Barrel Strength

Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Barrel Strength - Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

IQ matters

The 20th century saw some of the worst of ideas celebrated and obvious truths derided. One of the Large Stupid Ideas© that has prevailed has been the complete rejection of any component of heredity in the outcomes of human life. It suited social engineers of the Left to deny the reality of biological influences. Any relatively stable social outcome, such as social class, or racial disparities, could not be rapidly amended by more legislation, thought control, or exclusion from universities, if they were influenced by inherited factors.

I may be battling a folly which the younger generation has long since left behind them. It seems, to the contrary, that political corrrectness, or cultural Marxism, goes from strength to strength. The more the evidence adds up that the biological has some influence, the more it is denounced as sexist racist, differentist: in short, heretical

Thus it was with pleasure that I saw the admission in the normally liberal Slate Magazine a serious rebuttal to the notion that IQ does not matter.

But this argument is wrong. The SAT does predict success in college—not perfectly, but relatively well, especially given that it takes just a few hours to administer. And, unlike a “complex portrait” of a student’s life, it can be scored in an objective way. (In a recent New York Times op-ed, the University of New Hampshire psychologist John D. Mayer aptly described the SAT’s validity as an “astonishing achievement.”) In a study published in Psychological Science, University of Minnesota researchers Paul Sackett, Nathan Kuncel, and their colleagues investigated the relationship between SAT scores and college grades in a very large sample: nearly 150,000 students from 110 colleges and universities. SAT scores predicted first-year college GPA about as well as high school grades did, and the best prediction was achieved by considering both factors. Botstein, Boylan, and Kolbert [critics of SAT] are either unaware of this directly relevant, easily accessible, and widely disseminated empirical evidence, or they have decided to ignore it and base their claims on intuition and anecdote—or perhaps on their beliefs about the way the world should be rather than the way it is.

And SAT scores  are not merely reflectors of social economic status; they measure intelligence quite directly.

What this all means is that the SAT measures something—some stable characteristic of high school students other than their parents’ income—that translates into success in college. And what could that characteristic be? General intelligence. The content of the SAT is practically indistinguishable from that of standardized intelligence tests that social scientists use to study individual differences, and that psychologists and psychiatrists use to determine whether a person is intellectually disabled—and even whether a person should be spared execution in states that have the death penalty. Scores on the SAT correlate very highly with scores on IQ tests—so highly that the Harvard education scholar Howard Gardner, known for his theory of multiple intelligences, once called the SAT and other scholastic measures “thinly disguised” intelligence tests.

The Son Also Rises – There is such a thing as social class and it matters

From Gregory Clark’s book The Son also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility,

Only when confronted with evidence of the persistence of status over five hundred years that was too glaring to ignore was I forced to abandon my cheery assurance that one of the joys of the capitalist economy was its pervasive and rapid social mobility. Having for years poured scorn on my colleagues in sociology for their obsessions with such illusory categories as class, I now had evidence that individuals’ life chances were predictable not just from the status of their parents but from that of their great-great-great grandparents. There seemed to be an inescapable inherited substrate, looking suspiciously like social class, that underlies the outcomes for all individuals.Only when confronted with evidence of the persistence of status over five hundred years that was too glaring to ignore was I forced to abandon my cheery assurance that one of the joys of the capitalist economy was its pervasive and rapid social mobility. Having for years poured scorn on my colleagues in sociology for their obsessions with such illusory categories as class, I now had evidence that individuals’ life chances were predictable not just from the status of their parents but from that of their great-great-great grandparents. There seemed to be an inescapable inherited substrate, looking suspiciously like social class, that underlies the outcomes for all individuals.

Contrary to what he had believed, social mobility in modern times is relatively rare, and the explanation for this is that social skill is largely inherited. Choose your wife or husband carefully, and most of the fates of your children will have been decided.

As one who has watched members of the same families dominate the tennis tournaments at the summer club for three or four generations, and as one of three students who won the same scholastic prizes every year for ten years of schooling, I can assure you that Professor Clark’s findings come as no surprize.

In the immortal words of Professor George Homans, responding to some fellow questioning the existence of an American upper class: “There is so an American upper class and I am a paht of it”!

Imitation still the sincerest form of plagiarism

Warren Kinsella informed us breathlessly on April 10, 2014 of a unique hand sign created by volunteers for Olivia Chow’s mayoral campaign:

Olivia Chow  Mayoral Gang Sign

On June 17, 2013 Yahoo Sports reported that current Real Madrid star and record transfer sale from Tottenham Hotspur Gareth Bale had successfully trademarked his widely seen goal celebration gesture:

Gareth Bale Goal Celebration

 And thus come together an over-exposed, over-privileged prat… and a European soccer player.

Global Warming: The new cholesterol

I have been saying this for at least two years. Now. as usual, others are catching up to me. This is from Paul Mulshine at nj.com

 

the consensus was that the amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol in the diet are related to the levels of cholesterol in the blood and “that reducing the one will lower the other,” the Post wrote.

That seemed to be the case at the time. But there were dissenters who claimed carbohydrates, particularly refined ones, were the more likely triggers for obesity and heart disease. That led the mainstream authorities to hold a “Consensus Conference” in 1984. The result was a national policy emphasizing low-fat diets as a means of combating obesity and heart disease.

Soon the market was inundated with low-fat foods. But they weren’t having the desired effect. By 2002, the cracks in the consensus were so evident that the New York Times Magazine ran a lengthy and well-researched article by noted science writer Gary Taubes headlined “What if it’s all been a big fat lie?”

“It used to be that even considering the possibility of the alternative hypothesis, let alone researching it, was tantamount to quackery by association,” Taubes wrote. “Now a small but growing minority of establishment researchers have come to take seriously what the low-carb-diet doctors have been saying all along.”

Last month, the prior consensus was turned on its head by a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. A meta-analysis of 76 studies and clinical trials showed no link between fat, even saturated fat, and increased heart-disease risk.

There was a consensus for the elements being earth-air-fire-water; there was a consensus for a geocentric universe; there was a consensus for burning being the absence of something called “phlogiston”; there was a consensus for the immutability of species; there was a consensus for a 4,400 year-old earth; there was consensus that  the transmutation of lead into gold was possible; there was a consensus in the 19th century that we were missing a planet in our solar system; there was a consensus the man was heating the atmosphere by the emission of carbon dioxide.

Consensus is just the agreed-upon state of our ignorance.

- Dalwhinnie’s aphorism for the day

 

 

enth (or non

Near Death

Mario Beauregard, a research scientist at the University of Montreal, writes an interesting article on near death experiences in Salon Magazine.

NDE= near death experience

OBE = out-of-body experience

Although the details differ, NDEs are characterized by a number of core features. Perhaps the most vivid is the OBE: the sense of having left one’s body and of watching events going on around one’s body or, occasionally, at some distant physical location. During OBEs, near-death experiencers (NDErs) are often astonished to discover that they have retained consciousness, perception, lucid thinking, memory, emotions, and their sense of personal identity. If anything, these processes are heightened: Thinking is vivid; hearing is sharp; and vision can extend to 360 degrees. NDErs claim that without physical bodies, they are able to penetrate through walls and doors and project themselves wherever they want. They frequently report the ability to read people’s thoughts.

The effects of NDEs on the experience are intense, overwhelming, and real. A number of studies conducted in United States, Western European countries, and Australia have shown that most NDErs are profoundly and positively transformed by the experience. One woman says, “I was completely altered after the accident. I was another person, according to those who lived near me. I was happy, laughing, appreciated little things, joked, smiled a lot, became friends with everyone … so completely different than I was before!”

Of course, nothing will persuade the materialist that all mental events  derive from the brain and no mental event happens outside the brain, and all mental events are brain events. It reminds me of Mussolini’s dictum: ” all within the state, nothing outside the sate, nothing against the state”

All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/benitomuss109829.html#Y5QoFYlOXkLssmjI.99
All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/benitomuss109829.html#Y5QoFYlOXkLssmjI.99

Hmmn…materialism as a form of brain fascism.

Materialism – the doctrine that everything in the universe is of one substance: matter and its motions, and nothing else – is the dominant world view of this century and the last. It has precisely zero chance of lasting another fifty years, except as a relic, like fascism or communism. It is so twentieth century.

Anyway, for  the interested, here are a few books worth your attention on the subject of mind, awareness, and consciousness,  and why consciousness is primary:

Out of our Heads, by Alva Noë (2010) The author is a philosopher.

The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size, by Tor Nørretranders (1999) The author is a science writer.

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, by Julian Jaynes 1976. The author was a classicist [Jaynes was almost certainly wrong in part but absolutely brilliant]

The Purpose-Guided Universe, by Bernard Haisch (2010) The author is a physicist

Modern Physics and Ancient Faith, by Stephen M, Barr
(2003) The author is a physicist.

The Master and His Emissary, The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, by Iain McGillchrist (2011) The author is a psychiatrist.

Biocentrism, by Robert Lanza (2009) Lanza is a medical doctor, whose book is a more popular rendition of the ideas and arguments found in Bernard Haisch and Stephen Barr.

Brain Wars, by Mario Beauregard (2012). Beauregard is a brain researcher at the UdeM. Also by him:
The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist’s case for the existence of the soul

The status of women in Islam: from haraam to makrooh

From forbidden to barely acceptable, if they abandon all independent will.

This is, apparently, not a hoax.

From the Pakistani Council of Islamic ideology, the following has been issued:

Islamabad - Sharia Correspondent: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) concluded their 192nd meeting on Thursday with the ruling that women are un-Islamic and that their mere existence contradicted Sharia and the will of Allah. As the meeting concluded CII Chairman Maulana Muhammad Khan Shirani noted that women by existing defied the laws of nature, and to protect Islam and the Sharia women should be forced to stop existing as soon as possible. (bold added)The announcement comes a couple of days after CII’s 191st meeting where they dubbed laws related to minimum marriage age to be un-Islamic.

After declaring women to be un-Islamic, Shirani explained that there were actually two kinds of women – haraam and makrooh. “We can divide all women in the world into two distinct categories: those who are haraam and those who are makrooh. Now the difference between haraam and makrooh is that the former is categorically forbidden while the latter is really really disliked,” Shirani said.

He further went on to explain how the women around the world can ensure that they get promoted to being makrooh, from just being downright haraam. “Any woman that exercises her will is haraam, absolutely haraam, and is conspiring against Islam and the Ummah,whereas those women who are totally subservient can reach the status of being makrooh. Such is the generosity of our ideology and such is the endeavour of Muslim men like us who are the true torchbearers of gender equality,” the CII chairman added.

Officials told Khabaristan Today that the council members deliberated over various historic references related to women and concluded that each woman is a source of fitna and a perpetual enemy of Islam. They also decided that by restricting them to their subordinate, bordering on slave status, the momineen and the mujahideen can ensure that Islam continues to be the religion of peace, prosperity and gender equality. (bold added)

I ask: is this a hoax?

The council of Islamic Ideology is an organ of the government of Pakistan and has a website.

The website lists 190 meetings, the record of which is written in Arabic script, and may well be in Urdu, so I cannot tell what has been decided. If 190 meetings have been recorded, it is reasonable to suppose that the webmaster is only a little behind in recording meeting 191.

Maulana Muhamed Khan Shirani is listed  on the website as the 14th chairman of this Institute, which advises the Pakistani parliament.

Its functions are described as :

As per Article 230 of the Constitution)

  1. The functions of the Islamic Council shall be:
    1. to make recommendations to Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) and the Provincial Assemblies as to the ways and means of enabling and encouraging the Muslims of Pakistan to order their lives individually and collectively in all respects in accordance with the principles and concepts of Islam as enunciated in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah;
    2. to advise a House, a Provincial Assembly, the President or a Governor on any question referred to the Council as to whether a proposed law is or is not repugnant to the Injunctions of Islam;
    3. to make recommendations as to the measures for bringing existing laws into conformity with the Injunctions of Islam and the stages by which such measures should be brought into effect; and
    4. to compile in a suitable form, for the guidance of Majlis-e-Shoora(Parliament) and the Provincial Assemblies, such Injunctions of Islam as can be given legislative effect.

.Where is the feminist outrage? I hear the sound of ….. absolute silence.

 

 

Genetics has more influence on political orientation than environment

The modern doctrine is that sexual orientation is hard-wired, while political orientation is a matter of free will. Each is probably a mixture of both,  but the news here is that political orientation is influenced by genetics. Kevin Smith and John Hibbing conducted the study, based on the analysis of identical twins.

(Medical Xpress)—A research paper appearing in the academic journal Political Psychology re-affirms the genetic underpinnings of political beliefs, refuting critics who challenged previous research that linked politics with genetics. The new paper, “Genetic and Environmental Transmission of Political Orientations,” is the lead article in the December edition of the journal. It is based upon a 2009 survey of nearly 600 sets of in their 50s and 60s, sought through the Minnesota Twin Registry. “The data from the twin studies is strong enough now that if you don’t believe political attitudes and behaviors are genetically inherited, you can’t believe that breast cancer is genetically inherited and you can’t believe that addictions are genetically inherited,” said Kevin Smith, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln political scientist who co-authored the study.

The more recent paper backed up earlier research of theirs in 2005 that concluded:

The 2005 paper directly challenged conventional wisdom that children are taught their political attitudes by their parents, with their beliefs later being shaped by life events and experiences. “We find that political attitudes are influenced much more heavily by genetics than by parental socialization,” the researchers wrote in the 2005 paper.

Another treatment of this article is found at Huffington Post.

What did the researchers find? The identical twins’ political views were consistently more similar than were those of the fraternal twins, and further statistical analysis revealed that these differences were partially the result of genetic influences.

“I know people get bent out of shape about this,” Smith said in a written statement. “The environment is important, it’s just not everything. You can talk about biology and you can talk about the environment. Who we are is a combination of both.”

Their work is consistent with what Jonathan Haidt has been showing with his Moral Foundations Theory.

Moral Foundations Theory is a social psychological theory intended to explain the origins of and variation in human moral reasoning on the basis of innate, modular foundations. At present, the theory proposes six such foundations: harm, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority, and purity; however, its authors envision the possibility of including additional foundations. The theory was first proposed by the psychologists Jonathan Haidt and Craig Joseph, building on the work of cultural anthropologist Richard Shweder, subsequently developed by a diverse group of collaborators, and popularized in Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind.

Although the initial development of moral foundations theory focused on cultural differences, subsequent work with the theory has largely focused on political ideology. Various scholars have offered moral foundations theory as an explanation of differences between political liberals and conservatives and have suggested that it can explain variation in opinion on politically charged issues such as gay marriage and abortion. In particular, Haidt has argued that liberals stress only three of the moral foundations (harm, fairness, and liberty) in their reasoning while conservatives stress all six more equally.

 

People who tend conservative are more cautious, more conscientious, more concerned with loyalty to the group, and hence more socially concerned, more concerned with seemliness, holiness, and quicker to disgust. Liberals tend to more concerned with procedural fairness, equality of outcomes, and freedom from oppressive social arrangements than are conservatives. It seems entirely reasonable that political orientations are the results, and not the sources, of profounder pre-political notions and sentiments: such as holiness, profaneness,fairness, disgust, oppression, sociability.

Studies like this confirm what everyone already knows. They are controversial only to a narrow segment of ideological liberals who insist that everything is environmental, and nothing genetic, except of course, homosexual orientation.

When I hear of oppression, this is what I think of

I was listening to CBC radio, a while back, to young articulate Canadian Indians (aboriginals) talking about how incredibly hurt they had been by aboriginal schools and how angry angry angry they were about their oppressed existence.

Aboriginal schools of a certain era were Edwardian light-security concentration camps for youth, such as the one I went to in the 1950s and 60s at great expense to my parents. You could be beaten by teachers for failing to know rules you had never been taught ( I will kill you, Roger Reynolds, if I ever find you). You were instructed in grammar and maths and expected to know subjects, conjugate irregular french verbs, learn Shakespeare, write clearly, and be imbued with patriotic fervour for the British Empire, the Dominion, and Victorian ideals. The food was bad but we were allowed home.

The Indian residential schools probably taught less French and more Christianity than we were. Nevertheless, I am skeptical that residential schools of the 1920s or 1950s were any tougher than what white people were undergoing in the 1920s and 1950s: regimentation, obedience, education, hierarchy, and a very strong inculcation into the idea that the world did not centre on you. It was not child-centred learning.

For me, words like “racism” connote picking up a machete and massacring your neighbours if they belong to the wrong tribe.  Never hiring a man of proven worth because he is of the wrong tribe, that would count to as real racism. Forget “microaggressions”. I find myself micro-aggressed by people who are badly dressed; by people who whine on public radio, by slovenly thought, by pompous know-betters, by cross-country skiers who complain about trails being used by snow-shoers: name your pet hates; you have them too. A sensitivity to Micro-aggressions are the sign of how nice everything is becoming.

You want to read about real oppression, practised by the experts of a police-state? Read this narrative about growing up in Ceausescu’s Romania as the child of a dissident. (“How the Secret Police Tracked my Childhood”) Then talk to me about residential schools, if you dare.

 

 

Crowdsourcing your intelligence estimates

NPR has a wonderful article on the accuracy of certain amateurs who guess about important political-military events for the Central Intelligence Agency. Some people on the outside  are better than experts in the Agency. A genuinely novel approach to forecasting: put the question out there; ask people, see who is consistently accurate, and listen to the ones who are consistently right.

 

What’s so challenging about all of this is the idea that you can get very accurate predictions about geopolitical events without access to secret information. In addition, access to classified information doesn’t automatically and necessarily give you an edge over a smart group of average citizens doing Google searches from their kitchen tables.

 

Surely, Professor Searle, you appeal to the authority of pure snobbery

The following extract is a classic example of assuming exactly what cannot be demonstrated. So you say: “surely, all intelligent people know this” and expect to get away with it.

John Searle on the nature of consciousness:

Interviewer: You also say that consciousness is a physical property, like digestion or fire.

John Searle: Consciousness is a biological property like digestion or photosynthesis. Now why isn’t that screamingly obvious to anybody who’s had any education? And I think the answer is these twin traditions. On the one hand there’s God, the soul and immortality that says it’s really not part of the physical world, and then there is the almost as bad tradition of scientific materialism that says it’s not a part of the physical world. They both make the same mistake, they refuse to take consciousness on its own terms as a biological phenomenon like digestion, or photosynthesis, or mitosis, or meiosis, or any other biological phenomenon.

That consciousness is experienced by physical beings like you and me does not make consciousness physical ( that is, consisting of matter and its motions), anymore than numbers are physical. Numbers can be manipulated, mental operations may be performed upon them, but they are, like the Pythagorean theorem, like the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its radius – π, not ultimately matter and its motions. And we have not even reached mind yet. We have not even reached consciousness, nor the redness of red, nor the mind that understands what “red” is.

Will the materialists never get it?