Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Leftist anti-science

The major theme in Democrat attacks on GOP Presidential contenders at the moment seems to be that they are "anti-science". As usual, if we want to see what is true of Leftists, we just have to look at what they say about conservatives. Leftists are such good "projectors" that they would be star employees in any movie house. And the multiple fallacies in global warming theory reveal who are the religious believers and who is pro-science.

And if belief in God is anti-science, what are we to make of core Leftist beliefs such as "all men are equal"? Such beliefs are clearly false in any physical sense. They are anti-science beliefs. They are religious (metaphysical) beliefs. And even though I am an atheist I think that belief in "all men are equal" is a lot nuttier than belief in God. Anybody can see with their own eyes that the Leftist belief is false. As many have argued, Leftism is a religion too.

I am very pleased however to present a third argument that it is the Left who are anti-science. Brilliant young American philosopher Nathan Cofnas has given me permission to present a small excerpt from his forthcoming book
Reptiles with a conscience. See below:

Just as some conservatives, mainly religious conservatives, are opposed to science that they perceive as threatening to their religious beliefs, many liberals are opposed to science that they perceive as threatening to their liberal beliefs.

For example, when president of Harvard Larry Summers suggested and provided evidence that innate, biologically rooted differences in aptitude between the sexes explain some of female underrepresentation in quantitative fields, two motions to censure him were introduced by two professors of humanities—anthropologist J. Lorand Matory and sociologist Theda Skocpol—and the ultimately successful movement to fire him was led almost entirely by other professors of humanities, most with no training in psychometrics.

In April 2005 I had an e-mail correspondence with a well-known critic [Nancy Hopkins from MIT] of Larry Summers’ comments on women’s underrepresentation in quantitative fields. Summers said that, because men have a larger variance in math ability, among those qualified to teach mathematics at top universities, which he suggested requires ability corresponding to a math IQ of 160, about 20 percent are women.

I pointed out to this critic that Summers provided data in support of his hypothesis, whereas I had not seen her provide data in any of her public rebuttals of him. She began her response to me with the statement that she is “interested only in the truth!”

She then explained that real potential in mathematics is not measured by the tests on which Summers’ data were based. She wrote: “The top math students in North America are not measured by the SAT score and its tail as Summers suggested, but rather by a much more competitive test that measures the true math genius whiz kids. This test is called the Putnam competition.…

This year, 1 of the 5 Putnam Fellows is a girl. In addition, this year, 4 of the top 15 students in the competition… were women.”

As politely as I could, I pointed out that one out of five is 20 percent, and four out of fifteen is about 27 percent, which is consistent with Summers’ assertion that males are overrepresented at the high end of ability at a ratio of 1:5.

Her response was to tell me that I “cannot listen to the facts that are put before [me]” and that “Old folks like…[me] should retire gracefully into the sunset.”

Her response was very curious to me (not just because I was a seventeen-year-old high school student at the time, which presumably she didn’t know). Why, if Summers said that woman are underrepresented at the high end of ability at a ratio of 1:5, would this critic counter with evidence that confirms exactly that?

She is not stupid. She is a scientist at a top university, and entirely capable of realizing that her own data support the very hypothesis she opposes. If she has no commitment to accepting the implication of evidence, why cite evidence? And why assert interest in truth so emphatically? If she has the intellectual capacity to realize that her own argument is invalid, why would she expect that argument to convince anyone else?

I think that I now can answer these questions. Truth is a value to almost everyone. But most people have many other values to which they are more committed than they are to truth—like in this case, commitment to the belief that the male and female populations have the same distribution of all cognitive abilities and proclivities.

When truth conflicts with more important values, people do not outright deny truth or its importance; they pay as much homage to truth as possible without compromising their more important values. One way of doing this is to pretend to use the method of discovering truth—namely, appealing to empirical evidence or logical argument—to arrive at their predetermined conclusion.


Throw out cheating Greece before the rot cripples rest of the world

Greece may be far away, it may be a small economy, but it is dragging down the value of your superannuation because its problems are a drag on the global sharemarket. The root cause of the problem is simple. The national sport of Greece is cheating. Cheating across every tier of society.

Greece needs to be thrown out of the euro zone. The crisis is coming to a head, as it must, but we will all pay. It is merely the most extreme manifestation of a failure of democracy by the European Union.

The Greeks are being forced into a humiliating and unsustainable austerity program, which is contracting their economy into a depression. This is one of several misguided policies by the European Central Bank and the EU, which have not grasped the impossibility of maintaining the fiction that Greece is a viable member of the euro zone, or even the European Union itself.

Feel no sympathy for Greece. The Greek government lied its way into the Economic and Monetary Union in 2001, presenting false data, and ever since Greece has been a cancer in the euro zone.

Ostensibly, the national sport of Greece is football, but even football is compromised by the real national sport of cheating. Two years ago, the governing body of European football, UEFA, sent the Hellenic Football Federation dossiers detailing a pattern of illegal betting and match-fixing involving dozens of games. Some of the biggest clubs in Greece were involved.

The Hellenic Football Federation, like so much of the rest of Greek society, preferred the path of delusion, delay and denial. It did not respond. It did nothing. After 18 months, UEFA officials went to the Greek criminal justice system. News of the meeting broke in the media. The Greek government had to begin a criminal investigation. In June, authorities charged 84 officials with offences related to match-fixing, involving 54 games, including even a game last year between the two domestic giants, Olympiakos and Panathinaikos. In July, two other Superleague clubs were demoted for match-fixing.

It was a metaphor for the nation which Transparency International rates as the most corrupt in Europe (with Bulgaria and Romania, except that they had to emerge from a repressive communist system). Greece has the highest rate of tax evasion in Europe. So pervasive is this problem that the nation is bankrupt. Confronted with a need to cut spending and raise revenue, the government has been crippled by an inability to raise taxes because the tax system is so rotten and the culture of evasion is so ingrained across everyday life.

Whereas in most Western countries, including Australia and the US, studies have shown that people do not begrudge paying taxes if they believe the tax system is equitable, no such ethos applies in Greece.

Almost every element of society shares in this inglorious achievement. Successive governments piled up debt to pay for social services and pensions. The public service was bloated and its unions demanded early retirement and generous pensions. Public debt has blown out to about 150 per cent of gross domestic product. The courts have a backlog of 300,000 tax cases. The tax-collection system is riddled with a culture of bribery. The banks have been reckless. The business community is immersed in tax avoidance. A large anarchist subculture wants to cripple capitalism. And the rich are the biggest tax cheats of all.

The black economy in Greece, where tax is avoided altogether, is estimated at 27.5 per cent of GDP, about double the scale of the black economy in Australia, and does not include the underground economy of crime.

As for the larger failure in which the Greek failure is unfolding, Western Europe has created a structural tension between the wishes of its various national peoples, expressed through their parliaments and central banks, and the dictates of a transnational bureaucracy, the European Union.

The most dangerous fault line is the conduct of the European Central Bank, which cannot set the fiscal policies of EU members but is acting as if it can. It has been buying zombie bonds issued by Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, the derisively called PIGS economies. The markets see this as folly because the debt mountain of the pigs is much greater than the resources of the European Central Bank.

The euro zone is fractured between the profligate Mediterranean PIGS and the prudent northern bloc led by Germany and the Netherlands, which in recent days have indicated they have reached the limit of their willingness to bail out Greece.

The bond market has worked out this policy schism. The sharemarket has worked it out. The markets have stopped believing in the credibility of European political solutions. The result is a run on the banks most vulnerable to PIGS debt. Greek debt is becoming untouchable, with the yield on two-year debt now an extraordinary 47 per cent.

Ever since the high point for modern Greece, the 2004 Olympics in Athens, it has become increasingly clear that the country was living on borrowed time and borrowed money, a state of collective delusion. Even Greece's two biggest Olympic stars, two medal-winning sprinters, turned out to be drug cheats. They even staged a fake accident to avoid a doping test.

The whole country is heading into a crash now and it is not fake.



Belgian parties reach deal on government

Dutch-speaking and Francophone parties reached a breakthrough yesterday in the world’s longest negotiations to form a new governing coalition a record 15 months after elections were held.

The eight parties announced they had reached a deal on the breakup of an electoral district in and around bilingual Brussels, an issue that had vexed politicians for almost half a century and was at the heart of the long standoff between the linguistic groups as they sought to change the constitution.

The parties said that negotiations on other issues, such as economic and social policy, would continue later yesterday. “Our work is far from over, and we still need a lot of negotiations,’’ said the joint statement.

Still, after a government stalemate already considered by far a world record, news of the breakthrough was lauded by many as fundamental. “It is a historic breakthrough. It is extremely important and positive,’’ said caretaker Prime Minister Yves Leterme.



Tax the Rich and Then What?

Warren Buffet has finally gotten his wish on taxation: “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”

President Obama is listening, and is now proposing a “Buffett Rule”. After all, the “the most fortunate among us...”, can afford to pay a “lil’ bit more”...right?

“Balanced approach”, “shared sacrifice”, “tax breaks for corporate jets”...no matter how you characterize it, it’s a war on the people who hire us and create things. The takers vs. the makers.

It always sounds good to those “less fortunate” to make those “more fortunate” pay all the bills, regardless of whether their lack of “fortune” is related to laziness, bad decisions, or anything else in their control. With the exception of inherited wealth, the “fortunate” have earned their money, through innovation and motivation.

When my husband and I discuss what to do with our money each month, these are the questions we are forced to answer. How much will be allocated, and where will it be allocated? Debt, savings, investments? If there’s any left, that is.

The New York Times said, “...restoring capital gains and dividend rates to the levels before the Bush tax cuts — when capital gains were taxed at a top rate of 20 percent and dividends were treated as ordinary income — would bring the Treasury an additional $340 billion over the next decade.” And your point is...? That’s less than chicken feed, in a world where billion is the new million.

If Obama confiscated every dime of wealth from Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Steve Jobs, (none of whom acquired their wealth through luck), the amount wouldn’t even cover the debt that’s increased under Obama’s watch, let alone balance the budget. And I wouldn’t be any better off than I am now. Not to mention the detrimental effect such a policy would have on American innovation and competitiveness.

It goes without saying that all of us should be able to keep as much of our earnings as possible. Sure, it costs money to pay for fire fighters, police officers, roads, etc., but do they have to costs as much as they do?

Can we afford to keep dumping endless money into an education system that isn’t effective? High speed rail lines to nowhere? Employing government workers whose job descriptions are vague at best? Of course not, and those problems won’t be solved by fleecing the rich.




Report: VA hospital readmission rates deal blow to Medicare: "The Veterans Health Administration, the largest integrated healthcare system in the country, has long employed many of the approaches Medicare is pushing on all hospitals to reduce unnecessary readmissions. But new data show VA hospital patients are just as likely to end up back in a hospital bed as are patients at private hospitals"

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


No comments: