Thursday, March 23, 2017

On the generally muddled, confusing, and specious final comments by a Lake Worth City commissioner: A “Ben Franklin” you are not.

Former Lake Worth Commissioner Chris McVoy’s concession lecture was a laundry list of things he could have helped to accomplish but never did. Following McVoy’s lecture at his final Commission meeting on March 21st was a round of applause. Many, including myself, were so happy to see him go away.

Mr. McVoy ever since being first elected in 2010, has harped on and on about having a PdD, using any and every opportunity to remind everyone. Why? Who knows. Maybe because it was so easy to forget. Here’s a quote from his final lecture from the dais at the City Commission, the opening line:

It is not often that a scientist is granted the opportunity and not every city that gets the benefit of a scientist!

As far as scientists who did “participate directly in the American experiment of democracy”, Ben Franklin came to mind. Ben Franklin was a scientist and a tremendously gifted one. And his contribution to American history is immeasurable. But he was an outlier, not the norm. Of all the Signers of the Declaration of Independence he was the only true scientist by profession. Ben Franklin was quoted saying:
“Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
Mr. McVoy, you are not a scientist in the tradition of American science like Ben Franklin was:


Anyhow, the most twisted line from McVoy, especially following his election loss was this:

I am honored to have been able to serve as “voice of reason,” as a “voice of the people,” unburdened by allegiances to vested interests.

The voters thought much differently.

Possibly, when writing his final lecture, Mr. McVoy should have done more empirical research. The information below was fairly easy to find. From Bill Steele at the Cornell Chronicle, Cornell University located in Ithaca, NY, is this information (use this link to read the entire thesis):

Whether it’s a line from a movie, an advertising slogan or a politician’s catchphrase, some statements take hold in people’s minds better than others. By applying computer analysis to a database of movie scripts, Cornell researchers have found some clues to what makes a line memorable.

and. . .

The study grows out of ongoing work on how ideas travel across networks. “We’ve been looking at things like who talks to whom,” said Jon Kleinberg, the Tisch University Professor of Computer Science, “but we hadn’t explored how the language in which an idea was presented might have an effect.”

and lastly. . .

Later analysis also found subtle differences in sound and word choice: Memorable quotes use more sounds made in the front of the mouth, words with more syllables and fewer coordinating conjunctions.

Interestingly, in McVoy’s lecture he made no mention of the referendums in 2014 and 2016 that he opposed and the principal reason he was booted out of office. In The Palm Beach Post endorsement for Mr. Omari Hardy, an opponent in that race, the editor called McVoy a “commission gadfly”.

Ben Franklin was a scientist but he spent his time trying to find solutions to the pressing issues of the day. Ben Franklin worked with his contemporaries despite the disagreements and opposing points of view. Ultimately, it came down to this: finding a solution to a problem. And isn’t that what scientists are supposed to do?

The most exquisite Folly is made of Wisdom spun too fine.
—Ben Franklin.

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