Monday, July 09, 2007

Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters

Echidne, bless her heart, tackles the Evil Psychos.

[oh, wait. that didn't come out quite right. or maybe it did.]

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Also, Echidne asks, in part 3, whether suicide bombers really are all single. I did a quick googling, but all I could come up with was this:

The early years of suicide terrorism were a simpler time, the officers explained. Suicide bombers were—at least in theory—easier to spot then. They tended to carry their bombs in nylon backpacks or duffel bags rather than in belts or vests concealed beneath their clothing, as they do now. They were also typically male, aged seventeen to twenty-three, and unmarried. Armed with these data, the authorities could simply deny work permits to Palestinians most likely to be suicide bombers, thus restricting their ability to cross the Green Line (Israel's pre-1967 border) into Israel proper from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.

Today, though, suicide bombers are middle-aged and young, married and unmarried, and some of them have children. Some of them, too, are women, and word has it that even children are being trained for martyrdom. "There is no clear profile anymore—not for terrorists and especially not for suicide bombers," an exasperated senior officer in the Israel Defense Forces told [the author] last year.

The Atlantic Monthly | June 2003
The Logic of Suicide Terrorism
by Bruce Hoffman

I was going to post it as a comment over there, but haloscan is being unfriendly. I'll try again later.


Steve Bates said...

I read the entire series earlier today, and once again stand in awe of echidne. No one... no one... is better at debunking demagoguery driven by pseudoscience and pseudostatistics.

hipparchia said...

i [heart] echidne. she takes these people on, so that i don't have to. i feel a little guilty that i'm not doing my part.

Steve Bates said...

hipparchia, with due respect for your considerable capabilities, few people anywhere have echidne's incisive analytical skills when it comes to pointing out the flaws in purportedly scientific arguments. And having hung around a lot of genuine statisticians over the years, I have to say that echidne, as much as any of them, goes straight to the point of any statistical fallacy.

It is sufficient for you and me to point to echidne, and let her do the heavy lifting. She's got the chops, and she's got the audience.

Keifus said...

Without going past the title, I can only support what appears to be your thesis. I've observed the same thing.

(I'll try to give a better read later, as well as your oil post...)

Keifus said...

To be fair, I only have anecdotal evidence about beautiful daugters (ah but maybe I am overstating my own case).

That was the most distasteful and tendentious crap I've read all week (in a week when I've read a great deal of distasteful and tendentious crap).

I suppose I should read Ms. Of The Snakes more.

nnoik: no, I know

hipparchia said...


yes, you're a special case!

she of the snakes: blog, columns

tzpfyizx: [somebody please do something with this one for me]

hipparchia said...


guilt is me. i have mucho [long ago] background in both biology and statistics. i should be doing more [against the creationists too]. i rationalize away the guilt by explaining that my head would explode and then i would be even more useless than i am now.

also, i would have to actually string sentences together in a coherent fashion. i only do that if someone is paying me.

daveto said...

hi hip,

thanks for posting that. i remember commenting on it back on the old botf days, i wonder of those archives are coming back, and if yes i'll be happy to tell you what i think of it!

yamdi -- finding it difficult to keep up with my readings these days!

hipparchia said...

i'm not keeping up with mine either, i hope the archives live on, and i'm always happy to hear whatever you think of anything, no matter when you get the chance to pipe up.