Facebook Fallacies: Climate change, Kennedy vaccine challenge & illegal alien criminals

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.

ONE professor says climate change is BS. Debate over.

The story: Dr. William Happer, professor of physics at Princeton, said that CO2 increase is actually good, not harmful. Take that, climate change idiots!

The reality: Dr. Happer definitely said that in 2009 when testifying before Congress. That much is true. It is also true that Dr. Happer is a big time climate change denier.

Also true: Dr. Happer is ONE professor. More specifically, he’s a professor who specializes in atomic physics, especially as it pertains to optics, not atmospheric physics or environmental physics. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of scientists who do specialize in climate change-related science do believe it is a problem, making the above picture an “appeal to authority” fallacy.

In fact, Happer initiated a proposal to replace the Council of the American Physical Society’s Statement on Climate Change back in 2009. More than 160 APS members signed the petition. There are more than 47,000 physicist APS members. Appropriately, APS denied the petition.

If you want to read a really smart analysis of Happer’s statements, click here.

Congratulations, climate change deniers! You found ONE Ivy League professor on your side. Too bad he represents about 1 percent of scientists around the world on the subject. He’s basically the Andrew Wakefield of climate change.

Kennedy’s challenge still intact. Vaccine debate over.

The story: Back in February, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Robert De Niro challenged journalists (and others) to “point to a peer-reviewed scientific study demonstrating that thimerosal is safe in the amounts contained in vaccines currently being administered to American children and pregnant women” for a $100,000 reward. No one has stepped up to the plate, proving that vaccines cause autism or some shit.

The reality: This challenge is definitely real, and no one has accepted it as of press time. Nobody is going to win this challenge because it’s bullshit and sets up submissions for failure. It’s also completely pointless.

Why is it pointless? Because the issue of thimerosal was settled long ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even created a webpage about thimerosal in vaccines. The CDC’s conclusion: IT’S SAFE!

Regarding children and pregnant women, thimerosal was taken out of childhood vaccines in 2001. Even flu shots, which anti-vaxxers love to cite as a vaccine that still contains thimerosal, has a thimerosal-free version. This FDA chart reveals how much thimerosal is in vaccines. More than 90 percent contain none at all, while the few that do have an insignificant amount.

With all this evidence, why hasn’t the challenge been accepted? Because it’s set up for failure.

To start, it’s going to cost $50 for each entry. Don’t bother with the dozens of studies that support the safety of thimerosal, including the nine that the CDC has already provided on their website. There’s little doubt they have found BS arguments against those.

Which leads to point No. 2: The panel of judges is handpicked by Kennedy, so it’s guaranteed to be bias. Want to contest their decision? No problem. They have a panel for disputes. However, there’s a catch. The dispute panel will cost $400 per hour and YOU have to pay for half of that fee. They say this discourages frivolous claims, but it also discourages any participation at all since the panel appears to be anonymous at this point. Not worth the time and potentially thousands of dollars for a biased review.

Lastly, one single study can never prove anything. That’s not how science works at all (which clearly, Kennedy and De Niro have no clue what science is). Scientists will never agree conclusively on a claim without several replicative and similar studies supporting any one study. In fact, a similar challenge screwed someone out of their winnings just because of this.

In a recent episode of Skeptics Guide to the Universe (skip to 1:13:45), host Dr. Steven Novella recalls a competition where an HIV-AIDS denier challenged anyone to prove that HIV causes AIDS. Without hesitation, a scientist presented him with 10 studies. A court decided that the scientist should receive the reward. However, an appellate court ruled in favor of the AIDS denier since the challenge asked for ONE study, not 10.

With that precedent set, Kennedy can deny literally every single thimerosal study since technically, one study can’t prove anything. And he would be correct (for the first time in this matter). However, a body of studies combined does in fact reveal the safety of thimerosal. I just don’t have a few thousand dollars to gamble on a quack panel.

Mexicans are ruining our country! #BuildTheWall!

The story: More than 20 percent of inmates are not citizens of the United States. Do the math! That means illegals are committing crimes at a rate SEVEN TIMES HIGHER than real Americans. Build the wall!

The reality: The video starts with this: “Get ready to be triggered by math!” Let’s!

We’ll start with the crux of the video: 21.7 percent of inmates are not U.S. citizens. According to the latest Federal Bureau of Prisons stats, that claim is dead on. Exactly 78.3 percent of inmates are U.S. citizens, 14.2 percent are from Mexico and the rest split between Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic and “Other/Unknown.”

The video then claims that based on U.S. population of 324,688,000, if illegal aliens commit crime at same rate of Americans, then the illegal population should be 70.5 million, not the reported 11.4 million. How did they get that number?

“Get ready to be triggered by math!”

Whoever created this video simply took 21.7 percent of the U.S. population, which gives us 70,457,296. Essentially, he or she calculated an entire geographical population based on prison population. By that logic, nearly 80 percent of Americans should be in prison.

The claim that illegal aliens therefore commit crimes at a rate seven times higher than Americans? Two problems:

1) The video automatically assumed that all 21.7 percent of non-U.S. citizens are illegal immigrants. However, nowhere in the BOP stats does it state that non-U.S. citizens are here illegally. In fact, that stat doesn’t exist in terms of current prison population. Even Fox News acknowledged this lack of data. That stat does exist when counting all those who were sentenced in 2016, i.e. not necessarily sent to prison or currently in prison. According to the United States Sentencing Commission, 41.7 percent of people sentenced for a crime were non-U.S. citizens. Again, not necessarily illegal. But when you look at what crimes were committed…

2) …you see something quite different than what is portrayed in the video. The video shows nothing but Hispanics who look like violent gang members, suggesting that the crimes committed by non-U.S. citizens are violent crimes. Not so. According to the same U.S. Sentencing Commission chart above, “immigration” was the crime with the most convictions, more than drug trafficking. Of the 28,010 non-U.S. citizens sentenced last year, 18,359 were sentenced for immigration, which is 91.6 percent of all immigration offenses and 65.5 percent of all offenses by non-U.S. citizens. Including immigration, drug offenses and fraud, 26,435 non-U.S. citizens were sentenced, which is more than 94 percent of all offenses committed by non-U.S. citizens. That’s right. All but a few offenses committed by non-U.S. citizens were nonviolent, and not all of them were illegal aliens.

Add profiling and associations with poverty/crime, and I would say illegal aliens are definitely not the problem. Building a wall won’t make the United States safer.

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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