Monday, October 21, 2013

Kees Jan can't

Kees-Jan Kan, a young Dutchman, has recently rediscovered one of the most basic facts in IQ testing: That it's easiest to detect IQ differences if the people you are studying (Ss) have a common background.  So if the Ss are all in the same class at school, for instance, a vocabulary test (finding out how many hard words they know) will give you a quick and easy way to sort them out.  And you will find that the guys who know lots of words are also good at a whole range of puzzles, even mathematical ones.

So a common background optimizes your chances of assessing IQ accurately. And to be a bit technical, vocab loads highly on 'g' (the general factor in intelligence), meaning that, where it can be used, it is a powerful predictor of other abilities.  Vocab is however convenient rather than essential in IQ measurement.  Tests designed for use among people who do not have a common background (such as the Raven PMs) don't use it but still work perfectly well.

On those basic facts, KJK has erected an elaborate theory, which comes to the conclusions that IQ is mostly cultural, with a genetic component much smaller that is generally thought.  And it is the cultural part which is hereditary.

To arrive at that, KJK goes via the concept of the "cultural load" of each IQ question -- which he assesses by looking at how often a question has to be altered when you are adminstering it to a new and different population.  And he finds that by removing (statistically) the influence of cultural load, all other correlations are much reduced.

When we look more closely at his data, however (e.g. Table 3.1 in KJK's doctoral dissertation) we find that only two out of 11 question types have a high cultural load:  Vocab and general knowledge.  And the cultural dependency of those two question types has been obvious to everyone since the year dot.

What is interesting however is that the remaining 9 question types have low to negligible cultural load.  In other words, we could remove the vocab and knowledge subtests from the overall test and still have a robust test.  So my conclusion is that what KJK should have done from the beginning is to remove those two flawed item types from his calculations altogether.  Once you do that all his exciting findings melt away.  His findings rely on items that he himself knows to be flawed.

There is a summary of KJK's dissertation at  The Unscientific American -- JR


The New York Times: America Sucks

Dennis Prager

This past Saturday, the New York Times published an article, "Behind Flurry of Killing, Potency of Hate," on the roots of monstrous evil. The article largely concerned a former paramilitary member of the Irish Republican Army, and as such was informative.

But when it ventured into a larger discussion of evil, the moral confusion and contempt for America that characterize leftism were on display.

The article contains a breathtaking paragraph that exemplifies both qualities. After noting that atrocities against groups of people are often the result of the dehumanization of the victimized group, the writer gives four such examples:

"The Hutus in Rwanda called the Tutsis cockroaches, the Nazis depicted the Jews as rats. Japanese invaders referred to their Chinese victims during the Nanjing massacre as 'chancorro,' or 'subhuman.' American soldiers fought barbarian 'Huns' in World War I and godless 'gooks' in Vietnam."

This paragraph is noteworthy for its use of false moral equivalence to justify its anti-Americanism.

Let's begin with the moral equivalence -- equating how the Hutus viewed and treated the Tutsis, how the Nazis viewed and treated the Jews, and how the Japanese viewed and treated the Chinese with the Americans' views and treatment of the Germans in World War I and Vietnamese during the Vietnam War.

In 1994, over the course of about 100 days, Hutus slaughtered between half a million and a million Tutsis. This was not a war between armies, but against a civilian population marked for extinction.

The Nazis murdered about six million Jews, all of whom were civilians. Indeed more than a million were children. The Nazis had targeted the Jews for extinction.

The Japanese likewise slaughtered Chinese civilians en masse and regarded the Chinese as so subhuman as to be worthy of being systematically experimented upon in ghoulish medical experiments that paralleled those of the Nazis.

What do any of those examples have to do with Americans fighting in World War I or in Vietnam?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing about these other three examples applied to America in World War I or in Vietnam.

Nicknames -- even derogatory ones -- for enemies have probably been used in every war by every nation's soldiers. That is not at all the same as a serious view of another racial or national group as unworthy of life, as subhuman.

Unlike any of the other examples, Americans did not have a term that -- by definition -- meant that Germans or Vietnamese were not members of the human race, as are "cockroaches," "rats" and "subhumans."

Unlike any of the other examples, the killing by Americans in World War I and Vietnam was confined to war. No war, no killing. The Nazi and Hutu examples had nothing to do with waging war. The Tutsis and Jews were targeted for annihilation, period. And the Japanese committing of hundreds of thousands rapes, tortures, and medical experiments on Chinese civilians -- such as cutting them open without anesthetic or freezing people's limbs and then cutting them off, also without an anesthetic -- had nothing to do with war aims.

Moreover, what does "godless" have to do with subhuman categories? Again, nothing. Why, then, was it included in this article -- "godless 'gooks'"? Because the Times writer wanted to render the term "godless" as offensive as the term "subhuman." Being largely godless itself, and aiming for a godless West, the left detested the right's calling Communism "godless" -- even though Communists were vocal and proud of their godlessness.

Lumping America's actions in those two wars with the other three examples is typical of the left's defamation of America and of its facile use of false moral equivalence.

But that is how a generation of Americans who have attended college -- including most likely the Times author herself -- have been taught to think. And that is what is taught to your child today at the left's seminaries, our universities:

Nazis, Hutu murderers, Japanese rapists, Americans at war: All pretty much the same.



Monks Slay Regulatory Monopoly in Louisiana Casket Case

Extremely tired reference to Jesus being a carpenter goes here.Courtesy of Institute for JusticeA five-year battle by Benedictine monks in Louisiana for the right to make and sell caskets is over, and the holy carpenters have won. The Supreme Court declined this week to get involved in the fight between St. Joseph Abbey and the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, letting stand a ruling that declared a state-enforced industry monopoly illegal.

The law in question required anybody who wanted to sell caskets to undergo funeral director training and set up embalming equipment, rules that have nothing to do with creating or selling fancy wooden boxes with which to store dead bodies, but everything to do with making sure the funeral industry controlled the marketplace. Reason’s Damon Root had been following the case when the U.S. Court of Appeals struck it down in March, ruling “That Louisiana does not even require a casket for burial, does not impose requirements for their construction or design, does not require a casket to be sealed before burial, and does not require funeral directors to have any special expertise in caskets, leads us to conclude that no rational relationship exists between public health and safety and limiting intrastate sales of caskets to funeral establishments.”

The Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors attempted to bring the case to the Supreme Court, but it is not to be. The Institute for Justice represented the monks. Like me, they are unable to avoid puns related to death when responding to the case being put to rest:

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of review puts the final nail in the coffin for the state board’s protectionist and outrageous campaign against the monks,” said Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Scott Bullock.  “The Abbey’s victory in this case will not only protect their right to sell caskets, but the rights of entrepreneurs throughout the country.”

The monks’ victory is one of only a handful of cases since the 1930s in which federal courts have enforced the constitutional right to economic liberty.

Abbot Justin Brown, who heads the monastic community said, “Today is a good day for us at the Abbey.  Knowing that not only has our economic liberty been protected forever, but that we also helped secure the same rights for others makes this years-long battle worth it.”



Calling Fraud for What It Is

It’s been well-documented that someone registered to vote in Washington, D.C. under the name Mr. Barry Soetoro at the White House address of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D.C. 20500.

If you are a liberal, this spoof is more proof that conservatives are spiteful racists who wish to remind the president of his somewhat obscure past.

If you are a conservative, however, you see the spoof for what it really is: an indictment of a voter registration process that allows anyone to register under any made up name and then vote under that name with the flimsiest of documentation.

When I go pick up my son from school early for a doctor’s appointment, I have to show a valid government I.D., even though presumably my son, who is well-known to me, wouldn’t call a stranger “dad” or get into a car with someone not his dad—at least I hope not.

When I check into a hotel, I have to show valid I.D. for the purposes of positive identification.

When I, as a naturally-born citizen of the United States, travel abroad, I have to stand in line to show U.S. Customs agents my passport that proves I’m an American citizen to regain entry to the country.

When I adopted my dog from the rescue shelter, I had to show I.D. DirecTV verifies who I am before setting up service for me, a hospital won’t admit me without knowing who I am. The list of activities that require the positive identification of a person is long.

It’s probably too long.

And yet, when it comes to voting, liberals support a system where anyone, with a made-up name, can successfully register and vote in the most important function of the ordinary citizen in our representative republic.

You and I and everyone else knows that this is just an attempt to allow fraudulent voting using as an excuse minority populations that tend to poll higher for Democrats.

That this practice of mass, fraudulent voter registration is supported by liberals by using arguments that are inherently racist and do not apply equal justice under the law, is just another example of liberal deconstructionism that turns the concept of “justice” into a tyranny.



ObamaCare's Third World Experience

Closer examination of the design and implementation of the ObamaCare enrollment website reveals a long list of mistakes that could have been avoided, but instead were compounded by politically motivated decisions made by the Obama administration. And problems likely won't be resolved for months.

Late in the design phase of the exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services removed fundamental elements of the site that would have allowed consumers to actually see the cost of insurance so as to reduce “rate shock.” It had become apparent even to the true believers that ObamaCare wasn't affordable or flexible in its options. The truth would have led to reduced enrollment, so HHS opted to reject transparency for the sake of political expediency – and they still got low enrollment. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius still refuses to reveal the true number of enrollees, which private sources estimate is a paltry 20% of the government's target for October.

The administration, fearing Republican and public criticism, opted to keep the construction and testing of the website in-house with trusted campaign tech gurus. Major decisions were made behind closed doors without oversight, like granting the no-bid contract to CGI Federal to build the site. CGI Group, the Canada-based parent company of CGI Federal, was fired by the Canadian government in 2012 for missing three years of deadlines and developing a substandard product that proved unworkable. It will now take several months of continuous patches to a half-billion-dollar website built with decade-old technology and rife with security problems just to gain basic functionality – like providing the correct information to insurers.



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