Don’t go under Duntsch’s knife!

duntsch

If this man is your doctor, run away. Christopher Duntsch is terrifyingly incompetent.

Duntsch arrived in Dallas in 2010 to start a neurosurgery practice. In the course of the next three years he would work at several different hospitals, earning infamy for his haphazard surgical technique wherever he went, according to the Texas Observer. His colleagues described him in the harshest superlatives: “worst surgeon I’ve ever seen,” “sociopath.”

“I couldn’t believe a trained surgeon could do this,” Robert Henderson, another surgeon at Dallas Medical Center, where Duntsch performed several operations, told the Observer. “He just had no recognition of the proper anatomy. He had no idea what he was doing. At every step of the way, you would have to know the right thing to do so you could do the wrong thing, because he did all the wrong things.”

In one case, authorities allege, Duntsch operated on his roommate and friend after a night of using cocaine. The man emerged from the operation a quadriplegic. In another, he purposefully left a surgical sponge inside a man’s body. During that surgery, a fellow doctor forced Duntsch to stop operating because of his “unacceptable” technique, the Dallas Morning News reported, citing a search warrant affidavit.

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No, I’m not even tempted by this one

myfarog

I haven’t played a role-playing game in decades. I enjoyed them, but…no time, and as you all know, I have no friends and am universally despised, so no one to play them with. And now I have another reason to not play at least one of them: it sucks. There’s a new RPG out called Myfarog, which looks unplayable, and is written by a proud racist who sees RPGs as a rehearsal for the coming collapse of Western Civilization. At least it gets away from the tired old stereotype of evil Orcs, and instead has you facing hordes of evil Jews.

It’s strange how half the internet seems to be complaining about “political correctness”, yet there doesn’t seem to be any significant suppression of some of the foulest crap, from Myfarog to Donald Trump, anywhere. In fact, it’s like a golden age of shit everywhere!

Not quite there yet

I was sent this list of 10 “biblical” beliefs that poison Christians, hosted on a site that opposes ‘spiritual abuse’. It’s a weirdly twisty look into the views of a fairly liberal but clearly fervent Christian — I actually agree with them that a lot of these beliefs are actively harmful, but the reasoning they use to reach that same conclusion is odd, to me. That makes it interesting to read, because it provides a peculiar perspective on concerns that are familiar to atheists.

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It would give me pause if my causes required lies to be persuasive

standwithpp

It’s unfortunate that that doesn’t seem to be the case for abortion opponents. Even if I were sympathetic to their cause, I’d recoil from the dishonesty.

This has always been the case. There is no argument against abortion that doesn’t rely on misrepresentation and dodgy associations. Every one of those signs plastered all over my region that declares “My heart started beating at 28 days!” is fundamentally dishonest, relying on a false association between a heart beat and humanity. My zebrafish embryos’ hearts start beating at about 22 hours, does that make them human?

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Friday Cephalopod: Hairy & slimy

Allonautilus scrobiculatus is a rare species that can be distinguishes from the natty Nautilus pompilius by its hairy, slimy shell. That doesn’t seem like a distinction to be proud of, but I guess it takes all types to fill an ocean.

Nautilus pompilius (left) swimming next to a rare Allonautilus scrobiculatus (right) off of Ndrova Island in Papua New Guinea.Peter Ward

Nautilus pompilius (left) swimming next to a rare Allonautilus scrobiculatus (right) off of Ndrova Island in Papua New Guinea.Peter Ward

I’ve heard of not-pologies…

chupacabra

But not-lawsuits? You know that Rebecca was asking for help to deal with a not-threat of not-censorship and a not-suit from the non-litigious non-jerk Ben Radford. Now she has posted her amusing response to Radford’s non-demands. So many contradictions! He keeps insisting he has no intention of suing in a cease-and-desist letter that demands that she take down posts she has written.

The biggest contradiction, though, is that this is all after Radford hounded Karen Stollznow into retracting and promising to never ever mention their disagreements ever again…an agreement that Stollznow has been honoring, while Radford keeps stirring the pot and reminding everyone what an asshole he can be.

I don’t think he wanted to bring this affair to a close at all.

I am not a number

continuum

I endorse this article: 5 Ways That Science Supports Feminism – Not Gender Essentialism. It’s making the point that when you actually study the relevant sciences, you discover that they fundamentally support a more complex view of sexuality than the usual boy/girl dichotomy. Here, in brief, are the five points it makes:

1. There Are More Than Two Sexes, Not to Mention a Vast Range of Gender Identities
2. The Environment Impacts Human Development from the Very Beginning at the Cellular Level
3. Socialization Is a Powerful Force
4. When Studies Do Find Gender Differences, They Are Often Too Weak to Serve as the Basis for Generalizations
5. Gender Means Different Things in Different Cultures

One other factor that leads people to adopt gender essentialism is a kind of innumeracy — I swear, I think the only statistical measure most people understand is the mean. But statistics was developed to describe variation, in addition to taking data sets and crunching them down to a single number.

There is also deficiency of logic. If you take any diverse set, divide it in two, and calculate the mean of any given parameter for both, you’ll get…two numbers. This does not validate your initial division as appropriate. It does not mean your artificial dichotomy reveals an absolute truth about the world. It does not mean you have encapsulated the essence of your two groups in a single simple metric. In particular, it’s possible to have a mean that does not describe a single individual in your group accurately.

If you aren’t an advocate for the truth, you aren’t a journalist

ramos

Way back in the distant past, lost to the internet, when Pharyngula was just a tiny project I was running on my lab computer, one of the subjects that pissed me off was pseudo-objective journalism. The kind of thing where a New York Times reporter would write a long article on the geology of the Grand Canyon, and give equal time to creationism and real science, and excuse it by saying,

I don’t consider myself a creationist. I don’t have any interest in sharing my personal views on how the canyon was carved, mostly because I’ve spent almost no time pondering my personal views — it takes all my energy as a reporter and writer to understand and explain my subjects’ views fairly and thoroughly.

This is the kind of journalism where facts and evidence don’t matter and aren’t part of the evidence — all we’re supposed to care about is cataloging the opinions of the uninformed, and weight is bestowed by how loudly they are shouted, or by how rich and famous the ignoramus with an opinion is. The journalist doesn’t have the time to assess the facts, all their energy is consumed in transcribing quotes. And worst of all, they tout this as a goddamned virtue of good reporting.

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