Friday, February 17, 2006


I was not going to comment on this article (summarizing research by David J. Kelly reported in Developmental Science and Yair Bar-Haim reported in Psychological Science ) but perhaps I should. What it shows is that babies are "racist" from 3 months old. White babies prefer white faces and black babies prefer black faces. But it all depends on exposure. White babies exposed to an equal mix of black and white faces in their early weeks show no preference.

That finding was actually highly predictable from what we already knew about developmental psychology. It is a safety mechanism for babies to know when they are in the "wrong" hands and they turn on their alarm (cry) when they detect it. Any mother who has given her babe to a stranger to hold will have experienced that. So babies learn rapidly what is normal to them and prefer that. And, like all human beings, babies are quick to generalize (Read, 1983; Hamill, Wilson & Nisbett, 1980) in search of safety. The one thing they know much about is faces and they usually know more than one safe face so it helps to find what is general to the "safe" faces. And if there is a prominent feature (such as colour) that is NOT general, they react accordingly.

The reason why I am making this comment, however, is the wrongheaded response that could arise from the findings. It could be argued that the findings present a perfect case for "diversity". Perhaps all white babies need to be given extensive exposure to blacks from early on. That would of course be a fairly Orwellian proposal but, surprisingly enough, it has been tried. White babies in South Africa are normally cared for most of the time by black nannies and maids. And yet white South Africa produced what is arguably the second most racist (apartheid) government of the 20th century! As any conservative will tell you, nothing about human society is simple. And it is certainly hard to predict.

For a more systematic account of what goes on in racial generalizations, see here and here

Hamill, R., Wilson, T.D. & Nisbett, R.E. (1980) Insensitivity to sample bias: Generalizing from a-typical cases. J. Personality & Social Psychology 39, 578-589.
Read, S.J. (1983) Once is enough: Causal reasoning from a single instance. J. Personality & Social Psychology 45, 323-334.



Famous homosexual bishop is a drunk (but that's fine of course): "The Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson, has started treatment for alcoholism. "I am writing to you from an alcohol treatment center where on February 1, with the encouragement and support of my partner, daughters and colleagues, I checked myself in to deal with my increasing dependence on alcohol," Robinson wrote in an e-mail to clergy Monday that was released Tuesday by the Diocese of New Hampshire. Robinson's assistant, the Rev. Tim Rich, said Tuesday there was no crisis that led to Robinson's decision to seek treatment but rather a growing awareness of his problem".

Stupid airline "security" in Australia: "American rocker and writer Henry Rollins was reported to the National Security hotline during his recent Australian tour because of a book he was reading on a flight to Brisbane. A furious Rollins was informed he was "nominated as a possible threat" for reading Jihad: The Rise Of Militant Islam In Central Asia, writes Kathy McCabe. The incident happened on a flight from Auckland on the recent Big Day Out tour. Rollins told Australian fans during his tour that he received a letter from a "nice woman" who worked "in one of those government areas that deals with anti-terrorism matters." He posted the letter on his website. "Please tell your Government and everyone in your office to go f... themselves. Baghdad's safer than my hometown and your PM is a sissy," he wrote".

Crazy Leftist judges in Germany: "German fighter jets have been banned from shooting down hijacked passenger aircraft, even if it looks as if they are about to be used in a terrorist attack against crowded buildings or football stadiums. The ruling yesterday, imposed by the Constitutional Court, weakens the ability to guard the airspace over the 12 German football stadiums that will be used to stage the World Cup, which will run from June 9 to July 9".

I have just put online here an interesting email from Canada's "Western Standard" newspaper. Apparently they published the Mohammed cartoons and are under attack over it. They must be the first Canadian newspaper to have the courage of their convictions.

There is a pretty pathetic example of Texas justice just up on Strange Justice

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here. On Social Security see Dick McDonald and for purely Australian news see Australian Politics (mirrored here).


Practically all policies advocated by the Left create poverty. Leftists get the government to waste vast slabs of the country's labour-force on bureaucracy and paperwork and so load the burden of providing most useful goods and services onto fewer and fewer people. So fewer useful goods and services are produced to go around. That is no accident. The Left love the poor. The Left need the poor so that they can feel good by patronizing and "helping" them. So they do their best to create as many poor people as possible.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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