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The Rise and Fall of Rationality in Language
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From PNAS:

The rise and fall of rationality in language

Marten Scheffer, Ingrid van de Leemput, Els Weinans, and Johan Bollen

PNAS December 21, 2021 118

The post-truth era has taken many by surprise. Here, we use massive language analysis to demonstrate that the rise of fact-free argumentation may perhaps be understood as part of a deeper change. After the year 1850, the use of sentiment-laden words in Google Books declined systematically, while the use of words associated with fact-based argumentation rose steadily. This pattern reversed in the 1980s, and this change accelerated around 2007, when across languages, the frequency of fact-related words dropped while emotion-laden language surged, a trend paralleled by a shift from collectivistic to individualistic language.

Abstract
The surge of post-truth political argumentation suggests that we are living in a special historical period when it comes to the balance between emotion and reasoning. To explore if this is indeed the case, we analyze language in millions of books covering the period from 1850 to 2019 represented in Google nGram data. We show that the use of words associated with rationality, such as “determine” and “conclusion,” rose systematically after 1850, while words related to human experience such as “feel” and “believe” declined. This pattern reversed over the past decades, paralleled by a shift from a collectivistic to an individualistic focus as reflected, among other things, by the ratio of singular to plural pronouns such as “I”/”we” and “he”/”they.” Interpreting this synchronous sea change in book language remains challenging. However, as we show, the nature of this reversal occurs in fiction as well as nonfiction. Moreover, the pattern of change in the ratio between sentiment and rationality flag words since 1850 also occurs in New York Times articles, suggesting that it is not an artifact of the book corpora we analyzed. Finally, we show that word trends in books parallel trends in corresponding Google search terms, supporting the idea that changes in book language do in part reflect changes in interest. All in all, our results suggest that over the past decades, there has been a marked shift in public interest from the collective to the individual, and from rationality toward emotion. …

Words rising before 1980 and declining after 1980:

area, program, indicate, available, development, basis, determine, initial, technical, million, addition, final, range, replacement, personnel, control, unit, involved, percent, eliminate, limited, rate, concentration, increase, result, test, staff, included, tested, transfer, maximum, zone, plus, sample, recent, congressman, level, funds, data, responsible, basic, laboratory, equipment, budget, procedure, breakdown, effective, activity, tape, review

I took up high school debate in 1972 when the debate topic was: “Resolved: That governmental financial support for all public and secondary education in the United States be provided exclusively by the federal government.” And in 1973 the topic was: “Resolved: That the federal government should guarantee a minimum annual income to each family unit.” Some of the words above appeared on practically every evidence card I had.

Words declining before 1980 and rising after 1980:

perfect, understood, throw, them, embrace, sight, comfort, nothing, rushing, place, trusting, awful, beautiful, ever, hearts, never, awake, throwing, when, sweet, promise, fallen, threw, cheer, brother, so, spirit, breathe, every, owe, believing, thankful, footsteps, him, rest, stranger, gorgeous, seeing, supposed, ashes, surprised, joy, cheering, disappoint, stood, thrown, dare, who, shine, appetite

Why? The authors speculate:

Nonetheless, it is tempting to reflect on a few potential mechanisms. One possibility when it comes to the trends from 1850 to 1980 is that the rapid developments in science and technology and their socioeconomic benefits drove a rise in status of the scientific approach, which gradually permeated culture, society, and its institutions ranging from the education to politics. As argued early on by Max Weber, this may have led to a process of “disenchantment” as the role of spiritualism dwindled in modernized, bureaucratic, and secularized societies (21, 22).

What precisely caused the observed stagnation in the long-term trend around 1980 remains perhaps even more difficult to pinpoint. The late 1980s witnessed the start of the internet and its growing role in society. Perhaps more importantly, there could be a connection to tensions arising from neoliberal policies which were defended on rational arguments, while the economic fruits were reaped by an increasingly small fraction of societies (23⇓–25).

In many languages the trends in sentiment- and intuition-related words accelerate around 2007 (SI Appendix, section 9). One possible explanation could be that the standards for inclusion in Google Books shifted from “being in a library Google had an agreement with” to “from a publisher that directly deposited with Google” after 2004 to 2007, thus affecting the corpus composition. The 2007 shift also coincides with the global financial crisis which may have had an impact. However, earlier economic crises such as the Great Depression (1929 to 1939) did not leave discernible marks on our indicators of book language. Perhaps significantly, 2007 was also roughly the start of a near-universal global surge of social media.

But, surely, the decline in rationality-orientation after the late 1970s has much to do with the rise of women writers and feminist values.

Note that bestselling women novelists have been common since the 18th Century: Dr. Johnson was always complaining to Boswell about how much money they made, but also admitting he’d stayed up all night reading that lady author’s novel that everyone is talking about.

Indeed, women wrote about 36% of the top 10 bestselling novels of the year in the first half of the 20th Century and about 28% in the second half. The postwar decades seem particularly male-dominated in retrospect, with men rattling on at great length about war, science, and government programs.

Still, it’s reasonable to see 1969 as the beginning of the triumph of the current wave of feminism, which led to more feminine styles of thought growing in, say, the New York Times about a decade later.

And, while I don’t know anything about Spanish-language culture, the idea that feminism bit into it later than in English-language culture, sounds plausible.

 
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  1. No mention of diversity, inclusion and equity.

  2. J.Ross says:

    We will not improve on Orwell’s Politics and the English Language. A man who wants to lie to you must lie to you using language, and so attention to language can protect you from lying.

    • Agree: Charon
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  3. Can “fact-based argumentation” and “fact-free argumentation” be differentiated rationally and scientifically? Obviously, some statements can be subject to scientific test or compared to the historical record, which act as guides to their reliability. Otherwise, I see no easy way to differentiate the two types of argumentation.

    Bizarrely, the only source that these Dutch “aquatic ecologists” mention for their views is the German sociologist Max Weber. Are his arguments rational and scientific ? Are they falsifiable ? No.

    PS, Jim Bob Lassiter, if they were going to include DIE, they would have referenced Marx, not Max Weber

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @James J O'Meara
  4. A new word– new to me, that is– crossed my tablet today. A few hours later, I put it into nGrams:

    Immuration

    Immure

    But I misremembered. Immuration isn’t the word I learned. It does have a fascinating trajectory, though. It means the enclosure of something or someone within a wall, and it appears to disappear during wartime. Weird. Anyway, Shel Silverstein covered immuration in a song.

    No, the new word was irrumation. Which means, um… to force your PNAS into someone’s mouth. There’s a special word for that? Apparently. And for a long time, too. The Romans had it. It showed big spikes in the 1860s, 1960s, 1990s, and is bouncing back today.

    When I searched for PNAS, Google autosuggested PNAS impact factor. Let’s not even…

    • Replies: @theMann
  5. @J.Ross

    A man who wants to lie to you must lie to you using language

  6. J.Ross says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    “Five” sounds like a number, looks like a quantity, and might even be a fact, but before it is any of those things, it is a word.

  7. J.Ross says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    At first I was tempted to snarl that all establishment babble about irrationality is just Orange Man Bad babble. Then I read it. There’s good stuff there even if they’re not us. That reading anyway is what makes us not them.

    • Replies: @SFG
  8. Anon[277] • Disclaimer says:

    “If you want to persuade, appeal to interest not to reason.” — Franklin (supposedly)

    “Facts don’t care about your feelings” – Big brain

    “Feelings don’t care about your facts” – Galaxy brain

    there has been a marked shift in public interest from the collective to the individual, and from rationality toward emotion.

    Ayn Rand, the self-styled purveyor of the most “rational” and “objective” ideology in the world, wrote a book “Anthem” which painted an ultimate “irrational” dystopia, where the personal singular pronouns “I/he/she” had be expurgated from the language. People used “we” to refer to themselves, even when alone.

    Rand hated “collectivism” (while, ironically and hypocritically, being an enthusiastic Zionist — as is her successor Yaron Brook who now runs the Ayn Rand institute). Anthem supposedly illustrated the “evils” and “irrationality” of collectivism.

    But, it appears that in practice individualizing language and rationality are not correlated at all — as Rand thought — but anti-correlated.

    Ultimately, Rand, like many other ideologues and shysters, just want to appropriate the monikers “rational” and “objective” to describe whatever their personal ideology is.

    You can find plenty of videos on Youtube of Yaron Brook arguing for why Isreal must remain a Jewish ethnostate while America needs to have open borders to enrich itself with diversity. Jews may disagree on all sorts of things, be they Libertarian, Republican or Democrat, but on one thing they all agree: the number one priority is whatever is good for the Jews.

    Finally, from an evo-psych perspective, collectivism, aka tribalism, is entirely rational. We are self-replicating biological machines evolved to reproduce our genes and culture. We achieve this by having children ourselves or helping our close kin — our tribe — have children. This isn’t “irrational.” This is Darwinian evolution in action.

    What’s irrational — or really a tactic of dishonest ideological warfare — is to tell one group that it’s evil to behave in a tribal and collective manner (White Americans) while it’s good when other people do it — non-Whites in the USA and Jews in Israel.

    Telling White Americans that “collectivism” (that is, advocating for their own) is bad, while practicing collectivism yourself, as Rand did, and serving in the IDF, as Yaron Brook did, is really just hypocritical ideological warfare on White Americans.

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666
    , @Muggles
  9. Andrew M says:

    No mention of TV? Cable television didn’t really take off until after deregulation in 1972 (and again in 1976); for example CNN was launched in June 1980. Richard Hanania’s theory of “Liberals Read, Conservatives Watch TV” might be relevant here: conservatives withdrew from print media, ceding the field to liberals.

    Unfortunately, TV isn’t exactly a bastion of rational thought either.

  10. But, surely, the decline in rationality-orientation after the late 1970s has much to do with the rise of women writers and feminist values.

    More to do with the rise of Female editors and publishers and the recognition rather than denial that women are the main readers of most literature, not just fiction.

    The other core issue that seems to be ignored is the growing “tail” of little read literature
    There is little tail in NYT data and a much smaller tail off of Rational walls.
    I don’t read the NYT but I guess much of that can be explained by an expansion of pages on all kinds of supplements, rather than a change on the core news pages.

    But if we take fiction then there is whole host of minority books that now get published which will be included in the google data.
    Fiction being published may be getting less rational – but can we jump to the conclusions that fiction being read is less rational.

  11. SFG says:
    @J.Ross

    Figures to your left such as Pinker and Haidt would probably agree with reading the other side’s stuff.

    • Replies: @Ben tillman
  12. Twinkie says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    “How to Lie with Statistics” is a classic. I have an early edition that has some politically incorrect language not found in later editions.

  13. Anonymous[330] • Disclaimer says:

    I wonder if their ratio of singular to plural pronouns takes into account that the use of “they” as a singular pronoun has not been constant over time.

    And how do the many other pronouns fit into the study?

  14. Not convinced. There is nothing feminine or irrational in “supposed”.

    What has been happening, in the past few decades everywhere, is infantilization & enstupidation. And this is expected, because of democratization of public discourse with way too many people, who would have otherwise been excluded, now participating in global talking & arguing.

    And most people are simply irrational, dumb and they “feel” their world-views. Actually, all “feel” their world-views, but some are better at articulating them quasi-rationally.

    • Agree: Spect3r
  15. I blame Oprah.

    The philosopher and anthropologist Ernest Gellner turned Max Weber’s thesis of the “Iron Cage” on its head and argued that modern affluent consumer society has created a “Rubber Cage” in which large numbers of people could behave insanely and yet be protected from themselves by the “Rubber Cage” of affluence.

    There is a specific application of this concept to the structure of our modern economy: When my grandparents were born, the vast majority of people in the USA spent their days dealing with recalcitrant physical objects — from working in steel mills to stoking the coal fire before you went to bed.

    That is no longer true. Most Americans now have jobs where they uses words to influence or manipulate other people: ranging from diversity consultants to salespeople to lawyers and journalists..

    And, most importantly, with few exceptions (e.g., surgeons) those verbalist jobs are the jobs people want for themselves and their children.

    Far more people want their kids to grow up to be lawyers or diversity consultants than plumbers or electricians.

    And when words get detached from physical reality, what else is there to talk about except feelings?

  16. Then- why insist on novels?

    Very, very few novels are still worth reading.

    Though- it’s better to read a third-rate novel than to get devoured by social media crap.

  17. Ian Smith says:

    How much did the rise of second wave feminism play a role in the 1970s craze for ESP, ghosts, etc.?

    A glorious moment for male logic:

    https://9gag.com/gag/amv46R4

  18. Simple Past –“a bunch of guys ran into some government buildings and took selfies, and now the government has declared them terrorists so they can imprison them forever” (informal, used with family and friends)

    Passive Past–“who cares what happened? It’s all a bunch of lies and they’re all as bad as each other” (mainly used in formal and work situations).

    Past Perfect: “White Supremacist terrorists tried to storm the capital, but democracy was saved” (used around liberals to denote status)

    Past Continuous “We have always been at war with white supremacy, and always will be” (used in NYT/CNN)

    The grammar of modern life in the West….

  19. Feryl says:

    Those gosh darn Millennials! Precocious brats who began changing our vocab. with all their toddler writings in the 1980’s.

    In all seriousness, I would personally put the post-1980 change down to Boomers being far more emotional than previous generations*, and contrary to popular belief Boomers didn’t have much influence in the 60’s and much of the 70’s (those decades were dominated by the Greatest and Silent generations). Also, movie dialogue became much more profane in the 1980’s and seemed to hit a nadir in the early 90’s (the early 90’s were quite ugly for pop culture, and that was mostly created by Boomers and early Gen X). Boomers Spielberg and Lucas were outliers in the 70’s, it wasn’t until the 80’s that many scripts were written by Boomers.

    Elsewhere I have said that the Neo-lib period has led to psychic tumult and mental illness**. Presumably, stressed out and crazy people become concerned about “feelings” because of being “on edge” so much of the time that there’s a fear of a slight push potentially causing a total mental breakdown.

    *Boomers were a product of the indulgent upbringing that could have only happened in Post-War affluence. It is what it is. No generation chooses the circumstances that influence character.

    **How come this happened? I would put it down to any sense of camaraderie and community being shredded by toxic levels of individualism/narcissism and status striving/rising inequality. People cease being able to like or trust most other people and most institutions, leaving you isolated and vulnerable

    • Agree: Paul Mendez
  20. Hibernian says:
    @PhysicistDave

    When my grandparents were born, the vast majority of people in the USA spent their days dealing with recalcitrant physical objects — from working in steel mills to stoking the coal fire before you went to bed.

    You’d think Midwestern winters would have a sobering effect, but they don’t seem to have much effect on the insanity of Chicago, the Twin Cities, or Madison WI.

    • Replies: @Feryl
    , @Badger Down
    , @Spect3r
  21. @PhysicistDave

    And yet Americans have gotten noticeably less religious, a least in the traditional sense, as the jobs in the economy have trended away from dealing with stuff and more over to playing humans’ stupid social games, like all the ridiculous servility jobs which people have to go into these days if they want a wage income.

    I work in the hospitality business, for example, and the railroad employees the hotel supplies rooms for just strike me as better emotionally adjusted than, say, the airline flight attendants who also stay regularly at the hotel. You can’t get much more physically grounded that running a train competently.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    , @duncsbaby
  22. Blodgie says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    Women are the greatest beneficiaries of diversity and inclusion.

    Wake up.

    Who gets the most affirmative action? Women, specifically white women.

  23. Ray P says:

    You are dinosaur Sailer boy. Get in the tar pit. It’s evolution in action.

  24. @Twinkie

    That’s a tantalizing introduction. Please complete your point by citing “some politically incorrect language”.

  25. @PhysicistDave

    A few generations back young men had to become productive early in life, because they faced the alternative of literal starvation. We see a fictional portrayal of this economic reality in the film Master and Commander, when over two centuries ago literal boys joined the British Navy and went to sea as midshipmen.

    On land during the long ages of preindustrial poverty, 20 year old men would start to run their family farms and businesses, or else they would apply themselves to become employable in the professions ASAP; John Quincy Adams founded his own law practice at the age of 23, for example. What young man now would open up his own law office at the same age, even if he got a law degree and passed his state’s bar exam?

    While these days we hear occasionally of comparably young men who succeed at business startups (part of Silicon Valley’s mythology), or else of ones who go into the armed services to develop skills and exercise their powers of agency, a surprisingly large percentage of the young men these days “fail to launch.” And that happens because our society, thanks to the economic revolution over the past 200 years, has so much extra wealthy lying around that it can subsidize these feckless men into middle age, at least. Like the ones with YouTube channels who apparently aren’t employed in real jobs who upload videos where they discuss their collections of Star Wars, My Little Pony or Warhammer paraphernalia, for example.

    • Replies: @Paul Mendez
  26. I believe (there’s one for the after 1980 set) that their conclusion (one for the pre-1980s) is right. However, I doubt that their method is really worth anything, unless you hand-pick the word set to get your conclusion – easy enough to do, after all. These days, loads of words formerly used for the physical and (actually) technical world get appropriated by the soft social sciences and flat-out bullshitters for their own use.

    Even, say, “port”, which was thought of as a physical term, is used by the software types to mean something else. (When a guy said they were gonna port the software from one database to the other, I envisioned a big cable between two computers. That’s not what he meant.) They all like to use the engineering terms that are very-specifically required for engineering for their own use, so they sound smarter.

    Then the use of pronouns to determine anything about the style of language has been all screwed up recently anyway, as these writers should know.

  27. J.Ross says:
    @Twinkie

    When I was reading Kaiser* Fung’s Numbers Rule Your World, I felt deep unwellness but nothing specific, until he started babbling about the convenience of credit card transactions, at which point I fed the book to a convenient rabbit. But when he blithely dissed Darryl Huff I felt that really a line had been crossed.
    *I have to admit I was totally unable to establish any connection whatever betwixt Professor Fung and the nunhousing House of Hohenzollern. Numbers indeed.

  28. Alrenous says: • Website

    The main cause is that this is a trailing indicator of broad IQ.

    [MORE]
    Even if the absolute number of peak IQ holders is increasing, if you have a mass-market product, you want to aim at the average IQ, which has dropped dramatically and more or less evenly since 1850.

    One primary cause: infant mortality dropped from 50% to around 1%, as per Jolly Heretic. Almost all of those 49% infants will have had below-average IQ and instead of being cleaned out of the gene pool they are now dragging down the discourse. Further, having children of their own who will also survive and drag it down further.

    Likewise it is always true that r-strategy vs. K-strategy is correlated with IQ. Dumber humans are more rabbit-like. Meaning (even factoring out immigration from low-IQ populations and generally correcting for race) when population grows, the dumb fractions of the population will grow more and deplete your average IQ.

    Well that was polite, wasn’t it? Let’s fix that: this is what I call the lord shortage. Peasant populations have exploded and lord populations have remained almost static. You need about 1 lord for every 100 peasants, or the peasants start creating more problems than get solved. Now even by genetics you’re looking at something like one lord for every 1000 peasants. For every problem that gets solved, nine get banked.

    Worse: Prussian school actively persecutes lords for lordly leadership and preferentially damages lord psyches. Your effective lord ratio is 1:2000 at best.

    Twitter has 5000 employees. I estimate they have maybe three lords, for a ratio of 1:1600. Lords, by definition, are smart enough to work out how to get paid without working and not dumb enough to work for an anti-lord institution like Twitter unless they’re masochistic.
    Basically most of them are chickens running around with their head cut off. This means all these loose peasants are easy pickings for any psycho lord who wants to casually mind-control one and e.g. have them “leak” private messages so they can dox someone for sadistic pleasure. There’s no way Jack could have kept control of all these peasants simply because of information bandwidth problems: there are only so many hours in the day and thus only so many orders that can be issued.

    Luckily Jack finally wised up and left. This means Twitter likely has at most 2 lords, who now have to report to some lowborn flunky. They can top from the bottom, but if they were into that sort of thing they would likely have instead already founded their own company… Plus the new CEO is almost certainly already reporting to Larry Fink or George Soros (low-level lords, barons maybe), so they would have to induce a rebellion or otherwise stage a coup.

    P.S. Why do Singapore and other city-states work better? Most likely because they leech lords from the rest of the population and thus have a better or even good lord:peasant ratio.

  29. theMann says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    There is something so hilariously wrong there.

    And, seriously, there is a polite word for [email protected]@king ? I want to laugh, but I am a little too appalled.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Paul Mendez
  30. The same author looked at the rise and fall of rationality in newspapers. The NYT became steadily more rational until the election of Ronald Reagan. This event was so traumatic for the NYT that it lost its grip on rationality – and it has never recovered.

    https://www.pnas.org/content/119/4/e2121300119

    With a commentary:
    https://sites.santafe.edu/~simon/DeDeo_PNAS_Cognition.pdf

    • Thanks: Charon
  31. When I started high school debating in 1961, the national debate topic was, you guessed it, federal aid to education. I looked up the history of high school debate topics some years ago, and it seemed that half the time the national topic was something to do with Federal aid to education.

    Maybe that was an exaggerated impression, but I wondered, how often, if ever, was the debate topic a conservative, rather than a liberal proposal? Long before teachers tried to foist Crackpot Race Theory on students, they were relentlessly promoting one version or another of the more respectable liberal themes.

    One more issue on which Ricard Nixon was right in his 1960 debate with Kennedy: if the Federal government starts aiding local schools, it will start controlling them.

  32. @PhysicistDave

    There is a specific application of this concept to the structure of our modern economy: When my grandparents were born, the vast majority of people in the USA spent their days dealing with recalcitrant physical objects — from working in steel mills to stoking the coal fire before you went to bed.

    That is no longer true. Most Americans now have jobs where they uses words to influence or manipulate other people: ranging from diversity consultants to salespeople to lawyers and journalists..

    Great comment Phys Dave.

    I made a similar point a few days back, and JackD responded with a hyperbolic paragraph that basically boiled down to “Luddite!”

    In fact, the point of tools, machines is to leverage human labor. Live better with less labor–ergo a higher standard of living. And turfing out (verbalist blatherer) parasites–close down the sinecures of the useless eaters as much as possible and make ’em actually work for a living–has the same beneficial effect. Less “labor” per given output. Higher standard of living.

    But the psychological point is extremely important. People used to be much more closely connected to production. Now we have huge numbers of people–pretty much the entire “girls with BAs” class, but also the vast majority of our extremely influential verbalist elites–who are utterly ignorant of any idea of “production” and physical reality/constraints. In fact, not even in their consciousness! These people live in a world where stuff just “shows up” and “problems” are “handled” and “fixed” with by verbal bullshit.

    Having such ephemeral word people influential in your society–much less “in charge”–is not the path toward wise decision making.

  33. Flemur says:

    John McWhorter wrote a column on this subject and got all his examples backwards, except for ‘hunch’.

  34. I would like to know whether you were/are pro or con on those 2 debate questions:

    a) During those debates.

    b) In your own opinion then (doesn’t have to match (a), right?)

    c) Now.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  35. Nodwink says:

    On a somewhat related note, people who post their Wordle on social media should be immediately banned. The idea that anyone is interested in you completing a puzzle is highly narcissistic — stop it.

    • LOL: Paul Mendez
    • Replies: @duncsbaby
  36. @Henry Canaday

    I looked up the history of high school debate topics some years ago, and it seemed that half the time the national topic was something to do with Federal aid to education.

    Go figure. You know they’d be pushing that simply for more money, if nothing else. It was quite the contrary in the private schools back in the day that were created to get away from government control.

    It doesn’t go back as far as Nixon v Kennedy, but I do remember a very conservative evangelist type who was my kid friend’s Dad railing against the HEW. That “E” in HEW was Education. I could say he had no idea of how bad it was gonna get! However, I think he did.

  37. JakeZ says:

    The number of female college graduates first exceed male graduates in the early 1980’s, and women have progressively dominated all the cultural industries since then. Universities, publishing houses, media of all sorts, news reportage, fiction and non-fiction writing – all now reflect the female propensity to emotionalism and solipsism.

    • Agree: Paul Mendez
    • Replies: @Farenheit
  38. The complexity of presidential speeches collapsed after women got the vote:

    • Thanks: Malla, InnerCynic
    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  39. 6dust6 says:
    @AnotherDad

    “Having such ephemeral word people influential in your society–much less “in charge”–is not the path toward wise decision making.”

    I have felt for quite some time that I no longer want leaders making policy decisions who have never, in their entire lives, made or created anything.

    • Replies: @James J O'Meara
  40. Altai says:

    But, surely, the decline in rationality-orientation after the late 1970s has much to do with the rise of women writers and feminist values.

    I remember once talking to the smartest most academic girl in my school. I can’t remember what led up to it once but I said “Well, there is always the truth” and she snapped back, shocked, “You believe in absolute truth?”. I was completely floored. It seems like a lot of women have trouble separating the existence of a difference of perspectives of an event and there also being an objective event (Even if nobody knows what it is), almost like the different emotional perspectives of spectators were themselves reality or perhaps more interestingly, a difficulty in articulating this difference. Maybe because they are so used to social politicking and details being massaged in their social lives growing up with other girls.

    The quintessential mass female social media enclave, Tumblr was a hive of post-modernism and I suspect most of the more intellectual feminist authors being mid century post-modernists is what propels this. As these users have migrated to Twitter and as Twitter and other female-dominated social media platforms (Maybe Gab is the only male dominated one?) they have brought this very un-detached style of public discourse with them.

    So is this all just a result of the big wave of feminist intellectuals coming up in an environment where post-modernists seemed like natural allies? How much of history is dictated by intellectual and political coalitions continuing long after their original context has ceased to make sense but the ideas come tangled together none the less? Or is the appeal of post-modernism not dissimilar to astrology and are female authors more comfortable with it?

    This isn’t to say highly autistic men can’t also be blind to reality in order to fit into their meta-narrative (See so much of what libertarians have to say about anything) but it seems like they are much more likely to debate the details and for neutral observers to be better served. Nobody pretends politics was ever not full of self-serving narratives but it seems like narratives is all there is now.

    • Agree: Paul Mendez
    • Replies: @LP5
    , @SFG
    , @Peter D. Bredon
    , @RW
  41. Altai says:

    OT: The new Deputy Assistant Secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Office of Nuclear Energy for the Department of Energy is very publicly into ‘pup play’ and is a ‘they/them’. The thing is, I’m sure he is just fine at his technical field. (Not such about his impact on office morale though)

    What’s fascinating is that as the US transitions into a shame rather than guilt society, that public ‘pup play’ isn’t something that receives sanction.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @SFG
  42. Mark G. says:

    In addition to more female writers, you also have more women moving into politics. This has led to more emotionalism in political arguments and more catty insults of the type women engage in. For example, the recent remarks by AOC responding to her political opponents by saying they are just mad they can’t date her would have been widely mocked if they had been uttered sixty years ago. Women are also more risk averse and security oriented and this has led to more calls for a cradle to grave welfare state of the type shown in Obama’s “life of Julia” ads.

    Also, in recent years you have increasing numbers of young men being raised by single moms with no father to act as a male role model for them. This has feminized many young men. Many young fatherless black males in the inner city can’t control their emotions. When women get in fights, they engage in things like hair pulling. When men, with their higher levels of testosterone, get in fights it often ends up with someone getting killed. There is also a new feminine obsession with looks among men. Earlier era movie stars like Cary Grant or Clark Gable had not spent huge amounts of time in the gym developing body builder physiques like many popular actors you see today. The explosion of guys going to the gym to work out to improve their physical appearance is something that has happened over the last forty years.

    You can see this feminization of the culture in the recent reaction to Covid. Some think this is a cleverly calculated depopulation or Great Reset scheme. I’m older and it always seemed to me like a hysterical and emotional over-reaction of the type women would engage in, especially when you consider this is a disease where the average person dying from it is 78 and 99.7% of those under 60 who get it survive. Also, the attempts to enforce conformity of opinion here by labeling anyone who deviates from the mainstream by labeling what they say as spreading “misinformation” seems feminine and reminds me of Orwell’s observation that the most ardent enforcers of orthodoxy among the Communists he saw were always the women.

  43. @Jim Bob Lassiter

    The use of “but you have your own reality and (other person)’s reality may be different” arose circa 1970. This was a necessary prerequisite to the psychobabble that empowers D. I. E.

  44. AndrewR says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    All of which are fundamentally collectivist in nature. I don’t understand how anyone can say we have become less collectivist as a society. This certainly isn’t true when it comes to race especially. Increasingly, people are now judged entirely on whether they’re part of “oppressed” or “oppressor” groups.

  45. The nineties saw the rise of a new business ideology too: the penetration of the MBA into middle class schooling and the widespread adoption of marketing techniques and jargon. Central to advertising is the idea of direct appeal to emotion rather than reason. Bleeding over into politics and all middle class economic activity, these non-rational modes of discourse have combined with female workplace empowerment to center sympathy, caring and tolerance in Anglo official culture.

    Everyone in today’s Higher Education is obliged to drink the ill-matched cocktail of DIE, branding, Franz Fanon, marketing and customer care.

  46. LP5 says:
    @Altai

    Well, there is always the truth” and she snapped back, shocked, “You believe in absolute truth?”

    Is there some Google nGram or similar to track usage of Tell your truth?

    Solipsism and its discontents.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  47. @PhysicistDave

    from working in steel mills to stoking the coal fire before you went to bed.

    So while we are being picky about words, don’t you bank the fire in the evening and stoke it in the morning?

    At least that’s the way it was explained to me when it was my job in Liverpool in the 60’s.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  48. anonymous[378] • Disclaimer says:
    @Altai

    So what? At least he went to MIT. Do you want stupid people involved in leadership positions in the nuclear space? At the nuclear weapons factory in Amarillo, Texas both the CEO of the operations company and the Site Manager of the factory are graduates of fourth-tier schools. Two people with sub-120 IQs are in charge at the only nuclear weapons factory in America. That ought to be the scandal. What are the increased odds that the factory will screw up decommissioning a nuclear bomb because the factory managers aren’t that bright?

    • Replies: @David Davenport
  49. Feryl says:
    @Hibernian

    Historically MN whites were very well behaved and even graded well academically, esp. WRT the fact the state isn’t a hotbed for WASP elites and/or Jews. In fact, as we can see in Portland and Seattle (and Colorado being the pot capital of America), whites tend to get a lot nuttier and more dangerous as you get further West of the Mississippi.

    It’s quite obvious that blacks are the source of most pathology in the Eastern states, and that is more true in MN than anywhere else.

    • Replies: @lavoisier
  50. Kronos says:

    This popular meme was made for this post.

    • LOL: Kylie
  51. @PhysicistDave

    Not quite.

    In any society, most people follow their true “emotions”, desires, “the unconscious”,… Nazi Germany & Soviet Union authentically embodied desires of most of their peoples, although the central ideas were simply crazy while men, and virtually all citizens in these societies had been immersed in dealing with physical, agricultural & technical spheres of life.

    The same goes with Western democracies, and much more with Islamic theocracies & Asian societies.

    People just want what they want- they want frequently something specific for their culture- and are easily persuaded that what they want is completely reasonable, while in many instances it’s just- crap.

    This is rubbish from Israel:

    • Replies: @International Jew
  52. SFG says:
    @Altai

    I’m sure if the pup was a woman it would have been an issue.

    • Replies: @Gary in Gramercy
    , @Altai
  53. SFG says:
    @Altai

    The persistence of coalitions is definitely a thing. Look at the way lots of social conservatives still oppose regulation of business.

    I think the observation about women being more interested in social than physical reality is true as well, and makes plenty of evolutionary sense. Social reality is more important 90 percent of tune anyway, at least until your crops stop growing.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  54. MGB says:
    @Feryl

    ** it’s the technology, at least part of it anyway. This may seem paradoxical given what we’re talking about, but the increased use of technology used to communicate does not make people more rational or logical, it perverts emotional states and makes people less rational because something important is lost in the nature of communication. You see it with teens and their cell phones, and the epidemic of teen anxiety, or people losing their shit and expressing emotions they normally would edit out of their messages. Interpersonal communication evolves from exclusively face to face, to include written communication in the form of personal correspondence, to typed, to purely electronic, with whatever program that ‘fixes’ and ‘improves’ your message. That, and limits the number of characters of what you say. Also, most people have a working knowledge of how to manipulate the technology they use, but not a fucking clue of how it works, an alien in your midst. It’s not even that the unknown is ‘magic’ and marveled at, it’s just unknown. In the 70s and 80s I regularly worked on my own car, as did most men, now I refill the wiper fluid, and I can remember pulling the back off my grandmother’s TV to fiddle with the various tubes to see what would happen while the TV played. McLuhan wrote a great book decades ago, “The Gutenberg Galaxy” about one important phase in this evolution.

    • Replies: @Feryl
  55. Speaking of post-truth, how about redefining ‘vaccine’ to mean a substance that may possibly no guarantees fingers crossed pray to the great facediaper in the clouds may possibly reduce your symptoms if you get the sniffles?

    I.e., chicky noodle soup is a vaccine now.

    Vax Covidians are such fucking retards.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  56. Anon7 says:

    In the last thirty years, the New York Times and other influential media have adopted the same model as The National Enquirer and The Weekly World News. That is, they tell the reader a story that they want to hear, rather than gather facts (expensive!) and build a case from facts (tedious! and maybe not what readers want to hear).

    This change closely mirrors another difference, the growth of prosecuting (persecuting!) people in the media, rather than actually holding a trial, ideally with an impartial judge overseeing the presentation of carefully gathered facts.

  57. Speaking of post truth and post reality, how about declaring a poison injection a wild success when the death rate doubles after the poison injections?

    I.e., 300K dead before the injectio, then nearly a million dead after the injection.

    The correct term for this is poison, not vaccine.

    The correct term for this is disaster, not Safe and Effective.

  58. @Achmed E. Newman

    High school debate topics?

    Please. Is there a high school on the planet earth in 2022 that would debate vaccination? Immigration? Jews?

    Steven Pinker et al are nearly without exception vaccinated. The closest thing we have is a professional athlete–Aaron Rodgers. Who is a very bright guy no doubt but he ain’t going to be giving any seminars.

    Every NFL agent was speaking out all over the place against Rodgers two months ago. And now he is the MVP. I’d love to see their explanations for that one although let’s be real. There is no explanation for it. It is like a miracle happened but Roger Goodell and the rest of the billionaire human sex toys can pretend they didn’t see anything.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  59. anonymous[244] • Disclaimer says:

    They ought to conduct an intervention analysis before and after 1953, the date of PSB D-33/2 (The US Doctrinal Program.) That doctrine was imposed by multiple implementation initiatives directed by CIA. These covert programs probably encountered some hysteresis that might show up in the higher moments and explain the delayed results.

    You can read about this in Saunders’ The CIA, CCF and Cultural Cold War. CIA worked hard to enforce passive interiority on fiction by suborning influential MFA programs, Iowa in particular, by publishing books and buying them up when no one read them, and by funding and running literary magazines. The Paris Review was CIA’s highest profile mindfuck. They published lots of Eric Auerbach’s Mimesis, but not his chapter on the naturalist Zola, go figure. They fought socialist realism and related American crimethink like the Grapes of Wrath, and the American Renaissance, for fuck’s sake.

    Nowadays the out-of-control subjectivity of the social sciences is best understood as CIA’s means of throttling objective analysis of their most important assemblages. CIA has throttled the hard sciences too. The state’s uniform standardized response to good questions about m-rna medical experimentation is argumentum ad verecundiam and emotional manipulation.

    As CIA does with most of its sneaky ratfucks, they try to get you pondering this as some sort of spontaneous phenomenon. You remember polarization, CIA’s term for all the divide et impera, hippies-vs.-hardhats PSYOPS that it pulled on you. This navel-gazing is something they manipulated into NATO-bloc culture.

  60. Thea says:
    @PhysicistDave

    When my grandparents were born, the vast majority of people in the USA spent their days dealing with recalcitrant physical objects — from working in steel mills to stoking the coal fire before you went to bed.

    Excellent insight. Our lives compared to theirs may be as different as hunter gathers to farmers.

  61. res says:

    Interesting. Thanks, Steve. Some thoughts.

    1. Be sure to notice those are log y axis plots. The changes would look even more dramatic with a linear axis.

    2. I am surprised at the trend in individual/collective words given the rise in the use of singular “they.”

    3. The Supplemental Material has much additional detail.
    https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/suppl/2021/12/15/2107848118.DCSupplemental/pnas.2107848118.sapp.pdf

    Page 3 has PCA plots. The two PCs tend to explain about 70% of variance together.

    Words scoring strongly in the two opposite directions on either axes are given in section 10. Examining those words suggests that the first axis in both English and Spanish capture mostly the natural turnover of vocabulary while the second axis in each language is dominated on the high side by words reflecting concepts related to personal experience, while the opposite end is populated by concepts related to society. This ‘personal vs society’ axis invariably surges in recent decades and is correlated to the sentiment value of words (Table S1).

    Page 6 shows Spanish language word changes which look due to a corpus shift (sharp transition). I don’t see anything like that for English.

    4. The authors provide source code and data for anyone who wants to dig in.
    https://github.com/jbollen/rise_and_fall_of_rationality_in_language

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  62. @Twinkie

    “How to Lie with Statistics” is a classic. I have an early edition that has some politically incorrect language not found in later editions.

    As late as 2002 that book brazenly spelled out the “n” in “n-gram”, which originally referred to a measurement of crack cocaine.

  63. Anonymous[215] • Disclaimer says:

    That’s inappropriate.

  64. @Feryl

    Good comment.

    Movies, TV, and pop music affected people’s speech and thought way more than books ever did. Nowadays it’s social media, video games, and probably porn.

    The rise of constant cursing was obvious to my parents, born in the 30’s, as they watched it in real time. As soon as any taboos were lifted (thank you filthy speech movement) the cool kids took up the gross words and the popular media spread it happily.

    • Agree: Pierre de Craon
  65. @Achmed E. Newman

    Health Education and Welfare. So much money to control and distribute! Wheeee!

    Honestly, the public ed system has been left wing since the early 60’s. That was when my right-wing parents pulled their small children from the local PS.

    I participated in a speech contest in HS around 1985 and the topic was Who’s Responsible for Education? I fulminated about the gov’t vs. the free market, a lib went on about more gov’t, and the winner was a guy who said basically, “The students are responsible.” I liked him.

    • Thanks: Achmed E. Newman
  66. @Henry Canaday

    Resolved: That governmental financial support for all public and secondary education ..

    Debates are always framed within the narrow confines of “Should we have big government, or gigantic, COLOSSAL government?”

    Apparently, the totally awful CCSD (Las Vegas) puts on an annual, district-wide, political essay contest. The subject has to propose and defend new legislation. The prize includes that a local assemblyman will repackage the essay into a legislative bill and submit it for action, no strings attached. A few years ago a kid won with an essay that advocated for abolishing compulsory, school attendance. Way.

    (The Speaker made some patronizing, congratulatory comments about the kid, but when asked to comment on the proposal, he gave a predictable, mealy mouthed answer that essentially ridiculed it. The bill went nowhere, of course. Its [DEM] sponsor must have been pretty embarrassed. I doubt that he even tried to find a co-sponsor.)

    [MORE]

    Getting back to the debate topic of federal funding of education, public school districts — especially the totally DEM controlled, worstest, inner-city ones — were BIG winners in DC’s 2019-21 “stimulus” payment scam (i.e. EIP ##1,2,&3). NYC schools alone received \$7B. Boy, that was fast.

    Meanwhile, millions of Americans are still waiting to receive their full (paltry) \$2,000 stimulus crumbs. That is because the IRS (the bureaucracy in charge of figuring out who’s entitled to what) first provided US Treasury Dept with figures often less than half of what individual taxpayers were expecting. It then announced that shortfalls could be claimed on 1040s. But of course the IRS pushed back processing 2019 tax returns for almost a year, and what with its computer systems being so buggy and its workers so clueless, in many cases taxpayer claims for stimulus refunds were DENIED, frozen and still waiting on appeals, and so forth.

    • The individual checks should have gone out immediately.
    • Overpayments should have been billed on 1040s as a tax due.

    School districts who wanted to claim stimulus funds should have been required to file lengthy paperwork with the US Dept of Ed, and then been forced to sit tight while the various fed and state ed bureaucracies coordinated their accounting systems and databases.

  67. @SFG

    “Well, so what? What’s wrong with being sexy?”

    “Sex-IST. Sexist.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrMWRKSNLcs

    And: “Because he’s the victim. Their objections were that she was the victim.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEXn7KB8TQs

  68. Altai says:
    @SFG

    There are shades of this about gay men.

  69. Jmaie says:

    2. I am surprised at the trend in individual/collective words given the rise in the use of singular “they.”

    The demand by the few that others address them using the singular “they” is a product of narcissism, it is only in an individualistic world that it would even be a concept, let alone (in some circles) mandatory for others to acquiesce.

  70. @Reg Cæsar

    The first lie purveyed by statisticians is objectivity. There is objective truth; but it is rare.

  71. The following year the HS debate topic was

    Resolved: That the United States should significantly change the method of selecting presidential and vice-presidential candidates

    Of course, the debates tended to devolve into a discussion of the meaning of the word “significantly”

    For the upcoming school year, it was narrowed down to five potential resolutions

    Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its support of multilateral greenhouse gas emission reduction regimes.

    Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in one or more of the following areas: artificial intelligence, biotechnology, cybersecurity.

    Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its international support for global health security against naturally occurring infectious disease.

    Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its diplomatic engagement with the Russian Federation on one or more of the following: the Arctic, cybersecurity, human rights.

    Resolved: The United States federal government should consent to be bound by the entirety of one or more of the following:

    • Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
    • Convention on Biological Diversity
    • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
    • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

    The winner was

    [MORE]
    NATO and emerging technologies

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  72. @Henry Canaday

    When I debated in high school and college, the true (and fun) test was off-topic debating.

    The topic was not known in advance, and it was a nonsense topic, so everything in the debate was total sophistry.

    It trained us well for today’s world!

  73. @res

    “Interesting. Thanks, Steve. Some thoughts.”

    How will any of this help Steve in finishing his pilot? The Devil is a distractor. Thanks, Devil.

  74. @AnotherDad

    ” the vast majority of our extremely influential verbalist elites–who are utterly ignorant of any idea of “production” and physical reality/constraints. ”

    That is a cargo cult.

    They are ignorant savages.

  75. @AnotherDad

    • Replies: @duncsbaby
  76. @ScarletNumber

    “NATO and emerging technologies”

    Western Europe, North America, AUS/NZ have been targeted and raped by their elites. It’s a freakshow, a shitshow, and ultimately, a giant haunted house. Those that survive the pogroms and poisoned medicines will be wandering the ghosty landscape murmuring “wha happun.”

  77. 1980 represented a major repudiation of the liberal consensus. For 100 years, even through depressions and wars, elites believed they could simply manage better. Tweak the economy, tweak the culture, adjust for changes in data. The right was a little more pro business and initially isolationist, but everyone agreed that science led in one direction.

    And then the 1970s gave us oil shortages, stagflation, more divorce, latchkey kids, drugs as oblivion instead of enlightenment, seeming Communist expansion (wholly wrong in hindsight), and “general malaise,” or more accurately, Lasch-ian narcissism.

    So the liberals went left and focused on identity, bolstered by a post 1965 increase in third world immigration. Rationalist libs became neoconservatives and made the right all about foreign interventionism and more economic tweaking. Conservatives embraced neocon policies and started the trend to play gotcha with hypocrisy of the left.

    The 2007 acceleration occurred when the Clinton-Bush era offered up 1970s disappointment, so what is left but to reject all truth—or better, to project one’s own preferences as truth? The Science(tm) and Fact Checkers today offer vestiges of objective language that merely affirms preferences

  78. Let’s see … The feminization of journalism … the feminization of business … the feminization of education … science, economics, you name it.

    Not to mention sports. Those who watch the Super Bowl tomorrow will hear numerous references to vague psychobabble such as a coach “changing the culture” or a team “finding their identity” and so on, rather than objective goals such as finding players who can block or tackle.

    • Replies: @Paul Mendez
  79. B36 says:

    This makes me think of Lincoln’s Cooper Union address. Impossible today to imagine a politician making such a logical, lawyerly, almost dispassionate speech about such an explosive topic and have it actually understood by a wide audience.

    http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/cooper.htm

  80. zundel says:

    Blaming feminism is a cheap shot and explains nothing — and does it in the appropriate ways for this blog. If anything, the 80s were characterized by renascent christian moralism and reaction against feminism.

    • Disagree: Paul Mendez
    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Feryl
  81. Jack D says:
    @Verymuchalive

    Sure, look at Snopes, which just declared Biden giving out crack pipes to blacks false even though it was true. It was true but bad people were saying it, which makes it false.

    That’s not what they are talking about here. They are talking about factual language (“percent”) vs. emotional language (“beautiful”). If you look at BLM, they are making emotional arguments (“the po-lice are killing our beautiful Black brothers”) rather than factual ones (“black males are 1,000 percent more likely to commit homicide than white women”).

    • Agree: bomag
  82. J.Ross says:

    Let’s hope the Superb Owl is given the exact same audience treatment as the Genocide Games.

  83. J.Ross says:
    @Jack D

    There is a BLM guy who once made psuedofactual, lawyerish arguments , but he’s not black.

  84. Jack D says:
    @AnotherDad

    Where do you draw the line? If a farmer is sitting in the air conditioned cab of his GPS guided harvester, is that “hands on” job or a desk job? What if the tractor is now autonomous and the farmer is now literally sitting at his desk watching it on a monitor (because that’s the next step)?

    BTW, this is not “real soon now” – Deere is starting to sell this right now.

    • Thanks: Bardon Kaldian
  85. Steve, you might find this analysis and essay on “Language homogenization at Harvard” interesting, as well as the Hacker News discussion of it where among other things the author goes into more depth about what he did and didn’t do.

    First half is on a paper titled “Increasing Politicization and Homogeneity in Scientific Funding: An Analysis of NSF Grants, 1990-2020” but be sure to read the discussion because there’s a forcing function from the NSF itself, as well as a couple of secular trends that would help bring about the results. The posting uses it to explain the methodology that the author then uses on the Harvard Crimson daily student newspaper 1900 to 2000. The most interesting thing I found in the latter is a discontinuity between 1999 and 2000, with what looks like a steady state following for twenty years.

    Perhaps evidence for a current peak of wokeness, and even more speculatively could presage extreme wokeness moving to colleges that ape Harvard and these people getting into positions of woke status where they could enforce the new holiness on a lot of society.

  86. @Feryl

    I think it’s the people born after WWII’s children and grandchildren who cause the problem. They are famous for stupidity throughout the known world. They are too stupid to use rational words, and so they use emotional words. Case closed.

  87. @AnotherDad

    But the psychological point is extremely important. People used to be much more closely connected to production. Now we have huge numbers of people–pretty much the entire “girls with BAs” class, but also the vast majority of our extremely influential verbalist elites–who are utterly ignorant of any idea of “production” and physical reality/constraints. In fact, not even in their consciousness! These people live in a world where stuff just “shows up” and “problems” are “handled” and “fixed” with by verbal bullshit.

    Yup, that point can hardly be over emphasized. Verbal elites have little or no concept of an industrial ecosystem such as aerospace or semiconductors that has taken generations to develop. And what it means to lose such an ecosystem. The current talk about re-shoring US semi manufacturing never mentions how hollowed out/eviscerated the microelectronic ecosystem has become. A renaissance will require focus that the disunited/diversified-USA cannot manage

  88. SafeNow says:

    Once female participation in society gained a toehold, males were quick to adapt, perhaps unconsciously, to their subjective language, due to “the biological imperative.” A bit of history is useful. During the late 60’s, Joan Baez popularized a poster captioned “Girls Say Yes to Boys Who Say No.” It had been considered by many to be unmasculine to be against the war; to be a hippy anti-draft type. Joan was saying what most already knew: C’mon over, and you’ll have a lot more fun. A modern version of Joan’s poster might read “Girls say Yes to boys who say ‘my lived experience’.”

  89. A man who wants to lie to you must lie to you using language

    Not always:

    “Don’t write anything you can phone. Don’t phone anything you can talk. Don’t talk anything you can whisper. Don’t whisper anything you can smile. Don’t smile anything you can nod. Don’t nod anything you can wink.” – Earl Long

    • Replies: @Brutusale
  90. lavoisier says: • Website
    @Feryl

    In fact, as we can see in Portland and Seattle (and Colorado being the pot capital of America), whites tend to get a lot nuttier and more dangerous as you get further West of the Mississippi.

    It is not due to physical geography. White”nutty” liberalism can only flourish in environments where diversity is at a minimum–or gated, privileged communities with very few inhabitants who are underserved.

    True exposure to a lot of diversity, particularly a lot of exposure to black neighborhoods, is hazardous to the preservation of a ‘nutty” liberalism.

    You won’t see a lot of BLM signs on the lawns of people living close to section 8 housing.

    Ignorance is not simply bliss–it is delusional.

    • Agree: Mark G.
  91. anonymous[712] • Disclaimer says:

    It’s taking way too long to moderate comments.

  92. @PhysicistDave

    “When my grandparents were born, the vast majority of people in the USA spent their days dealing with recalcitrant physical objects — from working in steel mills to stoking the coal fire before you went to bed.”

    I think some of the Flynn Effect of rising raw IQ test scores stems from IQ tests having been from early on more like the modern where you process information on a 2-d surface (paper or screen). IQ tests were weirder for people 80 years ago than they are today, so they didn’t do as well on them, even if they did pretty good on mental challenges like repairing the Yorktown in 36 hours.

    • Replies: @Prester John
    , @acementhead
  93. J.Ross says:
    @zundel

    The whole christian thing was over before the middle of the decade. Leftist hysteria over televangelists is equivalent to Red Team hysteria over the decaying Soviet Union.

  94. @LP5

    Yes, “tell your truth” isn’t seen at all in books published in 1984, rises moderately until 2006, then explodes through 2010.

    https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=tell+your+truth&year_start=1800&year_end=2019&corpus=26&smoothing=0&direct_url=t1%3B%2Ctell%20your%20truth%3B%2Cc0

    “Lived experience” follows a similar path about 5 years later.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  95. “Resolved: That governmental financial support for all public and secondary education in the United States be provided exclusively by the federal government.”

    Exclusively, huh? I didn’t realize it at the time, but the people who were inventing these topics were hard-core statists! In your junior year it was “Resolved: that campaign funds for all federal elective offices be provided exclusively by the federal government.” And the following year it was “Resolved: that the development and allocation of scarce world resources be controlled by an international organization.” (Sorry if I’ve slightly misremembered wording, and those were the topics in the midwest anyway.)

    At the time, I thought those were ok ideas and I had no trouble arguing either side. Today I find every one of those resolutions quite horrifying.

    The weirdest thing about debate, in retrospect, was that we considered Time Magazine an authoritative source!

    • Replies: @Curle
  96. @Jack D

    Stop being emotional, and read what I’ve written. Do not put words into my mouth.

  97. What precisely caused the observed stagnation in the long-term trend around 1980 remains perhaps even more difficult to pinpoint. The late 1980s witnessed the start of the internet and its growing role in society. Perhaps more importantly, there could be a connection to tensions arising from neoliberal policies which were defended on rational arguments, while the economic fruits were reaped by an increasingly small fraction of societies (23⇓–25).

    I say:

    ULTERIOR MOTIVE MACHINATIONS

    Ulterior Motive Machinations Of Globalism

    Ulterior Motive Machinations Of Neoliberalism

    We Whitey people ain’t buying the nation-wrecking open border globalization crapola any longer, and the only reason the rancid and demonic baby boomer generation bought the crapola, or pretended to buy it, was that they were bought off with numerous asset bubbles from the Federal Reserve Bank.

    That ‘neoliberal’ word is crud. It’s too nice sounding and I think GLOBALIZER or GLOBALIZATION has the right touch of sinister and evil to it.

  98. @Verymuchalive

    Max Weber not “rational” or “scientific” enough for you, Dr. Cooper?

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  99. @Bardon Kaldian

    I’m surprised to see non-religious (notice no skullcap/yarmulke/kipah) Israelis saying they believe Adam & Eve were real.

    • Replies: @Philip Neal
  100. @AnotherDad

    These people live in a world where stuff just “shows up” and “problems” are “handled” and “fixed” with by verbal bullshit. Having such ephemeral word people influential in your society–much less “in charge”–is not the path toward wise decision making.

    TradCaths and Richard Weaver types like the Middle Ages; many prefer the Florentine Renessaince; Spengler located the peak of Gothic culture around the late Baroque early Romantic, say Bach to Goethe.

    It seems like these periods had an ideal mix of “People … much more closely connected to production” (eg. peasants) BUT ALSO “ephemeral word people …in charge.”

    So, it’s complicated.

  101. @6dust6

    ” I no longer want leaders making policy decisions who have never, in their entire lives, created anything.”

    So, you’d rather have lots of women, then?

    • LOL: bomag, Bardon Kaldian
  102. @theMann

    And, seriously, there is a polite word for [email protected]@king ?

    One could also call it “skullbuggery”.

  103. @Altai

    It seems like a lot of women have trouble separating the existence of a difference of perspectives of an event and there also being an objective event (Even if nobody knows what it is), almost like the different emotional perspectives of spectators were themselves reality or perhaps more interestingly, a difficulty in articulating this difference.

    Maybe close to 100 years of males in the STEMIEST of STEM, physics, saying exactly that has something to do with it. I guess calling “collapse of the superpositioned wave function” makes it manly.

  104. Richard B says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    As if statistics, maps and charts come without an explanation.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  105. @Blodgie

    Who gets the most affirmative action? Women, specifically white women.

    You have got it backwards. Actual white women get the least. As one might expect, Jewish women get the most.

    When the Jewish women have had their fill of unmerited privilege, they pass along whatever scraps remain to the black women whose company they (i.e., the Jewish women) scorn and in whose neighborhoods they would never deign to live.

  106. @Emil Nikola Richard

    FACT CHECK/DEBUNK.

    A group of 20-something liberal-arts grads getting \$25/column and living in constant dread of being replaced by GPT-3, have assessed the claim that Aaron Ridgers’ MVP is illegitimate as “Mostly True“.

    Rodgers had the advantage that D wouldn’t touch him because he refused Bourla’s Magic Spooge. D-backs wouldn’t intercept because he might’ve given the ball cooties.

    I mean, c’mon, man. That’s just The Science.

    The Science of Irony. Tasty, delicious irony.

  107. Farenheit says:
    @JakeZ

    Universities, publishing houses, media of all sorts, news reportage, fiction and non-fiction writing – all now reflect the female propensity to emotionalism and solipsism

    A particularly trenchant observation especially at the mid point of the Olympics. The Olympics used to be a fairly entertaining sports festival, now it’s just unwatchable estrogen drenched dreck.

    Well I guess I’ve got the super-bowl and it’s world renowned half time show and commercials to look forward too!🤮🤮🤮🤮

  108. Feryl says:
    @MGB

    Tech makes ADD/on demand culture worse. I think the drop in social skills and emotional regulation has been happening since the Boomers came of age, mostly due to an increasingly permissive culture (drop in corporal punishment, manners getting worse, not putting the mentally ill away, crying and braggadocio replacing stoicism, etc.). Smart phones don’t help, obviously, bit people have been complaining about “spoiled brat” generations for at least 50 years.

    The Boomers were the first generation raised with much indulgence and flippancy, esp. the later ones who from adolescence through adulthood often crashed and burned due to their reckless behavior. The culture became more punitive toward bratty behavior in the 80’s, consequently Gen X is better socialized than later Boomers (Gen X also had the highest levels of teen employment, which declined with each Millennial cohort and is at record low levels with Gen Z). But with Gen Z the culture has totally abandoned any serious attempt at building character, so they’re like Boomers on steroids in their disregard for others and navel gazing. Also, Gen Z like the Boomers is naively certain about political ideals (as anyone with half a brain knows, the only way to make a difference is by being a millionaire, otherwise you don’t count and never will).

    • Replies: @MGB
  109. @advancedatheist

    A few generations back young men had to become productive early in life, because they faced the alternative of literal starvation.

    Agreed. I’d also add advances in medicine to the problem. A few generations ago, young men couldn’t count on seeing their 60’s. Before penicillin, a simple cut could end your life. Dropping dead of a heart attack in your 50’s was unremarkable.

    Knowing your life was likely half over by the time you reached 30 meant you didn’t let the grass grow under your feet.

  110. Feryl says:
    @zundel

    The 80’s saw the explosion of the gay rights crusade and record numbers of women working. It also had sky high divorce rates and lots of latch key kids. And it had sob story oprahfication of immigrants and the disabled.

    The 80’s were a schizoid mish mash of wished for return to normalcy, sentimental indulgence, and autistic libertarianism. True, many Normies hated the direction society was headed in but little was done to put us back on track.

    • Disagree: Corvinus
  111. @Feryl

    The 80’s were a schizoid mish mash of wished for return to normalcy, sentimental indulgence, and autistic libertarianism.

    I have this half-baked theory that the 80s and the 90s were slightly twisted, ersatz echoes of the 50s and the 60s.

    • Replies: @Feryl
  112. @Known Fact

    Those who watch the Super Bowl tomorrow will hear numerous references to vague psychobabble such as a coach “changing the culture” or a team “finding their identity”

    Also, I predict at least one player’s success will be “bittersweet” because someone important in his life recently passed away and wasn’t able to “share the moment.”

    • Replies: @Known Fact
  113. Anon[229] • Disclaimer says:
    @Feryl

    80s were also significantly more white.

  114. @theMann

    In Ancient Rome, irrumation was considered a masculine act, a form of psychological beat down given to a social inferior. One might punish a male slave or a boy you caught stealing apples from your orchard by humiliating them with irrumation.

    Fellatio was considered a feminine act. Men who performed fellatio on other men were despised. The men they fellated, however, were not considered effeminate.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  115. Since the onset of the covid hoax, the two most evident characteristics of the media campaign of propaganda and (mis)information have been these:

    (1) baseless assertions that all government and other Establishment pronouncements must be taken as ipso facto truthful and unarguable because they follow necessarily from inerrant scientific principles and data;
    (2) the sugary confection of a genuinely impartial concern for truth, especially as it intersects with the larger public’s health and well-being, a concern manifested by the unprecedented resort to “fact-checking” virtually every statement or claim deemed to suggest, however minutely, that the infallible authority of the Establishment might be open to challenge.

    Given (1) that the media’s appeals to science have had the greatest appeal for those ignorant of science and (2) that even the least risible of the deluge of fact checks fail to withstand inquiry, it is stupefying to see that this column’s author and most of those commenting upon the column take the bona fides, the integrity, the intelligence, and even the common sense of the study’s authors for granted. Why aren’t these characteristics assumed to be absent until shown otherwise? Further to the point, if there is to be a debate, shouldn’t the focus of the resolution be on whether the study’s authors are fools, liars, propagandists, or all three?

    Put plainly, in the present pandemic of falsehood, fretting about whether argumentation now leans more toward sentiment than facts ought to look like a red herring to anyone who has the wits to notice that all the media, not excluding their self-important subset of peer-reviewed narcissists, have gone full Bolshevik in their contempt for truth and their insistence that mere mortals at least convincingly fake an acceptance of their hypocritical pretense that they—the government and the media, to the extent that they can be differentiated—never lie to us and would never lie to us.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  116. @Richard B

    As if statistics, maps and charts come without an explanation.

    The Mercator projection has been falsely implying that we have unlimited room for immigration for 500 years. One does not need words for that:

    The words and numbers on this may be correct, but it still manages to lie:

    • Thanks: JMcG
    • Replies: @Richard B
    , @Dube
  117. SFG says:
    @Peter D. Bredon

    I mean, at the subatomic level.

    Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle says you can’t know position and momentum more accurately than Planck’s constant (roughly). But Planck’s constant is 0.00000000000000000000000000000000066.

    Similarly, relativity doesn’t really become important until you get close to the speed of light.

  118. @James J O'Meara

    Weber’s work , as in the The Protestant Ethic And The Spirit of Capitalism, is not replicable or testable, so not a scientific theory. As Karl Popper admitted, in another case, it is not a scientific statement, but it does have meaning.
    Whether it is rational or not is entirely a matter of opinion.

  119. The biggest changes through the use of words is through education. Every generation the courses change. It’s almost like a way to say to parents “see how much we teach your children”. By changing the vocabulary from one generation to the next, would make the parents feel stupid, because they never learned the “new words” of the next generation. In this way the school is doing their job making the children smarter, and the parents thinking it’s all true. Then when those kids grow up they’ll do the same thing to them and their children. They do the same things with History, Math, or Science, even Art.
    The Federal Department of Education is modeled after the Soviet Union education system Jimmy Carter,1980

  120. @SFG

    I think the observation about women being more interested in social than physical reality is true as well, and makes plenty of evolutionary sense. Social reality is more important 90 percent of tune anyway, at least until your crops stop growing.

    Jordan Peterson points to Sweden as an example of a country where the Government has to great lengths to remove any structural obstacles for women in any field they chose to enter. The net result is that they have the most gender imbalance of any country in the West with women overwhelmingly in teaching, nursing etc (people jobs) and men in manufacturing, farming, transportation etc- (things jobs).

    It causes the shit-libs no end of grief.

    https://nationalpost.com/opinion/jordan-peterson-the-gender-scandal-in-scandinavia-and-canada

    https://sputniknews.com/20190118/scandinavia-feminism-women-labour-1071594857.html

    https://theculturetrip.com/europe/sweden/articles/swedish-teens-choose-careers-based-on-gender-roles-according-to-science/

    Love the last one “According to science”! Yup, written by a chick.

  121. @Pierre de Craon

    PDC, I am in near total agreement with you. This is the result of critical thinking on my part, not some fake scientific theory about “post-truth argumentation”. Critical thinking is one of the most important attributes human beings possesss. One of his old Professors told Harold MacMillan, old British PM, that the real purpose of education was to ennable you to spot someone who was talking tosh.
    Not now. Modern day “education” is so corrupt that its purpose is to fill up students’ minds with tosh.

    COVID is not as virulent as Hong Kong Flu, which required no special measures. You are right. Why are these “scientists” wasting time on some sententious study, when they could be dealing with the pressing matter in hand.

    • Thanks: Pierre de Craon
  122. @Peter D. Bredon

    I guess calling “collapse of the superpositioned wave function” makes it manly.

    If your superpositioned wave won’t function and indeed experiences collapse, modern pharmacy has the answer:

    Not to be confused with this:

  123. Richard B says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    The Mercator projection has been falsely implying that we have unlimited room for immigration for 500 years.

    One does not need words for that:

    Then why did you provide words for it?

    And the second graph comes with its own words – and for the same reason.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  124. @Paul Mendez

    That’s the Olympics! But probably coming to football too. Throw in some cancer and you’re set

  125. Richard B says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    No mention of diversity, inclusion and equity.

    True. Then again, for TUR readers it was implied in the title.

    The post-truth era has taken many by surprise.

    many in the above sentence = midwits, which would include the writers of the study. Because no one who knows anything about Western cultural life in the last 200 years is surprised at all. The theme being Cultural Impoverishment.

    This would explain the unconscious violation of their own logic.

    All in all, our results suggest that over the past decades, there has been a marked shift in public interest from the collective to the individual, and from rationality toward emotion.

    Tell that to the Woke Mob. Or, as Steve calls them, The Coalition of the Fringes.

    What are they if not a collective of individuals incapable of rationality? In short, an undifferentiated ego mass with no center. This would offer justification for Steve’s insight that the only thing holding them together is the crazy glue of antiwhite hatred.

    Overconformity (conformity for the sake of conformity) has long been one of the USA’s greatest – and unspoken – exports. And, much like power free of control, overconformity makes people stupid. Which are the two things the Woke Mob loves – power and conformity. Since they’re eventually going to get around to renaming the country the best choice would have to be Stupidistan.

    • Replies: @Richard B
  126. Feryl says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    I would say the 80’s were a bizarro cross between the 50’s and 60’s (cold war paranoia, normies disdaining political activism/radicals/criminals/drugs, most guys having short hair etc.) while the 90’s were a palid rehash of the cynical ennui and garish bad taste of the 70’s. Though at least both the street crime and fashion crime rate wasn’t as deplorable.

    The 80’s had a lot of period piece culture set in about 1955-1967 (Civil Rights victories-the Tet Offensive). The 90’s had a lot of period piece culture set in about 1968-1980 (The mainstreaming of the counter culture-Disco Demolition).

    • Thanks: The Wild Geese Howard
  127. @anonymous

    Two people with sub-120 IQs are in charge at the only nuclear weapons factory in America.

    What is your factual evidence for that assertion?

    And from which university did you graduate with what degree?

  128. res says:
    @Twinkie

    Libgen has the 1954 edition if anyone wants to look for themselves.

  129. @Peter D. Bredon

    Maybe close to 100 years of males in the STEMIEST of STEM, physics, saying exactly that has something to do with it. I guess calling “collapse of the superpositioned wave function” makes it manly.

    You’ve been reading some “Tao Zen Physics for Hippies” book.

    • LOL: PhysicistDave
  130. @SFG

    Nope. Pinker wouldn’t read Kevin McDonald.

  131. THE SCIENCE is evolving this very day, Feb. 11:

    “EMA investigating menstrual disorders after Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna COVID shots
    Feb. 11, 2022 8:12 AM ETModerna, Inc. (MRNA), BNTX, PFEBy: Jonathan Block, SA News Editor

    [photo with caption: My gut doesn”t feel so good
    PeopleImages/iStock via Getty Images]

    A European Medicines Agency (“EMA”) safety committee is investigating cases of menstrual disorders seen with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)/BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA).

    The EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee is conducting the inquiry in light of spontaneous reports of menstrual disorders — notably heavy bleeding — with both vaccines and finding in scientific literature.

    The safety committee previously analyzed reports of menstrual disorders as it was evaluating safety summary reports for the shots and concluded at that time the evidence didn’t indicate a causal link between the vaccines and the disorders.

    The EMA added there is no evidence to suggest that the mRNA shots impact fertility.

    Read why Seeking Alpha contributor Shock Exchange just called Moderna a sell.”

    https://seekingalpha.com/news/3799127-ema-investigating-menstrual-disorders-after-pfizerbiontech-moderna-covid-shots

  132. MGB says:
    @Feryl

    You could almost hate the GenZ but it’d be redundant given the depth of their self loathing.

  133. @David Davenport

    Two people with sub-120 IQs are in charge at the only nuclear weapons factory in America.

    What is your factual evidence for that assertion?

    The Anonymous Coward did not cite any and I’m pretty sure doesn’t have any. Getting into MIT means you’ve got an IQ of say 145 at minimum, but the logical error of saying “graduates of fourth-tier schools” axiomatically means sub-120 IQ is, well, this AC didn’t attend MIT I’m pretty sure.

    If AC was a bit more savvy, he’d know a lot of people have to attend “fourth-tier schools” because they’re cheap and they don’t qualify for serious financial assistance. Some can be very good, enough to prepare people for first rank MIT graduate programs. In part because they tend to have no pretenses about existing to do anything but teach, and they also avoid the pathologies of second to third tier schools that are envious of the first tier. Although all but the first tier have tendencies to cargo cult things.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @res
  134. @Anon

    Finally, from an evo-psych perspective, collectivism, aka tribalism, is entirely rational. We are self-replicating biological machines evolved to reproduce our genes and culture. We achieve this by having children ourselves or helping our close kin — our tribe — have children.

    I thinks it may be a mistake to conflate biological family and tribe with modern “collectivism.” Authentic bonds of family and kinship are one thing, whereas government-coerced socialism among strangers is quite another.

    It’s interesting, though, and never seems to get remarked upon, that the biological family is really the only “socialist” unit that really works — i.e., distributing resources from those according to their ability, to those according to their needs.

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
  135. anonymous[389] • Disclaimer says:
    @David Davenport

    What is your factual evidence for that assertion?

    The 75th percentile SAT for Viterbo University and Texas Tech is 1240, which is around the 80th percentile. There are not many students with 120+ IQs at the two schools. Of course, I do not have the CEO and Site Manager’s IQ test scores, so guesswork is involved.

    And from which university did you graduate with what degree?

    Can you explain why does this matter? I am not involved in producing and decommissioning nuclear weapons.

    Lastly, do you view it as a generally good idea to have Pantex Plant managers with IQs in the 130s?

  136. anonymous[389] • Disclaimer says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    You are overly emotional with your name calling.

    A fourth tier school has worse students than a third tier school. Bright kids go to third tier schools (the main state U) to get a cheap and decent education. Dumb kids graduate from fourth tier schools.

    • Replies: @res
  137. @Richard B

    I understand now. Without words, no information can be conveyed. Therefore, these signs are meaningless to all, including you:

    (Try explaining that to the cop: You can be fined \$100+ in BC for entering a crosswalk after ‘Don’t Walk’ signal starts)

    And this painted on your front steps wouldn’t bother you at all, as it doesn’t actually say anything:

    • Replies: @Richard B
  138. Dube says:

    The droid was “checking my browser,” and my comment then disappeared. So I apologize if it shows up twice.

    from rationality toward emotion

    I’d look again at the rise of social media. I was behind the curve, not participating, and recall online encouragements about chat rooms and advice to avoid “flaming,” a new term.

    Prior to that, people dressed to write letters to the editor.

  139. @Paul Mendez

    Men who performed fellatio on other men were despised. The men they fellated, however, were not considered effeminate.

    Any permutation of fellatio is unmanly. Men should take the lead in the bedroom, women in the kitchen.

    Fellatio was considered a feminine act.

    I would think disgust at fellatio the more feminine act. Or, in the case of a man, masculine.

    No wonder the Empire fell. Like ours.

  140. @Bill Jones

    Bill Jones asked me:

    So while we are being picky about words, don’t you bank the fire in the evening and stoke it in the morning?

    Oops!

    Yes, of course you are right.

    I actually watched my dad bank the fire at my great grandmother’s back around 1960 (she got gas heating a few years later, so I never had to bank it myself).

    In my defense, this was six decades ago. But, still, I do know the correct term and should have gotten it right.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  141. @advancedatheist

    advancedatheist wrote to me:

    And yet Americans have gotten noticeably less religious, a least in the traditional sense, as the jobs in the economy have trended away from dealing with stuff and more over to playing humans’ stupid social games, like all the ridiculous servility jobs which people have to go into these days if they want a wage income.

    Yeah.

    There has been a dramatic decline in religious belief since WW II in the West (earlier in Europe than in the USA), and I do not think anyone really knows why.

    Of course, as a non-believer myself, I would like to think this is due to an increase in rationality (!), but as our discussion implies, that is a rather hard case to make. Religions in general tend to be exercises in words (prayer, preaching, scripture, etc.), and you’d think that would fit better with the verbalist world we live in now than with the more physical world of our ancestors.

    Yet, the opposite is the case.

    My own guess, for what it is worth, is twofold:

    A) Religion is almost always a social activity, and the loosening of social bonds due to urbanization, weakening of family ties, etc., in recent decades has weakened religious ties. I think this is the most widely accepted view among social scientists.

    B) The Bible is implicitly built on the three-level cosmology of the ancient world: the seven heavens above, then the sublunar world and the earth, and finally the underworld. That world does not really make sense to anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with modern science (e.g., anyone who follows the news on space exploration or even modern scifi movies like The Martian).

    Now, of course, any bright person can explain that theism, even Christianity, does not hinge on the ancient cosmology. But very few people become religious because of careful philosophical reasoning, and if traditional Christianity just does not “click” for people because of the ancient cosmology, that may help explain the rise of disbelief.

    In my own case, I became a non-believer because of my interest in comparative religion, and I actually think the strongest arguments against Christianity come from the New Testament scholarship of the last two centuries. But I doubt either consideration has an impact on many people.

    By the way, I do not think modern science in all its technical details has much effect on the rise of non-belief for the simple reason that very, very few people really know much about modern science. Academic natural scientists do tend to be non-believers, but from discussions with my fellow students back in my college days, I found that was almost completely due to the fact that people with a skeptical cast of mind tend to go into science, not because learning science convinced them that religion was false.

    In particular, I have never met anyone who claimed to have “lost their faith” because they came to accept the theory of evolution.

    Eric Kaufmann had a book out a bit over a decade ago, Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century speculating on how this plays out, given that believers tend to have substantially more kids than non-believers.

    My own guess is that we reach an equilibrium with a moderately low level of believers as most of the believers’ own kids convert to non-belief or simply apathy as they grow up.

  142. @Peter D. Bredon

    Peter D. Bredon wrote:

    Maybe close to 100 years of males in the STEMIEST of STEM, physics, saying exactly that has something to do with it. I guess calling “collapse of the superpositioned wave function” makes it manly.

    Since I took quantum mechanics from Richard Feynman and quantum field theory from Steve Weinberg, I think I am qualified to say that you misunderstand the physics.

    Quantum theory does not say that you and I see different results of an experiment in quantum physics.

    It does say that certain repeated measurements behave in ways that you may find surprising: e.g., if you measure the momentum of a particle, then measure its position, and then measure the momentum again, the first and last momentum measurements will generally give different results. That is the actual content of the so-called “uncertainty principle.”

    But this is in no way subjective or a matter of the perspective of the observer.

    You can do the experiment, I can do the experiment, you can watch me do the experiment, etc.

    Same result. No subjectivity involved.

    In practice, by the way, for technical reasons it is easier to do this kind of experiment with the spins of particles (in particular, the polarizations of photons) than with position and momentum, but a similar effect occurs, objectively, just as predicted by quantum mechanics.

  143. Richard B says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    You’re posting yet more signs all of which are unintelligible without language that itself is part of an explanation.

    The language in the first two are body, bottle, glass, and even art, all of which could be connected to some explanation.

    The second one is a hand that in this context means caution. The purpose of the warning is to limit the range of one’s driving behavior. If the driver can not do that then the police will do it for them. And the police are the avatars of the government and the government’s authority is explained by the Constitution which, from its beginning until not all that long ago, placed the state and its citizens under the protection of God, whose behavior was explained by a sacred text.

    Obviously today the police, the Constitution and God are all under attack because the explanation that subsumes them all is no longer seen as valid by just about all of those who occupy positions of power.

    And now we arrive at the third sign of your comment, which, of course, is a sign representing violence. And that too is subsumed by its own explanation. In fact, that explanation just happens to be the dominant explanation of the Western world today.

    And it’s because that explanation is at war with reality that the reality is we are living in an unprecedented age of explanatory collapse, social dysfunction and cultural incoherence.

  144. Richard B says:
    @Richard B

    What are they if not a collective of individuals incapable of rationality?

    Actually, I need to rephrase the above. Because to call these people individuals is an insult to individuality, which is something that has to be earned exactly because it doesn’t come easy.

    That’s why a true collective of individuals would be a group in form united by a common purpose, and not an undifferentiated ego mass held together by a high-level abstraction (antiwhite hatred) having no connection to concrete reality.

    It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that most people aren’t individuals at all, but players of social roles with no self-awareness. In short, most people are puppets.

    Puppets see the individual and group as mutually exclusive, instead of two independent categories that can work very well together. Provided, of course, that those involved are individuals interested in forming a group united by a common purpose that itself is well-grounded in concrete reality. Anything else is just a puppet show.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  145. @PhysicistDave

    The old religions started as well when humans didn’t have the mental tools to think about arbitrarily “large” numbers, so it didn’t occur to them to test religious beliefs by doing the math.

    For example, consider how Dante portrays hell in Inferno. If a fixed and finite number of angels rebelled against god and became in effect hell’s prison guards, but hundreds of millions of people die every century, and most of their souls wind up in hell, then when does the population of the panopticon of eternal torment overwhelm the fallen angels’ ability to control them?

    Also notice that many Protestant fundamentalists don’t like vast vistas of time revealed by modern geology and cosmology. They want a relatively recent creation, a more recent Jesus and an imminent apocalypse, because otherwise Jesus, Christians and Christianity get lost in the abyss of the ages. Again, this shows that the old religions reflected the limited mathematical understanding of the times of their origins.

  146. Mike Tre says:
    @Jack D

    “Where do you draw the line? If a farmer is sitting in the air conditioned cab of his GPS guided harvester, is that “hands on” job or a desk job? ”

    The duties of a farmer are not limited to the harvesting of crops.

  147. res says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    Getting into MIT means you’ve got an IQ of say 145 at minimum

    Not that high. Especially in these days of aggressive affirmative action. If you want to have a real conversation about this we can, but since you seem to prefer obnoxious rhetoric, I’ll just end here for now.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  148. res says:
    @anonymous

    Have to love how quick TWBT is with the troll flag (so many of the real trolls are, it seems). Especially since his preceding comment was hardly productive (“overly emotional with your name calling” was dead on as a characterization).

  149. @Achmed E. Newman

    Given the admonition of others on the topic, I looked at the wording of the debate question closely.

    Nowhere is the issue of the Federal Government funding education raised.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  150. Muggles says:
    @Anon

    When you have nothing of worth to write, bash Ayn Rand.

    Of all the 1950s era novelists and writers, her dystopian vision of the future (in Atlas Shrugged) comes closest to what we now face here. Airliners falling from the sky due to Woke engineering, the Rev. Jim Jones, homeless drug addict criminals/bums (G. Floyd) as cultural heros.

    Don’t blame her retarded nephew’s rantings on her. Her “family dynasty” idea for her intellectual following proves why such business plans like that are usually failures.

    She witnessed Leninism-Stalinism first hand and accurately predicted how that kind of thinking might translate in American “intellectual” context. Still much sneered at by State Worshiping stooges.

    Yeah, a Jewish refugee. So what?

    Who else got things even that much halfway right?

  151. @Bill Jones

    I’m going by what iSteve wrote:

    Resolved: That governmental financial support for all public and secondary education in the United States be provided exclusively by the federal government.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  152. @Hibernian

    Now we’re dealing with:
    Do you want to cancel? YES / CANCEL
    And “Always trust Microsoft”

    Diebold flip vote:

  153. Philip Neal says: • Website
    @International Jew

    Seriously interesting. I don’t suppose everyone followed the link, but a selection of ordinary Israelis are asked whether Adam and Eve really existed and a surprising number agree. What struck me is that those whose answer is no briefly pause for thought and supply reasons for their answer: those who say yes smile and reply instantly without thinking.

    A suggestion. This is about belief versus observance. The yesses are observant albeit very very weakly. They do not keep every jot and tittle but they see the Bible as a book of rules and it does not cross their mind to believe it or not. “Did Adam and Eve exist?” It is as if you said “Does the jack of diamonds exist” or “Does the white king’s rook exist?” Of course they exist. Believing isn’t what you do with it.

  154. nebulafox says:
    @res

    People drop IQs like that all the time here without understanding just what a small fraction of the population that really is.

    (I’ve known and worked with several people who’ve gone to MIT. I asked one who was there as an undergrad about this very topic. He said that about 20% of the student body are indeed brilliant. The remaining 80% are very, very intelligent, but wouldn’t stick out from other very, very intelligent people.)

    • Replies: @res
    , @Sam Malone
  155. nebulafox says:
    @PhysicistDave

    My own hunch is that religious belief is something very deeply embedded in the human condition, and therefore doesn’t go away so much as it manifests differently depending on the time and place. In the West, we’ve been so conditioned by the Abrahamic religions over the past millennium+ that we often fail to see religious tendencies when they show up outside these parameters.

    One thing is for sure: human tendencies, religious or otherwise, are not at their best in the society we’ve created.

    BTW, Dave: ever noticed that there seemed to be a sharp drop off in what we might call “proto-science” after Aristotle died in the West? Plenty of philosophy and literature and engineering came after that, but there was relatively little focus on empirical scientific inquiry for the sake of it. That did reflect a deeper cultural shift toward focusing on the soul and the individual over investigating the external world as the Hellenistic Age began. This coincided with the shift to religions that weren’t tied into a specific tribe or city around the same time involving a more “ordered” universe, maybe going back a century earlier.

    >But this is in no way subjective or a matter of the perspective of the observer.

    Even when the observables aren’t compatible? 😛 😛

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  156. res says:
    @nebulafox

    Thanks. Statements like that tend to depend very much on the intelligence of the person making them. I think what you said is a decent cut, but would add that I think most of the MIT crew would probably look good by other measures like intellectual curiosity and ability to think in novel ways. And metrics like sum(intellectual horsepower, willingness to work hard).

    To have a bit of the numerical part of the conversation, SAT scores are a decent start. According to this site MIT has a composite average of 1535 and 25/75th percentiles of 1500 and 1570.
    https://www.prepscholar.com/sat/s/colleges/MIT-SAT-scores-GPA

    The emasculating of the SAT with the 1995 “recentering” made it harder to distinguish differences at the top end. This site equates 1500 to 145 IQ (post recentering, pre they say 154).
    https://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/SATIQ.aspx

    But this site says 1500 is 98th percentile (more like 130 IQ, perhaps a bit higher since SAT takers are a selective subset):
    https://blog.prepscholar.com/sat-percentiles-and-score-rankings
    I find something like 135-140 more plausible.

    And that is for the 25th percentile. Given AA I don’t know how to estimate something like the bottom percentile.

    P.S. Aggressive affirmative action makes it hard to say much at all about a minimum intelligence there. Though I will note I don’t think the admissions office is doing any favors if they admit someone who is only marginally qualified.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  157. nebulafox says:
    @res

    They do, and if you can handle it, that environment further entrenches your intelligence and grit. Doing grad school in physics at a place like MIT or Caltech is the equivalent of Navy SEAL training for your brain. But the distinction is there, and it is visible.

    >Though I will note I don’t think the admissions office is doing any favors if they admit someone who is only marginally qualified.

    It’s also not just about intelligence. You don’t want someone who will crack under the pressure. That, and if you are dealing with an applicant pool where the majority of applicants are already in the top percentiles in terms of test scores, you need to find a way to distinguish between them anyhow.

    (This dynamic fuels some of the nastiest part of college admissions, including de facto racial hierarchies and extracurricular laundry lists that tend to favor families with the means and knowledge to obtain them. But that said, I can understand why elite universities search for people who stand out and take initiative, even that early on.

    Trouble is, these days, it ain’t kids taking initiative and subjecting themselves to proto-agoge, it’s kids preparing for the meritocratic rat race.)

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  158. @nebulafox

    nebulafox asked me:

    Dave]But this is in no way subjective or a matter of the perspective of the observer.

    [nebulafox] Even when the observables aren’t compatible?

    Yeah, that was the situation I was alluding to: position and momentum are incompatible observables.

    There is just nothing subjective or point-of-viewish going on there, at least not in terms of calculations or experimental results:

    Case A: Measure the momentum of a free particle (say a photon). Measure it a little while later. The two measurement results will be the same.

    Case B: Measure the momentum of a free particle (say a photon). Then measure the position. Now measure the momentum again. The two measurements of momentum will differ.

    That really is not all that much of a surprise: the measurement of position in between the two measurements of momentum altered the momentum..

    No subjectivity, no perspectivism, no mysticism.

    I know that old books by physicists, back in the early days of quantum mechanics, and bad pop-sci books to this day try to make a huge deal out of this. But they’re confused or, in some cases, intentionally trying to confuse the reader to sell books.

    Now, there are indeed some real problems with quantum mechanics. As presented in the textbooks, you must treat the measuring device as subject to different rules than the system being measured. Yet, the measuring device is itself made out of particles subject to quantum mechanics — electrons, protons, and neutrons.

    So this must somehow be wrong.

    We do know ways to fix this
    — Bohmian mechanics, Nelson’s stochastic mechanics, some models I myself have developed, etc. But all of these “fixes” interface with relativity in messily unaesthetic (though mathematically consistent) ways that I, and most other physicists, find unconvincing.

    So, QM is still an open research project. I am happy to say that I just completed a calculation a couple days ago, which I have been struggling with for years, related to how Bohmina mechanics can handle electron spin. So, a number of us physicists are still working on this stuff.

    But the belief that QM is proof of subjectivism or perspectivism or whatever is just an error by people who have not bothered to learn QM. I’m afraid that some people look for anything to prop up really bad philosophy!

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  159. @Reg Cæsar

    “How To Lie With College Girls.”

  160. @nebulafox

    >Though I will note I don’t think the admissions office is doing any favors if they admit someone who is only marginally qualified.

    It’s also not just about intelligence. You don’t want someone who will crack under the pressure. That, and if you are dealing with an applicant pool where the majority of applicants are already in the top percentiles in terms of test scores, you need to find a way to distinguish between them anyhow.

    Note, most of this data is from the 1980s, and as res noted the recentering of the SATs largely ruined them for admittance purposes. By sometime in the 00s ACT scores were a better prediction of good outcomes.

    Like the US Navy and carrier landings, MIT has a competence floor of having to do a semester of math past the BC AP Calculus sequence, and one each of calculus based classical mechanics and E&M and optics etc. They don’t accept anyone who they don’t believe can do the work, and in the last 2-3 decades when it became much more nationally famous and popular if you made that cut the raw odds of acceptance were around one out of three.

    As for AA every black I’ve met who went there belonged there. Of course there’s intense self-selection in even seriously considering going to MIT, especially for blacks as it’s not as likely a path to wealth and power like other schools they can get into if they can get into MIT. Cliche or not black nerds exist and MIT gets a fair number of them.

    MIT definitely has problems with people cracking under the pressure. One thing they really like to see that’s probably related to that is evidence applicants can do projects. Class ranking in high school also has good predictive power.

    And while I don’t think they look for it, there’s a massive bias in those who accept admittance offers of only children and first-borne. Another thing that weeds out people one way or another is coming from intact families.

    • Replies: @res
  161. res says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    Like the US Navy and carrier landings, MIT has a competence floor of having to do a semester of math past the BC AP Calculus sequence, and one each of calculus based classical mechanics and E&M and optics etc.

    Jack D’s daughter went to MIT and he has made a number of comments about how they offer “more accessible” (or something like that) versions of the required physics classes. No idea how the verbiage surrounding them matches the reality, but probably the biggest “benefit” is not having the smarter people in your year (the smartest test through them or take harder core versions) wrecking the curve. Plus, it’s pass fail anyway.

    For example, this comment.
    https://www.unz.com/isteve/are-campus-leftists-getting-dumber/#comment-1858650
    Referencing this page.
    http://student.mit.edu/catalog/m8a.html

    The best part is the special version of 8.01 (first semester freshman mechanics) which is 8.01L shows up as simply 8.01 on the transcript.

    Though looking again, I don’t see an easier equivalent for 8.02 (E&M) so there is that.

    I also don’t see easier version of 18.01 and 18.02 (calculus) so maybe things aren’t as bad now as I thought.

  162. Curle says:
    @International Jew

    “The weirdest thing about debate, in retrospect, was that we considered Time Magazine an authoritative source!”

    Ha! So did we.

  163. Dube says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    The Mercator projection has been falsely implying that we have unlimited room for immigration for 500 years. One does not need words for that:

    That would be inference, not implication.

  164. duncsbaby says:
    @advancedatheist

    I work in the hospitality business, for example, and the railroad employees the hotel supplies rooms for just strike me as better emotionally adjusted than, say, the airline flight attendants who also stay regularly at the hotel.

    Just curious, but are these railroad employees Amtrak or a freight railroad? If they are freight then they are working class white men (for most part). If Amtrak then they are more of a mix, still a lot of working-class white men, but women and blacks are a greater part of the work-force.

  165. duncsbaby says:
    @Nodwink

    The idea that anyone is interested in you completing a puzzle is highly narcissistic — stop it.

    Yet a sizable minority of the people I follow on twitter post their wordles. No one follows me so my complaints about wordle-tweeting have so far gone unheeded. Cultish behavior.

  166. Spect3r says:
    @Hibernian

    If harsh winters would have any effect on it, Scandinavian people wouldn’t be as stupid as they are.
    Hence, you got what you got in those US states as they are mostly populated by Scandinavian descendants.

  167. Hibernian says:
    @Henry Canaday

    During the early 50’s, possibly during the Korean War when we were in a Hot War with China, the national collegiate debate topic was admission of Red China to the UN. The Naval Academy wouldn’t participate because everybody had to debate both sides of the question, or at least be prepared to. If this was not during the War, it was in a short space of time before it, right after Chiang’s collapse, or else immediately after it.

    This was a clear case of tone deafness or else in your face contempt for the vast majority of Americans. (No, we’re not militaristic robots, but we’re not, with the obvious exception of our elites, apologists for totalitarianism.)

    • Thanks: That Would Be Telling
  168. Hibernian says:
    @Jack D

    …Deere is starting to sell this right now.

    Those sales will be to a few very rich farmers, for the foreseeable future. Just wait for the accidents, and the resulting lawsuits, to begin.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  169. duncsbaby says:
    @Anonymous3232

    I wonder how longer or shorter Larry Summers’ weeks have gotten since March, 2022? What a pompous gasbag.

  170. @Blodgie

    That dynamic may be changing though as, increasingly, there has been a shift to so-called “women of color.” Not members of The Sisterhood will be happy about this prospect.

  171. @Jack D

    “It was true but bad people were saying it, which makes it false.”

    That’s about as accurate a description of the Current Unpleasantness as I’ve ever seen.

  172. @Steve Sailer

    Good point re: the Yorktown. Frankly I’ve actually never placed much stock in written IQ tests. Or any tests– SATs and the like–which claim to “measure” aptitude. To me they are an arbitrary way of selecting potential members of the meritocracy. It’s never been clear how intelligence can be used to measure itself without entering a kind of cul-de-sac (wonder what Kurt Gödel would have thought of such tests), which is why I loved Potter Stewart’s description of pornography: “I know it when I see it!”

  173. @res

    probably the biggest “benefit” [to the “‘more accessible’ (or something like that) versions of the [first] required physics” class] is not having the smarter people in your year (the smartest test through them or take harder core versions) wrecking the curve.

    MIT absolutely does not grade on the curve for it would be completely unfair when everyone is expected to do adequately or better at the MIT level. People who chose a suitable major will get As and Bs if they demonstrate mastery, anything less signals trouble (sometimes with the professor) although one of my best professors said he didn’t know anyone good in his field who hadn’t bombed one undergraduate course in their major.

    I sense the 8.01L version of classical mechanics is about one of the harder problems for many MIT students and one of the reasons the first term is graded Pass (A-C)/No Record: almost all of us were used to not having to work very hard to get straight As in high school. MIT teaches at high levels, like no algebra based physics (which is a cargo cult subject anyway) and at a deliberately fast pace, a lot if not most students have to work harder than they ever had to and almost all of us had to learn at a faster pace than we’d ever had to.

    So one way or another there’s a period of adjustment, and the first term physics course is the first one where you have to learn to apply math to real world problems with the usual “assume a spherical cow” simplifications. And I strongly suspect taking algebra based high school physics requires unlearning it when you do it for real using calculus.

    I base that on theory because I can emphasize the above “not having to work hard” by relating how my high school senior year math and physics subjects had no tests or homework, the teachers, the math was one lazy and outright refused to do any teach or grading, the other for physics I’m not sure of the why for no homework or tests but he did give us useful lectures every day. Four of my six courses were like this, in one the teacher didn’t even bother to show up (really), and anything like AP or honors courses had been punted as “discriminatory.”

    I’d done a fair amount of hard intellectual work outside the school system, biology is so vast you can always learn more stuff, and the first three years of high school math were at a good pace or for one self-study with another STEM career student so I came to MIT expecting to have to work hard. And saw some other students generally struggling, and struggled myself to master some of the topics in calculus. (Compared to most other MIT students I was in a cohort that was relatively weak in math, we could aspire to majors in for example chemistry or materials science and engineering, but not physics or chemical engineering).

    • Thanks: res
  174. nebulafox says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Funny thing is, I think basic dry linear algebra like showing the physical significance of having simultaneous eigenvectors is far more interesting than the philosophical mumbo jumbo. Human beings constructed this stuff to model physical reality. Isn’t that *cool*?

    So, what say you? Care to elaborate more on what you are up to? Understand if you don’t on this medium.

    Also, yeah, lot of the original generation of physicists had that sort of mystical bent. Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Pauli, it shows up with astonishing regularity. Tie that into the prevailing intellectual culture of the German speaking world at the time.

    Not Paul Dirac, though! His book still is pretty good-granted, I’m a bit biased because that book was the one I stumbled along first. Still got it lying around somewhere in my Mom’s home.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  175. res says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    MIT absolutely does not grade on the curve

    I guess things have changed. I checked and grading on a curve is currently verboten at MIT (though the link indicates it still happens).
    https://facultygovernance.mit.edu/septemberoctober-2019-danheiser
    The discussion about grading on a curve is actually pretty good.

    Thanks for the update. Do they still publish means and SDs for test results?

    You give a good description of the adjustment process and its issues. Thanks. I can understand how that would be even worse for someone with a worse background (e.g. no STEM friends). Which makes me a bit more sympathetic about 8.01L. But recording it as 8.01 on the transcript really yanks my chain for some reason. I guess it just seems dishonest to me–even if I understand why they do it.

    P.S. With grading on the curve I refer to using means and SDs to set the cutoffs. What the cutoffs actually are and mean is discretionary. So if you want to make the cutoff for the bottom of the Bs -2 SD in a class of 40 (i.e. no C’s unless you have an outlier) have at it. It’s pretty hard to set a grading policy for difficult tests without curving. How do they handle tests with class averages in the 20s (out of 100)? Or does that not happen anymore?

    • Replies: @res
  176. @Achmed E. Newman

    read it again.

    That no government other than the central government can provide financial support is not, in itself, an argument for central government financing. It is entirely a restriction on others.

    That no-one other than you can kill people is not an argument for you to be able to kill people.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  177. @PhysicistDave

    Damn. I was all ready for an argument on this.
    I’d actually looked up “banked” in my OED.
    Back in the olden days Simon Winchester wrote a book “The meaning of everything” about the creation of the OED- A great read btw. As a ploy they had a special on the book itself: All 20 Vols of the second edition for 6 or \$700 instead of the usual \$3k plus change. With the aid of much hinting my wife bought me it for the next Christmas. A volume is a perilous thing to pick up, weight aside, it’s full of rabbit holes interconnected in all sorts of ways that can suck a couple of hours up before you know it.

    Thanks for the graciousness. An art I have lost.

    • Thanks: JMcG
  178. res says:
    @res

    Speaking of this, I have been remiss in not mentioning that 8.011 (once aka “physics for poets”) had been around for a long time roughly filling that role (easier, transition). Looking at the current catalog, 8.011 appears to be an accelerated version of 8.01 (more experience assumed) and also appears as 8.01 on the transcript.

    This comment captures the situation in both 2004 and somewhat (I don’t know the cutoff) earlier.
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/deferred-from-mit.56623/page-2#post-406006

    [MORE]

    sal said:

    This is worth addressing, since it may sound a bit scary, and it shouldn’t. First, note that there is no “physics 101” at MIT. Rather there are three different versions of “physics 101”. At MIT everyone takes freshman physics and freshman calculus, but not everyone has identical needs (the music majors — yes, there are some — don’t need as intensive an approach as the physics majors). So, there’s 8.01, which is regular mechanics. There’s 8.012, which is the heavy-duty version intended for physics majors. And, there’s 8.011, commonly called “physics for poets”, which is a little lighter. Different texts, different profs, different approaches (and forgive me if I’ve got the course numbers wrong; it’s been a long time).

    Yup, things have changed a little bit. We now have 8.01, which is standard mechanics in a lecture format, 8.01T, which is mechanics in a computer teaching laboratory environment, 8.01X, which is the aforementioned physics for poets/business majors, and 8.012, which was heavy duty indeed. Supposedly 8.01T is a little dumbed down to boost the grades in that class and make the computer teaching laboratory environment program (called TEAL) look better. I took 8.012, and even though I had no real physics in high school, 8.01 also seems a bit simplistic to me when I help freshman with their problems, so I’m not sure if 8.01 is really that much harder than physics 101 anywhere else. Definitely take 8.012 if you do come here, and 8.022 after that – good luck!

  179. @That Would Be Telling

    weak in math, we could aspire to majors in for example chemistry or materials science and engineering, but not physics or chemical engineering

    Physical chemistry would challenge someone weak in math. Chemical engineering would challenge someone weak in how to join copper pipes.

  180. RW says:
    @Altai

    These were exactly my thoughts when I first read this research. There is of course previous research on gender language trends, but no list that I can find of “rational language words” curated by postmodernists. Though they go on about it enough.

    “male students tend to use more nouns related to social economic activities to convey information or facts about the given topics, whereas female students tend to use more pronouns, more intensifiers and modifiers, and words related to psychological cognitive processes so that they might convey their feelings ”

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042815035491

  181. nebulafox says:
    @res

    FWIW, way back when, I found Caltech’s intro math and physics courses to be considerably more difficult. It’s expected that everybody, regardless of major, go through that, and the stuff they do in Math 1a would be baby real analysis elsewhere.

    So I suspect, though cannot confirm, that MIT has a more relatively diverse student body in terms of background.

    • Thanks: res
    • Replies: @res
  182. @Jack D

    Thanks for the link Jack.

    But yeah, you don’t have to tell me, i was riding along with a cousin’s hubby doing fall tillage a few years back. Tractor did everything but the turns. Auto–GPS driven–lock in on the next row. (So easy even i could do it.) It was obvious it wouldn’t be long until it was full auto.

    Good stuff. The extent of my “on row” ability is matching the speed of a combine for a minute or so while it unloads to my wagon. I think it’s great to automate out this highly repetitive work out.

    But that does not mean the farmer will have his head in the clouds and be disconnected for real production. No people are more connected. (I believe you grew up on a farm? I’m sure you understand this.)

    The issue is a lot of people who are disconnected. Who live in a world where stuff just “shows up”. (And if there’s some sort of physical world issue they just call someone.) Yet these people thing their words matter–are super-duper important. That their noise making is “taking action”. And it’s the disconnection from reality that makes for shitty ideas and policies.

    If i was running education, i’d send ’em all out to pick corn and milk cows–by hand. Get a taste of it. I’d have them use a forge and hammer some hot iron. I’d have ’em use weapons from spears and bows through flintlocks to modern rifles. Hunt and butcher and cook their kills. And do wood and metal and electronics shop. Don’t have to be experts on any of this, but cultivate an understand of the real world and how we got here. Our politics would be considerably less stupid.

    • Replies: @res
  183. Corvinus says:
    @James N. Kennett

    More like St. Ronnie’s irrationality was the likely cause. See Trickle Down Economics and deregulation of industry.

  184. Jack D says:
    @Hibernian

    Just wait for the accidents, and the resulting lawsuits, to begin.

    It’s not like driving on a freeway or a city street. There aren’t that many people or cars out there in the field for the tractor to run over. The tractor is going in a straight line and not very fast – unless you are an idiot you can see it coming and step out of the way. The tractor is supposed to stop and await further instructions if it seen an obstacle. This is a much lower risk application than city driving.

    It’s not that there will never be a lawsuit (I’m sure that some idiot will figure out a way to get run over somehow) but that the massive costs savings outweigh the small increase in insurance premiums to cover the liability risk from the rare accidents. Not only is there labor savings but there is a small window of ideal planting time and these tractors are (even in non-autonomous form) really costly so that if you can have them out there 24/7 so the plowing is done in 1/3 the time with 1/3 the equipment (same tractor can now plow 3x as many acres) it’s a real advantage.

  185. @Bill Jones

    That “That governmental financial support … be provided …” implies “IS provided”. It’s a formal way of writing, not used so much, but it is in the style of a debate topic one-liner. We probably agree on this, but I can’t tell.

    Yes, maybe if NO government support of any kind was to given to public schools (but then, how would they be public, in the non-Brit sense?), then this statement says there’d be no Federal support, because there’s not ANY government support at all. We all know public secondary schools ARE financially supported by government, Bill. So, this says that said support should be provided by the Federal Government rather than States or counties.

    Of course I am against (what’s left of) it, but it’s simple enough to me.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  186. res says:
    @nebulafox

    That sounds right to me. My sense is even Caltech is starting to reduce their standards recently though. Would be interested in hearing more from someone with more direct experience of that over time.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  187. res says:
    @AnotherDad

    The thing is, even if the farmer gets more disconnected from parts of the process he is still intimately connected with realities like:
    – Either plants get planted properly or they don’t.
    – Either insect and plant pests are kept under control or they aren’t.
    – Either adequate growing conditions (water, fertilizer, etc.) are maintained or they aren’t.
    – Either the harvest is brought in successfully or it isn’t.

    Having to answer to reality (i.e. “perception is reality” is not true in some areas, perhaps that is the key differentiator here?) requires maintaining connectedness to reality as well as discipline.

    Once corporations become involved, then I think things change a bit though. Employees aren’t as locked to reality as individual owner operators are.

  188. Jack D says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    I think that you are fudging several different things together. Yes some of the high level courses in some of the majors (aka Courses) at MIT are going to be very challenging, but this has nothing to do with freshman physics. Aside from the AA admits and the rare humanities majors, everyone else at MIT has the demonstrated intellectual ability to master 8.01 or they wouldn’t have been admitted in the 1st place.

    What they may not have is the PSYCHOLOGICAL ability to handle the pressure, especially being away from home for the first time and with the realization that while you may have been the smartest person in your high school you are nothing special at MIT, maybe even below average.

    This is seen in any high level activity – if you are a pro-athlete or a classical musician or whatever, the psychological challenge is more important than the technical challenge because the talent is a given – if you didn’t have talent you wouldn’t be there to begin with. I just heard an interview with Morten Andersen, who was a place kicker in the NFL for 25 seasons and holds all sorts of records. He said that there were dozens of people who had the ability to kick a ball in practices but very few who could stand up under the pressure of game conditions. He did all sorts of visualization exercises and so on in advance, so that when he went onto the field he was as cool as a cucumber even if he had to kick the critical game winning/losing field goal. He had already kicked the ball in his mind dozens of times the night before under the exact same conditions so that doing it one more time on the field was just one more kick, nothing special.

    My daughter’s freshman roommate was an example – she came fully prepared intellectually but not psychologically. On paper she had won all these math awards and was super qualified. But she had had a shielded Christian upbringing and the social scene at MIT just overwhelmed her, so she just fell apart mentally.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  189. @nebulafox

    That makes me think of a long, candid backstage 1995 interview with the comedian Jerry Lewis I recently watched (don’t ask me why) where pretty early on, I guess just so we all know who we’re dealing with, he very seriously mentions having a tested IQ of 189, and explains how this helped him learn early in his career how to do every single crew person’s job on the film sets better than they could. I’m positive that estimate has to be absurdly overstated – I think he was very sharp, but a number like that is just crazy, if not impossible, and actually reveals how ignorant he must have been of IQ distribution.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  190. @Achmed E. Newman

    Anything that’s “implied” in a debate formatted contest is open to a kick in the nuts, get them on the back foot (you do play cricket don’t you?) ASAP. That’s all from me.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  191. nebulafox says:
    @Jack D

    >What they may not have is the PSYCHOLOGICAL ability to handle the pressure, especially being away from home for the first time and with the realization that while you may have been the smartest person in your high school you are nothing special at MIT, maybe even below average.

    Abso-****ing-lutely. In physics, plenty of people show up to the major to prove how smart they are, and somewhere down the line, it’ll break you. Even eventual Nobel Prize winners, this happens to them when young. The few who survive with that attitude intact are invariably miserable people. Far better to change it.

    Especially vulnerable to this dynamic are kids who a) come from a background where they were completely isolated and/or b) didn’t have anything else going for them as adolescents. For me, realizing I was often the stupid one was the best thing that ever happened to me, as a human being as much as professionally. But it was a close run thing.

    • Replies: @res
  192. nebulafox says:
    @res

    I’ll defer to Dave on this one, but I’ll say this: if the DEI crowd can do that to Caltech, they can do it anywhere.

    Of course, why exactly you’d *want* to go to Caltech (or MIT) unless you wanted to drink from the proverbial firehose is beyond me. Always thought the appeal of these places was, again, the STEM mental equivalent of special forces training. Even the misfits at these places struggling with deep mental issues-and they exist!-are highly intelligent misfits.

    • Replies: @res
  193. Jack D says:
    @Sam Malone

    The recognized IQ tests (Weschler, Stanford-Binet) have ceilings of 150 or 160 so he was lying. Lewis, like many comedians, was an unhappy person and very difficult to be around – the kind of person who might (falsely) brag about his IQ to compensate for the fact that he dropped out of high school in 10th grade.

  194. @nebulafox

    nebulafox asked me:

    So, what say you? Care to elaborate more on what you are up to? Understand if you don’t on this medium.

    Sure, since you asked.

    As you probably know, the state of an electron is specified by its position and by whether its spin is up or down along some given direction.

    That spin thing is weird: how can there not be an intermediate state between up and down? And what about different choices of axis?

    As you imply, the linear algebra takes care of all that. But, if you want to apply, say, Bohmian mechanics, then it would be really nice if the “hidden variable” denoting spin orientation were continuous rather than just having two discrete values.

    So, I have figured out a way to do this, based on what is known as the “Hopf fibration.” The basic idea here is that quantum mechanics works with complex numbers, the so-called quantum amplitude, with the complex number plane being the same at all different positions. The Hopf fibration allows the connections between complex number planes at different points on a sphere (the sphere denoting the direction the electron axis is pointing) to be twisted from point to point.

    This “twisting” turns out to be just what is needed to represent the orientation of the electron in a continuous way but still account for the weird features of electrons (e.g., the well-known plate trick).

    Anyone reading this far should have two thoughts:

    A) That is all pretty confusing!

    B) Why should anyone care?

    And the answers are that, first, it is indeed rather confusing, which is why I just figured out how to make this work, even though I had the intuitive idea many years ago.

    And, second, it may indeed be rather unimportant, just a way of implementing Bohmian mechanics for fermions, even though most of us physicists do not really think Bohmian mechanics is true.

    However, my underlying hope is that if I can make this work I can then modify Bohmian mechanics, somewhat along the lines of Ed Nelson’s stochastic quantum mechanics, in such a way as to finesse the problem with relativity.

    By the way, the reason I have given this detailed answer, aside from the fact that you did ask, is that it illustrates some of the points a lot of us have discussed here over the years: e.g., how STEM progresses in fits and starts, guesses and hypotheses, and fallible intuition; and how visualization is key (I solved the problem the other day by “seeing” that the solution required moving a vector along a great circle on the sphere).

    • Thanks: nebulafox
    • Replies: @nebulafox
  195. res says:
    @nebulafox

    For me, realizing I was often the stupid one was the best thing that ever happened to me, as a human being as much as professionally.

    I don’t care for the “stupid” description, but I think having the experience of not being the smartest person in the room (perhaps for the whole four years ;-/ ) is beneficial for smart people. You’ll see me rant about that here with some commenters who have obviously either not had that experience or failed to learn from it that sometimes others have worthwhile things to say.

    Thanks for all of your good comments.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  196. res says:
    @nebulafox

    Of course, why exactly you’d *want* to go to Caltech (or MIT) unless you wanted to drink from the proverbial firehose is beyond me.

    This.

  197. @Steve Sailer

    “Winstone smokes good,* like a cigarette should.”

    *I think that the comma is correct, but I don’t have my Playboy collection at hand at present, so am not certain. I don’t have eidetic memory unfortunately.

  198. nebulafox says:
    @res

    You too, man. Your quantitative bent in buttressing your arguments is something I admire (along with your precise language) and really should have put more effort into doing myself.

    I’ve always been curious about how your own life rebuild went, TBH. Not going to press further on that if you don’t want to go there.

    • Replies: @res
  199. Dube says:

    Logician Irving Copi offers an exercise in reducing emotive language toward neutral, so to distinguish between claims of fact and expressions of attitude – the facts/values distinction.

    Here’s an excerpt from Thomas Hardy’s “The Darkling Thrush”:

    I leant upon a coppice gate
    When Frost was spectre-grey,
    And Winter’s dregs made desolate
    The weakening eye of day.
    The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
    Like strings of broken lyres,
    And all mankind that haunted nigh
    Had sought their household fires.

    A student’s response – just the facts, Ma’am:

    I leaned against a fence gate
    One winter’s evening
    Looking at the tree branches
    Against the sky
    Everyone else had gone home.

  200. Anonymous[757] • Disclaimer says:

    Being effortlessly superior to everyone else isn’t good. It turns you into an antisocial asshole. This doesn’t just apply to intelligence. It’s the same with physical beauty/strength, and sporting/musical/literary ability.

    Supremely gifted people are usually also supremely unpleasant people.

    • Replies: @res
  201. nebulafox says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Thank you so much for taking your time to answer that for me on a relative layman level. I really appreciate it.

    I’ll keep my eyes peeled for when you publish, though I’ll admit I might not understand it for some time to come. How long you been working on this? Downloaded the link, will go through it when I can: I’m vaguely familiar (as in *very* surface level, nothing more) with Hopf bundles from The Bad Old Days, but I’ve never heard of stochastic QM before.

    (Yes: difference with visualization truly is night and day. Take it from someone who took far too long to figure that out. And it’s something that you can start the habit with at elementary levels, pedogogically speaking. Matter of fact, might keep more kids interested in the subject, not least because they know what all this stuff actually is and how it ties together.)

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  202. @nebulafox

    nebulafox wrote to me:

    I’ll keep my eyes peeled for when you publish, though I’ll admit I might not understand it for some time to come.

    Well, of course, there is a pretty good chance it will not pan out — i.e., what I worked out a couple days ago is probably correct, but may not really lead to anything interesting. Even Einstein had lots of wrong turns (along with a handful of truly brilliant turns in his case, of course).

    nebulafox asked me:

    How long you been working on this?

    Well, I’ve been trying to make clearer sense of spin-1/2 particles since at least the late 1970s! I learned how to do the standard textbook calculations at about that time, but, like a lot of physicists and mathematicians (including Feynman and Michael Atiyah), I have always had this head-scratching sense that none of us really quite understands it. A lot of us have taken a shot (or several shots) at it: we’ll see if I have any real success.

    And I have been interested in the foundations of quantum mechanics even longer, since around 1970 when I read Andrade e Silva and Lochak’s book Quanta.. Real progress has been made since then on the foundations — testing Bell’s Theorem experimentally, understanding entanglement and decoherence, and, of course, all the work in quantum information processing (quantum computing, cryptography, etc.).

    Yet, we physicists still debate many-worlds, Bohmian mechanics, the Copenhagen interpretation, and so on.

    Historically, these things often do take a long time to work through. In some sense, we did not really “understand” calculus until nearly two centuries after Newton and Leibniz worked it out. And of course it was impossible to fully understand Maxwellian electromagnetism until Einstein worked out relativity. Then there’s Darwin’s original work on evolution, followed in the next century by the “Modern Synthesis,” and yet people are still working out how the process of speciation really works, how to fold in developmental biology, etc.

    So, the fact that quantum mechanics is still a subject of active research and debate is perhaps less surprising than one might think.

  203. res says:
    @nebulafox

    Rebuild is still in progress so too early to say. Mostly going OK, but too slowly for my taste. That’s on me, of course. Thanks for the thought.

    And thanks for your kind words.

  204. res says:
    @Anonymous

    Being effortlessly superior to everyone else isn’t good.

    That’s why it is good for supremely gifted people to be around other supremely gifted people for an extended period of time. Even better is for supremely gifted children to be around similarly gifted adults who are:
    1. Confident enough in their own ability not to feel threatened (not the reaction of the usual teacher, sadly).
    2. Understanding enough of the process of growing up like that to both be patient with some of that unpleasantness and clear that it is not OK and will not be tolerated.

    One factor you left out is being effortlessly superior can instill terrible work habits.

    P.S. To be clear, I am not THAT gifted. There are plenty of smarter people in the world. But they tend to concentrate (e.g. at Caltech and MIT, both as students and faculty) so between that concentration and the overall scarcity are not present in many environments. One reason I hang out here is some of those people are here ; )

  205. haha says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Brilliant thesis Sir, Kudos.
    Another point could be that computerization and automation – especially the former – have served to dumb down people. You don’t need to understand software to use it. The average person uses the computer or android with the attitude “Oh, the geeks have made sure everything in there works, I needn’t bother my head figuring it out”. As specialized skills (for example an advanced Excel user) have increased, specialized knowledge (writing a computer program to create an app such as Excel) have declined. Much worse is the fact that general knowledge and critical reasoning ability have declined – it doesn’t pay to “waste” time pursuing areas outside one’s specialized skill set; and, in any case, why bother thinking through when Google has ready made answers to almost everything.

  206. @Bill Jones

    Hah! Fair enough, I guess. Perhaps the debate teams and wresting teams should be combined for more accurate outcomes.

  207. @James N. Kennett

    Thanks.

    LOL at The Guardian losing its grip in 1962 due to … Vatican II? … the Cuban Missile Crisis? … the first Beatles album?

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