Robert Campbell

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Blog Comments posted by Robert Campbell

  1. WSS,

    Not a whole lot here.  Conservative Treehouse is entirely in Trump's pocket.

    I guess we've reached the point where Jim DeMint (my former US Senator, and one I liked a lot better than Lindsey Graham) is a traitorous emanation of the Republican Establishment.

    But the underlying logic divides Republicans into those who serve support Trump and those who serve the Establishment.  Mutually exclusive, jointly exhaustive.


  2. Chris,

    I should hope the Board would be upset with President Brodhead, on account of the big settlements that Duke has had to pay out, but the Board chairman was Brodhead's biggest supporter during the entire malicious prosecution. So I have to wonder whether they will get rid of Brodhead, as they should.

    Robert Campbell

  3. Chris,

    Amazon's delay announcement was merely precautionary.

    I received the book on Friday and (despite other commitments that are limiting my reading time) I'm well past past page 100 now. The book is a genuine page-turner, well deserving of the blurb from John Grisham that appears on the front cover.

    The first chapter, a concise history of Duke University's strained relationship with Durham, North Carolina, has convinced me to never apply for a job there.


  4. Chris,

    Taylor and Johnson's book is the subject of the entire "Lexington" column in this week's Economist. The column gives the book an enthusiastic review, emphasizing the roles of the media and of the Group of 88 in aiding and abetting Mike Nifong's malicious prosecution.

    The author ("Lexington" is a regular column on American affairs; the author's identity is kept secret) even apologizes because an April 2006 "Lexington" column lent credence to the false charges against the three lacrosse players.

    Robert Campbell

  5. Chris,

    The book deserves to be a best seller, judging from the portions of KC Johnson's blog that I've read.

    I'm still curious how some members of the "Group of 88" could get away with falsely claiming that entire academic departments supported their horrible advertisement. A professor doesn't have the authority to speak for his or her entire department on some controversial political issue. And according to Johnson, none of the departments had discussed the ad, let alone taken a vote on the matter. By not acting against those who made these false claims, the upper administration at Duke has given the ad its tacit approval.

    I'm looking forward to reading the book.

    Robert Campbell

  6. WSS,

    I don't think we can improve on Leonard Peikoff's testimony that Ayn Rand equated statistics with ignorance.

    The reason is that Rand published virtually nothing on the subject. I don't recall even posthumously published references to statistical methods (say, in her journals, or in the edited transcripts from her epistemology workshops). In ITOE, there's a poke at psychologists who imagine they can measure "the human psyche" using "statistical questionnaires," but it's not obviously directed at correlational methods.

    The March 1964 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter ran a review by Joan Mitchell Blumenthal of a book titled The Tyranny of Testing. Blumenthal agreed with the author's critique of multiple-choice tests (such as the SAT) and the manner in which "validity" is determined for questions on these tests. Again, though, the statistical procedure that Blumenthal was complaining about is part of "psychometrics."

    It's worth noting that nearly everything that Dr. Peikoff said about statistics in his lectures on logic was standard-issue stuff, e.g., not being able to infer causation from correlational data alone. It was the specific comments on smoking and lung cancer that suggested a deeper objection.

    Robert Campbell

    PS. Perhaps Ba'al would have a different take on the matter, but I can't approve of torturing Larry Budd to get this information :)

  7. WSS,

    I hardly ever visit Leonard Peikoff's website, but happened to spot this one around the same time you did.

    In the early 1970s, when Dr. Peikoff (and Ayn Rand) were still smoking vigorously, he inveighed against reliance on statistical correlations. I remember the issue coming up in one of his history of philosophy lectures, and (in more detail) in his lectures on logic. He specifically targeted conclusions about the effects of smoking on health. I thought it was BS back then--so did most of the other folks who were listening to the tapes with me.

    Peikoff makes it sound like he and Rand quit smoking cigarettes because some biochemist took them aside and, with the aid of a whiteboard, explained how burning leaves give off aromatic compounds like benzopyrene, which is close enough in shape to a couple of the DNA bases to be a powerful mutagen, etc. etc. etc.

    What happened in 1975 is that Rand got a chest X-ray. Her doctor pointed a cloudy area on it, and told her she had to quit smoking ASAP. She promptly underwent an operation in which part of one of her lungs was removed. She survived the lung cancer, albeit in a significantly weakened condition.

    At least, that's what The Passion of Ayn Rand says happened. I didn't know the whole story in 1975, but I recall there was a long hiatus in the production of the Ayn Rand Letter, which Rand eventually explained by saying she was recovering from a major operation. The news gradually traveled through the grapevine that the operation had been for lung cancer.

    Robert Campbell