Facebook Fallacies: Libtards & taxes, Amish & autism, Muslim ban and holographic universe

Facebook is a breeding ground for stupidity, ignorance and subtle (sometimes overt) racism and prejudice. Since shaming is a good way to get people to change, let’s call them out on their BS. Facebook Fallacies is a weekly column that debunks all of the stupid shit floating around Satan’s asshole, aka Facebook.

Libtards are the reason why Phil Mickelson has a 62% tax rate!

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The story: The above picture going viral says it all. Despite this being old news, Crazy Facebook Republican Militia Guys/Gals everywhere are sharing this stat to point out how those socialist liberals are nothing but lazy poor people leeching off rich people like Mickelson.

The reality: To start (and mostly just to be a dick), if you’re going to make a meme – especially one you take credit for at the bottom – spell the name at top in the biggest font correctly. Correct spelling, grammar and punctuation increases the odds of people believing in your bullshit. After all, if you cannot take the time to proofread your 20-word meme, you probably didn’t take the time to do actual research and fact-checking.

Second, Mikelson’s (sic) claim of a 62 percent tax rate (which he made back in 2013) has been debunked since almost immediately after he made the following off-the-cuff remark:

“If you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and state, my tax rate is 62, 63 percent. So I’ve got to make some decisions on what to do.”

Mickelson implied that the tax rate disincentivizes making more money, which is the most absurd thing I have ever heard before Jan. 20, 2017.

At any rate, both CNN Money and Forbes pointed out the following regarding Mickelson’s taxes:

  • 39.6% top federal tax rate, up from 35%, on income above $450,000.
  • 12.3% top state tax rate on income above $1 million.
  • 1% state mental health surcharge levied on incomes above $1 million.
  • 3.8% Medicare tax rate, which includes a new 0.9% Medicare surcharge on earnings above $250,000.

However, state taxes are deductible from federal taxes. After people who know what they’re talking about crunched the numbers, Mickelson’s tax rate is closer to 53 percent (CNN Money) or 52 percent (Forbes…a business and finance publication).

After deductions, the average American (approx. $50,000 income) pays a tax rate of 25 percent, with California residents closer to 30 percent considering the highest taxes in the country. Essentially, Mickelson’s tax rate is a little less than twice the average earner, but if he wants to give up his fortune and earn a fraction of it for a lower tax rate, go right ahead.

Mickelson is either a liar or has the worst tax attorney known to man. The average millionaire pays 30 percent of their taxable income in taxes, compared to 35 percent among those who earned less than $100,000.

Lastly, the claim that half of Americans pay no taxes at all is slightly off and completely out of context. Approximately 45 percent of American households do not pay federal individual income taxes. Close to but not quite half. You can spin this however you want: “Less than half” or “Nearly half.”

But that does not mean 45 percent of American households are lazy leeches. According to that same source, half of that 45 percent has no taxable income, whereas the other half received enough tax breaks to erase their tax liability. In fact, 82 percent of those not paying fed taxes are either employed or retired, at 60 percent and 22 percent, respectively. Of that 60 percent of hard-working Americans, their income is too low to pay taxes.

Only 8 percent of those not paying fed taxes are unemployed, disabled, students or just straight up poor.

Or Donald Trump.

Amish people don’t get autism. Amish people don’t get vaccinated. Do the math.

The story: Pretty simple. Per capita, Amish communities have an insanely low rate of autism among its children. Amish people also don’t believe in modern medicine like vaccines. Therefore, this is undeniable proof that vaccines cause autism. /debate

The reality: So I did the math. With numbers I didn’t pull out of my ass. Here’s what I found:

First of all, Amish people do vaccinate their children. This 2011 study reveals that of 359 Amish respondents “68% stated that all of their children had received at least 1 immunization, and 17% reported that some of their children had received at least 1 immunization. Only 14% of the parents reported that none of their children had received immunizations.” So the claim that Amish people don’t vaccinate is flat out wrong.

The claim of only three autistic Amish people in a community where there should statistically be over 100 came from this article. The conclusion was not scientific at best and irresponsible and lazy at worst: “So far, from sources inside and outside the Amish community, I have identified three Amish residents of Lancaster County who apparently have full-syndrome autism, all of them children.” Sources were never cited and were based on one small community.

However this real study found that 1 in 271 Amish children in two communities were autistic. To be fair, that’s far lower than the 1 in 91 national rate, but far more than a total of three. Accounting for lower sample size and preliminary data, the rate could easily be higher.

Either way, the real numbers in no way suggest vaccinations cause Autism. They do, however, point out how much bullshit Natural News’ article is.

SIDE NOTE: That same article included this gem: “Nor are the Amish experiencing typical US diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. This could all be because they don’t eat GMO, take chemical pharmaceuticals, or vaccines.”

Anti-vaxxers also hate GMOs? Shhhhhhocker. Nearly 90 percent of scientists at the American Association for the Advancement of Science believe GMOs are safe, compared to only 37 percent of the general public, i.e. idiots. Who are you going to believe?

The Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11 are exactly the same

The story: As the picture implies, people are comparing the OKC bombing and the lack of “people banning” to a “Muslim ban” immediately after 9/11. Clearly, white people are not seen as a threat or terrorists.

The reality: Before even getting into the historical facts, let’s talk about the logical fallacies in this absurd argument:

  • False equivalence: One was domestic terrorism, the other foreign terrorism. One was politically motivated, the other motivated by religion. One involved a truck, the other international transport (i.e. plane).
  • Incomplete comparison: On the surface this sounds pretty bad, but that’s only because more information is not included to make a more informed, logical conclusion. Don’t worry, I’ll provide that info below.
  • Historian’s fallacy: “Occurs when one assumes that decision makers of the past viewed events from the same perspective and having the same information as those subsequently analyzing the decision.”

Several informal logical fallacies at play here, but if that’s not enough, let’s take a look at 1995 and 2001. First of all, there was never a Muslim ban after 9/11. Here’s a list of all the executive orders handed down by Bush in 2001. Nothing of the sort.

The closest thing to a Muslim ban Bush or the 107th Congress got to was the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System or NSEERS. It 1) required non-citizens to register 2) those same people check in regularly with immigration officials and 3) kept track of those leaving the country, arresting anyone who kept temporary guest longer than granted.

Did NSEERS disproportionately target Muslims? Yes. Was there a ban? No. In fact, NSEERS aside, Bush was actually really good at sympathizing with the Muslim community, as the media is currently pointing out.

Perhaps the greatest irony in the above Facebook post is the fact that Democrats are calling themselves out and don’t even know it. NSEERS was put in place by the Bush Administration as were several other bills including No Child Left Behind (91-8 Senate vote), Homeland Security Act (90-9) and the Patriot Act (98-1). So while Occupy Democrats are history revisionists, the reality is Democrats were all about post-9/11 action.

Compared to the Congress in 1995 (104th Congress), the 107th Congress had more Democrats. The 107th Senate was split evenly, whereas the 104th had a GOP majority. So nice work, Dems, during the 9/11 aftermath. As for the lack of action against white Christians, we should probably blame the president in 1995 for not implementing any executive orders. That man was Bill Clinton.

Sit down, Occupy Democrats. You’re making yourself look stupid.

The universe is a hologram and we’re all just projections [takes a bong rip]

The story: New scientific research provides substantial evidence supporting the theory that the universe is actually in two dimensions and everything is fake like CNN. /Trump voice

The reality: I was stoked to see a science article making the social media rounds. Although most headlines about this are misleading and not at all accurate, like RT’s, it’s still pretty cool. Alas, the reality is not as cool as headlines and stories written by journalists with absolutely no background in science or reading scientific research/studies, apparently.

Reporting on science is a major problem in mainstream journalism, mostly because of stuff like this:

These models are based on three-dimensional perturbative superrenormalizable quantum field theory (QFT), and, while they predict a different power spectrum from the standard power law used in ΛCDM, they still provide an excellent fit to the data (within their regime of validity). By comparing the Bayesian evidence for the models, we find that ΛCDM does a better job globally, while the holographic models provide a (marginally) better fit to the data without very low multipoles (i.e., l≲30), where the QFT becomes nonperturbative.

That’s part of the abstract of the study about the hologram universe. I have no effing clue what it says.

If you read the research correctly, you’ll find that we don’t live in a hologram. Bummer, I know. But don’t take my word for it. Ask the actual researchers. That’s exactly what Gizmodo did, and their report on the research is excellent. Long story short: IF the hologram model checks out, it only applies to the beginning of the universe and not the present. Also, the science still favors the standard model, but new research simply means we cannot completely write off the hologram model.

From the mouth of the scientist behind the research as told to Gizmodo: “As for the universe in 2017, Afshordi himself told me: ‘There are definitely three dimensions.’”

Unfortunately, all of this chaos is real.

 

Have you come across some “fake news” being shared on your Facebook feed you would like to see publicly annihilated? Share it with Ty at ty@unassociatedpress.org.

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