Jeff, a reader of this blog, posted in the Comments section of a previous post a stat which shows the Houston Rockets win more games when Jeremy Lin plays more minutes. Well, I took these stats and used them to post a comment on Chris Baldwin’s latest article on Jeremy Lin.
I just wanted to share with you the back-and-forth that ensued with a Lin Hater who initially appeared to me as borderline well-meaning individual. Normally, when I see a comment that’s clearly a Lin-Hater comment, I just ignore it and move one, since it’s useless to try to have any sort of discussion with such individuals. But this particular individual seemed somewhat well-meaning at first, since he raised the question that the stats may “possibly” be loaded. I can understand such questions, therefore, I gave him the benefited of the doubt and responded to his comment. Without further ado, here’s my little back-and-forth with a Lin Hater. I’ll italicize the back-and-forth exchanges and bold my commentary to these comments, as well as put them in brackets below to hopefully mitigate confusion.
One of the readers of my blog (http://www.jeremylintel.com), Jeff, shared a great stat in the comments to a recent article I posted: Houston Rockets are now 12-4 (75%) when Jeremy Lin plays more than 32 mins and just 19-13 (59%) when he plays less than 32 mins. I can go on and on about why Lin is so important to not just this team, but ANY team, but this stat, alone, should cause EVERYONE, not just Lin fans, to question McHale’s irrational treatment of Lin and McHale heavy bias against Lin. When McHale is FORCED to play Lin and FORCED to let Lin do his thing, rather than irrationally tuck one of the best play makers in a corner, Rockets beat great teams like the Spurs. McHale, unfortunately, will never get this through his thick skull.
First, you heavily rely on someone else’s state in your argument. When I argue that it’s probably biased, you say that’s not your fault. Hmm..you can’t claim that the stat is kosher simply because you weren’t the one to calculate it. If you’re going to heavily rely on it in your argument, you’ve got confirm it’s clean. (Btw, it’s probably not clean.)
Second, you use the last 2 games as another example to support your thesis. Well, you can’t just use 2 instances that you select out of many as conclusive proof. That’s cherry picking. Just as bad in a statistical argument as the former.
Hey, I’m not saying your conclusion is wrong. You might be right and Lin does actually improve the performance of this team. But, your argument doesn’t prove it.
[What started as a seemingly innocent question by TellItLikeItIs quickly turned combative. I’ve found that people are pretty reckless when interpreting what others they disagree with are trying to convey, which is one of the reasons I tend to stay away from commenting on forums altogether. Also, I don’t have much time to go on forums these days. People in forums also tend to twist what you say to support their arguments. It’s a battle of WHO’S right or wrong, versus WHAT’S right or wrong. I’m someone who cares much more about WHAT’S right or wrong. I would say that I don’t care about WHO’S right or wrong, but I know that I, too, have an ego like everyone else. I try my hardest to keep my ego in check when it doesn’t serve my purpose of learning the truth, but I know this is not always possible.
Although, one of the things I’m good at–my superpower if you will–is fighting fair. Because I’m someone who hates injustice and unfairness, I try my hardest not to contribute to any sort of injustice or unfairness. So when I’m in an argument, I try to be as fair as I can with the points that I make. For example, I will try my hardest to stay away from making points that I know to not be true, even though they’ll support my argument or make the other person wrong. I try to stay away from WHO’S right or wrong altogether in my responses and focus more on the WHAT. So when someone says something I don’t believe to be true, I don’t say THEY are wrong. I focus on the content of what they say and parse out why the content is incorrect from my perspective. This is one of the tools I use to keep the ego at bay as much as possible in an argument, but, of course, it often doesn’t work, because people are too strongly identified with their ego. Most people behave unconsciously and are not conscious of their ego. They are so completely identified with their ego that their ego has become them and they’re constantly in a state of reacting to one stimulus after another without a sense of the consciousness that underlies all of it. But that’s a whole other subject.
Anyway, his “you say that’s not your fault.” line in his comments above is an example of such twisting of words and reckless misinterpretation. No where in my comments did I use the word “fault”. I merely wanted to correct an error in his comment. In his first comment, he wrote “your stat”. So I just wanted to correct his inaccurate statement and point out that they are stats from Jeff, a reader of this blog, not stats that I came up with. I always try to make sure proper credit is given. And as a result of this fact, I conveyed another fact, which is that because the stats are not ones that I developed, I don’t have the luxury of combing through them to answer his initial question of whether or not the wins were against easy teams without putting in a lot of work that I’m unwilling to put in to answer HIS question.
As a gesture of good faith I went on to say that if I were the one to come up with the stats, I’d go through the trouble of parsing them out to confirm or deny the question he raised about the stats. But he twisted this statement as me somehow evading his question or “passing the buck”. Again, I don’t know why I AM left with the responsibility of providing evidence to support HIS recklessly subjective claims. The stats are what they are. If YOU don’t believe what the stats say, then it is YOUR responsibility to provide evidence to support why those stats are misleading.
Also, as another gesture of good faith, I pulled up the two most recent games as two of the 12 games that I can recall easily off the top of my head as games in which Lin played 32+ minutes and the Rockets won. After all, he’s the one who asked to parse out the level of competitiveness of those teams in which Lin played 32+ minutes. So when I tried to accommodate his request as best as I could, since I’m not about to go and comb through the data to “do his homework for him”, he twists this as me cherry picking data. This is missing the intention of what I was trying to do. My intention is to satisfy his curiosity (actually in his case it’s disingenuous curiosity (BTW I HATE DISINGENUOUSNESS OF ANY KIND WITH A PASSION!)) as best as I could without having to comb through the data. If the two most recent games had been against two easy teams, I would have pulled them up as examples, as well.
After reading this comment, I realized I had encountered a Lin Hater. They’re never satisfied with any evidence you give them. When you pull up data that shows Lin benefits the Rockets, they claim–without any evidence–that the data is no good and want YOU to dig deeper into the data to prove THEIR point why the data is no good. Then when you do your best to dig into the data, they twist it into you pulling one over them and accuse you of cherry picking data. It’s exhausting to reason with Lin Haters and this is why I just ignore their comments. But since this individual’s initial comments were somewhat well-meaning, although I was plenty suspicious, I fell into the trap and had to finish what I started.
I did like what he said in the last paragraph of his second comment about how I might be right. At least that shows a level of open-mindedness. But I’m afraid that’s just another one of those comments that are disguised as well-meaning. Anyway, I responded with what I thought were well-reasoned and well-meaning retorts to his comment.]
In your first comment, you used the word “possibly” as in “your stats are possibly loaded.” When I saw that, I was very understanding and that’s why I responded in the way that I did. But when I saw your second comment and you used the word “probably” I see that as being reckless. To me, it’s reckless to claim a stat is “probably” loaded out of thin air without providing any evidence to support your contention. And it’s interesting that you would automatically assume that the stats are loaded, rather than accept what the stats say: that when Lin plays more minutes, Houston wins more games. I know you’re going to say it’s smart to question the validity of stats and parse them out. And that’s fine, but the next time you claim a stat is loaded, provide evidence, rather than just simply stating that they are probably loaded. As if the mere fact of you stating that the stat is probably loaded makes it so.
The stats are what they are. Without providing any evidence, you raise the fact that the stats are probably loaded based on your own biases. The burden of proof is on you to show that the stats are loaded. I’m not the one claiming the stats are loaded.
I only pointed out those two games as a favor to your request, because they just happened. I can’t help that they supported my argument. Since I didn’t develop the stats I don’t have the luxury of combing through them and parsing out all the different games, so I just picked the two recent ones, because I can remember them off the top of my head. And since I’m not about to go through the stats to do your homework for you, I just simply chose the two most recent games as mere examples. I didn’t say they were conclusive proof or anything. I just said, “so there’s that.”
Believe me, as a Lin fan, I know all about the perils of cherry picking stats. I wrote about this in a very long post in my blog: http://www.jeremylintel.com/20….
Lin haters love to cherry pick that ONE Miami game in which Lin got “exposed” during Linsanity.
[When I read what other people write, I pay careful attention to each key word since I try and pay attention to the key words I write, although, there are times when I do pick the wrong word unintentionally. So when I read his initial comment I noted to myself that he used the word “possibly”, which is a word that expresses a healthy amount of doubt. So I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my first response to his comment. Had I known he meant “probably” when he wrote “possibly” I would have been much harsher in my reply. In fact, in my initial response to his comment, I almost wrote that I’m glad he used the word “possibly”. Well, I’m glad I didn’t praise him for his careful diction.
Since I try to be very careful in choosing my words to convey the truth of what I’m trying to say, I assume that others act in a similar fashion. Maybe I shouldn’t assume this in the future, because I find that people tend to be pretty careless about the words that they use or they use words to hide their true intentions. This turned out to be the case with TellItLikeItIs, because in his second comment, “possibly”, turned into “probably” and that’s when I knew that his first comment was just a mere disguise, so I responded in kind.
I fought every urge I had to say WTF?! Because I just didn’t know how he could raise the question about the “cleanness” of the stat out of thin air and then expect ME to provide evidence to support HIS reckless assumption that the data is probably “loaded”. But instead of saying WTF, I chose to take the hard route and painstakingly reason with him, KNOWING that my attempt at reason would fall on deaf ears. As expected, I got the usual response from someone who had just gotten his precious ego bruised and is just desperately holding on to their need to be right with their last pinky on the edge of the Cliff of I’m-Right-and-You’re-Wrong.]
I am guessing that you’re still in high school and haven’t taken any courses like statistics or logical reasoning because your arguments are completely illogical and one-sided. You truly are the epitome of a delusional LOF.
I’m implore you to go back and read what you wrote. Do you see how one-sided you are? How you see everything through one-colored lens?
I’m going to just address those 2 points, hoping you’ll see how crazy you sound.
1. You use those 2 games as proof of Lin’s ability and then counter, “I can’t help that they supported my argument … I just picked the two recent ones.” Huh? Of course, you can help it. You picked them! And, obviously, the only reason you picked them is because they helped your argument! Duh!
2. The stat which you rely on and showed a higher win percentage for the Rocket when Harden was out. It’s actually a common figure that many Lin fans cite on many sites. Unfortunately, it’s already been shown by many other posters that the games that Harden did not play in were in fact easier games.
But, let’s forget for a moment whether that’s true or not. Instead let’s concentrate on HOW you argue. a. You state that the burden is on me to show it’s loaded? What?! b. You state that I automatically assumed that they are loaded? What??! c. You state it’s reckless to interchange possible with probably? What?!! d. You state the mere fact of my stating something doesn’t make it so?!? What?!
The points you bring up are ones of a completely illogical and irrational person. They are borderline retarded. It’s crazy talk. I’m serious.
[I think his comment pretty much speaks for itself. It’s the usual name-calling subjective statements that you get from these Lin Haters. He failed to “listen” to anything I wrote in my reasoned reply. His response is full the usual twisting of words and blatant misinterpretation. He still failed to understand that me picking the two most recent games is a gesture of good faith for his request for me, mind you, to dig into the data because he suspects the data are loaded since he doesn’t like what they say.
In his point number 2 he casually says “it’s already been shown by many other posters that the games that Harden did not play in were in fact easier games” as if that’s sufficient evidence. If he has seen others show that the data is loaded, why not cut and paste their argument, at the very least? The irony is that he’s railing at me for using someone else’s STATS to support a claim I make and somehow it’s totally sufficient for him to make a SUBJECTIVE STATEMENT to support his claim: “it’s already been shown by many other posters that the games that Harden did not play in were in fact easier games”.
And do I even need to mention his blatant disregard for the two recent games that I mentioned in my comments to him (Spurs and Mavs) in which Harden didn’t start?! How come he conveniently experiences amnesia about these games when they’re hard data that go completely against his casual subjective statement. And before he accuses me of cherry picking again, Harden hasn’t been out of the lineup that many games, so two games out of however handful many games Harden has been out is somewhat significant. And those are just two random games. But, of course, we’ll have to dig through the data to find out whether or not his subjective statement is true. But are you kidding me with this shit?! The amount of irony and hypocrisy expressed in his point number 2 is baffling to me! I’m fighting every urge I have to call him every name in the book.
That’s the other thing that kills me about these Lin Haters. They expect you to bend over backwards to give them stats, facts and data that they’ll approve of, but they feel entitled to pass off subjective statements as rock-solid evidence. I mean, WTF?! I fought every urge to just say WTF?! and call him crazy. Because what he wrote was the musings of someone who ran out of any arguments but still unwilling to let go of his desperate need to be right. So I responded in kind.]
Okay. So I guess we’re resorting to name calling, since we can’t actually formulate cogent arguments. And, wow! Big points for creativity. I mean, where did you come up with the whole, “you’re still in high school” bit? Wow, it’s not like I haven’t seen that comment on every single forum. And I see we also resort to the old, simply repeating “what?!” brilliant bit of retort. Well done! Now don’t I feel like a fool.
Well, I don’t play such games. I provided very logical arguments. Obviously, you think my arguments are one-sided because they don’t comport with what you believe. It’s called RAS (reticular activating system). It’s a mechanism that we all have which filters out things that we don’t believe. I have it. You have it. We all have it. And when two opposing minds come together both sides are blinded to the other side’s argument.
So no matter how logical my arguments are, you’ll see them as illogical. And I’d say the same for me, except “what?!” to me are not logical arguments.
You know, I’m just as baffled by your comment as you are by mine. Except I fight my urge to name call, because name calling is the easy way out. Just saying someone is irrational or crazy doesn’t make it so. Just as saying a stat is probably loaded doesn’t make it so.
I won’t be able to convey to you how irrational your statements are, because you’ve shut yourself from hearing what I have to say. But let me give it one more try. I don’t know what country you live in, but in the US we believe in the concept of innocent until proven guilty. So these stats that show when Lin plays more minutes, Rockets win more games are “innocent” until proven guilty. What you’ve done is come to a courtroom and claim that these stats are probably guilty, just because they “look” suspicious to you. And then on top of this, you are asking the lawyer on the other side (i.e., me) to provide evidence for you why the stats are guilty. This is why the burden of proof is on you. And, believe me, I’m fighting every urge I have to name call, because this is as irrational as irrational gets. (Note: I provided an argument why it’s irrational. I didn’t just keep repeating “what?!”, which is really what I want to do.)
The only reason why my arguments seem illogical to you is because you’ve shut yourself off from listening to the argument, because your precious ego has been bruised and your need to be right is too strong.
Anyway, I’ll just leave our discussions where they’re at, before they devolve into something in which I do not partake. I’ll just leave you with this. Our need to be right blinds us from the truth, sometimes. I’m vulnerable to this as are you.
FYI, I majored in Economics from Yale University. I took a course on Econometrics.
[Nothing much more to add here. I said all I wanted to say to this individual.]
[Well, at least it didn’t devolve further into more name-calling, so I’ll just leave this individual with an unanswered question. Because I want no more back and forth from an individual who isn’t open-minded to the possibility that he may be wrong. But you know, it’s really hard to admit when you’re wrong. And to be clear, I’m not saying that he’s wrong in raising the question of whether or not the data is loaded. I think that’s all well and good. And I’m not saying that they aren’t loaded, since I don’t have the luxury of sifting through the data. I also can’t agree that they are loaded, because I don’t have the luxury of sifting through the data.
He had every right to question the data. But when he assumes that the data is “probably” loaded out of thin air, that’s wrong. And that’s what I mean when I say he isn’t open-minded to the possibility that he may be wrong. Assuming data is loaded out of thin air without providing sufficient proof and, moreover, putting the burden on the other person to provide the evidence for your subjective assumption is wrong. Plain and simple.
But it’s hard to admit when we’re wrong, because our egos are a big part of us. So I can understand and empathize with his need to be right. Meditation is a way of letting go of the ego. And that’s partly why I meditate. I don’t want to let go of the ego completely, because the “ego”, as it is defined it in the West, at least, is healthy for some situations. Although, when I use the term ego, it’s a much bigger idea than how the term “ego” is casually thrown around in everyday conversation. But that’s a whole other discussion.
Anyway, I also have this need to be right. But I try to keep it in check as much as I can and at least I’m conscious of this need to be right. However, just because I can empathize with this individual’s need to be right, it doesn’t mean that I need to continue wasting my precious time trying to talk to a brick wall. In truth, I don’t remember EXACTLY what I got in this class as I don’t remember what I got in most of my classes at Yale. That was ages ago! That said, I’m POSITIVE it wasn’t anything less than a “B+”. It could have even been an “A” for all I know.]
Well, hope you all enjoyed a deconstruction of a typical discourse with a Lin Hater. I just wanted to share this as an example of just one of many many such discussions I’ve had with Lin Haters in the past. They pretty much follow this same anatomy. This discussion is not any more or any less frustrating/infuriating than others I’ve had and the many that I’m sure you’ve all had. And I’m sure non-Lin fans face a similar level of frustration when confronted with certain Lin Only Fans.
This discourse, unfortunately, is something that happens in all forums on every subject. Our need to be right and our strong identification with our ego cause us to be blinded by things that don’t feed and nourish that ego. This is something we all need to be cognizant of and if more of us are conscious of this, the world would be a much better place. This is just one of the many reasons why I’m such a big proponent of meditation.