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White do-gooder sees pervasive racism towards Aborigines

I don't know why I occasionally put up rejoinders to Leftist screeches.  I guess I feel that a full picture of the matters concerned has to be available.  And Leftist writing usually leaves out such an enormous amount of the full story that I really feel annoyed at such deception.

The woman writing below, Caitlin Prince, apparently works in some sort of welfare role among Aborigines and appears to do so largely as a result of her political convictions.  And a big part of those convictions is that Australians generally are racist.  But what evidence does she muster for that conviction?  Just three anecdotes.  But you can prove anything by anecdotes.  I could report far more anecdotes that prove Australians generally to be racially tolerant.  So she falls at the first hurdle in her rant.

So her claim that "defensive anger" is the common response to  accounts of the deplorable situation of Aborigines is also just another anecdote.  That she is a racist is however clear. She criticizes "white men of Anglo-Celtic or European background."  Why does she have to bring their race into it?  Why can she not outline the words and deeds of particular people in her criticisms?  Instead she resorts to lazy generalizations with no detectible substance in them.

Another of her broad brush strokes is to say that "mostly racism is unconscious  and internalised".  How does she know?  Does she have a mind-reading machine?  She does not. Instead she relies on her deductions about the motives behind various words and deeds that she has observed. There is a very long history in psychology of failed attempts to read minds but she is not humbled by that.  She knows better.

One of her observations, however, is probably right.  She says that the poor state of Aborigines evokes feelings of powerlessness in whites.  She does not however confront a major reason why.  Successive Australian governments, State and Federal, Left and Right have all set in train big efforts to improve the situation of Aborigines -- but nothing works. If anything, the situation of Aborigines has gone downhill since the era of the missionaries.  People of all sorts have racked their brains to come up with solutions but none have succeeded.  People feel powerless in the face of Aboriginal degradation because they really ARE powerless.

She says that the problem for Aborigines is "the thick walls of indifference, denial, and defensive anger that characterises so much of our country’s response to our First Nations".  If that were so, how come that so many government programs have over a long period been tried in an attempt to help Aborigines?

So the sad state of Aborigines is NOT the result of racism.  It is something in Aboriginals themselves.  And that something is not too mysterious.  They have over many thousands of years adapted brilliantly to a hunter-gatherer life -- but that life is no more.

So what is her solution to the undoubted problems of Aborigines?  It is pathetic.  It is a "national conversation".  She is completely oblivious of all the conversations that have gone before.  She lives only in the present, as Leftists usually do.

As it happens, the lady in my life spent many years among Aborigines providing them with real professional services -- medical services  -- paid for by one of those "racist" Australian governments. She tells me something that the angry sourpuss below gives no hint of.  She tells me that she LIKES Aborigines.  And having seen much of what has been done to and for Aborigines by well-intentioned governments, she is firm in her view that no outside help will do much for Aborigines.  She believes that any solution for their plight must arise from among Aborigines themselves.  I think she is right.


Last week, a nine-year-old refused to stand for the national anthem to protest its lack of recognition of First Nations, and the country erupted in anger. High profile, fully grown adults publicly called her a brat and threatened to “kick her up the backside”.

In the same week, Mark Knight’s cartoon of Serena Williams was criticised internationally as racist, and Australian media doubled down to defend it. “Welcome to PC world” the Herald Sun published on its front page, while Knight accused the world of “going crazy” and suspended his Twitter account.

Meanwhile, two Aboriginal teenagers died in Perth running away from police, and communities pushed again for government action on the high rates of Aboriginal deaths in custody. Yeah — how dare people suggest Australia is racist!

I can’t imagine how it felt to be Aboriginal during this (not atypical) week. Although I don’t have to imagine — Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana), the Aboriginal writer and activist, tweeted:

"We’re constantly stuck trying to remind white people of the humanity of Aboriginal people – particularly Aboriginal women and children. It’s tiring, devastating and as we continually end up back in the same place, clearly not working. Sort your shit out, Australia"

— Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana) September 17, 2018

Emotions run high when it comes to the topic of racism and First Nations people. The fact that a nine-year-old can elicit such a venomous rebuke from senators and media personalities is testament to that. In my experience though, it isn’t only alt-right conservatives who have strong emotions about this topic. In the past eight years that I’ve worked in remote Aboriginal communities, every non-Aboriginal person I’ve worked with has experienced a strong reaction to the interface of Australia’s race relations.

Defensive anger is a common reaction to having your worldview challenged. Researcher Megan Boler believes it’s an attempt to protect not only one’s beliefs but one’s “precarious sense of identity”; a defence of one’s investment in the values of the dominant culture.

The problem with growing up within the dominant culture is that it’s easy to be oblivious to anything outside of it. As Tim Soutphommasane, the outgoing Race Discrimination Commissioner, recently pointed out in The Griffith Review, Australia’s media and political structures are still dominated by white men of Anglo-Celtic or European background. While in reality, Australia is far more culturally diverse, the positions that shape both the nation’s policies and stories we tell about it, are still dominated by Anglo-Australians.

When voices from outside the dominant culture do reach us, their perspectives are unexpected, drawn from life experience beyond our shared frames of reference. Their criticism can feel like it’s come out of the blue.

Knight said his cartoon wasn’t about race. Perhaps he was naive to the history of caricature that represented black people as infantile sambos. His intention may not have been racist. As white people, we often mistakenly believe that racism requires a conscious belief that black people are less human than us, but mostly racism is unconscious  and internalised.

It’s all the more bewildering to be accused of racism when it isn’t your intention, such as a health professional who wants to help, discovering they’ve unknowingly offended their Aboriginal client; or a well-intentioned teacher, who had no idea teaching only in English to a community with a different first language, might cause harm. Or perhaps a cartoonist, who prided himself on insightful social commentary, but had his blind spots pointed out.

Frequently, we react defensively and insist our actions aren’t racist when we’d be better served by realising we didn’t know it was racist  and listening to people of colour to understand why, without minimising or denying their concerns.

Anger is not the only emotional response I see in non-Aboriginal people when confronted with our country’s racism. Some people respond with grief and sadness, others with guilt and shame. Nearly always, there are feelings of helplessness that easily flick over into dissociation, numbness and denial. Megan Boler writes that denial “feeds on our lack of awareness of how powerlessness functions, effects, feeds on, and drains our sense of agency and power as active creators of self and world-representations. By powerlessness I mean a state that is usually silent and mutates into guilt and denial that gnaws at us….”

Our country struggles with meaningful recognition of our First Nations, in part due to these feelings of powerlessness and being overwhelmed. We are divided, black from white, by the privilege of being able to drift off into denial. Aboriginal people remain pressed up against the painful consequences of racism with the daily deaths, incarceration, and illness of their family members. Non-Aboriginal Australians on the other hand, bump along, failing to grapple with the overwhelming task of reckoning with our genocidal history and its ongoing legacy.

People of colour refer to “white fragility”, and while I think the term is fair (if the suffering could be weighed, there would be no competition), unless we respond wisely to emotions triggered by discussions of racism, we’re not going to progress the national conversation. Emerging from denial is like thawing from ice; it comes with the pins and needles of moving out of a long-held, contracted position. It’s painful, and people react emotionally.

I’ve worked for eight years now in remote health. I often feel paralysed, at a loss as to how to break through the thick walls of indifference, denial, and defensive anger that characterises so much of our country’s response to our First Nations.

How can I, as one voice, possibly affect it? I want to run away, to not face it. And right there, in the choice to not confront racism, is white privilege.

The moment I choose to do nothing, the moment I stop wrestling with my emotions and slip instead into denial and avoidance, I act out the privilege that has and continues to cause so much harm to our First Nations.

To do nothing is to be complicit.

What a painful thing to have to face.

SOURCE



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A defence of political correctness

I like to see how the other half thinks so I do often read Leftist writing.  It is mostly, however, so devoid of facts and reason as to defy comment.  It is mostly just assertion, rage and abuse. But the article below has the feel of saying something coherent so I am putting it up.

The article, however, seems to be a combination of mere assertion and one-sidedness. A peculiarity  of the essay is that it starts out with a long and reasonable presentation of what critics of political correctness say. It's not until her 9th paragraph that the author is overtly critical -- and her opening blast there is a an attack on the character of President Trump.  That is however an "ad hominem" argument and as such is not worthy of a scholar.

Let us look at in detail anyway.  She asserts that political correctness is no danger because a bad egg like Trump became President.  Her characterization of Trump is however extremely tendentious.  She says, for instance, that Trump "stereotypes Muslims as “terrorists” and Mexicans as “rapists”".

That is however a very unbalanced assessment of what he has done in the course of his attempts to get America's immigration policy more in America's interests. America has indeed suffered a lot of terror attacks from Muslim Jihadis  --- and horrible crimes, often against women, committed by illegal Hispanic immigrants come to light almost daily.

Many Americans would therefore quite reasonably see Trump's comments on the matter as simple realism.  They would see his election as a triumph of realism, not as an triumph of political incorrectness.  One does hope that realism is not politically incorrect.

In sum, the woman's comments on Trump are just Leftist boilerplate designed to appeal to anti-Trumpers rather than the balanced assessment we would hope for from a real scholar. Her colleagues at the LSE would resoundingly applaud her viewpoint but it is just one viewpoint with little claim outside similar circles.

Ms Symons then goes on to critique the words of Lionel Shriver and immediately offers a dishonest interpretation of Shriver's words.  She treats Shriver's comments about “gay transgender Caribbean primary school dropout" as a serious proposition, when it is obviously just comedic exaggeration.

Not content with one misrepresentation of Shriver, Symons goes on to another.  She says: "the dichotomy she draws between demographic diversity on the one hand and worthwhile literature on the other implies that writers who are not white and heterosexual produce inferior literature."  That is utter rubbish.  Shriver says nothing of the sort.  She simply says that literature should be judged in a colourblind way -- and accepted for publication solely on its literary merits.

Symons then trots out the claim that third world writing "enriches" us in some unspecified way. That may be so but it would be nice to see examples of minority literature of an enriching kind that has come to us via preferential treatment.  I know of none and Ms Symons's silence on the matter tends to suggest that she also does not.

Her comments on Tony Abbott also lack context. What Abbott was referring to was the energetic attempts by the Left to suppress comment from conservative Christians.  It was an attack on free speech in deed and in truth.  Ms Symonds is an Australian so it is likely she was aware of that but has decided that omitting it makes a better story. So her judgment of Abbott's orientation is that it "indicates the illiberalism in which anti-PC reactionaries are steeped".  That may be so but it is a mere assertion untethered from any balanced argument.

Ms Symons then goes on to comment on knife crime in London and what she says is reasonable enough but I do not see that she is talking about political correctness

She then asserts that opposition to political correctness "indicates the illiberalism in which anti-PC reactionaries are steeped".  She undoubtedly believes that but I cannot see where she has made a case for that judgment.

She ends by implying that opposition to political correctness is wrong because Mr Trump and Mr Farage oppose it.  And with no apparent awareness of irony she then goes on to condenmn "ad hominem" argument!

She is just another of the one-eyed intellectual lightweights I constantly encounter in my readings of Leftist writing. I would be inclined to dismiss her as just a silly little girl but that would of course make me a patriarchal misogynist Fascist and a secret admirer of Hitler so I had better not. If her defence of political correctness is the best the Left can do, they are a very sad lot indeed

I note that "The Economist" gave the essay below a prize.  They were once a reliable sources of factual reportage and argument.  It seems those days are long gone.  They would now seem to be part of the English establishment, with its arrogant dismissal of people's politicians like Donald Trump and Nigel Farage



Julia Symons, author of the article below. She is an MSc candidate in Global Health at the London School of Economics.


“Drunk on virtue.” Thus did Lionel Shriver, an American author, damn a commitment made by the British arm of Penguin Random House, a publisher, that “its new hires and the books it acquires reflect UK society by 2025.” A conscious effort to ensure diversity is, says Ms Shriver, wholly incompatible with the publisher’s raison d’être of acquiring and publishing good works of literature. If an agent were to receive a manuscript from a “gay transgender Caribbean who dropped out of school at seven and powers around town on a mobility scooter” it would be published, even if its quality were execrable, warned Ms Shriver.

Her screed suggests that the unthinking application of political correctness (PC), in this case in the form of a diversity target, will threaten liberal, Western culture and produce small-minded individuals. Like some of Ms Shriver’s previous interventions on this topic, this one was met with outrage online, with thousands of tweets and column-inches devoted to criticising the author.

Welcome to the culture wars. Welcome to “political correctness gone too far”.

The notion that political correctness has “gone mad” is familiar to anyone who follows even vaguely any aspect of modern political or cultural life. The phrase, ostensibly referring to language or action that is designed to avoid offence or harm to protected groups, has become a sharp criticism. It is synonymous with a sort of cultural McCarthyism, usually committed by the left.

In its modern iteration, it pops up in a couple of different forms. First, there is the use of the word “snowflake” to criticise younger generations—those more likely to be in favour of affirmative action and gender-neutral bathrooms, for instance, who are perceived as thin-skinned and less resilient than their forebears. The second invocation of PC gone mad is “freedom of speech”: specifically the idea that the use and enforcement of politically correct language will endanger it and by extension freedom of thought.

Regardless of how it is labelled, its underlying idea is the same: that measures to increase “tolerance” threaten the liberal, Enlightenment values that have forged the West. Self-styled opponents of political correctness and proponents of free speech may find themselves (mis)quoting Voltaire: “I disapprove what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

When framed like this, it seems utterly reasonable to think that political correctness has the potential to be a menace. Moreover, some aspects of tolerance culture, particularly the actions of students—who frequently draw the ire of such culture warriors—are, in many cases, cloying and precious.

Britain’s National Union of Students, and campus politics generally, is rife with such examples: at one conference, it urged its delegates to use the “jazz hands” motion to express their appreciation, lest the noises made by clapping “trigger” other delegates. Meanwhile Facebook, in its own efforts at tolerance, has made a list of 71 genders from which its users may choose to identify, including genderqueer neutrois and bi-gender. This is farcical and arguably trivialises the very real struggles that transgender individuals face.

However, some easily-dismissed examples aside, the notion that political correctness has gone too far is absurd. That a man who boasts gleefully about grabbing women by their genitals, mocks disabled reporters and stereotypes Muslims as “terrorists” and Mexicans as “rapists” was able to become the leader of the free world should disabuse anyone of that notion. Indeed those who invoke “political correctness” often use it for more cynical means. It is a smoke screen for regressivism.

Let us return to Ms Shriver’s argument. It is untethered from reality. If a “gay transgender Caribbean” primary school dropout were able to gain a book deal with such ease, then where are all of the books by such people? Worse yet, the dichotomy she draws between demographic diversity on the one hand and worthwhile literature on the other implies that writers who are not white and heterosexual produce inferior literature. Moreover, Ms Shriver seems not to have considered that drawing upon the full spectrum of the human experience, particularly by seeking out voices and stories that have been hitherto silenced or under-represented, can only enrich our literature.

It is an illiberal argument masquerading as the opposite. This is common whenever the term “political correctness” is bandied about. Another example comes from Australia’s pugilistic former prime minister, Tony Abbott. During that country’s 2017 plebiscite on marriage equality, Mr Abbott—a devout Catholic, social conservative and ardent ‘No’ campaigner—urged the Australian public: “If you're worried about...freedom of speech, vote no [to single-sex marriage.] If you don't like political correctness, vote no because voting no will help to stop political correctness in its tracks.”

By wilfully conflating several unrelated issues, Abbott managed to frame depriving same-sex couples of the right to marry (and of the rights that accompany it) as a bold and defiant declaration of freedom. That “stopping political correctness” was, for him, not only synonymous with but contingent upon the continued subjugation of certain minorities, indicates the illiberalism in which anti-PC reactionaries are steeped.

Not only is “political correctness” invoked to reinforce prejudices, it is often simplistic and reductive. A 22% increase in knife-crime in England and Wales, largely concentrated in London, has seen alarmist headlines about London’s murder rate eclipsing that of New York’s (true only if one squints hard enough at very particular statistics.) The reasons for this are complicated, but largely to do with significant cuts to the police (whose numbers have fallen by nearly 20% since 2010) and also other social services: in the absence of youth services and clubs, for example, children are more vulnerable to recruitment from gangs. Many experts, including Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick, see this through the lens of public health, in which strategies for prevention are needed, not just enforcement.

For opponents of political correctness this is another consequence of political correctness run amok—and another convenient excuse to attack the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. During her tenure as Home Secretary, Theresa May (hardly a bleeding heart) rightfully placed significant restrictions on the use of the policing tactic known as “stop and search,” which disproportionately targeted ethnic minorities. There was no evidence that it reduced crime in any statistically significant way. However, the reactionaries ploughed on, impervious to facts, with right-wing media outlets such as the Sun and the Daily Telegraph calling for the return of stop-and-search to restore order on London streets.

These phenomena—invoking “political correctness” as a fig-leaf for naked prejudice, and in spite of evidence to the contrary—find their most troubling embodiment in political figures like Donald Trump and Nigel Farage. Mr Trump once stated that “the problem [America] has is being politically correct,” and sees himself as a corrective to that. Mr Farage, too, sees himself as a crusader against political correctness.

Both consider themselves to be “taking back” their respective countries from a varied cast of bogeymen: among them elitists, social justice warriors, Muslims and immigrants. Both seem to want to undermine the very institutions that preserve our rights and liberties.

At best, the notion of political correctness having gone too far is intellectually dishonest; a fallacy similar to a straw-man argument or an ad hominem attack. At worst, it serves as a rallying cry to cover up the excesses of the most illiberal in our society.

SOURCE


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Voltaren (diclofenac) gives you heart attacks -- or does it?

Alternative U.S. brand names: Cambia, Cataflam, Zipsor, Zorvolex.

Between 1970 and 1990, I spent 20 years energetically involved in psychological research, with over 200 papers published in the academic journals to show for it eventually.  I stopped doing it and turned to studies of history instead when I became convinced that I was just about the only one doing serious psychological research.  I concluded that almost all of my colleagues were just playing clever games.  They were routinely failing to take the basic methodological precautions -- such as random sampling -- that that would enable their results to have any degree of generalizibility.

Now many years later that conclusion has been resoundingly confirmed by the "replication crisis" -- the finding that up to 70% of the findings from psychological research failed to show up again when the relevant research was repeated, which was a complete blow to any claims of generalibility for the research findings concerned.

From quite early on, however, I had always had an interest in medical research.  I assumed that with the stakes being higher there the level of caution in the research would be better.  I even contributed a few papers to the medical literature myself.  And from 2005 to 2014  I ran a blog that took critical looks at the latest medical research.  I again found what I had found in psychological research -- a great lack of the precautions which would give you any confidence in the findings.  In fact, psychological research seemed more robust, in that larger effect sizes were generally demonstrated.  The tiniest effect in medical research seems to generate vast claims.  And the replication crisis has hit medical research too -- confirming that most medical findings are not representative of reality either.

And I am afraid that the latest piece of research (below) that I look at is just as hopeless. The authors did a lot of work and had available an excellent body of data but they took almost no methodological precautions whatever.  For epidemiological research to be assigned any confidence, alternative explanations for its correlations have to be ruled out.  That can never be conclusively done but reasonable confidence can be reached.  And at a minimum the Big Five personality variables have to be controlled for plus the big seven demographic variables (Race, sex, age, education, income, IQ and self-assigned social class).  Any one of those factors can intrude into the findings.

Needless to say, I know of NOT ONE piece of medical research which has used all those controls.  One might have hoped that many studies would at least have incorporated controls for the big two demographics -- Income (where poverty has wide-ranging negative effect on health) and IQ (where high IQ has wide-ranging positive effects on health).  I know of only one study where those two variable were considered -- as part of a wide range of demographic variables. That study found that IQ accounted for more of the variance than all of the rest of the demographics put together.  So the importance of basic controls is beyond dispute.

The study below is also epidemiological.  It is an "emulated trial design" so displayed some caution but is almost totally lacking in real controls.  And, as such, one or more pesky "third" factors could have intruded into the results. The authors seem to have been so excited by the wonderful statistics made available to them by the authoritarian Danish state, that they abandoned basic caution.  Not even demographic controls seem to have been applied.

The issue with this study, as with many epidemiological studies, is to ask WHO it was who fell into the target group.  WHY did some people take Voltaren while other people took other drugs?  What put people into the category of Voltaren users?  Were they, for instance, poor people?  The study authors are silent on such questions.  Had they showed a reasonable level of research caution, they would at least have looked at the demographics for Voltaren use.  Had they found that Voltaren users were mostly poor people, we could have concluded that the study was just one of many which routinely show poor people to have worse health.  The absence of such information means, I am sorry to say, that the results are uninterpretable.

I know nothing about how Voltaren is perceived in Denmark and who takes it.  My only stay in Denmark lasted only for a matter of hours.  But I can offer an hypothesis for what lay behind the study results below based on my knowledge of how Voltaren is perceived in Australia, where I happily live.

And a crucial (and correct) thing that everybody tells you here  is that you cannot use Voltaren for much more than a week without risking an upset stomach.  And so good middle class people like me observe that warning. If we take it at all we take it only briefly.  But medical warnings often go in one ear and out the other, particularly -- you guessed it -- among poor people.  So I guess that Voltaren is used at some sort of conventional rate by incautious people, whereas more cautious (smarter?) people use other drugs.

So I suspect that the bad health outcomes in Voltaren users reflect the characteristics of its users rather than the characteristics of the drug.  There is no way of separating the two interpretations


Diclofenac use and cardiovascular risks: series of nationwide cohort studies

Morten Schmidt et al.

Abstract

Objective: To examine the cardiovascular risks of diclofenac initiation compared with initiation of other traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, initiation of paracetamol, and no initiation.

Design: Series of 252 nationwide cohort studies, each mimicking the strict design criteria of a clinical trial (emulated trial design).

Setting: Danish, nationwide, population based health registries (1996-2016).

Participants: Individuals eligible for inclusion were all adults without malignancy; schizophrenia; dementia; or cardiovascular, kidney, liver, or ulcer diseases (that is, with low baseline risk). The study included 1 370 832 diclofenac initiators, 3 878 454 ibuprofen initiators, 291 490 naproxen initiators, 764 781 healthcare seeking paracetamol initiators matched by propensity score, and 1 303 209 healthcare seeking non-initiators also matched by propensity score.

Main outcome measures: Cox proportional hazards regression was used to compute the intention to treat hazard ratio (as a measure of the incidence rate ratio) of major adverse cardiovascular events within 30 days of initiation.

Results: The adverse event rate among diclofenac initiators increased by 50% compared with non-initiators (incidence rate ratio 1.5, 95% confidence interval 1.4 to 1.7), 20% compared with paracetamol or ibuprofen initiators (both 1.2, 1.1 to 1.3), and 30% compared with naproxen initiators (1.3, 1.1 to 1.5). The event rate for diclofenac initiators increased for each component of the combined endpoint (1.2 (1.1 to 1.4) for atrial fibrillation/flutter, 1.6 (1.3 to 2.0) for ischaemic stroke, 1.7 (1.4 to 2.0) for heart failure, 1.9 (1.6 to 2.2) for myocardial infarction, and 1.7 (1.4 to 2.1) for cardiac death) as well as for low doses of diclofenac, compared with non-initiators. Although the relative risk of major adverse cardiovascular events was highest in individuals with low or moderate baseline risk (that is, diabetes mellitus), the absolute risk was highest in individuals with high baseline risk (that is, previous myocardial infarction or heart failure). Diclofenac initiation also increased the risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding at 30 days, by approximately 4.5-fold compared with no initiation, 2.5-fold compared with initiation of ibuprofen or paracetamol, and to a similar extent as naproxen initiation.

Conclusions: Diclofenac poses a cardiovascular health risk compared with non-use, paracetamol use, and use of other traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

SOURCE 

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The "ethnocentrism" fraud

Most  psychologists are Left-leaning, and leftists have an enormous talent for seeing only what they want to see, so we can be sure that psychological theories will show Leftists in a good light and conservatives in a bad light.

And, as we know only too well, race is a central Leftist obsession. They never stop talking about race and racism. American Leftists in the days of the Ku Klux Klan were very anti-black.  The Klansmen were Democrats, as were segregationists Orval Forbus and George Wallace.

But when the atrocities of Hitler made anti-minority thinking odious, the Left abandoned that orientation, though it hung on in the South for a while.  So what did the Left do when anti black attitudes became unfashionable?  Did they abandon all talk of race and focus on something else. No way!  With "affirmative action" and so on they did a rapid about-turn and became anti-white. They just love simple formulas and categorizing all sorts of different people in terms of race was too sweeping a formula for them to let go

And Leftist psychologists made it even simpler.  They invented the concept of "ethnocentrism" -- which was a claim that you disliked "outgroups" because you were strongly attached to your own "ingroup".  So all patriots were suspect racists.  The Left hate patriots because the Left want to tear society down while patriots want to preserve it.

So it was an enormously convenient simplification if white racism could be traced to patriots. Leftists routinely accuse conservatives of simplistic thinking but if you want to know what Leftists are like, just look at what they say about conservatives.

And all that came out in 1950 in the form of a big book called "The authoritarian personality" under the lead authorship of prominent Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno. Adorno et al. had to allow that some patriotism could be OK but it was under a cloud generally.

But the ethnocentrism theory is false. Leftist psychologists just assumed it.  The only "proof" they had for it was that they could find some aggressive expressions of patriotism and some aggressive expressions of racism which correlated with one another among freshman students -- forming a reliable "scale". But at no time did they try to sample normal expressions of patriotism and normal expressions of racial attitudes and see if those two types of attitude were correlated. *

So I did that. I did it repeatedly in fact.  And I always used proper general population samples, not available groups of students. And I always got the same result:  Patriotism and racism were unrelated. Some patriots disliked blacks but roughly equal numbers of patriots did not dislike blacks.  You could not predict from knowing a person's degree of patriotism what he would think of blacks

So far in  my writings I have been content to point that out as it decisively explodes the central Leftist explanation for racism.  But I now think I can go further.  I think I can explain WHY Leftists cling to that falsehood.  They believe it because that is the way they think. They judge others by themselves. They hate the achievements of whites and they also hate patriots.  It is THEY who are ethnocentric -- but in a negative way.  They are generally hostile.  And that goes all the way back to Karl Marx.  Marx hated everybody, including his own mother.  It's in part his unwaveringly hostile tone that makes him an enjoyable study to the Left.

Instead of loving their ingroup Leftists hate it and they also hate those who thwart their goal of "fundamentally transforming" their country -- to use Obama's phrase of 2008. Attitudes to an ingroup and attitudes to what they see as an outgroup are strongly correlated among Leftists. Knowing what Leftists say about whites will enable you to make an almost CERTAIN prediction of their attitudes towards patriots. The whole affair is yet another example of my dictum that if you want to know what Leftists are like psychologically, just look at what they say about conservatives. Monolithic thinking is a trait of the Left, not of the Right.

The tendency of people to see their own faults in others is what Freud called "projection". And the Left are great projectors. They hate just about everybody so they think that conservatives do too. They even see patriotism as a form of hate. And many conservative writers these days have woken up to that and often now identify Leftist accusations as projection. A good example is to be found in the recent utterances of Hillary Clinton. Most of what she has been saying about Donald Trump would be much more apt as a description of her. I put up an article recently that gave some examples of that.

Her claim that Trump is attacking democracy is a particular howler. Who is attacking democracy?  It wouldn't be the people who refuse to accept as legitimate and proper the result of a properly conducted democratic election in 2016, would it?  It wouldn't be the people who are doing their level best to unwind the result of that election would it? It wouldn't be the collective sore losers of the Left, would it?

REFERENCE: Adorno,T.W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D.J. & Sanford, R.N. (1950) The authoritarian personality. New York: Harper.

* It is however of considerable interest that anthropologist Elizabeth Cashdan used  published  codes  and  data  collected for the standard cross-cultural sample of 186 societies to look at both ethnic loyalty and xenophobia.  She concludes: "If interethnic hostility is the flip side of intraethnic loyalty, the two should be strongly correlated and have the same determinants. Neither is the case".



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Climate Change Is About to Transform Earth Into an Unrecognizable, Alien Landscape (?)

And pigs might fly.  When Warmists start getting their prophecies right will be the time to take notice of them.

It is true that warming, if it happens, would have some effect.  It might make more places on earth like my old home of Cairns in tropical Australia, where the average summer temperature is much higher than any average Warmists predict for the earth.  But Cairns is a tourist destination and people move there to live.  Warm climates are great!


Cairns used to be the port for a rich agricultural hinterland but these days the main industry is tourism.  The big international jets roar into Cairns international airport throughout the day, delivering their consignments of tourists -- mostly Japanese and Chinese.  Cairns even has omiyage shops specifically for Japanese tourists

But there are lots of sharks and crocodiles and other nasty beasties in the tropics so warming might require more people to learn how to keep safe from them


Within the next 100 years, Earth as we know it *could be* transformed into an unrecognizable, alien world, with ecosystems around the globe falling apart. After looking at over 500 ancient climate records, scientists have said current climate change is comparable to what the planet went through when it came out of the last ice age—and the seismic shift in biodiversity that took place then will likely happen again.

At the end of the Last Glacial Maximum—when ice sheets covered most of North America, Asia and northern Europe—the planet warmed up by between four and seven degrees Celsius. Over the course of 10,000 years, the ice melted and entirely new ecosystems emerged, eventually developing into what we see today.

Climate scientists are currently predicting that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate (the so-called "business as usual" scenario) then the planet will have warmed around four degrees Celsius by 2100.

In a study published in Science, an international team of researchers looked at hundreds of paleontological records, examining how terrestrial ecosystems responded to climate change 20,000 years ago in a bid to establish how the planet might adjust to similar warming in the next 100 to 150 years. They looked at potential changes using different climate scenarios—from warming being limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius through to business-as-usual.

Findings showed that unless there are huge reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, terrestrial ecosystems around the world are at risk of “major transformation,” with most of these changes taking place over the next 100 years.

“Terrestrial vegetation over the entire planet is at substantial risk of major compositional and structural changes in the absence of markedly reduced [greenhouse gas] emissions,” they wrote. “Much of this change could occur during the 21st century, especially where vegetation disturbance is accelerated or amplified by human impacts. Many emerging ecosystems will be novel in composition, structure, and function, and many will be ephemeral under sustained climate change; equilibrium states may not be attained until the 22nd century or beyond.”

Study co-author Jonathan Overpeck, from the University of Michigan, said there will be a huge ricochet effect that will eventually threaten water and food security. "If we allow climate change to go unchecked, the vegetation of this planet is going to look completely different than it does today, and that means a huge risk to the diversity of the planet," he said in a statement.

"We're talking about global landscape change that is ubiquitous and dramatic, and we're already starting to see it in the United States, as well as around the globe. Our study provides yet another wake-up call that we need to act now to move rapidly towards an emission-free global economy."

SOURCE

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Explaining the leptokurtic distribution of female IQ

The normal or Gaussian distribution is a mathematical construct which shows most instances of anything as being clustered around the mean (average).   A remarkable thing about it, however, is that most natural phenomena tend to scatter in that pattern.  The normal distribution really is normal!

A normal distribution is however rather "fat".  It covers a fair range.  There is a pic of one below



And male IQ follows that pattern fairly closely.  The female IQ does not quite follow that pattern, however.  It is leptokurtic, meaning narrower.  It is not so spread out. See the example below:



So we don't have to explain the male distribution.  It is normal.  What we have to explain is why the female distribution is narrower. And that seems fairly easy to me.  No algebra is required!  Men are very uniform in what they like in a woman.  A lot of it is physical: Long legs, a slim figure, some bosom, long hair etc. If a lady with those characteristics is kind to a man he will be in love! And high IQ in a woman is not a big priority for men. It may even be a negative for some.

So women have evolved to maximize the fairly narrow range of things that men like, with other characteristics falling by the wayside -- including IQ.  Men have made women less varied.  Won't the feminists like to hear that!

So how does male selectivity explain the low frequency of really dumb women?  That is pretty straightforward.  Men require some minimal level of IQ in order to find a woman attractive.  So women below that level will not mate and not reproduce.  Men have also set the lower bound of female intelligence

So how do we account for the fact that dumb men seem to proliferate without restriction?  Should not the general female preference for high IQ cause such men to die out? I dealt with that yesterday but I think I should repeat my remarks here for the sake of convenience.

The fact that low IQ women are often FAT comes into it a lot in our society but the handicaps that low IQ women have will of course vary from society to society.

In summary, I think we have to conclude that quite dumb men can still be of some use to some women. How?  In all mate selection, what you will overlook as well as what you get is important. And some women will apparently overlook low IQ.  I suspect that it is a simple case of similarities attracting.  Low IQ women will be attracted to low IQ men even if the IQ levels are not exactly the same.  Low IQ women take what they can get in order to reproduce and low IQ men get some acceptance that way.  The very strong female urge to have babies drowns out other considerations. And that is in fact one thing we do clearly know about low IQ women:  They do have lots of babies.  And it is their babies that pump up the low IQ male population

So we have to look not only at what men and women like but also what they will do without.   I remember a related phenomenon well.  I have done a lot of things in my life and I once ran a large boarding house in a poor area.  It was very instructive in a number of ways, not all of them bad.

And one thing I remember is the partnerships I observed among my clientele and their friends.  In particular, I observed that even pumpkin-shaped women had partners.  Fat is a huge social handicap so how did they manage that?  By being very tolerant, by overlooking a lot.  Their partner might be a boozy, smoky, scrawny loser but he was a male -- and the pair did seem to be reasonably supportive of one-another most of the time.  Both were aware of their low level of attractiveness and felt glad to have someone, anyone, in their lives of the opposite sex. -- JR

UPDATE

A reader offers another explanation:  "I believe the simple explanation for the narrower range of females in general is to do with the XX chromosomes they have. There are relatively less genes on the male Y chromosome than the X.  In many cases this means men have nothing to balance any bad genes on the X Chromosome they get from their mother. Basically this means men get to throw one die whereas women get to throw two.  The distribution reflects this"


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The leptokurtic distribution of IQ in women is due to sexual selection

OK.  I will translate that into plain English.  The academic article below has become immensely controversial because of foolish feminist attempts to suppress it (They have in fact assured it of widespread attention) -- so I will just try to translate the controversial part.

For a start, I disagree with the article.  I think it assumes what it has to prove.  It starts with what may be a true premise: That women in general are fussy maters.  They are much more fussy than men about who they will partner with long term. That's the "sexual selection" part.

And the "leptokurtic" part refers to the fact that female IQ scores tend to be bunched around the average, with few very dumb women and few very bright women when compared to men.  That's the bit that fires feminists up with rage. That there are fewer women than men at the top of the IQ range is totally against their ideology.  They are, however, barking at the moon in their rage -- because the leptokurtic distribution of IQ among females has been found repeatedly for around 100 years.  It is as firm a finding as any in science.  It is a fact and no objecting to it will make it go away.  So they are wasting their breath in condemning it.

But, given the finding, where do we go from there?  The theory below is heavily mathematical and I cheerfully admit that I am a mathematical dunce.  I get by but only barely. So, maybe I have got the theory below all wrong, but what I get from it is that women will only accept the upper end of male desirability.  Low desirability males will never find a reproductive partner.  The theory then goes on to assume that desirable men come from a more varied distribution and that mating with them will reinforce that varied distribution.

That seems nuts to me.  As far as I can see, the only effect of women discriminating heavily in favour of desirable men should be to raise the average level of desirability.

The authors below set out their basic premise as follows:

"In a species with two sexes A and B, both of which are needed for reproduction, suppose that sex A is relatively selective, i.e., will mate only with a top tier (less than half ) of B candidates. Then from one generation to the next, among subpopulations of B with comparable average attributes, those with greater variability will tend to prevail over those with lesser variability. Conversely, if A is relatively non-selective, accepting all but a bottom fraction (less than half ) of the opposite sex, then subpopulations of B with lesser variability will tend to prevail over those with comparable means and greater variability"

So I think their very starting point is wrong.  Where they say: "those with greater variability will tend to prevail over those with lesser variability", I would say that "variability will gradually decline".  I would be delighted if someone could explain where I am wrong.

Abstract only below.  Full article at the link


An Evolutionary Theory for the Variability Hypothesis

Theodore P. Hill

Abstract

An elementary mathematical theory based on “selectivity” is proposed to address a question raised by Charles Darwin, namely, how one gender of a sexually dimorphic species might tend to evolve with greater variability than the other gender. Briefly, the theory says that if one sex is relatively selective then from one generation to the next, more variable subpopulations of the opposite sex will tend to prevail over those with lesser variability; and conversely, if a sex is relatively non-selective, then less variable subpopulations of the opposite sex will tend to prevail over those with greater variability. This theory makes no assumptions about differences in means between the sexes, nor does it presume that one sex is selective and the other non-selective. Two mathematical models are presented: a discrete-time one-step statistical model using normally distributed fitness values; and a continuous-time deterministic model using exponentially distributed fitness levels.



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Yes, You Can Blame Bad Storms on Climate Change. The question is no longer an unanswerable hypothetical (?)

Fickling and Flam below are echoing yet again the claim that you CAN tie individual storms to global warming.  They don't mention that such claims are all the results of modelling, which is intrinsically unreliable, particularly in biased hands. And, unlike some modelling, the claims cannot be checked against reality so are not science.  They are all just Fickling and Flam.

Fickling makes an interesting claim: "The science behind these studies is relatively new, but draws on long-established methods. “These are techniques that climate scientists stole from epidemiologists and public health researchers,” says Sophie Lewis, a research fellow at the University of New South Wales"

That is an unfortunate admission indeed.  Fickling and Lewis are obviously unaware of the replication crisis in medical and psychological research -- a crisis which stems from the fact that such research CAN be tested for realism.  And it has been found in up to 70% of cases to be unreplicable. Doing the same experiment twice, the second experiement gives quite different results from the first experiment. With true claims you would get the same result on both occasions

And if that is true of the more rigorous research in those fields, what does it say about the credibility of the more speculative, epidemiological research? Anybody who is inclined to think that epidemiological conclusions are reliable should read John Brignell's hefty book, "The epidemiologists: Have they got scares for you!".  Brignell goes through hundreds of epidemiological studies and shows they are rubbish.

And you don't actually need Brignell to show you that.  Epidemiological studies in medicine produce such different conclusions about the same question that from time to time you have meta-analytic studies, such as the Cochrane studies, which endeavour to separate the wheat from the chaff.  And the studies on any given topic are often so weak that the Cochrane researchers don't even consider most of them.  They usually find only a small number -- as few as four out of a hundred or more -- studies that offer useful evidence.  And even there the final conclusions are often tentative

And the now debunked but but sometimes still heard claim that red meat and fat are particularly bad for you came out of epidemiological research by Ancel Keys and others.

So if you think climate studies are better than that I've got this great bridge I want to sell you


There’s a familiar refrain that goes up when extreme weather events bear down on population centers, as Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut are now doing in the western Atlantic and Pacific Oceans: While carbon emissions from human activity may be causing a general warming, it’s impossible to draw a direct link between any one event and climate change.

That’s a comforting thought. Droughts, hurricanes, floods and heatwaves have been a feature of the global climate since long before humans walked the earth. Who’s to say whether this latest round of disasters is a result of our industrial and agricultural practices, or simply the normal weather variations of a chaotic atmosphere?

As my colleague Faye Flam wrote this week, there’s a natural tendency to assign blame in the wake of terrible events, and the answer to the question is often more complicated than a simple yes or no. At the same time, it’s no longer right to suggest that attribution is an unanswerable hypothetical, like pondering how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. We know a great deal about it — and the answers are troubling.

Studies of the European heatwaves that have become an almost annual occurrence in recent years have shown that they were several times more likely to happen as a result of climate change, for instance. The odds of the coral bleaching suffered by the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 were 175 times greater than they’d have been without human-induced emissions. And three anomalous warm spells in 2016 would have been impossible in a preindustrial climate, according to papers published this year in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

The science behind these studies is relatively new, but draws on long-established methods. “These are techniques that climate scientists stole from epidemiologists and public health researchers,” says Sophie Lewis, a research fellow at the University of New South Wales.

Researchers use computer models of the climate and run thousands of simulations to establish the odds of events happening at current and preindustrial concentrations of atmospheric carbon. The level of accuracy has risen drastically in recent years as computing power has increased, the number of people working in the field has gone up, and an expanding volume of weather data, climate modelling and extreme events has produced more information to work with.

Importantly for a scientific field, where falsifiability is essential, it’s often the case that no link can be proved. In 35 percent of the 131 peer-reviewed studies published in the American Meteorological Society’s annual reviews of extreme event attribution since 2011, no connection to climate change could be demonstrated.

Floods in Chennai in 2015 and an Indian heatwave the following year had no clear tie to climate change, according to studies published by the World Weather Attribution Project, a scientists’ group. Cold snaps in North America and Europe in 2017 were probably less likely than they’d otherwise have been thanks to human emissions — because the atmosphere is getting warmer, after all. Droughts in the horn of Africa between 2015 and 2017 also showed no clear link to climate change and may in some cases have been less likely, although the water shortage in Cape Town last year was about 3.3 times more probable.

There are still widely varying degrees of accuracy that can be achieved. Large, long-lasting events like heatwaves and cold snaps have become so well understood that researchers are increasingly not focusing their attention on them. “That’s established science now, so it would be like a public health journal publishing on the risks of smoking,” says Lewis.

More complex, short-term events like storms and high winds can be harder to analyze — though even there, the rains that inundated Houston during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 are reckoned to have been three times as likely thanks to climate change.

“For extreme short-timescale rainfall it is very easy to show a link,” said David Karoly, leader of the earth systems and climate change hub at Australia’s National Environmental Science Program. “As the temperature rises, the atmosphere holds more moisture, which is likely to lead to changes in the amount of rainfall.”

While analyses of events in the early 2000s could take more than a year, they’re increasingly now being done in real time, too. One study published last week attempted to isolate the climate-change impact of Hurricane Florence in advance, estimating that it would be stronger and drop 50 percent more rainfall than if it had hit in a preindustrial climate.

The results of this don’t just matter to scientists and climate campaigners. Insurers have a natural interest in the odds of disastrous events, and have been collecting data on extreme weather for decades. The Actuaries Climate Index, a study of anomalous weather events in the U.S. and Canada dating back to the early 1960s, has shown a marked rising trend in recent years that ought to give insurers and reinsurers pause in considering how to protect against future risks.

We’d think it bizarre to state that there’s no link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, even though causation in individual cases is impossible to prove. In the same way, we should drop the comforting belief that the origins of individual weather disasters are mysterious and unknowable. Over the coming years, more and more extreme events will happen — and scientists will grow increasingly sure of our role in causing them.

SOURCE

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Nationalism has been a dirty word for too long

Melanie Phillips (below) uses "nationalism" to mean pride in national identity and characteristics.  In that sense, nationalism is not a problem.  Many people, however, including myself, use "nationalism" in Orwell's sense, to mean a desire for one's own nation to conquer other nations.  Hitler, Stalin and Americans in the "Progressive" era were nationalists in Orwell's sense while Scottish nationalists are nationalists in Melanie's sense.  It is important to be aware of the distinction.

In Melanie's sense, nationalism is just an assertive form of patriotism, which is a normal human feeling.  Humans do tend to identify with groups to which they belong.  Note how football fans talk about "our" team and how "we" won or lost.  If you dislike that you are at odds with most of the human race

And the common Leftist claim embodied in the term "ethnocentrism" is simply false. Being in favour of your own group does NOT commit you to being against outsiders. Many times in my research career, I asked people their opinion about various outsider groups -- blacks, Jews etc. -- and also asked them about their feelings about their own country: patriotism. The two types of attitude were always uncorrelated (See e.g. here and here). Knowing how patriotic you were enabled NO prediction of your liking or disliking any given outsider group. Given that lack of correlation, patriotism does not CAUSE racial antagonism. Nor does nationalism in Melanie's sense

Nationalism in Orwell's sense seems mainly to be caused by the Leftist will to power.  Democrat presidents got reluctant Americans into both world wars and Vietnam.  George Bush invaded Iraq only in response to an attack on America.  Germany and Vietnam did NOT attack America before America went to war with them.  There is no particular need to explain a response to attack but invading another country does require explanation.  The great invasion of C20 was undoubtedly Hitler's invasion of Russia.  And Hitler too was a socialist with a very distinct will to power


The concept of the nation state is vilified but it is essential for personal freedom and democracy

Nationalism needs to sack its PR agency. As a political creed, it is widely deemed to be synonymous with fascism, Nazism, bigotry, war and the Holocaust. The Brexit vote, the rise of nationalist parties across Europe and the election of Donald Trump are said to exemplify "nativism" — which paints nationalism as a form of xenophobic racism — and to augur the arrival in the West of a new dark age of repression.

Now, a thinker has stuck his head into the very jaws of the lion by arguing that, on the contrary, nationalism is the bulwark of liberty and democracy. Yoram Hazony, an Israeli philosopher, is the founder and former head of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. This liberal arts college set out to challenge the failure of Israeli universities to teach the core texts underpinning Jewish identity and western civilisation.

Such failure is rooted in the default belief among progressive intellectuals in Britain, America and the rest of the West that their culture is innately racist and exploitative and that the nation state is responsible for all the ills of the world. This belief emerged in response to Nazism in Germany. That was ascribed to nationalism, said in turn to be a near-inevitable outgrowth of the western nation state. Undermine or circumscribe the nation state and you would abolish bigotry, hatred and war.

There are many different definitions of nationalism. In his new book, The Virtue of Nationalism, Hazony defines it as "a principled standpoint that regards the world as governed best when nations are able to chart their own independent course, cultivating their own traditions, and pursuing their own interests without interference". The alternative, he says, is imperialism, which is inherently tyrannical through seeking to unite mankind under a single political regime.

Under the imperialist heading, Hazony includes liberalism, the EU and the postwar American "world order", which sought to impose western legal norms through the global exercise of US military might.

By contrast, the mutual loyalties at the heart of the nation state, based on shared traditions of language, religion, law, culture and other characteristics, provide "the only known foundation" for tolerance and diversity, free institutions and individual liberties.

So, what about Nazi Germany? Hazony argues that Germany was not so much a nation state as a classic imperial power because it wanted to conquer all of Europe. A true nation state, he suggests, inherently requires limited borders because it is based upon the particularities of cultural identity. It’s demonstrably the case that bigotry or intolerance are not confined to the nationalist right. Universalist ideologies such as liberalism, Marxism and Islam have been shown to inflame vicious hatred against those who oppose them.

Some European nationalists do have troubling associations with Nazi or racist ideologies. Others are simply fighting to defend their national identity and culture against erosion by the combination of liberal "imperialists" and mass immigration. Yet all are demonised equally. This has resulted in a lethal confusion. People are entitled to want to live in societies that identify with a common heritage and goals. Yet this is now treated as racist, "nativist" and illegitimate by virtually the entire political mainstream.

In Britain and America, the Brexit and Trump phenomena constitute a mass revolt against this vilification of national identity. In Europe, millions of similarly disenfranchised decent citizens are voting for new parties offering them an end to mass immigration, along with a pledge to resist Islamisation and to defend their national identity.

Some of these parties do give cause for legitimate concern on account of some of their historical connections. Some supporters may be motivated by racism or anti-Muslim prejudice. In other words, racists, fascists and bigots may be piggy-backing on the frustration of those with a legitimate desire to preserve western culture. Their motivation, however, is not the same. Millions want to defend western national identity based on tolerance, liberty and one law for all. These values are threatened by mass immigration and multiculturalism.

Fascists or white supremacists don’t want to stop immigration in order to preserve western decencies. They are motivated instead by hatred of others, lust for power and denial of the core principles of civilised society. The disturbing thing, though, is that because all nationalism is equally damned as unconscionable, increasing numbers feel they have no alternative but to vote for such parties, however noxious they may be.

If the nation state fails to survive, western society will revert to premodern tribalism: group fighting group for power and supremacy and deploying coercive measures to stifle opposition.

We can already see this happening. The onslaught by liberal universalists on the nation state has produced totalitarian identity politics, victim culture and brazen antisemitism once again stalking the corridors of Britain and Europe. Far from preventing bigotry and intolerance, the delegitimisation of the nation state and the corresponding demoralisation of western culture has in fact fomented them.

The desire of the vast majority to uphold their historic culture and identity, with democratically elected legislatures passing laws reflecting that shared national project, is not a route to the destruction of liberty, tolerance and decency. It is, in fact, the only way to defend them.

SOURCE

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An extremely abusive Warmist

An Andrew Lane (aslane1@asu.edu), who claims a Master of Sustainable Solutions from  Arizona State University, put up an abusive comment on Marc Morano's site.  Morano and various other skeptics thought the writer was so abusive that they wondered if it might not be a put-up job designed to get an unwise reaction from us.

So Tony Heller replied to the guy and a long correspondence resulted. Tony offered to debate anyone from the ASU on global warming and the historical climate statistics.

Lane was not able to nominate anyone for such a debate but continued to spout the vilest abuse at Tony.  Tony of course repeatedly replied with the greatest moderation. A sample of the abuse:


You Ass Wipes are so determined to be Regressive Retards and Scientifically Illiterate. I have BCCed the entire ASU School of Sustainability here to see if anyone wants to set up such a debate with Clowns like you both. Your blatant ignorant statements like the most ice on Earth was at the highest CO2 content and the least amount of ice was at the lowest amount of CO2 proves quite well that you are so stupid...trying again and again your best to keep folks stuck on stupid. Dazed and confused.

You both are so fixated on such clear Bull Shit I’m not sure there is much point in debating you. All one has to do to see how much BS you all are Pedaling is watch the film “Merchants of Doubt”. That is Marc Morono in person. No If, Ands, or Buts about it. That’s all you guys are. Liars and Deniers. Willing to pedal bull shit for money I suppose!

There is some hope that you Ass Hats will wake up and smell the Pollution, but I doubt it. Some Klansman wake up and mend twisted thinking, but you all may be past help with your enormous ignorance!  Your little Moronic Comrade is so funny claiming that I am the one being dupped by “Merchants of Doubt”! Just watching the Trailer where your Stupid Sap Sister Steve Milloy says, "Dioxins, Pesticides, Chemicals in General, there is no evidence that these are harming us"! Grab up Stevie and Morono and you all go huff on some Dioxins and see how you feel. Maybe you can ingest some Gamma Ray Uranium too to top it off.


Note that Lane is only semi-literate. He writes "pedal" when he means "peddle". Yet both are common words.

Anyway, Tony eventually wrote to the Geology Dept. at ASU and got this reply from Whitney Love of the MSUS program:

Andrew does not represent the rest of us at the School of Sustainability. Please accept this as an apology, on SOS's and Andrew's behalf

So it seems that there really is a little fountain of hate called Andrew Lane.  His frantic abuse does sound like a work of desperation.  If I may put my psychologist's hat on, I suspect that it really is himself that he is trying to convince -- JR.

UPDATE:  I entered into a subsequent correspondence with Mr Lane and pointed out that CO2 molecules don't have little timers or other control mechanisms in them so that as soon as they get into the atmosphere CO2 molecules do immediately whatever it is that they do.

But there have been long periods where CO2 levels have risen without any corresponding rise in global temperatures -- e.g. 1945 to 1975 and the first 14 years of C21.  So, clearly, CO2 levels do NOT influence temperature.

He saw the point of that but had no answer to it.  He still decided however that he was going to stick with the "consensus" -- thus showing that his views were not scientific ones

I stopped opening his emails shortly after that


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Is feminist hate and anger justified?

Prominent American feminist Robin Morgan thinks it is justified. One of her well-known sayings is: "The oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them."

That does make some sense.  If someone was oppressing you, you might well hate them. Though Christians of course would say "Turn the other cheek".

So what are the problems with that saying as it applies to feminists?  One problem is that chronic hostility is bad for your heart.  It leads to a greater risk of heart attacks and is probably bad for your mental health as well.

The major problem, however is the assumption that a particular group is being oppressed.  Before they became open elitists, Leftists were always of the view that the workers were oppressed and that they should "cast off their chains".  And the lesser income of the workers gave that some plausibility.  One needs fairly elborate arguments to dispute that claim.

But is that the case with women?  Are women oppressed?  Feminists wholeheartedly think so but are they right?  The formal evidence most often  advanced is the lower average pay of female employees.  But there have been any number of demonstrations that the lower pay of women is wholly due, not to injustice but to the different choices men and women make.  And each sex is of course fully entitled to their divergent choices.

After that, the main evidence put forward by feminsts is anecdotal.  They point to instances when men have treated them badly. But when I look at such instances, it seems to me that in many cases the attribution is not clear.  Were you treated badly because you were a women or were you treated badly because of one other of your characteristics?

Many of the women who think they got a bad deal may in fact have been treated badly because they were, for instance, hostile people.  Everybody shies way from hostile people and the woman concerned may have been a feminist.  And feminists are usually readily seen as doing a slow burn. They are not pleasant people.  They are angry people.  As such they bring rejection down on their own heads.

And there are many other reasons that might lead a woman to be rejected. Was she too shy? Did she have bad breath? Did she speak too loudly? Did she speak a lot more than she listened? -- etc. There may still be some organizations that reject women qua women but they would be very rare these days. I have listened to many tales of rejection from women and minorities and it has never been clear to me that the things they complain of are securely attributed. The possibility of false attribution is not even considered usually. For an excellent example of false attribution by a feminist, first read this and then this

A common form of misattribution occurs when a meeting is being held to discuss some issue and the contribution of a woman or women present is ignored.  This is routinely taken as contemptuous of women.  It rarely is.  It is usually a polite form of disagreement.  It may be a way of saying, "That raises too many new issues for us to consider here" or it may be to say, "You are way off beam here but we don't like to criticize you for that".   Silence can be a form of politeness.  It is used in lieu of open criticism.  Women need to learn that.  It is a way of conflict minimization that comes naturally to men.  Women have their own methods that come naturally to them

And what about women being kept out of frontline service in the armed forces?. Obama allowed it. Trump has stopped it. Does that refusal express contempt for women?  Far from it.  It expresses an especially high value for women.  The thinking is that a healthy society protects its mothers.  It does not deliberately expose them to danger.  In a war many men may be lost but if the mothers are safe, the men can be replaced.  So, yes, it is discrimination but it is discrimination with a benevolent aim and effect.

And what about some balance?  Are there some men who treat women more favourably than they would a man?  I think to ask that question is to answer it.  Some men may treat women badly just because they have a low view of women generally but many others find women attractive and as a consequence treat women very well.  So are women oppressed overall?  Many men would argue that women get unfairly FAVORABLE treatment.

I will not dispute that there were once rather wooden-headed ways that society treated women.  They were discriminated against in access to education etc.  But is that true now?  I can't see it.  A majority of university graduates is now female. By the sort of logic feminists use, that would be evidence that men are now discriminated against and that men should now be angry. Fortunately men in general are more mature than that.  They can "take their lumps".

So I think it is clear that women and their feminist minority may once have been oppressed but they are no longer.  Their hate and anger is unjustified and wrong.  At best, they are living in  the past.

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Babies conceived via IVF are SIX TIMES more likely to have high blood pressure as teenagers (?)

As the father of an adult son conceived via IVF, I have some personal interest in this study.  On looking at it in detail, however, I doubt that the results are much cause for concern.  The "sample" size is small, there was apparently no attempt at random sampling and the average differences found are very slight.

Additionally, I cannot see that they have excluded the effects observed as being due to differences in the mothers rather than differences in the method of conception.  The authors claim to have controlled for differences in the mothers but it is not clear to me how to do that.  Mothers who have to resort to IVF would usually have subtle health differences that could have non-obvious effects.  The cause of infertility is quite often rather mysterious but it is there.

And the father cannot be omitted from consideration either. It can often be the father who is infertile (has a low sperm count or deficient sperm motility) and that could have complex ramifications. The father may have broader health problems that are passed on genetically. I presume the authors were careful enough to leave out conceptions due to ICSI, which is a whole different ballgame (no pun intended).

Those objections do however have the character of denying that any research into the method of conception is possible and I do not want to claim that so let us look again at the other problems in the study.  The sample size is not impossibly small but it very much at the low end of what we expect in delivering stable results.  And that doubt is sharpened when we look at the average differences in BP. 120/71, compared to 116/69, is a trivial difference and founding it on a small sample  makes it a trivial finding.

And the criterion for high blood pressure is very severe: more than 130/80.  In normal clinical practice that would count as being within the normal range.

And the lack of random sampling in assembling the study population is a very large lacuna.  Unless you have some evidence that your sample is representative you cannot validly generalize from it.  Hoping or assuming that it is representative reduces the study to a work of faith, not a work of science

So the study is interesting but far from conclusive.  I append the journal abstract


Thousands of children born each year by IVF could be at risk of serious heart problems in later life, a study suggests.

Scientists found signs of 'premature vascular aging' in children as young as 11 who had been conceived as a result of fertility treatment.

And by the age of 16 IVF children were six times more likely to have high blood pressure - a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

The scientists believe how embryos are fertilised and manipulated before they are implanted into a woman's uterus may cause small genetic changes that affect a baby's heart and circulatory system.

They warn that the soaring use of IVF 'may have come at a price' for many children, who could suffer cardiovascular disease as a result.

Children conceived via IVF have higher blood pressure readings

Researchers from University Hospital in Bern, Switzerland, tracked 54 seemingly healthy children who had been born via IVF, and compared them to 43 children born naturally.

They found at age 11 and 12 the IVF children had a 25 per cent narrower brachial artery - the major blood vessel in the arm - and their arteries had thicker walls.

The team then tracked the children for five years. At the age of 16 and 17 the IVF children were far more likely to have developed high blood pressure. They had an average blood pressure of 120/71, compared to 116/69 for the teenagers who had been conceived naturally.

Crucially, eight of those conceived via IVF had developed 'hypertension' - the medical term for high blood pressure, involving a reading of more than 130/80. Only one of the teenagers conceived naturally had hypertension.

The study bolsters the results of previous research which found mice born to IVF had heart problems.

SOURCE

Association of Assisted Reproductive Technologies With Arterial Hypertension During Adolescence

Théo A.Meister MD et al.

Abstract

Background: Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have been shown to induce premature vascular aging in apparently healthy children. In mice, ART-induced premature vascular aging evolves into arterial hypertension. Given the young age of the human ART group, long-term sequelae of ART-induced alterations of the cardiovascular phenotype are unknown.

Objectives: This study hypothesized that vascular alterations persist in adolescents and young adults conceived by ART and that arterial hypertension possibly represents the first detectable clinically relevant endpoint in this group.

Methods: Five years after the initial assessment, the study investigators reassessed vascular function and performed 24-h ambulatory blood pressure (BP) monitoring (ABPM) in 54 young, apparently healthy participants conceived through ART and 43 age- and sex-matched controls.

Results: Premature vascular aging persisted in ART-conceived subjects, as evidenced by a roughly 25% impairment of flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery (p < 0.001) and increased pulse-wave velocity and carotid intima-media thickness. Most importantly, ABPM values (systolic BP, 119.8 ± 9.1 mm Hg vs. 115.7 ± 7.0 mm Hg, p = 0.03; diastolic BP, 71.4 ± 6.1 mm Hg vs. 69.1 ± 4.2 mm Hg, p = 0.02 ART vs. control) and BP variability were markedly higher in ART-conceived subjects than in control subjects. Eight of the 52 ART participants, but only 1 of the 43 control participants (p = 0.041 ART vs. controls) fulfilled ABPM criteria of arterial hypertension (>130/80 mm Hg and/or >95th percentile).

Conclusions: ART-induced premature vascular aging persists in apparently healthy adolescents and young adults without any other detectable classical cardiovascular risk factors and progresses to arterial hypertension. (Vascular Dysfunction in Offspring of Assisted Reproduction Technologies; NCT00837642.)
Central Illustratio

Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Volume 72, Issue 11, 11 September 2018, Pages 1267-1274


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Trump’s newest hire thinks climate science is like Nazi propaganda, says Joe Romm

And he is right about that.  It's a prime example of the Nazi slogan: "Tell a big enough lie often enough and people will believe it"

The screed below from professional Warmist Joe Romm offers no argument that references Nazism -- as I just did. He does not consider the comparison. He just resorts to the old argument of desperation:  "But this is absurd".

So Bastasch in his prior article was a true prophet.  The appointment DID freak out the Warmists.  See below

I have reproduced below only Romm's opening blast.  The rest of his article consists of showing that Warmists disagree with Happer on various things.  Warmism may be Gospel to Romm but skeptics find many holes in it -- so quoting fellow Warmists is convincing only to those who are already believers.  It will convince no-one else

But I can't leave alone one outright falsehood in Romm's article.  He's such a non-scientist that he probably doesn't even know it is a falsehood.  Romm says:

"Yes, more CO2 can help plants grow — if they also get more water and other nutrients".

Enough remains of my long-lost Botany studies to know exactly why that is the reverse of the truth.  What happens under high CO2 conditions is that the plants get their "fix" of CO2 more quickly and so can close the stomata (tiny holes) on their leaves more quickly.  So they lose moisture through open stomata less.  So they can actually get by with LESS water under high CO2 conditions -- quite the opposite of needing more.  But don't take my rough explanation for it.  Check it up in any botany textbook -- probably under "transpiration" or "stomata"

Romm probably thought the relationship between CO2 uptake and water uptake was obvious but science is full of non-obvious truths.  Romm has degrees but no academic publications


President Donald Trump just appointed William Happer for the key job of “senior director for emerging technologies” at the National Security Council.

But Happer literally believes that more carbon pollution “would be a benefit” to humanity, as he wrote in a widely mocked 2013 Wall Street Journal op-ed headlined “In Defense of Carbon Dioxide.”

So much for finding someone who understands that perhaps the most crucial emerging technologies for the security of America and all of humanity involve reducing carbon pollution. Sadly this continues the trend of this administration ceding the biggest job creating sector of the next few decades — clean energy — to the Chinese and Europeans, who are betting tens of billions of dollars on it.

Happer, a Princeton theoretical physicist is one of the most extreme climate science deniers, and someone who directly compared the overwhelming scientific consensus that carbon dioxide causes global warming to Nazi “propaganda.”

“This is George Orwell. This is the ‘Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda,” Happer told The Daily Princetonian in 2009. “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.”

In 2014, he told CNBC, “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler. Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews.”

SOURCE


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Obama bureaucrat critiques Trump health care

Donald M. Berwick (below) makes an intelligently-stated case to the effect that American health care has been damaged by actions of the Trump administration. Like all Leftist writing, however his leaves out half the story.

He is probably right in saying that the administration has been hasty in winding back some aspects of Obamacare but he does not ask why.  His default explanation appears to be that the Trump adminstration is evil, a typically brainless Leftist claim.  What he takes no account of is that the Donks rammed through the ACA legislation with not one skerrick of bipartisan consultation or support.  They treated the GOP and its reservations as beneath contempt.  What did they expect of that?  What they now have to live with is the GOP treating their baby with contempt. It's not Christian but in the real world contempt breeds contempt. Conservatives often do turn the other cheek to Leftist attacks on them but the Left cannot expect that to go on forever.

And in his third point he says :"Modern health care, for all of its flaws, espouses and generally tries to act on science as its guide. Much of the US public is not so sure. The reasons for that doubt lie beyond the scope of this essay, but the effects on public debate and political positioning are strong"

He is right about that but again he glides over the causes of it.  The current "replication crisis" in medical and psychological research found that up to 70% of research findings were "unreplicable" or "wrong" in layman's terms. What are people supposed to make of that?

And then, on top of that, we have the vast global warming hoax that goes on despite scientific findings against it purely on the basis that "the experts say so".  Throughout the world, the conservative side of politics mostly thinks global warming is a lot of hokum.  How can you expect respect for science in that situation?  It is thoroughly deplorable that science has become so disrespected but it is not conservatives who have created that disrespect.

His final point is that the intervention of government is needed to ensure proper healthcare for all.  He is probably unaware that libertarians challenge that.  In the Victorian era very good health insurance was available to the worker -- though friendly societies.  Most occupations had a body associated with a particular occupation to which they could subscribe for a modest sum.  And if the subscriber got sick he could go to the society doctor and get treated for free.

But there were always some feckless people who did not contribute and their plight caused a gradual intrusion into the issue by way of government hospitals being set up which would treat the uninsured.  And that binary system continues to this day in most countries.

In Australia, where I live, the contrast between the two systems is stark.  As with all "free" hospital systems, care is rationed in non-monetary ways, principally by waiting lists -- so much so that some people die while waiting. In my State (Queensland) there are in some cases even waiting lists to get on waiting lists.  There was one notorious case in Queensland where a man waited seven years for a cataract operation, during which time he could not see well enough to read and TV was rather mysterious too.  The impact on his life of such poor "care" was obviously severe.

But 40% of the Australian population is privately insured, despite the availability of the "free" system. They have heard many reports of what the free system is like.  And they get private care as good as anything in the world.  When I needed a cataract removed, I had private insurance so waited barely a week for an appointment to a private eye hospital and my treatment was brilliant. I experienced minimal discomfort both during and after the procedure.  And when I got a sudden and very painful attack of kidney stones I was on the operating table same day  -- and paid zero "deductibles". So there is an alternative to government healthcare and and it makes government healthcare look prehistoric.

But what about the 60% of Australians who do not take out private insurance?  Health insurance is very cheap in Australia -- from as little as $150 per month -- so even people in humble employment  can afford it.  Many people on low incomes choose to spend that $150 on beer and cigarettes instead but that is their choice.  They get the "free" government care.  And the Australian system is well settled and accepted. It is not a political football, as it is in the USA.  Any propositions to change it are greeted with widespread outrage.

So Dr Berwick would do well to broaden his horizons. Government healthcare is and always will be inferior healthcare.  It is best avoided.  Working on ways to get more people into private health insurance is the logical course to pursue.  Obamacare theoretically did that but in practice it has de-insured many -- with rocketing premiums and stratospheric deductibles.


When I served as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services, hardly a day passed—and never a week—without a direct request or instruction from a congressional office or White House official bearing on clinically relevant decisions, such as coverage for a new technology, payment levels for a care sector, interpretation of a Medicaid regulation, classification of a hospital as “rural” or “critical access,” measurement and reporting of quality, or, most famously, coverage for physician counseling on end-of-life care options. The private lobbyists were equally relentless, pleading their cases, usually for more money, directly or, more often, indirectly through congressional offices.

The politicization of decisions affecting clinical care was not confined to one political party. Conservative members of Congress pressed against almost every implementation detail of the ACA, with nary a single opening for rational, authentic inquiry about facts and logic. As quickly as they could, Republicans slashed the ACA investments in preventive care and services. Political opponents of President Obama promulgated uninformed and frankly ridiculous accusations about my agenda and beliefs as CMS Administrator but almost never engaged in any serious conversation about how to protect and improve the health of patients.

But also, one of the most liberal members of the Senate accompanied me to his technology-rich state in part to meet with a bevy of executives of medical equipment manufacturers, who explained the value of their products—in effect, a trade show for an agency head hosted by a US senator.

Purists might ask simply to “get politics out of health care.” That would be nice, but it is quixotic. Today, federal and state governments fund about 50% of all US health care (65% if coverage of government employees and various tax breaks are included).4 That proportion has increased from 31% in 1965.5 It would be inconceivable—indeed, irresponsible—for that level of public investment in any enterprise not to fall under government oversight, and, in a democracy, with such oversight authority come political pressures.

With government in the picture, politics has at least 4 on-ramps to health care.

First, and biggest, is money. Health care comprises almost one-fifth of the US economy. A nation that values entrepreneurship and protects private profits cannot expect that those motives will fail to engage the enormous financial opportunities through every possible channel of influence. The fragmentation of ownership, governance, and oversight of US health care makes it possible for a vast industry of political pressuring to flourish. With the US commitment, so far, to an enormously complex system of health care payment and provision comes the opportunity for every single organization with an economic stake in health care, whether motivated by private interest or public interest, to find multiple pressure points for influence.

Second is doctrine. The Federalists and Republicans at the birth of the nation became viciously divided as to the proper role of states and the central government. The North and the South became divided, and eventually fought a war, over attitudes toward slavery. Today, public discourse is also riven into factions according to deeply held beliefs about matters no less fundamental than human nature, individual responsibility, and the role of compassion in public affairs. Health care is an inevitable battlefield for that contention. The disputes take shape over laws, regulations, judicial decisions, and other governmental actions about assertions that reflect those underlying doctrines: assertions that health care is a human right; that richer people ought, through government, to help poorer people; that the rights of women should prevail over those of the unborn; and that health status is as much a collective responsibility as an individual one.

Third is trust in science and institutions. Modern health care, for all of its flaws, espouses and generally tries to act on science as its guide. Much of the US public is not so sure.6 The reasons for that doubt lie beyond the scope of this essay, but the effects on public debate and political positioning are strong. The current administration in Washington, exploiting public doubt, has in many scientific sectors, including medicine, weakened the commitment of agencies to use scientific evidence in exercising their duties.7 This has chilled action and research on such topics as environmental threats to health, US Food and Drug Administration guidance, and reports on risks from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.8 Weakening science through political action ultimately weakens care and harms patients.

Fourth, and finally, politics enters health care though attitudes toward solidarity. The commitment to mutuality—that government exists as a mechanism for acting on responsibilities for one another—is as deeply embedded in most other western democracies as it is fragile in the United States. The basic credo of physicians—to put the interests of patients before their own—at its best reflects a form of solidarity: that those who are fortunate are duty-bound to help those who are less fortunate. Opponents in Washington criticized me for making the assertion that in a civilized nation, the pursuit of health as a human right must be to some extent redistributional because poverty and ill health are correlated. That that logic could be questioned depends not on data—the data are incontrovertible—but rather on the degree of belief in the concept that ultimately, the nation is of one people, responsible in some measure for each other’s well-being, especially with respect to misfortunes not of a person’s own making. Government, and therefore politics, is the avenue for the expression or the negation of that sense of solidarity.

Physicians who want politics out of health care are going to be disappointed. If they value the principles to which they pledged as healers, then they ignore politics at their peril and their patients’. The sidelines are safe places for neither.

SOURCE