Thursday, October 09, 2003


I have posted another extract from an academic journal article here. It shows that there is such a thing as a religious personality. I wonder where I fit into that? I was very evangelical in my teens and still love religious music (particularly Bach) but I have been an atheist since I was 19. No doubt someone will say that conservatism is now my religion but I think I am a conservative precisely because I am skeptical. I need evidence before I accept things -- unlike Leftists who seem to regard evidence as an inconvenience. I think Leftism is the religious end of the political spectrum -- though people of other religions do of course have political views too. The anarcho-capitalist extreme of libertarianism can be pretty religious at times too in my judgment.

There is a blog called Marginal Revolution run by a couple of economists which has some excellent posts. Their comment on the current panic about loss of jobs in American manufacturing (under the Oct 4th heading "Manufacturing Fallacies") has this pointed conclusion: "Job destruction" is a vital aspect of progress. If we had not destroyed millions of farm jobs most of us would still be working in agriculture today." And their Oct. 6th post under the apt heading "Doomsday Scenarios collide" is a great comment on the nutty extrapolations that the Greenies go in for. One of the bloggers concerned has also written an excellent survey of the socialist roots of antisemitism

The flippant Chris Lawrence does a bit of straight shooting about the widespread ignorance of statistics among "social scientists": "Frankly, a lot of the stats you see in top-flight journals are flaming crap _ among the sins: misspecified models, attempts to make inferences that aren't supported by the actual econometric model, acceptance of key hypotheses based on marginally significant p values, use of absurdly small samples, failure to engage in any post-estimation diagnostics." To that I would add treating your source of data as a sort of black-box -- without looking at what is in the box.

There is a powerful expose here of the rampant Stalinism still common among the current crop of American historians. Now that the Soviets are long gone, American historians are still defending them -- and teaching their students that Communist spys were the good guys and America evil. I hope nobody reading this is paying for their kid to study history at a major American university!

Tobacco smoking has now been found to correlate with schizotypal and borderline personality traits Not good! Most jailbirds smoke. Tobacco is the currency in jail. There also appears to be a (negative) relationship between smoking and intelligence. Note that we are talking only about a correlation here, however. It does not mean that ALL smokers are fruitcakes. Reference: Kolliakou, A. & Joseph, S. (2000) "Further evidence that tobacco smoking correlates with schizotypal and borderline personality traits". Personality and Individual Differences, 29 (1), 191-194.

My own latest academic upload is of technical interest only but it is part of my refutation of the still-common Leftist claim that conservatives have "authoritarian" personalities. (They don't -- but they are not as hostile to existing authorities as Leftists are). See here or here.


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