Sunday, January 06, 2008

FACT-FREE PHILOSOPHY

Trying to get an obsessive-compulsive to stop his obsessive rituals is a notoriously futile process. You might interrupt the compulsive behaviours momentarily but they very rapidly resume. It is only by treating the cause of the behaviour (by deconditioning, for instance) that you have some chance of success. Even then you will often fail.

I am reminded of that sort of compulsion when I read academics writing about race. For most, their statements are completely predictable, completely irrational and quite closed off from any contradiction, discordant evidence or dissuasion. They NEED to aggrandize themselves as angels of light and pesky facts must never stand in the way of that.

The latest example of such witting blindness comes from philosopher Philip Kitcher, of Columbia University. You can read his full essay here but it was originally published in an academic journal here. Below are some quotes from it:

Although the phenotypic characteristics, the manifest features that have traditionally been used to divide our species into races, are salient for us, they are superficial, indicating nothing about important differences in psychological traits or genetic conditions that constitute some racial essence

there are no genes distinctive of the groups we call races (Ahem! See here and here, and here for instance)

we insist on the absence of deep essential differences among biological races

It's just fact-free Leftist boilerplate by and large -- but hedged with more weasel words than usual. Take the last sentence. He clearly wants to say: "we insist on the absence of differences among biological races" but that is so obviously false that he inserts "deep" and "essential" to cover himself. So that no matter what evidence you present after that, he is able to say that the difference is not "deep" or "essential" enough. For non-critical readers, however, what he appears to be saying is the unhedged version of the statement: A version which is "angelic", meaningful and quite false.

He is just not interested in discussing the facts -- such as the hugely greater crime-rate among blacks -- that might disprove his line of holy propaganda. What he actually says is just mumbo jumbo parading as meaningful discourse. And he is supposed to be an expert in the philosophy of science! All that he is an expert in is unfalsifiable statements. But he has been much awarded by his colleagues so his Leftist religious convictions have served him well.

KBJ gives a more extensive dissection of Kitcher's confused line of argument, if you can call it argument. It's more an orison (ritual prayer).

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PALESTINIANS WHO PREFER ISRAEL

By Daniel Pipes

Palestinians have a hidden history of appreciating Israel that contrasts with their better-known narrative of vilification and irredentism. The former has been particularly evident of late, especially since Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, floated a trial balloon in October about transferring some Arab-dominated areas of eastern Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority. As he rhetorically asked about Israeli actions in 1967, "Was it necessary to annex the Shuafat refugee camp, al-Sawahra, Walajeh, and other villages, and then to state that these are part of Jerusalem? One can ask, I admit, some legitimate questions about this."

In one swoop, this statement transformed pro-Israel statements by Palestinians (for a sampling, see my 2005 article, "The Hell of Israel Is Better than the Paradise of Arafat") from the mostly theoretical into the active and political. Indeed, Olmert's musings prompted some belligerent responses. As the title of a Globe and Mail news item puts it, "Some Palestinians prefer life in Israel: In East Jerusalem, residents say they would fight a handover to Abbas regime." The article offers the example of Nabil Gheit, who, with two stints in Israeli prisons and posters of "the martyr Saddam Hussein" over the cash register in his store, would be expected to cheer the prospect of parts of eastern Jerusalem coming under PA control.

Not so. As mukhtar of Ras Khamis, near Shuafat, Gheit dreads the PA and says he and others would fight a handover. "If there was a referendum here, no one would vote to join the Palestinian Authority...There would be another intifada to defend ourselves from the PA."

Two polls released last week, from Keevoon Research, Strategy & Communications and the Arabic-language newspaper As-Sennara, survey representative samples of adult Israeli Arabs on the issue of joining the PA, and they corroborate what Gheit says. Asked, "Would you prefer to be a citizen of Israel or of a new Palestinian state?" 62 percent want to remain Israeli citizens and 14 percent want to join a future Palestinian state. Asked, "Do you support transferring the Triangle [an Arab-dominated area in northern Israel] to the Palestinian Authority?" 78 percent oppose the idea and 18 percent support it.

More here

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ELSEWHERE

On "Time" magazine's aptly-named "Swampland" blog, we see that one of those marvellously "professional" MSM journalists spells "bellwether" as "bell weather" -- in the very first line of her article. She obviously has no clue that the expression refers to a sheep. In case they correct it, the original is quoted here. I love the headline of the article, though: "Hillary Booed at NH Democratic Party Dinner". It couldn't happen to a more deserving person.

Democrat donor jailed for fraud: "A Chinese-American businessman who raised thousands of dollars for Democratic Party presidential hopefuls was jailed for three years Friday over a 1992 fraud case. A judge at San Mateo County Court near San Francisco rejected last minute pleas by defence lawyers for Hong Kong-born fundraiser Norman Hsu's 16-year-old conviction for running a ponzi scheme to be set aside, court officials said. Hsu, 56, who is reported to have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign before it was later returned by the New York senator, pleaded no contest to the case in February 1992 and agreed to serve three years behind bars and pay a 10,000-dollar fine.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and TELSTRA/BIGPOND.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here

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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

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) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".

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2 comments:

kip said...

re: 'FACT-FREE PHILOSOPHY'

John Jay Ray, accusing your opponent of holding their views because of psychiatric problems is a Communist/Leftist/you-know-who-ish tactic utterly unworthy of a Conservative.

Leave people's psychiatric problems out of it (every one worth their salt has had at least one). It's the most offensive and irrelevant sort of ad hominem there is...

JR said...

I did not say it was a psychiatric probem -- though I compared it to one

I said it was an ego problem -- which is common