1 comments


A Japanese teacher exposes the deep dysfunction of American black culture

It's pretty plain below: As an  outsider he can see clearly  the absurdities that the Left have produced.



He seems genuinely uncomprehending of why many blacks are like that.  His incomprehension is not surprising given the huge efforts that have been put into covering up the root cause of all the dysfunction.

Like so much else it boils down to IQ.  IQ doesn't explain everything but it explains far more than most people realize.  And the fact is that American blacks have a very low average IQ.  There are of course some very smart blacks but they are rare -- much rarer than very smart whites.  To put a number on it: For roughly a century we have known that on almost any IQ test, blacks on average score about one standard deviation below the white average -- where only four standard deviations make up almost all of the range.

And IQ is a strong predictor of academic and employment success.  You cannot go far either in the education system or in employment with a low IQ.  In school most blacks simply CANNOT do the work set for them beyond a certain low point.  This "gap" in educational achievement is exceedingly well known and is exactly what the IQ tests predict.  Educators have for many years turned themselves inside out trying to erase that gap but nothing works -- as you would expect of something that is genetically hardwired in the person. One could in fact dispense with all talk of IQ and simply talk about "unteachability" with very little loss.

And the unteachability is so serious that many blacks "graduate" High School barely able to read and write.  I contrast that with a "love note" that a little Chinese girl aged about six wrote to her teacher (A teacher I know) at the end of Grade 1.  It said: "I luv my techa". It's not perfect English but to write at that level and at that age is remarkable.  The Chinese of course have high average IQs -- about half a standard deviation above the white average.  So once again IQ tests are a good predictor.  The Chinese girl had very high teachability.  The student body at Harvard would be almost entirely Chinese if the racist Harvard leadership did not conspire to keep most of them out.

And from black unteachability all else flows.  Poor educational achievement will exclude blacks from almost all good jobs and most positions of homor and respect in society. Some blacks who sing and dance well or run fast will achieve wealth and respect but that accounts for very few.

And blacks can see the differential between themselves and whites perfectly clearly.  It is too obvious to miss. They see it every time they turn on the TV.  And they mostly hate it. It makes them angry.  But it is all too human to blame others for one's own failings and they do exactly that. They need to think that somehow "Whitey" or "racism" is responsible for their place at the bottom of most heaps. So anger is never far beneath their surface and can well up readily towards anybody they are near  -- black or white. So even though most homicides in America are black on black, it is also true that homocides inflicted on whites are mostly inflicted by blacks -- as our Japanese friend documents.

And as our Japanese commenter also pointed out, that is certainly a good reason for whites to be very wary of blacks.

And the poor teachbility has another dire effect:  Black theft of various kinds -- mugging, home invasions etc.  Because they can rarely earn much money by working, they steal it or attempt to do so.  And because many Americans are armed that can and sometimes does lead to violent confrontions in which one or more people die. See my blog GUN WATCH

So, one way or another, black dysfunction traces back to black IQ.  Blacks of course are not all the same and some find a place in white society that they are comfortable with.  It has been estimated, however, that about a third of all black males will spend some time in prison.  So the siutation described here is a mass phenomenon, even if it is not universal.


FOOTNOTE:

Nobita, the author of the video above usually broadcasts as "Find Your Love in Japan". Find Your Love In Japan is a Youtube channel. He makes videos similar to That Japanese Man Yuta where he interviews Japanese men, women and foreigners on the street on current popular subjects. In Nobita's videos, he mainly focuses on topics such as "How to find love in Japan" and Japanese people's opinions on relationships with people inside and outside of their culture. In his private life, he is a language teacher in Tokyo.


1 comments


What Jordan Peterson Doesn't Understand About Religion and Free Speech

Only a principle of COMPLETE freedom of expression will ensure that YOUR freedom is not taken away.

There  is also an interesting point about meaning below which aroused my philosophical instincts.  The nature of meaning is a major debate in analytical philosophy.

With regard to the wedding cake controversy, apparently some Leftists say a cake can have no meaning: "It's just a cake".  Justice Kagan in her SCOTUS ruling concurred, saying the the Christian cake-baker "invests its sale to particular customers with ‘religious significance.’ So the meaning of the cake is entirely in the baker's mind, not in the cake, so therefore doesn't exist.

But that is a non-sequitur.  Meaning can only exist in someone's mind.  An inscription in Chinese will have meaning to Chinese people but will be meaningless to me because I don't speak Chinese. And different meanings may exist in different minds for the same word: What is covered by "freedom", for instance, is often disputed.

What was at issue in the case was not some non-existent absolute meaning but the baker's feelings and responses.  Baking the cake for him meant disloyalty to the scriptures.  And the First Amendment tells us that he is at liberty to bake or not because of such religious beliefs.

It seems a pity that a Supreme Court justice was too thick to see that what was at issue was a man's beliefs, not some mythical absolute property of a cake.  Kagan was, however, an Obama appointee


Recently, Jordan Peterson was interviewed by Australian comedian Jim Jeffries's show on Comedy Central. The interview did not go particularly well for Peterson, who, among other things, has had a meteoric rise as public intellectual for deftly handling tense interviews regarding his opposition to the cultural left's assault on free speech. There's been some oddly triumphant coverage of what happened. Vice summed up the interview this way, "Watch Comedian Jim Jefferies Finally Shut Up Jordan Peterson."

Here's what happened. Peterson was asked about the issue underlying a recent Supreme Court case: Should bakers be forced to bake wedding cakes for gay weddings if they have religious objections? Peterson says, "I don't think that would be a very good idea." Jeffries then asked if a baker should be able to deny a wedding cake for black people. Peterson says they should probably be allowed to deny service to black customers, "but that doesn't mean it's right." Jeffries then says that the civil rights movement did result in passing laws that required people to serve black people and that made society better and asks Peterson why this is different than now. Peterson says, "Maybe it's not different. ... Maybe I was wrong about that." Obviously, I'm paraphrasing a bit, but you can watch the whole exchange here:

This exchange is useful because it gets at a fundamental problem with religious liberty debates. Peterson's first impulse in favor of free expression in the broadest sense was right, but he got caught flat-footed when presented with a very common and overly simplistic reading of the distinction between where public accommodation laws end and free speech begins. It's a debate that demands some real understanding, as the future of the First Amendment depends on it.

As someone who's covered religious liberty issues for more than a decade, here's the answer I would have given: Business owners should be able to turn down any customer for any reason, period. That's freedom, and I think we're far enough removed from Jim Crow that there would not be widespread discrimination if it were the law of the land tomorrow. Further, businesses who did discriminate would likely be punished in the marketplace. When a bakery in the Portland suburb didn't make a cake for lesbian commitment ceremony, they were run out of business in months. I don't like that this happened to them, but in an area as liberal as Portland, it was very predictable.

However, a funny thing happened. A year and a half after the business was shuttered, the Oregon labor secretary Brad Avakian slapped the bakery owners with a $135,000 fine. When Avakian ran for secretary of state in 2016 the state's major papers didn't endorse him on the grounds that Avakian was too "political," and while bakery wasn't often explicitly discussed the egregious fine was tacitly understood to be part of his problems. The result was Avakian became the first Democrat to lose a statewide election 14 years. Liberal Oregonians thought being punished by the marketplace was both appropriate and enough.

However, since horrifying official racism is still in living memory, commercial freedom is a difficult thing to argue for. So where does that leave us? Note that in the recent Supreme Court decision Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Justice Kennedy's decision very clearly articulated the difference between public accommodation laws and argument for protecting the expression of creative professionals such as bakers (without coming down one way or the other). Still, even defining the difference was a huge victory.

Public accommodation laws to combat Jim Crow were always understood to apply to services that were essentially uniform and interchangeable. A black man wanting a sandwich at a lunch counter, a hotel room, or a train seat wasn't getting service that was any different than the white guy next to him. Beyond that, it legal distinctions about providing more subjective and individualistic services were hazy and deliberately so. Policing the link here involves assuming or determining intent—and it's very easy perceive racist intent where none exists—and this creates a host of problems when it's not an outright a violation of rights. Then there's the intersection of speech and business. Selling racist pamphlets is an overtly discriminatory commercial activity by nature and a lot more harmful than not baking a cake, and yet perfectly legal commercial activity because not tolerating it to some significant degree is not only at odds with the First Amendment but invites the government to make highly subjective judgments about what speech is and is not tolerable.

When the New Mexico wedding photographer case (Elane Photography v. Willock) appeared in 2006, the initial reaction was pretty interesting. I remember going on relevant message boards for wedding photographers and there was a lot of "I'm a liberal who supports gays, but I'm concerned." Wedding photographers retain the copyright to their work, were legally viewed as artists, and very much saw themselves as creatives. It was instinctively understood that the government telling artists what art they had to create was a very bad precedent.

In the related cases that have popped up since, the clearer the occupation is relative to either artistic or lexical expression, the better the odds it will be protected. I think the only one of these cases that has won thus far in a lower court is that of Hands On Originals, a T-shirt printer in Kentucky who declined to print T-shirts for a gay pride event. A significant reason the printer won his case is that the public accommodation argument is belied by the fact he owns a literal printing press that prints words and messages, even if his medium is T-shirts and promotional tchotchkes rather than, say, newspapers.

From there, it's harder to make an argument whether or not bakers or florists count as expressive artists, though it should be obvious enough that a) when it comes to protecting free speech from government interference the prudent thing is to define these matters as broadly as possible b) accepting them on their own terms as artistry should be easy enough since this all centers on custom designs and there are big artistic competitions in both professions. (Bakers are also often asked to put words on cakes in addition to both professions being asked do create things that are overtly symbolic.) Obviously, if I pick up a sheet cake that's pre-made at the grocery store, public accommodation arguments would seem to be applicable. It's also why Jack Philips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, would sell his offended gay customers anything already in his store, but not make them a cake from scratch. His own effort was not intertwined with the wishes of the customer in selling pre-made goods the way it would be in a custom order meant to honor a specific ceremony of religious significance to him. (Notably Phillips doesn't do other things that violate his beliefs, such as make Halloween-themed baked goods.)

Now the media coverage of these issues has not been conducive to dealing with the nuances outlined above. Which has contributed to a situation where, even when liberals start to understand the speech implications, they stumble over their own hypocrisy on public accommodation measures. Having spoken on these issues publicly a number of times I've seen this happen a lot, and prominent defenders of religious freedom tell me it happens to them as well. The conversation you have tends to go something like this:

"What's the big deal? They just want a cake."

"Well, it's not 'just a cake.' What if the customer wants a 48-inch, five-layer cake that when you cut it open has been dyed to look like a rainbow pride flag and has an image of the two grooms respective faces on two fondant sculptures of Michalengelo's David on top and in frosting underneath it says 'Jesus Approves of the Union of Chuck and Buck's Open Marriage' and will take this baker baker three days of his life to make, if it didn't grossly violate his religious beliefs to make it in the first place?"

"That doesn't mean anything. It's just flour and sugar. Why won't this bigot sell him a cake?"

"If I forced you to bake me a cake that said 'Make America Great Again' you'd object, right?"

"Of course I would. Trump is practically Hitler."

"Ok, don't you see how the same principle of compelled speech applies to the first cake?"

"That's totally different. Those gay dudes just want a normal cake."

So long as the cake represents things the person believes in, there's nothing unique about it in their mind and for some reason they cannot be made to see it's in any way symbolic or representative of a viewpoint not everyone agrees with. And when you realize people are incapable of making this distinction, to the point of total moral disassociation that allows for compelling speech from others that they would object to explicitly being done to them personally, you realize there's a viral strain of argument that could be used to justify subjecting people they disagree with to any number of abuses. It also seems the most powerful people in America are infected with this thinking. Liberal Justice Elana Kagan voted as she did on Masterpiece because she understood the baker was subject to overt animus, such as a Colorado civil rights commissioner calling the baker a Nazi, that made his punishment appear to be arrived at predjudically. But then the "just a cake" non-argument rears it's ugly head in the much discussed bizzarroland footnote in her concurrence:

As Justice Gorsuch sees it, the product that Phillips refused to sell here—and would refuse to sell to anyone—was a ‘cake celebrating same-sex marriage.’ But that is wrong. The cake requested was not a special ‘cake celebrating same-sex marriage.’ It was simply a wedding cake—one that (like other standard wedding cakes) is suitable for use at same-sex and opposite-sex weddings alike… And contrary to Justice Gorsuch’s view, a wedding cake does not become something different whenever a vendor like Phillips invests its sale to particular customers with ‘religious significance.’

I suspect Jordan Peterson hasn't thought all this through, and I'm not surprised he hasn't because the public debate has been so bad. But there are abundant reasons to suspect that if it were explained to him, he'd get it. The fact a Supreme Court justice's can't see something so obvious and essential to the First Amendment, after she was specifically tasked with puzzling it out for months, well, that should keep people concerned with preserving free speech up at night.

SOURCE

0 comments


The Australian Senate must not pass large company tax cuts: Oxfam

Oxfam started out as a chain of charity shops in England.  They have now however transmogrified into a carping Leftist pressure group.  They still seem however to understand secondhand clothes better than economics.  They complain below that many large companies pay no tax in Australia while at the same time opposing tax cuts.  Anyone see a problem there?  Surely the companies who pay no tax will not be affected by tax cuts!

Multinational companies are often in a position to take their profits in a jurisdiction where tax rates are low -- as in Singapore or Ireland -- so it is sensible for companies to do that.  So the companies that pay no tax in Australia will pay tax in (say) Singapore.

Australian government revenues lose from that but the solution is to get Australian company tax down to the Singapore rate -- 17%.  Despite being so lacking in natural resources that it even imports water, Singapore is a very prosperous place -- so if Singapore can do it so can we.

It won't happen soon.  The Left would mount a Jihad to stop it -- while the Singapore government enjoys tax money that could have gone to the Australian government.

The unfortunate Mr Turnbull is trying to get our company tax down -- our rates are about twice Singapore's -- but the ignoramuses of the Left would rather have our money go to Singapore


Commenting on the push to have large company tax cuts pass through the Senate this week, Oxfam Australia’s economic policy advisor Joy Kyriacou said:

“The proposed $65 billion hand-out for big business would make Australia the latest country to join the global race to the bottom on corporate tax rates.

“Slashing the corporate tax rate would undermine attempts to tackle inequality and poverty, both in Australia and around the world. When governments enter a race to the bottom on corporate tax rates, everyday people lose.

“It is utterly inconceivable that the Federal Government wants to push ahead with slashing the corporate tax rate when Australian Taxation Office data shows that more than one in three large Australian companies paid no tax at all in Australia for the past three years of reporting.

“Passing the corporate tax cut for large companies would be a further step in unravelling the fairness of our tax system.

“Right now, the use of tax havens and other loopholes by Australian multinationals is ripping billions of dollars from public coffers in developing countries, as well as in Australia.

“Oxfam estimates around $5-6 billion is lost to Australia’s public purse through the tax avoidance practices of multinationals – and global estimates are that the poorest countries loose well over $100 billion annually.

“This is money that should be spent on the things everyday people need: schools, hospitals, roads and public infrastructure.

“It would also be completely nonsensical to promise a crackdown on multinationals that are avoiding paying their fair share of tax in exchange for rewarding big business with these tax cuts.

“And the stubborn push for these tax cuts comes with little evidence of benefits to the economy and community – and in exchange for no more than a ‘pinky promise’ that big business will invest more in jobs and wage growth.

“What Australia should be doing is cracking down further on tax avoidance, including by introducing public country-by-country reporting that requires large companies to declare details of income, taxes paid and profits around the world.

“Oxfam calls on Senators to support the Australian people this week, not further profits for large companies. The corporate tax cuts for large businesses should be rejected.”

Via email. amandab@oxfam.org.au

0 comments


Liberals Harass Pro-Trump Attorney General From Florida At Movie Theater, Spit On Her

This is a very slippery slope. If these attack on Trump officials continue there is a real possibility that Trump will encourage his followers to do the same to Democrats.  Trump very clearly believes in striking back.  He does it all the time.  So we could well see prominent Democrats spat upon.

I am confident that prominent Democrats would suddenly call for civility under those circumstances but if they did not, a mini civil war could develop.  And Trump would win that one too. Prosecution of the offenders described below is therefore important. The alternative justice system is vendetta and no sane person would want that primitive system in America


Intolerant liberal activists harassed Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi at a movie theater on Saturday over her support for President Donald Trump. One deranged individual reportedly spit on her while yelling in her face.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, a video taken by left-wing activist Timothy Heberlein of Organize Florida shows law enforcement escorting Bondi out of the theater and back to her vehicle as several people harassed her.

Bondi was reportedly trying to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor, a movie about Mr. Rogers and his life.

“What would Mister Rogers think about you and your legacy in Florida? Taking away health insurance from people with pre-existing conditions, Pam Bondi!” said Maria José Chapa, a left-wing organizer. “Shame on you!”

Another heckler yelled: “You’re a horrible person!”

During an interview Monday on Fox & Friends, Bondi said “three huge guys” came up to her in the theater, and began screaming and cursing in her face. She said the abhorrent liberals also tried to provoke her boyfriend, who was with her at the theater.

The Florida AG said that one of the men spit on her while screaming in her face.

Bondi made it clear that she will not allow vile liberals to bully or alter her actions. She said she will continue to support enforcing the law whether liberals like it or not.

Bondi getting harassed and spit on came on the same weekend as Sen. Maxine Waters calling for more attacks and violence against members of the Trump administration.

During an unhinged speech on Saturday outside the Wilshire Federal Building, the California Democrat screamed that anyone who works for the president shouldn’t be welcomed in society. She also urged people to harass and confront administration officials and those who support the president when they are out in the public.

Waters’ extremist rhetoric comes one year after a Sen. Bernie Sanders supporter tried to assassinate multiple Republican lawmakers during a congressional baseball practice in Virginia. The deranged shooter shot Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, leaving him severely injured and fighting for his life in the hospital for several months.

Last week, a group of liberals swarmed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen’s home over the migrant crisis, putting her family at risk while trying to leave.

As the Left gets more desperate to oppose Trump ahead of midterm elections, these disgusting tactics and calls for violence only prove how insane and unhinged they have become.

SOURCE

0 comments


The rise and fall of average IQ test scores

I was just cranking up my aged brain to say something about the latest IQ findings when I found that young Oliver Moody of "The Times" has spared me the trouble. His summary is below. There are a few things I would like to add, however.

Perhaps the most interesting fact to emerge is that dumb women having more babies is not a problem.  As long as I have been reading the literature on IQ, people have been worried about that.  Are all these smart ladies who think no man is good enough for them degrading the average intelligence of the human race?  Wonder of wonders, the latest research from Norway was able to rule that out.

Various people have pointed out that the dumbest females for various reasons tend to have NO babies and a majority of high IQ females do have some babies.  And it was always hoped that those two effects would cancel one another out. And we now have grounds to believe that exactly that has happened.

A lot of interesting IQ research comes out of Norway and Sweden.  The reason is that the Scandinavian countries are very authoritarian, which leads them to keep extensive records about each individual person in their countries.  So if you can get access to government data you can base your research on the whole population, not just a sample, with all its attendant doubts and difficulties.

So what we now know with some confidence is that IQ scores rose during the first three quarters of the 20th century but then flattened out before going into a decline.  And that could clearly not be due to genetic changes.  Evolution doesn't work that fast.

So what WAS going on?  There are two major possible explanations: Computer games and education. Blaming computer games has been going on as long as there have been computer games and it is in my mind just snobbery or some such:  A convenient whipping boy for all sorts of ills.  There is actually a fair bit of evidence that games and internet exposure generally are most likely to be good rather than bad for our brains (e.g. HERE and  HERE  and  HERE)

Additionally, like Piaget, I have tended to find the kids in my care to be instructive.  My son, for instance, could load up and play his favourite computer game when he was two and he plays a lot of games to this day now he is in his 30s and works as an IT professional.  And what I saw was that game playing is normally quite social. There will usually be other kids hanging around and talking even with single-user games and some games are quite educational in themselves.  My son learnt most of his ancient history from "sims" set in that era. He learnt precious little ancient history at school.  So I personally exonerate games from being bad for most people.

So what DID go wrong?  Just one thing can account for both the rise and fall in measured IQs:  Testing.

During my schooldays in the '50s testing was all the rage.  We even did IQ tests at least once a year.  And there were heaps of in-school tests. From about grade 3 on, for instance, we would have weekly spelling tests -- in which a kid got a list of 10 words that he had to learn how to spell. Being a born academic, I always got 10 out of 10 and was regularly praised for it.  Which was a bit unfair because I put zero work into it.  I just had to see a word once to know how to spell it. I still do.

And I think that is one example of a huge difference between then and now.  Education used to be COMPETITIVE and "winners" got all the praise. And nobody apologized for that.

It seems to me that there should be no great  difficulty in arranging prizes for both ability and effort but the Left have simply closed their eyes to ability


By about 1975 or thereabouts, however, the political Left had got a vice-like grip on education worldwide.  Even in chapter  48 of my 1974 book, I noted its encroachment. And Leftists HATE competition because it clashes with their idiotic and counterfactual belief that "All men are equal".  To validate that gospel, therefore, all had to have prizes, not just one kid.  And if you believe that all men are equal, there would be no point in testing.  If the marks come out all the same, what would be the point? But the marks don't come out all the same so to avoid that reality, you just don't do testing if you can avoid it.
The rise in measured IQ scores during the first three quarters of c20 has been the cause of much discussion and the most usual explanation for it is that it was due to the steady expansion of education during that era.  More kids gradually got more education as the century wore on.  And that was highly relevant to performance on IQ tests.  All the testing you did at school made you "test-wise" and that helped you to do well on IQ tests.

You learnt, for instance that ever useful strategy of: "If you don't know, guess". Some guesses will be right and that will raise your overall score. IQ subtests that were not facilitated by testing -- breadth of vocabulary for instance -- showed very little rise in scores.  You know what an uncommon word means or you don't. So it was environmental rather than genetic factors that explains the rise in average IQ scores -- known generally as the "Flynn" effect.

But the dominance of Leftism wiped all that. Leftists have a horror of competition so avoided testing at all costs.  So an education no longer helped you to do well on IQ tests. And as Leftism gradually tightened its grip, the education effect on IQ scores shrank and shrank.  So IQ scores declined gradually over the years.

It's consoling to note however, that the genetic contribution to IQ test score has not changed.  We are still as bright as we ever were and what we are genetically is increasingly the sole thing reflected in the IQ test scores.


The IQ scores of young people have begun to fall after rising steadily since the Second World War, according to the first authoritative study of the phenomenon.

The decline, which is equivalent to at least seven points per generation, is thought to have started with the cohort born in 1975, who reached adulthood in the early Nineties.

Scientists say that the deterioration could be down to changes in the way maths and languages are taught, or to a shift from reading books to spending time on television and computers.

Yet it is also possible that the nature of intelligence is changing in the digital age and cannot be captured with traditional IQ tests. The turning point marks the end of a well-known but poorly understood trend known as the Flynn effect, in which average IQs have risen by about three points a decade for the past 60 or 70 years.

“This is the most convincing evidence yet of a reversal of the Flynn effect,” Stuart Ritchie, a psychologist at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved in the research, said. “If you assume their model is correct, the results are impressive, and pretty worrying.”

There had been signs that IQ scores might have fallen since the turn of the millennium. Two British studies suggested that the decline was between 2.5 and 4.3 points per decade. This has not been widely accepted owing to the limited research to date. A study has now shown, however, that Norwegian men’s IQs are measurably lower today than the scores of their fathers at the same age.

Ole Rogeberg and Bernt Bratsberg, of the Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research in Oslo, analysed the scores from a standardised IQ test of more than 730,000 men who reported for national service between 1970 and 2009. The research appears in the journal PNAS.

The vast majority of young Norwegian men are required to perform national service and take a standardised IQ test when they join up.

The results, published in the journal PNAS, show that those born in 1991 scored about five points lower than those born in 1975, and three points lower than those born in 1962.

The reasons behind the Flynn effect and its apparent reversal are disputed. Scientists have put the rise in IQ down to better teaching, nutrition, healthcare and even artificial lighting.

Some academics suggest the recent fall could be down to genetics. Their argument is, crudely, that less intelligent people have more babies, and so over time the gains are cancelled out by the spread of genes linked to low-intelligence.

Yet this theory has been scotched by the Norwegian paper. Because the decline can be observed within the same families, it is unlikely to be the result of a demographic shift.

Dr Rogeberg said it was more plausible that the changes in the way children are educated or brought up – such as less time drilling pupils in reading and mathematics – were at play.

He stressed that the findings did not necessarily mean that today’s young people were any more stupid than their parents. Instead, it may be that definitions of intelligence have yet to catch up with the skillset needed to navigate the digital era.

“Intelligence researchers make a distinction between fluid and crystallised intelligence,” he said. “Crystallised intelligence is stuff you have been taught and trained in, and fluid intelligence is your ability to see new patterns and use logic to solve novel problems.”

Classic IQ tests, with their emphasis on arithmetic and verbal reasoning, tend to favour the kind of crystallised intelligence that is fostered by a more traditional education. “If this is the underlying cause of the decline, this need not be overly worrying,” Dr Rogeberg said.

Robin Morris, professor of neuropsychology at King’s College London, said IQ scores probably had hit a ceiling in the west, but there was not yet any reason to be unduly concerned.

“I think the reverse Flynn effect is real but would urge caution about generalising based on one sample,” he said. “Probably the tailing off is a general effect in high income countries in which the contributor factors generally stabilise.”

SOURCE


0 comments


Fine unis for caving on free speech: Senator Paterson

An online comment on the story below is as under:

"I’d be happy to see Western Studies that examined the pros and cons of our culture. But it’s up to the unis, especially if the funding is privately sourced and comes with strings attached"

It's a very unbalanced comment: Why should it be up to the unis?  The unis are heavily Leftist so can not be assumed to make a balanced judgment.  Censorship is the way of the Left -- as we have seen.

And what is wrong with privately funded courses?  The premier American universities are all privately funded.

And what in life does not come with strings attached?  They are usually called "conditions" and there are conditions on all sorts of funding both in academe and elsewhere.  There were in fact very few "conditions" on the Ramsay offer and none of them were ideological

The comment is just bigotry. It certainly does not pass as serious debate. Very lightweight stuff



Liberal senator James Paterson has called for universities to face fines for failing to uphold free speech, claiming that financial penalties would go some way to preventing the “administrative cowardice” behind the Australian National University’s decision to scrap plans for a course in Western civilisation.

As debate continues around the university’s contentious withdrawal from negotiations with the Ramsay Centre, Senator Paterson said ANU was not alone in ­caving to pressure from “ideological interest groups” and it was up to the federal government to ensure that universities’ financial interests were aligned with “upholding values of intellectual freedom, free speech and viewpoint diversity”.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham, who oversees the university sector, which will receive $17 billion in government funding this year, did not rule out the proposal.

“With funding for higher education at record levels, taxpayers and the broader community rightly expect that our universities uphold the values and standards of free speech and academic freedom,” Senator Birmingham said.

“I welcome debate and ideas on how our universities can be further held to account for upholding the expectations placed upon them by taxpayers and students.”

In an opinion article in The Australian today, Senator Paterson also takes issue with ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt’s claim that his decision to withdraw from negotiations with the Ramsay ­Centre resulted from concerns over academic autonomy, pointing out that the university does not have a stand-alone policy dedicated to upholding free intellectual inquiry.

This was despite amendments to the Higher Education Support Act in 2011 requiring universities to have a policy around upholding free intellectual inquiry.

Senator Paterson refers to an audit of university campuses conducted by the Institute of Public Affairs last year that found only eight of Australia’s 42 universities have such a policy.

“ For all its talk of academic freedom, the ANU is not among them,’’ he says. “Clearly, the existence of this ­requirement isn’t enough to counteract the pressure that university administrators face from the angry minority hell-bent on ­enforcing their ideological hegemony.

“Only imposing real, financial consequences will bring an end to the kind of administrative cowardice that was epitomised in the ANU’s decision to cancel their proposed course on Western civilisation.”

Senator Paterson is the latest politician to criticise ANU, which has previously accepted donations from the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Iran, to fund its Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies.

Institute of Public Affairs ­research fellow Matthew Lesh, who conducted the latest free-speech-on-campus audit, said the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency had failed to enforce the legal requirement that universities have a policy that upholds free ­intellectual inquiry.

“It is time that TEQSA put Australia’s universities on notice that their social licence and billions in public funding depends on upholding free intellectual inquiry,” Mr Lesh said.

SOURCE

1 comments


The Eurasian mystery solved

Australia's population is about 5% Asian, mostly Han Chinese. And, as I have often noted, Australia is so racist that it is very common to see about the place little Asian young ladies on the arm of tall Caucasian men. It's the same in America: Little Asian ladies really go for tall Caucasian men. And since neither party is in fact racist the ladies tend to get their man. Finding this little feminine lady being nice to them tends to go down well with the men concerned. When so many Caucasian ladies tend to talk feminism, it must in fact come like a breath of fresh air.

But that creates a puzzle. Asians have been in Australia for a long time now. They started coming when the conservative government of Harold Holt abolished the White Australia policy in 1966. So this fascination has been going on for some time so where are all the Eurasian babies? It is quite rare to see anybody of any age about the place with that mix of ancestry. I now know why.

I was having a pleasant chat to a young female pharmacist recently who was wearing a nameplate which gave her surname as "Ng" (pronounced "Ing"). She spoke good Australian English and did not look Asian so I assumed that her surname must have been that of her husband. So we talked a little about the surname "Ng" and I said "You got your surname from your husband, did you?"

Booboo! No. she said, "My husband is Caucasian. It's my father who is an Ng.He is Chinese.My mother is Caucasian". So there you have it: She was Eurasian but did not look it. Her eyes were a little narrow but were within the Caucasian range of variation. She also told me that she and her husband had a little blue-eyed son, so no-one will ever guess the Asian in his ancestry.

So that's the answer to where all the Eurasians are. They are all around us but mostly we can't tell. Quite a lot of our apparently Caucasian population has in fact been given to us by Chinese mothers!



ADDENDUM: A little more about what is going on in the mixed marriages.

There are a few taller ones but most of the Chinese ladies are quite short -- around 5'. And when they find themselves among what must look to them like an army of giants, they hate it. So they want their children to be tall. But to achieve that, they have to marry a tall man. And there are few tall Chinese men around. So to get themselves a tall husband they have to find a tall Caucasian

And there are quite a lot of Caucasian men around in my burg who are in fact 6' tall or taller. So that would be perfect for what the ladies want. And it is the tallest men they go for. Though they also seem to like men who are both tall and well-built -- footballer types. The footballer might be a bit dim but they figure they have got enough brains for two.

Some years ago I read a story about Chinese ladies on Ivy League campuses in America in which the Chinese ladies were known to go for "Jocks" -- big built Caucasian sportsmen. It was such a phenomenon that the Caucasian ladies felt outdone in getting a big man and referred to the Asian ladies as "The yellow peril". Even after a lot of Googling I have been unable to find that article again so I suspect that it has been erased in the name of political correctness.

So what do all the tall Caucasian ladies do? They want tall men too. A lady HATES having a man shorter than her. But they mostly miss out. The Chinese ladies have out-competed them. And they hate seeing a tall man with a short lady on his arm. They see the lady as stealing one of THEIR men.

So what about the Chinese men who are spurned by Chinese ladies? Sometimes they just send back to relatives in China to find themselves a bride but there is also another possibility. It's not very common but some Caucasian ladies like the politeness and patience of the Chinese men. So you do occasionally see the combination of a Caucasian lady with a Chinese man.

On one occasion I saw a remarkably attractive Caucasian lady going out with a fairly ordinary-looking Chinese man. I think I know what happened there. The lady was so attractive that all the men wanted to rush her in to bed. The Chinese man was the only one who had patience. And she wanted that.

And last of all, where do short men fit into the picture? As they themselves often complain, they are invisible. Ladies look right over their heads. And that does of course steam them up. So they too want a taller partner so that their children will not suffer such indignities. So they go all out to get a tall woman. She might be skinny and gawky and be of limited attractiveness generally but they will have her. As long as she has got long legs. Anything for tall sons! So any tall lady will never lack a dapper suitor -- as long as she can cop a small one.

I remember an amusing instance of such a trade. A very feisty and quite attactive lady I know had teamed up with a successful barrister and she was crowing slightly to one of her friends about that. The friend said: "but isn't he a bit short?". The feisty lady replied: "He is 6 feet tall when he is standing on his wallet!" And so it goes.

A SPECULATION:

We must not take East Asian ancestry as totally homogeneous. There are many nations there with their own histories. So my generalization above about the invisibility of Eurasians is undoubtedly too sweeping. Some Eurasians do look rather Asian and that could reflect a different ancestry, ancestry from Asia but from a different part of Asia.

Another fact that very strongly points to different Asian ancestry is the fact there are quite a few people in the Caucasian population who have no traceable Asian ancestry but who have semi-Asian features. I know of several among my personal acquaintances and friends. And they pass those features on to their children. They do not die out. So their Asian genes are as persistent as equivalent genes in other Asians are recessive.

A possible source of more persistent genes is Mongolia. At one stage in history the Mongols conquered China and ran an empire there for several centuries,

So it's possible that the Mongolian genes for appearance (high cheekbones, very narrow eyes, sallow skin) are persistent but the Han Chinese genes are not. Mongolia is a cold dark place to the North of China where people are animal herders rather than farmers so maybe that had some effect on the evolution of the eyes which did not take off in China

So the combination of influences -- persistent Mongolian genes plus Caucasian genes -- does produce a person with some degree of Asian appearance


UPDATE:

Below are two pictures that show you what I mean. Both are of  Franceska Hung, who has just won a Miss Australia competition.  Her father is Chinese and her mother Caucasian. She could be any well-tanned Australian.  Her eyes do not stand out as Asian.





SOURCE 



0 comments

Professor ‘bragged about burying bad science’ on 3M chemicals

I am a bit reluctant to enter this old controversy again but I was amused that the Left-leaning Fairfax press is critical of "burying bad science".  I guess it is because you can be reasonably sure that any science the Left likes -- from Lysenko to global warming -- is in fact bad science. So they don't like it being buried.  As the replicability crisis has revealed, bad science is rife and in great need of exposure.

But I suppose that is just a quibble.  At issue is the basic toxicological dictum that the toxicity is in the dose.  There is no doubt that PFOS chemicals can be bad for you but at what dosage? Even water can kill you if you drink enough of it.

But there is a lot of "science" papers and publicity seeking authors that ignore that.  They excitedly announce some finding of bad effects in rats and then go on to utter large warnings about the threat to human health -- without considering the dose involved or even using very large doses.  Those are the bad papers that Prof. Giesy would have tried to stop.

That the chemical concerned gets into people and animals one way or another has been known for decades.  But the concentrations found are extremely minute -- measured in a few parts per billion. So how toxic is it?  It certainly seems to be seriously toxic to a range of animals but evidence of toxicity to people is slight.  And don't forget that this has been under investigation for a long time.

Additionally, it has been estimated that there is by now some PFOS in every American, so bad effects should be pretty evident by now.  But they are not.

Note that the controversy is about PFOS in general use -- as part of domestic items. People who are for one reason or another exposed to exceptionally high levels of it could well have problems. And there do appear to have been some instances of that.

But the scare has been sufficient for the American manufacturers to stop production of the stuff and the levels in people have gone into steady decline.  So if it is a problem, it has been dealt  with.

The ethics of Prof. Giesy taking money from a chemical company is another matter.  It is the sort of thing that is widely challenged by the Left as showing bad faith or corruption but it is very widely done and evidence of the practice being corrupt is rarely offered.  The participants argue that the academics provide useful advice so should be paid for it

A reputation for integrity is essential to a scientist and scientists are very careful about doing anything that could risk that reputation.  So they make sure that what they do follows ethical guidelines.  So you will note at the very end of the article below that Prof. Giesy has been cleared of unethical behaviour by his university.  Compared to that clearance the insinuations below should be treated as dubious assertions designed to sell papers


As a leading international authority on toxic chemicals, Professor John P. Giesy is in the top percentile of active authors in the world.

His resume is littered with accolades, from being named in the Who’s Who of the World to receiving the Einstein Professor Award from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Professor Giesy was credited with being the first scientist to discover toxic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl [PFAS] chemicals in the environment, and with helping to persuade chemical giant 3M Company to abandon their manufacture.

But Fairfax Media can now reveal that Professor Giesy was accused of covertly doing 3M’s bidding in a widespread international campaign to suppress academic research on the dangers of PFAS.

A trove of internal company documents has been made public for the first time following a $US850 million ($1.15 billion) legal settlement between the company and Minnesota Attorney-General Lori Swanson. They suggest that Professor Giesy was one weapon in an arsenal of tactics used by the company to - in a phrase coined by 3M - “command the science” on the chemicals.

The documents have allowed the state to chronicle how 3M, over decades, allegedly misled the scientific community about the presence of its chemicals in the public’s blood, undermined studies linking the chemicals with cancer and scrambled to selectively fund research to be used as a “defensive barrier to litigation”.

Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, John Linc Stine, says there is a sense of violation in the community after 3M disposed of chemicals that have now seeped into the groundwater.

Experts have branded the strategies nearly identical to those used historically by the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries.

At least 90 communities across Australia are being investigated for elevated levels of the contaminants, including 10 in Sydney.

The Australian government is aggressively defending a growing number of class actions from towns where the chemicals were used for decades in fire retardants on military bases, the runoff tainting the soil and water of surrounding homes.

The Department of Health maintains there is “no consistent evidence” that the chemicals can cause “important” health effects such as cancer. In arguing this, its experts have made reference to the work of 3M scientists, who insist the chemicals are not harmful at the levels found in the blood of humans.

On Saturday, Fairfax Media exposed cancer cluster fears centring on a high school in Oakdale, Minnesota, in America’s upper mid-west, a few blocks from 3M’s global headquarters and where the water was contaminated with PFAS.

3M has vigorously denied the allegations. It did not accept liability in February, when it reached a settlement on the courthouse steps over alleged damage to Minnesota’s natural resources and drinking water.

A spokesperson said: “The vast body of scientific evidence, which consists of decades of research conducted by independent third parties and 3M, does not show that these chemistries negatively impact human health at current exposure levels”.

But several leading public health agencies in the United States have sounded warnings to the contrary.

In 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency found the “weight of evidence” supported the conclusion that the chemicals were a human health hazard, warning that exposure over certain levels could result in immune and developmental effects and cancer.

The US National Toxicology Program found they were “presumed to be an immune hazard” based on high levels of evidence from animal studies and a moderate level from humans.

Immune suppression - usually as a result of conditions such as organ transplant or HIV - is known to increase the risk of several types of cancer by making the immune system less able to detect and destroy cancer cells or fight cancer-causing infections.

DuPont, which used PFAS chemicals in the manufacture of Teflon, reached a $US670 million settlement with residents living near its manufacturing plant in Ohio, West Virginia, last year, after an expert health panel conducted a large-scale epidemiological investigation. It concluded that residents’ drinking water, tainted with one of the chemicals called PFOA, had a “probable link” to six health conditions, including kidney and testicular cancer.

One of 3M’s own material data safety sheets for a PFAS chemical included a warning that it could cause cancer in 1997 - that was subsequently removed - according to the Minnesota case.

The chemical of greatest concern in Australia is perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, arguably the most toxic of the chemicals studied. This was widely used in Scotchgard and fire-fighting foams.

Last month, there was a storm of controversy amid claims that the US EPA and the White House blocked the publication of a health study on PFAS carried out by the country’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

In emails leaked to Politico, a Trump administration aide warned that the report would be a “public relations nightmare” because it would show that the chemicals endangered human health at far lower levels than what the EPA had previously deemed safe.

Health warnings were echoed by Harvard Professor Philippe Grandjean and Professor Jamie DeWitt of North Carolina State University in their expert testimonies for the State of Minnesota.

Professor Grandjean argued that PFAS chemicals pose a “substantial present and potential hazard” to human health, including to immune, thyroid, liver, endocrine, cardiovascular and reproductive functions, and by “causing or increasing the risk of cancer”.

“Both PFOA and PFOS show convincing associations with these outcomes,” he said, adding that risks to human health had been identified at very low exposure levels.

Watching 'bad papers'

To the outside world, Professor Giesy was a renowned and independent university academic.

“But privately, he characterised himself as part of the 3M team,” alleged the State of Minnesota.

“Despite spending most of his career as a professor at public universities, Professor Giesy has a net worth of approximately $20 million. This massive wealth results at least in part from his long-term involvement with 3M for the purpose of suppressing independent scientific research on PFAS.”

Professor Giesy’s consulting company appears to have received payments from 3M between at least 1998 and 2009. One document indicated his going rate was about $US275 an hour.

In an email to a 3M laboratory manager, Professor Giesy described his role as trying to keep “bad papers out of the literature”, because in “litigation situations they can be a large obstacle to refute”.

Professor Giesy was an editor of several academic journals and, in any given year, about half of the papers submitted on PFAS came to him for review.

“Some journals … for conflict-of-interest issues will not allow an industry to review a paper about one of their products. That is where I came in,” he wrote in another email.

“In time sheets, I always listed these reviews as literature searches so that there was no paper trail to 3M.”

Professor Giesy is alleged to have passed confidential manuscripts on to 3M, as well as an email from an EPA scientist detailing its latest PFAS investigations in Athens, Georgia. He allegedly bragged about rejecting the publication of at least one paper containing negative information about PFAS.

In another email chain, a 3M manager was concerned that a study Professor Giesy had drafted was “suggestive” of possible PFAS health hazards and should be cushioned with an accompanying document on the health effects.

“This paper … could set off a chain reaction of speculation that could reopen the issue with the media and move it back to a health story; something up to now we have avoided,” he wrote.

Professor Giesy is based at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, but he also holds positions with the University of Michigan and several Chinese universities.

An internal 3M document referred to him needing to “buy favours” when developing joint projects with Chinese colleagues “over whom he can exert some influence”.

A spokesperson for the University of Saskatchewan said it had conducted two reviews of Dr Giesy’s conduct.

“We found nothing out of the ordinary or evidence of conflict of interest,” she said.

SOURCE

3 comments


JORDAN PETERSON’S TRAGIC FOLLY

By Nirmal Dass | Researcher with a PhD in translation theory

Nirmal Dass has written a rather long srticle that is critical of Peterson.  He says Peterson’s recent book — 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos — is filled with errors and misinformation.  I found that a most amusing claim as I would say that Nirmal's article is "filled with errors and misinformation".  It is certainly a very opinionated article.  He writes with great confidence and zero sign of self-doubt.  His dogmatism is extreme.  He provides no links or references for any of his assertions.  We are apparently supposed to sit at his feet and revere him as an infallible scholar. He appears to be of Indian origin so maybe he has adopted the role of guru.

Another thing that amused me was his prominent claim at the very beginning of his article that he has a PhD in translation theory.  I have written a little on problems in translation myself but I rather wondered why he would make that claim so prominently.  It appears that he may have that doctorate but it was not his first doctorate.  He also has a doctorate in critical theory, which is a Marxist sect, or a series of Marxist sects. So Nirmal seems keen to deflect a search of his qualifications.

So at least when he talks about Marxism, you would think he knows what he is talking about.  He probably does but it doesn't appear in his article.  He makes in fact a quite hilarious claim about Marxism.  He says there is such a thing as "real" Marxism.  Some Marxists are not true Marxists, apparently.

I taught for some years in a university sociology department where most of the rest of the teaching staff were Marxists of one  stripe or another. And a phrase that still rings in my ears from that time was "What Marx was REALLY saying ...". I heard it so many times. There was in other words no agreement about what constituted Marxism.  In fact, as far as I can tell, there are as many versions of Marxism as there are Marxists.  For a time in Australia there were two Communist parties:  "The Communist Party of Australia" and "The Communist Party of Australia, Marxist Leninist".  The first was pro-Soviet and the second was Maoist. They hated one-another but both of course would have claimed to be the true Marxists

The Communist sect which probably has the best claim to be close to the writings of Marx would be the Trotskyists. They do make strong claims to being the true followers of Marx.  So I suspect that Nirmal is a Trot these days.  Trotsky was a bloodthirsty beast but I like his judgement that the Soviet regime was "Bonapartist".  That's a grievous insult in Marxist circles and equates roughly to being Fascist.

So that little example gives you the flavor of Nirmal's writing.  Whatever he thinks and believes is an absolute.  It alone is the true interpretation of anything.  Nirmal is the true Marxist and others who claim inspiration from Marx are fools or impostors.

We encounter that dogmatism in Nirmal's first paragraph, where he speaks of "true concern of Chinese thought".  There is a single  body of thought in China and it has a "true concern"?  One would have thought that there are many bodies of thought in China and that they all had their own concerns but Nirmal says it is not so.  He has detected a "true concern" and that is the end of the matter.

We next find Peterson accused of incorrect interpretation of Jungian thought.  But again there is no such thing as a correct interpretation of Jung.  Carl Gustav Jung's ideas were highly speculative. He thought he could find deeper meaning in history and much else as well.  And his followers have done likewise.  Jungian thought is a speculative and critical exploration, not an infallible truth. And Jordan follows in those footsteps. Once again, however Nirmal appears to think he has found the "True" Jungianism and everybody else is wrong.

Then we go on to the Bible and we are blandly informed that Peterson "misconstrues the Logos".  How, we are not told.  I wonder however if it might be Nirmal who misconstrued the first verse of the Gospel of John.  How for instance does he interpret  the anarthrous predicate in ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. He is an expert on ancient languages but I might still be able to give him a run on that one.

And so it goes. It is all just dubious assertions. I could pick apart his whole article as thoroughly as he tries to pick Peterson apart but I have already spent too much time on his puffed-up nonsense



Jordan Peterson’s recent book — 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos — is filled with errors and misinformation. Consider, for example:

1. The yinyang, claims Peterson, is a male-female duality. However, most Chinese philosophy denies such a claim, where only Dong Zhongshu (ca. 179–104 BC), a cranky oddball, says anything vaguely similar. Rather, the swirling pattern describes aesthetic order (the true concern of Chinese thought).

2. Peterson’s Jungian explanations of myths are fabrications, complete with mistranslations from languages he doesn’t know (Akkadian, Sanskrit, Biblical Hebrew, Greek). He calls such misinformation, “ancient wisdom.”


3. Lacking theology and history, Peterson proceeds to “explain” the Bible, by relativizing God and absolutizing opinion. Thus, he misconstrues the Logos, and blasphemes his way through the Old Testament and the Gospels. As for history, just one example suffices: No, Jesus is not a version of the Egyptian god, Osiris. This nonsense comes from Gerald Massey, a 19th-century crackpot who faked evidence to make such claims). Unbeknownst to Peterson, he has one ancient ally, the Pneumatomachi, who said the Bible was all tropes and happily fashioned harebrained interpretations.

4. “Marxism” (Peterson’s catchphrase for postmodernism, Marx, the Frankfurt School and feminism) is the great enemy, supposedly “destroying” the West. Some of Peterson’s talking points come from the fallacious book by Stephen Hicks (Explaining Postmodernism). But the West isn’t being destroyed by Marxism, The West is trying to become rootless via apostasy and acedia, which Peterson promotes. Should the West return to its root (Christianity), it will thrive. That real Marxists hate postmodernists is unknown to Peterson. He also knows nothing about Maximilien Robespierre’s Jacobin progeny (the democides Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot and the Kims).

5. Peterson cannot differentiate philosophy from critical theory and thus can only name-drop (Rousseau, Heidegger, Dostoevsky, Derrida, etc.).

6. Peterson naively believes that the labels, “ancient,” “medieval,” “Renaissance” and “Enlightenment” embody civilizational shifts. Scholars have long abandoned such designations, since the history of ideas shows no such drastic changes. Thus, Peterson’s evolutionary construct of “progress” and “change” via these labels is fiction.

7. Peterson’s “science” is smoke-and-mirrors. His example of lobsters is not true, since serotonin behaves differently in crustaceans and mammals. As an evolutionary psychologist, he’s a mythographer, interested not in truth but in the management of emotions.

8. Peterson has no formal logic and makes category mistakes (too many to list). He confuses one category with another, then draws a false, universalizing conclusion. For example, the lobsters, “ancient wisdom,” “Marxism” and so forth.

He “spreads a spirit of foolishness and of error,” in the words of Jean Racine, because he embodies that which he rails against — for he’s a postmodernist, steeped in conceptual relativism (per Hilary Putnam), where an object has a multitude of interpretations because it cannot have one universal meaning.

Thus he advises that “…each of us…bring forward the truth, as we see it” — because there’s nothing greater than the self: “…you need to place one foot in what you have mastered and understood and the other in what you are currently exploring and mastering…This is where meaning is to be found.”

As for facts, they “cannot speak for themselves…[as there are]…an endless number of interpretations.” Reality, then, is feelings, not ideas, and facts are fluid.

It gets worse. Camille Paglia calls him “the most important and influential Canadian thinker since Marshall McLuhan.” But Peterson disagrees, for he says thinking is overrated: “When existence reveals itself as existentially intolerable, thinking collapses in on itself…it’s noticing, not thinking, that does the trick.”

(It’s best to ignore the problem in logic – how can “existence” be “existentially intolerable?” This is another Petersonian trick – using “philosophicalese” to sound profound, a postmodernist sleight of hand).

So, Peterson wants you to “notice,” and not “think.” Why? Read Rule 6: “Set your house in order before you criticize the world.” This is acedia: Worry about yourself; you have nothing to offer the world. Trust only feelings (noticing) – that is your “truth” which will “justify your miserable existence.”

As a postmodernist, Peterson universalizes his feelings, imagining that his personal Hell includes the entire world. He wants to “enforce the myth of man’s material perfectibility,” in the words of Whittaker Chambers.

Henri de Lubac once observed, “…without God man can only organize the world against man.” This is the reason for all democides, from Robespierre onwards. Peterson too wants to organize the world without God by trying to replace one form of material perfectibility with another (his Jungian self-realization).

Peterson decries “Marxism,” while depending on Marxian logic, methodology and assumptions (materialism) to establish his own “broken truths” (another problem in logic – if truth is broken, then it’s not truth).

The constant theme of his book is the “enemy within…arrogant, static, unchanging existence.” He hopes to overcome this inner Hell by using delusion (errors and misinformation) as an opiate just to get through “miserable existence.” This is why he misteaches and misinforms, for he wants to fabricate a calming narrative to counter meaninglessness (suffering) that materialism always produces. Such is his strategy of worldly success (the 12 Rules).

Materialism has no faith, hope or love. Thus, Peterson has no antidote to chaos, because he himself is chaos. In his strategy of success, there is no God, no meaning, no truth, no history, which is “far preferable to waiting, endlessly, for the magical arrival of Godot.” By “Godot,” he means Christ. There’s only the self, eternally alone, trying to forestall suffering by way of distraction (noticing). As an evolutionary psychologist, he can only try to manage emotions.

The more important question is this: How can Peterson presume to offer “rules,” when he can offer no categories for their obedience? This is Consequentialism (per Elizabeth Anscombe), which dismantles Peterson’s entire book. Man obeying man is tyranny.

“Truth is the radiant manifestation of reality,” observed Simone Weil. Since Peterson does not want thinking, he cannot know truth, and can never know reality – hence his errors and misinformation. On what authority, then, does he presume to teach? Those that choose to follow him should answer this question.

SOURCE

1 comments


Dartmouth psychology professor in misconduct probe will retire and be barred from college events

As a retired academic psychologist, I read of this with some disquiet.  These were men who were doing pretty good work. It seems to be a case of past behaviour being judged not by the standards of its day but rather by modern standards -- which is intrinsically unjust. It is normal judicial procedure to judge behaviours by the laws that were applicable at the time the behaviour took place.

The behavior concerned seems to have been at the bottom of the range for offensiveness.  The complaints seem to be about touching rather than about undoubtedly serious allegations such as rape and violence.

Standards about how men interact with women have undoubtedly become more puritanical but I make no criticism of that.  Given my Christian background, I am rather puritanical myself on some issues. But I do think that the punishment should fit the crime.  If men were behaving in ways that were at the time dismissed as trivial offences or not offences at all, it seems to me that that should be taken into account -- by the offences being punished much more leniently than they would be if the offences had happened recently.

Forcing  distinguished men into retirement for what would once have been regarded as trivia seems a loss both to the individual concerned and to society at large.  It does appear that the men concerned would still have much to contribute in their respective academic fields.

I further note that none of the three professors have had the advantage of a trial in a court of law.  As Heatherton has confessed to alcohol-induced misbehavior that is moot in his case.

What about the other two professors who have not acknowledged misbehavior?  Is a kangaroo court going to be the only proceedings against them?  That would be regrettable and a highroad to a miscarriage of justice.  One possibility that needs ruling out: Feminism is very common in universities and often seems to get to the point of man-hating.  So were the professors in this matter targeted out of spite?  Is there any basis in reality for the complaints?  Only proper proceedings with all the usual judicial protections of openness etc. could generate any confidence that justice had been done

I note finally that all three professors have been prominent in exploring biological and evolutionary approaches to an understanding of human behavior and social phenomena -- and that the political Left tend to reject such approaches.  So was the attention to them politically motivated?  Were adverse reports about them deliberately sought out? Since political correctness is hugely influential in academe, that would seem a lively possibility


One of the three Dartmouth College psychology professors at the center of a criminal probe into alleged sexual misconduct will retire immediately and be barred from attending any events sponsored by the Ivy League college.

Dartmouth College president Phil Hanlon announced in an e-mail Thursday that based on the findings of an internal investigation, the school had been prepared to revoke Todd Heatherton’s tenure and terminate his employment.

The fate of the other two professors, Paul J. Whalen and William M. Kelley, is still under review by college officials.

The three professors are well-known in the industry. Their work on brain science drew national attention and brought in millions of dollars in research funding to Dartmouth.

Whalen and Kelley have been on paid administrative leave since the beginning of the last school year. Heatherton had been on a sabbatical beginning in July 2017.

Last October, after reading about the Dartmouth investigation into allegations of misconduct by the professors, New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald launched a criminal probe. That investigation remains ongoing.

It is unclear what exactly the professors are alleged to have done.

But on Thursday, Heatherton apologized for his behavior, blaming alcohol, and said his retirement was in the best interest of his family, Dartmouth, and graduate students.

“I acknowledge that I acted unprofessionally in public at conferences while intoxicated,” Heatherton said in a statement. “I offer a humble and sincere apology to anyone affected by my actions.”

After Dartmouth launched its investigation, reports surfaced that Heatherton had groped women in 2002. In one case, a former Dartmouth professor reported that a student had come to her to complain that Heatherton had touched her breasts during a recruiting event. Dartmouth investigated the complaint at the time and found it was an accidental touch.

Separately, a psychology professor at the University of California Davis said that when she was a graduate student at a conference in 2002, Heatherton squeezed her buttocks while they were standing in a group together.

Last year, Heatherton said he could not recall touching the UC Davis professor.

Giavanna Munafo, secretary of the Dartmouth chapter of the American Association of University Professors and former director of the campus women’s center, said she is pleased the university took action against Heatherton once it found wrongdoing. The case is particularly important since Heatherton held leadership positions in his department throughout his long career at Dartmouth, she said.

“The good news is that this first decision of the internal investigation ultimately resulted in accountability,” she said.

However, Munafo said Dartmouth needs to respond more quickly in the future to sexual harassment complaints and be more forthcoming about the results when possible.

Munafo said she spoke to one of the people who complained about sexual misconduct in March 2017, but it was months before the university seemed to have taken any action and put the professors on administrative leave.

Dartmouth declined to comment about its findings.

Hanlon would say in his message only that the investigation was “multi-layered, rigorous, and designed to safeguard the rights of the participants — all parties were given ample opportunity to present information to the investigator, who conducted numerous in-person interviews with the parties as well as with witnesses.”

A Dartmouth faculty-elected committee is now reviewing the findings of the Kelley and Whalen investigation.

Last November, 15 Dartmouth College students, whose names were not disclosed, submitted a statement to the college newspaper alleging that the professors created a hostile academic environment.

The unnamed students reported that they felt pressure to socialize and drink with the professors to further their careers.

In retirement, Heatherton will be able to earn his pension and qualify for retiree health care coverage. However, he was not given emeritus status and will not be able to attend Dartmouth events no matter where they are held.

SOURCE

0 comments


Can unemployment go lower?

The facts:

"The US unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent in May 2018 from 3.9 percent in the previous month, and below market expectations of 3.9 percent. It was the lowest rate since April 2000, as the number of unemployed decreased by 281 thousand to 6.07 million and employment rose by 293 thousand to 155.47 million. Unemployment Rate in the United States averaged 5.78 percent from 1948 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 10.80 percent in November of 1982 and a record low of 2.50 percent in May of 1953"

So, in a sense you see the answer to my question before you. Just 4 months after escaping decades of "Progressive" administrations, with the election of Ike, the American economy went wild in 1953. Though progress had also been made under the preceding moderate Truman administration.  Clearly there was a big catchup with business projects that would have been risky under the Democrats being suddenly seen as safe for investment.  Much the same has happened under Trump.  Conservative administrations are good for business confidence and confident businessmen expand their activities -- creating jobs.

The good figure for 2000 was under Bill Clinton, a passing era in which budgets were not only proposed and adopted but were actually  in surplus for three years, partly by way of cutting back the military. Clinton was a moderate in many ways and in relation to the economy ran very conservative policies.

So back to normality.  As the summary of facts above shows, the average rate of employment over the years is over 5% and economists have long proclaimed that 5% is a "frictional" or natural level of unemployment -- a level which you can't go below for long

So is that right?  There is no sign of it. People thought the 3.9% figure recorded in April was as low as you could go but now we see a further fall to 3.8% in May.  And, despite Democrat denials, it is an effect of the present administration.  In May 2010, the second year of the Obama administation, the figure was 9.6% -- a large gap indeed.  So Trump has got an amazingly successful recipe for American prosperity.  Whatever he has been doing must be given great credit for creating jobs

Yet what Trump has been doing runs completely against conventional economic wisdom.  Economists preach free trade as the highroad to prosperity -- but Trump has been a champion of tariffs and import restrictions.  But Trump has recently said that he learned the free trade story while he was at Wharton and still regards it as the ideal.

So it is clear that free trade alone is not enough for prosperity in the real world we have at the present.  You actually have to sponsor jobs -- by protections if necessary -- in order to get good job growth.  There was striking evidence of that in the 19th century -- when American industry prospered mightily behind high tariff walls.  But there is no such thing as a free lunch and the penalty in that case was a civil war, when Northern manufacturers faced the threat of losing half of their markets in the South. They could not and did not allow that

But although the opposition to Trump is as furious as anything seen in the old South, the powers of a modern president are too great for Trump opponents to challenge.  The fact that the military is strongly pro-Trump is also a barrier to armed rebellion.

But economists are not very good at factoring war into their equations so how do they explain the 19th century boom?  It is to them a classic case of the "infant industry" exception.  American technology and industry were still very new and well behind the mature industries of the old world. So it had to be given time to catch up. And that does seem to be what happened.  So the 19th century experience is no guide to the 21st century.  It gives us no assurance that Trump's policies will continue to succeed. As initial optimism wears off and the costs become evident, one could argue that America will rebound to the old 5% level of "frictional" employment.  You cannot square the circle for long.

So is there any other precedent which would lead us to believe that the Trump good news will continue?  There is: Australia of the 1950's and '60s.  The Prime Minister of Australia from 1949 to 1966 was the avuncular Robert Menzies, a very conservative man. Many people who remember those years recall that era as a golden age.  And what were his economic policies?  They were very protectionist and focused on creating and preserving Australian jobs. So that sounds a lot like Trump, does it not?  So what was unemployment like in his era?  It was almost always UNDER 2%.  It was regarded as a political crisis if it looked like it would go over 2%.  Frictional unemployment barely existed.

So the lesson is clear:  Maximum jobs requires some protection of industry.  Both Trump and Menzies have demonstrated that.  It could be called the "Trump Rule".  And the Australian precedent says that we can even hope for 2% under Trump.  How good is that?

So WHY is an actively protectionist administration needed for businessmen to be maximally enterprising?  It's dead simple.  It gives businessmen throughout the country the feeling that government has got their back.  It gives them the feeling that government will at least be on their side if there is a push for change of any sort.  Democrat administrations are, by contrast, enemies of business -- and blind Frederick can see that. Hence 9.6% unemployment under Obama compared with 3.8% under Trump. Businessmen are people too.  They respond to incentives and recoil from attack -- JR.


0 comments



You can read the white rage in their MAGA hats

Black writer Renée Graham thinks so. She can read hats in depth. She may be wrong, however.  You may not be wearing a MAGA hat as an expression of rage.  Might you not wear a MAGA hat because you think President Trump is doing a lot of good for the country?

The wearers may be doing what more blacks should do: Treating African-Americans and their history as simply American.  Why should they keep away from an African museum?  Is it some sort of racist shrine or is it for all Americans?

And why does Ms Graham think Trump is an enemy of blacks?  He has just got millions of blacks into work who were previously jobless. He has done much more of that than any President in recent history.  Maybe Africans should be wearing MAGA hats in recognition of that.  If Ms Graham were more logical maybe she would be wearing one too.  But I think it is hate rather than logic which moves her


Recently I saw more than a dozen people wearing “Make America Great Again” hats in what I would have thought would be the most unlikely place:

The National Museum of African American History & Culture, in Washington D.C.

As I approached a 1850s slave cabin that once stood on an Edisto Island, S.C., plantation, I saw the gathering over my shoulder — first one, then three, then more. Some wore the familiar red hats, while others opted for white, President Trump’s preferred color. Some also sported T-shirts bearing Trump’s slogan. All of them were white teenage boys.

Clearly, this was meant as a provocation.

They did nothing disruptive. In fact, the Trump Youth barely seemed to do much of anything at all. They moved together as a group, occasionally casting a bored eye to the right or left. Although I didn’t notice an accompanying adult, they could have been part of a class trip.
Get Arguable in your inbox:
Jeff Jacoby on everything from politics to pet peeves to the passions of the day.

On second thought, this had nothing to do with class. As the boys walked by, African-American visitors had a variety of reactions. One woman looked them up and down, then shook her head. A man rolled his eyes. Another woman gave them side-eye so sharp it could have pierced metal. Still, people refused to give them the greater acknowledgment they might have sought. We had more important things to do.

Since its opening in September 2016, the museum has become hallowed ground for many African-Americans. It is a sanctified space to learn, reflect, and see the path, with all its pitfalls and triumphs, upon which we still move forward.

Perhaps this incongruous show of Trump allegiance was intended to rile us. Apparently it’s not the first time these sartorial politics have been on display. After I posted a photo of one young man holding his MAGA hat, others tweeted that they’d also noticed white teens wearing the caps at the museum.

“When my family visited the museum last year, we saw a white teen with the same hat,” wrote Wendi C. Thomas, a journalist. “Felt like trolling.”

That’s an appropriate assessment for those supporting this racist troll of a presidency.

Since Trump’s 2016 election, his name has been used to threaten Jews and people of color. According to a hate crime database compiled by ProPublica, more than 150 school bullying incidents through May 2017 included evocations of Trump’s name or his divisive comments. This included white students, after a Florida high school football game, chanting “Donald Trump!” at black students from an opposing school.

In her award-winning book, “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide,” Carol Anderson writes, “White rage doesn’t have to wear sheets or burn crosses, or take to the streets.”

These days, all it has to do is scream the current president’s name.

Whatever the intent of the MAGA cap wearers, I hope the disaffected white teens also recognize this: If they only marvelled at the cruelties one race has inflicted on another for no good reason, then they should have stayed home. If they looked at the Klan videos, the hoods and robes, especially the one in a very familiar shade of red, and wished again for a time when its members marched unmasked in the nation’s capital, near where the museum now stands, they should have stayed home.

To denigrate African-American history is to denigrate American history — their own history.

African-Americans survived the Middle Passage, centuries of enslavement, families torn apart, systemic sexual abuse, lynchings, racist Supreme Court decisions, police violence, and Jim Crow. Every effort to dim our light has only made it burn hotter and brighter.

We’re still here, unbowed. From the magnificent museum that celebrates our uniquely American story to the communities where we live, we will won’t be intimidated by people in MAGA hats — or the noxious president they represent.

SOURCE




0 comments


Julian Burnside QC shows the usual Leftist myopia to Australia's refugee problem



I am almost certainly wasting my time in putting up any reply to anything a Leftist says and Burnside's track record makes that particularly so in his case. But I have 15 minutes to spare so I will proceed:

Burnside criticizes the way Australia treats "boat people", people who thought that they could crash their way into Australian residence by exploiting the reluctance of Australians to treat anyone in poor circumstances harshly. And Labour party governments under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard did treat boat people considerately.

But that treatment simply meant more and more rickety boats ending up on Australian shores. And Australians didn't like that. Polls showed that a big majority wanted the flow to stop and even for existing arrivals to be sent back. Australia accepts vetted refugees and others in huge numbers every year at great stress to our infrastructure so it is hardly unreasonable to reject another big inflow of unvetted arrivals.

And Tony Abbott got a big electoral endorsement to stop the boats coming and proceeded to do so. But he achieved that in the only way that would work: By being tough on boat peole. He was assisted in that by a declaration from Leftist leader Kevin Rudd in the dying days of his regime that no boat people ever would be given Australian residence.

But what to do with the boat people already coming under Australian jurisdiction? To give them Australian residence or any comfortable life would simply restart the flow. So a residue of boat people is deliberately treated restrictively as a warning to others. It is that harshness which Burnside criticizes. And Burnside omits that Australia has an open offer to all of them to fly them back to their home country. Very few have taken that option. So they are in a limbo of their own making. They have food and accommodation at the Australian taxpayer's expense so it is not surprising that they do not want to go back

At this point Burnside will righteously explode that they risk their lives if they go back. They do not. They all had refuge the minute they crossed their country's borders -- mostly into Pakistan. And many are still in Pakistan. But a minority of rich ones decided that life in Pakistan was too harsh for them so boarded airliners to take them thousands of miles to places in Indonesia where they could hop onto the pity boats. They are simply economic migrants, not refugees. They could go back to Pakistan if they really wanted to but they prefer the "harsh" treatment that Australia offers.

So Burnside is just virtue signalling. He does not address the situation that the Australian government has been forced into.

The irony is that, being affluent citizens of their home countries, many of the boat people could probably have qualified in time to come to Australia as legitimate immigrants. They were just arrogant and impatient. We are better off without them


The top politicians in this country are guilty of major criminal offences, but they are unlikely ever to be tried for them, says lawyer Julian Burnside.

“I think it’s pretty clear that Australian prime ministers and immigration ministers are guilty of criminal offences against our own law,” says the Melbourne-based QC. “The problem is that no one can bring a prosecution for those offences without the approval of the Attorney General. Take a lucky guess what the Attorney General would say.”

In a new documentary, Australian human rights barrister Julian Burnside examines the harsh treatment of refugees around the world by western democracies.

The offences he has in mind involve the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers – deliberate and unnecessary cruelty that amounts, he argues in the documentary Border Politics, to torture.

Since 2002, Australia has been a signature member of the International Criminal Court, and as a result, he explains, “there is a series of offences [in Australian law] that mirror the offences over which the ICC has jurisdiction.”

It was compulsory for Australia to introduce those laws, and some were well overdue. “Until then, believe it or not, genocide was not an offence under Australian criminal law,” he says. “But it is now.”

In Border Politics, which is getting a limited release nationally, Burnside – who says he does not enjoy travel – roams the world to see how our treatment of asylum seekers stacks up. The short answer: terribly.

“The way we are seen overseas is really worrying,” he says. “It’s vaguely embarrassing to be in another country and disclose that you’re Australian. It’s like, I guess, being in another country and disclosing you’re American, because of Trump.”

He traces the root of this systematic abuse of people we are obliged take in (under a raft of international conventions but most crucially the UN Convention on Human Rights) to 9/11.

Genuine tragedy though it was, it has been ruthlessly exploited ever since by politicians on both sides of the divide to whip up anti-refugee hysteria, and to depict those seeking asylum as somehow inherently criminal.

Under the laws to which Australia is a signatory, they are not. But, arguably, our political leaders are.

But surely the politicians would say they are only reflecting the will of the people they serve?

“That’s right,” he says. “That’s the Jim Hacker approach to leading the country, when he said in Yes, Prime Minister, ‘I’m their leader, I must follow them’. And that is exactly what we’ve seen in recent years in Australia.

“Since the Tampa episode the Coalition has repeatedly called boat people ‘illegal’ even though they don’t commit an offence [in coming here as refugees by boat], and they call the exercise of pushing them away ‘border protection’. So I think the majority of the public think that we are being protected from criminals, which, if it was true, would make sense. But it’s false. The public has been persuaded to go along with dreadful mistreatment of people who are innocent and who are, almost all of them, genuine refugees.

“I think that’s terrible. Deceiving the country into doing very bad things to innocent people is something this country shouldn’t do. And it’s absolutely meaningless to try and find out what the public think about it because the ‘it’ is something about which they have been misled for so long.”

Border Politics debuted at last month's Human Rights and Arts Film Festival, where it preached to the converted. But, Burnside readily admits, the ideal audience as it plays more broadly is something else entirely.

“People who disagree with me,” he says. “I’ll be doing some Q&A sessions after screenings and I reckon people who disagree with me should come along and challenge my views. If they’re so confident that it’s right to mistreat innocent people, let them come along and explain why and challenge me.

“Unless you’re someone who thinks mistreatment of innocent people is OK, I think the case for proper treatment of boat people is overwhelmingly strong,” he adds. “And I’m perfectly happy to be challenged on that.”

SOURCE