ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » USA Politics
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Closed Thread
Old 9th November 2020, 11:14 AM   #81
wareyin
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Georgia, USA
Posts: 8,075
Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
We don't have to assume votes follow Benford's Law, we can observe that they do. And US populations do follow Benford's Law.
The problem with your claim (aside from the skewed y axis already pointed out) is that no, votes are in fact not observed to follow Benfords Law. It's a "coin flip".

And your source is presenting some unknown snapshot of vote counts taken before the vote count is even completed, assuming that their numbers are even correct. Given how misleading and incorrect the rest of the claim is, I'm inclined to doubt the numbers are any more accurate.

Eta: as for the US population, is suggest you check the "Distributions known to disobey Benfords Law" section from your link.

Last edited by wareyin; 9th November 2020 at 11:24 AM.
wareyin is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 11:19 AM   #82
Paul2
Philosopher
 
Paul2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,169
Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Of course he's addressing the second charts, not the first ones. But the first ones, the first digit distribution (not the second digit distribution) are the really damning ones. And adjusting the vertical scale can't rescue them.

You'd know that if you understood Benford's Law.

Furthermore, I don't know where those second digit graphs came from, but they aren't part of the link I gave, so even assuming dishonesty on the part of whoever made those graphs, it's not really relevant to my link.
So do your civic duty and report this to the authorities. I want to hear what they say. Keep us apprised (as Rachel Madow likes to say).

I wonder if this type of statistical analysis is admissible as evidence for fraud in court or before a judge. Any precedent on that?

Remember, that these statistics can either be (1) evidence in and of themselves that fraud was perpetrated, or (2) merely suggestive of fraud that would require more investigation to see if fraud actually occurred. Let's remember to not confuse the two.
__________________
It's nice to be nice to the nice.

Aristotle, so far as I know, was the first man to proclaim explicitly that man is a rational animal. His reason for this view was one which does not now seem very impressive: it was, that some people can do sums. - Bertrand Russell
Paul2 is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 11:30 AM   #83
Meadmaker
Penultimate Amazing
 
Meadmaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 23,752
I haven't done a deep dive into the Benford's law thing, so I can't dismiss it completely out of hand, but there are several things that aren't passing the sniff test for me. Central to all of them is this comment from one of the paragraphs.

"Bidenís Vote Tallies Violate Benfordís Law"

What? Which vote tallies? What does that mean? When people say "elections follow Benford's law", what does that mean? The specific site I was mentioning referred specifically to Allegheny County. So.....what are those vote tallies?

I guess they must be precinct by precinct vote counts? That's the only thing I can think of where there might be numbers that could be selected for a dataset.

Well, precincts are chosen to be a reasonable number of voters for poll workers to handle. They are deliberately set up so that they have somewhere between a couple of hundred or maybe 1,000 or so voters.

Benford's law only works if the quantities being measured span several orders of magnitude. Without that, the law doesn't work. Really. That's what causes the phenomenon. So, if you take something that was deliberately chosen to NOT vary across several orders of magnitude, then it would be rather bizarre if it followed Benford's law.

Like I say, it's conceivable that someone, somewhere, who understood Benford's Law and actually did a correct analysis has uncovered something fishy, but so far I haven't actually seen anyone who has given any indication that they understand the law, understand how to apply it, or have made any meaninful computations about it.

Maybe something will come up.
__________________
Yes, yes. I know you're right, but would it hurt you to actually provide some information?
Meadmaker is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 11:31 AM   #84
johnny karate
... and your little dog too.
 
johnny karate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 13,828
Originally Posted by uke2se View Post
Please don't. We don't have to take part in this ****, and doing so now could be harmful. Ignore him.

Please note, I'm not saying that you should ignore what the Trumpkins are trying to do to your country, but simply that directly engaging them when they are trying to sow distrust in democracy by endlessly discussing **** like this is actually causing harm.
I understand your concerns but do not agree that they apply to discussions on this forum.

In general, I think that we should give these clowns as many opportunities as possible to embarrass themselves.
johnny karate is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 11:42 AM   #85
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 7,314
Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Well, precincts are chosen to be a reasonable number of voters for poll workers to handle. They are deliberately set up so that they have somewhere between a couple of hundred or maybe 1,000 or so voters.
Do you have a cite for this? The great and reliable Wikipedia has things like "the surface areas of 335 rivers" and "the street addresses of the first 342 persons listed in American Men of Science" as examples of things the law applies to. The law itself was first observed in the pages of log tables which I don't think have orders of magnitude more pages than this.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benford%27s_law#Example

Last edited by shuttlt; 9th November 2020 at 11:50 AM.
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 11:52 AM   #86
The Great Zaganza
Maledictorian
 
The Great Zaganza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 13,644
Has anyone addressed the fact that all State Officials say there was no significant problem?

This is not a Trump-Biden issue, this is a Trump-State issue.
__________________
Ceterum autem censeo fox et amicis esse delendam.
The Great Zaganza is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 11:54 AM   #87
Skeptic Tank
Trigger Warning
 
Skeptic Tank's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 2,970
Originally Posted by johnny karate View Post
No, his claims that massive voter fraud has taken place.

Do you believe those claims?
It seems to me that he was indicating he strongly suspected it, rather than that he was asserting in an ironclad manner that he knew it to be the case.

Either way, I'm not really in the business of believing or not believing his claims. I find it believable, but I'm not like firmly signing off on it or something.

I am certainly prepared to believe shenanigans of the sort he's suggesting did happen. There's other info I'm seeing that already had me thinking that was very likely.

Basically I'd like anything that results in further division and historic meltdowns from BLM / Antifa / the left to be true or come to be believed as true.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrQIG99IZQ0
Skeptic Tank is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 11:57 AM   #88
Meadmaker
Penultimate Amazing
 
Meadmaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 23,752
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Do you have a cite for this? The great and reliable Wikipedia has things like "the surface areas of 335 rivers" and "the street addresses of the first 342 persons listed in American Men of Science" as examples of things the law applies to. The law itself was first observed in the pages of log tables which I don't think have orders of magnitude more pages than this.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benford%27s_law#Example
As they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

You are absolutely correct that it was first observed on the pages of log tables.

In fact, what the mathematician observed is that, in the 19th century, when he went to a library and pulled out book of logarithm tables, he observed that the pages with the 9s were not as well worn as the pages with the 1s. This, he thought, was very odd.

What log tables are used for is to take really big or really small numbers and make it easy to do math on them with addition instead of large multiplications. Why would people be more interested in numbers that start with 1 than in numbers that start with 9? He thought about it, figured out why, and came up with Benford's law.

(I don't remember if that guy was Benford. Benford may have been someone else who discovered it independently.)


It isn't the number of pages in the log book that follow Benford's law. It isn;t even the numbers on the pages. It's the number of times people looked up a specific page in a book of logarithms, because the phenomena they were doing calculations on spanned wide orders of magnitude. As a result, they were more likely to look up the logarithm of soemthing that started with 1 than something that started with 9.
__________________
Yes, yes. I know you're right, but would it hurt you to actually provide some information?

Last edited by Meadmaker; 9th November 2020 at 11:59 AM.
Meadmaker is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 11:58 AM   #89
acbytesla
Penultimate Amazing
 
acbytesla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 26,974
Originally Posted by Skeptic Tank View Post
It seems to me that he was indicating he strongly suspected it, rather than that he was asserting in an ironclad manner that he knew it to be the case.

Either way, I'm not really in the business of believing or not believing his claims. I find it believable, but I'm not like firmly signing off on it or something.

I am certainly prepared to believe shenanigans of the sort he's suggesting did happen. There's other info I'm seeing that already had me thinking that was very likely.

Basically I'd like anything that results in further division and historic meltdowns from BLM / Antifa / the left to be true or come to be believed as true.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrQIG99IZQ0
Koo Koo for Cocoa Puffs!

Needs to be repeated.

In other words, you believe all the conspiracy theory bs without a shred of evidence. Good one Tank!

More than 4 million Americans voted for Biden over Trump. So please please please keep up the whining about a few thousand questionable votes cast here and there. You're only highlighting how ridiculous that Trump ever became President since he was outvoted in that election by 3 million votes.
__________________
Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get to me.
.
acbytesla is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 11:59 AM   #90
crescent
Illuminator
 
crescent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Colorado
Posts: 3,808
Has Orly entered the fray yet?
crescent is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:00 PM   #91
Dave Rogers
Bandaged ice that stampedes inexpensively through a scribbled morning waving necessary ankles
 
Dave Rogers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Cair Paravel, according to XKCD
Posts: 31,649
Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Of course he's addressing the second charts, not the first ones. But the first ones, the first digit distribution (not the second digit distribution) are the really damning ones.
They're addressed further down the page. Benford's Law only really works with datasets spanning many orders of magnitude, and doesn't work at all well with the sort of data being looked at. Add in the cherry picking effect and the fact that an over-representation of leading 1's is no less a violation of Benford's Law than an under-representation - which the source strongly suggests it doesn't - and it becomes seriously unconvincing. And did you see the bit where the source that supposedly states Benford's Law is useful to detect election fraud actually says it isn't?

Dave
__________________
Inspiring discussion of Sharknado is not a good sign for the audience expectations of your new high-concept SF movie sequel.

- Myriad
Dave Rogers is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:01 PM   #92
Upchurch
Papa Funkosophy
 
Upchurch's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 32,221
Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Of course he's addressing the second charts, not the first ones. But the first ones, the first digit distribution (not the second digit distribution) are the really damning ones. And adjusting the vertical scale can't rescue them.
Other answers on that page address the Chicago data and it's small size.

So, what kind of fraud are you claiming?
__________________
"There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact." -- Sherlock Holmes.
"Itís easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled." -- Mark Twain, maybe.
Upchurch is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:02 PM   #93
Meadmaker
Penultimate Amazing
 
Meadmaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 23,752
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Do you have a cite for this? The great and reliable Wikipedia has things like "the surface areas of 335 rivers" and "the street addresses of the first 342 persons listed in American Men of Science" as examples of things the law applies to. The law itself was first observed in the pages of log tables which I don't think have orders of magnitude more pages than this.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benford%27s_law#Example
I'm not sure if you are asking for a cite about distributions and Benford's law, or about precinct sizes. If the former, here's a quote from the wikipedia article:

Quote:
It tends to be most accurate when values are distributed across multiple orders of magnitude, especially if the process generating the numbers is described by a power law (which is common in nature).
__________________
Yes, yes. I know you're right, but would it hurt you to actually provide some information?
Meadmaker is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:07 PM   #94
Stacyhs
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 16,695
All we have are allegations of voter fraud by a pathological lying POTUS who has been claiming for months that the only way he'd lose is due to voter cheating. Not a single confirmed case of significant voter fraud that would affect the outcome of any election has been proved. Are there individual cases of voter fraud? No doubt. An ISF member has told us of his own Trump supporting family forging his dying father's signature on the ballot. But enough to change the outcome of the election? What evidence do we have of that? We have courts throwing out Trump's lawsuits for lack of evidence, fake videos, and disproved claims. We have the Lt. Gov of Georgia, a Trump supporting Republican, publicly stating he has seen no evidence of voter fraud. Maryland GOP Gov. Hogan says the same thing. While some GOP governors are standing with Trump, they are wording their support carefully by saying they want all legal votes counted which falls far short of backing his claims that fraud is taking place.
Stacyhs is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:07 PM   #95
Resume
Troublesome Passenger
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 17,641
Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Has Orly entered the fray yet?
No, please no.
__________________
He must be removed.

George Will on
President Donald J. Trump.
June 1, 2020
Resume is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:07 PM   #96
wareyin
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Georgia, USA
Posts: 8,075
Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I'm not sure if you are asking for a cite about distributions and Benford's law, or about precinct sizes. If the former, here's a quote from the wikipedia article:
I don't know about you, but I for one get tired of people who cited an article needing to have it pointed out that the information they are either asking for (in this case) or arguing against (in Zigs case) is actually in the page they cited.
wareyin is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:13 PM   #97
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 7,314
Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
As they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

You are absolutely correct that it was first observed on the pages of log tables.

In fact, what the mathematician observed is that, in the 19th century, when he went to a library and pulled out book of logarithm tables, he observed that the pages with the 9s were not as well worn as the pages with the 1s. This, he thought, was very odd.

What log tables are used for is to take really big or really small numbers and make it easy to do math on them with addition instead of large multiplications. Why would people be more interested in numbers that start with 1 than in numbers that start with 9? He thought about it, figured out why, and came up with Benford's law.

(I don't remember if that guy was Benford. Benford may have been someone else who discovered it independently.)


It isn't the number of pages in the log book that follow Benford's law. It isn;t even the numbers on the pages. It's the number of times people looked up a specific page in a book of logarithms, because the phenomena they were doing calculations on spanned wide orders of magnitude. As a result, they were more likely to look up the logarithm of soemthing that started with 1 than something that started with 9.
You are right about the logbook and the pages not being the thing. However, I don't see that the same objection applies to the other two examples.

Where are you getting the requirement for so many orders of magnitude?
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:16 PM   #98
Meadmaker
Penultimate Amazing
 
Meadmaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 23,752
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
You are right about the logbook and the pages not being the thing. However, I don't see that the same objection applies to the other two examples.

Where are you getting the requirement for so many orders of magnitude?
From the wikipedia page about Benford's Law, although I was familiar with it long before I read the wikipedia page.


Well, not long before. I had never heard of Benford's Law before I saw the Netflix show about it this summer. I think the name of the series had the word "Connected" in it. Kind of entertaining, although it tiptoed a bit too close to wooish for my tastes.
__________________
Yes, yes. I know you're right, but would it hurt you to actually provide some information?
Meadmaker is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:16 PM   #99
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 7,314
Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I'm not sure if you are asking for a cite about distributions and Benford's law, or about precinct sizes. If the former, here's a quote from the wikipedia article:
Quote:
It tends to be most accurate when values are distributed across multiple orders of magnitude, especially if the process generating the numbers is described by a power law (which is common in nature).
Ok, so this says it tends to be more accurate the more orders of magnitude you have... sure. You are claiming that it is too inaccurate based on a sample size ~1000 to be used. The wikipedia article cites examples that seem to be in the low to mid hundreds. What are you basing your claim that it is too inaccurate to use to evaluate these cases on?
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:17 PM   #100
Meadmaker
Penultimate Amazing
 
Meadmaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 23,752
Originally Posted by Skeptic Tank View Post
It is not and never has been about the popular vote.
Neither is this thread, unless you want to put forth an allegation that the popular vote was stolen.
__________________
Yes, yes. I know you're right, but would it hurt you to actually provide some information?
Meadmaker is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:17 PM   #101
pgwenthold
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 19,779
I suggest that any claims of "statistical anomalies" such as violations of Benford's law need to be applied to the 2016 election, too, to verify that it is a unique issue this year.

Didn't there used to be a poster who was claiming that 2016 was fraud because of something like this?
__________________
"As your friend, I have to be honest with you: I don't care about you or your problems" - Chloe, Secret Life of Pets
pgwenthold is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:18 PM   #102
Meadmaker
Penultimate Amazing
 
Meadmaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 23,752
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Ok, so this says it tends to be more accurate the more orders of magnitude you have... sure. You are claiming that it is too inaccurate based on a sample size ~1000 to be used. The wikipedia article cites examples that seem to be in the low to mid hundreds. What are you basing your claim that it is too inaccurate to use to evaluate these cases on?
It has nothing to do with sample sizes. It's about the distributions of the numbers themselves. If you choose your numbers to be distributed between 100 and 1000, the observed numbers won't follow Benford's law. Precinct sizes are chosen in a way that won't follow Benford's law. They are chosen to be fairly uniform in size and to not span several orders of magnitude.
__________________
Yes, yes. I know you're right, but would it hurt you to actually provide some information?

Last edited by Meadmaker; 9th November 2020 at 12:20 PM.
Meadmaker is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:21 PM   #103
Minoosh
Penultimate Amazing
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 11,801
I found the third sentence in the Wiki article on Benford's law amusing:

Quote:
For example, in sets that obey the law, the number 1 appears as the leading significant digit about 30% of the time, while 9 appears as the leading significant digit less than 5% of the time.
IOW "in sets that obey the law, the values obey the law."

Tautologies are fun.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:25 PM   #104
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 7,314
Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
It has nothing to do with sample sizes. It's about the distributions of the numbers themselves. If you choose your numbers to be distributed between 100 and 1000, the observed numbers won't follow Benford's law. Precinct sizes are chosen in a way that won't follow Benford's law. They are chosen to be fairly uniform in size and to not span several orders of magnitude.
Wouldn't this mean that Benford's law would be nearly useless for analysing election results?
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:26 PM   #105
Mader Levap
Graduate Poster
 
Mader Levap's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,239
Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Of course he's addressing the second charts, not the first ones..
I like how you pass over fact that someone tried to misrepresent statistical facts.

Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
You'd know that if you understood Benford's Law.
If you understood Benford's law, you would know it is not applicable everywhere. From Wikipedia:

Quote:
Benford's law tends to apply most accurately to data that span several orders of magnitude. As a rule of thumb, the more orders of magnitude that the data evenly covers, the more accurately Benford's law applies. For instance, one can expect that Benford's law would apply to a list of numbers representing the populations of UK settlements. But if a "settlement" is defined as a village with population between 300 and 999, then Benford's law will not apply.
Considering amount and size of counties, Benford's law is probably completely worthless as fraud detection tool.
__________________
Sanity is overrated. / Voting for Republicans is morally equivalent to voting for Nazis in early 30's.
Mader Levap is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:27 PM   #106
pgwenthold
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 19,779
Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
It has nothing to do with sample sizes. It's about the distributions of the numbers themselves. If you choose your numbers to be distributed between 100 and 1000, the observed numbers won't follow Benford's law. Precinct sizes are chosen in a way that won't follow Benford's law. They are chosen to be fairly uniform in size and to not span several orders of magnitude.
In the other thread, there was a link to someone on Twitter who addressed there. There are academic studies that have explicitly stated that Benford's law should not be applied to voting.
__________________
"As your friend, I have to be honest with you: I don't care about you or your problems" - Chloe, Secret Life of Pets
pgwenthold is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:27 PM   #107
JoeMorgue
Self Employed
Remittance Man
 
JoeMorgue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 28,589
Ah I see one of our primary Trump defenders is now back and refusing to admit that Trump lost fair and square.
__________________
No, someone having reality and facts on their side does not mean they have been given an unfair advantage and it is not a bias against you. You're just wrong.
JoeMorgue is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:28 PM   #108
Trebuchet
Penultimate Amazing
 
Trebuchet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Port Townsend, Washington
Posts: 29,751
Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Neither is this thread, unless you want to put forth an allegation that the popular vote was stolen.
As Trump did four years ago!
__________________
Cum catapultae proscribeantur tum soli proscripti catapultas habeant.
Trebuchet is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:28 PM   #109
Meadmaker
Penultimate Amazing
 
Meadmaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 23,752
The Netflix show I saw about Benford's Law is called "Connected". The specific episode is "Digits".

It gives a good overview, but it's a bit sensationalist, and it doesn't go into the properties of the numbers that gives rise to the phenomenon very well. As a result, it, and other references, especially pop culture references, could lead one to the mistaken view that a set of numbers taht doesn't follow Benford's Law is evidence of a flaw, or fraud, in the numbers.
__________________
Yes, yes. I know you're right, but would it hurt you to actually provide some information?
Meadmaker is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:28 PM   #110
crescent
Illuminator
 
crescent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Colorado
Posts: 3,808
Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Has Orly entered the fray yet?
Originally Posted by Resume View Post
No, please no.
Right now, this is all fun. Once Orly comes back, it will be crazy fun.

More seriously, there were more than 200 lawsuits filed challenging Obama's place of birth or his citizenship. They never stopped, logic and evidence were meaningless.

This will never end. Biden will get sworn in, but they'll still find ways to file legal challenges. Lawyers will get disbarred for filing frivolous suits, and others will line up to replace them.

Trump has indicated that he'll concede if the legal challenges end without finding anything. But the legal challenges will never stop - too much crazy, too much political and financial support from sane but amoral strategists.

We'll live with this for the next two years at least. American political conservatism now rests on a foundation of conspiracy theories, and the sane conservatives lack the willingness to deal with it.

Last edited by crescent; 9th November 2020 at 12:31 PM.
crescent is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:30 PM   #111
Meadmaker
Penultimate Amazing
 
Meadmaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 23,752
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Wouldn't this mean that Benford's law would be nearly useless for analysing election results?
At the very least, it would mean that great caution must be used when applying Benford's Law to election results. I wouldn't want to say that there are no sets of election related numbers that would be expected to follow Benford's Law, but any time I see such a claim, I would want to know how they picked the numbers to study.

I know that claims of Benford's Law as an analysis of election results, such as famously in Iranian elections, are considered controversial.
__________________
Yes, yes. I know you're right, but would it hurt you to actually provide some information?
Meadmaker is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:31 PM   #112
Norman Alexander
Philosopher
 
Norman Alexander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Gundungurra
Posts: 7,980
Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Anyone here familiar with Benford's Law? It's a mathematical rule governing many sorts of distributions which exhibit scale invariance. Basically, the takehome of the mathematical rule is that for such distributions, the odds that a number in this distribution will begin with a 1 is higher than the odds it will begin with a 2, the odds it begins with a 2 is higher than the odds that it begins with a 3, and so on.

Benford's Law gets used in forensic accounting a lot, because accounting figures normally should follow Benford's Law. But when people artificially generate numbers, they don't tend to generate numbers which follow Benford's Law. So if you take the accounts of a company and look at all the spending items, and it doesn't follow Benford's Law, then that's very suggestive statistical evidence that someone is cooking the books, and you had better look closer.

Election results also generally follow Benford's Law. But according to this source, the results for votes for Biden in a number of key cities... doesn't.
The article doesn't say what numbers were examined. Just "results by county". What "results"? Vote counts? Street numbers? Phone numbers? Heights above sea level? Numbers pulled from some guy's ass?

I suspect it was the latter.

ETA: Not just ninja'd but daimyo'd numerous times.
__________________
...our governments are just trying to protect us from terror. In the same way that someone banging a hornetsí nest with a stick is trying to protect us from hornets. Frankie Boyle, Guardian, July 2015

Last edited by Norman Alexander; 9th November 2020 at 12:35 PM.
Norman Alexander is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 12:45 PM   #113
acbytesla
Penultimate Amazing
 
acbytesla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 26,974
Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Right now, this is all fun. Once Orly comes back, it will be crazy fun.

More seriously, there were more than 200 lawsuits filed challenging Obama's place of birth or his citizenship. They never stopped, logic and evidence were meaningless.

This will never end. Biden will get sworn in, but they'll still find ways to file legal challenges. Lawyers will get disbarred for filing frivolous suits, and others will line up to replace them.

Trump has indicated that he'll concede if the legal challenges end without finding anything. But the legal challenges will never stop - too much crazy, too much political and financial support from sane but amoral strategists.

We'll live with this for the next two years at least. American political conservatism now rests on a foundation of conspiracy theories, and the sane conservatives lack the willingness to deal with it.
This reminds me what former US Attorney Chuck Rosenberg said today on MSNBC.
Quote:
"There's a huge difference between filing a lawsuit and filing a "meritorious lawsuit. Anyone is capable of filing a lawsuit, but to file a meritorious lawsuit, one in which you could succeed, you need this thing called evidence. And so far there doesn't seem like there is much of that."
https://youtu.be/uyA0DhYnNQI
__________________
Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get to me.
.
acbytesla is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 01:03 PM   #114
Minoosh
Penultimate Amazing
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 11,801
Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
Other answers on that page address the Chicago data and it's small size.

So, what kind of fraud are you claiming?
I think the trick is to not make a claim. Get everyone talking about a statistical theory instead. Change the conversation. It's a very effective tactic.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 01:06 PM   #115
smartcooky
Penultimate Amazing
 
smartcooky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Nelson, New Zealand
Posts: 15,776
Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
You have to understand that this is a new kind of conspiracy theory, one unique to our new, wonderful Post-Fact world.

Because the goal is not to actually convince anyone that the election was rigged. It's to just get the idea out there because since there's no intellectual or argumentative standards anymore and everything is "just like, you're opinion man" that's all it takes.
In other words, throw as much feces at the wall as possible, and hope some of it sticks.
__________________
"Silence is Donald Trump's concession speech" - Lawrence O'Donnell.

If you don't like my posts, my opinions, or my directness then put me on your ignore list. This will be of benefit to both of us; you won't have to take umbrage at my posts, and I won't have to waste my time talking to you... simples! !
smartcooky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 01:11 PM   #116
Ambrosia
Good of the Fods
 
Ambrosia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,656
Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
The Netflix show I saw about Benford's Law is called "Connected". The specific episode is "Digits".
I'd recommend giving the series a watch sometime. I thought it was really good overall and the host Latif Nasser was a good fit.

I *think* its a remake of a decades old show on the BBC called Connections by James Burke.
Ambrosia is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 01:11 PM   #117
johnny karate
... and your little dog too.
 
johnny karate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 13,828
Originally Posted by Skeptic Tank View Post
It seems to me that he was indicating he strongly suspected it, rather than that he was asserting in an ironclad manner that he knew it to be the case.

Either way, I'm not really in the business of believing or not believing his claims. I find it believable, but I'm not like firmly signing off on it or something.
What specifically is it about these claims that makes you unwilling to commit to believing them?
johnny karate is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 01:11 PM   #118
JoeMorgue
Self Employed
Remittance Man
 
JoeMorgue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 28,589
Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
In other words, throw as much feces at the wall as possible, and hope some of it sticks.
And more of it is sticking because for the last 20 years the internet has screamed down anyone who tried to come up with a way of combating it beyond "LOL they are just trolls, it's apparently a religion that you have to ignore them."

We ignored them and they started voting.

I'm sorry to keep going back to this well but it's what the poisoned water is coming from. We let the internet get turned into a hyper-efficient "min/max intellectual standards/crazy ideas" fountain and at the same time created the "The only way to deal with crazy ideas is to ignore them" fetish and... that IS why we are where we are now.

Because none of this argumentative trolling is new. We've been seeing it in the Woo Slinger circles for my entire life. It's just being applied to politics. That is why we are in a post-fact world right now.
__________________
No, someone having reality and facts on their side does not mean they have been given an unfair advantage and it is not a bias against you. You're just wrong.

Last edited by JoeMorgue; 9th November 2020 at 01:13 PM.
JoeMorgue is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 01:19 PM   #119
Meadmaker
Penultimate Amazing
 
Meadmaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 23,752
Here's a story about the Maricopa County over-vote controversy

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news...ss/6207207002/


Basically, some allegations that poll workers (probably volunteers, if elections are run the same way as in Michigan) gave more instructions than they were supposed to in cases where a ballot was rejected by a machine at the voting site.

I have only briefly looked at it. It would not surprise me at all to find that this has a grain of truth in it. I have tried to write instructions for use by people who have never seen those instructions before and never followed procedures. They always get it wrong. Maybe more later.

It isn't evidence of any fraud, but it might be something for people to look at when trying to make the voting easier. It is conceivable it cost one candidate or the other a few votes. If the final election were to come down to a couple of hundred votes in Arizona, it could be this year's hanging chad.

Maybe.

But the effect could easily be picked up on an audit, to determine if the events even happened at all. If someoone wants to allege that this is evidence of fraud, after reading what happened, we could explore it in more detail
__________________
Yes, yes. I know you're right, but would it hurt you to actually provide some information?

Last edited by Meadmaker; 9th November 2020 at 01:21 PM.
Meadmaker is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 9th November 2020, 01:29 PM   #120
Cain
Straussian
 
Cain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 14,091
We know Biden cheated. We just need to be good skeptics and figure out how.
__________________
April 13th, 2018:
Ranb: I can't think of anything useful you contributed to a thread in the last few years.

Last edited by Cain; 9th November 2020 at 01:32 PM.
Cain is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Closed Thread

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » USA Politics

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:41 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.