Saturday, October 04, 2003


One of the “hot” concepts in the academic psychology literature at the moment is a concept known as “Social Dominance Orientation” (SDO). This is said to be a newly discovered personality variable that predicts both conservatism and racism -- and generally shows conservatives to be a very bad lot.

The whole “theory” behind SDO is however breathtakingly naive and shows a typically Leftist ignorance of history. And calling its chief measuring instrument (the SDO scale) a personality scale is just amazingly dishonest. Instead of asking people what they DO (which is what a personality scale does) the SDO scale asks them what they THINK. It is, in other words, an attitude scale -- not a personality scale. So its ability to predict scores on other attitude scales (of conservatism and racism) is considerably facilitated by that. Attitude scales often correlate with other attitude scales, but getting correlations between what people DO and what they THINK has been known to be difficult ever since the famous study by La Piere in 1934 (La Piere showed that most restaurateurs who said that they would NOT serve an Asian in their restaurant generally DID serve Asians when Asians actually turned up as potential customers). The connection between attitudes and behaviour is generally far from simple and direct.

And what do the statements in the SDO scale say? As Jost & Thompson (2000) have pointed out, fully half of its items specifically ask people whether or not they accept social inequality (Sample items: “It would be good if all groups could be equal” and “We should strive to make incomes more equal”). But anyone who knows the first thing about politics will be aware that “equality” is a great mantra of the Left and that conservatives view the whole idea as absurd. Leftists believe that in some mystical way ”all men are equal” and conservatives reject equality as an unattainable myth. Ever since the Pilgrim Fathers, attempts to found societies based on equality have quickly degenerated into pervasive and permanent INequality. So the SDO theory that conservatives reject equality is laughably unoriginal. So it is no wonder that the SDO scale predicts conservatism in other senses. Fully half of the items in the scale relate to what has always been a core conservative belief. The correlation between SDO and conservatism is then an “artifact” (a product of the research design, not new information about the world)

And SDO has also been found to predict the tendency to express racial preferences (e.g. Heaven & St. Quintin, 2003). So let’s look at what the other half of the items in the SDO scale say: They say things like: “Inferior groups should stay in their place”, “Superior groups should dominate inferior groups” and “Some groups of people are just more worthy than others”. So people who believe that there are inferior and superior groups also believe that there are inferior and inferior races. How astounding! Since races are groups, the finding that the SDO scale predicts racism is in fact LOGICALLY ENTAILED. It parades as an empirical finding but it is not. It tells us nothing new about the world. It is merely something that is true by definition. What a fraud!

Heaven, P.C.L. & St. Quintin, D. (2003) Personality factors predict racial prejudice. Personality & Individual Differences 34, 625-634.
Jost, J. T. & Thompson, E. P. (2000) Group-based dominance and opposition to equality as independent predictors of self-esteem, ethnocentrism, and social policy attitudes among African Americans and European Americans. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 36, 209-232.
La Piere, R. (1934) Attitudes and actions. Social Forces, 13, 230-237
Pratto, F., Sidanius, J., Stallworth, L.M., & Malle, B.F. (1994). Social dominance orientation: A personality variable predicting social and political attitudes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 741-763.


Interested participant reports a shocking racially-motivated hate crime by a group of blacks youths against a white girl and wonders why nobody seems interested in it. It would be blanketing the news if the race roles were reversed.

A good introduction to the existence of a new Elite -- a Leftist Elite -- in modern society here. People who are already doing well think they know it all and think they have the right to impose their views on everyone else -- which is why they like the bureaucratic power obtained through Leftist big government and why the courts regularly circumvent democracy and make up the law as they go along.

"[Tony Martin] is the [UK] farmer who shot two thieves in August 1999, killing one and wounding the other. He was put on trial for murder and convicted. On appeal, his conviction was changed to manslaughter, and he was eventually released on Friday the 8th August this year, having spent more than three years in prison .... He is described as a 'loner' with incoherent and nasty opinions about the world. This can all be discounted as the smears of a controlled media. The man I met yesterday ... was a cheerful, rather stolid farmer, though with an unusual fluency of speech."

Doubt, truth and simplicity: "What is the nature of Western Civilization? Why is it worth defending? I think western civilization is built on three fundamental and interlocking principles that form the Western world view. These principles explain much about the rise of the West and its fundamental nature. From these principles flow the political ideas of freedom and democracy. Which I think are very much worth defending."

Great stuff! A Leftist source dismisses the Greenie hysteria over GM foods as a “socialism of fools”. The article certainly shows how feeble the science behind the anti-GM movement is.

Tyrants in robes: "Judges have long ago seized the power to overturn the laws passed by our democratically elected lawmakers. For decades now they have extended that to actually legislating and issuing orders from the bench, rendering moot our democratic branches of government."

Since when were Leftists consistent? "The average Democratic voter who, having barely or never heard of Wesley Clark, has decided he's your man. And you the Democratic activist who's been denouncing President Bush as a war monger for 'fighting a war of choice' that was 'not in the national interest' and was without U.N. approval but who has no problem flocking to a general in charge of the consummate war of choice, which lacked U.N. backing and could never, ever, be seen as an effort to deal with an 'imminent' threat -- or any other kind of threat. Or don't you remember Kosovo?"

I have just transferred some more of Chris Brand’s recent posts here. In typically provocative style, one of his posts is headed: “Elitism and chauvinism vindicated”


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Friday, October 03, 2003


Elia Kazan is dead but his leftwing critics won't let go. Kazan will not only be remembered for his art but also as a courageous man who fearlessly stood his ground against La-La Land's undercurrent of Stalinism and its mindless support of anti-American causes.
Murdoch's rag lies about the CIA and Bush. Bush-hating journalists just can't seem to help themselves, and Roy Eccleston, Washington correspondent for Rupert Murdoch's 'Australian' is no exception.
The empty concept of non-renewable resources. Greenies and their academic and media allies argue that capitalism is using up the world's resources, and that governments must therefore implement conservation laws for the sake of the environment and future generations. They are wrong.
Democracy delayed — the last bastions of Marxism. Why Stalinist academics at the University of Illinois at Chicago purged an academic critic of Fidel Castro's brutal regime. It now seems that only unrepentant leftwing former terrorist like Billy Ayers are acceptable to the left.
Will Keynesianism cripple China's military? While having clever young Chinese train in the West as engineers and scientists was a smart move, having some trained as economists was definitely dumb. So dumb in fact that I suspect a CIA plot.
Greens, plastic bags and corporate stupidity. Because of a stream of lies produced by greens and their media mates many members of the public have been deceived into thinking that plastic bags are an environmental curse.

Details here


The nonsense you read on Reuters: Greenies are saying that global warming would NOT benefic icy Russia because it could lead to lower rainfall in the South and thus reduce the grain harvest. But wheat is a dry-climate crop! That is why Australia exports so much of it. Australia is mostly desert! So if a few Russian farmers had to switch from rye to wheat it would not exactly be a hardship.

A good bit of satire about Leftist moral relativism here

A new Australian “paleo” blogger (as if I couldn’t guess his identity!) has some amusing turns of phrase for those who know what he is talking about: “a plague of loci” and “For whom the Pell tolls” etc. It reminds me that there is a popular concept in psychology called “locus of control” (which I deride here) that I have never quite worked up the courage to refer to as “locust of control”.

New Kiwi blogger Light in Dark places picks up some good quotes. I liked this one: “So for the sake of honesty, let's not use the word 'Palestinian' any more to describe these delightful folks, who dance for joy at our deaths until someone points out they're being taped. Instead, let's call them what they are: 'Other Arabs Who Can't Accomplish Anything In Life And Would Rather Wrap Themselves In The Seductive Melodrama Of Eternal Struggle And Death.'" And for those not aware of New Zealand politics, “Helen” refers to their Prime Minister.

American Realpolitik is a great site for humour. They have constantly-changing slogans at the head of their page. I like this one: “For every positive action there is an equal and opposite government program”

The latest Carnival of the Vanities is up at Dodgeblogium. But instead of being posted by the inimitable Andrew Ian Dodge, it seems to have been posted by “Jeannie Fiona Macaulay”. Don’t tell me Andrew has an “INTERN”! Incidentally, I am not sure if Andrew/Jeannie is serious in thinking that “kudo” is the singular of “kudos”, but “kudos” is only a borrowing in English. It is the ancient Greek word for “fame”. Interesting factoid: According to my Abbott-Smith Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, “kudos” does not occur in the Greek New Testament. Early Christians obviously did not think much of the Greek obsession with fame and renown.

Wayne Lusvardi pulls apart some of the shoddy motivations behind opposition to California’s “racial privacy” initiative.

I have just transferred some of Chris Brand’s recent posts here for convenience. He has some interesting comments on the study by Turkheimer which found reduced heritability for IQ among poor U.S. blacks. He notes that the same result is not found in Britain and in effect says that genetic potential may be poorly realized under the very adverse environmental conditions that prevail in some black U.S. single-parent families.

Ozone depletion’s lessons for global warming: "The Newchurch study concludes ozone depletion in the uppermost portion of the stratosphere is still occurring, but at a rate somewhat slower than was taking place before 1997. While this trend may be due to the Montreal Protocol, as Newchurch and his colleagues assert, more significant ozone trends unreported by Newchurch lead to a very different conclusion.... What some are touting as evidence of a solution to the ozone depletion problem may actually be evidence it wasn’t a great problem in the first place. This may prove to be the real lesson for the global warming debate."

Interesting thought: "[T]here is an underappreciated fact about black America that anyone armed with a decent survey could see: Black people vote like Democrats, but on social issues they think like Republicans. Whether the GOP can ever lure churchgoing African Americans from the revival tent to the party's so-called big tent remains a matter for debate. Now the controversy over gay marriage, a potent brew of religion and politics, is giving Republicans another shot -- but don't bet on their converting it."

The Wicked one has found some uncharacteristic good sense about Islam and antisemitism in the Guardian.

My latest academic upload here (or here) is one of my small number of analytical philosophy papers. In France any mumbo jumbo that sounds obscure and has Leftish conclusions gets a pass as philosophy but in the English-speaking world, academic philosophy is usually as intellectually demanding as any academic discipline there is. In this paper I deride the still-common view that mental events are something other than brain processes and offer some solutions from neurophysiology to problems that philosophers often raise.


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Thursday, October 02, 2003


I mentioned yesterday my explanation for the rise of Hitler -- which focuses on his appeal to BOTH socialists and nationalists. I have just read a Leftist explanation of Hitler's rise (originally delivered as a university lecture and written by David North -- who seems to be an academic historian) which concludes: "The Holocaust was, in the final analysis, the price which the Jewish people and all humanity paid for the failure of the working class to overthrow capitalism". Wowee! I suppose that there was no sytematic persecution of Jews in Soviet Russia, then. Tell that to Sharansky and all the other Soviet Jews! But no doubt the writer would dismiss the disastrous Soviet experiment as "State capitalism" and argue that real socialism has never been tried yet. Strange that all the attempts at it fail!

North also dismisses Goldhagen's thesis that antisemitism was widely accepted in Germany and recommends that Goldhagen read the prewar anti-Nazi writer Heiden to get a better grip on what really happened. I HAVE read Heiden and note that Heiden confirms precisely what Goldhagen says -- that Hitler was widely popular in prewar Germany: “The great masses of the people did not merely put up with National Socialism. They welcomed it”. See pp. 98, 99, 105 and 114 of Heiden (1939). And no-one could ever have been in any doubt about what Hitler's view of Jews was. It is true, however, that the average German did not share Hitler's absolute fanaticism about the Jews. Incidentally, Heiden also stresses Hitler’s great intelligence -- something you never see mentioned today.

North also claims that prewar socialists were not antisemites -- though he admits that some were. For a REALLY scholarly account of the historic socialist roots of antisemitism see here (PDF).

The old Marxist claim that Nazism and Fascism were middle-class (“bourgeois”) movements has always amused me too. As Heiden points out at length, Hitler was a hobo until 1914 so how does a hobo get to lead a middle-class movement? Another prewar anti-Nazi writer (Roberts, 1938) also portrays Hitler as enormously popular among Germans generally and Madden (1987) presents scholarly evidence that Nazism had wide support across the social classes. Mussolini, too, found supporters and adversaries in all social classes (De Felice, 1977, p. 176).

It is Communist movements that always have bourgeois leaders and mostly bourgeois supporters. The workers usually vote for more moderate Leftists. So once again we see Leftists projecting onto others things that are really true of themselves.

De Felice, R. (1977) Interpretations of Fascism Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U.P.
Heiden, K. (1939) One man against Europe. Harmondsworth, Mddx.: Penguin.
Madden, P. (1987) The social class origins of Nazi party members as determined by occupations, 1919-1933. Social Science Quarterly 68, 263-280.
Roberts, S.H. (1938) The house that Hitler built. N.Y.: Harper.


I mentioned yesterday the dubious link marketing scheme presently being aimed at bloggers. Wallace of Big Gold Dog has emailed me some identifying information about the marketers that could be handy to any dissatisfied customers: Zyphen Marketing, 1108 14th Street suite 231. Cody, WY 82414. US. Domain Name: SUPERHELTINNE.COM. Contact --

There is a Leftist attempt here to explain the Left/Right polarity of politics as Mother-oriented politics versus Father-oriented politics -- a book called: Moral Politics : How Liberals and Conservatives Think. It is actually a rehash of a very old theory in psychology and I could trot out lots of psychological data to contradict the thesis but the book reviewers on the Amazon site have done a pretty good job of exposing at least some of its follies so I will leave it at that. Thanks to Bernhardt Varenius of Anti-Socialist Tendencies for the link. If you really want to look at the early history of the idea and some of its disproofs, see here.

Some more unscientific psychology: A therapist involved with alcoholics finds great flaws in GWBs mental processes which he thinks he recognizes as common in recovering alcoholics and says that GWB's thinking is therefore alcohol-crazed. I have only ever taken a passing interest in drug and alcohol studies in my reading of the psychological journals but from what I do remember of what I have read on the subject, all such effects die away after a year or two, leaving the person in essentially normal health. Since GWB has been off the booze for many years now I think we can dismiss this particular bit of imaginative thinking.

An absolutely astounding story in yesterday's WSJ under the heading: "Kennedy versus Kennedy". The post further down about "How to be diverse" is amusing too.

Eugenics: Nice to see that science historian Elof Carlson confirms what I have been saying for some time: "liberals, left-wing ideologues, social reformers, people of good intentions, scholars, and totally innocent scientists all contributed to the eugenics movement"

A most interesting academic article: Narcissism is highly hereditary. Since I have argued often that a big ego is the main motive behind Leftism, this narrows down very nicely why previous genetic research has found Leftism to be largely hereditary.

The Wicked one has an interesting “quotation” from the Koran.

I have always been rather appalled at the racism of my Leftist colleagues in academic psychology. In their writings they seem to ignore totally anything published in Indian academic journals. No doubt they would SAY all the right things about India but deeds speak louder than words. I myself find Indian psychology to be as good as any and better than some and DO quote it where relevant. But I am the "racist", you see. I have also done research in India and have submitted some of my articles for publication in Indian journals. My latest academic upload here (or here) is an example of that.


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Wednesday, October 01, 2003


Thomas Sowell has a useful short review of the new book about education called No Excuses by A & S Thernstrom. I liked the bit about U.S. university graduates not being able to get teaching jobs in the public schools because they do not have one of those dreary teacher's certificates. I had the same experience myself here in Australia once. I taught matriculation level Economics and Geography in two private schools with excellent results but was then rejected for a teaching job in a government school because I did not have one of those useless teaching diplomas. Results counted for nothing. Phony "credentials" were all that mattered.

Another point the Thernstoms make is confirmed by the OECD -- which reported last week that there is no correlation between increased education funding and achievement and there is no correlation between smaller class sizes and achievement.

How surprising! "Alyssa Edmonds's report cards have been a string of paper trophies -- grades of 'E' for excellent, 'VG' for very good. But when her mother saw her 11-year-old's poor state test scores last year, she worried for the first time that the North Adams schools might be failing her children. 'I would like to know why my daughter ... didn't test at grade level but passed all her subjects and was passed into the next grade,' said Mary Edmonds, 40, a mental health worker who grew up in North Adams. 'I want to know why my kids aren't being taught what the state thinks they need to know to graduate and get a diploma.'"

Why American students don't love this country: "A report from the Albert Shanker Institute says that American school students are getting a slanted view of our nation's history. ... It would be hard to have pride in your country, if you realized that your government handed down orders within itself to launch a military-style operation, tanks and all, against American citizens who were simply acting out their non-violent religious beliefs..... But there's something else, something this report fails notice or point out. While going on at length about the lack of positive education regarding American history and principles, nowhere does it mention that the schools are active instruments of socialist indoctrination."

Good to see USA Today editorializing in favour of the Washington D.C. voucher program. And they have done it again here.

And some Australian schools in Muslim immigrant areas are pretty bad too.


WARNING: There is an email being sent to various blogs at the moment by a "Joseph Wander" which says: "I can pay you $20/month by putting 2 text links on your index or home page as our Advertiser. Please note that you have full control of your site on where to put the text links." The links concerned are: and Both sites seem to have no specific geographical location. I strongly suspect that nobody would ever receive any goods in return for money sent in -- thus making anybody who displayed the links party to a confidence trick. Not recommendable!

"We estimate that climate change may already be causing in the region of 160,000 deaths...a year," Professor Andrew Haines of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told a climate change conference”. And I estimate that the funding for his research would fall drastically if the global warming scare died down.

I visited my alma mater yesterday, the University of Queensland -- one of Australia’s major universities. And flying from the top of the main building for all to see as they entered the university was a large Australian flag! Perhaps there is hope for our universities yet. I note from Garin Hovannisian’s sad report of his first day at UCLA that there is no similar display there.

That man again: There is a picture of Hitler (connected with some VERY old news) in the middle of the Yahoo news site today (Tuesday, U.S. time). He made the cover of “Time” magazine a while back too. Ironic that he seems to be the most famous person in history. I explain why here

More irony: The Scandinavian countries have only relatively recently abandoned their COMPULSORY eugenics programs so how ironic that a new call for a VOLUNTARY eugenics program in Denmark has created an uproar.

Mike Tremoglie has been having fun trying to persuade Kristof of the NYT that he (Kristof) is a redneck!

The NYT is surprisingly frank about the hostility and discrimination conservatives face at U.S. universities.

Front Page has summarized the story about the affirmative action parody whereby students sold cookies at different prices according to the race of the customer. And John Moore has a “scoop” about a neglected detail of the same story.

Somebody has put together the most amazing set of Democrat quotes about Iraq -- from Clinton to Ted Kennedy. You would think that every word there was written by GWB. If GWB “lied” about Iraq, so did practically every prominent Democrat.

My latest academic upload here (or here) concerns the old Leftist “stereotyping” theory -- which says that we dislike minorities only because we do not know them well. So having more contact with minorities should make us like them better. If all my readers have not collapsed with laughter at such a theory by now they may be interested to hear that my survey showed that the theory was not supported.


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Tuesday, September 30, 2003


Dave Mecklenburg has just emailed me as follows:

“This article was one of the top articles on the homepage of Yahoo! recently, so I know it has gotten a lot of views. The title of this article is "France, Austria Lead in Cancer Survival." This was also the title of the link on the Yahoo! homepage, so I had to click it. The article was released for American readers, and I'd be willing to bet that the author is American, which makes this article even more amazing, when you look at the accompanying chart of cancer survival rates. It turns out that France and Austria have the highest survival rates in EUROPE. Before clicking on the chart, guess which country has the highest survival rates on the chart?.

Don't you find the title of the article confusing? Why would the AP and Yahoo! use that title for American readers? I clicked it, because I was a bit surprised that France and Austria would have higher cancer survival rates than America, so I wanted to see and read the data. Why wouldn't they title the article "France, Austria Lead in Cancer Survival in Europe"? Probably because the typical American reader wouldn't care. So why not title the article "America leads Europe in Cancer Survival Rates" or something like that? Why wouldn't AP and Yahoo! want us to know that? What is it about the American healthcare system that the AP and Yahoo! wouldn't want to promote? Could it be a lack of a socialist government-run healthcare system?

The chart graphically also illustrates something else that any idiot can see. Look at the huge differences between survival rates of men and women. What's going on in Europe? Why isn't this a national healthcare crisis in Europe that men have such a significantly less chance of survival? Maybe men are more likely as a whole to not go to the doctor. Maybe men get nastier incurable cancers. But wait a minute! The survival rate for men in America is nearly identical to women. Why isn't the difference in survival rates news? If women had a lower survival rate than men, do you think this would be news? Or maybe women AP reporters just don't think that's important.

You shouldn't be surprised that America has the highest cancer survival rates. America has the best healthcare in the world, BECAUSE it isn't a socialist government healthcare system. Also in America, the government can't decide that one group of people (e.g., women) is more important than another group of people, and choose to focus the limited resources of taxpayer funded healthcare on a particular group of people.”

Dave might also have mentioned that patients who have major operations on the [U.K.] National Health Service are four times more likely to die than Americans undergoing such surgery and that the American system encourages PREVENTION of illness.


What fun! It looks like Russia won’t ratify the Kyoto treaty either. The stupid thing could go the way of the ERA yet.

Muslim “progress” on crimes of the bedroom: “Cohabitation, oral sex and homosexual sex will soon become crimes in Indonesia if the justice ministry has its way, a ministry spokesman said Monday.”

Jeff Jacoby on the death penalty: “In recent years, anti-death penalty propagandists have succeeded in stoking the fear that capital punishment is being carelessly meted out. But it's a bogus accusation: Of the 875 prisoners executed in the United States in modern times, not one has been retroactively proved innocent”

George Will says that even Los Angeles crime could be controlled if the Left would let the police do their job.

This story is one reason why I am a moderate libertarian (a minimal Statist) these days rather than a libertarian ideologue (an anarcho-capitalist). SOMETIMES government can achieve beneficial things that the market would not.

The anti-democratic media: "The media talks about the California recall as if voters there are the victims of a natural disaster or suffering in some war-torn province. Words like 'chaos' and 'mayhem' are thrown around so regularly that I have to keep reminding myself I'm not watching a retrospective on the LA riots of a decade ago. In fact, I think even those riots may have gotten better reviews. Why are the media and the political elite so anti-recall? Seems they like democracy only when the people butt out of it."

Supply-side economics are widely believed to be a myth that died with the Reagan adminstration. But Bruce Bartlett shows that the basic supply-side idea (cutting tax rates may increase tax revenue) does in fact have impressive support.

Democrat conservatism? "Last week two more Democrats joined the presidential race. With so many candidates in the mix, it might seem reasonable to expect a diversity of opinion on major issues. Yet when it comes to Social Security's future, there is little being said by these candidates aside from a promise to protect the status quo. Most private-sector economists and policy analysts, however, have long warned that the status quo is unsustainable." It’s conservatism only if you accept the Leftist lie that conservatism consists of nothing more than defending the status quo.

Foreign aid: This article shows that the billions spent have almost all been essentially wasted. If we want to help poor countries we should allow them to trade with us instead of locking them out of our markets with tariffs, quotas and the like. THAT would work.

My latest academic upload here (or here) is yet another demolition of some Leftist research that claimed to prove that conservatives are “intolerant of ambiguity”


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Monday, September 29, 2003


Bruce Long writes

“I have been following the recent discussion on monkey ethics. It seems to me that there is a much better example of ethics and fair play in the animal kingdom, one that involves fish. As an active SCUBA diver I am aware of, have seen, and actually have participated in a “cleaning station”.

Fish have some severe problems in the area of dental hygiene. They too suffer from pieces of food stuck between their teeth. More of a problem are the opportunistic algae and other parasites that colonize their gills. Nature has evolved a solution to this problem, the cleaning station. A cleaning station is a prominent outcrop of coral with one or more small shrimp. The customer fish swims up to the cleaning station and opens his mouth. The shrimp swim into the open mouth and make a meal on the food debris, and parasites present in the teeth, mouth area and gills. The customer fish gets a good flossing and cleaning and the shrimp get a free meal.

So here you have a fish with several tasty shrimp in his mouth. The fish appears to understand the short term gain of a quick and easy meal is not worth losing the clean service provided by the shrimp. But the "moral" behavior of the fish does not end here. It turns out the services of the cleaning shrimp are much in demand, so much so that a line forms. I have seen cleaning station with five or more fish patiently waiting in line. So it appears fish understand the concepts "of get in line" and "wait your turn". Even more amazing there is an apparent moratorium on predatory behavior as it is common to seen a large predatory fish patiently waiting in line with a small prey fish just inches in front of its nose. Both fish seem to understand that cleaning station customers do not eat other cleaning station customers.

It is possible for a SCUBA diver, if he moves slowly and carefully to take a place at the end of the line. I have done this and when my turn at the cleaning station came I put out my hands for inspection. The shrimp looked a little confused but they examined my hands and worked a bit on the cuticle of my fingernails before deciding I had no parasites to speak of . The returned to the coral pinnacle to wait for the next customer.

Cleaning stations are not at all uncommon on tropical coral reefs although they can be easily disturbed by the activity of a large number of divers. I seem to remember an article in a diving magazine about 15 years ago. If I remember correctly the diving community was widely aware of the phenomena of cleaning stations but it seem it was not entirely taken seriously by the marine biology community. This impression could well be wrong or out of date but I am unaware of any discussion of the cleaning station morals in the scientific literature. To be fair, as an electrical engineer, I have no contact with the marine science community so whatever I think I know in this area is second hand knowledge at best.

In any event it seems reef fish of many species have a well developed sense of fair play and understand at least in one circumstance, the postponement of short term gain for long term benefit. I find this truly amazing and rather more convincing than the recent monkey experiment.

The creationist people use cleaning stations as evidence of intelligent design. I don't quite believe this but I have no idea how to explain the development of cleaning stations in terms of Darwinian evolution.”

Cheney, K.L. and I.M. Cote. 2001. Are Caribbean cleaning symbioses mutualistic? Costs and benefits of visiting cleaning stations to longfin damselfish. Animal Behaviour 62:927-933.


"Public health officials across the country are considering widespread spraying of pesticides to control the mosquito-borne West Nile virus. Anti-pesticide environmentalists claim spraying will devastate bird populations and other wildlife, but sound science shows the pesticides are safe and necessary."

"Supporting and funding alternative means of energy in an effort to eliminate America's dependency on foreign oil and reduce pollution has long been one of the stated causes of progressive politicians, activists and celebrities. But it seems that many of them, so skilled at furthering the case for unconventional energy resources, are unprepared to utilize them in their own backyards."

Running away from safety: "Even actions that have risks can make us safer. We often like to view risk as a binary problem: That is, something is either safe or it's not. Unfortunately, the world just doesn't work that way. Even something as simple as getting out of bed in the morning can increase our stress level, making us more susceptible to illness. Showering exposes us to the risk of slipping in the tub. ... Every choice is laden with risk. But so are the alternatives."


Whoosh! Rich Lowry has got a powerful summary of current Democratic party beliefs. Nobody said they had to be rational!

Belmont Club have really thought through the war on terror and look at what MUST happen if it fails. The utter destruction of Islam seems to be the inevitable outcome. If we cannot destroy the terrorists, we may eventually have to destroy the communities that host them. I note that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 GWB did say that he held the communities that hosted the terrorists responsible -- so warning has been given.

Good to see Arnie is way ahead in the polls. As a libertarian I think his sex-life is purely his business but his low tax policies sound hopeful. And could anybody be worse than that slimy Davis? Don’t answer that!

The Wicked one thinks that Tennessee is a good place to stay away from.

In my latest academic upload here (or here) I explode yet another Leftist attempt to prove that racism is “authoritarian” and conservative -- when in fact it is clearly universal.


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Sunday, September 28, 2003


I guess this post is going to land me in trouble with some people but I have spent my whole life speaking without fear or favour so I am not going to retreat from telling the facts now:

I have just put up another abstract of a recent academic journal article that caused some waves as soon as it was published. The author, Richard Lynn, presents research showing that U.S. minorities tend to score high on the MMPI Pd scale. Wozzat? You say.

The Pd scale is a set of questions that are known to discriminate psychopaths from normals. Psychopaths are people who appear to have no conscience and cannot tell right from wrong. They are very often criminal and often cause severe harm to others. So Lynn has in effect presented evidence that is a psychological counterpart of what we already know -- that U.S. blacks are characterized by an enormously high crime-rate when compared to whites. He shows that psychopathic personalities are much, much more common in the black population -- which makes what we know of black crime eminently understandable. A major cause of black crime would appear to have been uncovered. The cause appears in part to lie in the personalities of (some) blacks themselves.

The major challenges that have been raised to Lynn's findings boil down to asking WHY psychopathy is more common among blacks and challenging whether the Pd scale really does measure psychopathy. The first question is one that cannot be answered with total certainty but, like most personality traits, psychopathy does in general seem to be inborn and genetically inherited. Maybe that is not so among the black population but seeing that blacks and whites are of the same species that would be highly improbable.

The second question is not quite so easily answerable. I have myself had a couple of articles using the Pd scale published in the academic journals and some of my results with it have been less than clearcut. A question I ask about the scale is WHY psychopaths are much more likely to agree with some of the self-descriptions in it than normal people are. I note that the questions in the scale do cover a wide range of maladaptive self-descriptions and this suggests that in institutional situations the scale could be a measure of malingering more than anything else. In non-institutional settings, however, malingering would NOT be a good explanation of the answers given so my conclusion from Lynn's data would be a little more cautious than Lynn's own conclusion. I would conclude that many blacks suffer from a wide range of personality pathologies rather than just psychopathy alone. On the other hand, the congruence of the personality and the crime data do amount to what psychologists would call "convergent validation" for the Pd scale so Lynn's findings could be held to show that doubters such as myself have been proven wrong.

Lynn, R. (2002) Racial and ethnic differences in psychopathic personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 32 (2), 273-316.
Ray, J.J. (1983) Psychopathy, anxiety and malingering. Personality & Individual Differences, 4, 351-353.
Ray, J.J. & Ray, J.A.B. (1982) Some apparent advantages of sub-clinical psychopathy. Journal of Social Psychology, 117, 135-142.


Feminists won’t like this study: Children given into day-care from an early age are more likely to suffer from behaviour problems later in life.

A good article about Sweden's eugenics program -- forced sterlizations that went on until relatively recently under their socialist government: "In Sweden, it was only under Social Democratic rule and in Germany only under Nazism that citizens could be deprived of their reproductive functions as a result of their origins or their disabilities."

One of my readers writes: "You maintain that the academy and professors are attracted to Leftism due to ego. I maintain that they are attracted to Leftism by money and power or the lack of it. Money is power and leftists don't have much of it. Therefore, since they aren't entrepeneural and being an academic doesn't pay that well, the path to power is OPM (other peoples money). And isn't Leftism all about OPM? Leftism is the OPM of the masses being directed by an unproductive elite." He has a good point.

Leftists have of course pooh-poohed the comparison between postar Germany in 1945 and postwar Iraq in 1993 but this seems to show surprising similarities. (Link via Alpha Patriot).

Mike Tremoglie has a comment about the overfed hero of Chappaquiddick that applies to most Leftists: "He once said deployment of Pershing missiles in Europe would lead to World War III. In fact, the deployment of the Pershings helped end the Cold War."

Andrew Bolt points out that journalists are rightly skeptical about the virtues of Christian priests but wonders why similar skepticism is not applied to all the other wacko beliefs that they normally cover with nothing but respect and reverence. And, like me, he is an unbeliever who nonetheless sees much virtue in Christianity.

An interesting account of
why Hollywood tends to be Leftist. It boils down to the usual Leftist story of wanting to sound wiser and better than they are.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again. Lots of good reading on many topics.

The Wicked one has some more funnies up.

In my latest academic upload here (or here) I point out the breathtaking naivety of a piece of psychological research that allegedly shows conservatives to be authoritarian. I know the guy who did the research too. A nice guy -- but Leftism obviously addles the brain.


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