'Father of DNA' James Watson Stripped of Honors Over More IQ  Comments

The story below shows the incredible power of America's racism hysteria. Its counter-factual beliefs must not be disputed.  Black IQ really is the third rail of political commentary in America. The reality is just too disturbing to face.

Note that NO evidence is mentioned to dispute Watson's claims -- for the excellent reason that Watson's comments are a good summary of the available evidence on the question.  Even the APA has acknowledged a large and persistent gap (one SD) between average black and white IQ and it would itself be floridly racist to say that what is genetic in whites is not genetic in blacks

The acclaimed Nobel Prize-winning scientist James Watson will be forever remembered as one of the 'fathers of DNA'. But also as something much worse.

In a resurfaced controversy that further dims the shine of one of the 20th century's most esteemed scientists, Watson – awarded the Nobel in 1962 for his role in the discovery of DNA's 'double helix' molecular structure – has been stripped of academic titles after repeating offensive racist views that began to shred his reputation over a decade ago.

After new racist comments by Watson surfaced in the recent PBS documentary American Masters: Decoding Watson, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) – the pioneering research lab Watson led for decades – had finally had enough.

"Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory unequivocally rejects the unsubstantiated and reckless personal opinions," CSHL said in statement.

"Dr. Watson's statements are reprehensible, unsupported by science, and in no way represent the views of CSHL… The Laboratory condemns the misuse of science to justify prejudice."

In the new documentary, Watson states: "There's a difference on the average between blacks and whites on IQ tests. I would say the difference is, it's genetic."

It's not the first time Watson has come under fire for stating these kinds of beliefs.

In 2007, Watson created a furore after he was quoted as saying he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really".

In the same article by The Times, Watson acknowledged such views were a "hot potato", but said that while he hoped that everyone was equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true".

Watson later apologised for the comments, but the damage was done.

CSHL relieved him of all remaining administrative duties at the lab, leaving him only as an honorary figurehead in respect of his previous contributions to science. Now, those last accolades are also gone.

"In response to his most recent statements, which effectively reverse the written apology and retraction Dr. Watson made in 2007, the Laboratory has taken additional steps, including revoking his honorary titles of Chancellor Emeritus, Oliver R. Grace Professor Emeritus, and Honorary Trustee," the CSHL statement reads.

It's an indisputably inglorious end for one of the most glorious career arcs in 20th century science.

While the lesser-known story of Rosalind Franklin's unrecognised contributions to Watson and Francis Crick's famous DNA research are a telling reminder of the struggles women still face to be recognised in science, nobody denies the landmark contributions Watson himself made.

But, sadly, these famous accomplishments – which helped usher in a whole new era of knowledge in molecular biology and genetics – will now forever be linked with the offensive opinions of an old man in decline.

And an old man who, some say, should not be asked such questions any more.

"It is not news when a ninety-year-old man who has lost cognitive inhibition, and has drifted that way for decades as he aged, speaks from his present mind," CSHL Michael Wigler told The New York Times.

"It is not a moment for reflection. It is merely a peek into a corner of this nation's subconscious, and a strong whiff of its not-well-shrouded past secrets."

The last time Watson's racism created such controversy, the scientist ended up selling his Nobel Prize – citing financial issues from the resulting fallout that had rendered him an "unperson".

The buyer actually returned the Prize to Watson as a gesture of respect – but as time and the world moves on, the ageing scientist may find himself running out of such good will.

As for what we can ultimately make of the scientist's legacy, given the ugly shadow that now hangs over his earlier wins, helpful advice may come from a 2014 op-ed in The Guardian written about Watson.

"Celebrate science when it is great, and scientists when they deserve it," geneticist Adam Rutherford wrote.

"And when they turn out to be awful bigots, let's be honest about that too. It turns out that just like DNA, people are messy, complex and sometimes full of hideous errors."



"Heatwaves" in Australia

The Warmists at BoM are typical Leftists -- inveterate  cherry-pickers. You will see below that they have searched for and reported all the places in Australia that have been unusually hot lately,  mostly places that are ALWAYS very hot.  You would never guess from their reporting that some places are COOLER than usual.  I know that there are because I live in one -- a major State capital that is curiously unmentioned below.  Typical mid-afternoon temperatures in Brisbane are 34C but yesterday (Friday) was 31C and today (Sat) it is 32.25C.

They are doing their best to transform a normal hot summer into something unusual (guess why?) but with selective reporting like theirs you would be foolish to believe it

Their latest wrinkle is to mention bitumen roads melting.  But I remember sitting on the verandah of our family home in Cairns 60 years ago and watching the heated air rise like worms off the bitumen road outside.  The bitumen was soft then too.  You wouldn't want to walk on it. I went close to have a look. And that was long before global warming was thought of

Temperature records have already been broken but the worst of the heatwave sweeping across parts of Australia is yet to come.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned Friday will mark the peak of the week-long heatwave — currently in its fifth day — for some of NSW’s most heavily populated areas. Temperatures in western Sydney are expected to slide well into the 40s, while the CBD is likely to have its fifth consecutive day above 30C for the first time in eight years.

On Thursday, a total of 27 places across NSW and the ACT baked in record maximum temperatures, with one town in the northwest of NSW sweltering in oppressive, all-time high heat for two straight days.

The freakish temperatures have turned forecast maps a worrying black and purple in areas where the mercury is set to spike.

Whitecliff, a tiny outback town with a population of just under 150 people, broke its record on Wednesday with a temperature of 48.2C, dropping only marginally on Thursday with a high of 47C just after 3pm. The extreme heatwave emptied the streets, turning it into a scorching ghost town.

Elsewhere in the far northwest, Tibooburra Airport recorded the top temperature in the state on Thursday with 48.2C just before 4.30pm.

In Sydney’s west, Penrith, Richmond, Campbelltown and Camden all reached 35C by 1pm.

Conditions are so extreme that the bitumen on the Oxley Highway near Wauchope, just west of Port Macquarie, began melting about midday.

Motorists were warned of the deteriorating surface as social media photos show the tar beginning to melt. Picture: Facebook
Looking ahead, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned of more sweltering weather on the way for much of the state.

In a statement, BOM spokeswoman Anita Pyne said the west of NSW would likely see temperatures in the mid to high 40s, including areas around the Ivanhoe and Menindie areas forecast to hit up to 48C.

Meanwhile, the NSW Rural Fire Service is battling more than 60 fires across the state, and 13 fire bans are in place across much of central NSW, stretching from the Victorian border up to Queensland.

Temperatures in Sydney’s west are expected to climb as high as 45C on Friday, ahead of a long-awaited cool change on Saturday.



Long lost cities in the Amazon were once home to millions of people

The introduction to a recent article in New Scientist below sets the scene for what is now known about the prehistory of Amazonia.  I have recently read quite a few of the scientific studies of the subject in the hope of finding out WHY civilization largely vanished from Amazonia in quite recent times.  It seems that at least some parts of Amazonia were as developed as the Incas in Peru and the Aztecs in Mexico.  So it seems important to understand what happened to the Amazonian civilization. 

It might be better to refer to it as the Arawak civilization as the Northern Amazon seems to be the origin of a group of Arawak languages that are now widely spread in Northern South America and the Caribbean.  The original Arawaks clearly had a lot of influence one way or another

And even the archaeologists may have underestimated the extent of Arawak civilization.  "Black" soil is widely found in Amazonia and black soil is an artifact of human cultivation. The natural soils of Amazonia are rather poor and infertile but that can be remedied by burning any combustible material to hand.  That leaves a residue of charcoal (carbon!) which makes the soil much more fertile and suitable for the cultivation of crops.  So we are dealing with a pretty big phenomenon in studying the human history of Amazonia

The obvious reason for the collapse of pre-Columbian civilization in Amazonia (Arawakia?) is the white man's diseases.  The conquistadores in Mexico and Peru had to wait only a little bit before disease decimated their native opponents, making conquest by the few over the many a possibility and a reality.

And we saw that sort of thing vividly in the progress through what we now know as the Southern United States by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto.  De Soto pushed North from Mexico into more Northern lands not for conquest but in search of gold.  And wherever he went he found flourishing native tribes.  Those who slightly later followed in his footsteps, however, found an almost depopulated landscape.  The diseases De Soto and his men carried with them had completely wiped out the former flourishing tribes.

So on the DeSoto precedent, disease is clearly a sufficient explanation of the population loss and subsequent loss of civilization in Amazonia.  But is it the whole explanation? The people of Peru and Mexico were not wiped out to anything like that extent and adapted their ways to the Spanish influence so that they substantially survived the catastrophe that had overtaken them.

Which is where we come to climate change. It appears that for much of the latter Holocene the Amazon had much less rainfall and existed in Savannah-like conditions. But Savannah can grow crops and it seems that the natives did just that. As the earth continued to rebound from the last ice age, however, rainfall increased. And rainfall fertilizes everything, including "weeds" ("Weeds" are just unwanted plants) and fungi. And the native agriculture may have been struggling with that problem at the time the Spaniards arrived. So the Spaniards and their diseases were the last straw for a struggling Amazonian civilization

It is all speculation at the present stage of our knowledge but it seems that the Greenies may be getting it partly right in their occasional squawks about the Amazon.  Global warming has in fact been bad for civilization in the Amazon in the past.  But there is nothing in rainforest that daunts modern civilization and its machines.

And the usual Greenie claim that Amazonia is pristine forest and, as such, should not be touched by human hands, is completely uninformed, as we expect from Greenies. "Don't bother me with the facts" seems to be their motto. There may in fact be no original forest in Amazonia

Amazonia has in fact already been heavily modified by human hands, with its fertility in particular being greatly increased by human intervention.

THE Amazon rainforest is so vast that it boggles the imagination. A person could enter at its eastern edge, walk 3000 kilometres directly west and still not come out from under the vast canopy.

This haven for about 10 per cent of the world’s species has long been regarded as wild and pristine, barely touched by humanity, offering a glimpse of the world as it was before humans spread to every continent and made a mess of things. It is painted in sharp contrast to the logged forests of Europe and the US.

But it now seems this idea is completely wrong. Far from being untouched, we are coming to realise that the landscape and ecosystem of the Amazon has been shaped by humanity for thousands of years. Long before the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, the Amazon was inhabited, and not just by a handful of isolated tribes. A society of millions of people lived there, building vast earthworks and cultivating multitudes of plants and fish.

We don’t fully understand why this flourishing society disappeared centuries ago, but their way of life could give us crucial clues to how humans and the rainforest could coexist and thrive together – even as Brazil’s new government threatens to destroy it.

Some of the first Europeans to explore the Amazon in the 1500s reported cities, roads and cultivated fields. The Dominican friar Gaspar de Carvajal chronicled an expedition in the early 1540s, in which he claimed to have seen sprawling towns and large monuments. But later visitors found no such thing.



The charm of Chaamjamal

Chaamjamal appears to be a female statistican living in Thailand.  She is a ferocious critic of global warming "science" -- using rigorous statistical analysis to detonate the sloppy Warmist claims.  Unfortunately, she presents her findings in a very telegraphic way.  She apparently cannot be bothered to present them as an orthodox academic journal article. I am of that mind myself these days. Writing academic journal articles is rarely worth it unless you are confirming some popular belief

That does mean that her work will be and is thoroughly ignored by Warmist scientists. They are interested only in work that supports their faith so doing the work needed to follow and critique her analyses would be of no interest to them. That is a pity but she is apparently unconcerned.  She has no mission. She just puts down the facts and let them fall where they may.

She does however give enough information to follow her workings and they seem sound to me.  She uses a big lot of graphs to illustrate her workings so I will not attempt to reproduce them here.  I will simply reproduce her conclusions, which she offers in bullet-point form.

Her basic conclusion is that there is no relationship between human CO2 emissions and global temperature

Fossil Fuel Emissions and Atmospheric Composition

* Figure 1 shows that atmospheric CO2 concentration as measured at Mauna Loa has been rising steadily since 1958 while at the same time post industrial humans have been injecting increasing amounts of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels into the atmosphere. It is in this context that the usual assumption is made that observed changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration (ΔCO2) are driven by fossil fuel emissions. This assumed relationship appears to be visually validated in the left panels of the five charts in Figure 3 where changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide (ΔCO2) appear to be strongly correlated with the rate of emissions.

* The correlation was tested in a related work [LINK] where it was shown with detrended correlation analysis that there is insufficient evidence to claim that atmospheric CO2 concentration is responsive to fossil fuel emissions at an annual time scale and that therefore the attribution of rising atmospheric CO2 to emissions is without empirical support. Detrended correlation analysis extracts the portion of the observed source data correlation that derives from responsiveness at the chosen time scale by removing the portion that derives from shared trends. The motivation for this procedure is described in a related post [LINK] . Briefly, the trend is removed from the data so that only the regression residuals remain and a correlation between these residuals is used to measure the responsiveness of ΔCO2 to emissions.

* This work is a further investigation into the relationship between changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration and fossil fuel emissions. The failure of the prior study to find a responsiveness of atmospheric CO2 to fossil fuel emissions at an annual time scale leaves open the possibility that a responsiveness may exist at longer time scales. Five time scales from one year to five years in increments of one year are studied. The data for the five time scales are displayed in Figure 2 which contains five charts one for each time scale. Each chart consists of three frames. The left frame shows emissions at the time scale of the chart in gigatons of carbon equivalent (GTC). The middle frame displays the corresponding increase in atmospheric CO2 converted from parts per million in volume (ppmv) to GTC equivalent. The last frame contains the ratio of ΔCO2 to emissions. This ratio, called the “Airborne Fraction (A/F)” is considered to be a constant with a value of approximately 50%. It describes the portion of emissions that end up in the atmosphere. The spread of the Airborne Fraction appears to include the value of A/F = 0.5 and the spread appears to narrow as the time scale is increased. Curiously, a slight downward trend is seen in the A/F at all time scales. The Airborne Fraction concept appears to assume a causal relationship between emissions and change in atmospheric CO2 concentration. The results are summarized in Figure 4. The volatility of the Airborne Fraction decreases sharply from Range=0.8 to Range =0.29 as the time scale is increased from T/S=1 to T/S=5 and at the longer time scales the median A/F converges nicely to the original IPCC figure of A/F=0.5. Later claims to reduced figures of A/F=0.42 seems arbitrary and perhaps a case of circular reasoning as explained in a related post [LINK]

* The correlation analysis is presented in Figure 3. There are five charts one for each time scale. Each chart consists of two frames, a left frame that displays correlation in the source data and a right frame that shows the correlation between the detrended series. Both of these correlations rise as the time scale is increased from one to five years. At all five time scales we find a significant loss in correlation when the data are detrended. The correlation that survives into the detrended series serves as evidence of responsiveness at each of the five time scales. The survival fraction also rises as the time scale is increased from annual to five years. The results are summarized in Figure 5. Here we see that the source correlation rises from CORR=0.742 to CORR=0.921 as we increase the time scale from T/S=1 to T/S=5. The corresponding detrended correlation also rises from DETCOR=0.145 to DETCOR=0.314 with the corresponding survival fraction rising sharply from 19.5% to 34.1%.

* The higher and higher detrended correlations and survival fractions at longer time scales raise the intriguing possibility that the failure to find a responsiveness of atmospheric composition to the rate of fossil fuel emissions was an inappropriate choice of an annual time scale. Perhaps a longer time scale will resolve the issue. To test that hypothesis we present one tailed hypothesis tests for each of the five detrended correlations at the five selected time scales. Here the alternate hypothesis is that the detrended correlation is positive or HA: DETCOR>0. The corresponding null hypothesis is that is not positive or H0: DETCOR<=0. The maximum false positive error rate is set to α=0.001, much lower than the usual values of α=0.01 to α=05, in accordance with Revised Standards for Statistical Significance (Johnson, 2013) published by the NAS to address an unacceptable rate of irreproducible results in published research (Siegfried, 2010). Since five comparisons are made for the five different time scales, the probability of finding at least one significant correlation in random data is increased by a factor of five to 0.005 (Holm, 1979). The results of the hypothesis tests are presented in Figure 5. Here EFFN=effective value of the sample size corrected for time scale which decreases from EFFN=60 to EFFN=12 as the time scale is increased from T/S=1 to T/S=5 to account for residual unique information in the time series. The procedure and rationale for this computation are described in a related work [LINK] . Along with the effective sample size, the degrees of freedom also falls since in this case degrees of freedom is computed as DF=EFFN-2. Thus, although the T-statistic rises from TSTAT=1.132 to TSTAT=2.478 as the time scale is increased from T/S=1 to T/S=5, the PVALUE for the hypothesis test does not fall as quickly as one would expect and in fact it actually rises from T/S=4 to T/S=5. More relevant to the research question here, none of the five PVALUEs is even close to the critical value of the PVALUE=0.001. We therefore fail to reject H0: DETCOR<=0  and conclude that the data do not provide evidence that atmospheric CO2 concentration is responsive to fossil fuel emissions at any of the time scales studied. We note also that since the p-value rose from T/S=4 (p-value=0.0135) to T/S=5 (p-value=0.0163), in time scales greater than T/S=4, the effect of longer time scale on degrees of freedom overcomes its effect on detrended correlation at the available time span of the data. Thus even though a stable Airborne Fraction can be computed as A/F=0.5, its interpretation in terms of the contribution of fossil fuel emissions to ΔCO2 requires the use of circular reasoning with an assumed responsiveness that is not found in the data. Related post [LINK] .

* A rationale for the inability to relate changes in atmospheric CO2 to fossil fuel emissions is described by Geologist James Edward Kamis in terms of natural geological emissions due to plate tectonics [LINK] . The essential argument is that, in the context of significant geological flows of carbon dioxide and other carbon based compounds, it is a form of circular reasoning to describe changes in atmospheric CO2 only in terms of human activity. It is shown in a related post, that in the context of large uncertainties in natural flows, it is not possible to detect the presence of fossil fuel emissions without the help of circular reasoning [LINK] .

* The results of detrended correlation analysis at five time scales shows that the failure to find a responsiveness of atmospheric composition to fossil fuel emissions in a related work  [LINK] cannot be ascribed to the annual time scale used in the study as the result is validated at longer time scales to the point of diminishing returns. We conclude that atmospheric composition specifically in relation to the CO2 concentration is not responsive to the rate of fossil fuel emissions. This finding is a serious weakness in the theory of anthropogenic global warming by way of rising atmospheric CO2 attributed to the use of fossil fuels in the industrial economy; and of the “Climate Action proposition of the UN that reducing fossil fuel emissions will moderate the rate of warming by slowing the rise of atmospheric CO2.



Nationalism doesn’t have to mean exclusion

Some incompetent Leftist philosophy below from Robert Zaretsky, a history professor at the University of Houston. He purports to discuss nationalism but nowhere defines it. If a student had handed that to me as an essay, I would have failed it. He seems quite oblivious that there are at least two major usages of the term -- which might for brevity be called passive and active nationalism.  The active nationalist wants his country to conquer others whereas the passive nationalist just wants his country to be independent and great. Both are patriotic but one is harmless and the other can be a terrible blight on the human race.

My survey research found that Anglospheric countries such as the USA are mainly populated by passive nationalists for whom patriotism does NOT mean a wish for conquest.  And indeed, despite America's great power, America's only conquests date back to the Progressive era of over 100 years ago.  Leftists can easily transmogrify patriotism into aggressive nationalism -- as Hitler did and as Theodore Roosevelt did to an extent.  In WWII, America in fact waged an ANTI-nationalist war.

The main point of the essay below is derived from the confused theorizing of 18th century German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder. Herder and Zaretsky propose the non-sequitur that all nations are different and that therefore we should not compare them. I would have thought that it is precisely because all nations are different that we SHOULD compare them. Even the USA has a lot to learn from places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan. And if one wants to retire to a place least likely to be degraded by nuclear war, New Zealand is the near-universal choice.

Zaretsky obviously had an aim behind his silliness.  He wanted American nationalists to be passive nationalists, quite oblivious of the fact that they already are.  What a fool!  Leftism rots the mind

SINCE THE FRENCH Revolution, a brilliant cast of ideologies has starred on the world stage, ranging from conservatism to liberalism to communism. Yet the -ism that has been most resilient, and today has become resurgent, is one that modern thinkers dismissed as a walk-on.

Nationalism, the political theorist Isaiah Berlin once observed, was long thought to be an allergic reaction of national consciousness when “held down and forcibly repressed by despotic rulers.” Remove this particular allergen, and the sneezing fit of nationalism would end.

Yet in the 21st century, the sneezing has grown more, not less violent. Indeed, it threatens to tear apart the traditional and constitutional bonds that, ironically, hold nations together. From the Caucasus to the Atlantic, from North to South America and across much of Asia, nationalism has become a chronic global condition. At a rally in October, President Trump declared himself a nationalist and urged followers to use the term, too.

Few people would find the ascendancy of nationalism more surprising, and more depressing, than the man who coined the term. Though largely overlooked today, Johann Gottfried Herder was one of the 18th century’s most original thinkers, a deeply influential German philosopher who left a mark on fields ranging from linguistics to literature and history. He not only invented the term nationalism (“Nationalismus”), but is also widely seen as its greatest champion.

A friend of the great Goethe (who credited Herder with having saved him from dry-as-dust classicism), Herder was born in East Prussia in 1744. The son of devout Lutherans, he never lost his faith in God or Germany. Or, at least, the idea of Germany: Rather than a nation, “Germany” in the 18th century was a dizzying hodgepodge of small states and independent cities which shared little more than a common language.

Language, to Herder, is the very essence of a people. He called upon his fellow Germans to resist what he called the “cancer” of French, which had become the unofficial language of 18th century Europe. “Whoever wants to drive out my language,” Herder once declared, “also wants to rob me of my reason and my way of life, the honor and laws of my people.”

Yet here’s the rub: Herder wrote these words in an essay lambasting efforts by Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II to force the German language on Hungarians and other linguistic minorities living under his rule. The proudly parochial Herder believed that, as Berlin put it, “every activity, situation, historical period and civilization possessed a unique character of its own.” For this reason, to subject a particular people to a foreign language and set of ideas — especially those that, like French, pretended to be universally applicable — was, in effect, an act of cultural genocide.

The sweeping line that opens Herder’s great work, "Ideas About the Philosophy of the History of Mankind", underscores the inclusive nature of his nationalism: “Our earth is a star among stars,” Herder wrote. Just as there is no hierarchy of planets, there is no ranking of peoples. No single measure exists by which cultures and peoples can be judged. More so than any other element of the Enlightenment, Herder rebelled against the belief that a single and universal set of laws applied to the world of men no less than the world of things. Instead, he wrote, a nation’s ways and wisdom, language and lore can be measured only against its own standard.

[Herder was clearly wrong. Nations can be compared using many different standards -- and often are.  Herder may think that nations SHOULD not be compared but that is just his opinion]

Two or three timeless insights follow: First, it is worse than pointless to parade the greatness of one’s nation, for this implies that there is a single standard. Since each and every nation has what Herder called “its own center of gravity,” each and every one is unique.

Second, there is no single form of nationalism. Herder was both a nationalist and a pluralist. He saw no contradiction between the claims of one’s own culture and those of other cultures. And he was especially alive to his own culture’s faults. “Our part of the earth should be called not the wisest, but the most arrogant, aggressive, and money-minded,” he wrote.

Some critics have questioned whether Herder’s kinder and gentler nationalism, which invoked the points of lights illuminating our world, is really different from more virulent forms. A sudden crisis, whether genuine or manufactured, can unleash the darker nature of nationalism.

This year marks the 275th anniversary of Herder’s birth. By its end, we may be in a better position to decide if Herder’s humane vision of humankind turns out to be as fantastic and fictitious as the German folk tales he loved.



Your parenting style could decide how successful your kid will be

The difference in parenting styles between rich and poor families account for a huge chunk of the inequality gap -- or does it?

This is a very sad article below.  It accurately reports that kids are being denied the carefree childhood that was once taken as the ideal.  Instead they are dragooned into a constant round of activities that they may or may not enjoy.  And the parents are getting frazzled by doing the dragooning.  But what if it is all for naught?  Are we sure it helps? Might it even be disadvantageous?

Before I say what the basic problem is, let me give an anecdote.  I grew up in a very permissive family and my son did too. My son was allowed to play computer games to his heart's content -- which meant most of the time. So I am obviously a BAD parent, No?

The pesky thing about it, however, is that he is now a highly paid systems engineer.  He still spends most of his day in front of a computer screen.  It is his natural habitat. But he is now paid well above average money for doing so.  So is he a hopelessly anti-social nerd?  He has recently married a bright, friendly and pretty girl and has a close group of friends -- so clearly not.

And my permissive background did not stop me from becoming a  much published academic, even though my father was a lifelong manual worker and my mother was a maid.

So what is going on?  The answer is that people are misled by the politically correct dogma that all men are equal and therefore it is only hard work that can give you an edge in getting ahead.  As a psychometrician, I knew differently.  I knew that your genetically given ability was all -- or nearly all -- in educational attainment and much else.  Both my son and I got good attainment reports back from our schools but we both just cruised. We had no need to do otherwise and no-one to push us.  So we had that carefree childhood that people talk about.

The upshot?  If you are born bright, you will do well in any system.  But can hard work make up the difference for the less bright? By far the major predictor of educational attainment is IQ.  Nothing else comes close.  There are probably a few cases at the margins where pushing a kid can lead to a small degree of advantage but is it worth the stresses and strains on all involved?  Might you not do better by SHIELDING your child from most stresses and strains? Might the kindest thing you could do for your child be to give them a happy childhood?

It is true that the children of middle class parents do better at school but that is because of genetics.  As Charles Murray pointed out decades ago, the rich tend to be smarter.  Being smart is how they got rich.  And IQ is genetically inherited so rich parents tend do have smart kids.  And smart kids do well at school with not much else helping

“We are creating a miniature version of our own lives for our kid, wanting him to be productive, keeping him busy all the time.” Abigail is talking about her two-year-old son, Joshua. She has a well-paid job with an investment bank in Dallas, Texas, which she finds stressful but exciting. Now pregnant with another child, she has every intention of resuming work after the second birth. She will keep on her Mexican-American nanny, and her writer husband will help with the child care.

But combining work with a larger family will not be easy, not just because of Abigail’s demanding job but because she and her husband, like many other prosperous parents in America, pursue a form of child-rearing that makes huge demands on their time and resources. It includes filling the child’s day with round-the-clock activities, from music and sports to sleepovers; going to great lengths to get him or her into the right schools; and strictly supervising homework. The parents may not like it, but they feel they have no choice because all their friends are doing the same thing.

This is colloquially known as “helicopter parenting” (because the parents are always hovering), or “concerted cultivation”, a term coined by Annette Lareau, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania. In her book “Unequal Childhoods”, based on in-depth studies conducted in the 1990s and early 2000s, she looked at the child-rearing habits of American families from a variety of social and ethnic backgrounds and found a yawning gap. Whereas better-off, better-educated parents (black as well as white) overwhelmingly adopted this intensive method, working-class and poor families followed a different model which she calls “the accomplishment of natural growth”. They saw their role as providing shelter, food, comfort and other basic support but lacked the time, the money and the nous for such intensive management, so their kids were often left to their own devices, and the extended family played a much greater part in their children’s lives than among Ms Lareau’s middle-class subjects.

In his book “Our Kids”, Robert Putnam, a political scientist at Harvard, used a mixture of interviews and data analysis to argue that different child-raising conventions are reinforcing a growing divide in American society. The privileged top third is pulling ever further ahead of the disadvantaged bottom third, whose families are often fractured and whose lives tend to be precarious. That shows up as a growing divergence in income, education, single-parenthood, friendship networks and other indicators.

The power of words

Upper-middle-class children are far better placed even before their parents make any special effort, simply because of the sort of homes they are born into. Educated parents tend to respond readily to their children’s endless questions, talk to them over the dinner table and take them to new and exciting places. In a famous study in the 1990s, Betty Hart and Todd Risley from the University of Kansas found that in the poorest families children heard about 600 words an hour, whereas in professional families they heard 2,100. By the time they were three, the children from the well-off homes had heard around 30m more words than the poorer ones.

“Parenting”, in the sense that it is now understood, is a relatively new term; it first popped up in 1958, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary, and came into widespread use only in the 1970s. Experts see it as an important factor in successful childrearing, along with things such as genetic predisposition and external circumstances. To find out how much it mattered, Jane Waldfogel of Columbia University and Liz Washbrook of the University of Bristol separated out the effects of different parenting styles and home learning environments on the cognitive performance of three- to five-year-olds from different income groups in America and Britain. They found that they accounted for between a third and half of the income-related gap.

Studies show that even poorer and less well-educated parents on both sides of the Atlantic (except, oddly, in France) spent far more time with their children every day in the 2000s than they did in 1965. They also spent more money on them, both in dollars and as a proportion of their income. Sabino Kornrich of Emory University and Frank Furstenberg of the University of Pennsylvania found that between 1972-73 and 2006-07 total spending per child in constant dollars increased somewhat for all income groups (see chart), but far faster for the richest 10% of parents than for the rest. Because incomes in this group had gone up rapidly, their spending as a proportion of income did not rise much. Yet by this measure the poorest 10% of parents vastly increased their spending on their children because their incomes had barely budged.

America is not the only place to practise helicopter parenting.

The British do it too, calling it “hothousing” ; continental Europe less so, especially in the Nordic countries, where social hierarchies are flatter and parents more relaxed. But globalisation has cranked up competition for the best jobs, and academic standards in different countries have become easier to compare thanks to the OECD’s PISA scores, which measure the reading, maths and science performance of 15-year-olds. Such comparisons have highlighted the effectiveness of a kind of concerted cultivation that is ubiquitous in East Asia. It is somewhat different from the Western sort, being directed more single-mindedly towards academic success, and works particularly well in maths and science. In the PISA rankings for these subjects in 2015 Singapore tops the bill, and Japan, China (currently measured only in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Guangdong) and South Korea are all well ahead of America.

Such comparisons have made some Americans wonder whether they are being too soft on their kids. For all the hovering they do, they tend to let them off lightly on things like discipline and helping around the house, preferring to build up their self-esteem and keep them happy. But parents have noticed that some of the country’s recent immigrants, particularly those from East Asia, use sterner methods to great effect. In her book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, Amy Chua, a first-generation Chinese-American married to an American academic, describes the tough love she meted out to her two daughters. She unapologetically made the girls do many hours of homework a day, pushed them into becoming musical prodigies and allowed them next to no time to have fun. Though one of them eventually rebelled, both achieved brilliant academic results and seem to have grown into accomplished adults.

Another Chinese-American mother, Lenora Chu, and her journalist husband tried a different variant of blended cultures. Having moved to Shanghai, the couple decided to send their three-year-old son to a top-notch state-run Chinese kindergarten. Ms Chu’s book about their experience is called “Little Soldiers”, after a song often recited in the kindergarten that started: “I am a little soldier, I practise every day.” It summed up the educational philosophy prevailing there and across China: anyone can succeed at anything if they work at it hard enough, whether or not they have a talent for it. Effort is all.

The Chinese kindergarten, Ms Chu found, had little trouble securing co-operation and compliance from the children and their parents. The authoritarian structure of the education system and powerful administrators keeps parents and students in check. In turn, the kindergarten proved responsive to parental pressure to offer some formal teaching even to these very young children, despite consistent guidance from the ministry of education that this age group should be spending most of the day playing. Even at kindergarten level, the parents are already thinking about getting the child through the gaokao, the all-important university entrance exam. As one mother explains, this is not just about the child itself. The Chinese have long been obsessed with education, and academic success for the child brings honour to the entire family.

If life at school is not much fun for Chinese kids, it is even worse for South Korean ones. Though both countries put much store by rote learning, in South Korea this takes on extreme forms. Jang Hyung-shim, an educational psychologist at Seoul’s Hanyang University, likens children’s experience at school to military service and says it stifles their creativity.



Envy-driven Leftist moron ignores reality

He thinks it is "unfair" that most new home building is in outer suburbs.  It is nothing to do with fairness.  The fact is that outer suburbs are where the land is affordable.  

Expecting new developments in prestige suburbs would be stymied by the huge cost of land there.  If prestige suburbs were forced to host more developments, it would take away money that could have allowed many more homes to be built elsewhere.  The proposal will REDUCE housing availability.

Leftists are unbelievable sometimes. They certainly don't stand for the best interests of the workers.  Hurting the rich is their real aim

NSW Labor leader Michael Daley will tear up the city's housing supply targets if elected, arguing western Sydney has been hit with "rampant" development while affluent areas have been spared.

The Opposition Leader says he would direct the Greater Sydney Commission to go back to the drawing board and revise the city's "unfair" housing supply targets if he becomes premier.

Mr Daley said the Coalition's so-called priority precincts "deliberately" disadvantaged western Sydney and favoured blue-ribbon suburbs, with "lenient development limits".

"The current housing supply targets have seen councils in Sydney’s west smothered by development while councils in the Premier’s backyard have not been allocated their fair share," Mr Daley said.

Mr Daley said the commission's district plans show Hunters Hill is expected to take only 150 new dwellings over five years, while Blacktown’s target is 13,950 and Parramatta’s target is 21,650.

He said the trend could be seen across other councils, including targets of 300 dwellings for Mosman and Woollahra and 1250 dwellings in Willoughby.

This compares to 13,250 dwellings in Canterbury-Bankstown and 11,800 in Camden, Mr Daley said.

The commission, headed by former Sydney lord mayor Lucy Turnbull, developed five district plans designed to ensure councils find a way to provide almost 200,000 more dwellings by 2021.

But Mr Daley said the targets meant some areas could be rezoned for density increases without any "obligation or commitment" to provide essential education, health or transport infrastructure.

"Sydney is growing and will continue to grow but we need to manage that growth well to make sure Sydney remains a great place to live," Mr Daley said.

“It’s not fair to exempt some areas from taking on their fair share while allowing other communities to get clobbered. Labor will put people and communities back at the heart of the planning system and scrap the Liberals’ planned precincts.”

Overdevelopment and population growth will be key state election issues in March.

The Finance Minister and Member for Ryde, Victor Dominello, is demanding targets for new housing in his electorate to be slashed as part of his campaign against development.

Mr Dominello has already helped secure a two-year freeze on new rezoning applications for residential housing in Ryde – the only council area in which such a freeze applies.

The Premier Gladys Berejiklian is also insisting the state needs to take a "breather" from rapid population growth.

A ReachTel poll for the Herald late last year found two-thirds of Sydneysiders felt that migration to the city should be restricted and 50 per cent opposed more development in Sydney.

Ms Berejiklian wants NSW's net migration levels halved to 45,000 people per year - the average intake a decade ago - after they peaked at over 100,000 per year in 2017.

She has said that "for far too long NSW has been burdened with ballooning population growth" without being properly consulted by the federal government on targets.

"NSW has the biggest infrastructure pipeline in the nation but we are still playing catch-up," Ms Berejiklian said late last year.



Ocean heat is climbing 40% faster than thought (?)

I add the introduction to the academic article after the journalist report below. There seems to be nothing in the academic  paper to support the headline: "Ocean heat is climbing 40% faster than thought".

Zeke Hausfather is one of a trio of Warmist diehards behind the academic article and it would seem that he got carried away when he was talking to journalists about his article -- expanding his comments beyond what was found

But the paper is all based on corrections and estimates -- which are inherently unreliable anyway -- and if you wanted your corrections and estimates to be objective and unbiased, Zeke and his friends are the last ones you would turn to

New, independent observations from ocean buoys and other data sources show Earth's oceans are warming at a rate that's about 40% faster than indicated in the 2013 U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

Why it matters: The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, resolves a key uncertainty in climate science by reconciling analyses from a variety of different scientific teams.

The oceans are absorbing about 93% of the extra heat going into the climate system. So far, most of that heat resides in the upper ocean, and is only slowly diffusing down into deeper waters. Faster warming is already resulting in tangible, harmful impacts, from coral bleaching across the Great Barrier Reef to rapidly intensifying hurricanes.

Scientists describe the ocean as having a "long memory," meaning that the heat going into the waters now will continue to be released long after humans cut greenhouse gas emissions (assuming we do take that course).

Be smart: The data from four different research groups now generally match the ocean heat content projections from the newest climate models, the study finds, which indicates that these models are accurately simulating the Earth's radiation budget.

“We can see the emergence of the signal of global warming much more clearly in ocean heat content,” says study co-author Zeke Hausfather, an energy systems analyst at the climate research group Berkeley Earth.

Hausfather says 2018 will be the warmest year on record for the Earth's oceans, beating the record set just last year.

How it works: Because the ocean's heat content doesn't vary as sharply as surface temperatures, it is considered a more reliable indicator of global warming.

The impact: Warmer oceans are already causing unprecedented back-to-back coral bleaching events, and are contributing to sea-level rise. They're also causing glaciers to melt from below in Greenland and Antarctica.

Warmer waters provide critical fuel for extreme storms, with studies showing ties between Hurricane Harvey's devastating deluge and warmer than average waters in the Gulf of Mexico, for example.
Why you'll hear about this again: The oceans are a main reason why climate change will not relent even if emissions were to cease today, since they will continue to release heat, and also greenhouse gases, over time. There are also implications for carbon removal technologies, which are getting more attention from scientists and investments from major oil companies.

Lost in much of the discussion on carbon removal, however, is the potential for the oceans to spoil the party.

“The climate system has a long memory," Hausfather says, “It doesn’t warm as quickly as it otherwise would and it’s a lot harder to cool it back down once it starts warming.”

The bottom line: "Just like the oceans buffer the rate of warming, they would also similarly buffer the rate of cooling in a world where we had net-negative emissions," Hausfather says.
He cited a 2016 study that showed it would take slightly more negative emissions to reduce warming than it takes positive emissions to increase temperatures.


How fast are the oceans warming?

Lijing Cheng, John Abraham, Zeke Hausfather, Kevin E. Trenberth


Climate change from human activities mainly results from the energy imbalance in Earth's climate system caused by rising concentrations of heat-trapping gases. About 93% of the energy imbalance accumulates in the ocean as increased ocean heat content (OHC). The ocean record of this imbalance is much less affected by internal variability and is thus better suited for detecting and attributing human influences (1) than more commonly used surface temperature records. Recent observation-based estimates show rapid warming of Earth's oceans over the past few decades (see the figure) (1, 2). This warming has contributed to increases in rainfall intensity, rising sea levels, the destruction of coral reefs, declining ocean oxygen levels, and declines in ice sheets; glaciers; and ice caps in the polar regions (3, 4). Recent estimates of observed warming resemble those seen in models, indicating that models reliably project changes in OHC.

Science  11 Jan 2019: Vol. 363, Issue 6423, pp. 128-129. DOI: 10.1126/science.aav7619


Freedom FROM

The rare rational Leftist with whom can have an intelligent discussion sometimes asks us advocates of individual liberty what we mean by freedom or liberty.  They are right to ask that.  Over the centuries men have often fought for freedom.  But what was the freedom from?  Scots often declared that they were fighting for freedom.  So did that mean that they wanted a deregulated state?  Not at all.  What they were fighting for was freedom  from rule by the English. That the Scottish king was at least as tyrannical as the English king did not bother them. They saw it as a plus to be tyrannized by a fellow countryman.

And we see a similar ambiguity among libertarians.  It is sometimes said that there are as many versions of libertarianism  as there are libertarians.  Libertarians may even want opposite things. Some libertarians, for instance, want freedom for all individuals to smoke anywhere they happen to be.  That is a pretty purist libertarian position but, fortunately, not one often adopted.

In contrast, another libertarian may value the opportunity for all people everywhere to be able to breathe air unpolluted by the stink of tobacco smoke. So the two libertarians may want opposite things but value both things in the name of liberty.

Examples like that show that there really is no such thing as liberty in the abstract.  There are only freedoms from particular things. Liberty is meaningless without a predicate.

So to be frank and honest in our discourses we should list and justify separately what liberties we value.  Calling oneself a libertarian contains no real meaning at all.  A common list of things that libertarians want includes things that both Leftists and conservatives want but there will be no universally agreed list of those things.  We need to justify each of those freedoms by themselves.  Saying grandly that we stand for "liberty" is meaningless or at least uninformative.  And the same goes for individual liberty. There is no such thing by itself.

There is probably a fair amount of agreement about what liberties advocates of individual liberty want but that is just true of one particular time and place and one particular culture.  So being a libertarian is not easy at all.  It provides you with no magic key to unlock the "correct" position on any issue. We need to argue each point of the liberties we want.  Saying that we stand for freedom is just slipshod.  There is in fact no grand value that we are standing behind.  A love of liberty is always a love of some particular liberties.

Particularly under the influence of Disraeli, English conservatives often said that they stood for traditional English liberties -- which gave a reasonably clear list of liberties -- but there is not much left of those liberties in England these days.  The modern British state is a bureaucratic and authoritarian monster.

Libertarians do specify in general what liberties they want.  They say that they oppose force, fraud and coercion.  Unpacking those generalizations into particular policies is the problem, however -- as I have shown above with the example of smoking.

Note:  I use liberty and freedom interchangeably, which I think is common.  One word originates from Latin and the other from German but that seems to be the only difference.


Emotionalism in counselling

There is a video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lct8ql2zoLo called "The Age of Emotional Incontinence". It points out that the traditional virtue of stoicism has now been replaced by encouragement to express oneself as floridly as possible. Indulging in grief and rage is now good.

A lot of psychotherapy aims to get people to express their emotions and that would seem to be the inspiration of this particular retreat from self-restraint.  Treatment designed to help disturbed people is supposed to help everyone.  Harry Lauder's popular song: "Keep right on to the end of the road" is now replaced by encouragement to break down and weep.  Insofar as the new gospel is widespread it marks a rather clear civilizational breakdown.

We have seen it recently in the reactions encouraged among their students by university administrations in response to the elections of both George  W. Bush and Donald Trump. Some examples here . After both elections,  students were encouraged to regress to infantilism, with even coloring-in books being provided. As here

I am however encouraged by a clear anthropological finding about people of British and Northern European ancestry:  They are much more restrained in expressing emotions than are most of the rest of the human race.

I don't think this area can easily be approached statistically so let me approach it anecdotally

The difference I have just mentioned is stark. I grew up in a place that was as much an Italian village as an Australian country town so I observed first hand how much more emotionally expressive Italians are.  They howl with grief much more than we stolid old Anglo-Saxons do.  Some of us never do.

It is only in Innisfail  -- where I was born -- that I have ever seen in the waiting room of the local hospital a large sign in red letters saying:  SILENZO.  It was the first Italian word I learnt.  The local hospital authorities did not tolerate Italian expressiveness at all. Anybody who knows Italians well will know what I mean about Italian emotionality. Though there are some exceptions, mostly in the North.

An area of modern life where emotional expressiveness is required is opera.  And Italians take that to an extreme. Famous soprano Cecilia Bartoli outdoes most of them in that regard.  See an example of her singing here: https://youtu.be/pQtmr0z5cmo . Not all Italians are as expressive as the wonderful Cecilia but it is clear that she is from a very different culture.

Also see here --  https://youtu.be/214VRk-wVQM -- where contralto Evelyn Ramirez Munoz (who is probably Spanish) is the lead singer in Falvetti's remarkable Sicilian oratorio "Il diluvio universale".  She too is a wonder of expressiveness. Both ladies would have to be a psychiatrist's dream.

Perhaps I could mention something from Anglo-Saxon culture as a counterpoint to what I have said about Southern Europeans.  A favorite poem of mine is "The Teams" by Henry Lawson.  It describes the life of teamsters (we call them bullockys) helping to open up Australia's inland to civilization.  Below is his description of a typical bullock-driver:

He'll sometimes pause as a thing of form
In front of a settler's door,
And ask for a drink, and remark "It's warm",
Or say "There's signs of a thunder-storm";
But he seldom utters more.

It is a picture of a strong, enduring and taciturn man.  And it is true to life.  How do I know that? Because my own grandfather was a bullocky.  I remember him well and he was just as Lawson describes.

My grandfather's team

In fact my entire family are reserved people.  I did a bit of genealogical research years ago and tracked down some very elderly people who knew both my grandfather and great grandfather.  I asked them what they remembered of both men.  And the reply was always the same: "A quiet man.  Never said much".  And my father was the same and my son is the same.  And although I write a lot, I don't talk a lot in social situations.  So I am part of a 5-generation family of socially reserved people. It's clearly genetic.

Most personality differences are genetically encoded and I have no doubt that Northern emotional impassiveness is too. The English and their descendants are not so much restrained in their emotional expression as just less emotional in the first place.  No amount of Leftist BS will make them into Italians.

So WHY are the Left promoting emotional incontinence?  On the most dubious grounds they claim that it is psychologically healthier to be very expressive.  I don't buy it.  It seems clear to me that it is another example of Leftists hating their own culture -- which is why they often turn to Europe as an example to us all.  In this case they have turned to Southern Europe.

So how influential will the Leftist crying gospel be?  Not very, I think. The genes are against it. People of Northern European ancestry will continue to have the strong impulse control that has made them so successful and influential

A correspondent of mine has had extensive counselling experience and below is his reaction to the culture of emotional indulgence:

When I was counselling, most of the leading psychs and counsellors that I knew in the industry -- by leading, I mean tutors, and those who design and facilitate specialist post grad courses to continue to drive the leftist industry culture, and who design the manipulative social reconstruction programs for schools, and rehab programs for offenders, and who push the models of clinical counselling to be used for counselling relationships, ptsd, depression, domestic violence...etc,  and who therefore have much societal influence -- were always prompting counsellors to be more emotional and instructing them to get their clients to be more emotional, to "name and claim their emotions", to "honour their feelings", and to "listen to and follow their feelings", to start sentences with "I feel...", encourage women to say "No", to be "assertive", and to tap into and use their anger, and to get men to cry more, and to dislike their fathers and male ancestors who have caused them to now be men who are incomplete human beings out of touch with their feelings. The idea being that if we can get men to be soppy and women to be angry then society will be better.

It is so cunningly manipulative; targeting primary school children, youth, and people in crisis when they are desperate and most likely to absorb ridiculous ideas.

Fortunately not all clinical counsellors went along with that evil effort. I certainly did not. I preferred a problem solving approach, and a furtherance of the client's understanding of themselves, and improved ability to govern themselves, and to encourage them towards their stronger, kinder and most sensible

The practice of psychs and counsellors using their clients and designed programs to seed leftist societal change irked me. I think psychs and counsellors who do that are at best deceived and deluded pawns, and at worst, cunning and evil manipulators.

If you do not think such people are evil, then ponder this question. Who is more evil, the single criminal psychopath or the seemingly innocent even virtuous controller and exacerbator of many such psychopaths; in other words, the imprisoned sex
offender, or the prison counsellor who in her group and one-on-one therapy sessions encourages sex offenders and killers to listen to their emotions, to honour their feelings, who tells them that the
counselling room is a safe place, and that there is no such thing as right or wrong, only other people's judgment values and societal standards of the time, and who writes carefully favourable reports to the parole board that aid the release of her agents?

And so released sex offenders groom child targets the same way, psychologically breaking down their target's sense of right and wrong, and sense of responsibility for their self by telling them they are in a safe place and there is no right or wrong.

So I do not think that the current trend for emotional indulgence across the English speaking world that Paul Watson describes is accidental. There are deliberate leftist efforts to orchestrate it, to cultivate weak and emotional people, and to create a culture of crime and victimhood.

Leftism is emotionalism, is victimhood, is lack of individual responsibility, (avoidance of responsibility is the path of all criminality) and is power and control over others. Most lefties are just emotional and image conscious people; they just like to feel good and look good. But the smart conscious lefties are manipulative and evil; they love power and control over others. Emotional people are easy to manipulate. Thinking people are not.


Brisbane private schools raise tuition fees up to three times inflation rate

Note that these are tuition fees, not boarding fees.  And they are getting close to the average wage.  There is a strong belief in private schools in Queensland, however, so those who can afford it will.  News of low discipline levels in government schools will help the committment to private schools.  If all Catholic schools are included, 40% of Australian teenagers go private.  Families save up for it.

The expensive private schools do ensure that there will be a relatively impenetrable economic elite in Australia -- which is generally deplored -- but while the government schools are so chaotic, that will continue.  No Queenslander with financial options would be likely to send his kids to a government school.  But while  Leftist ideas of educational methodology rule government schools they will reinforce a two-speed educational system.  Left-run schools are the enemy of social mobility.  Despite being "free", they provide very little competition to the private schools

PRIVATE schools across Brisbane will raise tuition fees this year by two to three times the rate of inflation.

Brisbane Boys’ College, which is owned by the scandal-stricken Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association, will increase fees by 6.3 per cent in 2019 – more than three times the inflation rate of 1.9 per cent.

The school will charge $23,300 for high school students this year – $1384 more than last year’s tuition costs.

Its sister school, Clayfield College, will increase its Year 12 fees to $18,330, a 3.5 per cent increase.

Somerville House, another PMSA school, will increase fees by 3 per cent to $22,680.

The increases follow controversies over PMSA finances, a data security breach, lewd texts and the dismissal of Somerville House principal Flo Kearney last year.

Elite Catholic girls’ school Stuartholme will increase fees by $1092 to $19,176.

Queensland’s most expensive private school, Brisbane Grammar – which charged senior students $25,900 last year after making a $7.9 million surplus – has not published its 2019 fees.

But its sister school, Brisbane Girls’ Grammar, will increase fees for senior students by 3.2 per cent to $24,910 in 2019. The elite girls’ school made a $2.1 million surplus in 2017 and paid principal Jacinda Euler a $476,483 salary package.

Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said governing bodies tried to keep fees down, but rising costs, including increasing teacher wages, forced them up.

“Queensland independent school governing bodies are responsible for setting school fees each year, with fee levels varying from school to school depending on a range of factors such as their curriculum offerings, size of their teaching and non-teaching workforce, student needs and future plans,” Mr Robertson said.

“Boards strive to main affordable fee levels for their communities. They carefully consider the circumstances of their parent communities, their school’s level of public funding and the broader economic environment...

“Independent school boards are very conscious of the investment and sacrifice many families make for their children’s education, and endeavour to set tuition fees that are affordable for their communities, while at the same time balancing increasing staff wages, technology and other costs.

“Continuing increases in enrolments in the independent sector confirm that parents value the education provided by independent schools.

“Staff salaries, which account for about 70 per cent of school costs — and have been growing at rates above CPI, depending on the school’s enterprise bargaining arrangements — are a significant factor in school fee levels.

“Many independent schools offer scholarships or bursaries, sibling discounts and all-inclusive fee options to ensure an independent education is available to as many Queensland families as possible.”

Good Education Group’s Sam Sapuppo said parents may be unaware of hidden costs that could increase quickly. “These hidden costs could be the increasing costs of OH&S,” he said.

“Some educational costs shouldn’t be considered ‘additional costs’ but rather should be considered part of a holistic learning experience, what schools these days are calling ‘learning beyond the classroom’ such as excursions, camps, extra curricular activities, technology programs.”



Cape crusaders open up Australia's last wild frontiers

To have vast areas of one's country inaccessible by road does seem rather negligent -- though Greenies would disagree.  So on grounds of the national interest, spending on these roads would perhaps be defensible.

As they go through areas that have small populations of unproductive Aborigines only, however, they are a boondoggle by economic criteria.  They largely go nowhere.

The idea that they will open up the areas concerned to economic development is a very old dream but the failure of the Ord project tells us that the dream will remain a dream

Australian governments are rather prone to boondoggles.  The barely-used Alice to Darwin railway and the Snowy hydroelectic scheme will never cover their costs or provide a reasonable return on capital

One is a bumpy road to somewhere, snaking through the scrubby wilds of Cape York and on to an even dustier track that ends at the most northern tip of Australia.

The second, on another remote northern cape on the opposite side of the country, claims 4WDs and sometimes even lives in the soft red dirt north of Broome.

Now the sort of nation-building projects of a century ago are simultaneously opening up two of the nation’s last wild frontiers to anyone with a sedan.

The twin highway projects are predicted to transform the lives of indigenous people in about 80 ­remote communities; there is hope for tourism and jobs, but some elders also worry that good roads could bring bad town problems.

For them, living at the end of a treacherous track — often cut off in the wet season — is a form of protection.

Within a year, the $63 million Cape Leveque Road project will seal 90km of boggy red dirt track between Broome and the former mission of Beagle Bay, completing bitumen works that started further north in 2007.

Nine-year-old Tatiana Kitchener’s Beagle Bay home is an uncomfortable one hour and 45 minutes by car to Broome, where she likes to swim at the town pool. And that is in good weather. The track has a reputation for wrecking cars and fatalities.

In far north Queensland, the half-finished upgrade of the Peninsula Developmental Road over the past few years has begun to transform the Cape.

The trickle of 4WD adventurers belting along the road on their way to pristine fishing and camping spots has become a steady stream of motorhome-driving grey nomads and tourists.

More than 80,000 vehicles travelled the 560km stretch from Lakeland to the Weipa turn-off last year — up from 25,000 five years ago. At the peak of the last dry season, there were even queues for the ferry that takes cars across the Jardine River and on to the final leg to the top. Completion of the project will be a metamorphic moment for the Aborigines of Cape York, who make up about 70 per cent of the population.

The state and federally funded project, which has cost $280m since 2014, is paving the way for a year-round economy on Cape York that few thought possible.

Landholders are gearing up, with plans for fruit plan­tations and cattle properties that have been limited without a ­reliable route to Cairns or the Weipa port.

Traditional owners, who have native title over their country or secured land through a state buyback program of wound-down cattle stations over the past decade, are also planning ventures involving tourism and agriculture.

On Cape Leveque, Deborah Sebastian, a relative of Tatiana, knows the new road can bring jobs and enterprise to the four communities along the cape. She also worries it might deliver town problems. “It’s going to be safer for driving,” she said. “But we are scared it will be easier for drugs and alcohol to get in.”

The Bardi Jawi communities that own and run the idyllic Kooljaman wilderness camp near One Arm Point are expected to be among the beneficiaries when the entire cape is opened up to two-wheel cars and coaches.

Broome’s population swells from 13,000 to 40,000 between June and October each year, but currently only a tiny proportion of those visitors venture up the track.

The two road projects are already creating indigenous jobs. An estimated 25 per cent of the contract work awarded for the upgrade to the Cape York road has gone to locally owned indigenous companies. The Cape Leveque job is smaller, but 53 per cent of its contracts have been awarded to indigenous-owned companies. Thirty-six of the 43 people working on the road are indigenous.

One of the success stories of the Peninsula Development Road is Kalan Enterprises, an indigenous-owned company based in Coen, in central Cape York.

Started nine years ago by traditional owners of the Southern Kaantju people, the company was doing land management — including feral animal and invasive weed control — before the road upgrade kicked-off. The ongoing “One Claim’’ native title application — filed in 2014 over 14.6 million hectares not already under native title — ensured that traditional owners across Cape York were consulted and were able to negotiate involvement in the project.

Kalan, which has a small fleet of trucks, backhoes and crushers, employs 17 indigenous people full-time. Dozens more are doing regular contract work.

The next few months will be decisive for the project. State and federal governments will do scoping work to finish sealing the PDR, extending the construction of bridges and possibly extending the bitumen to the tip.

The project will take at least another five years.

The promise of development and economic opportunity will have to compete with the need for environmental protections across the mostly unspoilt peninsula. The Palaszczuk government is considering a bid for World Heritage listing — supported by federal Labor — which they promise will be pursued only with majority support of traditional owners.

Federal Liberal MP Warren Entsch, who championed and helped deliver the road upgrade, said the balance could be struck but it was critical to finish the job, which he thought would cost $700m more. “It is one of the last frontiers and we are taming it,” Mr Enstch said.



Postmodernism -- A much abused term

There are two articles here and here which seem to me to be very confused about what is postmodernism.  One claims that it is nothing more than a form of art criticism and the other claims that there can be conservative postmodernists -- with even the impeccably conservative Dennis Prager being elected as a postmodernist.

The first writer above, Michael Barnard, lists some of the many  lines of thought that have been described from time to time as postmodernist and many others could be added.  "Postmodernist" has become a sort of all-purpose description of any body of thought that seems fanciful or unrealistic, or, indeed incoherent.

So what is postmodernism?  Is it just a form of Art criticism as Barnard contends, for instance?  It may be the form that Barnard most respects but his own examples of where discourse about postmodernism arises show his claim as merely provocative if not silly.

So am I going to provide a better definition?  Not at all.  There are a variety of definitions and all get at something in postmodernism.  Read as many as you like.  I cover a fair few of them here

What I want to do is to trace postmodernism to it source and from that an understanding of what it is readily emerges.  It originated in a severe philosophical problem that became increasingly well-known and influential in the twentieth century. It traces at least from David Hume's denial in the 18th century that one can derive an “ought” from an “is” but arguably goes all the way back to Socrates.  The problem was how do we know what is right, good or ought to be done?  The expressions "X is pink" and "X is good" are of similar form so are they of the same kind?  Is goodness as objective a property as pinkness?

For almost everybody, the answer to that is clear.  The first is a statement of fact and the second is a value judgment.  But where do values come from?  Is goodness and rightness hiding under a rock somewhere?  If not, where is it?  There have been various attempts to answer that but in the end there is nothing objective that can be pointed to. It all devolves into a matter of opinion.

Analytical philosophers have labored long and hard to find ways of defining what is good but the very fact that they have different opinions about it undermines the effort.  We just have to accept that there is no such thing as an objective right and wrong.  Statements about rightness and wrongness are expressions of attitude, not expressions of fact.  Philosophy has failed to give an account of objective or absolute rightness and goodness.

Awareness of that state of affairs gradually grew throughout the twentieth century as exposure to education spread  -- and many people encountering it seemed to find it liberating.  They saw a failure of philosophy as telling them something important about the world.  They saw it as undermining all standards in morality, ethics, aesthetics and much else.  They interpreted it as liberating them from all restraints.

Civilized restraints however did not go away.  Certain old-fashioned customs were no longer seen as binding but what you needed to do to have a pleasant life did not change much.

But if your behavior remained constrained, your theorizing was not.  And the resultant gabble is what we identify as postmodernism.  Postmodernism is an attempt to use or at least understand why there are no absolute moral truths and, in some cases, an attempt to construct alternative truths.  Whatever you dreamed up could be justified by the absence of objective moral truths.

Thus it became customary that when a Leftist was backed into a corner over the value of some policy, he would say "But there's no such thing as right and wrong anyway".  He eluded a practical debate by describing it as something else, as a debate about moral absolutes

So postmodernists celebrate a lack of objective standards about what is good or right -- and usually offer their own behavior recommendations anyway, the pursuit of power being the main one.  In their celebration of their own incoherence they can say in almost the same breath that there is no such thing as right and wrong but Donald Trump is wrong about just about everything. Their philosophy does not even account for their own usage.

So most of the world's people  carry on with efforts to build a pleasant life for themselves and bother themselves with debates and explorations about how to achieve that.  Abstract philosophical debates don't enter their consciousness.

And conservatives in particular do that.  If analytical philosophy has failed to solve one of it central problems they are unconcerned.  What gives them the life they want is their overriding interest.  And they search for guidelines about that.  It is not at all clear how one should behave to have a life with maximum happiness and minimal pain.  And when they do arrive at a guideline or set of guidelines that sounds like it has an impressive track record (such as evangelical Christianity), they do tend to value that guideline and act in accordance with it.  They might even describe it as the "right" way to live in discussions with others who are searching.

Among Leftists, however, there seems to be a belief that because there is no such thing as objective right and wrong, therefore there are no guidelines that lead to a happy life.  One pities them.  It is  no wonder that all the surveys find that conservatives are happier.

So the absence of an objective right and wrong does not tell us that all roads will lead to happiness.  As Jesus said, that road may be "strait and narrow".

So in the end there was one moral philosopher who got it right.  R.M. Hare argued that the only defensible function of "is good' or "is right" statements is to commend.  That can be unpacked in various ways but it can also be unpacked to interpret "rightness" statements as saying "This makes me happy and I think it will make you happy too", or "This satisfies me and I think it would satisfy you too" or "This gets me results I like and I think you would like its results too" -- and so on.

The similarity of the two statements "X is pink" and "X is good"  does lead some people to think that the goodness they are discussing is something objective, something that can be pointed to in the same way that one can point to a color. A little reflection normally tells us however that the "goodness" or "rightness" being referred to is something fundamentally different from a color.

There is a belief among some people however -- particularly among the products of a Catholic education -- that there ARE some moral absolutes.  They cannot point to any proof of it but they FEEL that some things are "just wrong" and are always wrong.  There is a sound evolutionary reason for that feeling which I discuss in my fuller account of moral philosophy


Black privilege

The Leftist article excerpted below gives a good account of an educational fraud but draws perverse lessons from it. 

When a small black school churned out fraudulent credentials and documentation for their students, even Ivy league institutions fell for it and admitted the students concerned.

How come?  The students were black and under the manic "all men are equal" doctrine that consumes the Left, the universities had a desperate need for black faces on campus.  So they turned a blind eye to any shortcomings in the student or his documentation.  Black privilege was at work.  You cannot challenge black claims and you must not suspect any intellectual deficit in a black. So the misrepresented blacks were simply waved through on the color of their skin.

The interesting question, therefore, is did the students come unstuck in doing university courses for which they were not prepared?  One would expect so but once again black privilege is at work. Incompetent black students can also be waved through university courses.  And there is no doubt that that was done or the scam  would have come unstuck in one year

The Leftist galoot below thinks that the scam reveals the wrongness of university selection criteria.  What it does reveal is that no system is proof against Leftist fraud and folly

Until two weeks ago, T. M. Landry College Preparatory School was the most enigmatic school in America. Small and with minimal resources, this private school was known for one thing: placing an extraordinary number of black, low-income students in America’s most elite colleges and universities. Almost everything else about it was mysterious.

The school’s founders and namesakes, the married couple Tracey and Michael Landry, had promoted it via a series of viral videos. In each of the videos, a young student, usually black, waits in suspense, surrounded by classmates, to find out if he or she has been admitted to a top college—Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, among others. Invariably, the student gets a happy answer, and the entire room erupts in raucous celebration.

T. M. Landry is in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, a high-poverty town of fewer than 10,000. The school’s graduates are overwhelmingly black, poor, or both—a socioeconomic segment that, due to pervasive discrimination, is notoriously underrepresented in higher ed. Statistically speaking, when a poor black student is admitted to a Harvard or a Yale, it’s a minor miracle. The odds of an institution sending graduate after graduate to the Ivy League and similar schools are infinitesimal. Watching T. M. Landry’s viral videos was akin to watching lightning strike the same spot not twice, but over and over again. Had the Landrys cracked the educational code?

At the end of November, in a blockbuster story, The New York Times solved part of the puzzle. The Landrys’ school seems to have been a fraud all along—faking transcripts, forcing students to lie on college applications, and staging rehearsed lessons for curious media and other visitors. According to the Times, an atmosphere of abuse and submission helped maintain the deception, with Michael Landry lording over his flock of children like a tyrant. In the Times story, Landry admitted to helping children with college applications while denying any fraud. The school did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Still, a mystery remains. Even taking the alleged fakery into account, how did T. M. Landry seem to fool so many of America’s most prestigious universities for years?

The key to the alleged T. M. Landry scam can’t be the quality of the deception, because it was far from airtight. If anything, the story the school told about itself should have sparked immediate skepticism.

This isn’t hindsight speaking; I know from experience. I first encountered the school's viral videos last spring, and as a researcher on race and education, I felt compelled to learn more. What I found immediately raised my suspicions. Outside the videos themselves, the school offered little coherent explanation of how its students managed to win the collegiate lottery so often.

Many aspects of the school were unorthodox. Tuition was modest for a private school, and paid monthly, with students seemingly able to start and stop at any time from kindergarten to 12th grade in an unusual rolling-admissions format. While the Landrys were reliably vague about their instructional methods, the hints they dropped —no homework, no textbooks, and minimal parental involvement—didn’t conform with any successful teaching model I’d ever heard of. Nor did the couple have any prior teaching experience to suggest they should be capable of working educational wonders. Press coverage openly discussed T. M. Landry's apparent dearth of courses, classrooms, and structured teaching—even while celebrating students’ sophisticated subject-matter specialties and high GPAs. Certain inconsistencies, such as how a school without defined courses could have GPAs, were never explained.

Frankly, none of the pieces fit together. Still, whatever T. M. Landry was up to, the colleges and universities were fine with it, and presumably the admissions officers were doing their due diligence.

Except it now appears they didn’t.

American higher education is a hierarchy, and the schools at the top wield vast influence, both in academia and in the wider world. Whether they admit it or not, universities like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, and Columbia are gatekeepers for the social, political, and economic elite. The T. M. Landry revelations should constitute an extraordinary crisis for these schools. They challenge these institutions’ role as gatekeepers—and perhaps even the need for the hierarchy itself.

How could T. M. Landry allegedly deceive so many? The colleges and universities that admitted the school’s grads aren’t saying publicly. When reached for this story, a number of top-tier institutions only provided brief statements expressing their concern about the situation. In a typical response, Yale stated that it “takes all allegations of fraudulent application materials seriously,” and “when applicable … pursues all cases where potentially misrepresentative application information is brought to our attention.” Princeton emphasized that it was “concerned for the affected students and their families,” and “remain[ed] committed to attracting and supporting talented students, including students from groups that have been underrepresented in higher education.”

Admirably, Wellesley College stated its specific and unequivocal support for its Landry graduates, describing them as “thriving and engaged members of the community.” However, none of the institutions contacted—which also included Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, Brown, Dartmouth, Wesleyan, and Syracuse—would offer any public explanation for how they might have gotten tricked in the first place.

But at least in general terms, it’s possible to sketch out the source of the breakdown. Like a lot of scams, the alleged T. M. Landry admissions ploy wasn’t convincing because it was hard to detect, but because it offered something that a lot of people wanted to believe. Their viral videos told a story of black children magically beating the odds, drawing millions of viewers. The school played into this narrative, appending hashtags like “#blackexcellence” and “#blacksuccess” to its videos. The faked transcripts told the same story, one that higher education found irresistible.

When it comes to admitting students from underprivileged backgrounds, colleges and universities are facing cross-cutting currents. To start with, most highly selective schools remain committed to promoting racially and economically diverse student bodies. This commitment is sincere, at least to the extent that, all else equal, these institutions would be delighted to admit lower-income students of color who have overcome great hardships.

But this is where the T. M. Landry accusations begin to look truly destabilizing, because now its miracles appear to be fictions. Many of its graduates were, by all accounts, hard-working and dedicated, but otherwise merely mortal. And yet, they did not implode the moment they breathed the rarified air of the Ivy League. Some struggled or dropped out, but a number of Landry students—particularly those who had spent more time in traditional schools—simply continued to advance.



For James Watson, the Price Was Exile. At 90, the Nobel winner still thinks that black people are born intellectually inferior to whites

The NYT article below shows how powerful political correctness can be. James Watson has been severely sanctioned for saying in public little more than what most psychometricians are agreed on -- that the average black IQ is much lower than white IQ and that the difference is persistent -- nothing seems able to change it. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they (under the chairmanship of Ulric Neisser) have had to concede a large and persistent gap in black vs. white average IQ.

It is true that very few psychometricians will attribute the persistence of the black/white gap to genetics.  It would be career death for them if they did, as it was for Watson.  Yet they cheerfully attribute differences between white individuals to genetics.  There is powerful evidence of that. So why is a particular group difference not also genetic?  Groups are made up of individuals and group scores are the sum of individual scores.

The only way out of that inference would be to say that blacks are a different species, or at least fundamentally different genetically -- that something produced by genes in whites is not produced by genes in blacks. Yet that denies the humanity of blacks.  It is saying that their brains are different in how they function.  That, it seems to me, is REALLY racist.  It is an attempt to deny racial differences that ends up proclaiming racial differences.  If we respect the humanity of blacks we have to say that the causes of IQ variation are the same in blacks and whites.  You have to say that the black/white gap is persistent because it is genetic.

But we can go beyond that.  The question is really the validity of IQ scores among blacks.  Do they measure what we think they measure?  Do they measure the same things that they measure among whites?  And the answer is very clear.  From their average IQ score we would expect blacks to be at the bottom of every heap where anything intellectual is remotely involved.  We would expect them to be economically unsuccessful (poor), mired in crime and barely educable.  And they are.  The tests are valid among blacks.

The education situation is particularly clear.  The large gap between black and white educational attainment has been loudly bewailed by all concerned for many years.  Leftist educators have turned themselves inside out trying to change it.  But nothing does.  It persists virtually unchanged year after year. It alone is graphic testimony to inborn lesser black intellectual competence.  No talk of IQ is really needed.

But it is exactly what we would predict from black IQ scores.  It is a large gap that mirrors a large IQ gap. It is exactly what we would expect from the black difference being a genetic given.  IQ in blacks works the same way as it does in whites.  So if it is genetically determined in whites it must be genetically determined among blacks.  Some whites are born dumb.  Many blacks are born dumb

It has been more than a decade since James D. Watson, a founder of modern genetics, landed in a kind of professional exile by suggesting that black people are intrinsically less intelligent than whites.

In 2007, Dr. Watson, who shared a 1962 Nobel Prize for describing the double-helix structure of DNA, told a British journalist that he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says, not really.”

Moreover, he added, although he wished everyone were equal, “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.”

Dr. Watson’s comments reverberated around the world, and he was forced to retire from his job as chancellor of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, although he retains an office there.

He apologized publicly and “unreservedly” and in later interviews he sometimes suggested that he had been playing the provocateur — his trademark role — or had not understood that his comments would be made public.

Ever since, Dr. Watson, 90, has been largely absent from the public eye. His speaking invitations evaporated. In 2014, he became the first living Nobelist to sell his medal, citing a depleted income from having been designated a “nonperson.”

But his remarks have lingered. They have been invoked to support white supremacist views, and scientists routinely excoriate Dr. Watson when his name surfaces on social media.

Eric Lander, the director of the Broad Institute of M.I.T. and Harvard, elicited an outcry last spring with a toast he made to Dr. Watson’s involvement in the early days of the Human Genome Project. Dr. Lander quickly apologized.

“I reject his views as despicable” Dr. Lander wrote to Broad scientists. “They have no place in science, which must welcome everyone. I was wrong to toast, and I’m sorry.”

And yet, offered the chance recently to recast a tarnished legacy, Dr. Watson has chosen to reaffirm it, this time on camera. In a new documentary, “American Masters: Decoding Watson” to be broadcast on PBS on Wednesday night, he is asked whether his views about the relationship between race and intelligence have changed.

“No” Dr. Watson said. “Not at all. I would like for them to have changed, that there be new knowledge that says that your nurture is much more important than nature. But I haven’t seen any knowledge. And there’s a difference on the average between blacks and whites on I.Q. tests. I would say the difference is, it’s genetic.”

Dr. Watson adds that he takes no pleasure in “the difference between blacks and whites” and wishes it didn’t exist. “It’s awful, just like it’s awful for schizophrenics” he says. (Doctors diagnosed schizophrenia in his son Rufus when he was in his teens.) Dr. Watson continues, “If the difference exists, we have to ask ourselves, how can we try and make it better?”

Dr. Watson’s remarks may well ignite another firestorm of criticism. At the very least, they will pose a challenge for historians when they take the measure of the man: How should such fundamentally unsound views be weighed against his extraordinary scientific contributions?

In response to questions from The Times, Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said that most experts on intelligence “consider any blackwhite differences in I.Q. testing to arise primarily from environmental, not genetic, differences.” Dr. Collins said he was unaware of any credible research on which Dr. Watson’s “profoundly unfortunate” statement would be based.

“It is disappointing that someone who made such groundbreaking contributions to science” Dr. Collins added, “is perpetuating such scientifically unsupported and hurtful beliefs.”

Dr. Watson is unable to respond, according to family members. He made his latest remarks last June, during the last of six interviews with Mark Mannucci, the film’s producer and director.

But in October Dr. Watson was hospitalized after a car accident, and he has not been able to leave medical care. Some scientists said that Dr. Watson’s recent remarks are noteworthy less because they are his than because they signify misconceptions that may be on the rise, even among scientists, as ingrained racial biases collide with powerful advances in genetics that are enabling researchers to better explore the genetic underpinnings of behavior and cognition.

“It’s not an old story of an old guy with old views” said Andrea Morris, the director of career development at Rockefeller University, who served as a scientific consultant for the film. Dr. Morris said that, as an African- American scientist, “I would like to think that he has the minority view on who can do science and what a scientist should look like. But to me, it feels very current.”

David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard, has argued that new techniques for studying DNA show that some human populations were geographically separated for long enough that they could plausibly have evolved average genetic differences in cognition and behavior.

But in his recent book, “Who We Are and How We Got Here” he explicitly repudiates Dr. Watson’s presumption that such differences would “correspond to longstanding popular stereotypes” as “essentially guaranteed to be wrong.”

Even Robert Plomin, a prominent behavioral geneticist who argues that nature decisively trumps nurture when it comes to individuals, rejects speculation about average racial differences.

“There are powerful methods for studying the genetic and environmental origins of individual differences, but not for studying the causes of average differences between groups” Dr. Plomin he writes in an afterword to be published this spring in the paperback edition of his book “Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are.”