The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersiSteve Blog
Steven Pinker's Book
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Unlike some other commentators, I don’t currently have an opinion on Steven Pinker’s new book Enlightenment Now because I haven’t read it yet.

However, I did read and review his 2011 book The Better Angels of Our Nature for The American Conservative.

 
Hide 281 CommentsLeave a Comment
281 Comments to "Steven Pinker's Book"
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    I got it yesterday and I've read a few pages of the book, which are still online at the Chronicle of Higher Education.
    The few pages in the Chronicle are pretty dense - as is the little paragraph about declining anxiety p. 283.

    Teaser: "Eveything is amazing. Are we really so unhappy? Mostly we are not."
    - I'd say that - stylistically - this is just fine.

    In the Chronicle Pinker dicusses the pros 'n' cons (mostly cons, ehe) of - - "Feminist Glaciology", which seems to be a real thing! - I enyoyed that a lot! - Things like that (=zeitgeist as pure! / ice-crystal-clear as that) - are just great examples - and Pinker did make the almost*** perfect use of it. Entertaining, even. Great read so far!

    *** I wrote in the comment section of the Chronicle, why I think it makes sense to say, that Pinker is not quite perfect in this case. And my point is, that following Kant, you can handle such problems like the feminist glaciology a tad more precise - and a tad shorter even than Pinker.

    , @Chris Marsk
    I'm in the middle of ploughing through Blank Slate now, which I recommend, but Anatoly is right. Well, maybe just twice as thick as needed. I think I'll skip the new one.

    Pinker's Blank Slate plus Uri Harris's articles at Quillette together comprise a good they-read-it-so-you-don't-have-to introduction to postmodernist Marxist critical studies blah blah ideas--and how they are incoherent and don't make any sense. You knew that already, but reading this stuff gives some intellectual heft to what you already know.
    , @Chrisnonymous

    he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.
     
    Impossible! He wrote a book on how to write, and everyone said it was great.
    , @candid_observer
    Bear in mind, though, that most readers nowadays are 3-4x thicker than needed.

    Some extra pounding to get through may be called for.

    Redundancy is a good thing.
    , @songbird
    Dale Carnegie used to have some business mantra. One of his rules ran something like, if you use every fact you researched in a report, you haven't done enough preparation.

    Pinker would clearly break the spirit of this rule with his super-bloated books. It seems like he has used everything he has gathered or been sent.
    , @Jeremy Cooper
    Yeah, about a third through it. I don't think reading gets you much over just looking at the graphs, which are important and interesting.
    , @Pat Boyle
    Yes it's a thick book. I was about two or three hundred pages into it when my puppy ate a lot of pages. So literally my dog ate my homework.

    I have found it hard to get back to it. After you grok the main thesis it is kinda repetitive.
    , @Harry Baldwin
    After Pinker writes a book, he does a lecture tour on the subject. These lectures, many of which are on YouTube, can be an hour and a half long, and will tell you as much as you need to know. Or as much as you're going to remember six months later, at any rate.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.
     
    He's learned from Stephen King!

    Really, I think most supermarket novels are meant to be sold by weight.

    3-4x thicker
     
    Now I'll be easy on Tolya as a non-native speaker, but this common practice of using the comparative in place of "as" isn't just a matter of style. Just as with double negatives (in English), it's different in quantity as well.

    "Three-to-four times faster" literally means "four-to-five-times as fast". Just as "fifty percent as big" is quite different in meaning from "fifty percent bigger".

    There is no excuse for native English speakers, in academia, publishing, or "journalism" especially, to let this error slip. But I see it all the time.
    , @Hieronymus of Canada

    Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.
     
    Assuming people are going to actually read it, rather than just buy it to put on your self to convince everybody else of your great intelligence and depth of knowledge.

    Then it is perfectly sized.
  2. Pinker seems to accept the view that everyone in the Middle Ages was backward, violent and never bathed. This is being proven wrong.

    • Replies: @Lot
    They were in poorer health and more violent for sure.
    , @Dieter Kief
    He has a strong opinion about the Midle Ages, but little knowledge. He doesn't get, that modernity starts in the middle ages with the mystics and the intellectual controversies between nominalism and realism.
    He doesn't get Occam either - which has thick 'n' fat consequences for his books - cf. Anatoly Karlin's comment above.

    (If you want to, have a look at my comment No. 181 where I write about this stuff too).

    And then there is Trump - for Pinker a backward figure (= from the dark ages), and nothing else - not enlightended the least little bit.

  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Chapter 20:

    The schooling, together with health and wealth, are literally making us smarter—by thirty IQ points, or two standard deviations above our ancestors.

    If he truly believes this, a have a nice bridge for sale real cheap. Alas, something tells me that he is not quite honest here.

    I only skimmed the book and decided it’s not worth the time to read seriously. The feel-good “contrarian” messages like the one above get old quickly because most of them are actually intellectual equivalent of a sleight of hand.

    • Agree: Tyrion 2
    • Replies: @Patrick82
    He also writes-

    "But the main reason that health and nutrition aren't enough to explain the IQ rise is that what has risen over time is not overall brainpower. The Flynn effect is not an increase in g, the general intelligence factor that underlies every subtype of intelligence (verbal, spatial, mathematical, memory, and so on) and is the aspect of intelligence most directly affected by the genes. While overall IQ has risen, and scores on each intelligence subtest have risen, some subtests have risen more rapidly than others in a pattern different than the pattern linked to the genes. That's another reason the Flynn effect does not cast doubt on the high heritability of IQ."
    , @AndrewR
    I know The Atlantic is highly cancerous, but this is a really good, not-especially-cancerous article:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/what-being-a-handyman-has-taught-me-about-male-insecurity/274426/

    Basically, men today tend to be significantly less handy than our forefathers. I think any analysis of the "Flynn effect" needs to take this into account. Sure, great-great-granddaddy Ebenezer would have a hard time learning how to work a computer if he were brought here in a time machine from 1870, but how many of us could build a house, build a barn, run a farm, etc? Before we pat ourselves on the back for being brighter than our ancestors, we should put ourselves in their shoes (which they very well may have made at home).
    , @Rod1963
    He's basically promoting the "magic dirt" theory here.

    Modern public schooling is making kids dumber not smarter as the curriculum has been repeatedly watered down over the decades to the point the schools only produce workers for the service industry.

    Colleges are rapidly becoming places of endarkenment and not fit for any young person who is curious and open minded.
    , @Corvinus
    "If he truly believes this, a have a nice bridge for sale real cheap. Alas, something tells me that he is not quite honest here."

    It's called the Flynn Effect, and it has been well-documented.
  4. anon • Disclaimer says:

    The reviews are bi-modal, (1 and 5 stars) which usually means: controversial.

    Summary: “We should continue the tradition of enlightenment ideals like science, reason and humanism, but that in no ways implies that we need to protect the Western peoples who invented these concepts. That would be anti-reason, or something.” “Tribalism is bad, MmmmmmKay class?”

    Apparently he talks about the scientific method, and tools that have been developed to reduce cognitive bias in academia and science. If Pinker were living according to his principles he’d read Kevin Macdonald’s trilogy on Jews before panning it out of hand. Not very open minded and scientific of you Mr. Pinker, now is it?

    Friendly reminder: If your primary principle is anything other than survival then you’re doing it wrong. The organisms/peoples for whom survival is their primary principle will use your feckless principles like “justice”, “freedom” and “individualism” to exploit and destroy you. These higher principles work in homogeneous societies with shared values and shared genetic-interests, but not the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic nightmares we’re creating.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    When did Pinker dismiss CoC?
  5. Steve,

    I am under the impression that you and the other Steve go back a long, long way. I am basing this on my long dim recollection that some time in the distant past he had given you public recognition and credit for some of your political prognostications. Whatever his other faults this at least proves that Pinker is a good judge of political horseflesh.

    BTW, although he presents plenty of counter evidence and counterarguments, especially in light of 20th Century carnage I can never accept his claim that humankind is becoming more peaceful.

    • Replies: @songbird
    The other two Steves!
    , @dearieme
    I wouldn't be surprised if the pattern of murder has changed: intermittent bursts of mass slaughter vs steady drizzle of deaths.
    , @MEH 0910

    I am under the impression that you and the other Steve go back a long, long way.
     
    In looking up that connection I stumbled across the blog of a woman who is very critical of both Steves.

    http://mcclernan.blogspot.com/2018/01/steven-pinker-and-steve-sailer.html

    I have yet to find any evidence that Steven Pinker has ever repudiated any claims Steve Sailer has made about race. He prefers rather to pay him to write, and as recently as 2011, quote him for a blurb for one of his books ("Better Angels.")

    Like Razib Khan, Sailer owes his career to wealthy racist patrons. But both of these racist hacks would be lifted above the far-right fringe thanks to their association with Steven Pinker.

    In Sailer's case, Pinker edited a book called The Best American Science and Nature Writing of 2004 and included work by Sailer.

    So in summation: just four years after Steve Sailer, whose academic credentials are limited to an MBA from UCLA in finance and marketing, was opining for VDARE that while blacks were intellectually inferior to all other "races" at least they were good at jazz and basketball, Steven Pinker included Sailer's work in "The Best American Science and Nature Writing."

    I emailed Pinker's co-editer Tim Folger about the inclusion of Sailer in the publication. If he responds I will post on this blog.

    But there is still the question of what, exactly Steven Pinker thinks is "race." More soon.

    UPDATE: Tim Folger wrote back:

    Hi Nancy,

    Thanks for letting me know about this. In hindsight Sailer's story shouldn't have been included in the anthology, and we should have looked into his background more carefully. Until reading your email today, I knew nothing about Sailer's alt-right connections. Steven Pinker selected the story, and unfortunately I never discussed the article with him, an oversight that I regret.

    Tim

     
    I am waiting for my second-hand copy of "The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004" to arrive so I can find out exactly what Pinker hired Sailer to say.
     
    http://mcclernan.blogspot.com/2018/02/steve-sailer-in-best-american-science.html

    Ugh, I'm probably the only human being to read "The Cousin Marriage Conundrum" since 2005.

    Steven Pinker and Steve Sailer go back to at least 2002 when Sailer interviewed Pinker about The Blank Slate. although he mentioned Pinker even earlier on his iSteve blog and used the term "human biodiversity" too. I haven't found Pinker mentioning Sailer publicly after 2011 when he used Sailer for a positive blurb for "Better Angels."

    Sailer still talks about Pinker though, posting Pinker's PC video in a recent Unz column.
     
    , @Lot
    We can only speculate since the details are top secret, but Steve S. ran a journolist style email HBD email list that had Krugman and Derb on it in its hay day and Steve P. would have fit in too.
    , @another fred

    ...I can never accept his claim that humankind is becoming more peaceful.
     
    The evidence is that we are selecting against reactive violence. Richard Wrangham says we are selecting for proactive violence (the calculating type).

    Whether that is "more peaceful" is probably a semantic argument. Personally, I think we will see Wrangham proved correct in this century.

    The data on the distribution of DRD4 receptors is instructive (2 repeat vs 3 repeat vs 4 repeat, etc.).
  6. It is true that global secular trends are good, but so slow that progress is hard to see, even in one’s own country, because the time-scale is in centuries. Look at how slow progress was in living standards in Britain for the first two hundred years after the industrial revolution

    But then you might be able to say the same if things start to go south. On the decadal scale things always look rocky with the papers filled with tragedy..

    • Replies: @dearieme
    "Look at how slow progress was in living standards in Britain for the first two hundred years after the industrial revolution": I've always wondered whether the figures were too low. I've seen an allusion to some recent research that might justify my scepticism (sorry, no link). But you know how historians' opinions can swing to and fro.
    , @YetAnotherAnon
    " Look at how slow progress was in living standards in Britain for the first two hundred years after the industrial revolution"

    Was progress slow? The huge population increase in Victorian times says otherwise, a lot more children must have been living to maturity. Clean water, pretty ubiquitous by end Victorian times, must have been YUGE, as would sewerage. The houses built for Victorian working people are pretty good.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_water_supply_and_sanitation#London_and_other_cities,_UK
  7. http://www.businessinsider.com/canadian-pm-trudeau-mocked-for-political-fashion-blunders-in-india-2018-2

    Shallowness of liberalism without roots. Gay-for-a-day, Muslim-for-a-day, Hindu-for-a-day, etc, as if identities are just role-playing and ‘celebration’.

    This does give ‘appropriation’ a bad name. Appreciation is one thing. But this treating of cultures and identities as fashion shows is dumb.

    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
    Imagine if Narendra Modi turned up at Ottawa airport dressed as a mountie.

    Trudeau is a perfect example of the empty post-modern man as cypher for SJW nonsense.
  8. He’s been on a rationalism crusade recently, so I assume that’s where he’s going with the book. If so, this is going to turn out to be a quixotic effort.

  9. I went back and read your linked review of Pinker’s prior book.

    While it is an excellent essay, it begs a critical question:

    why was the violent crime rate so low prior to 1964, without requiring such a high incarceration rate?

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
    The violent crime rate may not have been as low prior to 1964 as it appears from a perusal of the statistics. A penchant for violence, indolence and thievery by blacks had been noticed and commented upon by many sources for centuries. It's just that today, as a result of our misguided attempt to "inclusion" diverse peoples into the same space, whites are victimized more than they had been in the separate but equal past. And (by some of us anyway) that gets "noticed".
  10. Steve, you have a lot of thoughts about different peoples – How many countries have you been to and how much time have you spent travelling internationally in your life?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Not enough. I can't afford to travel much.

    My dad liked Latin America (my mom did not), so I went on a fair number of trips with him south of the border up through 1985.

    England, Netherlands and Ireland -- in 1965.
    Mexico -- Guadalajara and Manzanillo in 1967 (plus numerous day trips to Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, and Ensenada in Baja California from, say, 1966 to 1986, along with brief trips over the border to Del Rio in 1976, Ciudad Juarez in 1980, and Naco in 2003 -- the increase in violence in Mexico since 2006 has been a drag)
    Canada -- Vancouver and Victoria in 1968
    Mexico -- Mexico City and Veracruz 1974
    Mexico -- Drove from Houston to Acapulco 1978
    South America - Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru 1978
    Europe -- England, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Monaco, France, Italy, Greece - backpacking for 6 weeks in 1980.
    Mexico - Mazatlan 1981
    Mexico - Cozumel 1984
    Mexico - Cabo San Lucas 1985
    England and Ireland - 1987
    Canada - Toronto (business) - 1993
    Belgium, England, and Ireland (business) - 1994
    Mexico - Rosarito Beach 1996
    Russia - Moscow 2001 (covering a scientific conference)
    Turkey - Bodrum, Ephesus, Istanbul 2009 (speaking at Hans Hermann Hoppe's conference)

    I don't think I've been out of the country since 2009. I need to renew my passport.

    I think my first choice of a place I haven't been to would be St. Andrews, Scotland, for sporting and intellectual history reasons.

    , @Nico
    I can’t speak for Steve, but I have lived in several different countries and do not speak my mother tongue on a daily basis and I can say definitively that the idea of travel as a great worldly door-opener is rather mistaken. Travel certainly can be mind-expanding but since it’s pretty well impossible to go into it without a lot of preconceived notions you have to have up front a rough conscious idea of what you are looking for in order to find anything of value.

    When I was growing up international travel was sold as a panacea to counter intellectual and social backwardness, the end-all-get-all of sophistication and worldliness. Most of the dreadlock-wearing weed smokers speaking English in hostels at the four corners of the globe still think it is, though I doubt the masses of Chinese and American tourists who seem to think Europe a great big Disneyland park imagine they are there for anything but bragging rights.

    The reality is that if you’re not living among locals for at least 20 or so days, you can hardly expect to come away with any sort of profound first-personal feel of how a society actually operates. Frankly I don’t do much traveling anymore: gawking at exoticisms in a zoo might have been amusing when I was a kid, but with books and Google Images all over the place the money (not to mention the time) is usually better spent elsewhere.
  11. Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The first modern K-12 school shooting I can recall is the I Don't Like Mondays one in suburban San Diego in the late 1970s.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yteMugRAc0

    The one I covered as a reporter in 2001 in suburban San Diego was only a few miles from the first.

    Maybe if the 1979 one hadn't been instantly turned into a hit song, the meme wouldn't have caught on?

    , @PhysicistDave
    O'Really asked:

    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?
     
    We have made the schools a trap for millions of kids in a way that was not true until the last few decades.

    My great grandmother, whom I knew well, was born in the early 1880s and dropped out of school after fourth grade. She knew the 3Rs, although of course she was not strong in, say, modern science. On the whole, she lived a good life: no one despised her for not going beyond fourth grade.

    Her son, my grandfather, dropped out of high school in his senior year. He trained as a machinist, was in the Navy in WW II, and ended up in middle management. All without a high-school diploma.

    A co-worker of mine in my first job back in the early 1980s, who had fought in WW II and went to school to get a degree in engineering on the GI Bill after the war, told me that he was one of the few engineers with a college degree when he started work around 1950.

    But, in the last several decades, we have been pushing with increasing intensity for everyone to get a high-school diploma and, increasingly, for everyone to go to college. And, we have created systems of credentialism, cartelization of various occupations, etc., so that a large number of people who train for particular vocations will not in fact get jobs in those areas. (Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!)

    So, very large numbers of kids end up hating school along with the larger constrained socioeconomic system that school stands for.

    The miracle is that we only have dozens of school shootings rather than thousands!

    We are brutalizing our children and young adults. It is not surprising that some of those children turn out in the end to be very brutal indeed.

    , @bomag

    neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are.
     
    Mass shootings in general are up: more people; more mental illness; more people baked on pharmaceuticals; more celebrity crime worship.

    Previously, people interested in mass killing joined the Communist party. Now they have moved on to other outlets (heh heh).
    , @Stan d Mute

    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?
     
    Single mothers, absent fathers.

    Emasculation and cowardice.
    , @Rod1963
    It started with SSRI's being given to kids - Klebold and Harris for example and most school shooters were loaded on them. It didn't help their parents were total assh*les who let their kids go feral.

    BTW they are not meant for teenagers. Yet they are given to young boys to modulate their behavior into something that is easily manageable. The problem is in a small percentage it turns them into rage monsters.

    Prior to the advent of SSRI's there wasn't a problem. Instead male teenagers simply emotionally checked out of school and just went through the motions. Most teachers accepted this and gave the boys some space - IOW they didn't bug them.

    Today they drug the shit out of them. If they are bored they get drugged, if they smart and know the teacher is a low IQ putz(which most are) and mouths off, he gets drugged. If they are antsy they get drugged.

    Public schools are no longer fit for white boys IMO. All the schools want are docile followers, any intellectual or behavioral deviancy is punished early and often. God help the little white boy who plays cops and robber on school grounds or draws a gun or tank. He gets a trip to the principal's office and interrogated by cops and the parents will be lucky if CPS doesn't take junior away.
    , @unpc downunder
    According to Ann Coulter, mass shootings started increasing at the same time America started emptying out its mental hospitals (the 1970s). In the UK Commonwealth, there was also a slightly less extreme emptying of hospitals and a number of Rambo style shootings in the 1980s.

    The UK Commonwealth solution was to do a moderate U-turn on involuntary treatment of the mentally ill, and make it harder for the mentally ill to access firearms. However, there are a lot less firearms in circulation than in the US, so this wouldn't necessary have as much impact as it would in an American context.
  12. Bill Gave-all-my-money-to-sub-saharan-Africa Gates endorsed my book. Hehehe. A goyishe kopf, but a good goyishe kopf.

  13. @Anonymous
    Chapter 20:

    The schooling, together with health and wealth, are literally making us smarter—by thirty IQ points, or two standard deviations above our ancestors.
     
    If he truly believes this, a have a nice bridge for sale real cheap. Alas, something tells me that he is not quite honest here.

    I only skimmed the book and decided it's not worth the time to read seriously. The feel-good "contrarian" messages like the one above get old quickly because most of them are actually intellectual equivalent of a sleight of hand.

    He also writes-

    “But the main reason that health and nutrition aren’t enough to explain the IQ rise is that what has risen over time is not overall brainpower. The Flynn effect is not an increase in g, the general intelligence factor that underlies every subtype of intelligence (verbal, spatial, mathematical, memory, and so on) and is the aspect of intelligence most directly affected by the genes. While overall IQ has risen, and scores on each intelligence subtest have risen, some subtests have risen more rapidly than others in a pattern different than the pattern linked to the genes. That’s another reason the Flynn effect does not cast doubt on the high heritability of IQ.”

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Pinker's Flynn Effect argument in "Better Angels" is pretty sophisticated.
    , @AaronB
    I remember ten years ago everyone was saying the Raven Matrices were the most g loaded test (Asians who excel on this text used to go on and on about this).

    But the Ravens is the single mos affected test by the Flynn Effect, and now we are heading that the Flynn Effect is not an increase in g (fairly obviously).

    Are people still saying the Ravens is most g loaded?
  14. @Patrick82
    He also writes-

    "But the main reason that health and nutrition aren't enough to explain the IQ rise is that what has risen over time is not overall brainpower. The Flynn effect is not an increase in g, the general intelligence factor that underlies every subtype of intelligence (verbal, spatial, mathematical, memory, and so on) and is the aspect of intelligence most directly affected by the genes. While overall IQ has risen, and scores on each intelligence subtest have risen, some subtests have risen more rapidly than others in a pattern different than the pattern linked to the genes. That's another reason the Flynn effect does not cast doubt on the high heritability of IQ."

    Pinker’s Flynn Effect argument in “Better Angels” is pretty sophisticated.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    Steve,
    I'm interested to know what parts, if any, of Better Angels you thought were neglected or underrated.

    I wrote a review of the book on my anonymously-written blog. However, at the time, the thrust of controversy over the book was related to the statistical issues surrounding death rates. Frankly, this was not interesting to me, although I appreciated its importance to the book.

    My anonymously-blogged critique of the book said, essentially, that Pinker's preferred world was one which was very amenable to people like Pinker but maybe not so much to the rest of us, so his preferences were not very good as standards. This viewpoint drew approximately ZERO interest, although I thought it made the book, if not his entire life, rather pointless.

    Anyhow, I suspect you are among the non-plused one-time readers of my review, so now I just ask, "what parts, if any, of Better Angels were neglected or underrated?"
    , @candid_observer
    As I recollect, Pinker describes the Flynn Effect as arising from more exposure to abstract thinking, both in schooling and in the larger culture.

    I've found myself wondering if, beyond the obvious upsides, there isn't a big downside to this development: a disturbing susceptibility to ideology.

    Would today's Social Justice movement and identity politics, with its demand that we stop believing our lying eyes, have been viable in an era more respectful of concrete observation? Have we educated ourselves so much that we can no longer see the obvious?
  15. @Anatoly Karlin
    Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.

    I got it yesterday and I’ve read a few pages of the book, which are still online at the Chronicle of Higher Education.
    The few pages in the Chronicle are pretty dense – as is the little paragraph about declining anxiety p. 283.

    Teaser: “Eveything is amazing. Are we really so unhappy? Mostly we are not.”
    – I’d say that – stylistically – this is just fine.

    In the Chronicle Pinker dicusses the pros ‘n’ cons (mostly cons, ehe) of – – “Feminist Glaciology”, which seems to be a real thing! – I enyoyed that a lot! – Things like that (=zeitgeist as pure! / ice-crystal-clear as that) – are just great examples – and Pinker did make the almost*** perfect use of it. Entertaining, even. Great read so far!

    *** I wrote in the comment section of the Chronicle, why I think it makes sense to say, that Pinker is not quite perfect in this case. And my point is, that following Kant, you can handle such problems like the feminist glaciology a tad more precise – and a tad shorter even than Pinker.

  16. @O'Really
    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?

    The first modern K-12 school shooting I can recall is the I Don’t Like Mondays one in suburban San Diego in the late 1970s.

    The one I covered as a reporter in 2001 in suburban San Diego was only a few miles from the first.

    Maybe if the 1979 one hadn’t been instantly turned into a hit song, the meme wouldn’t have caught on?

    • Replies: @O'Really
    Your response, while probably incorrect, points toward a more likely explanation: the existence of 24/7 news channels turned Columbine into a "hit song."
    , @Dieter Kief

    Maybe if the 1979 one hadn’t been instantly turned into a hit song, the meme wouldn’t have caught on?
     
    Only "maybe" if: - - Such complex things as school shootings wouldn't be multi-faceted and therefor caused by multitudes (!) of factors (=reasons).
    I'd agree, though, that the pop-culture is one important factor in the whole picture. Popular culture as something, which influences a certain mentality. - In this case: Critical cynism: A mentality (=a state of mind), which was explored by Punk-musicians - and popularized big scale: That's all true, but still only a fraction of the whole picture***.

    ***When i speak of "the whole picture" I - almost "naturally" - think of Mick Jagger's famous quote about - his worldview (=his world, almost): "It's all pieces of a broken mirror, really".
    - And if you start thinking from this quote all over again, narcissism counts in (=the mirror!) - and the fact, that: Everything is mirrored, but you never get the whole picture, because our (modern!) mirror is broken - - - - (and that's not the end: At this point of the reflction, you can ask yourself, what that means? - To say that the mirror is broken means, I'd hold, that the universal or god-like prespective is gone; and in saying that, Jagger (= Jagger's broken-mirror-metaphor) is right, of course: That's the modern condition, which's unifying element is the acceptance of the multitude of our voices (Habermas)!

    From then on, you are at the junction of postmodern relativism and - enlightenment thinking (cf. Pinker and Habermas).

    And I would not conclude, that Jagger's metaphor means necessarily, that Pop-culture is on the side of postmodernist relativism.

    Not at all necessarily so, I'd hold: "Let's drink to the hard-working people, let us drink to the Salt of The Earth" (Rolling Stones): These words can be understood as postmodern relativist fun about those who do physical work, but it can also be interpreted as a way to honor those folks.
    (Now think of the Cuban free-concert of The Stones! - And how it ended: With the words, spoken by Jagger: "Godd night everybody - 'n' God bless ya' !" -In the name of our better angels - of course (Jagger spoke explicitly against Cuban repression (of popluar culture, that is) that evening, too...).

    , @Seamus Padraig
    Thanks for the vid, Steve. I can't say I remember that song at all, so I looked it up on Wikipedia, and it turns out that, while it reached #1 on the Irish and British charts, it peaked at #73 on the US charts.

    But that was the story of the Boomtown Rats in America generally, I suppose. Back in the day, a lot of people my age were shocked! to find out that the 'Pink' character in The Wall was actually a musician in real life, too.
    , @RationalExpressions
    Was that really well known about the lyrics at the time? I remember it more as a piece of trivia that only became known to a few music nerds later. Pop songs couldn’t be dissected the way they are now, and info like this could only spread by word of mouth. By the time a person heard it from some trivia nerd, like you or me, they didn’t really care.
    , @Stan d Mute

    The first modern K-12 school shooting I can recall is the I Don’t Like Mondays one in suburban San Diego in the late 1970s.
     
    We also tend to forget that the worst school massacre in America involved no firearms:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster

    In this context, removing the scary guns that go “bang” and having scary looking black plastic all over them, we can see that these are simply terroristic acts of angry aggrieved mentally defective men who like all such terrorists prefer soft civilian targets (some have hit soft government targets). The gun is obviously then just a tool, chosen perhaps in response to media programming, but by no means the most effective tool as OK City, 9/11 and innumerable European/ME incidents have repeatedly shown us.
    , @Brutusale
    I find it surprising that Brenda Spencer is still in jail 38 years later.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_Elementary_School_shooting_(San_Diego)
  17. Pinker has been among the most successful advocates against political-correctness-based censorship and public shaming of honest intellectuals, and in favor of evidence-based rational thinking about social policy. He is a natural member of the human biodiversity movement, but has always carefully stopped just short of acknowledging the reality of human biodiversity. His rational thinking and evidence-based conclusion grinds to a stop just as he reaches the HBD precipice. Not sure exactly why, and how he justifies this to himself; perhaps someday soon he will make the leap. I have only read The Blank State and Better Angels plus a few essays and on-line presentations; I DO want to read his latest. The best parts of his books, for me, are finding the exact lines of text in various chapters where obvious HBD conclusions get lost in the blank spaces between two lines of text.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    Presumably he doesn't want to get Watson'd.

    He's still relatively young and he still enjoys working, but hopefully eventually he'll stop caring about his reputation among Goodthinkers and he'll just let it all hang out.

    Of course, some people might argue that his ethnic roots make it especially difficult for him to fully acknowledge HBD.

    , @Stan d Mute

    He is a natural member of the human biodiversity movement, but has always carefully stopped just short of acknowledging the reality of human biodiversity. His rational thinking and evidence-based conclusion grinds to a stop just as he reaches the HBD precipice.
     
    Pinker is one of the most cautious speakers/writers I’ve encountered. I strongly suspect he knows the truth, but will carefully avoid admitting it while leading listeners/readers to the precipice as you note where if they think clearly there is but one conclusion.
    , @mobi

    His rational thinking and evidence-based conclusion grinds to a stop just as he reaches the HBD precipice. Not sure exactly why, and how he justifies this to himself; perhaps someday soon he will make the leap.
     
    Greg Cochran teased on his blog recently:

    What’s the right thing to do when someone has, in private conversation, admitted that he doesn’t believe in his public position?
     
    Followed by speculation in the comments about 'him with the fabulous, crinkly hair and new book'

    Not confirmed or denied, just speculation.

    https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/private-conversations/#comments

    , @ben tillman

    Pinker has been among the most successful advocates against political-correctness-based censorship and public shaming of honest intellectuals, and in favor of evidence-based rational thinking about social policy.
     
    Unless those intellectuals are really, REALLY honest and address the ultimate taboo, in which case "rational thinking" goes out the window.
    , @Dieter Kief
    Pinker just made a European presentation tour for Enlightenment Now!.

    In Germany, he got prominetly featured in a long interviws in Der Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung (the biggest quality-newspaper).
    Both would have written not a single line about this book, if Pinker would speak out for HBD.

    So - there are reasons to be cautious.

    BUT: Pinker cites Immanuel Kant in his recent book numerous times: That you ought to be courageous, in using your own (free) mind.

    For Kant, it was crucial to speak the truth. Kant would not have accepted to hide the truth for tactical reasons.

    I just read what John Derbyshire wrote about race and the liberal mind:

    "Bottom line here: Race denialism isn’t just scientifically illiterate, it’s lethal."

    (Such thoughts make it even harder to ignore Kant's imperative, to be courageous - - and harder too, to ignore the performative selfcontradiction, Steven Pinker is now obviously in. - Unless he had other reasons than tactical ones for not speaking out about HBD. Which I firmly doubt).

  18. @Steve Sailer
    The first modern K-12 school shooting I can recall is the I Don't Like Mondays one in suburban San Diego in the late 1970s.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yteMugRAc0

    The one I covered as a reporter in 2001 in suburban San Diego was only a few miles from the first.

    Maybe if the 1979 one hadn't been instantly turned into a hit song, the meme wouldn't have caught on?

    Your response, while probably incorrect, points toward a more likely explanation: the existence of 24/7 news channels turned Columbine into a “hit song.”

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Columbine totally dominated CNN coverage for a week or more

    I covered this stupid Columbine Wannabee shooting in Santee, CA in 2001 and complained that all of us journalists were just encouraging more of these shootings. At 11:00 PM there were seven TV reporters and camera crews lined up ten feet apart reporting live. I counted 31 TV trucks on the site.

    But then, to my surprise, Columbine-type shootings stopped for a couple of years. I suspect 9/11 proved a distraction, but who knows?

  19. @Chebyshev
    Steve, you have a lot of thoughts about different peoples - How many countries have you been to and how much time have you spent travelling internationally in your life?

    Not enough. I can’t afford to travel much.

    My dad liked Latin America (my mom did not), so I went on a fair number of trips with him south of the border up through 1985.

    England, Netherlands and Ireland — in 1965.
    Mexico — Guadalajara and Manzanillo in 1967 (plus numerous day trips to Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, and Ensenada in Baja California from, say, 1966 to 1986, along with brief trips over the border to Del Rio in 1976, Ciudad Juarez in 1980, and Naco in 2003 — the increase in violence in Mexico since 2006 has been a drag)
    Canada — Vancouver and Victoria in 1968
    Mexico — Mexico City and Veracruz 1974
    Mexico — Drove from Houston to Acapulco 1978
    South America – Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru 1978
    Europe — England, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Monaco, France, Italy, Greece – backpacking for 6 weeks in 1980.
    Mexico – Mazatlan 1981
    Mexico – Cozumel 1984
    Mexico – Cabo San Lucas 1985
    England and Ireland – 1987
    Canada – Toronto (business) – 1993
    Belgium, England, and Ireland (business) – 1994
    Mexico – Rosarito Beach 1996
    Russia – Moscow 2001 (covering a scientific conference)
    Turkey – Bodrum, Ephesus, Istanbul 2009 (speaking at Hans Hermann Hoppe’s conference)

    I don’t think I’ve been out of the country since 2009. I need to renew my passport.

    I think my first choice of a place I haven’t been to would be St. Andrews, Scotland, for sporting and intellectual history reasons.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    I think you would be disappointed if you went to St. Andrews. I haven't been there, but I backpacked through some other lowland cities and the Highlands. The lowlands and, in general, the cities of Scotland were a historical and intellectual disappointment. Of course, maybe you have something specific you're looking for. (And all this is golf-excepted, of course.)
  20. @O'Really
    Your response, while probably incorrect, points toward a more likely explanation: the existence of 24/7 news channels turned Columbine into a "hit song."

    Columbine totally dominated CNN coverage for a week or more

    I covered this stupid Columbine Wannabee shooting in Santee, CA in 2001 and complained that all of us journalists were just encouraging more of these shootings. At 11:00 PM there were seven TV reporters and camera crews lined up ten feet apart reporting live. I counted 31 TV trucks on the site.

    But then, to my surprise, Columbine-type shootings stopped for a couple of years. I suspect 9/11 proved a distraction, but who knows?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I have to say one of the weird mind-altering events of my life was watching CNN coveroing the Columbine shooting on endless loop in a pub on Times Square, then watching The Matrix with extreme gun-play immediately afterwards, (with the theater filled with very underage kids, too, how is that even allowed).

    https://youtu.be/iuslUzbJEaw?t=85

    It was frankly bizzare.
    , @for-the-record
    Not enough. I can’t afford to travel much.

    Is that really true? I can understand your likely reluctance, but I am sure there are a lot of your international readers who would be more than happy to put you up, and accommodation is the greater part of international travel cost. And having local "guides" can make travel far more rewarding and insightful.

    , @anonymous
    "Stopped". But, as noted, didn't end. 9/11? Mehh, maybe. I like what contributor @Anonymous had to say about the Matrix gun-play etc. Then there's "Terminator", "Pulp Fiction", "Taxi Driver" and all those movies featuring gun totin' superheros and, more recently, heroines ("Remember the ladies" as Abigail Adams wrote to John).

    I would say that we here in the US of A exhibit a level of cognitive dissonance that is simply breath taking. Then again, as a Frog journalist once wrote ( and I'm paraphrasing) "America's fatal weakness: Wanting it both ways."

  21. OT

    From the files of Portlandia: So I married a Nazi. What’s a nice Jewish girl to do?

    https://eugeneweekly.com/2018/02/01/i-married-a-white-supremacist/

    • LOL: BB753
    • Replies: @El Dato
    What a long jewish complaint.

    After all, my ex reasoned, he was an older brother to a set of adopted orphans from West Africa, so how could he possibly be racist? “They have lower IQs because they’re African,” he clinically explained to me one evening after I tucked his siblings into bed. “It’s genetically been proven blacks aren’t as smart.”

    It was precisely that idea in and of itself that made him a racist.
     
    "Ideas that I don't share. They make you something."

    Meanwhile in the UK: Gay rights group Stonewall pulls out of London Pride because it isn’t diverse enough (this will go down in London on July 7)

    Gay rights group Stonewall has pulled out of London’s biggest LGBTQ event over claims there is not “enough diversity” at the march. The group says it will march instead with UK Black Pride

    I don't even know how to approach this mentally.
    , @Anonym
    From the files of Portlandia: So I married a Nazi. What’s a nice Jewish girl to do?

    That was really good, and quite funny in places. Thanks for posting it. Some of it strains credibility and sounds embellished. Most bits seem legit.

    In a nutshell:
    1. Jewish woman marries a smart, white ex-military Westpoint educated guy.
    2. Said woman cannot carry a child to term.
    3. After 6 years, the husband decides that 5 years is enough trying to procreate, so best to seek out other options.
    4. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and this scorn extends to include the ex-husband's political views. That being said, one gets the feeling that she still misses him and is sad. It's gotta suck ending up infertile.

    I can kind of relate at least to his situation - coming into a relationship with a Jewess as someone who knew next to nothing about Jews, but being very interested in politics. A lot of things I thought I knew, I didn't. Even though she was not practicing, Jewishness was something central for her. So it was something of an education for me, it kind of paved the way to understanding of Jewish issues and definitely Jewish attitudes.

    I can imagine what it would be like to not just go out with a Jewess but live with one for 6 years as husband and wife, along with being a net junkie and having the array of information about politics and Jewish influence on it available some 10-15 years later that was unavailable to me. Add to that the resentment at not being able to procreate together. I can definitely see it leading to an awakening of sorts. A lot of smart white guys are going through the process anyway.

    I feel sad for her that she doesn't appear able to have children. I hope she can try and compartmentalize whatever she feels about politics and what she feels about her ex.
    , @AndrewR
    I imagine being married to her would turn anyone into a counter-Semite.
  22. @Chebyshev
    Steve, you have a lot of thoughts about different peoples - How many countries have you been to and how much time have you spent travelling internationally in your life?

    I can’t speak for Steve, but I have lived in several different countries and do not speak my mother tongue on a daily basis and I can say definitively that the idea of travel as a great worldly door-opener is rather mistaken. Travel certainly can be mind-expanding but since it’s pretty well impossible to go into it without a lot of preconceived notions you have to have up front a rough conscious idea of what you are looking for in order to find anything of value.

    When I was growing up international travel was sold as a panacea to counter intellectual and social backwardness, the end-all-get-all of sophistication and worldliness. Most of the dreadlock-wearing weed smokers speaking English in hostels at the four corners of the globe still think it is, though I doubt the masses of Chinese and American tourists who seem to think Europe a great big Disneyland park imagine they are there for anything but bragging rights.

    The reality is that if you’re not living among locals for at least 20 or so days, you can hardly expect to come away with any sort of profound first-personal feel of how a society actually operates. Frankly I don’t do much traveling anymore: gawking at exoticisms in a zoo might have been amusing when I was a kid, but with books and Google Images all over the place the money (not to mention the time) is usually better spent elsewhere.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    I agree that immersion is essential for true intercultural experiences, although I wouldn't put a specific number of days down as a must-reach point. Ten days is better than five days. Twenty days is better than ten days. Forty days is better than twenty days. It's not necessarily a linear relationship, of course. Learning the local tongues is one of the most important aspects, although everyone has different levels of desire and ability for that. The best experiences tend to be when you're with someone who is highly familiar with both that culture and language as well your culture and language. IOW, an American newly arrived in Japan would probably get the greatest benefit from spending time around a Japanese person who has lived in the US and speaks English well, or an American who has lived in Japan for years and mastered the language and culture.

    While books, film, photos, blogs, etc are better than nothing when it comes to learning about other cultures, nothing can beat actually experiencing them. Of course, as you allude to, there are certainly tradeoffs and it's not necessarily worth the time, money and stress required to gain those experiences. But I think everyone should try to spend at least a few months of their lives experiencing different cultures.

    , @Stan d Mute

    The reality is that if you’re not living among locals for at least 20 or so days, you can hardly expect to come away with any sort of profound first-personal feel of how a society actually operates. Frankly I don’t do much traveling anymore: gawking at exoticisms in a zoo
     
    At least 20 days and that’s not in a resort or tourist mecca. Otherwise, working collaboratively on the ground with locals in whatever field of endeavor is also truly profound but there too it’s not just a day or two but long term conducting business that educates you on that deeper level.

    I like your comparison to visiting a zoo, it’s very apt. It’s visiting a zoo with a giant helping of self promotion. “Look at me looking at xxxxx.”
    , @Bill P
    I don't think immersion is even desirable for most people. Being thrust into an entirely different culture can be harmful to one's mental health past a certain age. I lived in France for a year as a child and I loved it, came away with nothing but good memories and good impressions. But after living in China for a couple years as a young adult, the experience left me jaded and a bit aimless for a while. Don't get me wrong - I learned a great deal and greatly appreciate that - but it was painful at times.

    My wife is European, and despite having lived in the states previously as a teen and speaking excellent English, it was still pretty hard for her to get used to adult American life.

    I feel that I could live happily in North America, Western Europe (especially France), and maybe Central Europe and Scandinavia, but wherever there's an Orthodox majority probably not. East Asia, Africa, Central Asia and the subcontinent, no way. South America I don't know enough to say.

    Culture matters a lot. Usually, it's best to stick with the one you were raised in.
    , @benjaminl
    I agree completely and would even go further. I lived outside the US, in Europe, for a good two years before returning, learned the local language, read the local newspapers, befriended the local people, read up on the local history and culture, went to the local museums...

    Yes, I now know more about this particular European country than 99 percent of those people on the world who don't live there... But I'm still an American, I'll never truly "belong" there, and there are so many things that I will just never understand, being a foreigner. I don't especially get the humor or any subtle nuances of the language.

    My living abroad now confirms my nationalistic views. True relationships are based on kinship, mother tongue, etc. Travel of any sort can be fun and enlightening in a way, but you can never erase your roots, no matter how much you might wish to do so.
  23. @Steve Sailer
    The first modern K-12 school shooting I can recall is the I Don't Like Mondays one in suburban San Diego in the late 1970s.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yteMugRAc0

    The one I covered as a reporter in 2001 in suburban San Diego was only a few miles from the first.

    Maybe if the 1979 one hadn't been instantly turned into a hit song, the meme wouldn't have caught on?

    Maybe if the 1979 one hadn’t been instantly turned into a hit song, the meme wouldn’t have caught on?

    Only “maybe” if: – – Such complex things as school shootings wouldn’t be multi-faceted and therefor caused by multitudes (!) of factors (=reasons).
    I’d agree, though, that the pop-culture is one important factor in the whole picture. Popular culture as something, which influences a certain mentality. – In this case: Critical cynism: A mentality (=a state of mind), which was explored by Punk-musicians – and popularized big scale: That’s all true, but still only a fraction of the whole picture***.

    ***When i speak of “the whole picture” I – almost “naturally” – think of Mick Jagger’s famous quote about – his worldview (=his world, almost): “It’s all pieces of a broken mirror, really”.
    – And if you start thinking from this quote all over again, narcissism counts in (=the mirror!) – and the fact, that: Everything is mirrored, but you never get the whole picture, because our (modern!) mirror is broken – – – – (and that’s not the end: At this point of the reflction, you can ask yourself, what that means? – To say that the mirror is broken means, I’d hold, that the universal or god-like prespective is gone; and in saying that, Jagger (= Jagger’s broken-mirror-metaphor) is right, of course: That’s the modern condition, which’s unifying element is the acceptance of the multitude of our voices (Habermas)!

    From then on, you are at the junction of postmodern relativism and – enlightenment thinking (cf. Pinker and Habermas).

    And I would not conclude, that Jagger’s metaphor means necessarily, that Pop-culture is on the side of postmodernist relativism.

    Not at all necessarily so, I’d hold: “Let’s drink to the hard-working people, let us drink to the Salt of The Earth” (Rolling Stones): These words can be understood as postmodern relativist fun about those who do physical work, but it can also be interpreted as a way to honor those folks.
    (Now think of the Cuban free-concert of The Stones! – And how it ended: With the words, spoken by Jagger: “Godd night everybody – ‘n’ God bless ya’ !” -In the name of our better angels – of course (Jagger spoke explicitly against Cuban repression (of popluar culture, that is) that evening, too…).

  24. @Steve Sailer
    The first modern K-12 school shooting I can recall is the I Don't Like Mondays one in suburban San Diego in the late 1970s.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yteMugRAc0

    The one I covered as a reporter in 2001 in suburban San Diego was only a few miles from the first.

    Maybe if the 1979 one hadn't been instantly turned into a hit song, the meme wouldn't have caught on?

    Thanks for the vid, Steve. I can’t say I remember that song at all, so I looked it up on Wikipedia, and it turns out that, while it reached #1 on the Irish and British charts, it peaked at #73 on the US charts.

    But that was the story of the Boomtown Rats in America generally, I suppose. Back in the day, a lot of people my age were shocked! to find out that the ‘Pink’ character in The Wall was actually a musician in real life, too.

  25. This link to the above mentioned excerpt of Sten Pinker’s new book in the Chronicle is still working – if you go directly to the Chronicle without this link, you get no access unless you are a subscriber:

    https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Intellectual-War-on/242538?key=VUoegFJonv4-gPdfGkNzjwL5cdI9L5prPSDsTd4xWZnsCQwj9m-Tmvk0CWWLCS24dzg1cnFobUpLZ3lBQjBrOVF0UzBlS29rX0NjWWtHRzEwN084YTM1MXMwQQ

  26. @Seamus Padraig
    OT

    From the files of Portlandia: So I married a Nazi. What's a nice Jewish girl to do?

    https://eugeneweekly.com/2018/02/01/i-married-a-white-supremacist/

    What a long jewish complaint.

    After all, my ex reasoned, he was an older brother to a set of adopted orphans from West Africa, so how could he possibly be racist? “They have lower IQs because they’re African,” he clinically explained to me one evening after I tucked his siblings into bed. “It’s genetically been proven blacks aren’t as smart.”

    It was precisely that idea in and of itself that made him a racist.

    “Ideas that I don’t share. They make you something.”

    Meanwhile in the UK: Gay rights group Stonewall pulls out of London Pride because it isn’t diverse enough (this will go down in London on July 7)

    Gay rights group Stonewall has pulled out of London’s biggest LGBTQ event over claims there is not “enough diversity” at the march. The group says it will march instead with UK Black Pride

    I don’t even know how to approach this mentally.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    The quote she attributed to him would certainly be an ignorant thing to say. Whether he actually said that, or if she is just too stupid/dishonest to accurately restate what he said, is an open question.

    Obviously it is false to claim: “They have lower IQs because they’re African. It’s genetically been proven blacks aren’t as smart.”

    A much more accurate claim would be: "people of Negroid descent tend to have lower IQs than people of non-Negroid descent, although obviously there is a lot of interracial overlap in intelligence."

    My shekels are on this girl lying about (or at least being too stupid to understand) what her husband actually said, but it's certainly possible that hubby actually made such an ignorant claim.

    , @a reader
    In the department of News-That-Make-You-Cringe, you can try this one too:

    ‘Thank you, Mama Merkel’: Syrian refugee lives with 2 wives, 6 kids on benefits in Germany.
    , @another fred

    I don’t even know how to approach this mentally.
     
    Popcorn and beer.

    There's no other way.
  27. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Columbine totally dominated CNN coverage for a week or more

    I covered this stupid Columbine Wannabee shooting in Santee, CA in 2001 and complained that all of us journalists were just encouraging more of these shootings. At 11:00 PM there were seven TV reporters and camera crews lined up ten feet apart reporting live. I counted 31 TV trucks on the site.

    But then, to my surprise, Columbine-type shootings stopped for a couple of years. I suspect 9/11 proved a distraction, but who knows?

    I have to say one of the weird mind-altering events of my life was watching CNN coveroing the Columbine shooting on endless loop in a pub on Times Square, then watching The Matrix with extreme gun-play immediately afterwards, (with the theater filled with very underage kids, too, how is that even allowed).

    It was frankly bizzare.

    • Replies: @CK
    And that clip is a good example of why Marble is not the best investment for hallway columns, nor marble veneer for hallways.
    The background music is superb.
    , @Harry Baldwin
    The Matrix is a pretty sick movie, not surprising when you consider who came up with it. The security guards and police officers Neo and his band kills are not bad guys, but decent people doing their jobs. They are slaughtered casually--after all, they're "living their lives in the Matrix"-- but for themselves and their families it is just as real and terrible as it is when anyone is killed in a mass shooting IRL.

    When I came out of the movie theater, I felt an odd disconnection from reality that took a few minutes to shake off. I imagine if I were mentally ill, that sense of disconnection might have stayed with me.
  28. @Anatoly Karlin
    Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.

    I’m in the middle of ploughing through Blank Slate now, which I recommend, but Anatoly is right. Well, maybe just twice as thick as needed. I think I’ll skip the new one.

    Pinker’s Blank Slate plus Uri Harris’s articles at Quillette together comprise a good they-read-it-so-you-don’t-have-to introduction to postmodernist Marxist critical studies blah blah ideas–and how they are incoherent and don’t make any sense. You knew that already, but reading this stuff gives some intellectual heft to what you already know.

  29. The strange thing about Pinker’s optimism is that it seems to rest on Hobbes’ insight: that without a strong, centralized state, human communities will collapse into endless warfare, mayhem and self destruction. Thus, the growth of the all-powerful, centralizing, and homogenizing state mirrors “human progress”, as it holds in check the inexorable power of human self-destructiveness. Likewise, the hydrogen bomb has done a decent job so far in taming the inevitable self-destructiveness which would be unleashed in a total war between modern states.

    What is strange is that the power of the modern state seems to rest on a monopoly of force, combined with power to influence the public through educational systems and mass propaganda. Not so sure we are talking about “enlightenment values” so much as a system of “values” which would be immediately apparent from the career of a figure like Goebbels. Its pretty clear what happens to “irrational” scientists who espouse the modern formulation of “heliocentrism” in defiance of the revealed truths of intersectionality and political correctness.

    In fact, I suspect the “Enlightenment” should not be connected with “values” but rather with the politicalization of “reason”, producing a contest between power and truth, wherein power appears to have the upper hand.

    • Disagree: Antlitz Grollheim
    • Replies: @bomag

    Thus, the growth of the all-powerful, centralizing, and homogenizing state mirrors “human progress”, as it holds in check the inexorable power of human self-destructiveness.
     
    There seems to be plenty of self-destructive tendencies in large, centralized states.

    The more clannish and ethnically conscious arrangements currently look to have more staying power.
    , @Antlitz Grollheim
    I meant to hit Agree on my little phone. Too bad there isn't a time buffer for the emote functions like the comments.

    Anyhow, great comment. Very perceptive.

    , @Nico

    I suspect the “Enlightenment” should not be connected with “values” but rather with the politicalization of “reason”, producing a contest between power and truth, wherein power appears to have the upper hand.

     

    That’s *exactly* what the Enlightenment was: the political and social manifestations of Cartesian logic. Every single subversive strain that has followed up - liberalism, socialism, Marxism, feminism, intersectionality - has its origins in this first seed. Of course, most people aren’t capable of stringent logical reasoning with anything resembling consistency, so this political Cartesianism is able to withstand the inconsistencies of its adherents (and even of its core philosophy, which is actually fairly easy to refute if you distill it down to Descartes’s cogito) by appeal to mob emotions and a discourse that “sounds” pragmatic to most people.

    After Christianity had wiped out Paganism across the Roman Empire there were intermittent attempts to revive it over the next 1200 years, sometimes for true belief (Julian the Apostate), sometimes for romantic sentiment (Renaissance fetishists of the classics), sometimes for want of a gayer and less disciplined life (the courtly Troubadours). However none of them made significant long-term headway because Christianity had absorbed the old Greco-Roman system of thought into a sweeping universalist cosmology which the old tribal energies could not not match.

    The cogito was the first proposition, after the Christianization of Ancient Rome, for the cornerstone on which could seemingly be built a comprehensive explanation for the universe without reference to the Christian God. It was produced at roughly the same moment as the division of Western Christendom into separate Protestant and Catholic spheres, a painful and violent split which left so much bad blood in the name of confessionslism that some people might be tempted to consider an alternative. The fact that as much or more blood has been spilt in the centuries following the Wars of Religion in the name of various Cartesian inspirations is rarely mentioned for comparison, because most Cartesians are not aware that they *are* Cartesians and thus your modern secular humanist SJW can claim with a straight face that his positions are mere “common sense” and “pragmatism” and decline to answer for the Committee of Public Safety, the Holodomor, the Gulags, the Khmer Rouge, the Great Leap Forward, the prevaricator state, Antifa, etc. while demanding, for example, that whites answer for Hitler and Catholics answer for the Inquisition.

    , @cthulhu


    The strange thing about Pinker’s optimism is that it seems to rest on Hobbes’ insight: that without a strong, centralized state, human communities will collapse into endless warfare, mayhem and self destruction.

     

    That's a big part of it, yes.


    What is strange is that the power of the modern state seems to rest on a monopoly of force, combined with power to influence the public through educational systems and mass propaganda. Not so sure we are talking about “enlightenment values” so much as a system of “values” which would be immediately apparent from the career of a figure like Goebbels.

     

    Monopoly of force, yes; the rest, no.

    Pinker's take on Hobbes is explained quite well in the "Violence" chapter of The Blank Slate. Hobbes' insight was that men (it is almost entirely men who commit violence on one another) will act on the more-or-less universal primate instincts for revenge related to anything that is perceived as a potential slight on ones' honor (Hobbes calls this glory), and that the way to solve that is to take the power of retribution out of individual hands and give it to the state - "a common Power to keep them all in awe."

    Take hunter-gatherer societies - Rousseau's "noble savages". We know that those societies are riven with extremely high levels of violence - raiding one another for limited survival resources, including women, which then leads to revenge (honor) raids, and the cycle perpetuates itself. This is Hobbes' state of nature, where the lives are "nasty, brutish, and short."

    The way out of Hobbes' state of nature is the Western civilization social contract we collectively make - we give up the right of committing violence on one another except in very limited circumstances such as self-defense, and hand that right off to the state - aka Leviathan. This is why the prosecutor in a criminal trial represents the People - it is our collective right to punish those who transgress against members of society, but no longer our individual right.

    Now, when we do this, part of the contract is that Leviathan will be fair and impartial, and when that doesn't happen people will revert to a pre-Leviathan culture of honor, with all the shockingly high violence levels that implies. Take a look at the police reports in an inner city ghetto during a weekend and you'll find lots of "he disrespected me and so I shot him." Folks with not-so-great IQs and maybe kind of high on clannishness who feel they don't get no respect and that the goddamn cops are a big part of the problem...yeah, they gonna fight.

    But Leviathan is a huge part of the true Enlightenment values that Pinker espouses, and practical Enlightenment political thinkers such as the American Founding Fathers had read their Hobbes well. Mass propaganda and the rest of the totalitarian crap a la Goebbels, Mao, Lenin and Stalin, etc., is antithetical to the Enlightenment, where "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

    I'm just a small amount into the new book, and I doubt that I will like it as much as The Blank Slate, which I consider to be one of the most important- if not the most important - nonfiction books of this century, but I'm liking it so far. I still don't fathom how Pinker has escaped the liberal auto-de-fe, but I thank the FSM that he has.
  30. I’m looking forward to the other Jew Stephen’s enlightenment book–Dark Enlightenment Now by Stephen Miller.

    • LOL: Abe
  31. @Anatoly Karlin
    Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.

    he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.

    Impossible! He wrote a book on how to write, and everyone said it was great.

    • Replies: @Antlitz Grollheim
    It seems like the trick to being a successful professor these daus is an unwavering, irrational confidence in yourself. Chutzpah, if you will.

    Whereas the old mode of professor, a la Stoner by John Williams, was an escapist from the world, an introspective, thoughtful recluse, a tender of the flame.
  32. @O'Really
    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?

    O’Really asked:

    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?

    We have made the schools a trap for millions of kids in a way that was not true until the last few decades.

    My great grandmother, whom I knew well, was born in the early 1880s and dropped out of school after fourth grade. She knew the 3Rs, although of course she was not strong in, say, modern science. On the whole, she lived a good life: no one despised her for not going beyond fourth grade.

    Her son, my grandfather, dropped out of high school in his senior year. He trained as a machinist, was in the Navy in WW II, and ended up in middle management. All without a high-school diploma.

    A co-worker of mine in my first job back in the early 1980s, who had fought in WW II and went to school to get a degree in engineering on the GI Bill after the war, told me that he was one of the few engineers with a college degree when he started work around 1950.

    But, in the last several decades, we have been pushing with increasing intensity for everyone to get a high-school diploma and, increasingly, for everyone to go to college. And, we have created systems of credentialism, cartelization of various occupations, etc., so that a large number of people who train for particular vocations will not in fact get jobs in those areas. (Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!)

    So, very large numbers of kids end up hating school along with the larger constrained socioeconomic system that school stands for.

    The miracle is that we only have dozens of school shootings rather than thousands!

    We are brutalizing our children and young adults. It is not surprising that some of those children turn out in the end to be very brutal indeed.

    • Agree: Corn, AndrewR, Randal
    • Replies: @El Dato

    The miracle is that we only have dozens of school shootings rather than thousands!

    We are brutalizing our children and young adults. It is not surprising that some of those children turn out in the end to be very brutal indeed.
     
    And then you get cries of "you have to grow up" from people who don't know anything while realistically you need another 10-20 years to navigate and even start comprehending the gigantic always-mutating mess that is modern "society". So pressure is enormous.

    However, one should remind young angry people that gunning down 17 year old school girls and fat blokes who can't run with 5.56 is a strong sign of loserhood when one wants to lash out against society. Going up against somewhat harder targets would be honorable.
    , @Corn
    American high schools aren’t places of education so much as holding pens for adolescents
    , @eD
    Physicist Dave, this is a really insightful comment.

    One small disagreement I have is that I think a good deal of what you are describing is the effects of a labor glut caused by overpopulation, immigration, and automation. Someone or some people made the decision to hide this with lots of make-work jobs, and then workers have to jump through more and more hoops to get those make-work jobs, which creates even more make-work jobs to administer the hoops, so you get the educational industry. But we can[t take on machinists who have dropped out of high school and eventually they get to middle management because those jobs just aren't there anymore, or so rare that you can impose all sorts of arbitrary filters if you want and still get the number of machinists you need.

    But instead of doubling down and doubling down on education, cargo cult style, I submit that a good deal of the problems with the pubilc schools could be solved by making it their mission to teach everyone how to read and write, basic math, and how they should behave in public, and if children and their families really don't want to go beyond those things once they have mastered them, then they are free to go. Students who wanted to learn more would get the opportunity to do so, and not having to deal with the students who don't want to be there would improve the instruction, but the mandate to educate everyone would be limited to the basics.
    , @Travis
    there were virtually no school shootings prior to the advent of prozac. starting in the late 90s we began drugging a significant number of students, over 20% of male students are on prescribed psychotropic meds today...
    , @Harry Baldwin
    Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!

    I think about this often. People are pretty naive at age 18. A lot of them go to college and take courses in subjects that interest them with no regard to their employment prospects, and no one takes them aside to warn them about that. I think many students assume that a college wouldn't be offering a course if there wasn't work in that field. One of my son's friends recently graduated Northwestern with a journalism degree. Are recent journalism graduates being hired? Looks to me like most news outlets are laying off employees. Yet the school maintains that department and keeps processing students through it. If you're willing to pay for it, they'll provide it to you.

    Reality sinks in eventually, but by that time you're dealing with those six-figure student loans.

    I'm very impressed with the young, non-college-educated working-class whites I've hired to do tree work and repairs on my property. They are doing real work, are good at it, and seem to enjoy it.
    , @Citizen of a Silly Country
    Agreed. Wish that schools at all levels integrated real-world apprenticeship programs, not just get coffee internships. I know that some majors do. I remember my engineering major friends would head off for a semester to work.

    People learn best when they understand how what they'll learn will help them do something.

    Also, if the role of college (outside of the STEM majors) is just to prove a certain level of IQ and conscientiousness, why not make most college majors two years instead of four? Even for harder, but not STEM majors such as business, finance, biology, etc., is it really necessary for four years. Liberal arts majors certainly don't need four years. You're still showing your IQ by being admitted and two years is enough time to show that you can be trained.

    Half the student loan debt problem solved right there.
    , @L Woods

    (Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!)
     
    ...and many of them do. The idea that "STEM" is categorically superior to "liberal arts" is a cherished myth on the right that will not die; there are simply no statistics to actually support it. When I was researching the H1B program a couple of years ago for a grad school project, the employment differential between the two categories was roughly 2%, IIRC. There are certainly advantages to going the technical route, especially for asocial personality types. But the extent to which technical degrees are "practical" while "soft degrees" are not is greatly exaggerated.
    , @J.Ross
    This is an irreplaceably good post.
  33. @Steve Sailer
    Not enough. I can't afford to travel much.

    My dad liked Latin America (my mom did not), so I went on a fair number of trips with him south of the border up through 1985.

    England, Netherlands and Ireland -- in 1965.
    Mexico -- Guadalajara and Manzanillo in 1967 (plus numerous day trips to Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, and Ensenada in Baja California from, say, 1966 to 1986, along with brief trips over the border to Del Rio in 1976, Ciudad Juarez in 1980, and Naco in 2003 -- the increase in violence in Mexico since 2006 has been a drag)
    Canada -- Vancouver and Victoria in 1968
    Mexico -- Mexico City and Veracruz 1974
    Mexico -- Drove from Houston to Acapulco 1978
    South America - Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru 1978
    Europe -- England, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Monaco, France, Italy, Greece - backpacking for 6 weeks in 1980.
    Mexico - Mazatlan 1981
    Mexico - Cozumel 1984
    Mexico - Cabo San Lucas 1985
    England and Ireland - 1987
    Canada - Toronto (business) - 1993
    Belgium, England, and Ireland (business) - 1994
    Mexico - Rosarito Beach 1996
    Russia - Moscow 2001 (covering a scientific conference)
    Turkey - Bodrum, Ephesus, Istanbul 2009 (speaking at Hans Hermann Hoppe's conference)

    I don't think I've been out of the country since 2009. I need to renew my passport.

    I think my first choice of a place I haven't been to would be St. Andrews, Scotland, for sporting and intellectual history reasons.

    I think you would be disappointed if you went to St. Andrews. I haven’t been there, but I backpacked through some other lowland cities and the Highlands. The lowlands and, in general, the cities of Scotland were a historical and intellectual disappointment. Of course, maybe you have something specific you’re looking for. (And all this is golf-excepted, of course.)

    • Replies: @for-the-record
    I think you would be disappointed if you went to St. Andrews. I haven’t been there, but I backpacked through some other lowland cities and the Highlands. The lowlands and, in general, the cities of Scotland were a historical and intellectual disappointment.

    Can't agree with you at all there.

    My son did both his undergraduate and doctorate at St. Andrews, and I think it's a fantastic little place "far from the madding crowd", so to speak. And absolutely full of history -- until the Scottish Reformation St. Andrews was the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland, and the ruins of its Cathedral are a haunting memorial to those times. I have attended a few services and concerts in St. Salvator's Chapel (part of the University) and it is quite awesome to be in the same place where John Knox (probably) preached. And he certainly preached at the Holy Trinity Church on South Street, where in 1559 he incited the congregation to ransack the Cathedral, bringing centuries of Catholic domination to an end.

    And what is perhaps most impressive is that if John Knox were to visit St. Andrews today he would probably not feel much out of place.

    For a golfer I imagine St. Andrews would be seventh heaven.

    And of course who can forget the opening 3 minutes of Chariots of Fire?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLbWBlB2aWA

    As cities go, I don't see how you can possibly say that Edinburgh (50 km away, and the nearest major airport) is a "historical and intellectual disappointment". It's a great city, with tons of history and culture, of the major UK cities certainly the most interesting after London.

    , @syonredux

    I think you would be disappointed if you went to St. Andrews. I haven’t been there,
     
    My Dad liked it. Of course, he's a golf fanatic, so St Andrews is holy ground to him...
  34. @Anon
    http://www.businessinsider.com/canadian-pm-trudeau-mocked-for-political-fashion-blunders-in-india-2018-2


    Shallowness of liberalism without roots. Gay-for-a-day, Muslim-for-a-day, Hindu-for-a-day, etc, as if identities are just role-playing and 'celebration'.

    This does give 'appropriation' a bad name. Appreciation is one thing. But this treating of cultures and identities as fashion shows is dumb.

    Imagine if Narendra Modi turned up at Ottawa airport dressed as a mountie.

    Trudeau is a perfect example of the empty post-modern man as cypher for SJW nonsense.

  35. @Steve Sailer
    Pinker's Flynn Effect argument in "Better Angels" is pretty sophisticated.

    Steve,
    I’m interested to know what parts, if any, of Better Angels you thought were neglected or underrated.

    I wrote a review of the book on my anonymously-written blog. However, at the time, the thrust of controversy over the book was related to the statistical issues surrounding death rates. Frankly, this was not interesting to me, although I appreciated its importance to the book.

    My anonymously-blogged critique of the book said, essentially, that Pinker’s preferred world was one which was very amenable to people like Pinker but maybe not so much to the rest of us, so his preferences were not very good as standards. This viewpoint drew approximately ZERO interest, although I thought it made the book, if not his entire life, rather pointless.

    Anyhow, I suspect you are among the non-plused one-time readers of my review, so now I just ask, “what parts, if any, of Better Angels were neglected or underrated?”

  36. @PhysicistDave
    O'Really asked:

    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?
     
    We have made the schools a trap for millions of kids in a way that was not true until the last few decades.

    My great grandmother, whom I knew well, was born in the early 1880s and dropped out of school after fourth grade. She knew the 3Rs, although of course she was not strong in, say, modern science. On the whole, she lived a good life: no one despised her for not going beyond fourth grade.

    Her son, my grandfather, dropped out of high school in his senior year. He trained as a machinist, was in the Navy in WW II, and ended up in middle management. All without a high-school diploma.

    A co-worker of mine in my first job back in the early 1980s, who had fought in WW II and went to school to get a degree in engineering on the GI Bill after the war, told me that he was one of the few engineers with a college degree when he started work around 1950.

    But, in the last several decades, we have been pushing with increasing intensity for everyone to get a high-school diploma and, increasingly, for everyone to go to college. And, we have created systems of credentialism, cartelization of various occupations, etc., so that a large number of people who train for particular vocations will not in fact get jobs in those areas. (Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!)

    So, very large numbers of kids end up hating school along with the larger constrained socioeconomic system that school stands for.

    The miracle is that we only have dozens of school shootings rather than thousands!

    We are brutalizing our children and young adults. It is not surprising that some of those children turn out in the end to be very brutal indeed.

    The miracle is that we only have dozens of school shootings rather than thousands!

    We are brutalizing our children and young adults. It is not surprising that some of those children turn out in the end to be very brutal indeed.

    And then you get cries of “you have to grow up” from people who don’t know anything while realistically you need another 10-20 years to navigate and even start comprehending the gigantic always-mutating mess that is modern “society”. So pressure is enormous.

    However, one should remind young angry people that gunning down 17 year old school girls and fat blokes who can’t run with 5.56 is a strong sign of loserhood when one wants to lash out against society. Going up against somewhat harder targets would be honorable.

  37. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Pinker hair and all was interviewed on public tv last night. I read almost all of his Better Nature book when I encountered a data point that Pinker had reversed. As he welcomes email by making his email address public, I wrote him pointing out that he was misunderstanding the Atlas Bodybuilding ad in the back of all the cheap magazines in the 40’s that he cited. The ad may be seen by Googling Atlas+Body+Building+ad+1940s Pinker read it as evidence of the more violent life stateside in the US than the more peaceful 2018s. As a child I wondered at the disparity between the pacific behavior at crowded beaches such as Coney Island Brighton Beach Riis Park and the violence at the beach pictured in the ad. Pinker wrote back

    “It’s true that the late 1940s were a relatively safe time in the United States (see Figure 3-10), but as you’ll see in Chapter 3, rates soared in the 1960s through early 1990s and then plummeted (Figure 3-18). The chapter discusses the causes of the rise and fall in some detail.

    Sincerely,
    Steven Pinker”

    So I wrote back saying aren’t you engaging in hand-waving by writing off recent and rising levels of violence in black neighborhoods by suggesting that criminal domination of black neighborhoods was a kind of a sui generis social order? No answer was forthcoming.

  38. @Anonymous
    Chapter 20:

    The schooling, together with health and wealth, are literally making us smarter—by thirty IQ points, or two standard deviations above our ancestors.
     
    If he truly believes this, a have a nice bridge for sale real cheap. Alas, something tells me that he is not quite honest here.

    I only skimmed the book and decided it's not worth the time to read seriously. The feel-good "contrarian" messages like the one above get old quickly because most of them are actually intellectual equivalent of a sleight of hand.

    I know The Atlantic is highly cancerous, but this is a really good, not-especially-cancerous article:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/what-being-a-handyman-has-taught-me-about-male-insecurity/274426/

    Basically, men today tend to be significantly less handy than our forefathers. I think any analysis of the “Flynn effect” needs to take this into account. Sure, great-great-granddaddy Ebenezer would have a hard time learning how to work a computer if he were brought here in a time machine from 1870, but how many of us could build a house, build a barn, run a farm, etc? Before we pat ourselves on the back for being brighter than our ancestors, we should put ourselves in their shoes (which they very well may have made at home).

    • Replies: @Yak-15
    Adam Smith’s specialization theories apply particularly to advanced societies. Of course, I love to cook and build things but I also understand it’s more efficient to become better at my trade and use my surplus to employ others who are best at what their occupation.
    , @Whoever

    men today tend to be significantly less handy than our forefathers. ...
     
    From 1944:

    https://i.imgur.com/IE2SyGy.png
    , @Brutusale
    The first time I saw a AAA road service guy changing a tire for two 20-something weenies I knew we had jumped the shark as a nation.
  39. @O'Really
    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?

    neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are.

    Mass shootings in general are up: more people; more mental illness; more people baked on pharmaceuticals; more celebrity crime worship.

    Previously, people interested in mass killing joined the Communist party. Now they have moved on to other outlets (heh heh).

  40. @anon
    The reviews are bi-modal, (1 and 5 stars) which usually means: controversial.

    Summary: "We should continue the tradition of enlightenment ideals like science, reason and humanism, but that in no ways implies that we need to protect the Western peoples who invented these concepts. That would be anti-reason, or something." "Tribalism is bad, MmmmmmKay class?"

    Apparently he talks about the scientific method, and tools that have been developed to reduce cognitive bias in academia and science. If Pinker were living according to his principles he'd read Kevin Macdonald's trilogy on Jews before panning it out of hand. Not very open minded and scientific of you Mr. Pinker, now is it?

    Friendly reminder: If your primary principle is anything other than survival then you're doing it wrong. The organisms/peoples for whom survival is their primary principle will use your feckless principles like "justice", "freedom" and "individualism" to exploit and destroy you. These higher principles work in homogeneous societies with shared values and shared genetic-interests, but not the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic nightmares we're creating.

    When did Pinker dismiss CoC?

    • Replies: @anon
    In a letter to slate, Pinker explained why he hadn't read Culture of Critique, and didn't think that it met the threshold of attention-worthiness:

    1. By stating that Jews promulgate scientific hypotheses because they are Jewish, he is engaging in ad hominem argumentation that is outside the bounds of normal scientific discourse and an obvious waste of time to engage. MacDonald has already announced that I will reject his ideas because I am Jewish, so what's the point of replying to them?

    2. MacDonald's main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups – are opposed by powerful bodies of data and theory, which Tooby, Cosmides, and many other evolutionary psychologists have written about in detail. Of course any assumption can be questioned, but there are no signs that MacDonald has taken on the burden of proof of showing that the majority view is wrong.

    3. MacDonald's various theses, even if worthy of scientific debate individually, collectively add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of Jews, couched in value-laden, disparaging language. It is impossible to avoid the impression that this is not an ordinary scientific hypothesis.

    4. The argument, as presented in the summaries, fails two basic tests of scientific credibility: a control group (in this case, other minority ethnic groups), and a comparison with alternative hypotheses (such as Thomas Sowell's convincing analysis of "middlemen minorities" such as the Jews, presented in his magisterial study of migration, race, conquest, and culture).[8]
     

    Reading this today, post red-pill, is almost comic.

    Yes Steven, Jews promote (or dismiss) scientific theories because they think it will be good for the Jews. That is what they do. It's obvious to everyone who's reasonably smart, pays attention and is capable of being honest with themselves. This isn't an astonishing concept. White Christian men get accused of it all the time: libeled, as Samuel Morton was by Gould. What's astonishing is how self-deceptive Jews are that they can't admit it.

    Jews: "How dare you accuse us of being guilty of the accusation for which we libeled you, and which we are ourselves, in fact, guilty. That's . . . ad hominem! I will consider nothing else you say."

    Point by point:
    1. It is a well established fact that Freud, Boas, and the Frankfurt School theorists were Jews who "promulgated scientific hypotheses" on behalf of Jewish interests. Freud is quoted saying as such: He envisioned himself as Hannibal against the Roman Empire, a Semite against White Western Civilization. The authors of the Authoritarian personality pathologized the nuclear family because it was 'authoritarian.' (Meaning: Nazi. Inconveniently, they found that the most 'authoritarian' families were Orthodox Jews. Oops.)

    Was Gould engaging in "ad hominem argumentation that is outside the bounds of normal scientific discourse" when he accused Morton of falsifying his skull measurements because he was a White racist? Does that mean The Mismeasure of Man should be dismissed completely? What about Gould's entire body of work?

    Is explaining a motive based on the identity of the perpetrator really an ad hominem? What if you have a quotation by the perpetrator where he explains his motive? Is it still an ad hominem?

    [Did MacDonald announce that Pinker would reject his ideas because Pinker is Jewish, or is Pinker inferring that from Kevin's thesis?]

    2. Group selection is a theory. There are arguments for and against.

    3. Throughout the West, White Christian students find that their Jewish professors' lectures "add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of" White Gentiles, and are "couched in value-laden, disparaging language." Maybe they should dismiss everything their Jewish professors say? [They should. (in the social sciences) They should regurgitate it on a test, and then mentally mark it as "toxic Jewish propaganda," and take the opposite message from whatever their Jewish professor intended. Good rule of thumb.]

    4. So, he wants Kevin to discuss alternative theories and compare Jews to other minorities. [Kevin doesn't? How does Pinker know? He didn't read it.] This is not an unreasonable ask, but isn't it sorta like saying: "I dismiss Darwin's theories out of hand because there weren't enough chapters on Creationism"? "Origin of Species needs more discussion of Intelligent Design before I'll read it. It's just not scientific unless it exhaustively expounds and debunks all other hypotheses." Yeah, whatever.

  41. @PhysicistDave
    O'Really asked:

    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?
     
    We have made the schools a trap for millions of kids in a way that was not true until the last few decades.

    My great grandmother, whom I knew well, was born in the early 1880s and dropped out of school after fourth grade. She knew the 3Rs, although of course she was not strong in, say, modern science. On the whole, she lived a good life: no one despised her for not going beyond fourth grade.

    Her son, my grandfather, dropped out of high school in his senior year. He trained as a machinist, was in the Navy in WW II, and ended up in middle management. All without a high-school diploma.

    A co-worker of mine in my first job back in the early 1980s, who had fought in WW II and went to school to get a degree in engineering on the GI Bill after the war, told me that he was one of the few engineers with a college degree when he started work around 1950.

    But, in the last several decades, we have been pushing with increasing intensity for everyone to get a high-school diploma and, increasingly, for everyone to go to college. And, we have created systems of credentialism, cartelization of various occupations, etc., so that a large number of people who train for particular vocations will not in fact get jobs in those areas. (Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!)

    So, very large numbers of kids end up hating school along with the larger constrained socioeconomic system that school stands for.

    The miracle is that we only have dozens of school shootings rather than thousands!

    We are brutalizing our children and young adults. It is not surprising that some of those children turn out in the end to be very brutal indeed.

    American high schools aren’t places of education so much as holding pens for adolescents

  42. @O'Really
    I went back and read your linked review of Pinker's prior book.

    While it is an excellent essay, it begs a critical question:

    why was the violent crime rate so low prior to 1964, without requiring such a high incarceration rate?

    The violent crime rate may not have been as low prior to 1964 as it appears from a perusal of the statistics. A penchant for violence, indolence and thievery by blacks had been noticed and commented upon by many sources for centuries. It’s just that today, as a result of our misguided attempt to “inclusion” diverse peoples into the same space, whites are victimized more than they had been in the separate but equal past. And (by some of us anyway) that gets “noticed”.

  43. @Seamus Padraig
    OT

    From the files of Portlandia: So I married a Nazi. What's a nice Jewish girl to do?

    https://eugeneweekly.com/2018/02/01/i-married-a-white-supremacist/

    From the files of Portlandia: So I married a Nazi. What’s a nice Jewish girl to do?

    That was really good, and quite funny in places. Thanks for posting it. Some of it strains credibility and sounds embellished. Most bits seem legit.

    In a nutshell:
    1. Jewish woman marries a smart, white ex-military Westpoint educated guy.
    2. Said woman cannot carry a child to term.
    3. After 6 years, the husband decides that 5 years is enough trying to procreate, so best to seek out other options.
    4. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and this scorn extends to include the ex-husband’s political views. That being said, one gets the feeling that she still misses him and is sad. It’s gotta suck ending up infertile.

    I can kind of relate at least to his situation – coming into a relationship with a Jewess as someone who knew next to nothing about Jews, but being very interested in politics. A lot of things I thought I knew, I didn’t. Even though she was not practicing, Jewishness was something central for her. So it was something of an education for me, it kind of paved the way to understanding of Jewish issues and definitely Jewish attitudes.

    I can imagine what it would be like to not just go out with a Jewess but live with one for 6 years as husband and wife, along with being a net junkie and having the array of information about politics and Jewish influence on it available some 10-15 years later that was unavailable to me. Add to that the resentment at not being able to procreate together. I can definitely see it leading to an awakening of sorts. A lot of smart white guys are going through the process anyway.

    I feel sad for her that she doesn’t appear able to have children. I hope she can try and compartmentalize whatever she feels about politics and what she feels about her ex.

  44. @Peter Johnson
    Pinker has been among the most successful advocates against political-correctness-based censorship and public shaming of honest intellectuals, and in favor of evidence-based rational thinking about social policy. He is a natural member of the human biodiversity movement, but has always carefully stopped just short of acknowledging the reality of human biodiversity. His rational thinking and evidence-based conclusion grinds to a stop just as he reaches the HBD precipice. Not sure exactly why, and how he justifies this to himself; perhaps someday soon he will make the leap. I have only read The Blank State and Better Angels plus a few essays and on-line presentations; I DO want to read his latest. The best parts of his books, for me, are finding the exact lines of text in various chapters where obvious HBD conclusions get lost in the blank spaces between two lines of text.

    Presumably he doesn’t want to get Watson’d.

    He’s still relatively young and he still enjoys working, but hopefully eventually he’ll stop caring about his reputation among Goodthinkers and he’ll just let it all hang out.

    Of course, some people might argue that his ethnic roots make it especially difficult for him to fully acknowledge HBD.

  45. @Tulip
    The strange thing about Pinker's optimism is that it seems to rest on Hobbes' insight: that without a strong, centralized state, human communities will collapse into endless warfare, mayhem and self destruction. Thus, the growth of the all-powerful, centralizing, and homogenizing state mirrors "human progress", as it holds in check the inexorable power of human self-destructiveness. Likewise, the hydrogen bomb has done a decent job so far in taming the inevitable self-destructiveness which would be unleashed in a total war between modern states.

    What is strange is that the power of the modern state seems to rest on a monopoly of force, combined with power to influence the public through educational systems and mass propaganda. Not so sure we are talking about "enlightenment values" so much as a system of "values" which would be immediately apparent from the career of a figure like Goebbels. Its pretty clear what happens to "irrational" scientists who espouse the modern formulation of "heliocentrism" in defiance of the revealed truths of intersectionality and political correctness.

    In fact, I suspect the "Enlightenment" should not be connected with "values" but rather with the politicalization of "reason", producing a contest between power and truth, wherein power appears to have the upper hand.

    Thus, the growth of the all-powerful, centralizing, and homogenizing state mirrors “human progress”, as it holds in check the inexorable power of human self-destructiveness.

    There seems to be plenty of self-destructive tendencies in large, centralized states.

    The more clannish and ethnically conscious arrangements currently look to have more staying power.

  46. @Nico
    I can’t speak for Steve, but I have lived in several different countries and do not speak my mother tongue on a daily basis and I can say definitively that the idea of travel as a great worldly door-opener is rather mistaken. Travel certainly can be mind-expanding but since it’s pretty well impossible to go into it without a lot of preconceived notions you have to have up front a rough conscious idea of what you are looking for in order to find anything of value.

    When I was growing up international travel was sold as a panacea to counter intellectual and social backwardness, the end-all-get-all of sophistication and worldliness. Most of the dreadlock-wearing weed smokers speaking English in hostels at the four corners of the globe still think it is, though I doubt the masses of Chinese and American tourists who seem to think Europe a great big Disneyland park imagine they are there for anything but bragging rights.

    The reality is that if you’re not living among locals for at least 20 or so days, you can hardly expect to come away with any sort of profound first-personal feel of how a society actually operates. Frankly I don’t do much traveling anymore: gawking at exoticisms in a zoo might have been amusing when I was a kid, but with books and Google Images all over the place the money (not to mention the time) is usually better spent elsewhere.

    I agree that immersion is essential for true intercultural experiences, although I wouldn’t put a specific number of days down as a must-reach point. Ten days is better than five days. Twenty days is better than ten days. Forty days is better than twenty days. It’s not necessarily a linear relationship, of course. Learning the local tongues is one of the most important aspects, although everyone has different levels of desire and ability for that. The best experiences tend to be when you’re with someone who is highly familiar with both that culture and language as well your culture and language. IOW, an American newly arrived in Japan would probably get the greatest benefit from spending time around a Japanese person who has lived in the US and speaks English well, or an American who has lived in Japan for years and mastered the language and culture.

    While books, film, photos, blogs, etc are better than nothing when it comes to learning about other cultures, nothing can beat actually experiencing them. Of course, as you allude to, there are certainly tradeoffs and it’s not necessarily worth the time, money and stress required to gain those experiences. But I think everyone should try to spend at least a few months of their lives experiencing different cultures.

    • Replies: @Nico

    I agree that immersion is essential for true intercultural experiences, although I wouldn’t put a specific number of days down as a must-reach point. Ten days is better than five days. Twenty days is better than ten days. Forty days is better than twenty days. It’s not necessarily a linear relationship, of course.
     
    No, I agree, it’s not a linear relationship, and obviously longer is better. My choice of twenty days wasn’t arbitrary, though: it was based on my own experience and on anecdotes from others who have recounted similar experiences to me. For a cultural immersion, twenty days is about the time it takes to “get into” a new place, beginning to get a feel for the new cadre and the new habits. If it’s the first time you’re immersed in a language that you’ve learned post-puberty twenty days is also about the time it takes for that language to begin to “click” into place, i.e., you begin dreaming regularly in the language.

    I think everyone should try to spend at least a few months of their lives experiencing different cultures.
     
    I’m actually not sure it’s a worthwhile pursuit for the sub-intelligent, probably cutting off around 115 or so. Below that level the capacity for secondary acculturation is rather underwhelming (these are largely of the type I alluded to for whom Europe is little more than a theme park, though to be fair in America and increasingly elsewhere in the world [China comes to mind] there are also lots of biologically smart people who should know better than to act like white trash cretins, as they do). And from a purely ecological point it would probably be a good thing for everyone if they contented themselves with Disneyland (though I can’t resist the temptation to quip that an occasional acid trip would make even less of an environmental footprint and would probably release about the same amount of dopamines).
  47. @El Dato
    What a long jewish complaint.

    After all, my ex reasoned, he was an older brother to a set of adopted orphans from West Africa, so how could he possibly be racist? “They have lower IQs because they’re African,” he clinically explained to me one evening after I tucked his siblings into bed. “It’s genetically been proven blacks aren’t as smart.”

    It was precisely that idea in and of itself that made him a racist.
     
    "Ideas that I don't share. They make you something."

    Meanwhile in the UK: Gay rights group Stonewall pulls out of London Pride because it isn’t diverse enough (this will go down in London on July 7)

    Gay rights group Stonewall has pulled out of London’s biggest LGBTQ event over claims there is not “enough diversity” at the march. The group says it will march instead with UK Black Pride

    I don't even know how to approach this mentally.

    The quote she attributed to him would certainly be an ignorant thing to say. Whether he actually said that, or if she is just too stupid/dishonest to accurately restate what he said, is an open question.

    Obviously it is false to claim: “They have lower IQs because they’re African. It’s genetically been proven blacks aren’t as smart.”

    A much more accurate claim would be: “people of Negroid descent tend to have lower IQs than people of non-Negroid descent, although obviously there is a lot of interracial overlap in intelligence.”

    My shekels are on this girl lying about (or at least being too stupid to understand) what her husband actually said, but it’s certainly possible that hubby actually made such an ignorant claim.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    Well, it was not a statement from "Proceedings of Comparative Cognitive Provess 2017". People make very deep cuts when articulating their thoughts.

    And this why every family should have a room with a large whiteboard and good markers (or blackboard and good chalk, if you prefer the excellent old stuff; I hear it's better for doing math for some reason)
    , @TBA
    The two sentences have the same meaning, it's just that the first one isn't as clear and detailed as the second.
  48. @Anonymous
    I have to say one of the weird mind-altering events of my life was watching CNN coveroing the Columbine shooting on endless loop in a pub on Times Square, then watching The Matrix with extreme gun-play immediately afterwards, (with the theater filled with very underage kids, too, how is that even allowed).

    https://youtu.be/iuslUzbJEaw?t=85

    It was frankly bizzare.

    And that clip is a good example of why Marble is not the best investment for hallway columns, nor marble veneer for hallways.
    The background music is superb.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    Spybreak

    Also in Jimbo's Knowledge Whale Storage Area: Spybreak!

    I have the CD.
  49. @El Dato
    What a long jewish complaint.

    After all, my ex reasoned, he was an older brother to a set of adopted orphans from West Africa, so how could he possibly be racist? “They have lower IQs because they’re African,” he clinically explained to me one evening after I tucked his siblings into bed. “It’s genetically been proven blacks aren’t as smart.”

    It was precisely that idea in and of itself that made him a racist.
     
    "Ideas that I don't share. They make you something."

    Meanwhile in the UK: Gay rights group Stonewall pulls out of London Pride because it isn’t diverse enough (this will go down in London on July 7)

    Gay rights group Stonewall has pulled out of London’s biggest LGBTQ event over claims there is not “enough diversity” at the march. The group says it will march instead with UK Black Pride

    I don't even know how to approach this mentally.

    In the department of News-That-Make-You-Cringe, you can try this one too:

    ‘Thank you, Mama Merkel’: Syrian refugee lives with 2 wives, 6 kids on benefits in Germany.

    • Replies: @a reader, @Mr. Anon
    Mutter Merkel und ihre Kinder
  50. @Seamus Padraig
    OT

    From the files of Portlandia: So I married a Nazi. What's a nice Jewish girl to do?

    https://eugeneweekly.com/2018/02/01/i-married-a-white-supremacist/

    I imagine being married to her would turn anyone into a counter-Semite.

  51. @PhysicistDave
    O'Really asked:

    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?
     
    We have made the schools a trap for millions of kids in a way that was not true until the last few decades.

    My great grandmother, whom I knew well, was born in the early 1880s and dropped out of school after fourth grade. She knew the 3Rs, although of course she was not strong in, say, modern science. On the whole, she lived a good life: no one despised her for not going beyond fourth grade.

    Her son, my grandfather, dropped out of high school in his senior year. He trained as a machinist, was in the Navy in WW II, and ended up in middle management. All without a high-school diploma.

    A co-worker of mine in my first job back in the early 1980s, who had fought in WW II and went to school to get a degree in engineering on the GI Bill after the war, told me that he was one of the few engineers with a college degree when he started work around 1950.

    But, in the last several decades, we have been pushing with increasing intensity for everyone to get a high-school diploma and, increasingly, for everyone to go to college. And, we have created systems of credentialism, cartelization of various occupations, etc., so that a large number of people who train for particular vocations will not in fact get jobs in those areas. (Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!)

    So, very large numbers of kids end up hating school along with the larger constrained socioeconomic system that school stands for.

    The miracle is that we only have dozens of school shootings rather than thousands!

    We are brutalizing our children and young adults. It is not surprising that some of those children turn out in the end to be very brutal indeed.

    Physicist Dave, this is a really insightful comment.

    One small disagreement I have is that I think a good deal of what you are describing is the effects of a labor glut caused by overpopulation, immigration, and automation. Someone or some people made the decision to hide this with lots of make-work jobs, and then workers have to jump through more and more hoops to get those make-work jobs, which creates even more make-work jobs to administer the hoops, so you get the educational industry. But we can[t take on machinists who have dropped out of high school and eventually they get to middle management because those jobs just aren’t there anymore, or so rare that you can impose all sorts of arbitrary filters if you want and still get the number of machinists you need.

    But instead of doubling down and doubling down on education, cargo cult style, I submit that a good deal of the problems with the pubilc schools could be solved by making it their mission to teach everyone how to read and write, basic math, and how they should behave in public, and if children and their families really don’t want to go beyond those things once they have mastered them, then they are free to go. Students who wanted to learn more would get the opportunity to do so, and not having to deal with the students who don’t want to be there would improve the instruction, but the mandate to educate everyone would be limited to the basics.

    • Replies: @Randal

    Students who wanted to learn more would get the opportunity to do so, and not having to deal with the students who don’t want to be there would improve the instruction, but the mandate to educate everyone would be limited to the basics.
     
    Yes, this is the important point, I think. In reality much of the education beyond the basics, aside from maths and scientific, is really indoctrination in one form or another. That might have been ok when it was a healthy conservative indoctrination in the mores and attitudes of a cohesive and reasonably non-diverse society, but it was long ago corrupted by leftist social radicals and cannot be resurrected in a basically divided society with multiple cultures present. It should be left to parents and those who see the benefits of more advanced education, and are prepared to accept or impose the required disciplines.

    An advantage (and not the least) of confining compulsory education to the basics is that it can be done by age 12 or so, thereby getting the most disruptive types out of the way before puberty and all the complications that brings.

    A concurrent expansion of educational opportunities for adults who weren't ready for it when they were 12 but have grown up and now see its advantages, and are now motivated to accept the disciplines needed, would also make sense.
    , @Anonymous
    The problem with all these ideas to reform and rationalize education is that they don't acknowledge race. If you really just gave every kid the amount of education he is capable of mastering, you'd end up with huge "disparate impact."

    Black students would be dropping out after elementary school or before high school, maybe 20 percent of whites would make it into college, 40 percent of Asians, and maybe 1 percent of blacks, assuming that "studies" majors were eliminated.

    The social consensus to pretend that blacks have the same cognitive ability as whites is behind every crazy aspect of education policy.
  52. @Steve Sailer
    The first modern K-12 school shooting I can recall is the I Don't Like Mondays one in suburban San Diego in the late 1970s.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yteMugRAc0

    The one I covered as a reporter in 2001 in suburban San Diego was only a few miles from the first.

    Maybe if the 1979 one hadn't been instantly turned into a hit song, the meme wouldn't have caught on?

    Was that really well known about the lyrics at the time? I remember it more as a piece of trivia that only became known to a few music nerds later. Pop songs couldn’t be dissected the way they are now, and info like this could only spread by word of mouth. By the time a person heard it from some trivia nerd, like you or me, they didn’t really care.

  53. @eD
    Physicist Dave, this is a really insightful comment.

    One small disagreement I have is that I think a good deal of what you are describing is the effects of a labor glut caused by overpopulation, immigration, and automation. Someone or some people made the decision to hide this with lots of make-work jobs, and then workers have to jump through more and more hoops to get those make-work jobs, which creates even more make-work jobs to administer the hoops, so you get the educational industry. But we can[t take on machinists who have dropped out of high school and eventually they get to middle management because those jobs just aren't there anymore, or so rare that you can impose all sorts of arbitrary filters if you want and still get the number of machinists you need.

    But instead of doubling down and doubling down on education, cargo cult style, I submit that a good deal of the problems with the pubilc schools could be solved by making it their mission to teach everyone how to read and write, basic math, and how they should behave in public, and if children and their families really don't want to go beyond those things once they have mastered them, then they are free to go. Students who wanted to learn more would get the opportunity to do so, and not having to deal with the students who don't want to be there would improve the instruction, but the mandate to educate everyone would be limited to the basics.

    Students who wanted to learn more would get the opportunity to do so, and not having to deal with the students who don’t want to be there would improve the instruction, but the mandate to educate everyone would be limited to the basics.

    Yes, this is the important point, I think. In reality much of the education beyond the basics, aside from maths and scientific, is really indoctrination in one form or another. That might have been ok when it was a healthy conservative indoctrination in the mores and attitudes of a cohesive and reasonably non-diverse society, but it was long ago corrupted by leftist social radicals and cannot be resurrected in a basically divided society with multiple cultures present. It should be left to parents and those who see the benefits of more advanced education, and are prepared to accept or impose the required disciplines.

    An advantage (and not the least) of confining compulsory education to the basics is that it can be done by age 12 or so, thereby getting the most disruptive types out of the way before puberty and all the complications that brings.

    A concurrent expansion of educational opportunities for adults who weren’t ready for it when they were 12 but have grown up and now see its advantages, and are now motivated to accept the disciplines needed, would also make sense.

  54. @Anatoly Karlin
    Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.

    Bear in mind, though, that most readers nowadays are 3-4x thicker than needed.

    Some extra pounding to get through may be called for.

    Redundancy is a good thing.

  55. @O'Really
    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?

    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?

    Single mothers, absent fathers.

    Emasculation and cowardice.

  56. Thought you might find this interesting.

  57. @Dan Hayes
    Steve,

    I am under the impression that you and the other Steve go back a long, long way. I am basing this on my long dim recollection that some time in the distant past he had given you public recognition and credit for some of your political prognostications. Whatever his other faults this at least proves that Pinker is a good judge of political horseflesh.

    BTW, although he presents plenty of counter evidence and counterarguments, especially in light of 20th Century carnage I can never accept his claim that humankind is becoming more peaceful.

    The other two Steves!

  58. @Steve Sailer
    The first modern K-12 school shooting I can recall is the I Don't Like Mondays one in suburban San Diego in the late 1970s.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yteMugRAc0

    The one I covered as a reporter in 2001 in suburban San Diego was only a few miles from the first.

    Maybe if the 1979 one hadn't been instantly turned into a hit song, the meme wouldn't have caught on?

    The first modern K-12 school shooting I can recall is the I Don’t Like Mondays one in suburban San Diego in the late 1970s.

    We also tend to forget that the worst school massacre in America involved no firearms:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster

    In this context, removing the scary guns that go “bang” and having scary looking black plastic all over them, we can see that these are simply terroristic acts of angry aggrieved mentally defective men who like all such terrorists prefer soft civilian targets (some have hit soft government targets). The gun is obviously then just a tool, chosen perhaps in response to media programming, but by no means the most effective tool as OK City, 9/11 and innumerable European/ME incidents have repeatedly shown us.

  59. @Peter Johnson
    Pinker has been among the most successful advocates against political-correctness-based censorship and public shaming of honest intellectuals, and in favor of evidence-based rational thinking about social policy. He is a natural member of the human biodiversity movement, but has always carefully stopped just short of acknowledging the reality of human biodiversity. His rational thinking and evidence-based conclusion grinds to a stop just as he reaches the HBD precipice. Not sure exactly why, and how he justifies this to himself; perhaps someday soon he will make the leap. I have only read The Blank State and Better Angels plus a few essays and on-line presentations; I DO want to read his latest. The best parts of his books, for me, are finding the exact lines of text in various chapters where obvious HBD conclusions get lost in the blank spaces between two lines of text.

    He is a natural member of the human biodiversity movement, but has always carefully stopped just short of acknowledging the reality of human biodiversity. His rational thinking and evidence-based conclusion grinds to a stop just as he reaches the HBD precipice.

    Pinker is one of the most cautious speakers/writers I’ve encountered. I strongly suspect he knows the truth, but will carefully avoid admitting it while leading listeners/readers to the precipice as you note where if they think clearly there is but one conclusion.

    • Replies: @Highlander
    He is being firmly pushed off the precipice by both the screaming mobs of SJWs AND Nazis anyway.

    https://mcclernan.blogspot.com/2011/11/miffed-at-new-yorker-steven-pinker.html

    https://davidduke.com/steven-pinker-harvard-admissions-ignoring-elephant-room/
  60. @Anatoly Karlin
    Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.

    Dale Carnegie used to have some business mantra. One of his rules ran something like, if you use every fact you researched in a report, you haven’t done enough preparation.

    Pinker would clearly break the spirit of this rule with his super-bloated books. It seems like he has used everything he has gathered or been sent.

  61. @Nico
    I can’t speak for Steve, but I have lived in several different countries and do not speak my mother tongue on a daily basis and I can say definitively that the idea of travel as a great worldly door-opener is rather mistaken. Travel certainly can be mind-expanding but since it’s pretty well impossible to go into it without a lot of preconceived notions you have to have up front a rough conscious idea of what you are looking for in order to find anything of value.

    When I was growing up international travel was sold as a panacea to counter intellectual and social backwardness, the end-all-get-all of sophistication and worldliness. Most of the dreadlock-wearing weed smokers speaking English in hostels at the four corners of the globe still think it is, though I doubt the masses of Chinese and American tourists who seem to think Europe a great big Disneyland park imagine they are there for anything but bragging rights.

    The reality is that if you’re not living among locals for at least 20 or so days, you can hardly expect to come away with any sort of profound first-personal feel of how a society actually operates. Frankly I don’t do much traveling anymore: gawking at exoticisms in a zoo might have been amusing when I was a kid, but with books and Google Images all over the place the money (not to mention the time) is usually better spent elsewhere.

    The reality is that if you’re not living among locals for at least 20 or so days, you can hardly expect to come away with any sort of profound first-personal feel of how a society actually operates. Frankly I don’t do much traveling anymore: gawking at exoticisms in a zoo

    At least 20 days and that’s not in a resort or tourist mecca. Otherwise, working collaboratively on the ground with locals in whatever field of endeavor is also truly profound but there too it’s not just a day or two but long term conducting business that educates you on that deeper level.

    I like your comparison to visiting a zoo, it’s very apt. It’s visiting a zoo with a giant helping of self promotion. “Look at me looking at xxxxx.”

  62. @Tulip
    The strange thing about Pinker's optimism is that it seems to rest on Hobbes' insight: that without a strong, centralized state, human communities will collapse into endless warfare, mayhem and self destruction. Thus, the growth of the all-powerful, centralizing, and homogenizing state mirrors "human progress", as it holds in check the inexorable power of human self-destructiveness. Likewise, the hydrogen bomb has done a decent job so far in taming the inevitable self-destructiveness which would be unleashed in a total war between modern states.

    What is strange is that the power of the modern state seems to rest on a monopoly of force, combined with power to influence the public through educational systems and mass propaganda. Not so sure we are talking about "enlightenment values" so much as a system of "values" which would be immediately apparent from the career of a figure like Goebbels. Its pretty clear what happens to "irrational" scientists who espouse the modern formulation of "heliocentrism" in defiance of the revealed truths of intersectionality and political correctness.

    In fact, I suspect the "Enlightenment" should not be connected with "values" but rather with the politicalization of "reason", producing a contest between power and truth, wherein power appears to have the upper hand.

    I meant to hit Agree on my little phone. Too bad there isn’t a time buffer for the emote functions like the comments.

    Anyhow, great comment. Very perceptive.

  63. @Anatoly Karlin
    Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.

    Yeah, about a third through it. I don’t think reading gets you much over just looking at the graphs, which are important and interesting.

  64. @Chrisnonymous

    he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.
     
    Impossible! He wrote a book on how to write, and everyone said it was great.

    It seems like the trick to being a successful professor these daus is an unwavering, irrational confidence in yourself. Chutzpah, if you will.

    Whereas the old mode of professor, a la Stoner by John Williams, was an escapist from the world, an introspective, thoughtful recluse, a tender of the flame.

  65. @Anatoly Karlin
    Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.

    Yes it’s a thick book. I was about two or three hundred pages into it when my puppy ate a lot of pages. So literally my dog ate my homework.

    I have found it hard to get back to it. After you grok the main thesis it is kinda repetitive.

  66. @Tulip
    The strange thing about Pinker's optimism is that it seems to rest on Hobbes' insight: that without a strong, centralized state, human communities will collapse into endless warfare, mayhem and self destruction. Thus, the growth of the all-powerful, centralizing, and homogenizing state mirrors "human progress", as it holds in check the inexorable power of human self-destructiveness. Likewise, the hydrogen bomb has done a decent job so far in taming the inevitable self-destructiveness which would be unleashed in a total war between modern states.

    What is strange is that the power of the modern state seems to rest on a monopoly of force, combined with power to influence the public through educational systems and mass propaganda. Not so sure we are talking about "enlightenment values" so much as a system of "values" which would be immediately apparent from the career of a figure like Goebbels. Its pretty clear what happens to "irrational" scientists who espouse the modern formulation of "heliocentrism" in defiance of the revealed truths of intersectionality and political correctness.

    In fact, I suspect the "Enlightenment" should not be connected with "values" but rather with the politicalization of "reason", producing a contest between power and truth, wherein power appears to have the upper hand.

    I suspect the “Enlightenment” should not be connected with “values” but rather with the politicalization of “reason”, producing a contest between power and truth, wherein power appears to have the upper hand.

    That’s *exactly* what the Enlightenment was: the political and social manifestations of Cartesian logic. Every single subversive strain that has followed up – liberalism, socialism, Marxism, feminism, intersectionality – has its origins in this first seed. Of course, most people aren’t capable of stringent logical reasoning with anything resembling consistency, so this political Cartesianism is able to withstand the inconsistencies of its adherents (and even of its core philosophy, which is actually fairly easy to refute if you distill it down to Descartes’s cogito) by appeal to mob emotions and a discourse that “sounds” pragmatic to most people.

    After Christianity had wiped out Paganism across the Roman Empire there were intermittent attempts to revive it over the next 1200 years, sometimes for true belief (Julian the Apostate), sometimes for romantic sentiment (Renaissance fetishists of the classics), sometimes for want of a gayer and less disciplined life (the courtly Troubadours). However none of them made significant long-term headway because Christianity had absorbed the old Greco-Roman system of thought into a sweeping universalist cosmology which the old tribal energies could not not match.

    The cogito was the first proposition, after the Christianization of Ancient Rome, for the cornerstone on which could seemingly be built a comprehensive explanation for the universe without reference to the Christian God. It was produced at roughly the same moment as the division of Western Christendom into separate Protestant and Catholic spheres, a painful and violent split which left so much bad blood in the name of confessionslism that some people might be tempted to consider an alternative. The fact that as much or more blood has been spilt in the centuries following the Wars of Religion in the name of various Cartesian inspirations is rarely mentioned for comparison, because most Cartesians are not aware that they *are* Cartesians and thus your modern secular humanist SJW can claim with a straight face that his positions are mere “common sense” and “pragmatism” and decline to answer for the Committee of Public Safety, the Holodomor, the Gulags, the Khmer Rouge, the Great Leap Forward, the prevaricator state, Antifa, etc. while demanding, for example, that whites answer for Hitler and Catholics answer for the Inquisition.

    • Replies: @Tulip
    Nico:

    That's my problem with most of the modern, and especially, Anglo-American philosophy, its all crypto-Cartesian.

    The American pragmatists were trying to move in the right direction, but they fell out of fashion and R. Rorty po-mo'd the whole thing into the toilet.

    There is some scattered light in some of the German Idealists, but only as far as it strayed from Cartesianism.

    Cartesianism was always malarkey, I don't know why anyone takes it seriously, and I don't get why people don't recognize and can't exorcise the Cartesian ghost.

    Man is a rational animal. Some people are psychotic, and we can say irrational. But claiming rational animals that believe in different things from me are "irrational" can only be a political act. [And we all know logic stems from premises, so logic and "reason" cannot yield the basic premises.]

  67. @Peter Johnson
    Pinker has been among the most successful advocates against political-correctness-based censorship and public shaming of honest intellectuals, and in favor of evidence-based rational thinking about social policy. He is a natural member of the human biodiversity movement, but has always carefully stopped just short of acknowledging the reality of human biodiversity. His rational thinking and evidence-based conclusion grinds to a stop just as he reaches the HBD precipice. Not sure exactly why, and how he justifies this to himself; perhaps someday soon he will make the leap. I have only read The Blank State and Better Angels plus a few essays and on-line presentations; I DO want to read his latest. The best parts of his books, for me, are finding the exact lines of text in various chapters where obvious HBD conclusions get lost in the blank spaces between two lines of text.

    His rational thinking and evidence-based conclusion grinds to a stop just as he reaches the HBD precipice. Not sure exactly why, and how he justifies this to himself; perhaps someday soon he will make the leap.

    Greg Cochran teased on his blog recently:

    What’s the right thing to do when someone has, in private conversation, admitted that he doesn’t believe in his public position?

    Followed by speculation in the comments about ‘him with the fabulous, crinkly hair and new book’

    Not confirmed or denied, just speculation.

    https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/private-conversations/#comments

  68. @PhysicistDave
    O'Really asked:

    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?
     
    We have made the schools a trap for millions of kids in a way that was not true until the last few decades.

    My great grandmother, whom I knew well, was born in the early 1880s and dropped out of school after fourth grade. She knew the 3Rs, although of course she was not strong in, say, modern science. On the whole, she lived a good life: no one despised her for not going beyond fourth grade.

    Her son, my grandfather, dropped out of high school in his senior year. He trained as a machinist, was in the Navy in WW II, and ended up in middle management. All without a high-school diploma.

    A co-worker of mine in my first job back in the early 1980s, who had fought in WW II and went to school to get a degree in engineering on the GI Bill after the war, told me that he was one of the few engineers with a college degree when he started work around 1950.

    But, in the last several decades, we have been pushing with increasing intensity for everyone to get a high-school diploma and, increasingly, for everyone to go to college. And, we have created systems of credentialism, cartelization of various occupations, etc., so that a large number of people who train for particular vocations will not in fact get jobs in those areas. (Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!)

    So, very large numbers of kids end up hating school along with the larger constrained socioeconomic system that school stands for.

    The miracle is that we only have dozens of school shootings rather than thousands!

    We are brutalizing our children and young adults. It is not surprising that some of those children turn out in the end to be very brutal indeed.

    there were virtually no school shootings prior to the advent of prozac. starting in the late 90s we began drugging a significant number of students, over 20% of male students are on prescribed psychotropic meds today…

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Doesn't Jordan B Peterson say give serotonin to a defeated lobster he will immediately get back up and fight again?
  69. @Dan Hayes
    Steve,

    I am under the impression that you and the other Steve go back a long, long way. I am basing this on my long dim recollection that some time in the distant past he had given you public recognition and credit for some of your political prognostications. Whatever his other faults this at least proves that Pinker is a good judge of political horseflesh.

    BTW, although he presents plenty of counter evidence and counterarguments, especially in light of 20th Century carnage I can never accept his claim that humankind is becoming more peaceful.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the pattern of murder has changed: intermittent bursts of mass slaughter vs steady drizzle of deaths.

  70. Notice how much the SJWs hate Pinker now? For the last decade he was still kinda respected for his ‘differing opinions’ and some of the more decent leftists did agree with him on the blank slate criticism.

    Now he’s a Nazi-enabler or something.

    • Replies: @Perspective
    Which is odd when you consider the fact that Pinker explicitly repudiates so called White identity politics, but then again deductive reasoning has never really been a strong suit of the radical left.
  71. @Luke Lea
    It is true that global secular trends are good, but so slow that progress is hard to see, even in one's own country, because the time-scale is in centuries. Look at how slow progress was in living standards in Britain for the first two hundred years after the industrial revolution

    But then you might be able to say the same if things start to go south. On the decadal scale things always look rocky with the papers filled with tragedy..

    “Look at how slow progress was in living standards in Britain for the first two hundred years after the industrial revolution”: I’ve always wondered whether the figures were too low. I’ve seen an allusion to some recent research that might justify my scepticism (sorry, no link). But you know how historians’ opinions can swing to and fro.

  72. Pinker is like a long form Malcolm Gladwell. Pure pop. New progressive religion, with minor variations.

    I always thought that the title “The Blank Slate” was a funny one. It seems calculated (and the book itself) not to do any real stepping on toes. “The Bell Curve” sounds vaguely ominous, enough to get crazies who have never read it to burn something down. Meanwhile what egalitarian could disagree with “The Blank Slate?”

    Incidentally, Bill Gates, who is one of his biggest boosters, is someone who is on record as believing in IQ, but still holding very progressive beliefs.

  73. Does Pinker consider in the book that eugenic policies (e.g. executing a significant proportion of the population and the upper classes breeding more succesfully) might have had on improving society?

  74. @Anatoly Karlin
    Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.

    After Pinker writes a book, he does a lecture tour on the subject. These lectures, many of which are on YouTube, can be an hour and a half long, and will tell you as much as you need to know. Or as much as you’re going to remember six months later, at any rate.

    • Replies: @alaska3636
    Pinker is a pretty erudite fellow. His books are full of interesting facts and anecdotes.

    I agree that the repetition of his thesis over hundreds of pages is unnecessary. I'm part (maybe half?) way through Better Angels and intend to return to it now and then. But only because I find his array of anecdotes more interesting than his lines of argument. I read Melville's Moby Dick over about 8 years for the same reason.

    I've heard Pinker do interviews and he's also quite shrewd: consistency avoiding saying anything that might be construed as offensive. That makes his talks quite dull and circumlocutory for me.

    Like most critical books, I'll probably give it a few years then pick it up cheap on the secondhand market.

    On an unrelated note, whenever Pinker speaks about linguistics, he really seems to hit his stride. If you're into that kind of thing.
  75. A few days back, I read this interview with Pinker at the Weekly Standard. I can’t quite figure him out. Then again, I’ve never read his books.

    Pinker recognizes biological differences but then rails against identity politics. However, he reverses himself by saying the identifying with a group is alright when that group is discriminated against.

    Identity politics originated with the fact that members of certain groups really were disadvantaged by their group membership, which forged them into a coalition with common interests: Jews really did have a reason to form the Anti-Defamation League.

    According to Pinker, if you’re a discriminated-against group, idenity politics is OK. So, wait, he is acknowledging that identifying as a group is natural (I mean, it’s usually because of genetic differences) and, at times, even a good thing. He goes on to say, however, that once identity politics moves beyond protecting the group against discrimination, it become a bad influence.

    But when (identity politics) spreads beyond the target of combatting discrimination and oppression, it is an enemy of reason and Enlightenment values, including, ironically, the pursuit of justice for oppressed groups.

    This seems to be Pinker’s thesis: Identity politics is bad for scientific progress because it causes people to look through the lens of “what’s best for the group” rather than objective reality. He also seems to be arguing that group identity slows the quest for push for equality (which he should know is not possible since individuals, groups and genders are not equal in capability though he’s likely talking about equality in a moral and legal sense) and “harmony.”

    Even the aspect of identity politics with a grain of justification—that a man cannot truly experience what it is like to be a woman, or a white person an African American—can subvert the cause of equality and harmony if it is taken too far, because it undermines one of the greatest epiphanies of the Enlightenment: that people are equipped with a capacity for sympathetic imagination, which allows them to appreciate the suffering of sentient beings unlike them.

    Pinker is all about the Enlightenment.

    Any hopes for human improvement are better served by encouraging a recognition of universal human interests than by pitting group against group in zero-sum competition.

    So is Pinker just a race realist libertarian – with all the silly utopian views that libertarians believe?

    I’ll give Pinker credit in this passage where he says that denying race and gender differences just pushes moderate people toward extremists. Of course, he has to completely misrepresent the alt-right. Outside of a few weirdos, the alt-right not about discrimination based on race or gender but about 1) acknowledging that race and gender differences exist and 2) fighting for the right of whites to identify as a group just like any other race in our society.

    The second is that people who suddenly discover forbidden facts outside the crucible of reasoned debate (which is what universities should be) can take them to dangerous conclusions, such as that differences between the sexes imply that we should discriminate against women (this kind of fallacy has fueled the alt-right movement).

    However, here’s where Pinker shows that his libertarian views preclude him even from Steve’s nice-guy Civic Nationalism.

    If you are a morally serious person—whether a humanist or a Judeo-Christian, who believes that all human lives have equal value—then policies that lift billions of people out of crushing poverty at the expense of millions of Americans who are laid off from factory jobs are a moral no-brainer.

    Hope I don’t have this guy in the foxhole with me. Btw, the Japanese didn’t find this choice a no-brainer. Are they stupid, immoral people?

    Anyway, Pinker seems to say that, yes, there are biological race and gender differences, but that if we just treat everyone as an individual, it’ll all work out just fine. This seems terribly naive. As Steve has noted, races and ethnicities are really just extended families. Pinker is asking all of us to treat our family no different than strangers, to feel as at home with genetically different groups as our own. Not only does that seem unlikely, it seems cold and sad.

    But I could wrong on all of this, and I’d be more than happy for someone to explain how I’m mistaken about Pinker.

    • Agree: Harry Baldwin
    • Replies: @candid_observer

    If you are a morally serious person—whether a humanist or a Judeo-Christian, who believes that all human lives have equal value—then policies that lift billions of people out of crushing poverty at the expense of millions of Americans who are laid off from factory jobs are a moral no-brainer.
     
    Given Pinker's argument here, I'd like to know how he manages to avoid the seemingly obvious conclusion that "a humanist or a Judeo-Christian" should draw: that we should invite the entire world into our midst, because we're talking the improvement in life of billions of people versus the greater misery of only a couple hundred million Americans. Why should his stated claim be a "moral no-brainer", but not this further one?

    If he has no answer to this -- and I'm sure he doesn't -- he should shut his virtue-signalling mouth.

    , @Old Palo Altan
    Pinker knows he is talking rubbish: Humanists have no rational reason for believing that all human lives are of equal value, and there is no such thing as a "Judeo-Christian".
    First we were supposed to swallow the false notion that there is such a thing as "Judeo-Christian ethics" or a "Judeo-Christian tradition" when in fact the two religions are deeply opposed to one another.
    And now we are to accept that this questionable adjective has become a noun? There is not one "Judeo-Christian" to be found on God's sweet earth.
    Jews, Orthodox ones, do not believe in the equal worth of all human beings, but in the God-given specialness of the Chosen People. Some of them are not averse to referring to the rest of us as not truly human at all.
    And Christians? As the crusader against the Albigensians put it: "Kill them all - God will recognise his own."
    , @Pericles
    I guess Pinker is in favor of anti-semitic identity organizations, Nazis, et alia, if you take his arguments seriously. Very principled, eh?

    But for the slickly wrong reason. I don't think I like Pinker the Moral Pretzel.
  76. As good a time as any to ask: why haven’t you written for TAC in years?

    Given the huge number of people here complaining about having been banned from, say Twitter (which they haven’t-very strange) some here must be curious.

  77. @Anonymous
    Chapter 20:

    The schooling, together with health and wealth, are literally making us smarter—by thirty IQ points, or two standard deviations above our ancestors.
     
    If he truly believes this, a have a nice bridge for sale real cheap. Alas, something tells me that he is not quite honest here.

    I only skimmed the book and decided it's not worth the time to read seriously. The feel-good "contrarian" messages like the one above get old quickly because most of them are actually intellectual equivalent of a sleight of hand.

    He’s basically promoting the “magic dirt” theory here.

    Modern public schooling is making kids dumber not smarter as the curriculum has been repeatedly watered down over the decades to the point the schools only produce workers for the service industry.

    Colleges are rapidly becoming places of endarkenment and not fit for any young person who is curious and open minded.

  78. @Anonymous
    I have to say one of the weird mind-altering events of my life was watching CNN coveroing the Columbine shooting on endless loop in a pub on Times Square, then watching The Matrix with extreme gun-play immediately afterwards, (with the theater filled with very underage kids, too, how is that even allowed).

    https://youtu.be/iuslUzbJEaw?t=85

    It was frankly bizzare.

    The Matrix is a pretty sick movie, not surprising when you consider who came up with it. The security guards and police officers Neo and his band kills are not bad guys, but decent people doing their jobs. They are slaughtered casually–after all, they’re “living their lives in the Matrix”– but for themselves and their families it is just as real and terrible as it is when anyone is killed in a mass shooting IRL.

    When I came out of the movie theater, I felt an odd disconnection from reality that took a few minutes to shake off. I imagine if I were mentally ill, that sense of disconnection might have stayed with me.

    • Replies: @Highlander

    for themselves and their families it is just as real and terrible as it is when anyone is killed in a mass shooting IRL
     
    Not really.

    When I came out of the movie theater, I felt an odd disconnection from reality that took a few minutes to shake off.

     

    That was the point. Most science fiction is a socio-political critique of modern society. Carrie-Anne Moss sure looks good though.
    , @Mr. Anon

    The Matrix is a pretty sick movie, not surprising when you consider who came up with it.
     
    Indeed - a sick, evil, nihlistic movie, ultimately. So was V for Vendetta, from what I heard of it (I did not see it, nor would I). I wouldn't expect anything more from the degenerate Wachowski brothers things.
  79. @Patrick82
    He also writes-

    "But the main reason that health and nutrition aren't enough to explain the IQ rise is that what has risen over time is not overall brainpower. The Flynn effect is not an increase in g, the general intelligence factor that underlies every subtype of intelligence (verbal, spatial, mathematical, memory, and so on) and is the aspect of intelligence most directly affected by the genes. While overall IQ has risen, and scores on each intelligence subtest have risen, some subtests have risen more rapidly than others in a pattern different than the pattern linked to the genes. That's another reason the Flynn effect does not cast doubt on the high heritability of IQ."

    I remember ten years ago everyone was saying the Raven Matrices were the most g loaded test (Asians who excel on this text used to go on and on about this).

    But the Ravens is the single mos affected test by the Flynn Effect, and now we are heading that the Flynn Effect is not an increase in g (fairly obviously).

    Are people still saying the Ravens is most g loaded?

    • Replies: @Patrick82
    "Are people still saying the Ravens is most g loaded?"

    Apparently not.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282711615_Raven%27s_is_not_a_pure_measure_of_general_intelligence_Implications_for_g_factor_theory_and_the_brief_measurement_of_g

    "It has been claimed that Raven's Progressive Matrices is a pure indicator of general intelligence (g). Such a claim implies three observations: (1) Raven's has a remarkably high association with g; (2) Raven's does not share variance with a group-level factor; and (3) Raven's is associated with virtually no test specificity. The existing factor analytic research relevant to Raven's and g is very mixed, likely because of the variety of factor analytic techniques employed, as well as the small sample sizes upon which the analyses have been performed. Consequently, the purpose of this investigation was to estimate the association between Raven's and g, Raven's and a theoretically congruent group-level factor, and Raven's test specificity within the context of a bifactor model. Across several large samples, it was observed that Raven's (1) shared approximately 50% of its variance with g; (2) shared approximately 10% of its variance with a fluid intelligence group-level factor orthogonal to g; and (3) was associated with approximately 25% test specific reliable variance. Overall, the results are interpreted to suggest that Raven's is not a particularly remarkable test with respect to g. Potential implications relevant to the commonly articulated central role of Raven's in g factor theory, as well as the Flynn effect, are discussed. Finally, researchers are discouraged to include only Raven's in an investigation, if a valid estimate of g is sought. Instead, as just one example, a four-subtest combination from the Wechsler scales with a g validity coefficient of .93 and 14. min administration time is suggested."

    Don't have the time to read the paper in full (and in truth much of it would go over my head).
  80. The core problem of his entire thesis is he ignores that the values of a society tend to be emergent features, growing from the personality traits of the individuals. A society full of people who tend to have novelty seeking personality traits and high levels of agreeableness, will tend to value and protect ideas like freedom of speech. Those societies that have individuals with high levels of conscientiousness will tend to not have garbage strewn in the street. Those societies that don’t, wont.

    Those personality traits are themselves hereditary.

    So the type of society formed is largely a function of the genetic features of its inhabitants. (One of which is I.Q., but people fixate on that excessively; the personality traits probably matter as much or more.)

    Of course legal structures matter a little bit. And the action of foreign powers matters a fair bit–I sincerely doubt democracy would have developed in South Korea and Japan without the U.S.–let’s see how long that lasts after we’re gone. And history matters a little bit, although mostly insofar as historical circumstances tended to select for particular personality traits.

    But overall they just don’t matter that much. It’s a sideshow. THINK, Pinker, THINK! The U.S. was formed in a bloody revolution and Canada was formed via a peaceful evolution virtually free of warfare. Different governance systems. Yet Canadian and U.S. cities are comically similar. Because they are (or were) both Anglo.

    Note that there are societies that do not have garbage in the street that do not have freedom of speech (Singapore), there are societies that have freedom of speech and no garbage in the street (non vibrant Europe), there are societies with freedom of speech and garbage in the street (United States) there are countries with garbage in the street and no freedom of speech (Haiti.) It ain’t hard to map these to particular, genetic personality traits.

  81. I enjoyed the review of Better Angels.

    This piece by Brian Ferguson has convinced me that Pinker also did a poor job of quantifying pre-civilization violence (in hunter-gatherers): http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/sites/fasn/files/Pinker’s%20List%20-%20Exaggerating%20Prehistoric%20War%20Mortality%20(2013).pdf

    • Replies: @DeanAmine
    Better link: https://www.academia.edu/3816994/Pinkers_List_Exaggerating_Prehistoric_War_Mortality
  82. @O'Really
    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?

    It started with SSRI’s being given to kids – Klebold and Harris for example and most school shooters were loaded on them. It didn’t help their parents were total assh*les who let their kids go feral.

    BTW they are not meant for teenagers. Yet they are given to young boys to modulate their behavior into something that is easily manageable. The problem is in a small percentage it turns them into rage monsters.

    Prior to the advent of SSRI’s there wasn’t a problem. Instead male teenagers simply emotionally checked out of school and just went through the motions. Most teachers accepted this and gave the boys some space – IOW they didn’t bug them.

    Today they drug the shit out of them. If they are bored they get drugged, if they smart and know the teacher is a low IQ putz(which most are) and mouths off, he gets drugged. If they are antsy they get drugged.

    Public schools are no longer fit for white boys IMO. All the schools want are docile followers, any intellectual or behavioral deviancy is punished early and often. God help the little white boy who plays cops and robber on school grounds or draws a gun or tank. He gets a trip to the principal’s office and interrogated by cops and the parents will be lucky if CPS doesn’t take junior away.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    Were there any school shooters who were not taking some kind of legally-prescribed mind/mood-altering drug? Obviously that by itself doesn't account for it, but the drugs might act on those who are borderline dangerous and send them over the edge. I think the advent of the adolescent kamikaze killer is a result of a confluence of things: the drugs, being raised by single women, violent and nihlistic movies and FPS video-games, the devaluation of men in society, and the 24/7 coverage of such events.
    , @Whoever
    https://i.imgur.com/Pa0M2Zo.jpg
  83. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @eD
    Physicist Dave, this is a really insightful comment.

    One small disagreement I have is that I think a good deal of what you are describing is the effects of a labor glut caused by overpopulation, immigration, and automation. Someone or some people made the decision to hide this with lots of make-work jobs, and then workers have to jump through more and more hoops to get those make-work jobs, which creates even more make-work jobs to administer the hoops, so you get the educational industry. But we can[t take on machinists who have dropped out of high school and eventually they get to middle management because those jobs just aren't there anymore, or so rare that you can impose all sorts of arbitrary filters if you want and still get the number of machinists you need.

    But instead of doubling down and doubling down on education, cargo cult style, I submit that a good deal of the problems with the pubilc schools could be solved by making it their mission to teach everyone how to read and write, basic math, and how they should behave in public, and if children and their families really don't want to go beyond those things once they have mastered them, then they are free to go. Students who wanted to learn more would get the opportunity to do so, and not having to deal with the students who don't want to be there would improve the instruction, but the mandate to educate everyone would be limited to the basics.

    The problem with all these ideas to reform and rationalize education is that they don’t acknowledge race. If you really just gave every kid the amount of education he is capable of mastering, you’d end up with huge “disparate impact.”

    Black students would be dropping out after elementary school or before high school, maybe 20 percent of whites would make it into college, 40 percent of Asians, and maybe 1 percent of blacks, assuming that “studies” majors were eliminated.

    The social consensus to pretend that blacks have the same cognitive ability as whites is behind every crazy aspect of education policy.

    • Replies: @Pericles
    I do agree it would be better to not waste everyone's time and money and instead provide better content for higher degrees, including high school.

    We also take a cargo cult, or perhaps voodoo, standpoint regarding education. The longer the better, nearly regardless of content or what happens in the meantime. Kind of dumb.

    Unfortunately, by abolishing this you'd lose the nifty child warehousing effect that I believe is secretly appreciated by society.
  84. @PhysicistDave
    O'Really asked:

    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?
     
    We have made the schools a trap for millions of kids in a way that was not true until the last few decades.

    My great grandmother, whom I knew well, was born in the early 1880s and dropped out of school after fourth grade. She knew the 3Rs, although of course she was not strong in, say, modern science. On the whole, she lived a good life: no one despised her for not going beyond fourth grade.

    Her son, my grandfather, dropped out of high school in his senior year. He trained as a machinist, was in the Navy in WW II, and ended up in middle management. All without a high-school diploma.

    A co-worker of mine in my first job back in the early 1980s, who had fought in WW II and went to school to get a degree in engineering on the GI Bill after the war, told me that he was one of the few engineers with a college degree when he started work around 1950.

    But, in the last several decades, we have been pushing with increasing intensity for everyone to get a high-school diploma and, increasingly, for everyone to go to college. And, we have created systems of credentialism, cartelization of various occupations, etc., so that a large number of people who train for particular vocations will not in fact get jobs in those areas. (Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!)

    So, very large numbers of kids end up hating school along with the larger constrained socioeconomic system that school stands for.

    The miracle is that we only have dozens of school shootings rather than thousands!

    We are brutalizing our children and young adults. It is not surprising that some of those children turn out in the end to be very brutal indeed.

    Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!

    I think about this often. People are pretty naive at age 18. A lot of them go to college and take courses in subjects that interest them with no regard to their employment prospects, and no one takes them aside to warn them about that. I think many students assume that a college wouldn’t be offering a course if there wasn’t work in that field. One of my son’s friends recently graduated Northwestern with a journalism degree. Are recent journalism graduates being hired? Looks to me like most news outlets are laying off employees. Yet the school maintains that department and keeps processing students through it. If you’re willing to pay for it, they’ll provide it to you.

    Reality sinks in eventually, but by that time you’re dealing with those six-figure student loans.

    I’m very impressed with the young, non-college-educated working-class whites I’ve hired to do tree work and repairs on my property. They are doing real work, are good at it, and seem to enjoy it.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    Harry Baldwin wrote to me:

    I think about this often. People are pretty naive at age 18. A lot of them go to college and take courses in subjects that interest them with no regard to their employment prospects, and no one takes them aside to warn them about that. I think many students assume that a college wouldn’t be offering a course if there wasn’t work in that field.
     
    I think it is even worse than the naivete of youth. When I have tried to talk with adults about the need to be honest in talking to college kids about their career prospects, I very often get a response along the lines of "You can't destroy their dreams!"

    Well... if their "dream" is to major in lit or anthropology or history and they have no idea what they actually want to do with such a degree, then their "dream" is likely to end as a nightmare: maybe they need to be awakened from the "dream" before that point. (I know there are a few kids who truly do wish to teach or do research in lit or anthropology or history: I do not think that is the majority of those who get degrees in such fields.)

    Personally, I'm fascinated by history and I'm interested in anthropology, but a day job is a good thing. It has become almost a social norm among adults to not tell adolescents the truth about the real world: this is neither wise nor kind.

  85. @Harry Baldwin
    The Matrix is a pretty sick movie, not surprising when you consider who came up with it. The security guards and police officers Neo and his band kills are not bad guys, but decent people doing their jobs. They are slaughtered casually--after all, they're "living their lives in the Matrix"-- but for themselves and their families it is just as real and terrible as it is when anyone is killed in a mass shooting IRL.

    When I came out of the movie theater, I felt an odd disconnection from reality that took a few minutes to shake off. I imagine if I were mentally ill, that sense of disconnection might have stayed with me.

    for themselves and their families it is just as real and terrible as it is when anyone is killed in a mass shooting IRL

    Not really.

    When I came out of the movie theater, I felt an odd disconnection from reality that took a few minutes to shake off.

    That was the point. Most science fiction is a socio-political critique of modern society. Carrie-Anne Moss sure looks good though.

    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    Please explain "Not really." People lived their lives in the Matrix. If they were killed there, they really died. They would leave a grieving family behind. Why is this not like anyone getting killed in the world as we know it?
    , @Clyde
    Carrie-Anne Moss 1999 Matrix http://movieline.com/1999/09/01/carrie-ann-moss-millenial-moss/
  86. @Tulip
    The strange thing about Pinker's optimism is that it seems to rest on Hobbes' insight: that without a strong, centralized state, human communities will collapse into endless warfare, mayhem and self destruction. Thus, the growth of the all-powerful, centralizing, and homogenizing state mirrors "human progress", as it holds in check the inexorable power of human self-destructiveness. Likewise, the hydrogen bomb has done a decent job so far in taming the inevitable self-destructiveness which would be unleashed in a total war between modern states.

    What is strange is that the power of the modern state seems to rest on a monopoly of force, combined with power to influence the public through educational systems and mass propaganda. Not so sure we are talking about "enlightenment values" so much as a system of "values" which would be immediately apparent from the career of a figure like Goebbels. Its pretty clear what happens to "irrational" scientists who espouse the modern formulation of "heliocentrism" in defiance of the revealed truths of intersectionality and political correctness.

    In fact, I suspect the "Enlightenment" should not be connected with "values" but rather with the politicalization of "reason", producing a contest between power and truth, wherein power appears to have the upper hand.

    The strange thing about Pinker’s optimism is that it seems to rest on Hobbes’ insight: that without a strong, centralized state, human communities will collapse into endless warfare, mayhem and self destruction.

    That’s a big part of it, yes.

    What is strange is that the power of the modern state seems to rest on a monopoly of force, combined with power to influence the public through educational systems and mass propaganda. Not so sure we are talking about “enlightenment values” so much as a system of “values” which would be immediately apparent from the career of a figure like Goebbels.

    Monopoly of force, yes; the rest, no.

    Pinker’s take on Hobbes is explained quite well in the “Violence” chapter of The Blank Slate. Hobbes’ insight was that men (it is almost entirely men who commit violence on one another) will act on the more-or-less universal primate instincts for revenge related to anything that is perceived as a potential slight on ones’ honor (Hobbes calls this glory), and that the way to solve that is to take the power of retribution out of individual hands and give it to the state – “a common Power to keep them all in awe.”

    Take hunter-gatherer societies – Rousseau’s “noble savages”. We know that those societies are riven with extremely high levels of violence – raiding one another for limited survival resources, including women, which then leads to revenge (honor) raids, and the cycle perpetuates itself. This is Hobbes’ state of nature, where the lives are “nasty, brutish, and short.”

    The way out of Hobbes’ state of nature is the Western civilization social contract we collectively make – we give up the right of committing violence on one another except in very limited circumstances such as self-defense, and hand that right off to the state – aka Leviathan. This is why the prosecutor in a criminal trial represents the People – it is our collective right to punish those who transgress against members of society, but no longer our individual right.

    Now, when we do this, part of the contract is that Leviathan will be fair and impartial, and when that doesn’t happen people will revert to a pre-Leviathan culture of honor, with all the shockingly high violence levels that implies. Take a look at the police reports in an inner city ghetto during a weekend and you’ll find lots of “he disrespected me and so I shot him.” Folks with not-so-great IQs and maybe kind of high on clannishness who feel they don’t get no respect and that the goddamn cops are a big part of the problem…yeah, they gonna fight.

    But Leviathan is a huge part of the true Enlightenment values that Pinker espouses, and practical Enlightenment political thinkers such as the American Founding Fathers had read their Hobbes well. Mass propaganda and the rest of the totalitarian crap a la Goebbels, Mao, Lenin and Stalin, etc., is antithetical to the Enlightenment, where “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    I’m just a small amount into the new book, and I doubt that I will like it as much as The Blank Slate, which I consider to be one of the most important- if not the most important – nonfiction books of this century, but I’m liking it so far. I still don’t fathom how Pinker has escaped the liberal auto-de-fe, but I thank the FSM that he has.

    • Replies: @Samuel Skinner

    Mass propaganda and the rest of the totalitarian crap a la Goebbels, Mao, Lenin and Stalin, etc., is antithetical to the Enlightenment, where “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
     
    Mass propaganda is just an extension of education; the state and its experts know best and so tell people what and how to think since humans must be taught this. The same goes with the rest of the 'totalitarian crap'- there is only one reason, so there is only one plan that accords most with reason.

    As for that flowery language, the American Revolution involved seizing the property of loyalists, blocking detachments, committees of public safety- to take the rhetoric on face value is like accepting the USSR's at face value.
    , @Tulip
    cthulhu writes:

    Mass propaganda and the rest of the totalitarian crap a la Goebbels, Mao, Lenin and Stalin, etc., is antithetical to the Enlightenment, where “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    With all due respect cthulhu, I find the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence to be mass propaganda of the highest order, and bad anthropology as well. Rights are created by the state, and the amount of rights accorded "citizens" is based on a cost/benefit analysis of the need for economic freedom to ensure sufficient prosperity SO the sovereign can tax them heavily and pay off political supporters (which is narrow in authoritarian regimes and wide in 'democracy')--call it "citizen farming"--versus the danger of civil insurrection. If you have a nice source of petro, you can bribe all your political supporters with petro money, and "the people" can exist little better than slaves. They may not make any money,
    but they won't revolt. [See Nigeria.]

  87. @PhysicistDave
    O'Really asked:

    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?
     
    We have made the schools a trap for millions of kids in a way that was not true until the last few decades.

    My great grandmother, whom I knew well, was born in the early 1880s and dropped out of school after fourth grade. She knew the 3Rs, although of course she was not strong in, say, modern science. On the whole, she lived a good life: no one despised her for not going beyond fourth grade.

    Her son, my grandfather, dropped out of high school in his senior year. He trained as a machinist, was in the Navy in WW II, and ended up in middle management. All without a high-school diploma.

    A co-worker of mine in my first job back in the early 1980s, who had fought in WW II and went to school to get a degree in engineering on the GI Bill after the war, told me that he was one of the few engineers with a college degree when he started work around 1950.

    But, in the last several decades, we have been pushing with increasing intensity for everyone to get a high-school diploma and, increasingly, for everyone to go to college. And, we have created systems of credentialism, cartelization of various occupations, etc., so that a large number of people who train for particular vocations will not in fact get jobs in those areas. (Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!)

    So, very large numbers of kids end up hating school along with the larger constrained socioeconomic system that school stands for.

    The miracle is that we only have dozens of school shootings rather than thousands!

    We are brutalizing our children and young adults. It is not surprising that some of those children turn out in the end to be very brutal indeed.

    Agreed. Wish that schools at all levels integrated real-world apprenticeship programs, not just get coffee internships. I know that some majors do. I remember my engineering major friends would head off for a semester to work.

    People learn best when they understand how what they’ll learn will help them do something.

    Also, if the role of college (outside of the STEM majors) is just to prove a certain level of IQ and conscientiousness, why not make most college majors two years instead of four? Even for harder, but not STEM majors such as business, finance, biology, etc., is it really necessary for four years. Liberal arts majors certainly don’t need four years. You’re still showing your IQ by being admitted and two years is enough time to show that you can be trained.

    Half the student loan debt problem solved right there.

  88. @PhysicistDave
    O'Really asked:

    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?
     
    We have made the schools a trap for millions of kids in a way that was not true until the last few decades.

    My great grandmother, whom I knew well, was born in the early 1880s and dropped out of school after fourth grade. She knew the 3Rs, although of course she was not strong in, say, modern science. On the whole, she lived a good life: no one despised her for not going beyond fourth grade.

    Her son, my grandfather, dropped out of high school in his senior year. He trained as a machinist, was in the Navy in WW II, and ended up in middle management. All without a high-school diploma.

    A co-worker of mine in my first job back in the early 1980s, who had fought in WW II and went to school to get a degree in engineering on the GI Bill after the war, told me that he was one of the few engineers with a college degree when he started work around 1950.

    But, in the last several decades, we have been pushing with increasing intensity for everyone to get a high-school diploma and, increasingly, for everyone to go to college. And, we have created systems of credentialism, cartelization of various occupations, etc., so that a large number of people who train for particular vocations will not in fact get jobs in those areas. (Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!)

    So, very large numbers of kids end up hating school along with the larger constrained socioeconomic system that school stands for.

    The miracle is that we only have dozens of school shootings rather than thousands!

    We are brutalizing our children and young adults. It is not surprising that some of those children turn out in the end to be very brutal indeed.

    (Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!)

    …and many of them do. The idea that “STEM” is categorically superior to “liberal arts” is a cherished myth on the right that will not die; there are simply no statistics to actually support it. When I was researching the H1B program a couple of years ago for a grad school project, the employment differential between the two categories was roughly 2%, IIRC. There are certainly advantages to going the technical route, especially for asocial personality types. But the extent to which technical degrees are “practical” while “soft degrees” are not is greatly exaggerated.

  89. @AaronB
    I remember ten years ago everyone was saying the Raven Matrices were the most g loaded test (Asians who excel on this text used to go on and on about this).

    But the Ravens is the single mos affected test by the Flynn Effect, and now we are heading that the Flynn Effect is not an increase in g (fairly obviously).

    Are people still saying the Ravens is most g loaded?

    “Are people still saying the Ravens is most g loaded?”

    Apparently not.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282711615_Raven%27s_is_not_a_pure_measure_of_general_intelligence_Implications_for_g_factor_theory_and_the_brief_measurement_of_g

    “It has been claimed that Raven’s Progressive Matrices is a pure indicator of general intelligence (g). Such a claim implies three observations: (1) Raven’s has a remarkably high association with g; (2) Raven’s does not share variance with a group-level factor; and (3) Raven’s is associated with virtually no test specificity. The existing factor analytic research relevant to Raven’s and g is very mixed, likely because of the variety of factor analytic techniques employed, as well as the small sample sizes upon which the analyses have been performed. Consequently, the purpose of this investigation was to estimate the association between Raven’s and g, Raven’s and a theoretically congruent group-level factor, and Raven’s test specificity within the context of a bifactor model. Across several large samples, it was observed that Raven’s (1) shared approximately 50% of its variance with g; (2) shared approximately 10% of its variance with a fluid intelligence group-level factor orthogonal to g; and (3) was associated with approximately 25% test specific reliable variance. Overall, the results are interpreted to suggest that Raven’s is not a particularly remarkable test with respect to g. Potential implications relevant to the commonly articulated central role of Raven’s in g factor theory, as well as the Flynn effect, are discussed. Finally, researchers are discouraged to include only Raven’s in an investigation, if a valid estimate of g is sought. Instead, as just one example, a four-subtest combination from the Wechsler scales with a g validity coefficient of .93 and 14. min administration time is suggested.”

    Don’t have the time to read the paper in full (and in truth much of it would go over my head).

  90. @Harry Baldwin
    After Pinker writes a book, he does a lecture tour on the subject. These lectures, many of which are on YouTube, can be an hour and a half long, and will tell you as much as you need to know. Or as much as you're going to remember six months later, at any rate.

    Pinker is a pretty erudite fellow. His books are full of interesting facts and anecdotes.

    I agree that the repetition of his thesis over hundreds of pages is unnecessary. I’m part (maybe half?) way through Better Angels and intend to return to it now and then. But only because I find his array of anecdotes more interesting than his lines of argument. I read Melville’s Moby Dick over about 8 years for the same reason.

    I’ve heard Pinker do interviews and he’s also quite shrewd: consistency avoiding saying anything that might be construed as offensive. That makes his talks quite dull and circumlocutory for me.

    Like most critical books, I’ll probably give it a few years then pick it up cheap on the secondhand market.

    On an unrelated note, whenever Pinker speaks about linguistics, he really seems to hit his stride. If you’re into that kind of thing.

  91. Pinker wrote a whole book about how violence is declining. A whole book! Let me shorten it to four words for ya:

    Coal, Oil, Natural Gas.

    Since we began to exploit fossil fuels there has been a massive food surplus. Fossil fuel based fertilizers, pesticides, mechanization, etc. A massive food surplus. Look up how many extra Billions of people can be supported on this earth due to the Haber Bosch process. So much food. No organism is stupid enough to waste time fighting when times are fat.

    If times get lean that tape will run in reverse. Got nothing to do with ‘the arc of history’ or whatever pseudo religions BS this guy believes in.

  92. @Steve Sailer
    Pinker's Flynn Effect argument in "Better Angels" is pretty sophisticated.

    As I recollect, Pinker describes the Flynn Effect as arising from more exposure to abstract thinking, both in schooling and in the larger culture.

    I’ve found myself wondering if, beyond the obvious upsides, there isn’t a big downside to this development: a disturbing susceptibility to ideology.

    Would today’s Social Justice movement and identity politics, with its demand that we stop believing our lying eyes, have been viable in an era more respectful of concrete observation? Have we educated ourselves so much that we can no longer see the obvious?

    • Replies: @El Dato

    Would today’s Social Justice movement and identity politics, with its demand that we stop believing our lying eyes, have been viable in an era more respectful of concrete observation?
     
    I don't think so. These people are not known for being able to think abstractly. In fact, they seem to sometimes take pride in being incapable of thinking at all.
  93. @Anonymous
    Chapter 20:

    The schooling, together with health and wealth, are literally making us smarter—by thirty IQ points, or two standard deviations above our ancestors.
     
    If he truly believes this, a have a nice bridge for sale real cheap. Alas, something tells me that he is not quite honest here.

    I only skimmed the book and decided it's not worth the time to read seriously. The feel-good "contrarian" messages like the one above get old quickly because most of them are actually intellectual equivalent of a sleight of hand.

    “If he truly believes this, a have a nice bridge for sale real cheap. Alas, something tells me that he is not quite honest here.”

    It’s called the Flynn Effect, and it has been well-documented.

    • Replies: @Anonymous

    It’s called the Flynn Effect, and it has been well-documented.
     
    "It" is not called Flynn Effect. Flynn Effect does not equal "smarter." And in any case, its documented size is not 30 points. Pretending that the whites who fought in the US Civil war were on average as smart as Pigmies of Africa today is absurd.
  94. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    A few days back, I read this interview with Pinker at the Weekly Standard. I can't quite figure him out. Then again, I've never read his books.

    Pinker recognizes biological differences but then rails against identity politics. However, he reverses himself by saying the identifying with a group is alright when that group is discriminated against.

    Identity politics originated with the fact that members of certain groups really were disadvantaged by their group membership, which forged them into a coalition with common interests: Jews really did have a reason to form the Anti-Defamation League.
     
    According to Pinker, if you're a discriminated-against group, idenity politics is OK. So, wait, he is acknowledging that identifying as a group is natural (I mean, it's usually because of genetic differences) and, at times, even a good thing. He goes on to say, however, that once identity politics moves beyond protecting the group against discrimination, it become a bad influence.

    But when (identity politics) spreads beyond the target of combatting discrimination and oppression, it is an enemy of reason and Enlightenment values, including, ironically, the pursuit of justice for oppressed groups.
     
    This seems to be Pinker's thesis: Identity politics is bad for scientific progress because it causes people to look through the lens of "what's best for the group" rather than objective reality. He also seems to be arguing that group identity slows the quest for push for equality (which he should know is not possible since individuals, groups and genders are not equal in capability though he's likely talking about equality in a moral and legal sense) and "harmony."

    Even the aspect of identity politics with a grain of justification—that a man cannot truly experience what it is like to be a woman, or a white person an African American—can subvert the cause of equality and harmony if it is taken too far, because it undermines one of the greatest epiphanies of the Enlightenment: that people are equipped with a capacity for sympathetic imagination, which allows them to appreciate the suffering of sentient beings unlike them.
     
    Pinker is all about the Enlightenment.

    Any hopes for human improvement are better served by encouraging a recognition of universal human interests than by pitting group against group in zero-sum competition.
     
    So is Pinker just a race realist libertarian - with all the silly utopian views that libertarians believe?

    I'll give Pinker credit in this passage where he says that denying race and gender differences just pushes moderate people toward extremists. Of course, he has to completely misrepresent the alt-right. Outside of a few weirdos, the alt-right not about discrimination based on race or gender but about 1) acknowledging that race and gender differences exist and 2) fighting for the right of whites to identify as a group just like any other race in our society.

    The second is that people who suddenly discover forbidden facts outside the crucible of reasoned debate (which is what universities should be) can take them to dangerous conclusions, such as that differences between the sexes imply that we should discriminate against women (this kind of fallacy has fueled the alt-right movement).
     
    However, here's where Pinker shows that his libertarian views preclude him even from Steve's nice-guy Civic Nationalism.

    If you are a morally serious person—whether a humanist or a Judeo-Christian, who believes that all human lives have equal value—then policies that lift billions of people out of crushing poverty at the expense of millions of Americans who are laid off from factory jobs are a moral no-brainer.
     
    Hope I don't have this guy in the foxhole with me. Btw, the Japanese didn't find this choice a no-brainer. Are they stupid, immoral people?

    Anyway, Pinker seems to say that, yes, there are biological race and gender differences, but that if we just treat everyone as an individual, it'll all work out just fine. This seems terribly naive. As Steve has noted, races and ethnicities are really just extended families. Pinker is asking all of us to treat our family no different than strangers, to feel as at home with genetically different groups as our own. Not only does that seem unlikely, it seems cold and sad.

    But I could wrong on all of this, and I'd be more than happy for someone to explain how I'm mistaken about Pinker.

    If you are a morally serious person—whether a humanist or a Judeo-Christian, who believes that all human lives have equal value—then policies that lift billions of people out of crushing poverty at the expense of millions of Americans who are laid off from factory jobs are a moral no-brainer.

    Given Pinker’s argument here, I’d like to know how he manages to avoid the seemingly obvious conclusion that “a humanist or a Judeo-Christian” should draw: that we should invite the entire world into our midst, because we’re talking the improvement in life of billions of people versus the greater misery of only a couple hundred million Americans. Why should his stated claim be a “moral no-brainer”, but not this further one?

    If he has no answer to this — and I’m sure he doesn’t — he should shut his virtue-signalling mouth.

  95. @Anatoly Karlin
    Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.

    Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.

    He’s learned from Stephen King!

    Really, I think most supermarket novels are meant to be sold by weight.

    3-4x thicker

    Now I’ll be easy on Tolya as a non-native speaker, but this common practice of using the comparative in place of “as” isn’t just a matter of style. Just as with double negatives (in English), it’s different in quantity as well.

    “Three-to-four times faster” literally means “four-to-five-times as fast”. Just as “fifty percent as big” is quite different in meaning from “fifty percent bigger”.

    There is no excuse for native English speakers, in academia, publishing, or “journalism” especially, to let this error slip. But I see it all the time.

  96. @DeanAmine
    I enjoyed the review of Better Angels.

    This piece by Brian Ferguson has convinced me that Pinker also did a poor job of quantifying pre-civilization violence (in hunter-gatherers): http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/sites/fasn/files/Pinker's%20List%20-%20Exaggerating%20Prehistoric%20War%20Mortality%20(2013).pdf
  97. @Dan Hayes
    Steve,

    I am under the impression that you and the other Steve go back a long, long way. I am basing this on my long dim recollection that some time in the distant past he had given you public recognition and credit for some of your political prognostications. Whatever his other faults this at least proves that Pinker is a good judge of political horseflesh.

    BTW, although he presents plenty of counter evidence and counterarguments, especially in light of 20th Century carnage I can never accept his claim that humankind is becoming more peaceful.

    I am under the impression that you and the other Steve go back a long, long way.

    In looking up that connection I stumbled across the blog of a woman who is very critical of both Steves.

    http://mcclernan.blogspot.com/2018/01/steven-pinker-and-steve-sailer.html

    I have yet to find any evidence that Steven Pinker has ever repudiated any claims Steve Sailer has made about race. He prefers rather to pay him to write, and as recently as 2011, quote him for a blurb for one of his books (“Better Angels.”)

    Like Razib Khan, Sailer owes his career to wealthy racist patrons. But both of these racist hacks would be lifted above the far-right fringe thanks to their association with Steven Pinker.

    In Sailer’s case, Pinker edited a book called The Best American Science and Nature Writing of 2004 and included work by Sailer.

    So in summation: just four years after Steve Sailer, whose academic credentials are limited to an MBA from UCLA in finance and marketing, was opining for VDARE that while blacks were intellectually inferior to all other “races” at least they were good at jazz and basketball, Steven Pinker included Sailer’s work in “The Best American Science and Nature Writing.”

    I emailed Pinker’s co-editer Tim Folger about the inclusion of Sailer in the publication. If he responds I will post on this blog.

    But there is still the question of what, exactly Steven Pinker thinks is “race.” More soon.

    UPDATE: Tim Folger wrote back:

    Hi Nancy,

    Thanks for letting me know about this. In hindsight Sailer’s story shouldn’t have been included in the anthology, and we should have looked into his background more carefully. Until reading your email today, I knew nothing about Sailer’s alt-right connections. Steven Pinker selected the story, and unfortunately I never discussed the article with him, an oversight that I regret.

    Tim

    I am waiting for my second-hand copy of “The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004” to arrive so I can find out exactly what Pinker hired Sailer to say.

    http://mcclernan.blogspot.com/2018/02/steve-sailer-in-best-american-science.html

    Ugh, I’m probably the only human being to read “The Cousin Marriage Conundrum” since 2005.

    Steven Pinker and Steve Sailer go back to at least 2002 when Sailer interviewed Pinker about The Blank Slate. although he mentioned Pinker even earlier on his iSteve blog and used the term “human biodiversity” too. I haven’t found Pinker mentioning Sailer publicly after 2011 when he used Sailer for a positive blurb for “Better Angels.”

    Sailer still talks about Pinker though, posting Pinker’s PC video in a recent Unz column.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    Nancy McClernan is the name of the woman who writes the anti-HBD blog.

    http://www.mcclernan.com/about.asp

    http://www.mcclernan.com/plays.asp

    Interestingly, she also has problems with Social Justice Warriors:

    http://mcclernan.blogspot.com/search?q=social+justice+warrior
  98. @Anonymous
    Pinker seems to accept the view that everyone in the Middle Ages was backward, violent and never bathed. This is being proven wrong.

    They were in poorer health and more violent for sure.

    • Replies: @Highlander
    No. During the height of the Medieval Warm Period during the 12 Century (when wine grapes were able to be grown in England) skeletal remains from churchyard cemeteries show that the average peasant farmer was quite healthy and well fed. And there was enough of a surplus of population and wealth for many of them to go off on Holy Crusades.
  99. @Stan d Mute

    He is a natural member of the human biodiversity movement, but has always carefully stopped just short of acknowledging the reality of human biodiversity. His rational thinking and evidence-based conclusion grinds to a stop just as he reaches the HBD precipice.
     
    Pinker is one of the most cautious speakers/writers I’ve encountered. I strongly suspect he knows the truth, but will carefully avoid admitting it while leading listeners/readers to the precipice as you note where if they think clearly there is but one conclusion.
    • Replies: @BB753
    "Welcome right-wing racists of UNZ."

    According to McClernan, a conversation between Pinker and Razib Khan amounts to a conversation between two Nazis., err, racists. And Sailer, Unz, etc are evil racists as well or worse, the Unz Review is literally "Der Stürmer" and us unzite readers and commenters literally Waffen-SS. Lol! You can tell that the Left is panicking as they feel they're starting to lose control of the narrative and their grasp on power is growing fainter day by day.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_St%C3%BCrmer
    , @El Dato
    She really has a problem upstairs.

    "My anti-racist bona fides: ... I believe African Americans built the US."

    I don't how far progressivism-signaling can go, but this seems to be pretty far.
    , @ben tillman

    He is being firmly pushed off the precipice by both the screaming mobs of SJWs AND Nazis [sic] anyway.
     
    That should be "Nazis" to denote the fact that David Duke and whomever else you're talking about aren't really Nazis.
  100. @Dan Hayes
    Steve,

    I am under the impression that you and the other Steve go back a long, long way. I am basing this on my long dim recollection that some time in the distant past he had given you public recognition and credit for some of your political prognostications. Whatever his other faults this at least proves that Pinker is a good judge of political horseflesh.

    BTW, although he presents plenty of counter evidence and counterarguments, especially in light of 20th Century carnage I can never accept his claim that humankind is becoming more peaceful.

    We can only speculate since the details are top secret, but Steve S. ran a journolist style email HBD email list that had Krugman and Derb on it in its hay day and Steve P. would have fit in too.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
  101. @AndrewR
    The quote she attributed to him would certainly be an ignorant thing to say. Whether he actually said that, or if she is just too stupid/dishonest to accurately restate what he said, is an open question.

    Obviously it is false to claim: “They have lower IQs because they’re African. It’s genetically been proven blacks aren’t as smart.”

    A much more accurate claim would be: "people of Negroid descent tend to have lower IQs than people of non-Negroid descent, although obviously there is a lot of interracial overlap in intelligence."

    My shekels are on this girl lying about (or at least being too stupid to understand) what her husband actually said, but it's certainly possible that hubby actually made such an ignorant claim.

    Well, it was not a statement from “Proceedings of Comparative Cognitive Provess 2017”. People make very deep cuts when articulating their thoughts.

    And this why every family should have a room with a large whiteboard and good markers (or blackboard and good chalk, if you prefer the excellent old stuff; I hear it’s better for doing math for some reason)

  102. @candid_observer
    As I recollect, Pinker describes the Flynn Effect as arising from more exposure to abstract thinking, both in schooling and in the larger culture.

    I've found myself wondering if, beyond the obvious upsides, there isn't a big downside to this development: a disturbing susceptibility to ideology.

    Would today's Social Justice movement and identity politics, with its demand that we stop believing our lying eyes, have been viable in an era more respectful of concrete observation? Have we educated ourselves so much that we can no longer see the obvious?

    Would today’s Social Justice movement and identity politics, with its demand that we stop believing our lying eyes, have been viable in an era more respectful of concrete observation?

    I don’t think so. These people are not known for being able to think abstractly. In fact, they seem to sometimes take pride in being incapable of thinking at all.

  103. @Highlander

    for themselves and their families it is just as real and terrible as it is when anyone is killed in a mass shooting IRL
     
    Not really.

    When I came out of the movie theater, I felt an odd disconnection from reality that took a few minutes to shake off.

     

    That was the point. Most science fiction is a socio-political critique of modern society. Carrie-Anne Moss sure looks good though.

    Please explain “Not really.” People lived their lives in the Matrix. If they were killed there, they really died. They would leave a grieving family behind. Why is this not like anyone getting killed in the world as we know it?

    • Replies: @Highlander
    It is. All wars entail collateral "civilian" damage. If those security gunmen were in the way of the strategic mission to ultimately understand and take down the Matrix then so be it. War is never fair and is always murderous. And how do we know that the security guards had actual real people as their families and not some psychologically programmed simulacra or agents themselves? If human their main function was as batteries. I don't see anyone in the pods capable of actual reproduction with the opposite sex on the next row and column in the battery warehouses.
  104. @AndrewR
    I agree that immersion is essential for true intercultural experiences, although I wouldn't put a specific number of days down as a must-reach point. Ten days is better than five days. Twenty days is better than ten days. Forty days is better than twenty days. It's not necessarily a linear relationship, of course. Learning the local tongues is one of the most important aspects, although everyone has different levels of desire and ability for that. The best experiences tend to be when you're with someone who is highly familiar with both that culture and language as well your culture and language. IOW, an American newly arrived in Japan would probably get the greatest benefit from spending time around a Japanese person who has lived in the US and speaks English well, or an American who has lived in Japan for years and mastered the language and culture.

    While books, film, photos, blogs, etc are better than nothing when it comes to learning about other cultures, nothing can beat actually experiencing them. Of course, as you allude to, there are certainly tradeoffs and it's not necessarily worth the time, money and stress required to gain those experiences. But I think everyone should try to spend at least a few months of their lives experiencing different cultures.

    I agree that immersion is essential for true intercultural experiences, although I wouldn’t put a specific number of days down as a must-reach point. Ten days is better than five days. Twenty days is better than ten days. Forty days is better than twenty days. It’s not necessarily a linear relationship, of course.

    No, I agree, it’s not a linear relationship, and obviously longer is better. My choice of twenty days wasn’t arbitrary, though: it was based on my own experience and on anecdotes from others who have recounted similar experiences to me. For a cultural immersion, twenty days is about the time it takes to “get into” a new place, beginning to get a feel for the new cadre and the new habits. If it’s the first time you’re immersed in a language that you’ve learned post-puberty twenty days is also about the time it takes for that language to begin to “click” into place, i.e., you begin dreaming regularly in the language.

    I think everyone should try to spend at least a few months of their lives experiencing different cultures.

    I’m actually not sure it’s a worthwhile pursuit for the sub-intelligent, probably cutting off around 115 or so. Below that level the capacity for secondary acculturation is rather underwhelming (these are largely of the type I alluded to for whom Europe is little more than a theme park, though to be fair in America and increasingly elsewhere in the world [China comes to mind] there are also lots of biologically smart people who should know better than to act like white trash cretins, as they do). And from a purely ecological point it would probably be a good thing for everyone if they contented themselves with Disneyland (though I can’t resist the temptation to quip that an occasional acid trip would make even less of an environmental footprint and would probably release about the same amount of dopamines).

    • Replies: @Anonym
    Ignoring the white trash slur, Disneyland itself has likely LSD influenced rides. Splash Mountain, Mr Toad's Wild Ride, the Winnie the Pooh ride are the ones I remember.
  105. @CK
    And that clip is a good example of why Marble is not the best investment for hallway columns, nor marble veneer for hallways.
    The background music is superb.

    Spybreak

    Also in Jimbo’s Knowledge Whale Storage Area: Spybreak!

    I have the CD.

  106. OT: The recently concluded Olympics in South Korea might be the worst ever in terms of TV ratings.

    http://deadline.com/2018/02/curling-gold-olympics-ratings-2018-low-pyeongchang-nbc-1202302121/

    I wonder, has there been a general decline in Winter Olympics viewership? And, if so, could this be due to a decline in the fraction of cryo-americans, people descended from the nations where these sports originated?

    • Replies: @El Dato
    Maybe it has to do with the politicized/weaponized dope-a-ding-dong circus and anti-rus hysteria as ordered by uncle shmuel. It's a full turnoff.
    , @Jim Don Bob
    I have seen bits and pieces of the Olympics whilst having my morning coffee at McDonalds. It seems to be short highlight clips sandwiched between long segments where two women interview a woman athlete about how she feels. There is more action in bowling.
    , @Hieronymus of Canada

    I wonder, has there been a general decline in Winter Olympics viewership? And, if so, could this be due to a decline in the fraction of cryo-americans, people descended from the nations where these sports originated?
     
    Probably; related is the shift in numbers from the old Industrial North to the Sun Belt, where Winter sports will probably never get a real foothold (regardless of what Gary Bettman wants). It wouldn't surprise me if soccer has has succeed hockey as the US' forth most popular sport (after football, baseball and basketball). (I'll probably get flack for saying, but a warming change may also contribute, with shorter winter -> less practice time outdoors.)

    Note that hockey was popular enough in the States to have it own Goofy short and an episode of the Simpsons dedicated to it (both episodes highlight the violence of the sport) - could such a thing happen today?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1-YL9S53bk
  107. @Chrisnonymous
    I think you would be disappointed if you went to St. Andrews. I haven't been there, but I backpacked through some other lowland cities and the Highlands. The lowlands and, in general, the cities of Scotland were a historical and intellectual disappointment. Of course, maybe you have something specific you're looking for. (And all this is golf-excepted, of course.)

    I think you would be disappointed if you went to St. Andrews. I haven’t been there, but I backpacked through some other lowland cities and the Highlands. The lowlands and, in general, the cities of Scotland were a historical and intellectual disappointment.

    Can’t agree with you at all there.

    My son did both his undergraduate and doctorate at St. Andrews, and I think it’s a fantastic little place “far from the madding crowd”, so to speak. And absolutely full of history — until the Scottish Reformation St. Andrews was the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland, and the ruins of its Cathedral are a haunting memorial to those times. I have attended a few services and concerts in St. Salvator’s Chapel (part of the University) and it is quite awesome to be in the same place where John Knox (probably) preached. And he certainly preached at the Holy Trinity Church on South Street, where in 1559 he incited the congregation to ransack the Cathedral, bringing centuries of Catholic domination to an end.

    And what is perhaps most impressive is that if John Knox were to visit St. Andrews today he would probably not feel much out of place.

    For a golfer I imagine St. Andrews would be seventh heaven.

    And of course who can forget the opening 3 minutes of Chariots of Fire?

    As cities go, I don’t see how you can possibly say that Edinburgh (50 km away, and the nearest major airport) is a “historical and intellectual disappointment”. It’s a great city, with tons of history and culture, of the major UK cities certainly the most interesting after London.

    • Replies: @BB753
    Edinburgh is certainly more interesting and beautiful than London. And less diverse and far more British. And a city you can actually visit on foot, unlike London.
  108. @Harry Baldwin
    Please explain "Not really." People lived their lives in the Matrix. If they were killed there, they really died. They would leave a grieving family behind. Why is this not like anyone getting killed in the world as we know it?

    It is. All wars entail collateral “civilian” damage. If those security gunmen were in the way of the strategic mission to ultimately understand and take down the Matrix then so be it. War is never fair and is always murderous. And how do we know that the security guards had actual real people as their families and not some psychologically programmed simulacra or agents themselves? If human their main function was as batteries. I don’t see anyone in the pods capable of actual reproduction with the opposite sex on the next row and column in the battery warehouses.

    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    Your second point is a good one and had not occurred to me.
  109. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    A few days back, I read this interview with Pinker at the Weekly Standard. I can't quite figure him out. Then again, I've never read his books.

    Pinker recognizes biological differences but then rails against identity politics. However, he reverses himself by saying the identifying with a group is alright when that group is discriminated against.

    Identity politics originated with the fact that members of certain groups really were disadvantaged by their group membership, which forged them into a coalition with common interests: Jews really did have a reason to form the Anti-Defamation League.
     
    According to Pinker, if you're a discriminated-against group, idenity politics is OK. So, wait, he is acknowledging that identifying as a group is natural (I mean, it's usually because of genetic differences) and, at times, even a good thing. He goes on to say, however, that once identity politics moves beyond protecting the group against discrimination, it become a bad influence.

    But when (identity politics) spreads beyond the target of combatting discrimination and oppression, it is an enemy of reason and Enlightenment values, including, ironically, the pursuit of justice for oppressed groups.
     
    This seems to be Pinker's thesis: Identity politics is bad for scientific progress because it causes people to look through the lens of "what's best for the group" rather than objective reality. He also seems to be arguing that group identity slows the quest for push for equality (which he should know is not possible since individuals, groups and genders are not equal in capability though he's likely talking about equality in a moral and legal sense) and "harmony."

    Even the aspect of identity politics with a grain of justification—that a man cannot truly experience what it is like to be a woman, or a white person an African American—can subvert the cause of equality and harmony if it is taken too far, because it undermines one of the greatest epiphanies of the Enlightenment: that people are equipped with a capacity for sympathetic imagination, which allows them to appreciate the suffering of sentient beings unlike them.
     
    Pinker is all about the Enlightenment.

    Any hopes for human improvement are better served by encouraging a recognition of universal human interests than by pitting group against group in zero-sum competition.
     
    So is Pinker just a race realist libertarian - with all the silly utopian views that libertarians believe?

    I'll give Pinker credit in this passage where he says that denying race and gender differences just pushes moderate people toward extremists. Of course, he has to completely misrepresent the alt-right. Outside of a few weirdos, the alt-right not about discrimination based on race or gender but about 1) acknowledging that race and gender differences exist and 2) fighting for the right of whites to identify as a group just like any other race in our society.

    The second is that people who suddenly discover forbidden facts outside the crucible of reasoned debate (which is what universities should be) can take them to dangerous conclusions, such as that differences between the sexes imply that we should discriminate against women (this kind of fallacy has fueled the alt-right movement).
     
    However, here's where Pinker shows that his libertarian views preclude him even from Steve's nice-guy Civic Nationalism.

    If you are a morally serious person—whether a humanist or a Judeo-Christian, who believes that all human lives have equal value—then policies that lift billions of people out of crushing poverty at the expense of millions of Americans who are laid off from factory jobs are a moral no-brainer.
     
    Hope I don't have this guy in the foxhole with me. Btw, the Japanese didn't find this choice a no-brainer. Are they stupid, immoral people?

    Anyway, Pinker seems to say that, yes, there are biological race and gender differences, but that if we just treat everyone as an individual, it'll all work out just fine. This seems terribly naive. As Steve has noted, races and ethnicities are really just extended families. Pinker is asking all of us to treat our family no different than strangers, to feel as at home with genetically different groups as our own. Not only does that seem unlikely, it seems cold and sad.

    But I could wrong on all of this, and I'd be more than happy for someone to explain how I'm mistaken about Pinker.

    Pinker knows he is talking rubbish: Humanists have no rational reason for believing that all human lives are of equal value, and there is no such thing as a “Judeo-Christian”.
    First we were supposed to swallow the false notion that there is such a thing as “Judeo-Christian ethics” or a “Judeo-Christian tradition” when in fact the two religions are deeply opposed to one another.
    And now we are to accept that this questionable adjective has become a noun? There is not one “Judeo-Christian” to be found on God’s sweet earth.
    Jews, Orthodox ones, do not believe in the equal worth of all human beings, but in the God-given specialness of the Chosen People. Some of them are not averse to referring to the rest of us as not truly human at all.
    And Christians? As the crusader against the Albigensians put it: “Kill them all – God will recognise his own.”

    • Agree: Harry Baldwin
    • Replies: @Highlander

    in fact the two religions are deeply opposed to one another.
     
    I find old-school Calvinist preachers on TV and elsewhere inordinately fond of Old Testament prohibitions and prescriptions.
  110. @Harry Baldwin
    The Matrix is a pretty sick movie, not surprising when you consider who came up with it. The security guards and police officers Neo and his band kills are not bad guys, but decent people doing their jobs. They are slaughtered casually--after all, they're "living their lives in the Matrix"-- but for themselves and their families it is just as real and terrible as it is when anyone is killed in a mass shooting IRL.

    When I came out of the movie theater, I felt an odd disconnection from reality that took a few minutes to shake off. I imagine if I were mentally ill, that sense of disconnection might have stayed with me.

    The Matrix is a pretty sick movie, not surprising when you consider who came up with it.

    Indeed – a sick, evil, nihlistic movie, ultimately. So was V for Vendetta, from what I heard of it (I did not see it, nor would I). I wouldn’t expect anything more from the degenerate Wachowski brothers things.

  111. @Old Palo Altan
    Pinker knows he is talking rubbish: Humanists have no rational reason for believing that all human lives are of equal value, and there is no such thing as a "Judeo-Christian".
    First we were supposed to swallow the false notion that there is such a thing as "Judeo-Christian ethics" or a "Judeo-Christian tradition" when in fact the two religions are deeply opposed to one another.
    And now we are to accept that this questionable adjective has become a noun? There is not one "Judeo-Christian" to be found on God's sweet earth.
    Jews, Orthodox ones, do not believe in the equal worth of all human beings, but in the God-given specialness of the Chosen People. Some of them are not averse to referring to the rest of us as not truly human at all.
    And Christians? As the crusader against the Albigensians put it: "Kill them all - God will recognise his own."

    in fact the two religions are deeply opposed to one another.

    I find old-school Calvinist preachers on TV and elsewhere inordinately fond of Old Testament prohibitions and prescriptions.

  112. @Rod1963
    It started with SSRI's being given to kids - Klebold and Harris for example and most school shooters were loaded on them. It didn't help their parents were total assh*les who let their kids go feral.

    BTW they are not meant for teenagers. Yet they are given to young boys to modulate their behavior into something that is easily manageable. The problem is in a small percentage it turns them into rage monsters.

    Prior to the advent of SSRI's there wasn't a problem. Instead male teenagers simply emotionally checked out of school and just went through the motions. Most teachers accepted this and gave the boys some space - IOW they didn't bug them.

    Today they drug the shit out of them. If they are bored they get drugged, if they smart and know the teacher is a low IQ putz(which most are) and mouths off, he gets drugged. If they are antsy they get drugged.

    Public schools are no longer fit for white boys IMO. All the schools want are docile followers, any intellectual or behavioral deviancy is punished early and often. God help the little white boy who plays cops and robber on school grounds or draws a gun or tank. He gets a trip to the principal's office and interrogated by cops and the parents will be lucky if CPS doesn't take junior away.

    Were there any school shooters who were not taking some kind of legally-prescribed mind/mood-altering drug? Obviously that by itself doesn’t account for it, but the drugs might act on those who are borderline dangerous and send them over the edge. I think the advent of the adolescent kamikaze killer is a result of a confluence of things: the drugs, being raised by single women, violent and nihlistic movies and FPS video-games, the devaluation of men in society, and the 24/7 coverage of such events.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    There's a small number who were not but the rate you end up with is still decisive; it also has to be remembered that psych meds do long-lasting or permanent damage, so stopping before the attack doesn't mean that the drugs are eliminated as a factor.
  113. @a reader
    In the department of News-That-Make-You-Cringe, you can try this one too:

    ‘Thank you, Mama Merkel’: Syrian refugee lives with 2 wives, 6 kids on benefits in Germany.

    Mutter Merkel und ihre Kinder

  114. @cthulhu


    The strange thing about Pinker’s optimism is that it seems to rest on Hobbes’ insight: that without a strong, centralized state, human communities will collapse into endless warfare, mayhem and self destruction.

     

    That's a big part of it, yes.


    What is strange is that the power of the modern state seems to rest on a monopoly of force, combined with power to influence the public through educational systems and mass propaganda. Not so sure we are talking about “enlightenment values” so much as a system of “values” which would be immediately apparent from the career of a figure like Goebbels.

     

    Monopoly of force, yes; the rest, no.

    Pinker's take on Hobbes is explained quite well in the "Violence" chapter of The Blank Slate. Hobbes' insight was that men (it is almost entirely men who commit violence on one another) will act on the more-or-less universal primate instincts for revenge related to anything that is perceived as a potential slight on ones' honor (Hobbes calls this glory), and that the way to solve that is to take the power of retribution out of individual hands and give it to the state - "a common Power to keep them all in awe."

    Take hunter-gatherer societies - Rousseau's "noble savages". We know that those societies are riven with extremely high levels of violence - raiding one another for limited survival resources, including women, which then leads to revenge (honor) raids, and the cycle perpetuates itself. This is Hobbes' state of nature, where the lives are "nasty, brutish, and short."

    The way out of Hobbes' state of nature is the Western civilization social contract we collectively make - we give up the right of committing violence on one another except in very limited circumstances such as self-defense, and hand that right off to the state - aka Leviathan. This is why the prosecutor in a criminal trial represents the People - it is our collective right to punish those who transgress against members of society, but no longer our individual right.

    Now, when we do this, part of the contract is that Leviathan will be fair and impartial, and when that doesn't happen people will revert to a pre-Leviathan culture of honor, with all the shockingly high violence levels that implies. Take a look at the police reports in an inner city ghetto during a weekend and you'll find lots of "he disrespected me and so I shot him." Folks with not-so-great IQs and maybe kind of high on clannishness who feel they don't get no respect and that the goddamn cops are a big part of the problem...yeah, they gonna fight.

    But Leviathan is a huge part of the true Enlightenment values that Pinker espouses, and practical Enlightenment political thinkers such as the American Founding Fathers had read their Hobbes well. Mass propaganda and the rest of the totalitarian crap a la Goebbels, Mao, Lenin and Stalin, etc., is antithetical to the Enlightenment, where "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

    I'm just a small amount into the new book, and I doubt that I will like it as much as The Blank Slate, which I consider to be one of the most important- if not the most important - nonfiction books of this century, but I'm liking it so far. I still don't fathom how Pinker has escaped the liberal auto-de-fe, but I thank the FSM that he has.

    Mass propaganda and the rest of the totalitarian crap a la Goebbels, Mao, Lenin and Stalin, etc., is antithetical to the Enlightenment, where “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    Mass propaganda is just an extension of education; the state and its experts know best and so tell people what and how to think since humans must be taught this. The same goes with the rest of the ‘totalitarian crap’- there is only one reason, so there is only one plan that accords most with reason.

    As for that flowery language, the American Revolution involved seizing the property of loyalists, blocking detachments, committees of public safety- to take the rhetoric on face value is like accepting the USSR’s at face value.

  115. @Nico
    I can’t speak for Steve, but I have lived in several different countries and do not speak my mother tongue on a daily basis and I can say definitively that the idea of travel as a great worldly door-opener is rather mistaken. Travel certainly can be mind-expanding but since it’s pretty well impossible to go into it without a lot of preconceived notions you have to have up front a rough conscious idea of what you are looking for in order to find anything of value.

    When I was growing up international travel was sold as a panacea to counter intellectual and social backwardness, the end-all-get-all of sophistication and worldliness. Most of the dreadlock-wearing weed smokers speaking English in hostels at the four corners of the globe still think it is, though I doubt the masses of Chinese and American tourists who seem to think Europe a great big Disneyland park imagine they are there for anything but bragging rights.

    The reality is that if you’re not living among locals for at least 20 or so days, you can hardly expect to come away with any sort of profound first-personal feel of how a society actually operates. Frankly I don’t do much traveling anymore: gawking at exoticisms in a zoo might have been amusing when I was a kid, but with books and Google Images all over the place the money (not to mention the time) is usually better spent elsewhere.

    I don’t think immersion is even desirable for most people. Being thrust into an entirely different culture can be harmful to one’s mental health past a certain age. I lived in France for a year as a child and I loved it, came away with nothing but good memories and good impressions. But after living in China for a couple years as a young adult, the experience left me jaded and a bit aimless for a while. Don’t get me wrong – I learned a great deal and greatly appreciate that – but it was painful at times.

    My wife is European, and despite having lived in the states previously as a teen and speaking excellent English, it was still pretty hard for her to get used to adult American life.

    I feel that I could live happily in North America, Western Europe (especially France), and maybe Central Europe and Scandinavia, but wherever there’s an Orthodox majority probably not. East Asia, Africa, Central Asia and the subcontinent, no way. South America I don’t know enough to say.

    Culture matters a lot. Usually, it’s best to stick with the one you were raised in.

    • Agree: Nico
    • Replies: @Nico
    I actually did my final move as a young adult, albeit not to a country as alien from my native land as China is from the U.S.. I will confirm that the immersion experience was nevertheless quite a jolt and I had serious problems for some time. Of course there are differing degrees of immersion, and actually, when I first came I thought I’d be out within a year and would frequent mostly expat clubs and the like... it actually didn’t work out that way for a number of reasons and my first and only real friends were and are locals.
  116. Given that I like Pinker and I like the British philosopher (and progress-doubter) John Gray, I’d been wondering about what Gray would make of Pinker’s new book. Here it is.

    https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2018/02/unenlightened-thinking-steven-pinker-s-embarrassing-new-book-feeble-sermon

    Here’s Gray on Pinker’s previous book:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/13/john-gray-steven-pinker-wrong-violence-war-declining

    Both pieces are worth a wrestle, IMHO.

  117. Seamus, that’s quite a read.

    According to a racist, they can’t be racists because of their proximity to people “of color.” Like Bethany Sherman — who pointed to her associations with diverse peoples as proof she could hold hands with Nazism and still maintain an equitable magnanimity to others, especially those who patronized her business — my ex-husband unflappably maintained that he was neither a racist nor an anti-Semite. He was just a “white identitarian” who wanted rights for other whites like him.

    In his ideal world, there were white communities for white kids and all-black boroughs for blacks. Jews would have a Jewish community where they could raise families, far away from everyone else, ad nauseam. He wasn’t a racist, he told me, he was a “cultural preservationist.” He wanted the colors of the rainbow to remain unique and distinct, and to make sure they didn’t bleed together.

    Yeah, he definitely sounds like he wants to stuff 6 million Jews into an oven.

    After the divorce I found myself in the rabbi’s office, stunned with shame at my own self-betrayal — the betrayal of my people, my identity, strength, logic and moral compass.

    Her people? HER PEOPLE??? NAZI!!!

    The rabbi was quick to point out that my experience paralleled generations of conditioned self-loathing that Jewry had appropriated from their host countries in order to survive.

    Does anyone ever ask the rabbi to elaborate on Jewish “self-loathing”? Cuz I’d really love to hear that story. I like stories about unicorns, too, btw.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Jewish self-loathing is why Woody Allen has only been able to complete a handful of movies in his career due to his cripplingly low self-esteem, while white privilege is why Whit Stillman and Terrence Malik have each released a star-studded movie every year for the last 40 years.
  118. @MEH 0910

    I am under the impression that you and the other Steve go back a long, long way.
     
    In looking up that connection I stumbled across the blog of a woman who is very critical of both Steves.

    http://mcclernan.blogspot.com/2018/01/steven-pinker-and-steve-sailer.html

    I have yet to find any evidence that Steven Pinker has ever repudiated any claims Steve Sailer has made about race. He prefers rather to pay him to write, and as recently as 2011, quote him for a blurb for one of his books ("Better Angels.")

    Like Razib Khan, Sailer owes his career to wealthy racist patrons. But both of these racist hacks would be lifted above the far-right fringe thanks to their association with Steven Pinker.

    In Sailer's case, Pinker edited a book called The Best American Science and Nature Writing of 2004 and included work by Sailer.

    So in summation: just four years after Steve Sailer, whose academic credentials are limited to an MBA from UCLA in finance and marketing, was opining for VDARE that while blacks were intellectually inferior to all other "races" at least they were good at jazz and basketball, Steven Pinker included Sailer's work in "The Best American Science and Nature Writing."

    I emailed Pinker's co-editer Tim Folger about the inclusion of Sailer in the publication. If he responds I will post on this blog.

    But there is still the question of what, exactly Steven Pinker thinks is "race." More soon.

    UPDATE: Tim Folger wrote back:

    Hi Nancy,

    Thanks for letting me know about this. In hindsight Sailer's story shouldn't have been included in the anthology, and we should have looked into his background more carefully. Until reading your email today, I knew nothing about Sailer's alt-right connections. Steven Pinker selected the story, and unfortunately I never discussed the article with him, an oversight that I regret.

    Tim

     
    I am waiting for my second-hand copy of "The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004" to arrive so I can find out exactly what Pinker hired Sailer to say.
     
    http://mcclernan.blogspot.com/2018/02/steve-sailer-in-best-american-science.html

    Ugh, I'm probably the only human being to read "The Cousin Marriage Conundrum" since 2005.

    Steven Pinker and Steve Sailer go back to at least 2002 when Sailer interviewed Pinker about The Blank Slate. although he mentioned Pinker even earlier on his iSteve blog and used the term "human biodiversity" too. I haven't found Pinker mentioning Sailer publicly after 2011 when he used Sailer for a positive blurb for "Better Angels."

    Sailer still talks about Pinker though, posting Pinker's PC video in a recent Unz column.
     

    Nancy McClernan is the name of the woman who writes the anti-HBD blog.

    http://www.mcclernan.com/about.asp

    http://www.mcclernan.com/plays.asp

    Interestingly, she also has problems with Social Justice Warriors:

    http://mcclernan.blogspot.com/search?q=social+justice+warrior

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    Nancy McClernan has actually put up a post on her blog about the couple of comments I made here about her blog. She gets the links right, but she mistakenly says that they took place at Razib Khan's blog instead of here:

    http://mcclernan.blogspot.com/2018/02/evo-psychos-sjws-brocialists-oh-my.html

    Somebody named MEH 0910 is talking about me at Razib Khan's GNXP site.

    He practically reposts my entire item Steven Pinker and Steve Sailer: remuneration not repudiation in the discussion under Khan's post indicating he hasn't read Steven Pinker's latest book.
     
    , @God Emperor Putin
    I love how liberals never allow comments. They just want to stand on a soapbox and scream. Letting the dissidents have a voice is probably evil and racist anyway.
  119. @AndrewR
    The quote she attributed to him would certainly be an ignorant thing to say. Whether he actually said that, or if she is just too stupid/dishonest to accurately restate what he said, is an open question.

    Obviously it is false to claim: “They have lower IQs because they’re African. It’s genetically been proven blacks aren’t as smart.”

    A much more accurate claim would be: "people of Negroid descent tend to have lower IQs than people of non-Negroid descent, although obviously there is a lot of interracial overlap in intelligence."

    My shekels are on this girl lying about (or at least being too stupid to understand) what her husband actually said, but it's certainly possible that hubby actually made such an ignorant claim.

    The two sentences have the same meaning, it’s just that the first one isn’t as clear and detailed as the second.

    • Disagree: AndrewR
    • Replies: @AndrewR
    Words mean things.
  120. @AndrewR
    I know The Atlantic is highly cancerous, but this is a really good, not-especially-cancerous article:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/what-being-a-handyman-has-taught-me-about-male-insecurity/274426/

    Basically, men today tend to be significantly less handy than our forefathers. I think any analysis of the "Flynn effect" needs to take this into account. Sure, great-great-granddaddy Ebenezer would have a hard time learning how to work a computer if he were brought here in a time machine from 1870, but how many of us could build a house, build a barn, run a farm, etc? Before we pat ourselves on the back for being brighter than our ancestors, we should put ourselves in their shoes (which they very well may have made at home).

    Adam Smith’s specialization theories apply particularly to advanced societies. Of course, I love to cook and build things but I also understand it’s more efficient to become better at my trade and use my surplus to employ others who are best at what their occupation.

  121. Like Bethany Sherman — who pointed to her associations with diverse peoples as proof she could hold hands with Nazism and still maintain an equitable magnanimity to others, especially those who patronized her business

    The logic seems apparent to leftist loonies, but this is bereft; obviously, if someone is maintaining both equitable magnanimity (do leftists really consider tolerance and fair-dealing “magnanimous,” or is it more like an enforced norm; the latter is my impression), and relationships with Nazis/goys Jews don’t like, then that is proof that leftist prejudices on the matter are wrong. In other words, I hate to break it to leftists, but I routinely encounter non-white people, and I don’t go around snarling at them. I am perfectly civil to them, though I never pander to them or observe other leftist racial pieties, obviously. It occurs to me that many of them would want to string me up if they learned all of my views, but I consider that their failing, not mine.

  122. there is no such thing as a “Judeo-Christian”.

    It’s only “Judeo-Christian” if it’s good. Otherwise, it’s just “Christian.”

    Reminiscent of “are Jews White?”

  123. @AndrewR
    I know The Atlantic is highly cancerous, but this is a really good, not-especially-cancerous article:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/what-being-a-handyman-has-taught-me-about-male-insecurity/274426/

    Basically, men today tend to be significantly less handy than our forefathers. I think any analysis of the "Flynn effect" needs to take this into account. Sure, great-great-granddaddy Ebenezer would have a hard time learning how to work a computer if he were brought here in a time machine from 1870, but how many of us could build a house, build a barn, run a farm, etc? Before we pat ourselves on the back for being brighter than our ancestors, we should put ourselves in their shoes (which they very well may have made at home).

    men today tend to be significantly less handy than our forefathers. …

    From 1944:

  124. @Steve Sailer
    Columbine totally dominated CNN coverage for a week or more

    I covered this stupid Columbine Wannabee shooting in Santee, CA in 2001 and complained that all of us journalists were just encouraging more of these shootings. At 11:00 PM there were seven TV reporters and camera crews lined up ten feet apart reporting live. I counted 31 TV trucks on the site.

    But then, to my surprise, Columbine-type shootings stopped for a couple of years. I suspect 9/11 proved a distraction, but who knows?

    Not enough. I can’t afford to travel much.

    Is that really true? I can understand your likely reluctance, but I am sure there are a lot of your international readers who would be more than happy to put you up, and accommodation is the greater part of international travel cost. And having local “guides” can make travel far more rewarding and insightful.

    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    Maybe it's the time he can't afford, not the money.
    , @Jim Don Bob
    Yeah, we can start a GoFundSteve to send Steve to the British Open. Who wants in?
  125. @Rod1963
    It started with SSRI's being given to kids - Klebold and Harris for example and most school shooters were loaded on them. It didn't help their parents were total assh*les who let their kids go feral.

    BTW they are not meant for teenagers. Yet they are given to young boys to modulate their behavior into something that is easily manageable. The problem is in a small percentage it turns them into rage monsters.

    Prior to the advent of SSRI's there wasn't a problem. Instead male teenagers simply emotionally checked out of school and just went through the motions. Most teachers accepted this and gave the boys some space - IOW they didn't bug them.

    Today they drug the shit out of them. If they are bored they get drugged, if they smart and know the teacher is a low IQ putz(which most are) and mouths off, he gets drugged. If they are antsy they get drugged.

    Public schools are no longer fit for white boys IMO. All the schools want are docile followers, any intellectual or behavioral deviancy is punished early and often. God help the little white boy who plays cops and robber on school grounds or draws a gun or tank. He gets a trip to the principal's office and interrogated by cops and the parents will be lucky if CPS doesn't take junior away.

  126. @Chrisnonymous
    I think you would be disappointed if you went to St. Andrews. I haven't been there, but I backpacked through some other lowland cities and the Highlands. The lowlands and, in general, the cities of Scotland were a historical and intellectual disappointment. Of course, maybe you have something specific you're looking for. (And all this is golf-excepted, of course.)

    I think you would be disappointed if you went to St. Andrews. I haven’t been there,

    My Dad liked it. Of course, he’s a golf fanatic, so St Andrews is holy ground to him…

  127. @Dan Hayes
    Steve,

    I am under the impression that you and the other Steve go back a long, long way. I am basing this on my long dim recollection that some time in the distant past he had given you public recognition and credit for some of your political prognostications. Whatever his other faults this at least proves that Pinker is a good judge of political horseflesh.

    BTW, although he presents plenty of counter evidence and counterarguments, especially in light of 20th Century carnage I can never accept his claim that humankind is becoming more peaceful.

    …I can never accept his claim that humankind is becoming more peaceful.

    The evidence is that we are selecting against reactive violence. Richard Wrangham says we are selecting for proactive violence (the calculating type).

    Whether that is “more peaceful” is probably a semantic argument. Personally, I think we will see Wrangham proved correct in this century.

    The data on the distribution of DRD4 receptors is instructive (2 repeat vs 3 repeat vs 4 repeat, etc.).

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
  128. @Steve Sailer
    The first modern K-12 school shooting I can recall is the I Don't Like Mondays one in suburban San Diego in the late 1970s.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yteMugRAc0

    The one I covered as a reporter in 2001 in suburban San Diego was only a few miles from the first.

    Maybe if the 1979 one hadn't been instantly turned into a hit song, the meme wouldn't have caught on?

    I find it surprising that Brenda Spencer is still in jail 38 years later.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_Elementary_School_shooting_(San_Diego)

  129. @cthulhu


    The strange thing about Pinker’s optimism is that it seems to rest on Hobbes’ insight: that without a strong, centralized state, human communities will collapse into endless warfare, mayhem and self destruction.

     

    That's a big part of it, yes.


    What is strange is that the power of the modern state seems to rest on a monopoly of force, combined with power to influence the public through educational systems and mass propaganda. Not so sure we are talking about “enlightenment values” so much as a system of “values” which would be immediately apparent from the career of a figure like Goebbels.

     

    Monopoly of force, yes; the rest, no.

    Pinker's take on Hobbes is explained quite well in the "Violence" chapter of The Blank Slate. Hobbes' insight was that men (it is almost entirely men who commit violence on one another) will act on the more-or-less universal primate instincts for revenge related to anything that is perceived as a potential slight on ones' honor (Hobbes calls this glory), and that the way to solve that is to take the power of retribution out of individual hands and give it to the state - "a common Power to keep them all in awe."

    Take hunter-gatherer societies - Rousseau's "noble savages". We know that those societies are riven with extremely high levels of violence - raiding one another for limited survival resources, including women, which then leads to revenge (honor) raids, and the cycle perpetuates itself. This is Hobbes' state of nature, where the lives are "nasty, brutish, and short."

    The way out of Hobbes' state of nature is the Western civilization social contract we collectively make - we give up the right of committing violence on one another except in very limited circumstances such as self-defense, and hand that right off to the state - aka Leviathan. This is why the prosecutor in a criminal trial represents the People - it is our collective right to punish those who transgress against members of society, but no longer our individual right.

    Now, when we do this, part of the contract is that Leviathan will be fair and impartial, and when that doesn't happen people will revert to a pre-Leviathan culture of honor, with all the shockingly high violence levels that implies. Take a look at the police reports in an inner city ghetto during a weekend and you'll find lots of "he disrespected me and so I shot him." Folks with not-so-great IQs and maybe kind of high on clannishness who feel they don't get no respect and that the goddamn cops are a big part of the problem...yeah, they gonna fight.

    But Leviathan is a huge part of the true Enlightenment values that Pinker espouses, and practical Enlightenment political thinkers such as the American Founding Fathers had read their Hobbes well. Mass propaganda and the rest of the totalitarian crap a la Goebbels, Mao, Lenin and Stalin, etc., is antithetical to the Enlightenment, where "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

    I'm just a small amount into the new book, and I doubt that I will like it as much as The Blank Slate, which I consider to be one of the most important- if not the most important - nonfiction books of this century, but I'm liking it so far. I still don't fathom how Pinker has escaped the liberal auto-de-fe, but I thank the FSM that he has.

    cthulhu writes:

    Mass propaganda and the rest of the totalitarian crap a la Goebbels, Mao, Lenin and Stalin, etc., is antithetical to the Enlightenment, where “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    With all due respect cthulhu, I find the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence to be mass propaganda of the highest order, and bad anthropology as well. Rights are created by the state, and the amount of rights accorded “citizens” is based on a cost/benefit analysis of the need for economic freedom to ensure sufficient prosperity SO the sovereign can tax them heavily and pay off political supporters (which is narrow in authoritarian regimes and wide in ‘democracy’)–call it “citizen farming”–versus the danger of civil insurrection. If you have a nice source of petro, you can bribe all your political supporters with petro money, and “the people” can exist little better than slaves. They may not make any money,
    but they won’t revolt. [See Nigeria.]

  130. @AndrewR
    I know The Atlantic is highly cancerous, but this is a really good, not-especially-cancerous article:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/what-being-a-handyman-has-taught-me-about-male-insecurity/274426/

    Basically, men today tend to be significantly less handy than our forefathers. I think any analysis of the "Flynn effect" needs to take this into account. Sure, great-great-granddaddy Ebenezer would have a hard time learning how to work a computer if he were brought here in a time machine from 1870, but how many of us could build a house, build a barn, run a farm, etc? Before we pat ourselves on the back for being brighter than our ancestors, we should put ourselves in their shoes (which they very well may have made at home).

    The first time I saw a AAA road service guy changing a tire for two 20-something weenies I knew we had jumped the shark as a nation.

  131. @El Dato
    What a long jewish complaint.

    After all, my ex reasoned, he was an older brother to a set of adopted orphans from West Africa, so how could he possibly be racist? “They have lower IQs because they’re African,” he clinically explained to me one evening after I tucked his siblings into bed. “It’s genetically been proven blacks aren’t as smart.”

    It was precisely that idea in and of itself that made him a racist.
     
    "Ideas that I don't share. They make you something."

    Meanwhile in the UK: Gay rights group Stonewall pulls out of London Pride because it isn’t diverse enough (this will go down in London on July 7)

    Gay rights group Stonewall has pulled out of London’s biggest LGBTQ event over claims there is not “enough diversity” at the march. The group says it will march instead with UK Black Pride

    I don't even know how to approach this mentally.

    I don’t even know how to approach this mentally.

    Popcorn and beer.

    There’s no other way.

  132. @for-the-record
    Not enough. I can’t afford to travel much.

    Is that really true? I can understand your likely reluctance, but I am sure there are a lot of your international readers who would be more than happy to put you up, and accommodation is the greater part of international travel cost. And having local "guides" can make travel far more rewarding and insightful.

    Maybe it’s the time he can’t afford, not the money.

  133. @Svigor
    Seamus, that's quite a read.

    According to a racist, they can’t be racists because of their proximity to people “of color.” Like Bethany Sherman — who pointed to her associations with diverse peoples as proof she could hold hands with Nazism and still maintain an equitable magnanimity to others, especially those who patronized her business — my ex-husband unflappably maintained that he was neither a racist nor an anti-Semite. He was just a “white identitarian” who wanted rights for other whites like him.

    In his ideal world, there were white communities for white kids and all-black boroughs for blacks. Jews would have a Jewish community where they could raise families, far away from everyone else, ad nauseam. He wasn’t a racist, he told me, he was a “cultural preservationist.” He wanted the colors of the rainbow to remain unique and distinct, and to make sure they didn’t bleed together.
     
    Yeah, he definitely sounds like he wants to stuff 6 million Jews into an oven.

    After the divorce I found myself in the rabbi’s office, stunned with shame at my own self-betrayal — the betrayal of my people, my identity, strength, logic and moral compass.
     
    Her people? HER PEOPLE??? NAZI!!!

    The rabbi was quick to point out that my experience paralleled generations of conditioned self-loathing that Jewry had appropriated from their host countries in order to survive.
     
    Does anyone ever ask the rabbi to elaborate on Jewish "self-loathing"? Cuz I'd really love to hear that story. I like stories about unicorns, too, btw.

    Jewish self-loathing is why Woody Allen has only been able to complete a handful of movies in his career due to his cripplingly low self-esteem, while white privilege is why Whit Stillman and Terrence Malik have each released a star-studded movie every year for the last 40 years.

  134. @for-the-record
    Not enough. I can’t afford to travel much.

    Is that really true? I can understand your likely reluctance, but I am sure there are a lot of your international readers who would be more than happy to put you up, and accommodation is the greater part of international travel cost. And having local "guides" can make travel far more rewarding and insightful.

    Yeah, we can start a GoFundSteve to send Steve to the British Open. Who wants in?

  135. @Nico

    I suspect the “Enlightenment” should not be connected with “values” but rather with the politicalization of “reason”, producing a contest between power and truth, wherein power appears to have the upper hand.

     

    That’s *exactly* what the Enlightenment was: the political and social manifestations of Cartesian logic. Every single subversive strain that has followed up - liberalism, socialism, Marxism, feminism, intersectionality - has its origins in this first seed. Of course, most people aren’t capable of stringent logical reasoning with anything resembling consistency, so this political Cartesianism is able to withstand the inconsistencies of its adherents (and even of its core philosophy, which is actually fairly easy to refute if you distill it down to Descartes’s cogito) by appeal to mob emotions and a discourse that “sounds” pragmatic to most people.

    After Christianity had wiped out Paganism across the Roman Empire there were intermittent attempts to revive it over the next 1200 years, sometimes for true belief (Julian the Apostate), sometimes for romantic sentiment (Renaissance fetishists of the classics), sometimes for want of a gayer and less disciplined life (the courtly Troubadours). However none of them made significant long-term headway because Christianity had absorbed the old Greco-Roman system of thought into a sweeping universalist cosmology which the old tribal energies could not not match.

    The cogito was the first proposition, after the Christianization of Ancient Rome, for the cornerstone on which could seemingly be built a comprehensive explanation for the universe without reference to the Christian God. It was produced at roughly the same moment as the division of Western Christendom into separate Protestant and Catholic spheres, a painful and violent split which left so much bad blood in the name of confessionslism that some people might be tempted to consider an alternative. The fact that as much or more blood has been spilt in the centuries following the Wars of Religion in the name of various Cartesian inspirations is rarely mentioned for comparison, because most Cartesians are not aware that they *are* Cartesians and thus your modern secular humanist SJW can claim with a straight face that his positions are mere “common sense” and “pragmatism” and decline to answer for the Committee of Public Safety, the Holodomor, the Gulags, the Khmer Rouge, the Great Leap Forward, the prevaricator state, Antifa, etc. while demanding, for example, that whites answer for Hitler and Catholics answer for the Inquisition.

    Nico:

    That’s my problem with most of the modern, and especially, Anglo-American philosophy, its all crypto-Cartesian.

    The American pragmatists were trying to move in the right direction, but they fell out of fashion and R. Rorty po-mo’d the whole thing into the toilet.

    There is some scattered light in some of the German Idealists, but only as far as it strayed from Cartesianism.

    Cartesianism was always malarkey, I don’t know why anyone takes it seriously, and I don’t get why people don’t recognize and can’t exorcise the Cartesian ghost.

    Man is a rational animal. Some people are psychotic, and we can say irrational. But claiming rational animals that believe in different things from me are “irrational” can only be a political act. [And we all know logic stems from premises, so logic and “reason” cannot yield the basic premises.]

  136. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    A few days back, I read this interview with Pinker at the Weekly Standard. I can't quite figure him out. Then again, I've never read his books.

    Pinker recognizes biological differences but then rails against identity politics. However, he reverses himself by saying the identifying with a group is alright when that group is discriminated against.

    Identity politics originated with the fact that members of certain groups really were disadvantaged by their group membership, which forged them into a coalition with common interests: Jews really did have a reason to form the Anti-Defamation League.
     
    According to Pinker, if you're a discriminated-against group, idenity politics is OK. So, wait, he is acknowledging that identifying as a group is natural (I mean, it's usually because of genetic differences) and, at times, even a good thing. He goes on to say, however, that once identity politics moves beyond protecting the group against discrimination, it become a bad influence.

    But when (identity politics) spreads beyond the target of combatting discrimination and oppression, it is an enemy of reason and Enlightenment values, including, ironically, the pursuit of justice for oppressed groups.
     
    This seems to be Pinker's thesis: Identity politics is bad for scientific progress because it causes people to look through the lens of "what's best for the group" rather than objective reality. He also seems to be arguing that group identity slows the quest for push for equality (which he should know is not possible since individuals, groups and genders are not equal in capability though he's likely talking about equality in a moral and legal sense) and "harmony."

    Even the aspect of identity politics with a grain of justification—that a man cannot truly experience what it is like to be a woman, or a white person an African American—can subvert the cause of equality and harmony if it is taken too far, because it undermines one of the greatest epiphanies of the Enlightenment: that people are equipped with a capacity for sympathetic imagination, which allows them to appreciate the suffering of sentient beings unlike them.
     
    Pinker is all about the Enlightenment.

    Any hopes for human improvement are better served by encouraging a recognition of universal human interests than by pitting group against group in zero-sum competition.
     
    So is Pinker just a race realist libertarian - with all the silly utopian views that libertarians believe?

    I'll give Pinker credit in this passage where he says that denying race and gender differences just pushes moderate people toward extremists. Of course, he has to completely misrepresent the alt-right. Outside of a few weirdos, the alt-right not about discrimination based on race or gender but about 1) acknowledging that race and gender differences exist and 2) fighting for the right of whites to identify as a group just like any other race in our society.

    The second is that people who suddenly discover forbidden facts outside the crucible of reasoned debate (which is what universities should be) can take them to dangerous conclusions, such as that differences between the sexes imply that we should discriminate against women (this kind of fallacy has fueled the alt-right movement).
     
    However, here's where Pinker shows that his libertarian views preclude him even from Steve's nice-guy Civic Nationalism.

    If you are a morally serious person—whether a humanist or a Judeo-Christian, who believes that all human lives have equal value—then policies that lift billions of people out of crushing poverty at the expense of millions of Americans who are laid off from factory jobs are a moral no-brainer.
     
    Hope I don't have this guy in the foxhole with me. Btw, the Japanese didn't find this choice a no-brainer. Are they stupid, immoral people?

    Anyway, Pinker seems to say that, yes, there are biological race and gender differences, but that if we just treat everyone as an individual, it'll all work out just fine. This seems terribly naive. As Steve has noted, races and ethnicities are really just extended families. Pinker is asking all of us to treat our family no different than strangers, to feel as at home with genetically different groups as our own. Not only does that seem unlikely, it seems cold and sad.

    But I could wrong on all of this, and I'd be more than happy for someone to explain how I'm mistaken about Pinker.

    I guess Pinker is in favor of anti-semitic identity organizations, Nazis, et alia, if you take his arguments seriously. Very principled, eh?

    But for the slickly wrong reason. I don’t think I like Pinker the Moral Pretzel.

  137. That’s a wonderful review you wrote!

    I read the book a few years ago. It was very good; but I agree with your criticism.

  138. @Anonymous
    The problem with all these ideas to reform and rationalize education is that they don't acknowledge race. If you really just gave every kid the amount of education he is capable of mastering, you'd end up with huge "disparate impact."

    Black students would be dropping out after elementary school or before high school, maybe 20 percent of whites would make it into college, 40 percent of Asians, and maybe 1 percent of blacks, assuming that "studies" majors were eliminated.

    The social consensus to pretend that blacks have the same cognitive ability as whites is behind every crazy aspect of education policy.

    I do agree it would be better to not waste everyone’s time and money and instead provide better content for higher degrees, including high school.

    We also take a cargo cult, or perhaps voodoo, standpoint regarding education. The longer the better, nearly regardless of content or what happens in the meantime. Kind of dumb.

    Unfortunately, by abolishing this you’d lose the nifty child warehousing effect that I believe is secretly appreciated by society.

  139. @TBA
    The two sentences have the same meaning, it's just that the first one isn't as clear and detailed as the second.

    Words mean things.

  140. @Highlander
    It is. All wars entail collateral "civilian" damage. If those security gunmen were in the way of the strategic mission to ultimately understand and take down the Matrix then so be it. War is never fair and is always murderous. And how do we know that the security guards had actual real people as their families and not some psychologically programmed simulacra or agents themselves? If human their main function was as batteries. I don't see anyone in the pods capable of actual reproduction with the opposite sex on the next row and column in the battery warehouses.

    Your second point is a good one and had not occurred to me.

  141. @Mr. Anon
    OT: The recently concluded Olympics in South Korea might be the worst ever in terms of TV ratings.

    http://deadline.com/2018/02/curling-gold-olympics-ratings-2018-low-pyeongchang-nbc-1202302121/

    I wonder, has there been a general decline in Winter Olympics viewership? And, if so, could this be due to a decline in the fraction of cryo-americans, people descended from the nations where these sports originated?

    Maybe it has to do with the politicized/weaponized dope-a-ding-dong circus and anti-rus hysteria as ordered by uncle shmuel. It’s a full turnoff.

  142. @Mr. Anon
    OT: The recently concluded Olympics in South Korea might be the worst ever in terms of TV ratings.

    http://deadline.com/2018/02/curling-gold-olympics-ratings-2018-low-pyeongchang-nbc-1202302121/

    I wonder, has there been a general decline in Winter Olympics viewership? And, if so, could this be due to a decline in the fraction of cryo-americans, people descended from the nations where these sports originated?

    I have seen bits and pieces of the Olympics whilst having my morning coffee at McDonalds. It seems to be short highlight clips sandwiched between long segments where two women interview a woman athlete about how she feels. There is more action in bowling.

  143. @Nico

    I agree that immersion is essential for true intercultural experiences, although I wouldn’t put a specific number of days down as a must-reach point. Ten days is better than five days. Twenty days is better than ten days. Forty days is better than twenty days. It’s not necessarily a linear relationship, of course.
     
    No, I agree, it’s not a linear relationship, and obviously longer is better. My choice of twenty days wasn’t arbitrary, though: it was based on my own experience and on anecdotes from others who have recounted similar experiences to me. For a cultural immersion, twenty days is about the time it takes to “get into” a new place, beginning to get a feel for the new cadre and the new habits. If it’s the first time you’re immersed in a language that you’ve learned post-puberty twenty days is also about the time it takes for that language to begin to “click” into place, i.e., you begin dreaming regularly in the language.

    I think everyone should try to spend at least a few months of their lives experiencing different cultures.
     
    I’m actually not sure it’s a worthwhile pursuit for the sub-intelligent, probably cutting off around 115 or so. Below that level the capacity for secondary acculturation is rather underwhelming (these are largely of the type I alluded to for whom Europe is little more than a theme park, though to be fair in America and increasingly elsewhere in the world [China comes to mind] there are also lots of biologically smart people who should know better than to act like white trash cretins, as they do). And from a purely ecological point it would probably be a good thing for everyone if they contented themselves with Disneyland (though I can’t resist the temptation to quip that an occasional acid trip would make even less of an environmental footprint and would probably release about the same amount of dopamines).

    Ignoring the white trash slur, Disneyland itself has likely LSD influenced rides. Splash Mountain, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, the Winnie the Pooh ride are the ones I remember.

  144. https://web.archive.org/web/20180224221019/http://www.whec.com/news/credible-school-threat-made-by-rochester-student/4801252/
    OT Illegal “Dreamer” arrested for credible school shooting threat in Art Deco’s bailiwick. Do not look at her mugshot without eye protection; they’re not sending their best.

  145. @PhysicistDave
    O'Really asked:

    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?
     
    We have made the schools a trap for millions of kids in a way that was not true until the last few decades.

    My great grandmother, whom I knew well, was born in the early 1880s and dropped out of school after fourth grade. She knew the 3Rs, although of course she was not strong in, say, modern science. On the whole, she lived a good life: no one despised her for not going beyond fourth grade.

    Her son, my grandfather, dropped out of high school in his senior year. He trained as a machinist, was in the Navy in WW II, and ended up in middle management. All without a high-school diploma.

    A co-worker of mine in my first job back in the early 1980s, who had fought in WW II and went to school to get a degree in engineering on the GI Bill after the war, told me that he was one of the few engineers with a college degree when he started work around 1950.

    But, in the last several decades, we have been pushing with increasing intensity for everyone to get a high-school diploma and, increasingly, for everyone to go to college. And, we have created systems of credentialism, cartelization of various occupations, etc., so that a large number of people who train for particular vocations will not in fact get jobs in those areas. (Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!)

    So, very large numbers of kids end up hating school along with the larger constrained socioeconomic system that school stands for.

    The miracle is that we only have dozens of school shootings rather than thousands!

    We are brutalizing our children and young adults. It is not surprising that some of those children turn out in the end to be very brutal indeed.

    This is an irreplaceably good post.

  146. @Mr. Anon
    Were there any school shooters who were not taking some kind of legally-prescribed mind/mood-altering drug? Obviously that by itself doesn't account for it, but the drugs might act on those who are borderline dangerous and send them over the edge. I think the advent of the adolescent kamikaze killer is a result of a confluence of things: the drugs, being raised by single women, violent and nihlistic movies and FPS video-games, the devaluation of men in society, and the 24/7 coverage of such events.

    There’s a small number who were not but the rate you end up with is still decisive; it also has to be remembered that psych meds do long-lasting or permanent damage, so stopping before the attack doesn’t mean that the drugs are eliminated as a factor.

  147. @Nico
    I can’t speak for Steve, but I have lived in several different countries and do not speak my mother tongue on a daily basis and I can say definitively that the idea of travel as a great worldly door-opener is rather mistaken. Travel certainly can be mind-expanding but since it’s pretty well impossible to go into it without a lot of preconceived notions you have to have up front a rough conscious idea of what you are looking for in order to find anything of value.

    When I was growing up international travel was sold as a panacea to counter intellectual and social backwardness, the end-all-get-all of sophistication and worldliness. Most of the dreadlock-wearing weed smokers speaking English in hostels at the four corners of the globe still think it is, though I doubt the masses of Chinese and American tourists who seem to think Europe a great big Disneyland park imagine they are there for anything but bragging rights.

    The reality is that if you’re not living among locals for at least 20 or so days, you can hardly expect to come away with any sort of profound first-personal feel of how a society actually operates. Frankly I don’t do much traveling anymore: gawking at exoticisms in a zoo might have been amusing when I was a kid, but with books and Google Images all over the place the money (not to mention the time) is usually better spent elsewhere.

    I agree completely and would even go further. I lived outside the US, in Europe, for a good two years before returning, learned the local language, read the local newspapers, befriended the local people, read up on the local history and culture, went to the local museums…

    Yes, I now know more about this particular European country than 99 percent of those people on the world who don’t live there… But I’m still an American, I’ll never truly “belong” there, and there are so many things that I will just never understand, being a foreigner. I don’t especially get the humor or any subtle nuances of the language.

    My living abroad now confirms my nationalistic views. True relationships are based on kinship, mother tongue, etc. Travel of any sort can be fun and enlightening in a way, but you can never erase your roots, no matter how much you might wish to do so.

    • Replies: @Nico
    After over ten years I’ve been more or less socially “accepted” in my new country though I have resigned myself to the lifelong necessity of always having a certain “quirk” that won’t go away, and I’m still learning the humor, etc.. I probably always will be, but I try to tell myself it’s a way of prolonging the childhood pleasures of growth and discovery into adulthood. Of course that means certain growing pains as well.

    Still, I have a good life, and as for the pains I try to tell myself, “I’m doing this now so my children will never have to.” At the same time, I will admit that when people ask me, “How do you do it?” my answer is usually, “I don’t recommend you try and copy.”
  148. According to Pinker, if you’re a discriminated-against group, idenity politics is OK. So, wait, he is acknowledging that identifying as a group is natural (I mean, it’s usually because of genetic differences) and, at times, even a good thing. He goes on to say, however, that once identity politics moves beyond protecting the group against discrimination, it become a bad influence.

    And who determines if a group is discriminated against? Oh, that’s right…leftists. The people who murdered over a hundred million people in the 20th century, tens of millions of whom were white Christians. What could possibly go wrong?

    And who determines if things have “moved beyond protecting against discrimination?” Oh, right…leftists again. Yay.

    This seems to be Pinker’s thesis: Identity politics is bad for scientific progress because it causes people to look through the lens of “what’s best for the group” rather than objective reality.

    This is a false dichotomy. The choice is between everybody but White gentiles having identity politics, and everybody having identity politics.

    Hope I don’t have this guy in the foxhole with me. Btw, the Japanese didn’t find this choice a no-brainer. Are they stupid, immoral people?

    The Jews are morally brainless, too, apparently (Israel).

    Jewish self-loathing is why Woody Allen has only been able to complete a handful of movies in his career due to his cripplingly low self-esteem, while white privilege is why Whit Stillman and Terrence Malik have each released a star-studded movie every year for the last 40 years.

    As you famously (IMO) pointed out years ago, Jewish self-loathing isn’t; it’s Jews admonishing Jews for not being self-loving enough, which is quite a different thing.

    With all due respect cthulhu, I find the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence to be mass propaganda of the highest order, and bad anthropology as well. Rights are created by the state, and the amount of rights accorded “citizens” is based on a cost/benefit analysis of the need for economic freedom to ensure sufficient prosperity SO the sovereign can tax them heavily and pay off political supporters (which is narrow in authoritarian regimes and wide in ‘democracy’)–call it “citizen farming”–versus the danger of civil insurrection. If you have a nice source of petro, you can bribe all your political supporters with petro money, and “the people” can exist little better than slaves. They may not make any money,
    but they won’t revolt. [See Nigeria.]

    At worst the “God-given” bit is good propaganda. People are more likely to fight for things they think God has given them.

    Rights aren’t created by the State; the State concedes them to keep head attached to neck. They also don’t have anything in particular to do with citizenship, per se.

    You’re right about gov’ts all looking to optimize their human-farming operations, though.

  149. @Jason Liu
    Notice how much the SJWs hate Pinker now? For the last decade he was still kinda respected for his 'differing opinions' and some of the more decent leftists did agree with him on the blank slate criticism.

    Now he's a Nazi-enabler or something.

    Which is odd when you consider the fact that Pinker explicitly repudiates so called White identity politics, but then again deductive reasoning has never really been a strong suit of the radical left.

  150. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @AndrewR
    When did Pinker dismiss CoC?

    In a letter to slate, Pinker explained why he hadn’t read Culture of Critique, and didn’t think that it met the threshold of attention-worthiness:

    1. By stating that Jews promulgate scientific hypotheses because they are Jewish, he is engaging in ad hominem argumentation that is outside the bounds of normal scientific discourse and an obvious waste of time to engage. MacDonald has already announced that I will reject his ideas because I am Jewish, so what’s the point of replying to them?

    2. MacDonald’s main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups – are opposed by powerful bodies of data and theory, which Tooby, Cosmides, and many other evolutionary psychologists have written about in detail. Of course any assumption can be questioned, but there are no signs that MacDonald has taken on the burden of proof of showing that the majority view is wrong.

    3. MacDonald’s various theses, even if worthy of scientific debate individually, collectively add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of Jews, couched in value-laden, disparaging language. It is impossible to avoid the impression that this is not an ordinary scientific hypothesis.

    4. The argument, as presented in the summaries, fails two basic tests of scientific credibility: a control group (in this case, other minority ethnic groups), and a comparison with alternative hypotheses (such as Thomas Sowell’s convincing analysis of “middlemen minorities” such as the Jews, presented in his magisterial study of migration, race, conquest, and culture).[8]

    Reading this today, post red-pill, is almost comic.

    Yes Steven, Jews promote (or dismiss) scientific theories because they think it will be good for the Jews. That is what they do. It’s obvious to everyone who’s reasonably smart, pays attention and is capable of being honest with themselves. This isn’t an astonishing concept. White Christian men get accused of it all the time: libeled, as Samuel Morton was by Gould. What’s astonishing is how self-deceptive Jews are that they can’t admit it.

    Jews: “How dare you accuse us of being guilty of the accusation for which we libeled you, and which we are ourselves, in fact, guilty. That’s . . . ad hominem! I will consider nothing else you say.”

    Point by point:
    1. It is a well established fact that Freud, Boas, and the Frankfurt School theorists were Jews who “promulgated scientific hypotheses” on behalf of Jewish interests. Freud is quoted saying as such: He envisioned himself as Hannibal against the Roman Empire, a Semite against White Western Civilization. The authors of the Authoritarian personality pathologized the nuclear family because it was ‘authoritarian.’ (Meaning: Nazi. Inconveniently, they found that the most ‘authoritarian’ families were Orthodox Jews. Oops.)

    Was Gould engaging in “ad hominem argumentation that is outside the bounds of normal scientific discourse” when he accused Morton of falsifying his skull measurements because he was a White racist? Does that mean The Mismeasure of Man should be dismissed completely? What about Gould’s entire body of work?

    Is explaining a motive based on the identity of the perpetrator really an ad hominem? What if you have a quotation by the perpetrator where he explains his motive? Is it still an ad hominem?

    [Did MacDonald announce that Pinker would reject his ideas because Pinker is Jewish, or is Pinker inferring that from Kevin’s thesis?]

    2. Group selection is a theory. There are arguments for and against.

    3. Throughout the West, White Christian students find that their Jewish professors’ lectures “add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of” White Gentiles, and are “couched in value-laden, disparaging language.” Maybe they should dismiss everything their Jewish professors say? [They should. (in the social sciences) They should regurgitate it on a test, and then mentally mark it as “toxic Jewish propaganda,” and take the opposite message from whatever their Jewish professor intended. Good rule of thumb.]

    4. So, he wants Kevin to discuss alternative theories and compare Jews to other minorities. [Kevin doesn’t? How does Pinker know? He didn’t read it.] This is not an unreasonable ask, but isn’t it sorta like saying: “I dismiss Darwin’s theories out of hand because there weren’t enough chapters on Creationism”? “Origin of Species needs more discussion of Intelligent Design before I’ll read it. It’s just not scientific unless it exhaustively expounds and debunks all other hypotheses.” Yeah, whatever.

    • Agree: AndrewR
    • Replies: @AndrewR
    Gut gesagt. I would email this comment to Pinker if I thought it were likely he would respond to it.
    , @PhysicistDave
    anon wrote:

    Group selection is a theory. There are arguments for and against.
     
    The theory can be and has been formulated mathematically. And, the result is that it is very, very difficult to get group selection to work unless you have unusual genetics such as exist among bees or, of course, "kin altruism" among closely related relatives.

    Since Williams' Adaptation and Natural Selection back in the '60s, population biologists have rightly been very skeptical of claims of group selection except for the sort of special cases I just mentioned.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    Especially when they violate mathematics!
    , @PhysicistDave
    anon quoted Pinker as saying:

    MacDonald’s main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups – are opposed by powerful bodies of data and theory, which Tooby, Cosmides, and many other evolutionary psychologists have written about in detail. Of course any assumption can be questioned, but there are no signs that MacDonald has taken on the burden of proof of showing that the majority view is wrong.
     
    Pinker is right.

    Although I am a physicist, I am married to a biologist and I know something about population biology: e.g., I have read George C. Williams' classic Adaptation and Natural Selection, which was the key text alerting biologists as to how problematic "group selection" really is.

    And, for that reason, I have never been able to make it all the way through Kevin MacDonald's books.

    "Group selection" has a very specific meaning in biology. It does not merely mean that some trait did in fact help a group survive and expand: it means that the trait in question spread because groups that had this trait out-competed groups that did not and therefore the trait became more widespread within the species in general.

    I do not think MacDonald even believes this about the traits he ascribes to the Jews: i.e., he does not believe that "Jewish" traits have spread throughout the human race because the Jews wiped out groups that lacked these traits.

    Indeed, from the viewpoint of population biology -- numbers is all that counts: you gotta spread your genes! -- Jews have not exactly taken over the human gene pool.

    MacDonald may have some interesting things to say about the history and culture of the Jews. But, when he purports to use terms and theories from population biology that he himself just does not understand, he guarantees that he will turn off possible readers such as Pinker or me.

    Vita brevis: we have to have some filter to decide what to read and what not to read, and when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile.
    , @ben tillman
    Yeah, he's rattled In paragraph 1, he wildly misuses the term "ad hominem". It would be "ad hominem" if MacDonald said something is false because the person saying it is Jewish. Determining that something is false and then ascribing a motivation for the falsehood is something entirely different.

    In paragraph 2, he displays total ignorance of "group selection" and (of course) MacDonald's work, which explicitly distances itself from that concept. Nonetheless, despite MacDonald's care to point that his theories do not depend on "group selection", group selection is a fact, and only people who haven't read D.S. Wilson or are too stupid to understand him doubt that. Hint: "individuals" are groups, so if "individual" selection exists, so does group selection.

    In paragraph 3, he rejects the notion of extraordinary scientific hypotheses. Science can never surprise us or teach us anything, apparently. And if he didn't read MacDonald, how does he know that his theories "add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of Jews, couched in value-laden, disparaging language"? And, of course, they don't.

    Paragraph 4 is idiotic. We don't have "control groups" when we study iguanas or spiders or bees. We just observe and explain phenomena.

  151. @Travis
    there were virtually no school shootings prior to the advent of prozac. starting in the late 90s we began drugging a significant number of students, over 20% of male students are on prescribed psychotropic meds today...

    Doesn’t Jordan B Peterson say give serotonin to a defeated lobster he will immediately get back up and fight again?

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    Remind me where the Harvard symbologist studied pharmacology.
  152. Pinker is always worth reading because he is smart, knows alot of facts and is not afraid to follow the scientific method wherever it may lead him to. Unfortunately he suffers from what Oakshotte (1949) characterised as the two chronic

    afflictions of liberalism, ignorance of who its true friends are, and the nervy conscience which extends a senile and indiscriminate welcome to everyone who claims to be on the side of ‘progress’

    Thus he is oblivious to the medieval Christian church’s immense contribution to Enlightenment values, such as knowledge (monasteries), freedom (rule of law) and peace (The Truce and Peace of God). Conversely he is equally blind to the Enlightenment’s susceptibility to rationalistic utopias that are supremely destructive of Enlightenment values, from the guillotines of the French Revolution through the Gulags of the Soviet Revolution onto the ludicrous deformation of liberalism manifest in postmodern cultural revolutions.

    Somehow a rapprochement must be made between what is sensible and worthy in the liberal and socialist traditions. This looks like a job for isteve conservatives.

  153. @Anatoly Karlin
    Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.

    Judging by the reviews he has once again written a book that is 3-4x thicker than needed.

    Assuming people are going to actually read it, rather than just buy it to put on your self to convince everybody else of your great intelligence and depth of knowledge.

    Then it is perfectly sized.

  154. @Mr. Anon
    OT: The recently concluded Olympics in South Korea might be the worst ever in terms of TV ratings.

    http://deadline.com/2018/02/curling-gold-olympics-ratings-2018-low-pyeongchang-nbc-1202302121/

    I wonder, has there been a general decline in Winter Olympics viewership? And, if so, could this be due to a decline in the fraction of cryo-americans, people descended from the nations where these sports originated?

    I wonder, has there been a general decline in Winter Olympics viewership? And, if so, could this be due to a decline in the fraction of cryo-americans, people descended from the nations where these sports originated?

    Probably; related is the shift in numbers from the old Industrial North to the Sun Belt, where Winter sports will probably never get a real foothold (regardless of what Gary Bettman wants). It wouldn’t surprise me if soccer has has succeed hockey as the US’ forth most popular sport (after football, baseball and basketball). (I’ll probably get flack for saying, but a warming change may also contribute, with shorter winter -> less practice time outdoors.)

    Note that hockey was popular enough in the States to have it own Goofy short and an episode of the Simpsons dedicated to it (both episodes highlight the violence of the sport) – could such a thing happen today?

  155. @MEH 0910
    Nancy McClernan is the name of the woman who writes the anti-HBD blog.

    http://www.mcclernan.com/about.asp

    http://www.mcclernan.com/plays.asp

    Interestingly, she also has problems with Social Justice Warriors:

    http://mcclernan.blogspot.com/search?q=social+justice+warrior

    Nancy McClernan has actually put up a post on her blog about the couple of comments I made here about her blog. She gets the links right, but she mistakenly says that they took place at Razib Khan’s blog instead of here:

    http://mcclernan.blogspot.com/2018/02/evo-psychos-sjws-brocialists-oh-my.html

    Somebody named MEH 0910 is talking about me at Razib Khan’s GNXP site.

    He practically reposts my entire item Steven Pinker and Steve Sailer: remuneration not repudiation in the discussion under Khan’s post indicating he hasn’t read Steven Pinker’s latest book.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    MEH 0910 wrote:

    Nancy McClernan has actually put up a post on her blog about the couple of comments I made here about her blog. She gets the links right, but she mistakenly says that they took place at Razib Khan’s blog instead of here:
     
    Ms. McLernan has a psychologically interesting (negative) fixation on Ayn Rand, which results in some (unintentionally) funny remarks. E.g.,

    One of the useful aspects of Ayn Rand is that she hid nothing of what she thought - thanks to her own inability to dissemble (which I suspect is the result of her undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome)...
     
    Note: McLernan is attacking Rand because of Rand's supposed inability to lie. Alas, anyone who is aware of the details of the famous Rand/Branden affair (as McLernan is) knows that Rand was capable of lying through her teeth. (I suppose McLernan would claim that Rand was not very good at it!)

    McLernan is similarly off-base in that she repeatedly equates libertarians with Randians: in fact, Rand openly and publicly despised libertarians, and some libertarians -- e.g., Murray Rothbard -- were none too kind towards Rand.

    McLernan's obsession with Rand has reached the point where McLernan actually wrote a play about Rand! Apparently the Rand character sort of escaped the author's clutches (rather like Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost):

    The biggest problem with DARK MARKET is that the Ayn Rand character is so vivid she steals the play - she is basically the bad guy...
     
    Personally, I find this all quite amusing, but I doubt McLernan would find my amusement amusing.

    Anyway, mixing up Razib and Sailer is the least of this lady's problems.

    Someone needs to tell her that Rand is dead.
  156. @Lot
    They were in poorer health and more violent for sure.

    No. During the height of the Medieval Warm Period during the 12 Century (when wine grapes were able to be grown in England) skeletal remains from churchyard cemeteries show that the average peasant farmer was quite healthy and well fed. And there was enough of a surplus of population and wealth for many of them to go off on Holy Crusades.

  157. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Corvinus
    "If he truly believes this, a have a nice bridge for sale real cheap. Alas, something tells me that he is not quite honest here."

    It's called the Flynn Effect, and it has been well-documented.

    It’s called the Flynn Effect, and it has been well-documented.

    “It” is not called Flynn Effect. Flynn Effect does not equal “smarter.” And in any case, its documented size is not 30 points. Pretending that the whites who fought in the US Civil war were on average as smart as Pigmies of Africa today is absurd.

  158. Compared to Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Pinker is a lightweight.
    Taleb demolished the statistical basis for Pinker’s claim that the
    world is becoming more peaceful.

  159. benjamini – I would go even farther. We are born into a world where our family knows, at most, a few hundred people. Some of us move around and go to college and take a few jobs, as a result of which we meet many people, out of whom maybe a couple dozen are added to the original few hundred. Out of those couple of dozen, from college or from the jobs we take right after college, after a decade or so, about one or two are still not going to be surprised at a phone call from us.

    Rich people are different, they find exhilaration in joining organizations that promote multiple friendships-at-arm’s length. This process – the abandonment of the few hundred people one is born to associate with for a different group of (more amusing?) people who pass a difficult selection process, is the theme of much of the comic literature discussed on websites like this – Waugh, Wodehouse, and the endless biographies of our striving upper class intellectuals from Park Slope and Martha’s Vineyard and from Silicon Valley. Too f**king sad, unless they do better than people like even Ronnie Reagan (whom I admire, at least after the age of 50 (him at 50, not me) at being good and lucky parents with children whom we can be proud of. (Reagan, of course, was at a disadvantage – it is hard to do well as a young man in one’s home town when one’s parents include someone who is very alcoholic. You can’t blame him for wasting so many years of his life in Hollywood when he could have stayed in Illinois).

    Hobos and carnies and male and female sex-addicts are different too but nobody really wants to be a hobo or a male or female sex-addict. (if you don’t know what that word means don’t blame me)

    Sometimes I remember the sad love-gone-wrong movies and the sad parts of the “rom-coms” that I somehow sat through in my youth and I – and take my word for it, this is a human reaction, I am not being over-intellectual at all – I think: well, there were only a few hundred people they were going to meet and be able to understand anyway. Maybe they should have aimed, more modestly, at being the kind of man or woman that marries, at the right time, someone from their neighborhood.

    I travelled some when I was young, and learned a few languages fairly well. I am sure there are a few people in far-off capital cities who still tell their grandchildren about the amusing foreigner who said things in their language that they thought no foreigner could amusingly say. Not a waste of time, but there was an opportunity cost. That being said, there are a few jobs where that sort of background is helpful, which is maybe why I can afford a good internet connection and why I have time to write long comments like this. But again, there is an opportunity cost.

    People were designed to be born into and grow up in a world where there are not more than a few hundred people who share their experiences and their point of view, and to prosper therein. Switching out that group of a few hundred for a different group of another few hundred is neither easy nor all that profitable for most people. This is why the future seems to belong to conservatives, no matter where one marks the beginning of the future.

    • Replies: @middle aged vet . . .
    in case one of the students in my comparative literature class is reading (just kidding) this (referencing back to my phrase that "this is why the future seems to belong to conservatives," towards the end of my 4:54 AM Greenwich time comment) is also why Austen and Tolstoy and Trollope and Proust and Joyce still sell millions of books a year while the equally talented Pushkin and Poe and Peguy and Bernanos and Undset and McDonald don't sell near that much - the first group are close to our heart because they did what we would have liked to do, if we were writers of that day: they devoted their lives to describing the group of a few hundred people they were born in the midst of: the second six, more inspired by far-off adventure and friendship at the edge of the universe and unexpected Christian sacrifice, wrote about the vast deserts where people who care about other people sometimes find themselves, far from the comfortable worlds and neighborhoods that all of us want those we love to be born into, (((but still, in a magnificently unpopular and desolate way, no further from God than comfortable Barsetshire (in the Victorian days) would be, if we could measure its distance from God, and even no further from God than the hipster utopias that so many stylish young people believe they live in, if we could measure the distance from God of those utopias, would be, if we could measure such distances....)))

    Again, if I were so unfortunate as to be a teacher who ran a seminar on comparative literature (not that such a fate would be bad for everybody, but it would be bad for me) , I might say: Don't feel sorry for any of the 11 writers I mentioned by name, out of 10 or so billion people who lived at the same time they did, they lived a long time ago and they all had family and friends who cared about them. They enjoyed living in the countries they lived in, they woke up every morning glad to be English, or Russian, or French, or Irish, or Scottish - trust me on that. The distinction I made was not important to them, they all had hard lives with rich rewards, and the distinction I am discussing is only important for other reasons. Good luck.
  160. @Peter Johnson
    Pinker has been among the most successful advocates against political-correctness-based censorship and public shaming of honest intellectuals, and in favor of evidence-based rational thinking about social policy. He is a natural member of the human biodiversity movement, but has always carefully stopped just short of acknowledging the reality of human biodiversity. His rational thinking and evidence-based conclusion grinds to a stop just as he reaches the HBD precipice. Not sure exactly why, and how he justifies this to himself; perhaps someday soon he will make the leap. I have only read The Blank State and Better Angels plus a few essays and on-line presentations; I DO want to read his latest. The best parts of his books, for me, are finding the exact lines of text in various chapters where obvious HBD conclusions get lost in the blank spaces between two lines of text.

    Pinker has been among the most successful advocates against political-correctness-based censorship and public shaming of honest intellectuals, and in favor of evidence-based rational thinking about social policy.

    Unless those intellectuals are really, REALLY honest and address the ultimate taboo, in which case “rational thinking” goes out the window.

    • Replies: @Peter Johnson
    Yes I agree that Pinker is crafty about where he stops defending honest people by name, and switches to a broad-based blanket-defence, simply arguing for allowing honest discussion of all viewpoints. So for example he was willing to defend Lawrence Summers by name, but only would defend Jason Richwine and James Watson in a general sense. So, yes, he does scamper away when the SJW lynch-parties get truly fierce. Is that smart or cowardly, or a little bit of both?
  161. @middle aged vet . . .
    benjamini - I would go even farther. We are born into a world where our family knows, at most, a few hundred people. Some of us move around and go to college and take a few jobs, as a result of which we meet many people, out of whom maybe a couple dozen are added to the original few hundred. Out of those couple of dozen, from college or from the jobs we take right after college, after a decade or so, about one or two are still not going to be surprised at a phone call from us.

    Rich people are different, they find exhilaration in joining organizations that promote multiple friendships-at-arm's length. This process - the abandonment of the few hundred people one is born to associate with for a different group of (more amusing?) people who pass a difficult selection process, is the theme of much of the comic literature discussed on websites like this - Waugh, Wodehouse, and the endless biographies of our striving upper class intellectuals from Park Slope and Martha's Vineyard and from Silicon Valley. Too f**king sad, unless they do better than people like even Ronnie Reagan (whom I admire, at least after the age of 50 (him at 50, not me) at being good and lucky parents with children whom we can be proud of. (Reagan, of course, was at a disadvantage - it is hard to do well as a young man in one's home town when one's parents include someone who is very alcoholic. You can't blame him for wasting so many years of his life in Hollywood when he could have stayed in Illinois).

    Hobos and carnies and male and female sex-addicts are different too but nobody really wants to be a hobo or a male or female sex-addict. (if you don't know what that word means don't blame me)

    Sometimes I remember the sad love-gone-wrong movies and the sad parts of the "rom-coms" that I somehow sat through in my youth and I - and take my word for it, this is a human reaction, I am not being over-intellectual at all - I think: well, there were only a few hundred people they were going to meet and be able to understand anyway. Maybe they should have aimed, more modestly, at being the kind of man or woman that marries, at the right time, someone from their neighborhood.

    I travelled some when I was young, and learned a few languages fairly well. I am sure there are a few people in far-off capital cities who still tell their grandchildren about the amusing foreigner who said things in their language that they thought no foreigner could amusingly say. Not a waste of time, but there was an opportunity cost. That being said, there are a few jobs where that sort of background is helpful, which is maybe why I can afford a good internet connection and why I have time to write long comments like this. But again, there is an opportunity cost.

    People were designed to be born into and grow up in a world where there are not more than a few hundred people who share their experiences and their point of view, and to prosper therein. Switching out that group of a few hundred for a different group of another few hundred is neither easy nor all that profitable for most people. This is why the future seems to belong to conservatives, no matter where one marks the beginning of the future.

    in case one of the students in my comparative literature class is reading (just kidding) this (referencing back to my phrase that “this is why the future seems to belong to conservatives,” towards the end of my 4:54 AM Greenwich time comment) is also why Austen and Tolstoy and Trollope and Proust and Joyce still sell millions of books a year while the equally talented Pushkin and Poe and Peguy and Bernanos and Undset and McDonald don’t sell near that much – the first group are close to our heart because they did what we would have liked to do, if we were writers of that day: they devoted their lives to describing the group of a few hundred people they were born in the midst of: the second six, more inspired by far-off adventure and friendship at the edge of the universe and unexpected Christian sacrifice, wrote about the vast deserts where people who care about other people sometimes find themselves, far from the comfortable worlds and neighborhoods that all of us want those we love to be born into, (((but still, in a magnificently unpopular and desolate way, no further from God than comfortable Barsetshire (in the Victorian days) would be, if we could measure its distance from God, and even no further from God than the hipster utopias that so many stylish young people believe they live in, if we could measure the distance from God of those utopias, would be, if we could measure such distances….)))

    Again, if I were so unfortunate as to be a teacher who ran a seminar on comparative literature (not that such a fate would be bad for everybody, but it would be bad for me) , I might say: Don’t feel sorry for any of the 11 writers I mentioned by name, out of 10 or so billion people who lived at the same time they did, they lived a long time ago and they all had family and friends who cared about them. They enjoyed living in the countries they lived in, they woke up every morning glad to be English, or Russian, or French, or Irish, or Scottish – trust me on that. The distinction I made was not important to them, they all had hard lives with rich rewards, and the distinction I am discussing is only important for other reasons. Good luck.

    • Replies: @middle aged vet . . .
    my biggest opportunity cost in learning foreign languages and traveling abroad in my 20s is this - I had some friends who would have loved it if stuck around the local scene and helped them write lyrics for their punk bands. I did not have the time, and I didn't.


    See how it works?

    There is a lot of good punk band music out there and none of it has anything to do with me, as my dogs used to say whenever I would notice that the grass in the yard was not doing well where the dogs liked to urinate.

    , @PhysicistDave
    middle aged vet . . . wrote:

    this... is also why Austen and Tolstoy and Trollope and Proust and Joyce still sell millions of books a year...
     
    Is that actually true? I do not think I have ever met a human being (in the flesh, in the real world) who has ever read a book by any of these people unless it was assigned for a class.

    I'm not trying to be belligerent here: I just honestly wonder how many people read such writers outside of assigned reading.

    I myself did read some of Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle just for the fun of it, as well as various versions of the Odyssey (I also read some Twain and at least one version of the Odyssey as assigned reading), so I am not denying that sometimes people read classic literature for fun. But Joyce, Trollope, and Proust?
  162. @Harry Baldwin
    Think of all the kids who get college degrees in the humanities who somehow think their degree will actually lead to a job!

    I think about this often. People are pretty naive at age 18. A lot of them go to college and take courses in subjects that interest them with no regard to their employment prospects, and no one takes them aside to warn them about that. I think many students assume that a college wouldn't be offering a course if there wasn't work in that field. One of my son's friends recently graduated Northwestern with a journalism degree. Are recent journalism graduates being hired? Looks to me like most news outlets are laying off employees. Yet the school maintains that department and keeps processing students through it. If you're willing to pay for it, they'll provide it to you.

    Reality sinks in eventually, but by that time you're dealing with those six-figure student loans.

    I'm very impressed with the young, non-college-educated working-class whites I've hired to do tree work and repairs on my property. They are doing real work, are good at it, and seem to enjoy it.

    Harry Baldwin wrote to me:

    I think about this often. People are pretty naive at age 18. A lot of them go to college and take courses in subjects that interest them with no regard to their employment prospects, and no one takes them aside to warn them about that. I think many students assume that a college wouldn’t be offering a course if there wasn’t work in that field.

    I think it is even worse than the naivete of youth. When I have tried to talk with adults about the need to be honest in talking to college kids about their career prospects, I very often get a response along the lines of “You can’t destroy their dreams!”

    Well… if their “dream” is to major in lit or anthropology or history and they have no idea what they actually want to do with such a degree, then their “dream” is likely to end as a nightmare: maybe they need to be awakened from the “dream” before that point. (I know there are a few kids who truly do wish to teach or do research in lit or anthropology or history: I do not think that is the majority of those who get degrees in such fields.)

    Personally, I’m fascinated by history and I’m interested in anthropology, but a day job is a good thing. It has become almost a social norm among adults to not tell adolescents the truth about the real world: this is neither wise nor kind.

  163. @middle aged vet . . .
    in case one of the students in my comparative literature class is reading (just kidding) this (referencing back to my phrase that "this is why the future seems to belong to conservatives," towards the end of my 4:54 AM Greenwich time comment) is also why Austen and Tolstoy and Trollope and Proust and Joyce still sell millions of books a year while the equally talented Pushkin and Poe and Peguy and Bernanos and Undset and McDonald don't sell near that much - the first group are close to our heart because they did what we would have liked to do, if we were writers of that day: they devoted their lives to describing the group of a few hundred people they were born in the midst of: the second six, more inspired by far-off adventure and friendship at the edge of the universe and unexpected Christian sacrifice, wrote about the vast deserts where people who care about other people sometimes find themselves, far from the comfortable worlds and neighborhoods that all of us want those we love to be born into, (((but still, in a magnificently unpopular and desolate way, no further from God than comfortable Barsetshire (in the Victorian days) would be, if we could measure its distance from God, and even no further from God than the hipster utopias that so many stylish young people believe they live in, if we could measure the distance from God of those utopias, would be, if we could measure such distances....)))

    Again, if I were so unfortunate as to be a teacher who ran a seminar on comparative literature (not that such a fate would be bad for everybody, but it would be bad for me) , I might say: Don't feel sorry for any of the 11 writers I mentioned by name, out of 10 or so billion people who lived at the same time they did, they lived a long time ago and they all had family and friends who cared about them. They enjoyed living in the countries they lived in, they woke up every morning glad to be English, or Russian, or French, or Irish, or Scottish - trust me on that. The distinction I made was not important to them, they all had hard lives with rich rewards, and the distinction I am discussing is only important for other reasons. Good luck.

    my biggest opportunity cost in learning foreign languages and traveling abroad in my 20s is this – I had some friends who would have loved it if stuck around the local scene and helped them write lyrics for their punk bands. I did not have the time, and I didn’t.

    See how it works?

    There is a lot of good punk band music out there and none of it has anything to do with me, as my dogs used to say whenever I would notice that the grass in the yard was not doing well where the dogs liked to urinate.

  164. @middle aged vet . . .
    in case one of the students in my comparative literature class is reading (just kidding) this (referencing back to my phrase that "this is why the future seems to belong to conservatives," towards the end of my 4:54 AM Greenwich time comment) is also why Austen and Tolstoy and Trollope and Proust and Joyce still sell millions of books a year while the equally talented Pushkin and Poe and Peguy and Bernanos and Undset and McDonald don't sell near that much - the first group are close to our heart because they did what we would have liked to do, if we were writers of that day: they devoted their lives to describing the group of a few hundred people they were born in the midst of: the second six, more inspired by far-off adventure and friendship at the edge of the universe and unexpected Christian sacrifice, wrote about the vast deserts where people who care about other people sometimes find themselves, far from the comfortable worlds and neighborhoods that all of us want those we love to be born into, (((but still, in a magnificently unpopular and desolate way, no further from God than comfortable Barsetshire (in the Victorian days) would be, if we could measure its distance from God, and even no further from God than the hipster utopias that so many stylish young people believe they live in, if we could measure the distance from God of those utopias, would be, if we could measure such distances....)))

    Again, if I were so unfortunate as to be a teacher who ran a seminar on comparative literature (not that such a fate would be bad for everybody, but it would be bad for me) , I might say: Don't feel sorry for any of the 11 writers I mentioned by name, out of 10 or so billion people who lived at the same time they did, they lived a long time ago and they all had family and friends who cared about them. They enjoyed living in the countries they lived in, they woke up every morning glad to be English, or Russian, or French, or Irish, or Scottish - trust me on that. The distinction I made was not important to them, they all had hard lives with rich rewards, and the distinction I am discussing is only important for other reasons. Good luck.

    middle aged vet . . . wrote:

    this… is also why Austen and Tolstoy and Trollope and Proust and Joyce still sell millions of books a year…

    Is that actually true? I do not think I have ever met a human being (in the flesh, in the real world) who has ever read a book by any of these people unless it was assigned for a class.

    I’m not trying to be belligerent here: I just honestly wonder how many people read such writers outside of assigned reading.

    I myself did read some of Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle just for the fun of it, as well as various versions of the Odyssey (I also read some Twain and at least one version of the Odyssey as assigned reading), so I am not denying that sometimes people read classic literature for fun. But Joyce, Trollope, and Proust?

    • Replies: @middle aged vet . . .
    Physicist Dave - I don't know.

    When I was in law school, a couple of decades ago, I met about 10 people who really enjoyed the 5 popular writers I mentioned.

    Well, all four except Joyce (Trollope, Austen, Tolstoy, Proust), but I did not go to law school in Ireland.

    In the military, before law school, I met people - enlisted and commissioned - who had read Graham Greene, Adalbert Stifter (of all people), and , if I remember right, Austen and Tolstoy and Trollope, and a few more like that. (Good writers like Pat Conroy and James Jones and Jack London and Hemingway were probably also very popular, but I do not have a specific memory of conversations about those authors).

    Later in life, in places where you would expect the "Game of Thrones" to be the only sort of novel people would mention, I have heard people talk about how they had read a "few novels by Kundera" or how "Austen made them laugh" or how they had read, long ago, "every Poirot novel". That being said, of the hundreds of people I have known well enough to share a cigar or a beer or a couple of shots of vodka with, not a single one seems to have read not only Finnegans Wake, but even its neglected little brother Ulysses.

    Memorizing a few dozens of lines of Pushkin is a good idea if you want Russian women to enjoy your company, I will say that.

    One of the saddest memories I have from the hundreds of hours I spent with my mother's bridge friends is the memory of how "Vera", at the age of 70 or so, first read a book by a really good (from my point of view) author - she said that she liked to read the sentences a few times over, they were so good (the author would remind you of Trollope: it was actually, if I remember correctly, Agatha Christie or Margery Allingham ... or maybe Chesterton, God knows. All good authors, from my point of view.)

    About 1 in 500 people are instantly able to appreciate Joyce and Proust, and probably 1 in 50 would like Proust and Joyce if the achievements and the failures of those authors were accurately explained to them. That is a very limited potential audience, of course. With respect to a book like Finnegans Wake - probably my favorite book by someone who was not, philosophically, anywhere near bright enough to be interesting by mere virtue of his or her philosophical intelligence - my best guess is that it only appeals to one out of ten thousand people in North America. Maybe one in 20 or 30 thousand. Well that is still quite a few people.

    Your observations may differ. We probably mostly agree, though.

    By the way, Twain is, in fact, very funny. He is at his best on animals (dogs, cats, bugs, and so on) but he is pretty funny about almost everything (and he does not pretend to understand the world, God bless his humble heart) (he was of course fundamentally unsound on almost everything truly important from the eternal point of view but I think he knew that, so it is what is is)

    , @Keypusher
    Someone said _War and Peace_ was worth reading once a decade, and I think I’ve done that more or less. I think a lot of people won’t tackle it because it’s so long, but it’s like anything else, you just get started and keep going and eventually you get to the end, and in between you’re reading one of the greatest books ever written. _Anna Karenina_ is astounding. Unlike another poster here, I couldn’t do _Finnegans Wake_, but I liked _Ulysses_, and _Dubliners_, along with _In Our Time_, got me to appreciate short stories. Not a big fan of Trollope, but I know some people are. Lots of Austen fans out there.
  165. @ben tillman

    Pinker has been among the most successful advocates against political-correctness-based censorship and public shaming of honest intellectuals, and in favor of evidence-based rational thinking about social policy.
     
    Unless those intellectuals are really, REALLY honest and address the ultimate taboo, in which case "rational thinking" goes out the window.

    Yes I agree that Pinker is crafty about where he stops defending honest people by name, and switches to a broad-based blanket-defence, simply arguing for allowing honest discussion of all viewpoints. So for example he was willing to defend Lawrence Summers by name, but only would defend Jason Richwine and James Watson in a general sense. So, yes, he does scamper away when the SJW lynch-parties get truly fierce. Is that smart or cowardly, or a little bit of both?

  166. @Anonymous
    Doesn't Jordan B Peterson say give serotonin to a defeated lobster he will immediately get back up and fight again?

    Remind me where the Harvard symbologist studied pharmacology.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    You do know he is a clinical psychologist and held Timothy Learys Chair in the same subject at Harvard.

    Are you saying those phds are not qualified in all aspects of pychotheroputic drug administration and management? Or they spend all day analyzing symbols?
  167. @PhysicistDave
    middle aged vet . . . wrote:

    this... is also why Austen and Tolstoy and Trollope and Proust and Joyce still sell millions of books a year...
     
    Is that actually true? I do not think I have ever met a human being (in the flesh, in the real world) who has ever read a book by any of these people unless it was assigned for a class.

    I'm not trying to be belligerent here: I just honestly wonder how many people read such writers outside of assigned reading.

    I myself did read some of Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle just for the fun of it, as well as various versions of the Odyssey (I also read some Twain and at least one version of the Odyssey as assigned reading), so I am not denying that sometimes people read classic literature for fun. But Joyce, Trollope, and Proust?

    Physicist Dave – I don’t know.

    When I was in law school, a couple of decades ago, I met about 10 people who really enjoyed the 5 popular writers I mentioned.

    Well, all four except Joyce (Trollope, Austen, Tolstoy, Proust), but I did not go to law school in Ireland.

    In the military, before law school, I met people – enlisted and commissioned – who had read Graham Greene, Adalbert Stifter (of all people), and , if I remember right, Austen and Tolstoy and Trollope, and a few more like that. (Good writers like Pat Conroy and James Jones and Jack London and Hemingway were probably also very popular, but I do not have a specific memory of conversations about those authors).

    Later in life, in places where you would expect the “Game of Thrones” to be the only sort of novel people would mention, I have heard people talk about how they had read a “few novels by Kundera” or how “Austen made them laugh” or how they had read, long ago, “every Poirot novel”. That being said, of the hundreds of people I have known well enough to share a cigar or a beer or a couple of shots of vodka with, not a single one seems to have read not only Finnegans Wake, but even its neglected little brother Ulysses.

    Memorizing a few dozens of lines of Pushkin is a good idea if you want Russian women to enjoy your company, I will say that.

    One of the saddest memories I have from the hundreds of hours I spent with my mother’s bridge friends is the memory of how “Vera”, at the age of 70 or so, first read a book by a really good (from my point of view) author – she said that she liked to read the sentences a few times over, they were so good (the author would remind you of Trollope: it was actually, if I remember correctly, Agatha Christie or Margery Allingham … or maybe Chesterton, God knows. All good authors, from my point of view.)

    About 1 in 500 people are instantly able to appreciate Joyce and Proust, and probably 1 in 50 would like Proust and Joyce if the achievements and the failures of those authors were accurately explained to them. That is a very limited potential audience, of course. With respect to a book like Finnegans Wake – probably my favorite book by someone who was not, philosophically, anywhere near bright enough to be interesting by mere virtue of his or her philosophical intelligence – my best guess is that it only appeals to one out of ten thousand people in North America. Maybe one in 20 or 30 thousand. Well that is still quite a few people.

    Your observations may differ. We probably mostly agree, though.

    By the way, Twain is, in fact, very funny. He is at his best on animals (dogs, cats, bugs, and so on) but he is pretty funny about almost everything (and he does not pretend to understand the world, God bless his humble heart) (he was of course fundamentally unsound on almost everything truly important from the eternal point of view but I think he knew that, so it is what is is)

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Jane Austen sells a lot of books these days.
  168. @middle aged vet . . .
    Physicist Dave - I don't know.

    When I was in law school, a couple of decades ago, I met about 10 people who really enjoyed the 5 popular writers I mentioned.

    Well, all four except Joyce (Trollope, Austen, Tolstoy, Proust), but I did not go to law school in Ireland.

    In the military, before law school, I met people - enlisted and commissioned - who had read Graham Greene, Adalbert Stifter (of all people), and , if I remember right, Austen and Tolstoy and Trollope, and a few more like that. (Good writers like Pat Conroy and James Jones and Jack London and Hemingway were probably also very popular, but I do not have a specific memory of conversations about those authors).

    Later in life, in places where you would expect the "Game of Thrones" to be the only sort of novel people would mention, I have heard people talk about how they had read a "few novels by Kundera" or how "Austen made them laugh" or how they had read, long ago, "every Poirot novel". That being said, of the hundreds of people I have known well enough to share a cigar or a beer or a couple of shots of vodka with, not a single one seems to have read not only Finnegans Wake, but even its neglected little brother Ulysses.

    Memorizing a few dozens of lines of Pushkin is a good idea if you want Russian women to enjoy your company, I will say that.

    One of the saddest memories I have from the hundreds of hours I spent with my mother's bridge friends is the memory of how "Vera", at the age of 70 or so, first read a book by a really good (from my point of view) author - she said that she liked to read the sentences a few times over, they were so good (the author would remind you of Trollope: it was actually, if I remember correctly, Agatha Christie or Margery Allingham ... or maybe Chesterton, God knows. All good authors, from my point of view.)

    About 1 in 500 people are instantly able to appreciate Joyce and Proust, and probably 1 in 50 would like Proust and Joyce if the achievements and the failures of those authors were accurately explained to them. That is a very limited potential audience, of course. With respect to a book like Finnegans Wake - probably my favorite book by someone who was not, philosophically, anywhere near bright enough to be interesting by mere virtue of his or her philosophical intelligence - my best guess is that it only appeals to one out of ten thousand people in North America. Maybe one in 20 or 30 thousand. Well that is still quite a few people.

    Your observations may differ. We probably mostly agree, though.

    By the way, Twain is, in fact, very funny. He is at his best on animals (dogs, cats, bugs, and so on) but he is pretty funny about almost everything (and he does not pretend to understand the world, God bless his humble heart) (he was of course fundamentally unsound on almost everything truly important from the eternal point of view but I think he knew that, so it is what is is)

    Jane Austen sells a lot of books these days.

  169. plenty of other, more interesting books to read….

  170. “Jane Austen sells a lot of books these days”.

    That is good to know. I have read all her books and would, to tell the truth, want a daughter of mine to marry someone better then Darcy or Kingsley and his ilk, but, to be honest, we are all pretty much faced with bad choices, and Jane Austen is a good guide to making the best realistic choice.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    I too have read all of Jane Austen and this is pretty clever: https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Darcys-Diary-Amanda-Grange/dp/1402208766

    It is Bingley, btw.
  171. @Bill P
    I don't think immersion is even desirable for most people. Being thrust into an entirely different culture can be harmful to one's mental health past a certain age. I lived in France for a year as a child and I loved it, came away with nothing but good memories and good impressions. But after living in China for a couple years as a young adult, the experience left me jaded and a bit aimless for a while. Don't get me wrong - I learned a great deal and greatly appreciate that - but it was painful at times.

    My wife is European, and despite having lived in the states previously as a teen and speaking excellent English, it was still pretty hard for her to get used to adult American life.

    I feel that I could live happily in North America, Western Europe (especially France), and maybe Central Europe and Scandinavia, but wherever there's an Orthodox majority probably not. East Asia, Africa, Central Asia and the subcontinent, no way. South America I don't know enough to say.

    Culture matters a lot. Usually, it's best to stick with the one you were raised in.

    I actually did my final move as a young adult, albeit not to a country as alien from my native land as China is from the U.S.. I will confirm that the immersion experience was nevertheless quite a jolt and I had serious problems for some time. Of course there are differing degrees of immersion, and actually, when I first came I thought I’d be out within a year and would frequent mostly expat clubs and the like… it actually didn’t work out that way for a number of reasons and my first and only real friends were and are locals.

  172. @benjaminl
    I agree completely and would even go further. I lived outside the US, in Europe, for a good two years before returning, learned the local language, read the local newspapers, befriended the local people, read up on the local history and culture, went to the local museums...

    Yes, I now know more about this particular European country than 99 percent of those people on the world who don't live there... But I'm still an American, I'll never truly "belong" there, and there are so many things that I will just never understand, being a foreigner. I don't especially get the humor or any subtle nuances of the language.

    My living abroad now confirms my nationalistic views. True relationships are based on kinship, mother tongue, etc. Travel of any sort can be fun and enlightening in a way, but you can never erase your roots, no matter how much you might wish to do so.

    After over ten years I’ve been more or less socially “accepted” in my new country though I have resigned myself to the lifelong necessity of always having a certain “quirk” that won’t go away, and I’m still learning the humor, etc.. I probably always will be, but I try to tell myself it’s a way of prolonging the childhood pleasures of growth and discovery into adulthood. Of course that means certain growing pains as well.

    Still, I have a good life, and as for the pains I try to tell myself, “I’m doing this now so my children will never have to.” At the same time, I will admit that when people ask me, “How do you do it?” my answer is usually, “I don’t recommend you try and copy.”

  173. @MEH 0910
    Nancy McClernan is the name of the woman who writes the anti-HBD blog.

    http://www.mcclernan.com/about.asp

    http://www.mcclernan.com/plays.asp

    Interestingly, she also has problems with Social Justice Warriors:

    http://mcclernan.blogspot.com/search?q=social+justice+warrior

    I love how liberals never allow comments. They just want to stand on a soapbox and scream. Letting the dissidents have a voice is probably evil and racist anyway.

  174. @Highlander
    He is being firmly pushed off the precipice by both the screaming mobs of SJWs AND Nazis anyway.

    https://mcclernan.blogspot.com/2011/11/miffed-at-new-yorker-steven-pinker.html

    https://davidduke.com/steven-pinker-harvard-admissions-ignoring-elephant-room/

    “Welcome right-wing racists of UNZ.”

    According to McClernan, a conversation between Pinker and Razib Khan amounts to a conversation between two Nazis., err, racists. And Sailer, Unz, etc are evil racists as well or worse, the Unz Review is literally “Der Stürmer” and us unzite readers and commenters literally Waffen-SS. Lol! You can tell that the Left is panicking as they feel they’re starting to lose control of the narrative and their grasp on power is growing fainter day by day.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_St%C3%BCrmer

    • Replies: @Hello right-wing racists of UNZ
    I don't think you understand the word "literally" since nowhere did I literally call Unz Review “Der Stürmer" nor mention Waffen-SS.

    Also my blog post from 7 years ago is not a good illustration of "the Left is panicking..."

    This probably won't help since you seem to imagine things in a text that aren't there and miss what is, but I'll take a shot: my post about Pinker and Khan was not to paint them both as Nazis, it was to point out that although Pinker claims to disagree with the notion of black intellectual inferiority promoted by Khan and other HBD types, the first person he looks to in order to defend his work from a very good critique by the New Yorker is Khan.

    FYI - I do agree with at least a couple of commenters here who say something like this:

    Yes I agree that Pinker is crafty about where he stops defending honest people by name, and switches to a broad-based blanket-defence, simply arguing for allowing honest discussion of all viewpoints. So for example he was willing to defend Lawrence Summers by name, but only would defend Jason Richwine and James Watson in a general sense.
     
    Isn't that nice we can at least agree about that one thing?

    And as far as I can tell Pinker has never explained exactly why he doesn't agree about race while agreeing with just about everything else claimed by HBD.

    It appears to me that Pinker does agree but doesn't want to have his career stained by admitting it, so he outsources his view about race to people like Sailer and Khan and lets them take the hit.
    , @dfordoom

    You can tell that the Left is panicking as they feel they’re starting to lose control of the narrative and their grasp on power is growing fainter day by day.
     
    It would be nice to believe that.

    An alternative explanation is that they have recognised a God-given opportunity to accelerate their program of absolute social control. They're seizing the moment to crush dissent once and for all.

    I actually suspect that many of the globalists and SJWs were delighted by Trump's victory. It gave them the chance to proclaim that dissenters really were Evil Racist Nazis, because they could paint Trump as an Evil Racist Nazi and therefore anyone who supported him had to be by definition an Evil Racist Nazi as well. So therefore they now had the justification to push their agenda of repression much much further and faster than they would otherwise have dared.

    They can portray the fight against Trump and the Deplorables as the Final Battle Between Good and Evil. Which means it's OK to take the most extreme measures.
  175. @for-the-record
    I think you would be disappointed if you went to St. Andrews. I haven’t been there, but I backpacked through some other lowland cities and the Highlands. The lowlands and, in general, the cities of Scotland were a historical and intellectual disappointment.

    Can't agree with you at all there.

    My son did both his undergraduate and doctorate at St. Andrews, and I think it's a fantastic little place "far from the madding crowd", so to speak. And absolutely full of history -- until the Scottish Reformation St. Andrews was the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland, and the ruins of its Cathedral are a haunting memorial to those times. I have attended a few services and concerts in St. Salvator's Chapel (part of the University) and it is quite awesome to be in the same place where John Knox (probably) preached. And he certainly preached at the Holy Trinity Church on South Street, where in 1559 he incited the congregation to ransack the Cathedral, bringing centuries of Catholic domination to an end.

    And what is perhaps most impressive is that if John Knox were to visit St. Andrews today he would probably not feel much out of place.

    For a golfer I imagine St. Andrews would be seventh heaven.

    And of course who can forget the opening 3 minutes of Chariots of Fire?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLbWBlB2aWA

    As cities go, I don't see how you can possibly say that Edinburgh (50 km away, and the nearest major airport) is a "historical and intellectual disappointment". It's a great city, with tons of history and culture, of the major UK cities certainly the most interesting after London.

    Edinburgh is certainly more interesting and beautiful than London. And less diverse and far more British. And a city you can actually visit on foot, unlike London.

    • Replies: @3g4me
    @175 BB753: "Edinburgh is certainly more interesting and beautiful than London. And less diverse and far more British. And a city you can actually visit on foot, unlike London."

    Agree x 1,000,000. London has a rich and fascinating history and amazing individual buildings and museums, but it is enormous, sprawling, mobbed with tourists, and less and less English every year. Edinburgh (both the old and "new" sections) are much more walkable, approachable, and knowable. You can immerse yourself in the atmosphere, environment, and soul of the place with far fewer "diverse" distractions or glaring inconsistencies. The local politics, though, appear to be equally toxic and destructive in the long term.

    I love(d) England and Scotland both, but for the visitor (even relatively long-term) Edinburgh wins the capitol city comparison. Outside of that, wherever one finds the locals in their natural habitat (the pub, chippy, village square, church, etc.) is equally hospitable, warm, strange yet familiar, and wonderful. I deeply mourn the fate of both nations.
  176. Perhaps if you read more, you would not believe that your experiences and attitudes are everyone’s — not trying to be belligerent!

    Par l’art seulement, nous pouvons sortir de nous, savoir ce que voit un autre de cet univers qui n’est pas le même que le nôtre et dont les paysages nous seraient restés aussi inconnus que ceux qu’il peut y avoir dans la lune. Grâce à l’art, au lieu de voir un seul monde, le nôtre, nous le voyons se multiplier, et autant qu’il y a d’artistes originaux, autant nous avons de mondes à notre disposition, plus différents les uns des autres que ceux qui roulent dans l’infini et qui, bien des siècles après qu’est éteint le foyer dont il émanai nous envoient encore leur rayon spécial.
    Ce travail de l’artiste, de chercher à apercevoir sous de la matière, sous de l’expérience, sous des mots quelque chose de différent, c’est exactement le travail inverse de celui que, à chaque minute, quand nous vivons détourné de nous-même, l’amour-propre, la passion, l’intelligence et l’habitude aussi accomplissent en nous, quand elles amassent au-dessus de nos impressions vraies, pour nous les cacher maintenant, les nomenclatures, les buts pratiques que nous appelons faussement la vie. En somme, cet art si compliqué est justement le seul art vivant. Seul il exprime pour les autres et nous fait voir à nous-même notre propre vie, cette vie qui ne peut pas s’« observer », dont les apparences qu’on observe ont besoin d’être traduites, et souvent lues à rebours, et péniblement déchiffrées. Ce travail qu’avaient fait notre amour-propre, notre passion, notre esprit d’imitation, notre intelligence abstraite, nos habitudes, c’est ce travail que l’art défera, c’est la marche en sens contraire, le retour aux profondeurs, où ce qui a existé réellement gît inconnu de nous qu’il nous fera suivre.

    — Marcel Proust, À la recherche du temps perdu

  177. @MEH 0910
    Nancy McClernan has actually put up a post on her blog about the couple of comments I made here about her blog. She gets the links right, but she mistakenly says that they took place at Razib Khan's blog instead of here:

    http://mcclernan.blogspot.com/2018/02/evo-psychos-sjws-brocialists-oh-my.html

    Somebody named MEH 0910 is talking about me at Razib Khan's GNXP site.

    He practically reposts my entire item Steven Pinker and Steve Sailer: remuneration not repudiation in the discussion under Khan's post indicating he hasn't read Steven Pinker's latest book.
     

    MEH 0910 wrote:

    Nancy McClernan has actually put up a post on her blog about the couple of comments I made here about her blog. She gets the links right, but she mistakenly says that they took place at Razib Khan’s blog instead of here:

    Ms. McLernan has a psychologically interesting (negative) fixation on Ayn Rand, which results in some (unintentionally) funny remarks. E.g.,

    One of the useful aspects of Ayn Rand is that she hid nothing of what she thought – thanks to her own inability to dissemble (which I suspect is the result of her undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome)…

    Note: McLernan is attacking Rand because of Rand’s supposed inability to lie. Alas, anyone who is aware of the details of the famous Rand/Branden affair (as McLernan is) knows that Rand was capable of lying through her teeth. (I suppose McLernan would claim that Rand was not very good at it!)

    McLernan is similarly off-base in that she repeatedly equates libertarians with Randians: in fact, Rand openly and publicly despised libertarians, and some libertarians — e.g., Murray Rothbard — were none too kind towards Rand.

    McLernan’s obsession with Rand has reached the point where McLernan actually wrote a play about Rand! Apparently the Rand character sort of escaped the author’s clutches (rather like Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost):

    The biggest problem with DARK MARKET is that the Ayn Rand character is so vivid she steals the play – she is basically the bad guy…

    Personally, I find this all quite amusing, but I doubt McLernan would find my amusement amusing.

    Anyway, mixing up Razib and Sailer is the least of this lady’s problems.

    Someone needs to tell her that Rand is dead.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    McClernan fixed her Razib Khan mistake.

    Now she has written a piece responding to your comment : Ayn Rand & Steven Pinker
    , @songbird
    A surprisingly high number on the Left have some severe hang-up on Rand. It is quite bizarre.
  178. @Luke Lea
    It is true that global secular trends are good, but so slow that progress is hard to see, even in one's own country, because the time-scale is in centuries. Look at how slow progress was in living standards in Britain for the first two hundred years after the industrial revolution

    But then you might be able to say the same if things start to go south. On the decadal scale things always look rocky with the papers filled with tragedy..

    ” Look at how slow progress was in living standards in Britain for the first two hundred years after the industrial revolution”

    Was progress slow? The huge population increase in Victorian times says otherwise, a lot more children must have been living to maturity. Clean water, pretty ubiquitous by end Victorian times, must have been YUGE, as would sewerage. The houses built for Victorian working people are pretty good.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_water_supply_and_sanitation#London_and_other_cities,_UK

    • Replies: @Luke Lea
    I was thinking of real hourly wages. Should have said for the first hundred years rather than two hundred however.
  179. I was born in an America in which women could walk downtown streets freely at night, where both infanticide and abortion were uncommon, where the prison population was small, and prison rape was not the default punchline as TV detectives handcuffed the bad guys. I have some hopes that, just as with my neighbor’s unlocked car, I might someday live in that America again.

    Steve Sailer wrote that about Pinker’s Better Angels in 2011. Is it still valid?

    PS

    Your arguments about the civilizing power of Christianity in Rome and especially in the Middle Ages are right – cf. Historic Arno Borst’s books. I think, this was Borst’s major point. And he knew an awful lot about the Middle Ages.

    Arno Borst: Medieval Worlds: Barbarians, Heretics, and Artists in The Middel Ages; University of Chicago Press 1996, pb.

    Arno Borst – The Ordering of Time: From the ancient Computus to the Modern Computer
    University of Chicago Press 1993

  180. @Peter Johnson
    Pinker has been among the most successful advocates against political-correctness-based censorship and public shaming of honest intellectuals, and in favor of evidence-based rational thinking about social policy. He is a natural member of the human biodiversity movement, but has always carefully stopped just short of acknowledging the reality of human biodiversity. His rational thinking and evidence-based conclusion grinds to a stop just as he reaches the HBD precipice. Not sure exactly why, and how he justifies this to himself; perhaps someday soon he will make the leap. I have only read The Blank State and Better Angels plus a few essays and on-line presentations; I DO want to read his latest. The best parts of his books, for me, are finding the exact lines of text in various chapters where obvious HBD conclusions get lost in the blank spaces between two lines of text.

    Pinker just made a European presentation tour for Enlightenment Now!.

    In Germany, he got prominetly featured in a long interviws in Der Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung (the biggest quality-newspaper).
    Both would have written not a single line about this book, if Pinker would speak out for HBD.

    So – there are reasons to be cautious.

    BUT: Pinker cites Immanuel Kant in his recent book numerous times: That you ought to be courageous, in using your own (free) mind.

    For Kant, it was crucial to speak the truth. Kant would not have accepted to hide the truth for tactical reasons.

    I just read what John Derbyshire wrote about race and the liberal mind:

    “Bottom line here: Race denialism isn’t just scientifically illiterate, it’s lethal.”

    (Such thoughts make it even harder to ignore Kant’s imperative, to be courageous – – and harder too, to ignore the performative selfcontradiction, Steven Pinker is now obviously in. – Unless he had other reasons than tactical ones for not speaking out about HBD. Which I firmly doubt).

    • Replies: @El Dato
    Does anyone really read the Spiegel anymore?

    It's a depressing journal, full of innuendo, moaning, self-loathing and chasing of non-problems (I can't remember if magic dirt makes an appearance) and there has to be a reminder about How Hitler Happened & Then Holocaust every 3rd issue at least.
    , @Sean
    Kant said do the objectively moral thing with no consideration of the the consequences. In the real world no-one is queuing up to do that--they want want to live and get on in life. Not pick up the tab for paying more than lip service to morally purity (death and degradation). Kevin MacDonald commented "conforming to the norm becomes a preference that has intrinsic, rather than instrumental value". There is a winnowing out and it varies from place to place.

    Germany had a real chance of benefiting from aggressive exterminatory war in the late 30's. Now it doesn't. Eichmann quoted Kant's categorical imperative when defending himself at his trial. The pre WW2 (and1) Germans knew all about the Enlightenment.

  181. @Highlander
    He is being firmly pushed off the precipice by both the screaming mobs of SJWs AND Nazis anyway.

    https://mcclernan.blogspot.com/2011/11/miffed-at-new-yorker-steven-pinker.html

    https://davidduke.com/steven-pinker-harvard-admissions-ignoring-elephant-room/

    She really has a problem upstairs.

    “My anti-racist bona fides: … I believe African Americans built the US.”

    I don’t how far progressivism-signaling can go, but this seems to be pretty far.

  182. @Dieter Kief
    Pinker just made a European presentation tour for Enlightenment Now!.

    In Germany, he got prominetly featured in a long interviws in Der Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung (the biggest quality-newspaper).
    Both would have written not a single line about this book, if Pinker would speak out for HBD.

    So - there are reasons to be cautious.

    BUT: Pinker cites Immanuel Kant in his recent book numerous times: That you ought to be courageous, in using your own (free) mind.

    For Kant, it was crucial to speak the truth. Kant would not have accepted to hide the truth for tactical reasons.

    I just read what John Derbyshire wrote about race and the liberal mind:

    "Bottom line here: Race denialism isn’t just scientifically illiterate, it’s lethal."

    (Such thoughts make it even harder to ignore Kant's imperative, to be courageous - - and harder too, to ignore the performative selfcontradiction, Steven Pinker is now obviously in. - Unless he had other reasons than tactical ones for not speaking out about HBD. Which I firmly doubt).

    Does anyone really read the Spiegel anymore?

    It’s a depressing journal, full of innuendo, moaning, self-loathing and chasing of non-problems (I can’t remember if magic dirt makes an appearance) and there has to be a reminder about How Hitler Happened & Then Holocaust every 3rd issue at least.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    Der Spiegel is still the most read German weekly political magazine - by far. But they lost a third of their readership in the last - five years, ca.. And the still existing readers are growing older and older...

    - They' ve lost their way ca. eight years ago, when Thilo Sarrazin's megaselling book against unregulated immigration "Deutschland schafft sich ab" (Germany does away with itself) appeared.

    One interesting detail: Sarrazin quoted at length from "The Bell Curve" - - which was then interpreted by Schnibben and Augstein junior from Der Spiegel and by editor Frank Schirrmacher from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) as - you know: Hitler stuff...

    Sarrazin is still doing very well, whereas FAZ and Der Spiegel are declining - economically a n d intellectually.

    I really wish they wouldn't be declining, I have to admit.

  183. John N. Gray trashed the book in his New Statesman review. Exposed Pinker’s lack of knowledge of “enlightenment” history and his conflation of modern anglophone “optimistic” liberalism with the various, French, German and English thinkers associated with the phenomenon.

    In general, Gray is the superior thinker on the human condition. Will be remembered long after Pinker’s books are in the pulping bin.

  184. @PhysicistDave
    middle aged vet . . . wrote:

    this... is also why Austen and Tolstoy and Trollope and Proust and Joyce still sell millions of books a year...
     
    Is that actually true? I do not think I have ever met a human being (in the flesh, in the real world) who has ever read a book by any of these people unless it was assigned for a class.

    I'm not trying to be belligerent here: I just honestly wonder how many people read such writers outside of assigned reading.

    I myself did read some of Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle just for the fun of it, as well as various versions of the Odyssey (I also read some Twain and at least one version of the Odyssey as assigned reading), so I am not denying that sometimes people read classic literature for fun. But Joyce, Trollope, and Proust?

    Someone said _War and Peace_ was worth reading once a decade, and I think I’ve done that more or less. I think a lot of people won’t tackle it because it’s so long, but it’s like anything else, you just get started and keep going and eventually you get to the end, and in between you’re reading one of the greatest books ever written. _Anna Karenina_ is astounding. Unlike another poster here, I couldn’t do _Finnegans Wake_, but I liked _Ulysses_, and _Dubliners_, along with _In Our Time_, got me to appreciate short stories. Not a big fan of Trollope, but I know some people are. Lots of Austen fans out there.

  185. @BB753
    "Welcome right-wing racists of UNZ."

    According to McClernan, a conversation between Pinker and Razib Khan amounts to a conversation between two Nazis., err, racists. And Sailer, Unz, etc are evil racists as well or worse, the Unz Review is literally "Der Stürmer" and us unzite readers and commenters literally Waffen-SS. Lol! You can tell that the Left is panicking as they feel they're starting to lose control of the narrative and their grasp on power is growing fainter day by day.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_St%C3%BCrmer

    I don’t think you understand the word “literally” since nowhere did I literally call Unz Review “Der Stürmer” nor mention Waffen-SS.

    Also my blog post from 7 years ago is not a good illustration of “the Left is panicking…”

    This probably won’t help since you seem to imagine things in a text that aren’t there and miss what is, but I’ll take a shot: my post about Pinker and Khan was not to paint them both as Nazis, it was to point out that although Pinker claims to disagree with the notion of black intellectual inferiority promoted by Khan and other HBD types, the first person he looks to in order to defend his work from a very good critique by the New Yorker is Khan.

    FYI – I do agree with at least a couple of commenters here who say something like this:

    Yes I agree that Pinker is crafty about where he stops defending honest people by name, and switches to a broad-based blanket-defence, simply arguing for allowing honest discussion of all viewpoints. So for example he was willing to defend Lawrence Summers by name, but only would defend Jason Richwine and James Watson in a general sense.

    Isn’t that nice we can at least agree about that one thing?

    And as far as I can tell Pinker has never explained exactly why he doesn’t agree about race while agreeing with just about everything else claimed by HBD.

    It appears to me that Pinker does agree but doesn’t want to have his career stained by admitting it, so he outsources his view about race to people like Sailer and Khan and lets them take the hit.

    • Replies: @BB753
    Hi, Nancy!
    You seem to take things too literally and lack a general sense of humor! Most contributors and commenters to The Unz Review aren't right-wing racists, "Stürmer" types as I put it in jest. Steve Sailer and Razib Khan certainly aren't.

    As to my remark that the Left in power feels threatened, I'd say that if you Liberals weren't in panic mode, YouTube and Facebook and Twitter wouldn't be cracking down on dissenters from the Narrative, and you, Miss McClernan (may I call you Nancy? Oops, I already did! Sorry!) wouldn't show up here and stoop to reply to us humble Unzites. Just sayin'.
    As to Pinker, I won't defend one of your kind. Because you might renounce him for being socially gauche sometimes, but he's a Liberal like you in the things that matter: establishment type, defense of the Enlightenment, social justice values, sticking to the Narrative or rather embroidering the Narrative to make it seem more up to date scientifically.. The latter is probably the reason he got in touch with Khan. You see, Pinker tries to remain as honest intellectually as possible in the current PC atmosphere and within the limited confines of Liberalism, and thus looked into the possibility of a correlation between race and IQ. He surely disliked the raw truth he saw, and tried to keep away from the race/IQ business altogether and cover his tracks. But it was too late, for the Thought Police was already hot on his trail, as your posts show.
    You won't be able to watson the guy, though, because he's smarter than you and can also play the Jew Card, like Larry Summers.
    , @PhysicistDave
    Ummm.... Nancy, this is kind of weird all of us carrying on a conversation with you in Sailer's comments here after you try to reply on your own blog (where you do not allow comments). But, hey, whatever.

    Does it, though, ever occur to you that just maybe not everyone who comments here agrees with everyone else? I mean, since you insist on labeling us all as "right-wing racists of UNZ"???

    If you were willing to allow comments on your blog, I would have commented there: would that mean that I should be labeled as someone who holds your opinions or that you should be held accountable for my opinions?

    You have had positive things to say about PZ Myers on your blog. I have posted in PZ's comments section numerous times. I more or less agree with PZ's views on religion (i.e., I am an atheist, although I only get as strident as PZ when I am in a really bad mood!). On the other hand, I often (not always) disagree with PZ on politics. Does the fact that I have commented numerous times on PZ's blog mean that he should be held accountable for my views or vice versa?

    If you think everyone who comments on Sailer's blog believes that America is for white people only, you are sorely and deeply mistaken. I am married to a woman of a different race; we have biracial children. I have good neighbors who include an African-American, Iranian immigrants (now US citizens), a Jewish family who immigrated from South Africa, a couple guys who were Army Air Corps during WW II, etc. I am proud to have all of these people as neighbors: they are all "good Americans."

    I do also think the immigration debate is a legitimate topic of discussion: perhaps this is where you and I disagree. I think that in a perfect world it should be as easy for people to relocate from Mumbai to California as it now is for people to relocate from Iowa to California. Alas, I do not think we live in a perfect world where such a policy is feasible. And, so I am interested in contrasting views on the issue of immigration.

    You are free to disagree. But, again, if you think that everyone who engage in discussion or debate on Sailer's blog holds the same views, well, that is just as silly as thinking that Rand generally agreed with libertarians (she hated them!) or vice versa.

    By the way, did you read the link I gave to the Rothbard essay?

    Since you fancy yourself a playwright, perhaps you would also enjoy Rothbard's one-act play poking fun at Rand! An awful lot of libertarians were way ahead of you in warning of the dangers of the Rand cult: I myself have had numerous unpleasant run-ins with the Randians.

    And, for the record, as a libertarian myself let me heartily endorse your condemnation of Alan Greenspan: I saw him for what he was back in the 1980s -- a tool of crony capitalism.
    , @MEH 0910
    Nancy, a couple three days early:

    https://rlv.zcache.co.uk/bd_cow_57_card-r548f4288f6364f558a2d8c1cf80a9e74_xvuat_8byvr_324.jpg
    , @Peter Johnson
    A young scholar works diligently for four years on his Harvard sociology Ph.D. thesis; he includes in it a widely-accepted set of statistics showing that Puerto Ricans score lower on standard intelligence tests than white Americans. His doctoral committee does not object, and he graduates with a PhD, moving to middle-tier policy analysis in Washington D.C. He gets involved in border-control policy issues and some Social Justice Warriors track down his Harvard sociology doctoral dissertation to get him shamed and fired based on mentioning this well-known result about ethnicity and intelligence test results. That is what happened to Jason Richwine.

    Does "hello right-wing racists from unz.com" support that kind of SJW lynching of scholars and policy analysts -- fired for even mentioning statistical results which everyone knows are true? Richwine did not originate them; he just put them in a table in his dissertation, and that got him fired. That seems ok to you? Why? What kind of moral compass do you rely upon?
    , @MEH 0910
    Nancy McClernan, your boyfriend met with your bête noire. Looks like they're getting along just fine:

    https://twitter.com/sapinker/status/978483768099930112
  186. @anon
    In a letter to slate, Pinker explained why he hadn't read Culture of Critique, and didn't think that it met the threshold of attention-worthiness:

    1. By stating that Jews promulgate scientific hypotheses because they are Jewish, he is engaging in ad hominem argumentation that is outside the bounds of normal scientific discourse and an obvious waste of time to engage. MacDonald has already announced that I will reject his ideas because I am Jewish, so what's the point of replying to them?

    2. MacDonald's main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups – are opposed by powerful bodies of data and theory, which Tooby, Cosmides, and many other evolutionary psychologists have written about in detail. Of course any assumption can be questioned, but there are no signs that MacDonald has taken on the burden of proof of showing that the majority view is wrong.

    3. MacDonald's various theses, even if worthy of scientific debate individually, collectively add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of Jews, couched in value-laden, disparaging language. It is impossible to avoid the impression that this is not an ordinary scientific hypothesis.

    4. The argument, as presented in the summaries, fails two basic tests of scientific credibility: a control group (in this case, other minority ethnic groups), and a comparison with alternative hypotheses (such as Thomas Sowell's convincing analysis of "middlemen minorities" such as the Jews, presented in his magisterial study of migration, race, conquest, and culture).[8]
     

    Reading this today, post red-pill, is almost comic.

    Yes Steven, Jews promote (or dismiss) scientific theories because they think it will be good for the Jews. That is what they do. It's obvious to everyone who's reasonably smart, pays attention and is capable of being honest with themselves. This isn't an astonishing concept. White Christian men get accused of it all the time: libeled, as Samuel Morton was by Gould. What's astonishing is how self-deceptive Jews are that they can't admit it.

    Jews: "How dare you accuse us of being guilty of the accusation for which we libeled you, and which we are ourselves, in fact, guilty. That's . . . ad hominem! I will consider nothing else you say."

    Point by point:
    1. It is a well established fact that Freud, Boas, and the Frankfurt School theorists were Jews who "promulgated scientific hypotheses" on behalf of Jewish interests. Freud is quoted saying as such: He envisioned himself as Hannibal against the Roman Empire, a Semite against White Western Civilization. The authors of the Authoritarian personality pathologized the nuclear family because it was 'authoritarian.' (Meaning: Nazi. Inconveniently, they found that the most 'authoritarian' families were Orthodox Jews. Oops.)

    Was Gould engaging in "ad hominem argumentation that is outside the bounds of normal scientific discourse" when he accused Morton of falsifying his skull measurements because he was a White racist? Does that mean The Mismeasure of Man should be dismissed completely? What about Gould's entire body of work?

    Is explaining a motive based on the identity of the perpetrator really an ad hominem? What if you have a quotation by the perpetrator where he explains his motive? Is it still an ad hominem?

    [Did MacDonald announce that Pinker would reject his ideas because Pinker is Jewish, or is Pinker inferring that from Kevin's thesis?]

    2. Group selection is a theory. There are arguments for and against.

    3. Throughout the West, White Christian students find that their Jewish professors' lectures "add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of" White Gentiles, and are "couched in value-laden, disparaging language." Maybe they should dismiss everything their Jewish professors say? [They should. (in the social sciences) They should regurgitate it on a test, and then mentally mark it as "toxic Jewish propaganda," and take the opposite message from whatever their Jewish professor intended. Good rule of thumb.]

    4. So, he wants Kevin to discuss alternative theories and compare Jews to other minorities. [Kevin doesn't? How does Pinker know? He didn't read it.] This is not an unreasonable ask, but isn't it sorta like saying: "I dismiss Darwin's theories out of hand because there weren't enough chapters on Creationism"? "Origin of Species needs more discussion of Intelligent Design before I'll read it. It's just not scientific unless it exhaustively expounds and debunks all other hypotheses." Yeah, whatever.

    Gut gesagt. I would email this comment to Pinker if I thought it were likely he would respond to it.

  187. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Columbine totally dominated CNN coverage for a week or more

    I covered this stupid Columbine Wannabee shooting in Santee, CA in 2001 and complained that all of us journalists were just encouraging more of these shootings. At 11:00 PM there were seven TV reporters and camera crews lined up ten feet apart reporting live. I counted 31 TV trucks on the site.

    But then, to my surprise, Columbine-type shootings stopped for a couple of years. I suspect 9/11 proved a distraction, but who knows?

    “Stopped”. But, as noted, didn’t end. 9/11? Mehh, maybe. I like what contributor had to say about the Matrix gun-play etc. Then there’s “Terminator”, “Pulp Fiction”, “Taxi Driver” and all those movies featuring gun totin’ superheros and, more recently, heroines (“Remember the ladies” as Abigail Adams wrote to John).

    I would say that we here in the US of A exhibit a level of cognitive dissonance that is simply breath taking. Then again, as a Frog journalist once wrote ( and I’m paraphrasing) “America’s fatal weakness: Wanting it both ways.”

  188. @Dieter Kief
    Pinker just made a European presentation tour for Enlightenment Now!.

    In Germany, he got prominetly featured in a long interviws in Der Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung (the biggest quality-newspaper).
    Both would have written not a single line about this book, if Pinker would speak out for HBD.

    So - there are reasons to be cautious.

    BUT: Pinker cites Immanuel Kant in his recent book numerous times: That you ought to be courageous, in using your own (free) mind.

    For Kant, it was crucial to speak the truth. Kant would not have accepted to hide the truth for tactical reasons.

    I just read what John Derbyshire wrote about race and the liberal mind:

    "Bottom line here: Race denialism isn’t just scientifically illiterate, it’s lethal."

    (Such thoughts make it even harder to ignore Kant's imperative, to be courageous - - and harder too, to ignore the performative selfcontradiction, Steven Pinker is now obviously in. - Unless he had other reasons than tactical ones for not speaking out about HBD. Which I firmly doubt).

    Kant said do the objectively moral thing with no consideration of the the consequences. In the real world no-one is queuing up to do that–they want want to live and get on in life. Not pick up the tab for paying more than lip service to morally purity (death and degradation). Kevin MacDonald commented “conforming to the norm becomes a preference that has intrinsic, rather than instrumental value”. There is a winnowing out and it varies from place to place.

    Germany had a real chance of benefiting from aggressive exterminatory war in the late 30’s. Now it doesn’t. Eichmann quoted Kant’s categorical imperative when defending himself at his trial. The pre WW2 (and1) Germans knew all about the Enlightenment.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    As I said - it was Pinker's choice to praise Kant's categorical imperative in "Enlightenment Now!" (p. 412) - and the performative selfcontradictions that follow are therefor entirely his cup of tea.

    What Pinker does not seem to get is, that Kant's imperative was (explicitly!) meant as the foundation of a humanistic law/juridical system. That's what made it flourish and thought-provoking- up until these days: Jürgen Habermas' democratic and humanistic law-theory "Between Facts and Norms" draws heavily from Kant. - Pinker ignores Habermas - as he ignores the Kant of the three Critiques - unfortunately.
  189. For Pinker everything good since the 18th century is thanks to the Enlightenment. Bad things that have happened (when he’s not ignoring them) are a temporary detour from the path of Enlightenment progress (lengthy gaps in progress are also ignored), or else the Enlightenment improperly applied, and therefore not the fault of the Enlightenment.

    But don’t mistake Pinker for an uncritical adherent:

    For all the prescience of the founders, framers and philosophers, Enlightenment Now is not a book of Enlighten-olatry. The Enlightenment thinkers were men and women of their age, the 18th century. Some were racists, sexists, antisemites, slaveholders or duellists.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/feb/11/reason-is-non-negotioable-steven-pinker-enlightenment-now-extract

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    Maximilien Robespierre considered himself an apostle of the enlightenment. I guess you can't enlighten some people without separating them from their heads.
  190. @C. Van Carter
    For Pinker everything good since the 18th century is thanks to the Enlightenment. Bad things that have happened (when he's not ignoring them) are a temporary detour from the path of Enlightenment progress (lengthy gaps in progress are also ignored), or else the Enlightenment improperly applied, and therefore not the fault of the Enlightenment.

    But don't mistake Pinker for an uncritical adherent:


    For all the prescience of the founders, framers and philosophers, Enlightenment Now is not a book of Enlighten-olatry. The Enlightenment thinkers were men and women of their age, the 18th century. Some were racists, sexists, antisemites, slaveholders or duellists.
     
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/feb/11/reason-is-non-negotioable-steven-pinker-enlightenment-now-extract

    Maximilien Robespierre considered himself an apostle of the enlightenment. I guess you can’t enlighten some people without separating them from their heads.

    • LOL: Harry Baldwin
  191. @middle aged vet . . .
    "Jane Austen sells a lot of books these days".

    That is good to know. I have read all her books and would, to tell the truth, want a daughter of mine to marry someone better then Darcy or Kingsley and his ilk, but, to be honest, we are all pretty much faced with bad choices, and Jane Austen is a good guide to making the best realistic choice.

    I too have read all of Jane Austen and this is pretty clever: https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Darcys-Diary-Amanda-Grange/dp/1402208766

    It is Bingley, btw.

    • Replies: @middle aged vet . . .
    thanks for the info. I was remembering, incorrectly, Professor Kingsley or Kingsfield from the Paper Chase, played by John Houseman as a sort of older version of one of the eccentric and hard-to-love guys an Austen female character might have to settle for.
  192. @BB753
    Edinburgh is certainly more interesting and beautiful than London. And less diverse and far more British. And a city you can actually visit on foot, unlike London.

    @175 BB753: “Edinburgh is certainly more interesting and beautiful than London. And less diverse and far more British. And a city you can actually visit on foot, unlike London.”

    Agree x 1,000,000. London has a rich and fascinating history and amazing individual buildings and museums, but it is enormous, sprawling, mobbed with tourists, and less and less English every year. Edinburgh (both the old and “new” sections) are much more walkable, approachable, and knowable. You can immerse yourself in the atmosphere, environment, and soul of the place with far fewer “diverse” distractions or glaring inconsistencies. The local politics, though, appear to be equally toxic and destructive in the long term.

    I love(d) England and Scotland both, but for the visitor (even relatively long-term) Edinburgh wins the capitol city comparison. Outside of that, wherever one finds the locals in their natural habitat (the pub, chippy, village square, church, etc.) is equally hospitable, warm, strange yet familiar, and wonderful. I deeply mourn the fate of both nations.

    • Agree: BB753
  193. @J.Ross
    Remind me where the Harvard symbologist studied pharmacology.

    You do know he is a clinical psychologist and held Timothy Learys Chair in the same subject at Harvard.

    Are you saying those phds are not qualified in all aspects of pychotheroputic drug administration and management? Or they spend all day analyzing symbols?

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    held Timothy Learys Chair
    Say no more psychonaut!
  194. @PhysicistDave
    MEH 0910 wrote:

    Nancy McClernan has actually put up a post on her blog about the couple of comments I made here about her blog. She gets the links right, but she mistakenly says that they took place at Razib Khan’s blog instead of here:
     
    Ms. McLernan has a psychologically interesting (negative) fixation on Ayn Rand, which results in some (unintentionally) funny remarks. E.g.,

    One of the useful aspects of Ayn Rand is that she hid nothing of what she thought - thanks to her own inability to dissemble (which I suspect is the result of her undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome)...
     
    Note: McLernan is attacking Rand because of Rand's supposed inability to lie. Alas, anyone who is aware of the details of the famous Rand/Branden affair (as McLernan is) knows that Rand was capable of lying through her teeth. (I suppose McLernan would claim that Rand was not very good at it!)

    McLernan is similarly off-base in that she repeatedly equates libertarians with Randians: in fact, Rand openly and publicly despised libertarians, and some libertarians -- e.g., Murray Rothbard -- were none too kind towards Rand.

    McLernan's obsession with Rand has reached the point where McLernan actually wrote a play about Rand! Apparently the Rand character sort of escaped the author's clutches (rather like Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost):

    The biggest problem with DARK MARKET is that the Ayn Rand character is so vivid she steals the play - she is basically the bad guy...
     
    Personally, I find this all quite amusing, but I doubt McLernan would find my amusement amusing.

    Anyway, mixing up Razib and Sailer is the least of this lady's problems.

    Someone needs to tell her that Rand is dead.

    McClernan fixed her Razib Khan mistake.

    Now she has written a piece responding to your comment : Ayn Rand & Steven Pinker

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    Thanks, MEH. I have replied to Nancy on this thread, since she does not allow comments. Nancy's probably not really a bad sort, just a little caught up in a New York City bubble where the distance from Fifth Ave. to Eighth Ave. is bigger than the distance from Cleveland to Salt Lake City. I suspect I'd be friends with her in real life.

    And, at least she is talking to people she disagrees with (or thinks she disagrees with).
  195. Amy Chua’s got a new one:

    ‘Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations’

    “If we don’t want to be perpetually caught off guard, fighting unwinnable wars, the United States has to come to grips with political tribalism abroad. And if we want to save our nation we need to come to grips with its growing power at home.”

    Sounds iSteve-ish

    (Have not read)

    • Replies: @L Woods
    The last sentence is of course a reference to the terrible, terrible tribalism of white gentiles in electing the blonde Nazi Klansman Drumpf. What other sort of tribalism could the country possibly be faced with?
  196. @mobi
    Amy Chua's got a new one:

    'Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations'

    “If we don’t want to be perpetually caught off guard, fighting unwinnable wars, the United States has to come to grips with political tribalism abroad. And if we want to save our nation we need to come to grips with its growing power at home.”
     
    Sounds iSteve-ish

    (Have not read)

    The last sentence is of course a reference to the terrible, terrible tribalism of white gentiles in electing the blonde Nazi Klansman Drumpf. What other sort of tribalism could the country possibly be faced with?

  197. @Highlander

    for themselves and their families it is just as real and terrible as it is when anyone is killed in a mass shooting IRL
     
    Not really.

    When I came out of the movie theater, I felt an odd disconnection from reality that took a few minutes to shake off.

     

    That was the point. Most science fiction is a socio-political critique of modern society. Carrie-Anne Moss sure looks good though.
  198. @El Dato
    Does anyone really read the Spiegel anymore?

    It's a depressing journal, full of innuendo, moaning, self-loathing and chasing of non-problems (I can't remember if magic dirt makes an appearance) and there has to be a reminder about How Hitler Happened & Then Holocaust every 3rd issue at least.

    Der Spiegel is still the most read German weekly political magazine – by far. But they lost a third of their readership in the last – five years, ca.. And the still existing readers are growing older and older…

    – They’ ve lost their way ca. eight years ago, when Thilo Sarrazin’s megaselling book against unregulated immigration “Deutschland schafft sich ab” (Germany does away with itself) appeared.

    One interesting detail: Sarrazin quoted at length from “The Bell Curve” – – which was then interpreted by Schnibben and Augstein junior from Der Spiegel and by editor Frank Schirrmacher from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) as – you know: Hitler stuff…

    Sarrazin is still doing very well, whereas FAZ and Der Spiegel are declining – economically a n d intellectually.

    I really wish they wouldn’t be declining, I have to admit.

  199. @Sean
    Kant said do the objectively moral thing with no consideration of the the consequences. In the real world no-one is queuing up to do that--they want want to live and get on in life. Not pick up the tab for paying more than lip service to morally purity (death and degradation). Kevin MacDonald commented "conforming to the norm becomes a preference that has intrinsic, rather than instrumental value". There is a winnowing out and it varies from place to place.

    Germany had a real chance of benefiting from aggressive exterminatory war in the late 30's. Now it doesn't. Eichmann quoted Kant's categorical imperative when defending himself at his trial. The pre WW2 (and1) Germans knew all about the Enlightenment.

    As I said – it was Pinker’s choice to praise Kant’s categorical imperative in “Enlightenment Now!” (p. 412) – and the performative selfcontradictions that follow are therefor entirely his cup of tea.

    What Pinker does not seem to get is, that Kant’s imperative was (explicitly!) meant as the foundation of a humanistic law/juridical system. That’s what made it flourish and thought-provoking- up until these days: Jürgen Habermas’ democratic and humanistic law-theory “Between Facts and Norms” draws heavily from Kant. – Pinker ignores Habermas – as he ignores the Kant of the three Critiques – unfortunately.

  200. @O'Really
    Another interesting question: neither violent teenage males nor guns are new phenomena; yet school shootings are. Why?

    According to Ann Coulter, mass shootings started increasing at the same time America started emptying out its mental hospitals (the 1970s). In the UK Commonwealth, there was also a slightly less extreme emptying of hospitals and a number of Rambo style shootings in the 1980s.

    The UK Commonwealth solution was to do a moderate U-turn on involuntary treatment of the mentally ill, and make it harder for the mentally ill to access firearms. However, there are a lot less firearms in circulation than in the US, so this wouldn’t necessary have as much impact as it would in an American context.

  201. @Hello right-wing racists of UNZ
    I don't think you understand the word "literally" since nowhere did I literally call Unz Review “Der Stürmer" nor mention Waffen-SS.

    Also my blog post from 7 years ago is not a good illustration of "the Left is panicking..."

    This probably won't help since you seem to imagine things in a text that aren't there and miss what is, but I'll take a shot: my post about Pinker and Khan was not to paint them both as Nazis, it was to point out that although Pinker claims to disagree with the notion of black intellectual inferiority promoted by Khan and other HBD types, the first person he looks to in order to defend his work from a very good critique by the New Yorker is Khan.

    FYI - I do agree with at least a couple of commenters here who say something like this:

    Yes I agree that Pinker is crafty about where he stops defending honest people by name, and switches to a broad-based blanket-defence, simply arguing for allowing honest discussion of all viewpoints. So for example he was willing to defend Lawrence Summers by name, but only would defend Jason Richwine and James Watson in a general sense.
     
    Isn't that nice we can at least agree about that one thing?

    And as far as I can tell Pinker has never explained exactly why he doesn't agree about race while agreeing with just about everything else claimed by HBD.

    It appears to me that Pinker does agree but doesn't want to have his career stained by admitting it, so he outsources his view about race to people like Sailer and Khan and lets them take the hit.

    Hi, Nancy!
    You seem to take things too literally and lack a general sense of humor! Most contributors and commenters to The Unz Review aren’t right-wing racists, “Stürmer” types as I put it in jest. Steve Sailer and Razib Khan certainly aren’t.

    As to my remark that the Left in power feels threatened, I’d say that if you Liberals weren’t in panic mode, YouTube and Facebook and Twitter wouldn’t be cracking down on dissenters from the Narrative, and you, Miss McClernan (may I call you Nancy? Oops, I already did! Sorry!) wouldn’t show up here and stoop to reply to us humble Unzites. Just sayin’.
    As to Pinker, I won’t defend one of your kind. Because you might renounce him for being socially gauche sometimes, but he’s a Liberal like you in the things that matter: establishment type, defense of the Enlightenment, social justice values, sticking to the Narrative or rather embroidering the Narrative to make it seem more up to date scientifically.. The latter is probably the reason he got in touch with Khan. You see, Pinker tries to remain as honest intellectually as possible in the current PC atmosphere and within the limited confines of Liberalism, and thus looked into the possibility of a correlation between race and IQ. He surely disliked the raw truth he saw, and tried to keep away from the race/IQ business altogether and cover his tracks. But it was too late, for the Thought Police was already hot on his trail, as your posts show.
    You won’t be able to watson the guy, though, because he’s smarter than you and can also play the Jew Card, like Larry Summers.

  202. @Hello right-wing racists of UNZ
    I don't think you understand the word "literally" since nowhere did I literally call Unz Review “Der Stürmer" nor mention Waffen-SS.

    Also my blog post from 7 years ago is not a good illustration of "the Left is panicking..."

    This probably won't help since you seem to imagine things in a text that aren't there and miss what is, but I'll take a shot: my post about Pinker and Khan was not to paint them both as Nazis, it was to point out that although Pinker claims to disagree with the notion of black intellectual inferiority promoted by Khan and other HBD types, the first person he looks to in order to defend his work from a very good critique by the New Yorker is Khan.

    FYI - I do agree with at least a couple of commenters here who say something like this:

    Yes I agree that Pinker is crafty about where he stops defending honest people by name, and switches to a broad-based blanket-defence, simply arguing for allowing honest discussion of all viewpoints. So for example he was willing to defend Lawrence Summers by name, but only would defend Jason Richwine and James Watson in a general sense.
     
    Isn't that nice we can at least agree about that one thing?

    And as far as I can tell Pinker has never explained exactly why he doesn't agree about race while agreeing with just about everything else claimed by HBD.

    It appears to me that Pinker does agree but doesn't want to have his career stained by admitting it, so he outsources his view about race to people like Sailer and Khan and lets them take the hit.

    Ummm…. Nancy, this is kind of weird all of us carrying on a conversation with you in Sailer’s comments here after you try to reply on your own blog (where you do not allow comments). But, hey, whatever.

    Does it, though, ever occur to you that just maybe not everyone who comments here agrees with everyone else? I mean, since you insist on labeling us all as “right-wing racists of UNZ”???

    If you were willing to allow comments on your blog, I would have commented there: would that mean that I should be labeled as someone who holds your opinions or that you should be held accountable for my opinions?

    You have had positive things to say about PZ Myers on your blog. I have posted in PZ’s comments section numerous times. I more or less agree with PZ’s views on religion (i.e., I am an atheist, although I only get as strident as PZ when I am in a really bad mood!). On the other hand, I often (not always) disagree with PZ on politics. Does the fact that I have commented numerous times on PZ’s blog mean that he should be held accountable for my views or vice versa?

    If you think everyone who comments on Sailer’s blog believes that America is for white people only, you are sorely and deeply mistaken. I am married to a woman of a different race; we have biracial children. I have good neighbors who include an African-American, Iranian immigrants (now US citizens), a Jewish family who immigrated from South Africa, a couple guys who were Army Air Corps during WW II, etc. I am proud to have all of these people as neighbors: they are all “good Americans.”

    I do also think the immigration debate is a legitimate topic of discussion: perhaps this is where you and I disagree. I think that in a perfect world it should be as easy for people to relocate from Mumbai to California as it now is for people to relocate from Iowa to California. Alas, I do not think we live in a perfect world where such a policy is feasible. And, so I am interested in contrasting views on the issue of immigration.

    You are free to disagree. But, again, if you think that everyone who engage in discussion or debate on Sailer’s blog holds the same views, well, that is just as silly as thinking that Rand generally agreed with libertarians (she hated them!) or vice versa.

    By the way, did you read the link I gave to the Rothbard essay?

    Since you fancy yourself a playwright, perhaps you would also enjoy Rothbard’s one-act play poking fun at Rand! An awful lot of libertarians were way ahead of you in warning of the dangers of the Rand cult: I myself have had numerous unpleasant run-ins with the Randians.

    And, for the record, as a libertarian myself let me heartily endorse your condemnation of Alan Greenspan: I saw him for what he was back in the 1980s — a tool of crony capitalism.

  203. @MEH 0910
    McClernan fixed her Razib Khan mistake.

    Now she has written a piece responding to your comment : Ayn Rand & Steven Pinker

    Thanks, MEH. I have replied to Nancy on this thread, since she does not allow comments. Nancy’s probably not really a bad sort, just a little caught up in a New York City bubble where the distance from Fifth Ave. to Eighth Ave. is bigger than the distance from Cleveland to Salt Lake City. I suspect I’d be friends with her in real life.

    And, at least she is talking to people she disagrees with (or thinks she disagrees with).

    • Replies: @J.Ross

    I have replied to Nancy on this thread
     
    Great, now she'll never find it.
  204. @Anonymous
    You do know he is a clinical psychologist and held Timothy Learys Chair in the same subject at Harvard.

    Are you saying those phds are not qualified in all aspects of pychotheroputic drug administration and management? Or they spend all day analyzing symbols?

    held Timothy Learys Chair
    Say no more psychonaut!

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    The academic chair still exists, that's how they work.

    I thought you were making a point in good faith with the needed background knowledge to understand the points of discussion. Since it is not so, thank you for your negative validation of my original point. Do not immediately empower people to fight back at life without doing the hard work of self improvement by giving them a SSI pill and not expect blowback.
  205. @PhysicistDave
    Thanks, MEH. I have replied to Nancy on this thread, since she does not allow comments. Nancy's probably not really a bad sort, just a little caught up in a New York City bubble where the distance from Fifth Ave. to Eighth Ave. is bigger than the distance from Cleveland to Salt Lake City. I suspect I'd be friends with her in real life.

    And, at least she is talking to people she disagrees with (or thinks she disagrees with).

    I have replied to Nancy on this thread

    Great, now she’ll never find it.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    J. Ross wrote to me:

    Great, now she’ll never find it
     
    J. R., Nancy McClernan is the person posting here as "Hello right-wing racists of UNZ." She has made clear that this is her on-screen handle here. Read her comments above under that screen-name and you'll see.
  206. @anon
    In a letter to slate, Pinker explained why he hadn't read Culture of Critique, and didn't think that it met the threshold of attention-worthiness:

    1. By stating that Jews promulgate scientific hypotheses because they are Jewish, he is engaging in ad hominem argumentation that is outside the bounds of normal scientific discourse and an obvious waste of time to engage. MacDonald has already announced that I will reject his ideas because I am Jewish, so what's the point of replying to them?

    2. MacDonald's main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups – are opposed by powerful bodies of data and theory, which Tooby, Cosmides, and many other evolutionary psychologists have written about in detail. Of course any assumption can be questioned, but there are no signs that MacDonald has taken on the burden of proof of showing that the majority view is wrong.

    3. MacDonald's various theses, even if worthy of scientific debate individually, collectively add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of Jews, couched in value-laden, disparaging language. It is impossible to avoid the impression that this is not an ordinary scientific hypothesis.

    4. The argument, as presented in the summaries, fails two basic tests of scientific credibility: a control group (in this case, other minority ethnic groups), and a comparison with alternative hypotheses (such as Thomas Sowell's convincing analysis of "middlemen minorities" such as the Jews, presented in his magisterial study of migration, race, conquest, and culture).[8]
     

    Reading this today, post red-pill, is almost comic.

    Yes Steven, Jews promote (or dismiss) scientific theories because they think it will be good for the Jews. That is what they do. It's obvious to everyone who's reasonably smart, pays attention and is capable of being honest with themselves. This isn't an astonishing concept. White Christian men get accused of it all the time: libeled, as Samuel Morton was by Gould. What's astonishing is how self-deceptive Jews are that they can't admit it.

    Jews: "How dare you accuse us of being guilty of the accusation for which we libeled you, and which we are ourselves, in fact, guilty. That's . . . ad hominem! I will consider nothing else you say."

    Point by point:
    1. It is a well established fact that Freud, Boas, and the Frankfurt School theorists were Jews who "promulgated scientific hypotheses" on behalf of Jewish interests. Freud is quoted saying as such: He envisioned himself as Hannibal against the Roman Empire, a Semite against White Western Civilization. The authors of the Authoritarian personality pathologized the nuclear family because it was 'authoritarian.' (Meaning: Nazi. Inconveniently, they found that the most 'authoritarian' families were Orthodox Jews. Oops.)

    Was Gould engaging in "ad hominem argumentation that is outside the bounds of normal scientific discourse" when he accused Morton of falsifying his skull measurements because he was a White racist? Does that mean The Mismeasure of Man should be dismissed completely? What about Gould's entire body of work?

    Is explaining a motive based on the identity of the perpetrator really an ad hominem? What if you have a quotation by the perpetrator where he explains his motive? Is it still an ad hominem?

    [Did MacDonald announce that Pinker would reject his ideas because Pinker is Jewish, or is Pinker inferring that from Kevin's thesis?]

    2. Group selection is a theory. There are arguments for and against.

    3. Throughout the West, White Christian students find that their Jewish professors' lectures "add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of" White Gentiles, and are "couched in value-laden, disparaging language." Maybe they should dismiss everything their Jewish professors say? [They should. (in the social sciences) They should regurgitate it on a test, and then mentally mark it as "toxic Jewish propaganda," and take the opposite message from whatever their Jewish professor intended. Good rule of thumb.]

    4. So, he wants Kevin to discuss alternative theories and compare Jews to other minorities. [Kevin doesn't? How does Pinker know? He didn't read it.] This is not an unreasonable ask, but isn't it sorta like saying: "I dismiss Darwin's theories out of hand because there weren't enough chapters on Creationism"? "Origin of Species needs more discussion of Intelligent Design before I'll read it. It's just not scientific unless it exhaustively expounds and debunks all other hypotheses." Yeah, whatever.

    anon wrote:

    Group selection is a theory. There are arguments for and against.

    The theory can be and has been formulated mathematically. And, the result is that it is very, very difficult to get group selection to work unless you have unusual genetics such as exist among bees or, of course, “kin altruism” among closely related relatives.

    Since Williams’ Adaptation and Natural Selection back in the ’60s, population biologists have rightly been very skeptical of claims of group selection except for the sort of special cases I just mentioned.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    Especially when they violate mathematics!

  207. @Jim Don Bob
    I too have read all of Jane Austen and this is pretty clever: https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Darcys-Diary-Amanda-Grange/dp/1402208766

    It is Bingley, btw.

    thanks for the info. I was remembering, incorrectly, Professor Kingsley or Kingsfield from the Paper Chase, played by John Houseman as a sort of older version of one of the eccentric and hard-to-love guys an Austen female character might have to settle for.

  208. @anon
    In a letter to slate, Pinker explained why he hadn't read Culture of Critique, and didn't think that it met the threshold of attention-worthiness:

    1. By stating that Jews promulgate scientific hypotheses because they are Jewish, he is engaging in ad hominem argumentation that is outside the bounds of normal scientific discourse and an obvious waste of time to engage. MacDonald has already announced that I will reject his ideas because I am Jewish, so what's the point of replying to them?

    2. MacDonald's main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups – are opposed by powerful bodies of data and theory, which Tooby, Cosmides, and many other evolutionary psychologists have written about in detail. Of course any assumption can be questioned, but there are no signs that MacDonald has taken on the burden of proof of showing that the majority view is wrong.

    3. MacDonald's various theses, even if worthy of scientific debate individually, collectively add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of Jews, couched in value-laden, disparaging language. It is impossible to avoid the impression that this is not an ordinary scientific hypothesis.

    4. The argument, as presented in the summaries, fails two basic tests of scientific credibility: a control group (in this case, other minority ethnic groups), and a comparison with alternative hypotheses (such as Thomas Sowell's convincing analysis of "middlemen minorities" such as the Jews, presented in his magisterial study of migration, race, conquest, and culture).[8]
     

    Reading this today, post red-pill, is almost comic.

    Yes Steven, Jews promote (or dismiss) scientific theories because they think it will be good for the Jews. That is what they do. It's obvious to everyone who's reasonably smart, pays attention and is capable of being honest with themselves. This isn't an astonishing concept. White Christian men get accused of it all the time: libeled, as Samuel Morton was by Gould. What's astonishing is how self-deceptive Jews are that they can't admit it.

    Jews: "How dare you accuse us of being guilty of the accusation for which we libeled you, and which we are ourselves, in fact, guilty. That's . . . ad hominem! I will consider nothing else you say."

    Point by point:
    1. It is a well established fact that Freud, Boas, and the Frankfurt School theorists were Jews who "promulgated scientific hypotheses" on behalf of Jewish interests. Freud is quoted saying as such: He envisioned himself as Hannibal against the Roman Empire, a Semite against White Western Civilization. The authors of the Authoritarian personality pathologized the nuclear family because it was 'authoritarian.' (Meaning: Nazi. Inconveniently, they found that the most 'authoritarian' families were Orthodox Jews. Oops.)

    Was Gould engaging in "ad hominem argumentation that is outside the bounds of normal scientific discourse" when he accused Morton of falsifying his skull measurements because he was a White racist? Does that mean The Mismeasure of Man should be dismissed completely? What about Gould's entire body of work?

    Is explaining a motive based on the identity of the perpetrator really an ad hominem? What if you have a quotation by the perpetrator where he explains his motive? Is it still an ad hominem?

    [Did MacDonald announce that Pinker would reject his ideas because Pinker is Jewish, or is Pinker inferring that from Kevin's thesis?]

    2. Group selection is a theory. There are arguments for and against.

    3. Throughout the West, White Christian students find that their Jewish professors' lectures "add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of" White Gentiles, and are "couched in value-laden, disparaging language." Maybe they should dismiss everything their Jewish professors say? [They should. (in the social sciences) They should regurgitate it on a test, and then mentally mark it as "toxic Jewish propaganda," and take the opposite message from whatever their Jewish professor intended. Good rule of thumb.]

    4. So, he wants Kevin to discuss alternative theories and compare Jews to other minorities. [Kevin doesn't? How does Pinker know? He didn't read it.] This is not an unreasonable ask, but isn't it sorta like saying: "I dismiss Darwin's theories out of hand because there weren't enough chapters on Creationism"? "Origin of Species needs more discussion of Intelligent Design before I'll read it. It's just not scientific unless it exhaustively expounds and debunks all other hypotheses." Yeah, whatever.

    anon quoted Pinker as saying:

    MacDonald’s main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups – are opposed by powerful bodies of data and theory, which Tooby, Cosmides, and many other evolutionary psychologists have written about in detail. Of course any assumption can be questioned, but there are no signs that MacDonald has taken on the burden of proof of showing that the majority view is wrong.

    Pinker is right.

    Although I am a physicist, I am married to a biologist and I know something about population biology: e.g., I have read George C. Williams’ classic Adaptation and Natural Selection, which was the key text alerting biologists as to how problematic “group selection” really is.

    And, for that reason, I have never been able to make it all the way through Kevin MacDonald’s books.

    “Group selection” has a very specific meaning in biology. It does not merely mean that some trait did in fact help a group survive and expand: it means that the trait in question spread because groups that had this trait out-competed groups that did not and therefore the trait became more widespread within the species in general.

    I do not think MacDonald even believes this about the traits he ascribes to the Jews: i.e., he does not believe that “Jewish” traits have spread throughout the human race because the Jews wiped out groups that lacked these traits.

    Indeed, from the viewpoint of population biology — numbers is all that counts: you gotta spread your genes! — Jews have not exactly taken over the human gene pool.

    MacDonald may have some interesting things to say about the history and culture of the Jews. But, when he purports to use terms and theories from population biology that he himself just does not understand, he guarantees that he will turn off possible readers such as Pinker or me.

    Vita brevis: we have to have some filter to decide what to read and what not to read, and when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile.

    • Disagree: ben tillman
    • Replies: @Highlander

    when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile
     
    One discards Isaac Newton on those grounds to one's intellectual peril. Does one dismiss J.S Bach's music out of hand because of his belief in God? Aristotle's syllogisms due to his incorrect conclusions about human anatomy?
    , @ben tillman

    MacDonald’s main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups. . . .
     
    MacDonald's work is not about group selection. You haven't read his books, and you're embarrassing yourself.

    I do like this, though:


    Vita brevis: we have to have some filter to decide what to read and what not to read, and when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile.
     
    And perhaps that's where Pinker's anti-scientific views on MacDonald's work put Pinker.
    , @anon

    Vita brevis: we have to have some filter to decide what to read and what not to read, and when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile.
     
    I have a hard time believing that David Sloan Wilson should go into the discard pile.

    In practice, the filter that most people use to "decide what to read and what not to" is whether it reinforces their preexisting worldview. We're all guilty of this, (I don't claim to an exception) and I suspect that's what's going on with Steven too. (The brain didn't evolve to be rational. It evolved to rationalize what's good for us.)

    It's by exposing ourselves to truths that make us uncomfortable that we grow, and science progresses.

    , @PhysicistDave
    By the way, here is a comment from HBD Chick making the same point I am trying to make about MacDonald; perhaps she is clearer than I:

    HBD Chick: Having said all that, if I might go off track for a sec: While I think that MacDonald is right in pointing out that quite a few European Jews have been highly influential in Western academia, culture, and politics in the last couple of centuries, I don’t think he’s got the explanation for why that has been the case right. As I said earlier, I don’t buy group selection theories, and so I don’t think that how European Jews behave, on average, is a “group evolutionary strategy.” Secondly, I don’t think he’s got the explanation for why non-Jewish Europeans behave in the ways they do right, either.
     
  209. @J.Ross

    I have replied to Nancy on this thread
     
    Great, now she'll never find it.

    J. Ross wrote to me:

    Great, now she’ll never find it

    J. R., Nancy McClernan is the person posting here as “Hello right-wing racists of UNZ.” She has made clear that this is her on-screen handle here. Read her comments above under that screen-name and you’ll see.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    Oh great, I was trying to make a joke about her confusing Steve with Razib.
  210. @PhysicistDave
    MEH 0910 wrote:

    Nancy McClernan has actually put up a post on her blog about the couple of comments I made here about her blog. She gets the links right, but she mistakenly says that they took place at Razib Khan’s blog instead of here:
     
    Ms. McLernan has a psychologically interesting (negative) fixation on Ayn Rand, which results in some (unintentionally) funny remarks. E.g.,

    One of the useful aspects of Ayn Rand is that she hid nothing of what she thought - thanks to her own inability to dissemble (which I suspect is the result of her undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome)...
     
    Note: McLernan is attacking Rand because of Rand's supposed inability to lie. Alas, anyone who is aware of the details of the famous Rand/Branden affair (as McLernan is) knows that Rand was capable of lying through her teeth. (I suppose McLernan would claim that Rand was not very good at it!)

    McLernan is similarly off-base in that she repeatedly equates libertarians with Randians: in fact, Rand openly and publicly despised libertarians, and some libertarians -- e.g., Murray Rothbard -- were none too kind towards Rand.

    McLernan's obsession with Rand has reached the point where McLernan actually wrote a play about Rand! Apparently the Rand character sort of escaped the author's clutches (rather like Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost):

    The biggest problem with DARK MARKET is that the Ayn Rand character is so vivid she steals the play - she is basically the bad guy...
     
    Personally, I find this all quite amusing, but I doubt McLernan would find my amusement amusing.

    Anyway, mixing up Razib and Sailer is the least of this lady's problems.

    Someone needs to tell her that Rand is dead.

    A surprisingly high number on the Left have some severe hang-up on Rand. It is quite bizarre.

  211. @BB753
    "Welcome right-wing racists of UNZ."

    According to McClernan, a conversation between Pinker and Razib Khan amounts to a conversation between two Nazis., err, racists. And Sailer, Unz, etc are evil racists as well or worse, the Unz Review is literally "Der Stürmer" and us unzite readers and commenters literally Waffen-SS. Lol! You can tell that the Left is panicking as they feel they're starting to lose control of the narrative and their grasp on power is growing fainter day by day.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_St%C3%BCrmer

    You can tell that the Left is panicking as they feel they’re starting to lose control of the narrative and their grasp on power is growing fainter day by day.

    It would be nice to believe that.

    An alternative explanation is that they have recognised a God-given opportunity to accelerate their program of absolute social control. They’re seizing the moment to crush dissent once and for all.

    I actually suspect that many of the globalists and SJWs were delighted by Trump’s victory. It gave them the chance to proclaim that dissenters really were Evil Racist Nazis, because they could paint Trump as an Evil Racist Nazi and therefore anyone who supported him had to be by definition an Evil Racist Nazi as well. So therefore they now had the justification to push their agenda of repression much much further and faster than they would otherwise have dared.

    They can portray the fight against Trump and the Deplorables as the Final Battle Between Good and Evil. Which means it’s OK to take the most extreme measures.

  212. @Highlander
    He is being firmly pushed off the precipice by both the screaming mobs of SJWs AND Nazis anyway.

    https://mcclernan.blogspot.com/2011/11/miffed-at-new-yorker-steven-pinker.html

    https://davidduke.com/steven-pinker-harvard-admissions-ignoring-elephant-room/

    He is being firmly pushed off the precipice by both the screaming mobs of SJWs AND Nazis [sic] anyway.

    That should be “Nazis” to denote the fact that David Duke and whomever else you’re talking about aren’t really Nazis.

  213. @PhysicistDave
    anon quoted Pinker as saying:

    MacDonald’s main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups – are opposed by powerful bodies of data and theory, which Tooby, Cosmides, and many other evolutionary psychologists have written about in detail. Of course any assumption can be questioned, but there are no signs that MacDonald has taken on the burden of proof of showing that the majority view is wrong.
     
    Pinker is right.

    Although I am a physicist, I am married to a biologist and I know something about population biology: e.g., I have read George C. Williams' classic Adaptation and Natural Selection, which was the key text alerting biologists as to how problematic "group selection" really is.

    And, for that reason, I have never been able to make it all the way through Kevin MacDonald's books.

    "Group selection" has a very specific meaning in biology. It does not merely mean that some trait did in fact help a group survive and expand: it means that the trait in question spread because groups that had this trait out-competed groups that did not and therefore the trait became more widespread within the species in general.

    I do not think MacDonald even believes this about the traits he ascribes to the Jews: i.e., he does not believe that "Jewish" traits have spread throughout the human race because the Jews wiped out groups that lacked these traits.

    Indeed, from the viewpoint of population biology -- numbers is all that counts: you gotta spread your genes! -- Jews have not exactly taken over the human gene pool.

    MacDonald may have some interesting things to say about the history and culture of the Jews. But, when he purports to use terms and theories from population biology that he himself just does not understand, he guarantees that he will turn off possible readers such as Pinker or me.

    Vita brevis: we have to have some filter to decide what to read and what not to read, and when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile.

    when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile

    One discards Isaac Newton on those grounds to one’s intellectual peril. Does one dismiss J.S Bach’s music out of hand because of his belief in God? Aristotle’s syllogisms due to his incorrect conclusions about human anatomy?

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    Highlander wrote to me:

    One discards Isaac Newton on those grounds to one’s intellectual peril.
     
    Newton was not "completely wrong" on the scientific matters he wrote on. Indeed, within the limits he was dealing with (e.g., velocities much less than light), his mechanical theories remain stunningly accurate.

    Highlander also wrote:

    Does one dismiss J.S Bach’s music out of hand because of his belief in God?
     
    No, because appreciation of the music does not hinge on sharing his theology. On the other hand, I do dismiss Aquinas because of his goofy beliefs on so many things.

    I know there are probably people here who disagree with me on Aquinas, but, truth be told, few modern people really take Aquinas' detailed arguments or beliefs seriously -- much of the praise of Aquinas is from people who would never even consider reading the Summa cover to cover. Just lip service.

    Highlander also asked if I reject:

    Aristotle’s syllogisms due to his incorrect conclusions about human anatomy?
     
    Hsi syllogisms have nothing to do with his anatomy (although Aristotelian syllogisms are no longer really taught as such in modern logic, although they do of course remain valid).

    The problem with Kevin MacDonald is that he himself claims that his group-selection nonsense is integral to his writings about the Jews, rather than being just a quirky sideshow irrelevant to his main points. Pinker and I are just taking MacDonald at his word.

    And, yes, everyone: I have heard of David Sloan Wilson, et al. My and Pinker's point stands. Group selection is not impossible, but it is exceedingly unlikely except in the case of unusual genetic systems such as with bees. Anyone who wants to invoke group selection has a huge burden of evidence. MacDonald seems not to know this.
  214. @anon
    In a letter to slate, Pinker explained why he hadn't read Culture of Critique, and didn't think that it met the threshold of attention-worthiness:

    1. By stating that Jews promulgate scientific hypotheses because they are Jewish, he is engaging in ad hominem argumentation that is outside the bounds of normal scientific discourse and an obvious waste of time to engage. MacDonald has already announced that I will reject his ideas because I am Jewish, so what's the point of replying to them?

    2. MacDonald's main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups – are opposed by powerful bodies of data and theory, which Tooby, Cosmides, and many other evolutionary psychologists have written about in detail. Of course any assumption can be questioned, but there are no signs that MacDonald has taken on the burden of proof of showing that the majority view is wrong.

    3. MacDonald's various theses, even if worthy of scientific debate individually, collectively add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of Jews, couched in value-laden, disparaging language. It is impossible to avoid the impression that this is not an ordinary scientific hypothesis.

    4. The argument, as presented in the summaries, fails two basic tests of scientific credibility: a control group (in this case, other minority ethnic groups), and a comparison with alternative hypotheses (such as Thomas Sowell's convincing analysis of "middlemen minorities" such as the Jews, presented in his magisterial study of migration, race, conquest, and culture).[8]
     

    Reading this today, post red-pill, is almost comic.

    Yes Steven, Jews promote (or dismiss) scientific theories because they think it will be good for the Jews. That is what they do. It's obvious to everyone who's reasonably smart, pays attention and is capable of being honest with themselves. This isn't an astonishing concept. White Christian men get accused of it all the time: libeled, as Samuel Morton was by Gould. What's astonishing is how self-deceptive Jews are that they can't admit it.

    Jews: "How dare you accuse us of being guilty of the accusation for which we libeled you, and which we are ourselves, in fact, guilty. That's . . . ad hominem! I will consider nothing else you say."

    Point by point:
    1. It is a well established fact that Freud, Boas, and the Frankfurt School theorists were Jews who "promulgated scientific hypotheses" on behalf of Jewish interests. Freud is quoted saying as such: He envisioned himself as Hannibal against the Roman Empire, a Semite against White Western Civilization. The authors of the Authoritarian personality pathologized the nuclear family because it was 'authoritarian.' (Meaning: Nazi. Inconveniently, they found that the most 'authoritarian' families were Orthodox Jews. Oops.)

    Was Gould engaging in "ad hominem argumentation that is outside the bounds of normal scientific discourse" when he accused Morton of falsifying his skull measurements because he was a White racist? Does that mean The Mismeasure of Man should be dismissed completely? What about Gould's entire body of work?

    Is explaining a motive based on the identity of the perpetrator really an ad hominem? What if you have a quotation by the perpetrator where he explains his motive? Is it still an ad hominem?

    [Did MacDonald announce that Pinker would reject his ideas because Pinker is Jewish, or is Pinker inferring that from Kevin's thesis?]

    2. Group selection is a theory. There are arguments for and against.

    3. Throughout the West, White Christian students find that their Jewish professors' lectures "add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of" White Gentiles, and are "couched in value-laden, disparaging language." Maybe they should dismiss everything their Jewish professors say? [They should. (in the social sciences) They should regurgitate it on a test, and then mentally mark it as "toxic Jewish propaganda," and take the opposite message from whatever their Jewish professor intended. Good rule of thumb.]

    4. So, he wants Kevin to discuss alternative theories and compare Jews to other minorities. [Kevin doesn't? How does Pinker know? He didn't read it.] This is not an unreasonable ask, but isn't it sorta like saying: "I dismiss Darwin's theories out of hand because there weren't enough chapters on Creationism"? "Origin of Species needs more discussion of Intelligent Design before I'll read it. It's just not scientific unless it exhaustively expounds and debunks all other hypotheses." Yeah, whatever.

    Yeah, he’s rattled In paragraph 1, he wildly misuses the term “ad hominem”. It would be “ad hominem” if MacDonald said something is false because the person saying it is Jewish. Determining that something is false and then ascribing a motivation for the falsehood is something entirely different.

    In paragraph 2, he displays total ignorance of “group selection” and (of course) MacDonald’s work, which explicitly distances itself from that concept. Nonetheless, despite MacDonald’s care to point that his theories do not depend on “group selection”, group selection is a fact, and only people who haven’t read D.S. Wilson or are too stupid to understand him doubt that. Hint: “individuals” are groups, so if “individual” selection exists, so does group selection.

    In paragraph 3, he rejects the notion of extraordinary scientific hypotheses. Science can never surprise us or teach us anything, apparently. And if he didn’t read MacDonald, how does he know that his theories “add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of Jews, couched in value-laden, disparaging language”? And, of course, they don’t.

    Paragraph 4 is idiotic. We don’t have “control groups” when we study iguanas or spiders or bees. We just observe and explain phenomena.

    • Agree: AndrewR
    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    ben tillman wrote:

    Nonetheless, despite MacDonald’s care to point that his theories do not depend on “group selection”, group selection is a fact, and only people who haven’t read D.S. Wilson or are too stupid to understand him doubt that. Hint: “individuals” are groups, so if “individual” selection exists, so does group selection.
     
    Everyone who is informed about the debate on individual vs. group selection knows that the "individuals" concerned are in fact individual genes: hence Dawkins' phrase "the selfish gene."

    All the cells in a single organism (normally) share the same genome; hence, we do not (normally) have to concern ourselves with competition between competing genes within the organism. There are of course exceptions: most importantly, mutations that lead to cancer and various sorts of phenomena such as "gene drive."

    On the other hand, different organisms within a population normally are not clones, and hence the selfish gene perspective gives a very different picture here than for individual organisms.

    This is of course all old hat, but if someone is not aware of what I just wrote, he is going to misunderstand Pinker's complaint about MacDonald.
  215. @YetAnotherAnon
    " Look at how slow progress was in living standards in Britain for the first two hundred years after the industrial revolution"

    Was progress slow? The huge population increase in Victorian times says otherwise, a lot more children must have been living to maturity. Clean water, pretty ubiquitous by end Victorian times, must have been YUGE, as would sewerage. The houses built for Victorian working people are pretty good.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_water_supply_and_sanitation#London_and_other_cities,_UK

    I was thinking of real hourly wages. Should have said for the first hundred years rather than two hundred however.

  216. @PhysicistDave
    anon quoted Pinker as saying:

    MacDonald’s main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups – are opposed by powerful bodies of data and theory, which Tooby, Cosmides, and many other evolutionary psychologists have written about in detail. Of course any assumption can be questioned, but there are no signs that MacDonald has taken on the burden of proof of showing that the majority view is wrong.
     
    Pinker is right.

    Although I am a physicist, I am married to a biologist and I know something about population biology: e.g., I have read George C. Williams' classic Adaptation and Natural Selection, which was the key text alerting biologists as to how problematic "group selection" really is.

    And, for that reason, I have never been able to make it all the way through Kevin MacDonald's books.

    "Group selection" has a very specific meaning in biology. It does not merely mean that some trait did in fact help a group survive and expand: it means that the trait in question spread because groups that had this trait out-competed groups that did not and therefore the trait became more widespread within the species in general.

    I do not think MacDonald even believes this about the traits he ascribes to the Jews: i.e., he does not believe that "Jewish" traits have spread throughout the human race because the Jews wiped out groups that lacked these traits.

    Indeed, from the viewpoint of population biology -- numbers is all that counts: you gotta spread your genes! -- Jews have not exactly taken over the human gene pool.

    MacDonald may have some interesting things to say about the history and culture of the Jews. But, when he purports to use terms and theories from population biology that he himself just does not understand, he guarantees that he will turn off possible readers such as Pinker or me.

    Vita brevis: we have to have some filter to decide what to read and what not to read, and when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile.

    MacDonald’s main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups. . . .

    MacDonald’s work is not about group selection. You haven’t read his books, and you’re embarrassing yourself.

    I do like this, though:

    Vita brevis: we have to have some filter to decide what to read and what not to read, and when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile.

    And perhaps that’s where Pinker’s anti-scientific views on MacDonald’s work put Pinker.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    ben tillman wrote to me:

    [seemiongly quoting me] MacDonald’s main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups. . . .
    [Ben Tillman]MacDonald’s work is not about group selection. You haven’t read his books, and you’re embarrassing yourself.
     
    Ben, what you claim is me embarrassing myself was a quote that I very clearly indicated was from anon quoting (or perhaps summarizing) Pinker.

    Maybe anon or Pinker was embarrassing himself, but I clearly stated it was a quote.

    Try to read.
    , @PhysicistDave
    ben tillman wrote to me:

    MacDonald’s work is not about group selection. You haven’t read his books, and you’re embarrassing yourself.
     
    Have you read the collected works of Aleister Crowley and Immanuel Velikovsky?

    The reason I ask is that, when I was a kid, my public library happened to have books by both Crowley and Velikovsky, so I checked them out, took them home, and tried to figure out whether or not they were crackpots.

    Fortunately, I did not waste too much time figuring out that both authors were indeed crackpots (though I suppose Crowley might more properly be labeled a "poseur" than a "crackpot").

    Is Kevin MacDonald as crazy as Crowley or Velikovsky?

    No. But I have indeed checked MacDonald's books out of the library and patiently tried to see if he really justifies his basic underlying thesis. You do not like Pinker's phrase "group selection"? Fine: I think MacDonald himself used the phrase "group evolutionary strategy."

    As far as I could tell looking through MacDonald's books, he makes no serious attempt at all to show that Jewish involvement in Western culture in the last two centuries is a "group evolutionary strategy" in any way that makes any sort of scientific sense.

    Of course, he does show that Jews in the last two centuries have had enormous influence on a whole host of intellectual developments that MacDonald does not like -- Marxism, Freudianism, etc.

    No one doubts that.

    But, as MacDonald of course knows, Jews have also had a huge influence on physics, mathematics, etc.

    If Jews have had a huge influence on a whole host of intellectual fields, some of those influences are going to be ones that worked out badly or that MacDonald or you or I happen not to like.

    That is not a "group evolutionary strategy." That is life.

    But, weren't Jewish contributions influenced by Jews' social position in Western society, by the fact that they were not fully integrated into mainstream Gentile culture? Look: everyone's ideas, areas of focus, etc. are, to some degree, influenced by their social position.

    If Einstein had been born a Midwestern farm boy, instead of a German Jew, perhaps he would not have developed relativity. Perhaps his position as a marginal Jew casued him to wonder what was "relative" in the physical world. But MacDonald explicitly says:

    Albert Einstein's work — obviously an important contribution to physics — does not qualify as a Jewish intellectual movement because it was not motivated by advancing Jewish interests (even though Einstein was a strongly identified Jew).
     
    Take into account, which everyone does, that people's life experiences affect how they think about the world, and I am afraid that, as far as I can see, MacDonald has nothing left. He invokes "group evolutionary strategy" but I see no way he can or does tie that in to the modern theory of evolution.

    "Group selection" is the only way I can think of, and, as I said earlier, that is a very hard row to hoe, and, in any case, he makes no real effort to do so.

    During the last ninety years, a huge amount has been worked out in great detail in evolutionary theory. MacDonald seems to make use of none of it.

    You think otherwise? I'm from Missouri: you have to show me, not just tell me that if I spend more time than I already have on MacDonald's books I will somehow see the light.

    Otherwise, I am afraid that I am more than justified in putting MacDonald's books in the same pile with Crowley's and Velikovsky's.
  217. @Highlander

    when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile
     
    One discards Isaac Newton on those grounds to one's intellectual peril. Does one dismiss J.S Bach's music out of hand because of his belief in God? Aristotle's syllogisms due to his incorrect conclusions about human anatomy?

    Highlander wrote to me:

    One discards Isaac Newton on those grounds to one’s intellectual peril.

    Newton was not “completely wrong” on the scientific matters he wrote on. Indeed, within the limits he was dealing with (e.g., velocities much less than light), his mechanical theories remain stunningly accurate.

    Highlander also wrote:

    Does one dismiss J.S Bach’s music out of hand because of his belief in God?

    No, because appreciation of the music does not hinge on sharing his theology. On the other hand, I do dismiss Aquinas because of his goofy beliefs on so many things.

    I know there are probably people here who disagree with me on Aquinas, but, truth be told, few modern people really take Aquinas’ detailed arguments or beliefs seriously — much of the praise of Aquinas is from people who would never even consider reading the Summa cover to cover. Just lip service.

    Highlander also asked if I reject:

    Aristotle’s syllogisms due to his incorrect conclusions about human anatomy?

    Hsi syllogisms have nothing to do with his anatomy (although Aristotelian syllogisms are no longer really taught as such in modern logic, although they do of course remain valid).

    The problem with Kevin MacDonald is that he himself claims that his group-selection nonsense is integral to his writings about the Jews, rather than being just a quirky sideshow irrelevant to his main points. Pinker and I are just taking MacDonald at his word.

    And, yes, everyone: I have heard of David Sloan Wilson, et al. My and Pinker’s point stands. Group selection is not impossible, but it is exceedingly unlikely except in the case of unusual genetic systems such as with bees. Anyone who wants to invoke group selection has a huge burden of evidence. MacDonald seems not to know this.

    • Replies: @Highlander
    Isaac Newton was indeed "completely wrong" about chemistry if his surviving words about the alchemist's philosopher stone are any indication. Thomas Aquinas and the medieval scholastics views on logic are not relevant but Aristotle's completely wrong conclusions about anatomy certainly are according to your criterion. As for Bach's views about God a listen to his Mass in B minor should convince anyone that his philosophical/theological viewpoint was relevant to his music even though it is not supported by reasonable analysis and the concomitant the general rejection of a deity by modern scientists, although regrettably there still seems to be a predilection by some to dabble or stray into metaphysics.

    The purpose of my post was not to support McDonald but to characterize your blanket statement in your vita brevis as excessively loose talk that would invalidate the achievements of many great minds prior to today despite them drawing incorrect conclusions about other scientific or philosophical matters. I suggest that you amend your statement to read "he may have to go into the discard pile."
  218. @ben tillman

    MacDonald’s main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups. . . .
     
    MacDonald's work is not about group selection. You haven't read his books, and you're embarrassing yourself.

    I do like this, though:


    Vita brevis: we have to have some filter to decide what to read and what not to read, and when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile.
     
    And perhaps that's where Pinker's anti-scientific views on MacDonald's work put Pinker.

    ben tillman wrote to me:

    [seemiongly quoting me] MacDonald’s main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups. . . .
    [Ben Tillman]MacDonald’s work is not about group selection. You haven’t read his books, and you’re embarrassing yourself.

    Ben, what you claim is me embarrassing myself was a quote that I very clearly indicated was from anon quoting (or perhaps summarizing) Pinker.

    Maybe anon or Pinker was embarrassing himself, but I clearly stated it was a quote.

    Try to read.

  219. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @J.Ross
    held Timothy Learys Chair
    Say no more psychonaut!

    The academic chair still exists, that’s how they work.

    I thought you were making a point in good faith with the needed background knowledge to understand the points of discussion. Since it is not so, thank you for your negative validation of my original point. Do not immediately empower people to fight back at life without doing the hard work of self improvement by giving them a SSI pill and not expect blowback.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    This is the same guy who wants people to go headfirst into divorce and whose response to a Solzhenitsyn book is to completely collapse and beg off. We should regard him exactly like we should regard Richard Spencer: if he says something good, good for him, it stands by itself, if he babbles, then he babbles. He's not a leader or an enemy, he earns no credit. Internet commenting saves the world and phoney authority over-extended well beyond any reasonable expertise gives you the world we have now.
  220. I read you correctly. You quoted Pinker, and then you adopted his critique as your own by saying he’s right.

    He’s not, nor are you.

  221. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @PhysicistDave
    anon quoted Pinker as saying:

    MacDonald’s main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups – are opposed by powerful bodies of data and theory, which Tooby, Cosmides, and many other evolutionary psychologists have written about in detail. Of course any assumption can be questioned, but there are no signs that MacDonald has taken on the burden of proof of showing that the majority view is wrong.
     
    Pinker is right.

    Although I am a physicist, I am married to a biologist and I know something about population biology: e.g., I have read George C. Williams' classic Adaptation and Natural Selection, which was the key text alerting biologists as to how problematic "group selection" really is.

    And, for that reason, I have never been able to make it all the way through Kevin MacDonald's books.

    "Group selection" has a very specific meaning in biology. It does not merely mean that some trait did in fact help a group survive and expand: it means that the trait in question spread because groups that had this trait out-competed groups that did not and therefore the trait became more widespread within the species in general.

    I do not think MacDonald even believes this about the traits he ascribes to the Jews: i.e., he does not believe that "Jewish" traits have spread throughout the human race because the Jews wiped out groups that lacked these traits.

    Indeed, from the viewpoint of population biology -- numbers is all that counts: you gotta spread your genes! -- Jews have not exactly taken over the human gene pool.

    MacDonald may have some interesting things to say about the history and culture of the Jews. But, when he purports to use terms and theories from population biology that he himself just does not understand, he guarantees that he will turn off possible readers such as Pinker or me.

    Vita brevis: we have to have some filter to decide what to read and what not to read, and when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile.

    Vita brevis: we have to have some filter to decide what to read and what not to read, and when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile.

    I have a hard time believing that David Sloan Wilson should go into the discard pile.

    In practice, the filter that most people use to “decide what to read and what not to” is whether it reinforces their preexisting worldview. We’re all guilty of this, (I don’t claim to an exception) and I suspect that’s what’s going on with Steven too. (The brain didn’t evolve to be rational. It evolved to rationalize what’s good for us.)

    It’s by exposing ourselves to truths that make us uncomfortable that we grow, and science progresses.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    anon wrote to me:

    I have a hard time believing that David Sloan Wilson should go into the discard pile.
     
    As far as I can tell, Wilson has not succeeded in showing that group selection is significant in evolution except in very outre situations.

    Everyone knows group selection is possible in principle. But the problem is that, for various mathematical reasons, selection at the individual level (including of course standard "kin selection") is likely to trump group selection.

    Sorry -- but I am not going to debate this well-established fact in evolutionary theory with anyone unless that person understands why the statement I just made is mathematically true.

    I have learned from a number of unpleasant experiences that trying to argue science with people who have no desire to learn science is a waste of time. (Speaking again of Ayn Rand, I once got into it with a bunch of Objectivists who were attacking Einstein's general theory of relativity: they of course did not understand the theory at all. A physicist who had been involved with the Objectivists later explained to me that physicists who had been involved with the official Objectivist movement were jumping ship, waiting for the guy who runs the official cult to die!)
  222. @Hello right-wing racists of UNZ
    I don't think you understand the word "literally" since nowhere did I literally call Unz Review “Der Stürmer" nor mention Waffen-SS.

    Also my blog post from 7 years ago is not a good illustration of "the Left is panicking..."

    This probably won't help since you seem to imagine things in a text that aren't there and miss what is, but I'll take a shot: my post about Pinker and Khan was not to paint them both as Nazis, it was to point out that although Pinker claims to disagree with the notion of black intellectual inferiority promoted by Khan and other HBD types, the first person he looks to in order to defend his work from a very good critique by the New Yorker is Khan.

    FYI - I do agree with at least a couple of commenters here who say something like this:

    Yes I agree that Pinker is crafty about where he stops defending honest people by name, and switches to a broad-based blanket-defence, simply arguing for allowing honest discussion of all viewpoints. So for example he was willing to defend Lawrence Summers by name, but only would defend Jason Richwine and James Watson in a general sense.
     
    Isn't that nice we can at least agree about that one thing?

    And as far as I can tell Pinker has never explained exactly why he doesn't agree about race while agreeing with just about everything else claimed by HBD.

    It appears to me that Pinker does agree but doesn't want to have his career stained by admitting it, so he outsources his view about race to people like Sailer and Khan and lets them take the hit.

    Nancy, a couple three days early:

  223. @Anonymous
    Pinker seems to accept the view that everyone in the Middle Ages was backward, violent and never bathed. This is being proven wrong.

    He has a strong opinion about the Midle Ages, but little knowledge. He doesn’t get, that modernity starts in the middle ages with the mystics and the intellectual controversies between nominalism and realism.
    He doesn’t get Occam either – which has thick ‘n’ fat consequences for his books – cf. Anatoly Karlin’s comment above.

    (If you want to, have a look at my comment No. 181 where I write about this stuff too).

    And then there is Trump – for Pinker a backward figure (= from the dark ages), and nothing else – not enlightended the least little bit.

  224. Trump in Enlightenment Now ist the elephant on this blog so far.

    Steve Sailer has something going for Trump, whereas Pinker plays it liberally save by treating Trump in the most disdainful ways. After Pinker is finished with him, there’s nothing left over to discuss at all about Trump’s character and politics.

    Trump appears as a simpleton, blockhead, nitwit, clod – you name it, Pinker agrees on it and/ or has written it himself already.

    What Pinker does not get at all is, that it is wrong to argue, that somebody is a narcissist and think, that this claim would be enough p r o o f , that somebody is wrong! – Erich Fromm explained that pretty popular thought at some length and comes to an interesting conclusion: That narcissism is often rejected for the wrong reasons. Namely in those not completely rare cases, where the narcissist does really achieve something. (It might be no coincidence, that Pinker does not refer to Fromm at all… – and to Jordan b. Peterson neither, who comes to a similar conclusion about naricissm (and epilcitly Tump, even, in his case), as Fromm does.

    The same with unregulated immigration, the same with the works of David Murray, Thilo Sarrazin, Charles Murray, the same with Brexit: No-go areas for Pinker.

    So – Pinker remains the hippie he still looks like, a greying bit: Imagine there’ sno countries ( p. 450 ff. in Enlightenment Now).

    And more hippie-stuff: No Norders – no Nations! – Pinker doesn’t get at all, that the nation state is not in itself a bloody error, but something, that co-evolved socially with – the enlightnement, and – – progress, really.

    So – Pinker opposes Fukuyamas (and Issiah Berlin’s) idea, that the nation state is a major achievement and not outdated by a long shot.

    (And not destoyed by Stalin and Hitler either. Missused, yes, destoyed, as a tool of reasonable policy : Not at all).

  225. @ben tillman

    MacDonald’s main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups. . . .
     
    MacDonald's work is not about group selection. You haven't read his books, and you're embarrassing yourself.

    I do like this, though:


    Vita brevis: we have to have some filter to decide what to read and what not to read, and when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile.
     
    And perhaps that's where Pinker's anti-scientific views on MacDonald's work put Pinker.

    ben tillman wrote to me:

    MacDonald’s work is not about group selection. You haven’t read his books, and you’re embarrassing yourself.

    Have you read the collected works of Aleister Crowley and Immanuel Velikovsky?

    The reason I ask is that, when I was a kid, my public library happened to have books by both Crowley and Velikovsky, so I checked them out, took them home, and tried to figure out whether or not they were crackpots.

    Fortunately, I did not waste too much time figuring out that both authors were indeed crackpots (though I suppose Crowley might more properly be labeled a “poseur” than a “crackpot”).

    Is Kevin MacDonald as crazy as Crowley or Velikovsky?

    No. But I have indeed checked MacDonald’s books out of the library and patiently tried to see if he really justifies his basic underlying thesis. You do not like Pinker’s phrase “group selection”? Fine: I think MacDonald himself used the phrase “group evolutionary strategy.”

    As far as I could tell looking through MacDonald’s books, he makes no serious attempt at all to show that Jewish involvement in Western culture in the last two centuries is a “group evolutionary strategy” in any way that makes any sort of scientific sense.

    Of course, he does show that Jews in the last two centuries have had enormous influence on a whole host of intellectual developments that MacDonald does not like — Marxism, Freudianism, etc.

    No one doubts that.

    But, as MacDonald of course knows, Jews have also had a huge influence on physics, mathematics, etc.

    If Jews have had a huge influence on a whole host of intellectual fields, some of those influences are going to be ones that worked out badly or that MacDonald or you or I happen not to like.

    That is not a “group evolutionary strategy.” That is life.

    But, weren’t Jewish contributions influenced by Jews’ social position in Western society, by the fact that they were not fully integrated into mainstream Gentile culture? Look: everyone’s ideas, areas of focus, etc. are, to some degree, influenced by their social position.

    If Einstein had been born a Midwestern farm boy, instead of a German Jew, perhaps he would not have developed relativity. Perhaps his position as a marginal Jew casued him to wonder what was “relative” in the physical world. But MacDonald explicitly says:

    Albert Einstein’s work — obviously an important contribution to physics — does not qualify as a Jewish intellectual movement because it was not motivated by advancing Jewish interests (even though Einstein was a strongly identified Jew).

    Take into account, which everyone does, that people’s life experiences affect how they think about the world, and I am afraid that, as far as I can see, MacDonald has nothing left. He invokes “group evolutionary strategy” but I see no way he can or does tie that in to the modern theory of evolution.

    “Group selection” is the only way I can think of, and, as I said earlier, that is a very hard row to hoe, and, in any case, he makes no real effort to do so.

    During the last ninety years, a huge amount has been worked out in great detail in evolutionary theory. MacDonald seems to make use of none of it.

    You think otherwise? I’m from Missouri: you have to show me, not just tell me that if I spend more time than I already have on MacDonald’s books I will somehow see the light.

    Otherwise, I am afraid that I am more than justified in putting MacDonald’s books in the same pile with Crowley’s and Velikovsky’s.

    • Replies: @ben tillman

    “Group selection” has a very specific meaning in biology. It does not merely mean that some trait did in fact help a group survive and expand: it means that the trait in question spread because groups that had this trait out-competed groups that did not and therefore the trait became more widespread within the species in general.
     
    Since MacDonald says nothing whatsoever about any of this, why do you keep talking about group selection?

    He's talking about organization, not selection.

    Book 1 — A cohesive group formed.

    Book 2 — Competition between the Jewish group and more-individualistic Europeans often produced a reaction (anti-semitism) since, ceteris paribus, group strategies outcompete individualist strategies. The reaction sometimes included efforts by Europeans to implement group strategies of their own to counter the advantage provided by the Jewish group strategy.

    Book 3 — A number of 20th-century Jewish intellectual and political movements developed to prevent European-derived peoples from acting as cohesive groups in competition with the Jewish group.

  226. @anon

    Vita brevis: we have to have some filter to decide what to read and what not to read, and when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile.
     
    I have a hard time believing that David Sloan Wilson should go into the discard pile.

    In practice, the filter that most people use to "decide what to read and what not to" is whether it reinforces their preexisting worldview. We're all guilty of this, (I don't claim to an exception) and I suspect that's what's going on with Steven too. (The brain didn't evolve to be rational. It evolved to rationalize what's good for us.)

    It's by exposing ourselves to truths that make us uncomfortable that we grow, and science progresses.

    anon wrote to me:

    I have a hard time believing that David Sloan Wilson should go into the discard pile.

    As far as I can tell, Wilson has not succeeded in showing that group selection is significant in evolution except in very outre situations.

    Everyone knows group selection is possible in principle. But the problem is that, for various mathematical reasons, selection at the individual level (including of course standard “kin selection”) is likely to trump group selection.

    Sorry — but I am not going to debate this well-established fact in evolutionary theory with anyone unless that person understands why the statement I just made is mathematically true.

    I have learned from a number of unpleasant experiences that trying to argue science with people who have no desire to learn science is a waste of time. (Speaking again of Ayn Rand, I once got into it with a bunch of Objectivists who were attacking Einstein’s general theory of relativity: they of course did not understand the theory at all. A physicist who had been involved with the Objectivists later explained to me that physicists who had been involved with the official Objectivist movement were jumping ship, waiting for the guy who runs the official cult to die!)

    • Replies: @ben tillman

    Everyone knows group selection is possible in principle. But the problem is that, for various mathematical reasons, selection at the individual level (including of course standard “kin selection”) is likely to trump group selection.
     
    You're way behind the times. In those who study the phenomenon, group selection is universally accepted.
  227. @PhysicistDave
    anon quoted Pinker as saying:

    MacDonald’s main axioms – group selection of behavioral adaptations, and behaviorally relevant genetic cohesiveness of ethnic groups – are opposed by powerful bodies of data and theory, which Tooby, Cosmides, and many other evolutionary psychologists have written about in detail. Of course any assumption can be questioned, but there are no signs that MacDonald has taken on the burden of proof of showing that the majority view is wrong.
     
    Pinker is right.

    Although I am a physicist, I am married to a biologist and I know something about population biology: e.g., I have read George C. Williams' classic Adaptation and Natural Selection, which was the key text alerting biologists as to how problematic "group selection" really is.

    And, for that reason, I have never been able to make it all the way through Kevin MacDonald's books.

    "Group selection" has a very specific meaning in biology. It does not merely mean that some trait did in fact help a group survive and expand: it means that the trait in question spread because groups that had this trait out-competed groups that did not and therefore the trait became more widespread within the species in general.

    I do not think MacDonald even believes this about the traits he ascribes to the Jews: i.e., he does not believe that "Jewish" traits have spread throughout the human race because the Jews wiped out groups that lacked these traits.

    Indeed, from the viewpoint of population biology -- numbers is all that counts: you gotta spread your genes! -- Jews have not exactly taken over the human gene pool.

    MacDonald may have some interesting things to say about the history and culture of the Jews. But, when he purports to use terms and theories from population biology that he himself just does not understand, he guarantees that he will turn off possible readers such as Pinker or me.

    Vita brevis: we have to have some filter to decide what to read and what not to read, and when an author is completely wrong on something we know something about, he goes into the discard pile.

    By the way, here is a comment from HBD Chick making the same point I am trying to make about MacDonald; perhaps she is clearer than I:

    HBD Chick: Having said all that, if I might go off track for a sec: While I think that MacDonald is right in pointing out that quite a few European Jews have been highly influential in Western academia, culture, and politics in the last couple of centuries, I don’t think he’s got the explanation for why that has been the case right. As I said earlier, I don’t buy group selection theories, and so I don’t think that how European Jews behave, on average, is a “group evolutionary strategy.” Secondly, I don’t think he’s got the explanation for why non-Jewish Europeans behave in the ways they do right, either.

    • Replies: @candid_observer
    I'm not inclined to defend MacDonald here -- whom I know about only rather peripherally in any case. But I don't think you really need "group selection" as it is usually defined in population genetics to come to the sorts of conclusions he does.

    It suffices, I'd think, to adopt a notion of "group selection" that derives from cultural evolution, as articulated by Boyd and Richerson, to serve as the theoretical underpinning for the sort of claims MacDonald makes (at least the ones I'm familiar with). Jews have long had, and evolved, a culture that is quite distinctive, and certainly has important interactions with surrounding peoples and their cultures. Their long practice of endogamy -- at least until recently -- would reinforce on a genetic level the propensities that foster success given that culture -- high IQ is but one of them.

    I think that MacDonald's views are wrong mostly for other reasons. In particular, for example, he is wrong about the behavior of Jews, as a population, today, however we may understand their behavior in the past. I don't see how the exceedingly high rate of intermarriage and low fertility of secular Jews serves any evolutionary "purpose", genetically or culturally. Rather, it represents a breakdown of both the genetic and cultural evolution of Jews as a group.

  228. @ben tillman
    Yeah, he's rattled In paragraph 1, he wildly misuses the term "ad hominem". It would be "ad hominem" if MacDonald said something is false because the person saying it is Jewish. Determining that something is false and then ascribing a motivation for the falsehood is something entirely different.

    In paragraph 2, he displays total ignorance of "group selection" and (of course) MacDonald's work, which explicitly distances itself from that concept. Nonetheless, despite MacDonald's care to point that his theories do not depend on "group selection", group selection is a fact, and only people who haven't read D.S. Wilson or are too stupid to understand him doubt that. Hint: "individuals" are groups, so if "individual" selection exists, so does group selection.

    In paragraph 3, he rejects the notion of extraordinary scientific hypotheses. Science can never surprise us or teach us anything, apparently. And if he didn't read MacDonald, how does he know that his theories "add up to a consistently invidious portrayal of Jews, couched in value-laden, disparaging language"? And, of course, they don't.

    Paragraph 4 is idiotic. We don't have "control groups" when we study iguanas or spiders or bees. We just observe and explain phenomena.

    ben tillman wrote:

    Nonetheless, despite MacDonald’s care to point that his theories do not depend on “group selection”, group selection is a fact, and only people who haven’t read D.S. Wilson or are too stupid to understand him doubt that. Hint: “individuals” are groups, so if “individual” selection exists, so does group selection.

    Everyone who is informed about the debate on individual vs. group selection knows that the “individuals” concerned are in fact individual genes: hence Dawkins’ phrase “the selfish gene.”

    All the cells in a single organism (normally) share the same genome; hence, we do not (normally) have to concern ourselves with competition between competing genes within the organism. There are of course exceptions: most importantly, mutations that lead to cancer and various sorts of phenomena such as “gene drive.”

    On the other hand, different organisms within a population normally are not clones, and hence the selfish gene perspective gives a very different picture here than for individual organisms.

    This is of course all old hat, but if someone is not aware of what I just wrote, he is going to misunderstand Pinker’s complaint about MacDonald.

  229. @PhysicistDave
    By the way, here is a comment from HBD Chick making the same point I am trying to make about MacDonald; perhaps she is clearer than I:

    HBD Chick: Having said all that, if I might go off track for a sec: While I think that MacDonald is right in pointing out that quite a few European Jews have been highly influential in Western academia, culture, and politics in the last couple of centuries, I don’t think he’s got the explanation for why that has been the case right. As I said earlier, I don’t buy group selection theories, and so I don’t think that how European Jews behave, on average, is a “group evolutionary strategy.” Secondly, I don’t think he’s got the explanation for why non-Jewish Europeans behave in the ways they do right, either.
     

    I’m not inclined to defend MacDonald here — whom I know about only rather peripherally in any case. But I don’t think you really need “group selection” as it is usually defined in population genetics to come to the sorts of conclusions he does.

    It suffices, I’d think, to adopt a notion of “group selection” that derives from cultural evolution, as articulated by Boyd and Richerson, to serve as the theoretical underpinning for the sort of claims MacDonald makes (at least the ones I’m familiar with). Jews have long had, and evolved, a culture that is quite distinctive, and certainly has important interactions with surrounding peoples and their cultures. Their long practice of endogamy — at least until recently — would reinforce on a genetic level the propensities that foster success given that culture — high IQ is but one of them.

    I think that MacDonald’s views are wrong mostly for other reasons. In particular, for example, he is wrong about the behavior of Jews, as a population, today, however we may understand their behavior in the past. I don’t see how the exceedingly high rate of intermarriage and low fertility of secular Jews serves any evolutionary “purpose”, genetically or culturally. Rather, it represents a breakdown of both the genetic and cultural evolution of Jews as a group.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    candid_observer wrote to me:

    But I don’t think you really need “group selection” as it is usually defined in population genetics to come to the sorts of conclusions he does.
     
    Yeah, my main point is that by trying to make his points sound as if they are backed by natural science ("group evolutionary strategy"), MacDonald makes himself look foolish to people like Pinker or me who see through the hype.

    I am generally in agreement with the rest of your post also.

    To clarify for everyone: it is not my claim that MacDonald is wrong on everything (no one is wrong on everything!). My, and I think Pinker's, complaint is that by trying to tie his argument to evolutionary theory, MacDonald guarantees that whatever valid points he might have are unlikely to be taken seriously.
  230. @PhysicistDave
    ben tillman wrote to me:

    MacDonald’s work is not about group selection. You haven’t read his books, and you’re embarrassing yourself.
     
    Have you read the collected works of Aleister Crowley and Immanuel Velikovsky?

    The reason I ask is that, when I was a kid, my public library happened to have books by both Crowley and Velikovsky, so I checked them out, took them home, and tried to figure out whether or not they were crackpots.

    Fortunately, I did not waste too much time figuring out that both authors were indeed crackpots (though I suppose Crowley might more properly be labeled a "poseur" than a "crackpot").

    Is Kevin MacDonald as crazy as Crowley or Velikovsky?

    No. But I have indeed checked MacDonald's books out of the library and patiently tried to see if he really justifies his basic underlying thesis. You do not like Pinker's phrase "group selection"? Fine: I think MacDonald himself used the phrase "group evolutionary strategy."

    As far as I could tell looking through MacDonald's books, he makes no serious attempt at all to show that Jewish involvement in Western culture in the last two centuries is a "group evolutionary strategy" in any way that makes any sort of scientific sense.

    Of course, he does show that Jews in the last two centuries have had enormous influence on a whole host of intellectual developments that MacDonald does not like -- Marxism, Freudianism, etc.

    No one doubts that.

    But, as MacDonald of course knows, Jews have also had a huge influence on physics, mathematics, etc.

    If Jews have had a huge influence on a whole host of intellectual fields, some of those influences are going to be ones that worked out badly or that MacDonald or you or I happen not to like.

    That is not a "group evolutionary strategy." That is life.

    But, weren't Jewish contributions influenced by Jews' social position in Western society, by the fact that they were not fully integrated into mainstream Gentile culture? Look: everyone's ideas, areas of focus, etc. are, to some degree, influenced by their social position.

    If Einstein had been born a Midwestern farm boy, instead of a German Jew, perhaps he would not have developed relativity. Perhaps his position as a marginal Jew casued him to wonder what was "relative" in the physical world. But MacDonald explicitly says:

    Albert Einstein's work — obviously an important contribution to physics — does not qualify as a Jewish intellectual movement because it was not motivated by advancing Jewish interests (even though Einstein was a strongly identified Jew).
     
    Take into account, which everyone does, that people's life experiences affect how they think about the world, and I am afraid that, as far as I can see, MacDonald has nothing left. He invokes "group evolutionary strategy" but I see no way he can or does tie that in to the modern theory of evolution.

    "Group selection" is the only way I can think of, and, as I said earlier, that is a very hard row to hoe, and, in any case, he makes no real effort to do so.

    During the last ninety years, a huge amount has been worked out in great detail in evolutionary theory. MacDonald seems to make use of none of it.

    You think otherwise? I'm from Missouri: you have to show me, not just tell me that if I spend more time than I already have on MacDonald's books I will somehow see the light.

    Otherwise, I am afraid that I am more than justified in putting MacDonald's books in the same pile with Crowley's and Velikovsky's.

    “Group selection” has a very specific meaning in biology. It does not merely mean that some trait did in fact help a group survive and expand: it means that the trait in question spread because groups that had this trait out-competed groups that did not and therefore the trait became more widespread within the species in general.

    Since MacDonald says nothing whatsoever about any of this, why do you keep talking about group selection?

    He’s talking about organization, not selection.

    Book 1 — A cohesive group formed.

    Book 2 — Competition between the Jewish group and more-individualistic Europeans often produced a reaction (anti-semitism) since, ceteris paribus, group strategies outcompete individualist strategies. The reaction sometimes included efforts by Europeans to implement group strategies of their own to counter the advantage provided by the Jewish group strategy.

    Book 3 — A number of 20th-century Jewish intellectual and political movements developed to prevent European-derived peoples from acting as cohesive groups in competition with the Jewish group.

  231. @PhysicistDave
    anon wrote to me:

    I have a hard time believing that David Sloan Wilson should go into the discard pile.
     
    As far as I can tell, Wilson has not succeeded in showing that group selection is significant in evolution except in very outre situations.

    Everyone knows group selection is possible in principle. But the problem is that, for various mathematical reasons, selection at the individual level (including of course standard "kin selection") is likely to trump group selection.

    Sorry -- but I am not going to debate this well-established fact in evolutionary theory with anyone unless that person understands why the statement I just made is mathematically true.

    I have learned from a number of unpleasant experiences that trying to argue science with people who have no desire to learn science is a waste of time. (Speaking again of Ayn Rand, I once got into it with a bunch of Objectivists who were attacking Einstein's general theory of relativity: they of course did not understand the theory at all. A physicist who had been involved with the Objectivists later explained to me that physicists who had been involved with the official Objectivist movement were jumping ship, waiting for the guy who runs the official cult to die!)

    Everyone knows group selection is possible in principle. But the problem is that, for various mathematical reasons, selection at the individual level (including of course standard “kin selection”) is likely to trump group selection.

    You’re way behind the times. In those who study the phenomenon, group selection is universally accepted.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    ben tillman wrote to me:

    You’re way behind the times. In those who study the phenomenon, group selection is universally accepted.
     
    Well... as I said, everyone has known for fifty years or so that group selection is possible under certain rather unlikely conditions.

    If you have evidence that group selection is actually the usual sort of selection in the real world, might I suggest that you write it up and submit it to PNAS? You can win a Nobel if you are right!

    Oh, and Ben, where did you do your doctoral work?

  232. @PhysicistDave
    Highlander wrote to me:

    One discards Isaac Newton on those grounds to one’s intellectual peril.
     
    Newton was not "completely wrong" on the scientific matters he wrote on. Indeed, within the limits he was dealing with (e.g., velocities much less than light), his mechanical theories remain stunningly accurate.

    Highlander also wrote:

    Does one dismiss J.S Bach’s music out of hand because of his belief in God?
     
    No, because appreciation of the music does not hinge on sharing his theology. On the other hand, I do dismiss Aquinas because of his goofy beliefs on so many things.

    I know there are probably people here who disagree with me on Aquinas, but, truth be told, few modern people really take Aquinas' detailed arguments or beliefs seriously -- much of the praise of Aquinas is from people who would never even consider reading the Summa cover to cover. Just lip service.

    Highlander also asked if I reject:

    Aristotle’s syllogisms due to his incorrect conclusions about human anatomy?
     
    Hsi syllogisms have nothing to do with his anatomy (although Aristotelian syllogisms are no longer really taught as such in modern logic, although they do of course remain valid).

    The problem with Kevin MacDonald is that he himself claims that his group-selection nonsense is integral to his writings about the Jews, rather than being just a quirky sideshow irrelevant to his main points. Pinker and I are just taking MacDonald at his word.

    And, yes, everyone: I have heard of David Sloan Wilson, et al. My and Pinker's point stands. Group selection is not impossible, but it is exceedingly unlikely except in the case of unusual genetic systems such as with bees. Anyone who wants to invoke group selection has a huge burden of evidence. MacDonald seems not to know this.

    Isaac Newton was indeed “completely wrong” about chemistry if his surviving words about the alchemist’s philosopher stone are any indication. Thomas Aquinas and the medieval scholastics views on logic are not relevant but Aristotle’s completely wrong conclusions about anatomy certainly are according to your criterion. As for Bach’s views about God a listen to his Mass in B minor should convince anyone that his philosophical/theological viewpoint was relevant to his music even though it is not supported by reasonable analysis and the concomitant the general rejection of a deity by modern scientists, although regrettably there still seems to be a predilection by some to dabble or stray into metaphysics.

    The purpose of my post was not to support McDonald but to characterize your blanket statement in your vita brevis as excessively loose talk that would invalidate the achievements of many great minds prior to today despite them drawing incorrect conclusions about other scientific or philosophical matters. I suggest that you amend your statement to read “he may have to go into the discard pile.”

  233. Pinker is being heavily attacked. Maybe it is C.P. Snow’s The Two Cultures in action. Or Turchin’s “elite overproduction”. Pinker’s villain is Nietzsche (“sociopathic ravings”). In his Darwin’s Dangerous Idea Daniel Dennett says Nietzsche steadfastly applied Darwin’s most fundamentally insights to cultural evolution

    The cause of the origin of a thing and its eventual utility, its actual employment lie worlds apart”. […] an adaptation though which any previous “meaning ” and “purpose” are necessarily obscured or even obliterated

    …this is pure Darwin. Or, as Gould might put it , all adaptations are exaptations, in cultural evolution as well as in biological evolution.

    But

    For on Nietzsche’s view when I provide what I take to be a reason for arriving at this conclusion rather than that, whether practically or theoretically, I do not appeal to a standard of justification that is independent of my own desires and drives, as in the standard of the common good, but I give expression, whether I know it or not to whatever form the will to power may have taken in those desires and drives I seek to overcome… (MacIntyre 1999)

    Pinker thinks AI is nothing to worry about.

    http://bigthink.com/videos/steven-pinker-on-artificial-intelligence-apocalypse

    Pinker believes an alpha male thinking pattern is at the root of our AI fears, and that it is misguided. Something can be highly intelligent and not have malevolent intentions to overthrow and dominate, Pinker says, it’s called women.

    That’s not what Sam Harris says. Harris practices martial arts and maybe he gets all the macho bullshit out his system than way, and does not need to give expression to the will for power by bigging himself up through debunking AIpocalyse fears. Pinker’s gyno slash anthropocentric reasoning is very dangerous.

    Group selection in predators has been found–as working by means of cannibalism, which shows the counter-intuitive nature of non-anthropocentric “evolutionary search” reasoning. Humans are already ill-equipped to perceive what an artificial intelligence’s intentions would be without Pinker making it worse. In fact it cannot be discounted that any Superintelligence would ineluctably pursue an instrumental (not “malevolent”) ‘all or nothing’ offensive action strategy in order to achieve hegemony and assure its ability to achieve any ultimate goal. Bostrom notes that even current programs have, “like MacGyver”, hit on apparently unworkable but functioning hardware solutions, making robust isolation of a Superintelligence highly problematic. Going by the Lindy theorum, computers will cease being under hooman control in about 80 years. With people like Pinker being listened to, humanity is going to have their series cancelled even sooner.

    • Replies: @Sean
    Correction and whole sentence of MacIntyre quote

    For on Nietzsche’s view when I provide what I take to be a reason for arriving at this conclusion rather than that, whether practically or theoretically, I do not appeal to a standard of justification that is independent of my own desires and drives, as in the standard of the common good, but I give expression, whether I know it or not, to whatever form the will to power may have taken in those desires and drives and I seek to overcome that which stands in the way of their expression.
     
    , @PhysicistDave
    Sean wrote:

    Going by the Lindy theorum, computers will cease being under hooman control in about 80 years.
     
    Those of us who have extensive real-world experience designing and programming computers (I am co-inventor on several patents on PC technology) can only laugh at this fear of AI.

    We haven't yet figured out how to program a machine to clean your house or make a ham sandwich.

    AI has been oversold for the last sixty years. The AI fearmongers are still overselling it.

    Take a deep breath. Relax.
  234. @Sean
    Pinker is being heavily attacked. Maybe it is C.P. Snow's The Two Cultures in action. Or Turchin's "elite overproduction". Pinker's villain is Nietzsche ("sociopathic ravings"). In his Darwin's Dangerous Idea Daniel Dennett says Nietzsche steadfastly applied Darwin's most fundamentally insights to cultural evolution


    The cause of the origin of a thing and its eventual utility, its actual employment lie worlds apart". [...] an adaptation though which any previous "meaning " and "purpose" are necessarily obscured or even obliterated
     
    ...this is pure Darwin. Or, as Gould might put it , all adaptations are exaptations, in cultural evolution as well as in biological evolution.
     
    But

    For on Nietzsche's view when I provide what I take to be a reason for arriving at this conclusion rather than that, whether practically or theoretically, I do not appeal to a standard of justification that is independent of my own desires and drives, as in the standard of the common good, but I give expression, whether I know it or not to whatever form the will to power may have taken in those desires and drives I seek to overcome... (MacIntyre 1999)
     
    Pinker thinks AI is nothing to worry about.

    http://bigthink.com/videos/steven-pinker-on-artificial-intelligence-apocalypse

    Pinker believes an alpha male thinking pattern is at the root of our AI fears, and that it is misguided. Something can be highly intelligent and not have malevolent intentions to overthrow and dominate, Pinker says, it’s called women.
     

    That's not what Sam Harris says. Harris practices martial arts and maybe he gets all the macho bullshit out his system than way, and does not need to give expression to the will for power by bigging himself up through debunking AIpocalyse fears. Pinker's gyno slash anthropocentric reasoning is very dangerous.

    Group selection in predators has been found--as working by means of cannibalism, which shows the counter-intuitive nature of non-anthropocentric "evolutionary search" reasoning. Humans are already ill-equipped to perceive what an artificial intelligence's intentions would be without Pinker making it worse. In fact it cannot be discounted that any Superintelligence would ineluctably pursue an instrumental (not "malevolent") 'all or nothing' offensive action strategy in order to achieve hegemony and assure its ability to achieve any ultimate goal. Bostrom notes that even current programs have, "like MacGyver", hit on apparently unworkable but functioning hardware solutions, making robust isolation of a Superintelligence highly problematic. Going by the Lindy theorum, computers will cease being under hooman control in about 80 years. With people like Pinker being listened to, humanity is going to have their series cancelled even sooner.

    Correction and whole sentence of MacIntyre quote

    For on Nietzsche’s view when I provide what I take to be a reason for arriving at this conclusion rather than that, whether practically or theoretically, I do not appeal to a standard of justification that is independent of my own desires and drives, as in the standard of the common good, but I give expression, whether I know it or not, to whatever form the will to power may have taken in those desires and drives and I seek to overcome that which stands in the way of their expression.

  235. @ben tillman

    Everyone knows group selection is possible in principle. But the problem is that, for various mathematical reasons, selection at the individual level (including of course standard “kin selection”) is likely to trump group selection.
     
    You're way behind the times. In those who study the phenomenon, group selection is universally accepted.

    ben tillman wrote to me:

    You’re way behind the times. In those who study the phenomenon, group selection is universally accepted.

    Well… as I said, everyone has known for fifty years or so that group selection is possible under certain rather unlikely conditions.

    If you have evidence that group selection is actually the usual sort of selection in the real world, might I suggest that you write it up and submit it to PNAS? You can win a Nobel if you are right!

    Oh, and Ben, where did you do your doctoral work?

  236. @Sean
    Pinker is being heavily attacked. Maybe it is C.P. Snow's The Two Cultures in action. Or Turchin's "elite overproduction". Pinker's villain is Nietzsche ("sociopathic ravings"). In his Darwin's Dangerous Idea Daniel Dennett says Nietzsche steadfastly applied Darwin's most fundamentally insights to cultural evolution


    The cause of the origin of a thing and its eventual utility, its actual employment lie worlds apart". [...] an adaptation though which any previous "meaning " and "purpose" are necessarily obscured or even obliterated
     
    ...this is pure Darwin. Or, as Gould might put it , all adaptations are exaptations, in cultural evolution as well as in biological evolution.
     
    But

    For on Nietzsche's view when I provide what I take to be a reason for arriving at this conclusion rather than that, whether practically or theoretically, I do not appeal to a standard of justification that is independent of my own desires and drives, as in the standard of the common good, but I give expression, whether I know it or not to whatever form the will to power may have taken in those desires and drives I seek to overcome... (MacIntyre 1999)
     
    Pinker thinks AI is nothing to worry about.

    http://bigthink.com/videos/steven-pinker-on-artificial-intelligence-apocalypse

    Pinker believes an alpha male thinking pattern is at the root of our AI fears, and that it is misguided. Something can be highly intelligent and not have malevolent intentions to overthrow and dominate, Pinker says, it’s called women.
     

    That's not what Sam Harris says. Harris practices martial arts and maybe he gets all the macho bullshit out his system than way, and does not need to give expression to the will for power by bigging himself up through debunking AIpocalyse fears. Pinker's gyno slash anthropocentric reasoning is very dangerous.

    Group selection in predators has been found--as working by means of cannibalism, which shows the counter-intuitive nature of non-anthropocentric "evolutionary search" reasoning. Humans are already ill-equipped to perceive what an artificial intelligence's intentions would be without Pinker making it worse. In fact it cannot be discounted that any Superintelligence would ineluctably pursue an instrumental (not "malevolent") 'all or nothing' offensive action strategy in order to achieve hegemony and assure its ability to achieve any ultimate goal. Bostrom notes that even current programs have, "like MacGyver", hit on apparently unworkable but functioning hardware solutions, making robust isolation of a Superintelligence highly problematic. Going by the Lindy theorum, computers will cease being under hooman control in about 80 years. With people like Pinker being listened to, humanity is going to have their series cancelled even sooner.

    Sean wrote:

    Going by the Lindy theorum, computers will cease being under hooman control in about 80 years.

    Those of us who have extensive real-world experience designing and programming computers (I am co-inventor on several patents on PC technology) can only laugh at this fear of AI.

    We haven’t yet figured out how to program a machine to clean your house or make a ham sandwich.

    AI has been oversold for the last sixty years. The AI fearmongers are still overselling it.

    Take a deep breath. Relax.

    • Replies: @Sean
    Did the Wright brothers underestimate or overestimate how close they were to the crucial breakthrough? Rutherford scoffed at the idea there was any possibility of atomic energy before that became a reality?
    Dennett's latest book

    Human cooperation is a delicate and remarkable phenomenon, quite unlike the almost mindless cooperation of termites, and indeed quite unprecedented in the natural world, a unique feature with a unique ancestry in evolution. It depends, as we have seen, on our ability to engage each other within the “space of reasons,” as Wilfrid Sellars put it. Cooperation depends, Seabright argues, on trust, a sort of almost invisible social glue that makes possible both great and terrible projects, and this trust is not, in fact, a “natural instinct” hard-wired by evolution into our brains. It is much too recent for that. Trust is a by-product of social conditions that are at once its enabling condition and its most important product. We have bootstrapped ourselves into the heady altitudes of modern civilization, and our natural emotions and other instinctual responses do not always serve our new circumstances.
     
    Termites can make something a lot more complicated than a ham sandwich. They don't invent new stuff, but no termite wants to be seen as the one who comes up with solutions. "Pinker believes an alpha male thinking pattern is at the root of our AI fears". Well yes because every man wants to be thought of as the one who gets things done, (patents ect to his name). The scientist who can engineer an artificial general intelligence will, because he will think like you do, and the economic incentive will direct the equivalent of a dozen Manhattan projects at it.

    Eighty years is a very conservative estimate. In his latest book Dennett admits to being convinced by Pedro Domingos and others that there are feasible scientific and, even more crucially, economic paths to human level machine intelligence and beyond. He says it may be only 50 years away. In 2014 Bostrom estimated at least a decade away. There is absolutely no reason to expect the train to stop at that station and we are already past it in certain non-trivial respects. As Sam Harris said in the linked article "The computer on which I am writing these words already possesses superhuman powers of memory and calculation".

    Dennett again


    As Dawkins and Krebs (1978) showed, in order to understand the evolution of communication we need to see it as grounded in manipulation rather than as purely cooperative behavior. An organism that has no poker face, that “communicates state” directly to all hearers, is a sitting duck, and will soon be extinct (von Neumann and Morgenstern 1944). What must evolve to prevent this exposure is a private, proprietary communication-control buffer that creates opportunities for guided deception— and, coincidentally, opportunities for self-deception (Trivers 1985)
     
    It would be insanely hazardous to judge a possibly strong AI by what it does or tells us, because if it is actually at human level it will understand we are watching and might be alarmed by signs of it having agency, given that the surest way for it to survive would be to eliminate the threat to its existence that we represent. Summary:- strong AI is definitely possible in principle and on the current trajectory of actual advances in the field there is a possibility of it in our lifetime, but it will quite possibly not let on it is here. I may be kidding myself, or you may be, but a strong AI is far more unlikely to than any human.
  237. @candid_observer
    I'm not inclined to defend MacDonald here -- whom I know about only rather peripherally in any case. But I don't think you really need "group selection" as it is usually defined in population genetics to come to the sorts of conclusions he does.

    It suffices, I'd think, to adopt a notion of "group selection" that derives from cultural evolution, as articulated by Boyd and Richerson, to serve as the theoretical underpinning for the sort of claims MacDonald makes (at least the ones I'm familiar with). Jews have long had, and evolved, a culture that is quite distinctive, and certainly has important interactions with surrounding peoples and their cultures. Their long practice of endogamy -- at least until recently -- would reinforce on a genetic level the propensities that foster success given that culture -- high IQ is but one of them.

    I think that MacDonald's views are wrong mostly for other reasons. In particular, for example, he is wrong about the behavior of Jews, as a population, today, however we may understand their behavior in the past. I don't see how the exceedingly high rate of intermarriage and low fertility of secular Jews serves any evolutionary "purpose", genetically or culturally. Rather, it represents a breakdown of both the genetic and cultural evolution of Jews as a group.

    candid_observer wrote to me:

    But I don’t think you really need “group selection” as it is usually defined in population genetics to come to the sorts of conclusions he does.

    Yeah, my main point is that by trying to make his points sound as if they are backed by natural science (“group evolutionary strategy”), MacDonald makes himself look foolish to people like Pinker or me who see through the hype.

    I am generally in agreement with the rest of your post also.

    To clarify for everyone: it is not my claim that MacDonald is wrong on everything (no one is wrong on everything!). My, and I think Pinker’s, complaint is that by trying to tie his argument to evolutionary theory, MacDonald guarantees that whatever valid points he might have are unlikely to be taken seriously.

    • Replies: @ben tillman

    Yeah, my main point is that by trying to make his points sound as if they are backed by natural science (“group evolutionary strategy”), MacDonald makes himself look foolish to people like Pinker or me who see through the hype.
     
    So now we learn that you reject his entirely correct and extraordinarily important work over a stupid quibble over a name (and you say Pinker agrees, although he says nothing of the sort), and it's a quibble that is at odds with the actual science. See D..S. Wilson's work.

    Oh, and Ben, where did you do your doctoral work?
     
    Right, credentials trump intelligence in your world.
    , @ben tillman

    To clarify for everyone: it is not my claim that MacDonald is wrong on everything (no one is wrong on everything!). My, and I think Pinker’s, complaint is that by trying to tie his argument to evolutionary theory, MacDonald guarantees that whatever valid points he might have are unlikely to be taken seriously.
     
    Since Pinker did not read MacDonald, it is impossible for him to offer the critique you favor.
  238. @PhysicistDave
    candid_observer wrote to me:

    But I don’t think you really need “group selection” as it is usually defined in population genetics to come to the sorts of conclusions he does.
     
    Yeah, my main point is that by trying to make his points sound as if they are backed by natural science ("group evolutionary strategy"), MacDonald makes himself look foolish to people like Pinker or me who see through the hype.

    I am generally in agreement with the rest of your post also.

    To clarify for everyone: it is not my claim that MacDonald is wrong on everything (no one is wrong on everything!). My, and I think Pinker's, complaint is that by trying to tie his argument to evolutionary theory, MacDonald guarantees that whatever valid points he might have are unlikely to be taken seriously.

    Yeah, my main point is that by trying to make his points sound as if they are backed by natural science (“group evolutionary strategy”), MacDonald makes himself look foolish to people like Pinker or me who see through the hype.

    So now we learn that you reject his entirely correct and extraordinarily important work over a stupid quibble over a name (and you say Pinker agrees, although he says nothing of the sort), and it’s a quibble that is at odds with the actual science. See D..S. Wilson’s work.

    Oh, and Ben, where did you do your doctoral work?

    Right, credentials trump intelligence in your world.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    Anyone interested in pursuing the topic ben and I are debating might look at this readable article, which discusses E. O. Wilson's conversion to group seletionism: this is interesting because, a few decades ago, Wilson was one of the main apostles of the "selfish-gene" approach.

    The article does emphasize that, as I have been trying to teach ben, this is very much a minority view among the relevant experts:

    What Wilson is trying to do, late in his influential career, is nothing less than overturn a central plank of established evolutionary theory: the origins of altruism. His position is provoking ferocious criticism from other scientists. Last month, the leading scientific journal Nature published five strongly worded letters saying, more or less, that Wilson has misunderstood the theory of evolution and generally doesn’t know what he’s talking about. One of these carried the signatures of an eye-popping 137 scientists, including two of Wilson’s colleagues at Harvard.
    ...
    Richard Dawkins, who played a crucial role in popularizing kin selection with his 1976 book, “The Selfish Gene,” said last week that he has “never met anybody apart from Wilson and Nowak who takes it [a paper defending Wilson's new views] seriously.”

    “It’s almost universa