Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Black Brain, White Brain?
There came out recently a book called Black Brain, White Brain -- by Gavin Evans. It seems to have got some acclaim so I thought I might say a bit about it. That task seems to be facilitated by an article by Evans under the same heading which appeared just over a month ago. The article seems to summarize the main points of the book and thus spares me the time of reading the book. But if there are things in the book which undermine any of the things I day below, I would be delighted to hear of it.
The main point of the book seems to be an accusation that it is racist to discuss the black/white IQ gap. And like all other efforts in that direction that I know of it does a lot of huffing and puffing and declaring things obvious rather than providing proof of them. The abusive and intemperate writing by Evans may be judged by his reference to "racist science that has been spewing out of the computers". Do computers spew? His use of abusive language like that is certainly a strong indication that he has a weak case that he is trying to cover up. "fester" and "dangerous" are other emotive words he uses. Abuse in lieu of facts is a very familiar Leftist modus operandi. And a few of Evans's assertions do seem to be simply wrong.
And in the best Leftist style, his writing is almost entirely an appeal to authority. Quite illogically, he thinks that because other people have declared something wrong then it must be wrong. That many people have declared genetically-oriented treatments of the black/white IQ gap to be wrong and mistaken proves nothing at all. It simply shows that most academics are Leftist. For Evans to have written in any sort of scholarly way, he would have to list the main points where the genetic writers were found to be in error. He does not do that.
He seems to think that he has made a great point by saying that no one gene for IQ has been discovered. So what? IQ researchers have for decades accepted with perfect calm that IQ is polygenetic. Whether one gene or many is behind a difference may make research more or less difficult but it does not take away from the fact that the difference is genetic. And the genes that do contribute to IQ differences are being discovered all the time. I must make a list of the studies concerned some time. I have noted quite a few on this blog.
He then goes on to claim that intelligence has not evolved for 100,000 years. That completely ignores the work of Bruce Lahn, who showed a major evolutionary change in brain size about 5,000 years ago, a change which coincided with the birth of civilization and which is almost unknown in Africa. Pesky!
Another claim by Evans: "Other studies have also shown that the IQs of children adopted into middle class homes rise significantly and that these increases can persist into adulthood". He is right about the first part but wrong about the second part. Manipulations of the environment can improve IQ scores in childhood and even into the teens but by about age 30, all those improvements are lost. By age 30 most environmental influences have washed out and the genetic endowment comes to the fore.
And then Evans gets on to the good ol' Flynn effect. So much has been written about that that I hesitate to write any more but in summary, the Flynn effect seems to be an artifact of increasing years of schooling and the test sophistication that engenders. On important IQ subtests -- such as vocabulary -- where being test-wise does not help -- there has been very little movement in scores. And in some advanced countries -- such as Nederland -- the rise has petered out, as one would expect if it was just a one-time artifact that had approached an asymptote (maximum value).
Finally, I am amazed by his assertion that "black American IQs are rising at a faster rate than those of white Americans". I know of no evidence for that. In fact, on some indices, the black/white gap is increasing. So I guess I will have to "fester" away in my conclusion that there are real and inborn differences between the average IQs of blacks and whites.
And let's not have the old nonsense that IQ tests measure something limited and mysterious. They measure general problem-solving ability, which is why researchers tend to use the term 'g' instead of 'IQ'.
And I may note that my view of IQ is no longer academically marginalized stuff at all. I don't quite know whether to be pleased or disappointed but it seems that mainstream psychology is catching up with what psychometricians such as myself have been saying for years: That IQ is highly general, highly central, highly hereditary and of overwhelming importance in determining people's life-chances. Not so long ago any claim to that effect would be very marginal within psychology and would expose anyone making it to all sorts of nasty accusations.
But you can now read it all not in some obscure academic journal or some Rightist source but in a 2004 issue (vol. 86 no. 1) of the American Psychological Association's most widely-circulated journal -- the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Article after article there sets out the importance of IQ. And for social psychologists to be taking an interest in such evidence is really amazing. Psychometricians have known all that stuff for years. It is the social psychologists who have been most resistant to such ideas. I guess that even an organization as Leftist as the American Psychological Association has to come to terms with the evidence eventually.
And note that the APA conceded some time ago that "African American IQ scores have long averaged about 15 points below those of Whites". 15 points is one standard deviation, which is a huge difference -- accounting for 34% of the distribution. So it looks like I've got a lot of company in my "festering", as Evans calls it. Evans is fighting a lost battle.
Jihadis: An historical perspective
Muslims are not so different. Not only Hitler preached a similar message of sacrifice but the whole Western world did in WWI. It took huge defeats and disasters to wipe out that mentality among Westerners. Islam too will have to be given very heavy blows if they are to come down to earth. Appeasing them is the opposite of what is needed. Judicious use of nuclear weapons may be needed to bring about the massive deaths required. They will go on killing otherwise. Harry Truman, where are you?
Quotes from Hitler on "Sacrifice"
1) The preservation of the existence of a species presuppose a spirit of sacrifice.
2) The state-forming forces are the ability and will of the individual to sacrifice himself for the totality.
3) The young regiments had not gone to their death crying "Long live universal suffrage and the secret ballot," but crying "Deutschland uber Alles in der Welt."
4) The most precious blood sacrificed itself joyfully, in the faith that it was preserving the freedom of the fatherland.
5) In the sacred ground the best comrades slumbered, still almost children, who had run to their death with gleaming eyes for the one true fatherland.
6) When in the long war years Death snatched so many a dear comrade and friend from our ranks, it would have seemed to me almost a sin to complain-after all, were, they not dying for Germany?
7) The Aryan willingly subordinates his own ego to the life of the community and, if the hour demands, even sacrifices it.
8) In giving one's life for the existence of the community lies the crown of all sacrifice.
9) Any man who loves his people proves it solely by the sacrifices which he is prepared to make for it.
10) What made men die was not concern for their daily bread, but love of the fatherland.
11) The idea of military service dawned on my lads in terms of the duty to sacrifice the life of the individual, always and forever, at all times and places.
12) Thousands of young Germans stepped forward to sacrifice their young lives freely and joyfully on the altar of the beloved fatherland.
13) To be "social" means that every individual is so convinced of the goodness of this community as to be ready to die for it.
14) To be “national" means to act with a boundless and all-embracing love for the people and, if necessary, even to die for it.
15) The National Socialist Party looked to those idealists who are ready to sacrifice their own existence to the eternal life of people and of Reich.
16) Life for you German boys and girls must mean sacrifice.
17) Nobody can do more than sacrifice himself for his people, and to that sacrifice we must ever pledge ourselves.
Please examine these statements carefully. One quickly realizes there is nothing unconventional here. Hitler’s rhetoric and ideology were entirely in the tradition of nationalism.
Hitler declared: “Our love towards our people will never falter, and our faith in this German of ours is imperishable.” Nazism begins with love of country, faith in Germany—and willingness to die and kill.
John F. Kennedy (on January 20, 1961) said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Subsequently—particularly after the Vietnam War—the sacrificial imperative in the United States began to fade.
During the period 1990-2000, American military thinking revolved around the idea of “casualty aversion.” The American public too seemed to embrace John Lennon’s proposition that there was nothing worth killing and dying for.
The suicide attacks of September 11, 2001 revived the idea of dying for a cause. Post-modernists had declared the “Death of grand narratives,” but apparently Islamic jihadists had not been persuaded by their texts.
Sacrificial death made a comeback. Bin Laden asserted, “We love death the way you Americans love life.” Not to be outdone, George Bush affirmed that we too possess sacred values: “As you die and kill for Allah, so we die and kill for freedom and democracy.”
Having refocused on sacrificial death, we return to conceptualize the history of the 20th Century. World War I may be understood as a monumental episode undertaken by “devoted actors” who died and killed for sacred values.
Nazism also was a case study in “sacrificial devotion” (Michael Roberts). Hitler declared, “We may be inhumane, but if we rescue Germany we have achieved the greatest deed in the world.” As radical Islamists seek to rescue the ideal of Allah by killing infidels, so did Hitler seek to destroy “non-believers” who did not acknowledge the omnipotence of Germany.
Hysterical Democrats Take the Exploitation Train
In the case of hysterical leftists, their response to every crisis, real or manufactured, is to find the political angle that supports a statist or collectivist policy and begin the echo chamber of victimization and mass protest. The horrific Amtrak derailment is no exception.
First, the facts. Forensic examination of video footage from cameras mounted on the Amtrak passenger train shows that it inexplicably accelerated from 70 mph to 106 mph in the 65 seconds before the crash, all while heading into a turn with an authorized speed limit of 50 mph. This feat, according to Amtrak and the National Transportation Safety Board, should have been impossible due to the train’s design, which allows it to accelerate only via manual control.
Amtrak train No. 188 crashed due to the defiance of the laws of nature and, quite possibly, human error.
Oh, but ne'er a crisis should be lost as an opportunity to level political blame at those who demand accountability, transparency and results in government spending and programs.
After the Philadelphia Amtrak train met with calamity, the eight lives lost and the two hundred plus injured passengers were converted from tragic victims of a horrific accident to props in political theater.
A harsh statement? Well, let’s roll tape.
At a House Transportation Committee hearing Wednesday, only one day after the train wreck, Oregon Democrat Rep. Peter DeFazio was shown blasting Republicans who should be “cognizant of the real world out there, of what happened last night, of what the capital needs of Amtrak are, and will not engage in short-sighted budget cutting.”
Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) decried that a decision to block a $1 billion spending increase was directly responsible for the deadly incident and its victims: “Last night we failed them. We failed to invest in their safety.” This Democrat’s statement was made so early in the first responders' rescue and recovery phase that not all the victims had yet been cleared from the wreckage.
And Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) declared, “We don’t know the connection between funding and this incident, but regardless, Amtrak needs more funding.”
Presstitutes lined up to do their part, parroting the DNC-approved narrative that “mean Republicans wouldn’t increase spending by $1 billion as requested, so people died!” (Imagine that spoken in the most dramatic, angst-filled oratory to get the full intended effect.)
News accounts attempted to tie the House Appropriations vote to the absence of a high-tech safety system — the Positive Train Control (PTC) — that theoretically would govern the Philadelphia train and override any human error or mechanical failure that could cause such a dramatic and inappropriate increase in speed.
The NTSB showed its own reckless behavior in making erroneous and accusatory remarks. The PTC safety system is in place on the very Amtrak line where this crash occurred. Why was this advanced safety system not operational? Government regulation, of course.
The PTC operates through wireless networks requiring Federal Communications Commission approval. FCC negotiations have been ongoing since 2011 to award Amtrak use to implement this system.
In addition to the lie that funding kept the safety system from being installed, the new narrative around the train’s unsafe acceleration will be that Republicans are attacking the engineer for his homosexual and pro-union activism. Funny, the only folks reporting this man’s personal life are the same ones who keep blaming funding for a system already in place but choked in Obamaland bureaucracy.
The Left rewrites the truth one social media hashtag at a time and cranking up the decibel of protest.
Mark Twain seems to capture the value Democrats place on veracity and our fellow American citizens: “Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.”
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Posted by JR at 12:35 AM