Nate Silver Apparently Inaccurate On Polls Because He’s Effeminate

Some conservatives are not terribly fond of Nate Silver, the renowned blogger and statistics wonk behind Fivethirtyeight. For one thing, he keeps predicting that Obama will win. (80.8% chance as of this writing.) Those conservatives, who are fond of the narrative of Romney Momentum, feel that Nate Silver is randomly making up numbers in order to… make people… confident Obama will win… so they… vote for Obama… or something… Okay, the logic might be a little dim here, but what’s even dimmer is their argument about why Mr. Silver is not to be trusted about polls.

Nate Silver is a man of very small stature, a thin and effeminate man with a soft-sounding voice that sounds almost exactly like the “Mr. New Castrati” voice used by Rush Limbaugh on his program. In fact, Silver could easily be the poster child for the New Castrati in both image and sound. Nate Silver, like most liberal and leftist celebrities and favorites, might be of average intelligence but is surely not the genius he’s made out to be.

Oh god! Not a thin and effeminate man! Who’s short! Someone fetch me my smelling salts!

People like me, who do not have the ovaries to endure Mr. Limbaugh, may not know what a New Castrati is. I have listened to this video from Mr. Limbaugh’s show so you don’t have to! Apparently they “gesture like a geisha,” that is, like a stereotypically feminine and submissive racist stereotype, and like they’re “effeminate” and speak with a stereotypical gay lisp. They think they’re erudite and smart and care about silly things like “racism” and “Islamophobia.”

So, yes, they are arguing that we shouldn’t listen to Mr. Silver or care about his opinions because he isn’t manly enough.

Uh-huh.

See, if I were going to make a list of people I trust about predicting election results, my list would look like this:

  • Intelligent
  • Understands statistics well
  • Obvious passion for numbers
  • Explains reasoning behind predictions
  • Strong track record of correct predictions

Which Mr. Silver fulfills quite well. On the other hand, some people’s list apparently looks more like this:

  • Tall
  • Masculine
  • Deep, non-lisping voice
  • Well-muscled
  • Moves in a decisive and masculine fashion

You know, I’m honestly not certain if they’re looking for a statistician or a romance novel hero.

Photo– DonkeyHotey/Flickr. The elephant and donkey symbols of the US Republican and Democratic parties. 

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About ozyfrantz

Ozy Frantz is a student at a well-respected Hippie College in the United States. Zie bases most of zir life decisions on Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and identifies more closely with Pinkie Pie than is probably necessary. Ozy can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter as @ozyfrantz. Writing is presently Ozy's primary means of support, so to tip the blogger, click here.

Comments

  1. The fact that Nate Silver claims to be able to calculate the probability of an outcome of the presidential election to within 0.1% seems suspicious to me because that kind of precision in something as hard to predict as a close presidential race seems next to impossible to achieve. It would be interesting to see his calculations.

    This is the kind of thing that stands out to me. Welcome to the world of a STEM major.

    • You should know that precision =/= accuracy. Nate Silver wouldn’t claim that his estimates are accurate. Heck, they vary by more than 0.1% from day to day. But that shouldn’t preclude him from giving us all available information through high precision.

    • theLaplaceDemon says:

      Uh, dude, I work in STEM too, and you do not seem to understand this sort of model.

      It is certainly possible that Nate Silver’s model is wrong. It could turn out to be a flaw in the model, it could turn out to be a flaw in the polls the model is based on (though I believe he does control for historical accuracy of each polling organization, so that helps). But his models performed pretty well in ’08, ’10, and in the Wisconsin recall, so I think it’s safe to assume that his methods are reasonable, even if they do not turn out to be correct.

  2. “You know, I’m honestly not certain if they’re looking for a statistician or a romance novel hero.”

    Challenge accepted, Ozy.

    “Dr. Ronald Statisticious manfully caressed the printouts, his large, muscular biceps clenching at the surprise result of his calculations. There had been an upset, and now Robin Jackson was beating Jack Robinson in the polls! Ron didn’t let his chiseled, utterly-masculine face betray this surprise, however, and the busty-yet-conservatively-clad secretary saw only manly restraint and MANLINESS. She swooned. If only Dr. Statisticious would notice her beauty and devotion…”

  3. Is Nate Silver really that effeminate? I mean, he’s definitely nerdy, but I don’t really think he’s that effeminate. Also, he’s brilliant! I’m a fairly intelligent individual myself, and I think Nate Silver has far and away the best analysis of the election.

  4. QuantumInc says:

    If you wanted to give Dean Chambers the benefit of a doubt, you could say that the paragraph is just one amongst several describing and criticizing multiple aspects of Nate Silver. However even then calling the guy “effeminate” seems out of place when you’re criticizing a statistician. In most of the other paragraphs he criticizes Nate Silver’s work, yet Chambers felt the need to criticize his physical build…for…some…reason. Lots of people might doubt somebody because they don’t look they way they expect a MAN or a WOMAN to look like, but most of them recognize this is an irrational thing to think. Meanwhile Dean Chambers had the opportunity to sit down and think about Nate Silvers, but didn’t take advantage of that. Instead he just ranted off all of his various thoughts, which apparently included “I hate this guy, he’s such a pansy!”

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