religious symbol. I feel like the people at Fox News would probably like the outcome of the case, if not the judge’s reasoning, and they’re pretty sure that the 49 year old man experiencing mental health issues as well as homelessness, who set light to their giant Christmas tree, was committing a hate crime against Christians.  Ainsley Earhardt took it even further, saying “It’s a tree that unites us, that brings us together. It’s about the Christmas spirit. It is about the holiday season. It’s about Jesus. It’s about Hanukkah”. No. No it isn’t. The Fox brigade spent the next day and a half bemoaning the loss of their fake tree. Perennial Jen Psaki punching bag Peter Doocy even tried to somehow blame Biden, and revealed that the tree had cost half a million dollars.  Half a million for a fake tree!  At this point I’d be looking at the Murdoch family, because it’s beginning to look a lot like an insurance job to me.
  • Christmas is coming and Covid’s getting worse, or is it; Deputy Prime Minister and recently demoted idiot; Dominic Raab, said there were 250 people hospitalized with the Omicron variant, turns out there are 9 or maybe it’s the 10 he said later. And, as every Xmas, our thoughts turn to last Xmas when it turns out Boris hosted a works party at Number 10 mere days after he had canceled Xmas and made gatherings of more than one household illegal. He of course denied it, saying all guidance was followed and other MPs even chimed in saying they didn’t know whether it had happened at all, but if it had, it didn’t break the rules. Boris then added he’s been constantly assured that there was no party and no Covid rules were broken, a subtle change in language allow others to be resigned under the bus if things come to light – his then press secretary Allegra Stratton resigned as things; a recording from last Xmas of a practice presser deciding on what to say if asked about the Xmas party, came to light. But it’s all okay now cos Boris has asked for an official investigation by the cabinet secretary into the entirety of the matter which is pretty much asking him to see if anything he, Boris, had been saying was actually ever true. To distract us from this he went on TV late on a Sunday to tell us Plan B was being triggered which meant more public restrictions and working from home put in place again to prevent having to cancel Christmas this year. When it came to actual Parliament having something to say about this Boris suffered his greatest rebellion when 101 of his own MPs failed to back the measures. Also recently, traces of class A drugs were found in the House of Commons – mostly on ancient toilet cistern lids; to distract us from this Boris dressed up as the Laughing Policeman and went on a raid of a house of someone suspected of using class A drugs – and surprisingly it wasn’t Michael Gove. No one was convinced by this distraction least of all the sniffer dogs who just looked suspiciously at the fat oaf in the cop jacket! Meanwhile the by-election for a hitherto safe Tory seat in Shropshire happens this week and it looks dangerously like all this sleaze and scandal is cutting through to voters except to a few staunch devotees who will still vote for Boris dismissing all this last year’s Xmas Party nonsense as “raking up the past”. The same people who are glad we reverted to feet and inches, pounds and ounces, rationing and blackouts, sing Vera Lynn songs around the Christmas tree, and hang their Winston Churchill stockings on the hearth whilst paying no heed to the lessons offered by the first of Dickens’ ghosts. Merry Christmas everyone!

That’s all for this week, thanks for listening!

Jim Cliff

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