Culture, politics, science, philosophy.
General manifesto *****
The deep Crisis of the West
Vlaams Belang leader Frank Vanhecke may be prosecuted
31.10.2008. Vlaams Belang leader Frank Vanhecke may be prosecuted for "racism," fined, imprisoned, and stripped of his political and civil rights because a provincial VB newspaper, in an article Vanhecke had nothing to do with, said that immigrant youths vandalized a Christian cemetery. Continue reading the report by Paul Belien at Amnation.
Those who punish, those who lie, those who silence, those who condemn, those who intimidate... they have corrupted science - article by Jason Malloy published in Medical Hypotheses.
18.10.2008. The following are excerpts from Malloy's article:
Recent comments by the eminent biologist James Watson concerning intelligence test data from sub-Saharan Africa resulted in professional sanctions as well as numerous public condemnations from the media and the scientific community. They justified these sanctions to the public through an abuse of trust, by suggesting that intelligence testing is a meaningless and discredited science, that there is no data to support Dr. Watson’s comments, that genetic causes of group differences in intelligence are falsified logically and empirically, and that such differences are already accounted for by known environment factors. None of these arguments are correct, much less beyond legitimate scientific debate. Dr. Watson was correct on all accounts: (1) Intelligence tests do reveal large differences between European and sub-Saharan African nations, (2) the evidence does link these differences to universally valued outcomes, both within and between nations, and (3) there is data to suggest these differences are influenced by genetic factors. The media and the larger scientific community punished Dr. Watson for violating a social and political taboo, but fashioned their case to the public in terms of scientific ethics. This necessitated lying to the public about numerous scientific issues to make Watson appear negligent in his statements; a gross abuse of valuable and fragile public trust in scientific authority. Lies and a threatening, coercive atmosphere to free inquiry and exchange are damaging to science as an institution and to scientists as individuals, while voicing unfashionable hypotheses is not damaging to science. The ability to openly voice and argue ideas in good faith that are strange and frightening to some is, in fact, integral to science. Those that have participated in undermining this openness and fairness have therefore damaged science, even while claiming to protect it with the same behavior.
© 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
It’s difficult to name many more important living figures in 20th century biology than James Watson. He ushered in the current age of molecular biology with his achievements in 1953, he built up one of the world’s greatest biological research facilities and led it for nearly 40 years, and he is a former head of the Human Genome Project. But given only the media’s response to his recent comments on race, one might believe that this eminent geneticist was somehow unqualified to speak on such a topic at all.
In his October of 2007 interview with the Times, we learned that Watson:
‘‘... is ‘‘inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa’’ because ‘‘all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really,’’ and [he knows] that this ‘‘hot potato’’ is going to be difficult to address ’’.
These thoughts were a continuation of the concluding paragraphs from his new book Avoid Boring People:
‘‘A priori, there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so’’.
The Independent provoked an instant media stir by calling attention to both quotes with a frontpage headline: ‘‘Africans are less intelligent than Westerners says DNA pioneer’’ . [...]
In closing: who damaged science?
According to the media and members of the scientific community, James Watson hurt science itself. An editorial in the top science journal Nature asserted:
‘‘Crass comments by Nobel laureates undermine our very ability to debate such issues, and thus damage science itself’’ .
Similarly the Chicago Tribune featured this:
‘‘The damage to Watson’s legacy from his statements may be difficult to mend,’’ said Jerry Coyne, a professor of evolutionary genetics at the University of Chicago. ‘‘He’s done tremendous damage to science, to himself and to social equality,’’ Coyne said. ‘‘It makes us all look bad’’ .
James Watson is one of the most distinguished living figures in American science, and yet even he was not immune to immediate expulsion from the very lab he created and built up over 40 years of his life, and excommunication from the scientific establishment that celebrated him. All this for one crime: voicing scientific facts and hypotheses that made this community uncomfortable. The same personal and professional fate befell former Harvard president Larry Summers in 2005 for a purely academic discussion of females in science during an economics conference intended for discussing this very subject!
What effect will this continuing intellectual mob violence have on future and current scientists and researchers who want to freely study human genetics, cross-cultural psychology, sociology, or any discipline that may reveal similar facts that have the potential to cause their professional or personal destruction by an intellectual community that resembles the medieval church?
Those who punish, those who lie, those who silence, those who condemn, those who intimidate... they have corrupted science.
They have injured the intellectual openness, freedom, and fairness of our society and our institutions, with untold costs to our collective human well-being.
Not James D. Watson
HonestThinking comments: I find it particularly disappointing that Francis Collins, Watson’s successor in the Human Genome Project (HGP), released the following statement:
‘‘I am deeply saddened by the events of the last week, and understand and agree with Dr. Watson’s undoubtedly painful decision to retire in the aftermath of a racist statement he made that was both profoundly offensive and utterly unsupported by scientific evidence’’.
It is of course always disappointing when some scientific authority resorts to downright lies instead of facing up to some disturbing truth. But Collins is not just a high profile scientist, he also happens to be high profile Christian. This means he is bound by the biblical command not to lie, as well as the prescription to love the truth. Unfortunately, Collins has demonstrated that he prefers smooth lies over unpleasant truths. This is all the more ironic, since in his book he criticizes creationists for their unwillingness to face the truth about evolution.
However, even creationists understand (unless they are prepared to invoke miraculous intervention on the part of God to prevent natural developments from taking place) that one cannot have genetic separation of populations without also having genetic differences accumulating. This is just simple and obvious micro-evolution, which is accepted as a fact of life by virtually everyone (in particular by creationists, as it happens). Thus, it turns out that Collins is eager to convince people of the truth, beauty, and explanatory power of evolutionary theory, but he is unwilling to accept one of the most obvious consequences of that very theory.
Not only has Collins betrayed his HGP predecessor and scientific colleague, James Watson; not only has Collins betrayed the scientific community by failing to stand in firm defense of the truth; not only has Collins betrayed the general public by deceiving them and lulling them into a false sense of security (at a time when the West is about to commit demographic and civilizational suicide); on top of all of this, he has betrayed his own faith by joining ranks with the forces of darkness and ignorance. And instead of being a staunch friend in a time of need, he turned his back on Watson and washed his hands to cleanse himself of 'racism'. If Collins takes his faith seriously (as I suspect he does) he needs to change his ways.
Many scientists owe Watson a public apology for their cowardly behavior during and after last year's scandal. To my knowledge, not a single one of them has yet had the courage to come forward and admit that they attacked and criticized Watson on insufficient grounds. The longer they wait before doing so, the more embarrassing it will get. Sooner or later some of these people are going to start muttering about "more profound differences than previously thought" or something along those lines. Ok, that's better than nothing. But I wonder who will be the first to simply cut the crap, skip all lame excuses, and unreservedly apologize to Watson (preferably while he is still alive). This is the kind of situation that separates the men from the boys.
PS: For an update on the scandalous treatment of James Watson last year, see for example these earlier postings here at HT:
Race realism and the moralistic fallacy - article by Rushton and Jensen published in Medical Hypotheses.
World IQ map of indigenous populations (from Wikipedia).
18.10.2008. The following are excerpts from Rushton and Jensen's article:
Summary: Recent editorials in this journal have defended the right of eminent biologist James Watson to raise the unpopular hypothesis that people of sub-Saharan African descent score lower, on average, than people of European or East Asian descent on tests of general intelligence. As those editorials imply, the scientific evidence is substantial in showing a genetic contribution to these differences. The unjustified ill treatment meted out to Watson therefore requires setting the record straight about the current state of the evidence on intelligence, race, and genetics. In this paper, we summarize our own previous reviews based on 10 categories of evidence: The worldwide distribution of test scores; the g factor of mental ability; heritability differences; brain size differences; trans-racial adoption studies; racial admixture studies; regression-to-the-mean effects; related life history traits; human origins research; and the poverty of predictions from culture-only explanations. The preponderance of evidence demonstrates that in intelligence, brain size, and other life-history variables, East Asians average a higher IQ and larger brain than Europeans who average a higher IQ and larger brain than Africans. Further, these group differences are 50–80% heritable. These are facts, not opinions and science must be governed by data. There is no place for the ‘‘moralistic fallacy’’ that reality must conform to our social, political, or ethical desires.
© 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
When one of the greatest biologists of the 20th century, Nobel-Prize winner James Watson, noted that people of African descent average lower on intelligence tests than do Europeans and East Asians, he was excoriated by the mass media and elements of the scientific elite and forced to retire from his position as Chair of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory [9,34]. Watson’s treatment was especially egregious given that, in point of scientific fact, more than a century-and-a-half of evidence corroborates his statement. Moreover, supportive new data and analyses appear regularly in mainstream, peer-reviewed journals in the relevant scientific disciplines. Evidence to the contrary is exceedingly weak. Most of the opposition to the genetic hypothesis consists of mere moralizing and worse, the creation of a threatening and coercive atmosphere incompatible with academic freedom, free enquiry, and the civil liberties of a truly democratic society. An enormous gulf separates the politically correct gatekeepers and enforcers from true experts in the behavioral sciences.
Nor is Watson’s case unique. He is but the latest in a long line of academics that have been pilloried and defamed (detailed accounts given in Hunt ). The others include Nobel-Prize winner William Shockley, Hans Eysenck, Linda Gottfredson, Richard Lynn, Richard Herrnstein, Charles Murray, Christopher Brand, Glayde Whitney, Helmuth Nyborg, and Tatu Vanhanen. The present writers too have endured their share of attacks. The taboo on race will surely become a major topic of investigation by sociologists of knowledge. There is no parallel to it in the history of science. It is uniquely imposed, mainly through self-censorship, by members of the Western intelligentsia in their own academy – which prides itself on a tradition of academic freedom, open inquiry, and the unfettered discovery, systematization, and pursuit of knowledge and its dissemination to the general public.
Despite the chilling effect described, we (and the others) have persevered in part because of the great importance of the topic, the fascinating data it provides, and the theoretical issues it raises . One of us (JPR) traveled to South Africa to collect new IQ data from highly-selected Black students at the prestigious University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Seven studies were published based on these data yielding a median IQ of 84 (range 77–103). Assuming that African university students are 1 standard deviation (15 IQ points) above the mean of their population, as university students typically are, a median IQ of 84 is consistent with a (very low) general population mean of 70 .
Because many consider the race–IQ hypothesis incendiary, it is essential to thoroughly examine all the relevant data. We did this in our 60-page review, ‘‘Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability,’’ which was published as the lead article in the June 2005 issue of Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, a journal of the American Psychological Association . In the current article we summarize and update those findings (more complete statistical details and references can be found there). Again, the preponderance of evidence argues that it is more probable than not that the genetic contribution to racial group differences in intelligence, brain size and other life-history variables is between 50% and 80%. A good introduction to the issues involved is Bartholomew .
On the basis of the 10 research categories listed below, we concluded that the mean 15-point Black–White IQ difference in the US is about 80% heritable and that the 30-point African/non-African IQ difference is about 50% heritable (much of the balance being attributable to cultural and nutritional differences). The evidence demonstrates that: (1) the mean IQ around the world is 106 for East Asians, 100 for Whites, 85 for US Blacks, and 70 for sub-Saharan Africans; (2) race differences are most pronounced on the more gloaded IQ subtests (g being the general factor of mental ability or first principal component; it picks up the ‘‘active ingredient’’ in intelligence tests); (3) race differences are most pronounced on the IQ subtests whose scores show the most heritability; (4) racial differences in brain size parallel the IQ differences; (5) people of mixed-race ancestry average IQ scores intermediate to their two parental populations; (6) trans-racial adoption studies show that Black, mixed-race, and East Asian children raised by White parents have IQs closer to the average of their biological parents than to the White mean; (7) people’s offspring and siblings show regression to their respective racial IQ means; (8) the races differ consistently across 60 related life-history traits; (9) the racial IQ differences agree with the latest accounts of human origins (that is, the out of Africa model); and finally (10) environmental explanations of racial IQ differences have been tested and repeatedly shown to be inadequate.
HonestThinking comments: For an update on the scandalous treatment of James Watson last year, see for example these earlier postings here at HT:
Machete gangs bring fear to South Africa as they carry out mutilations for traditional medicine
18.10.2008. Machete-wielding gangs in South Africa are mutilating young people to provide body parts for the traditional medicine market, an investigation has found. The practice has brought terror to parts of South Africa, where it is estimated that at least 300 people are killed each year for the medicine, known as muti.
One victim was Fortune Khumalo, a boy of nine, who was attacked as he relieved himself in bushes. His attacker sliced off his penis and testicles [...] Fortune survived the attack but is in constant pain because his family cannot afford the reconstructive surgery he needs. His assailant was caught with the boy's genitalia wrapped in a towel in his pocket. Children's body parts are thought to be the most potent and victims are often tortured first as the pain is believed to add to the power. Read the entire article in The Telegraph.
At least if Sarkozy has his way with France
15.10.2008. The French government is strongly advocating the teaching of Arabic language and civilization in French schools. Not surprising, considering the number of Arabs and Muslims in France, and the unctuous deference with which they are treated by officials, beginning notably with Nicolas Sarkozy, who cannot praise enough the splendor of Arabic contributions to the world.
The French National Assembly was the scene of a meeting earlier this month of the first Conference on the Teaching of Arabic Language and Culture, attended by a variety of interested parties. There was much wearisome blather about the need for "dialogue."
In his message to the participants, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Arabic the "language of the future, of science and of modernity," and expressed the hope that "more French people share in the language that expresses great civilizational and spiritual values." Continue reading at the Brussels Journal.
Secretive migration deal in EU
13.10.2008. More than 50 million African workers are to be invited to Europe in a far-reaching secretive migration deal, the Daily Express can reveal today. A controversial taxpayer-funded “job centre” opened in Mali this week is just the first step towards promoting “free movement of people in Africa and the EU”. Brussels economists claim Britain and other EU states will “need” 56 million immigrant workers between them by 2050 to make up for the “demographic decline” due to falling birth rates and rising death rates across Europe. Continue reading in the Daily Express.
HonestThinking comments: Something is fundamentally wrong with the EU elite. Somehow somewhere there has to be a limit to the amount of diversity that a society can tolerate without becoming dysfunctional. The claim that race is nothing but a 'social construct' is at best wishful thinking. Not only do Africans have greater genetic distance vis-a-vis Europeans than do most other groups, they are also quite different from us in terms of behavior and culture (in the broadest sense of the word). Some of these differences are caused by environmental factors. Sure. But to think that all differences are environmental and that none are hereditary, is just plain stupid. Integrating 50 million Africans over the next 40 years, will necessarily give rise to enormous difficulties. And what about the many millions that are likely to follow the just mentioned 50? European politicians do not even want to discuss the challenges related to genetic differences, thinking that antiracist ideology frees them from the responsibility of considering the consequences of their actions. Through this we-are-above-reality-attitude some of our politicians time and again demonstrate that they have abandoned rational thinking. Such politicians are not only committing treason against Enlightenment ideals and the European cultural and intellectual heritage in general; they are also committing treason against their own people.
PS: Here's a relevant quote from Science (emphasis added):
... most white Americans today have learned not to talk about race for fear of seeming racist, says Samuel Sommers, a social psychologist at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Two new studies back up this idea, and the research shows that deliberately avoiding race when it's clearly relevant may impair decision-making skills. Humans are hard-wired to notice race. The average person registers the race of another human face in less than 100 milliseconds, according to past studies. This instantaneous perception clashes sharply with the American cultural taboo against using race to identify someone.
Postmodernism and deconstructivism will ultimately destroy our societies if left unchecked
10.10.2008. The following are excerpts from an article by John Laughland at the Brussels Journal: A key conservative tenet is realism. By realism, I do not mean that cynical pragmatism which many British Conservatives have adopted as their political creed. I refer instead to the metaphysical doctrine according to which truth and value is said to inhere in real things. The greatest formulator of this doctrine was Aristotle, whose brand of realism was integrated into Christian philosophy by St. Thomas Aquinas.
A realist attitude in politics is the opposite of an ideological one. Ideology seeks to bend reality to pre-conceived concepts; it is based on the assumption that reality can essentially be created, or at least fashioned by thought. Examples of ideological thinking include revolutionary movements or constructivist ones like the European Union which assume that societies can be easily moulded, and reality changed, by political fiat.
Ideology has held much of the so-called Right in Europe and America in its grip for many years now. The principal ideology is that of the “free market”. Like many ideologies, it has some foundation in truth. However, it has been grossly extended to become an all-engulfing concept which seems to provide the answer to everything. Its power as an ideology is only increased by the fact that attachment to the “free market” is invariably conjugated with internationalism (because the fully free market is global) and progressivism.
Ideology stops people from thinking because it encourages them to believe that they do not need to pay much attention to reality. The ideology of the free market has had exactly the same stultifying effect on people’s brains as Marxism did in the old Soviet system. Just as there as always an answer to be found in Marx or Lenin for all possible social and international questions, until the whole system came crashing down, so since the end of the Cold War all possible social and political questions have been unquestioningly answered with references to “free trade”, “liberalisation” and “democracy”.
HonestThinking comments: Not only is Laughland's article very interesting, its general principles apply more broadly than just to economics. The Western world is constantly being tapped on the shoulder by reality, but our leaders are not paying attention. If we continue like this for sufficiently long, the result is is more or less guaranteed to be disastrous.
The topic we cannot escape
04.10.2008. I knew my Thursday night post would get me in trouble — when I post about race, it always gets me in trouble, remarks Baron Bodissey in his comment at Gates of Vienna.
HonestThinking comments: There seems to be a lot of irony floating around in Bodissey's article, but if he is trying to say that there is just no way to totally escape the topic of race and ethnicity, he is absolutely right. Those who think the crisis of the West is only about Islam and Jihad, are simply refusing to face reality. These people need to do something about their ignorance, and there are a number of both ethically sound and scientifically solid books available, for example Race: The Reality of Human Differences.
Clinton Democrats are to blame
04.10.2008. Our current financial turmoil is not the fault of greedy bankers, says Dennis Sewell. In fact, the banks were bullied into lowering their lending standards by left-wing idealists intent on equal opportunities at any cost. Continue reading in the Spectator.
HonestThinking comments: Sewell has a lot of good points in his Spectator article, but I suspect he is placing too much blame on the Democrats. The Republicans, masquerading as conservatives, have done their fair share to destroy the USA and its economy, see e.g. Karl Rove—Architect Of The Minority Mortgage Meltdown and The Diversity Recession: What Was The Financial (And Political) Establishment Thinking?.
French police clash with 'youths'
02.10.2008. Excerpts from an article in New York Times: ROMANS-SUR-ISÈRE, France (AP) — A French police officer was shot and wounded during clashes with youths that broke out after a teenager was killed in a car crash while fleeing the police, the authorities said Tuesday.
The police used tear gas and rubber-coated pellets to push back about 50 people during clashes late Monday and early Tuesday. In an effort to prevent a second night of violence, about 300 riot police officers and gendarmes took up positions around the center of Romans-sur-Isère, 60 miles east of Lyon in the Rhone Valley. [...]
The violence broke out after a 16-year-old was killed after driving a stolen car into a wall while fleeing the police. Four other minors in the car were injured. Accidents involving the police and youths have been potentially explosive in France since riots in 2005 that were set off by the deaths of two teenagers electrocuted in a power substation while hiding from the police. [...]
Mr. Nahon said that, according to a preliminary investigation, the five teenagers had stolen the car overnight and were driving at high speed through the center of Romans-sur-Isère when the police began chasing them. The driver took a sharp turn and lost control of the car, running into a wall.
HonestThinking comments: This is but a symptom of the profound problems that are slowly but surely destroying France. The French people will need to regain control over their own country, or they will lose it. Apparently the severity of the similar problems in the Netherlands is about to dawn on the politicians of that country.
Violent crime and political turmoil destroying the country
01.10.2008. First he thought it was a mouse, then a rat—and then the rat shot him in the face. That is how André Brink, one of South Africa’s most famous novelists, described the recent killing of his nephew Adri, at home at 3am in the morning. The young man was left to die on the floor, in front of his wife and daughter, while his killers ransacked the house.
Such murders are common in South Africa. According to Mr Brink’s account, published later in the Sunday Independent, 16 armed attacks had already taken place in a single month within a kilometre of the young couple’s plot north of Pretoria, South Africa’s capital. Soon afterwards—this is more unusual—the police arrested a gang of six. They recovered a laptop and two mobile phones. That was the haul for which Adri paid with his life. Continue reading in the Economist.
See also Zuma’s rise puts whites to flight (the Times).
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